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Things that make you go “Boom” Pt1

A small post today, with a rather hastily taken photo too.

When making my Spawn Points recently I took the opportunity to put together a few other smaller terrain/scenario items, all of which fill the roles of the exploding barrel trope (is that the right use of that word?)  popularised in computer games.

Butane tanks (coloured for local distributors rather than the white from L4D) and Fuel drums.

All of the above came from Fenris games and featured in the Zombie Apocalypse game covered over the last few posts here and here.

I was short a handful of gas cans, the sort that feature in L4D that are visible here.  I have ordered a few from Ebay and they will feature in a follow up post.  I bet that you cant wait.

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Deadlines: Hostile Corporate Takeover of the Living Dead Pt 2

This report follows on from last Wednesdays post, visible here.

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In advance of the Regenerator the zombies lurched forward, wounding Anderson and Symes with their filthy clawing hands.  With the hissing Regenerator twitching forward on its palsied limbs things are looking bleak for Sigma Squad.

The Regenerator moved suddenly and with a spasm spikes erupted from its body, eviscerating Jerabeck.  With cold efficiency Anderson riddled the body of the Regenerator with rounds from her MP5 killing one of the Regenerators parasites, while weaving between the zombies all around her.

With skills honed by years of training Symes broke right, in the opposite direction to Anderson while putting three rounds into the nearby butane cylinder.  The cylinder burst sending zombie and Regenerator offal flying in all directions.  “Hasta la muerte” she uttered pithily as chunks of bloody, rotten flesh rain down around her.

(When setting up the table for the game some cinematically minded player decided that the best place for a butane cylinder was next to a Spawn Point, and he was probably right.  On this occasion it likely kept the wounded remnants of Sigma Squad in the game).

On the street between the Cinema and the rear of the Police station, USS Squad Gamma crossed paths with USFU Squad Sigma, the first living things that they had encountered since deployment.  Under strict orders to keep their noses out of each others highly sensitive business, a curt nod between fully masked sergeants was the sum of their exchange.  Gamma proceeded North while Sgt White went South.  Squad Epsilons  Ingram climbed the extendable ladder to the roof of the Police station to give covering fire over the vehicle holding the vault keycard.

Squad Gamma proceeded towards the milling throng of confused corpses that was trying to locate its last target, Squad Epsilon.

As Epsilon Sgt White rounds the South side of the police station, Ingram gives cover from the rooftop by detonating a fuel barrel, turning a handful of zeds into sub-human torches.  This cleared the way for Sgt White to get the vault keycard in the blue Porche.

Kaplan pauses from the rhythmic headshots and dismemberments to reload, and is caught unexpectedly.  Although he dies quickly from arterial blood loss, Gamma has no time to grieve as the Squad struggles to keep the mounting horde at bay.

Eerie wailing is heard as a Witch shows up near squad Epsilons keycard objective location.  Luckily, the Witch is inclined to keep itself to itself.  As it spawns a distance away from the main routes travelled by the forces, it remains undisturbed for now.

Squad Gamma, rattled by the loss of Kaplan get some payback on the large mob that has congealed near their objective, the Umbrella Corp local HQ.  After some unnecessary risks, some touch and go hand to hand where they were kept alive only by their kevlar, they get their heads back in the game…

…and tactically withdraw around the rear of their target building.

Meanwhile the wounded Sgt Anderson has procured the incriminating documents.  Now Symes (at the front of the fire truck) has the unenviable task of drawing the zombies away from the Sarge.

At this point the unmistakable howl of a Hunter is heard not far from the Police Station and the Umbrella building…

… and the pressure builds as a Licker shows up even closer to both buildings than the Hunter, next to the still crying Witch.

That doesnt bother Anderson and Symes of Sigma Squad. After reaching the chopper Anderson covers Symes sprint from where she had been heroically drawing the cannibal corpses away from the access point.

With a whine the helicopter begins to lift off, which is enough to agitate the Witch into action.  It also satisfies Sigma Squads mission objective.

