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Resident Evil 6

I tend to only post miniatures related stuff here.  Even then its really only miniatures stuff that is directly connected to me: my miniatures in other words, not notes about upcoming releases from X company or reviews of a TV show or whatever.  There is nothing wrong with doing that sort of thing of course, its just not what I want to do here.

So I am making a little bit of an exception with this post.

I have enjoyed video games for my whole life.  Video games have often been a large part of the inspiration for various miniatures related projects.

Of all of those influences the Resident Evil video game series (not the sub-par movies) has probably had the most impact on my toy soldiers, some of which can be seen here.  Of course the majority of my zombie stuff is connected too.

Therefore news that Resident Evil 6 is to be released in November is definitely worthy of note.

The viral marketing campaign site is nohopeleft.  The big release trailer, in all of its cheesy Bruckheimer glory is below.

That this game finally pairs up Leon (a man whose pithy lines are the only thing limper than his fringe) with Chris (the most frequently appearing male meatball character) is cheesy, bromantic, soap-opera gravy.

Leon has been re-based since this shot. He still has nightmares though.

With RE6 out in November, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City out exactly one month from today plus Resident Evil Revelations out on Feb 7th (only on 3DS.  Boo!)  it looks like 2012 will be annus horribilis, for all the right reasons.

Hooray!

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Deadlines: Hostile Corporate Takeover of the Living Dead Pt 2

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

———————————————-

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.

———————————————-

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!


Dr Braga & Umbrella Security Service NBC Squad / Red Shadows

Umbrella NBC Sergeant & Trooper

I have wanted some NBC troopers for zombie games for a while, but I couldnt decide what way to paint them.  While army greens or khakis may have been apt I figured that I would try to tie them to the Umbrella forces that I have been painting, just to be a little different.

As I plan to get some white-clad HazMat suits at a later date (like the suits at the end of the first Resident Evil movie) I didnt want to go for that.  I decided instead to use the other colours from the palette in the Umbrella logo: red and black.

Umbrella Elite Troops ("Blood for the Baron!")

Painting red is a pain in the ass. Trying to get a shaded yet vibrant red (rather than a brown or orange or pink) is irritatingly difficult.

I went for a bright rubbery red in this case and some liberal application of Tamiya Clear red helped to keep the colour vibrant while still shading it.  I am happy with the rubbery look that the red ended up with (aided by a liberal gloss varnish, which in turn makes the shading hard to see in the photos.  Its there all right).

As I painted the black on to the predominantly red figures I realised how Nazi or James Bond-bad-guy they look.  In particular they remind me of the Red Shadows from the UK Action Force toy range that preceded and was subsequently absorbed into the G.I. Joe franchise.

In response to how cartoony looking the final figures ended up looking, I decided to add a cheesy lightning bolt transfer to the miniatures backs.  I think that it is a GW Space Marine White Scar chapter logo and it was a hell of a lot easier to do than paint an Umbrella logo on a red background.  Plus now it shows them to be some sort of elite squad or something like that.

Dr. Braga and Laser Armed Umbrella NBC Trooper

I painted a Moonfleet scientist miniature at the same time as the NBC guys and christened him Dr Braga, after a Star Trek writter known for his technobabble filled writing.  The doctor fits in well with these elite Umbrella troopers I think but he would be equally at home playing God in a lab or antagonising Xenomorphs in their cage or in any number of other sci-fi toy-soldier-y applications.

Since 2008 I have found myself painting scientist spectacles with 3D glasses style red and blue/green.  It doesnt make a lot of sense, but I like the look and so I keep doing it (Dr Jacoby from Twin Peaks wore a pair, didnt he?  I could be wrong).  It works well on Dr. Braga I think.

I bought a toy vehicle last week to transport these guys around in their own hi-tech, HazMat truck.  I hope to get to that at a later date, probably at the same time that I get the two humvees for the USS guys finished.

Collecting Samples for the T-Virus Project

Note that since August 18th, 2010 I have retconned these guys to be Umbrella Special Forces Unit Epsilon.  Not that it really matters, but for the sake of accuracy 🙂

Running the Zombie Gauntlet

 

A few weeks ago a MT (a long time gaming buddy) and I decided to try out frequent LAF contributor AKULAs zombie apocalypse rules, AR:SE (available for free HERE). 

The rules are simple and provide for automated movement for the zombies, like computer game “bots”.  This appealed to the two of us because it meant that we could play semi-co-operatively if we wanted, which sums up the whole zombie apocalypse genre really.

 

 

Preamble

We decided that we would place as much non-ruined urban terrain as we could muster on a 6’ x 4’ table.  We then added 80 or so zombies (ten of which were based in two “hordes”), which covered the table sufficiently to give us a run for our money.  The amount of zombies placed was guesswork, as although we had previously read the rules (satisfyingly short at 2 xA4 pages), we didn’t really have a feel for how effective our heroes would be.  I would rather play a game of a heroic defeat than an easy victory so we erred on the side of more zombies rather than less.

To this we added two Witches and a possibility of spawned zombies spawning as Tanks.  The likely hood of Tanks showing up increased as the game went on.  Although I have a number of zombie “characters” available, we didn’t want to bog down our first game with too many specials, so we left it at Witches and Tanks.

We also specified that Spawned zombies emerged from the zombie horde closest to any survivors (I have dedicated zombie spawn point markers in the pipeline, but they were not available for this game).

A couple of quick notes about the terrain: my modern stuff is pretty crude but functional.  It was originally made under time constraints for use in Heroclix games, which is why the roofs are marked out with a grid.  That’s what the ugly looking white tile spacers are (I really should get around to painting them black).  Eventually I will get around to making some “proper” modern terrain, but as is often the way with these things, the stuff that I have is functional and so “proper” modern terrain never tends to get to the top of the to-do list.  Still, although lacking aesthetically, they buildings are durable and functional, so I wont make any more excuses for them.

Deployment and Table Set-Up

We set up our forces on the South East corner of the table and placed the car park, replete with potential getaway vehicles at the North West corner.  The Survivors were tasked with getting to a specific crashed vehicle in the middle of the battlefield to pick up the vital briefcase of scientists notes.  From there they have to get to the car park where they can hotwire some of the functional vehicles there to make their escape.

L to R: "Silent" Yoshi, Botan, Suzi

MT chose to chart the exploits of some Yakuza survivors.  L to R “Silent” Yoshi, Botan and Suzi.

L to R: Chris Redfield, Leon S. Kennedy, Ada Wong

In an unlikely alliance that could only brought on by impending, walking corpse filled Armageddon I chose to ally the Yakuza with the forces of the Racoon City Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS).  L to R: Chris Redfield, Leon S Kennedy and industrial espionage agent Ada Wong.

The view from the South

A shot of the battlefield from the South.  Note the car park in the top left.  That’s where our heroes are headed for.

The view from the North

A shot of the battlefield from the North.  Note  the zombie horde in the centre, just below the overturned yellow car.  Those guys occasionally move around and are lethal if they come into contact with survivors.  Primarily in our game, they were a mobile spawn point.
If you squint, you might be able to see one of the Witches.  It’s the figure with the square base at 9 o’clock to the overturned yellow car.  Witches react to disturbances nearby by shrieking.  This in turn causes shamblers within range of the sound to head toward the Witch.  This is a bad thing.

Northerly view including the Car Park

Another shot from the North, this time showing a little of the car park objective.

Aerial view from the ZTV news chopper

An aerial shot, taken by the ZTV news chopper.

Gameplay

Heading East

The Survivors start by heading