Meanwhile Squad Gamma has procured Dr Braga and the vital information that he has.  The hordes are getting nearer however and the extraction chopper has to execute some fancy manoeuvring to get close enough for them to board (the Hunter can be seen approaching on the right, next to the game card).

At this point disaster struck.  Pvt Ocampo had been delayed while punching a couple of zeds tickets at ground level, where she has already seen the approach of the Hunter and Licker plus the large encroaching horde. “Get out of here!” she cried, “Don’t wait for me!”

As the chopper delayed the vital extra seconds for Pvt Rain Ocampo to get up the ladder, the brain dead hordes struggled out of the stairwell onto the roof, dragging the pilot and Pvt Symes of Squad Sigma from the vehicle.

The helicopter tilts, rotors spinning in slow motion, Michael Bay sty-lee.  Across the slow motion image of the chopper crashing into the roof the Hunter leaps screaming onto Pvt Symes, who is subsequently torn apart  while his limbs are used to beat the pilot to a mushy pulp.

The only survivor of Squads Sigma and Gamma is Rain Ocampo, and she is surrounded by zombies on a rooftop with her back to a flaming helicopter wreck.

Sgt White, the lone survivor of squad Epsilon has fought his way through the hordes to his objective, despite losing two good men en route, the last of them only moments ago.  Shoving the final zombies in his path aside he uses the key card to enter the bank and to lock himself into the vault.  There he must locate “the package” in the pitch dark before being extracted.  The vault lights dim and the power cut out.  An inhuman voice screams in the room that Sgt White is locked into behind inches of steel.

Credits roll.

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I was very pleased with how the game worked out.  The revised elements of the system functioned better than I could have hoped.  While a handful of minor issues were quickly recorded during the game for inclusion in future drafts the game trundled along quickly and cinematically.  Importantly the other players were able to work out the rules and mechanics of the game from the cards and rules document without the author (me) having to translate.  I have hopes that this system will regularly get played at Sho3box Castle.  Which will help me to justify my compulsion to paint even more zombies.

Deadlines: Hostile Corporate Takeover of the Living Dead Pt 1

Preamble

After last weeks diatribe regarding the build up and preparatory work for the zombie apocalypse segment of a recent gaming weekend, the report of the game itself follows as promised.

For info regarding the terrain and why it looks the way it does check out the previous zombie game report as I want to avoid repeating all of that stuff here.  All of the Survivors, Special Infected and Spawn Points plus many of the individual zombies themselves are pictured throughout this blog.  Use the tags to the right of the post if you want to see something in particular close up.

Objectives and Deployment

“Day 9.  Infection has not progressed further than 8km beyond the original release site, due to Umbrella containment at principal choke points.  Manipulation of political, media and other information sources has provided enough time for the virus to be tested in non-laboratory conditions and without interference from the authorities.

Final data must be gathered before Governmental intrusion becomes inevitable.  Your squad will be deployed directly into the hot zone.  Objective is priority.  All other considerations are secondary.  As a result all non Umbrella personnel are to be terminated with extreme prejudice.  Any contact with other Umbrella personnel is prohibited without express permission from your CO, due to the sensitivity of individual objectives.

Squad size is reduced to three to accommodate easy extraction and to minimise disruption to the test site”.

MT, PB and I picked a small force of Umbrella Security Service or Umbrella Special Forces Unit each.  PB picked USFU Squad Epsilon while MT and I each picked three members of USS Squads Sigma and Gamma respectively.

We had access to many more survivor figures, often with more esoteric equipment and or characteristics.  As this was a playtest game we deliberately choose not to use those and to each field very similar three man teams.  This was deliberate and intended to keep our focus a little more on the basic game mechanics.

Shade, Kaplan and Ocampo of USS Gamma Squad deployed on the roof of the bank…

…with orders to locate and evacuate Dr Braga from the roof of the Umbrella local HQ building.  The information that Dr Braga holds regarding the development of his ZG620 (zombie repellent) formula is of incalculable value.

White, Ingram and Hoffman of USFU Squad Epsilon are deployed on the roof of a local retail outlet (“Strangerous Liaisons”, a sex shop).  From this point Squad Epsilon must acquire the code key from the corpse of a deep cover Umbrella agent…

…in his blue porche (lovingly offset here by the wandering flesh eating remains of Michael Jackson).  The Umbrella agent used to work undercover in the bank where he concealed a sensitive package in the vault before being dismembered by Whiskey Deltas.  After acquiring the code from the car Epsilon has to progress to the bank vault to secure the package without destroying it (even if it bites).  Once there they need only wait for extraction.

Anderson, Symes and Jerabeck of Squad Sigma were airlifted to the Police Station roof in a locally acquired helo.

Similarly to the Gamma mission, Squad Sigma must reacquire potentially incriminating documents from the police vehicle shown (again being modelled by Michael Jackson) and return to the extraction vehicle.

Resistance is factored at Level Orange (that’s eighty zeds plonked down at random plus nine reinforcements per turn, plus a handful of randomly determined Special Infected showing up throughout the game, on a 6 x 4’ table, in case you were wondering).

The centre of the target area, just before the action begins

The Action

Squad Gamma proceeds with covering fire, by the numbers.  They encounter a still armoured ex-USS colleague.  The Sergeant puts a shotgun round through its head without a second thought.  “If necessary I expect each one of you to do the same for me” he rasps through internal comms (tough guys always rasp, they never just “say”).

Squad Sigma proceeds slowly and efficiently, clearing a path through the dispersed undead.

In stark, bloody contrast to the advance of the other Umbrella units, the overconfident Hoffman of Squad Epsilon gets too close to a mob of ex-police as he rounds the first corner.  Although he takes a few shamblers with him, he is torn limb from limb in moments, his screams of agony being heard through each Epsilon earpiece.

Squad Epsilon continued to advance.  The longer they stayed the more biters were going to be drawn to the area, so they grimly pressed on.

(This was an alarmingly sudden and early demise for one third of PBs forces, much to our amusement.  Despite being 100% lethal upon contact with Survivors, Zombie mobs move rarely and are very unlikely to move rapidly in succession before Survivors get to react.  At least that’s what Hoffman thought anyway.  This unpredictability is part of the appeal of card driven miniature games for me, even if this is an extreme example of things going not so well for a player.  Don’t feel sorry for Hoffman (or PB): they knew the odds)

Squad Sigma rounded the abandoned cinema, taking out the closest threats all the while.  Their gunfire had drawn zombies in the area towards them however and their firepower was not proving to be sufficient to clear a path…

Squad Gamma gave the horde nearby a wide berth, but still ran into to some opponents that could not be dropped at range.  Kaplan and Ocampo dealt with their targets, while the Sergeant dropped a zombie with the butt of his shotgun and blew its brain remnants out on the ground.  Having become separated from his squad by a small distance by a number of hostiles he confirmed rendezvous at the far side of the park.

Even while Hoffmans remains were being devoured Epsilon came under more pressure from the encroaching dead.

After a struggle that was touch and go for a while they blasted their way through the throng and proceeded towards their objective.

Sigma was finally making some headway when the first of the less common undead threats appeared alarmingly close to them.  While not especially fast, the Regenerator (square base, standing next to Spawn Point) is very dangerous up close and very resistant to gunfire, as the combination of T-virus and Las Plagas parasites work to knit its dead flesh beck together after trauma.

Will the Regenerator tear squad Sigma limb from limb?

Will Dr Braga be rescued?

Who will live?

Who will die?

What will explode?

Tune in next week for the thrilling (well somewhat amusing and entertaining in a well-you-had-to-be-there kind of way) conclusion of…

Deadlines: Hostile Corporate Takeover of the Living Dead!


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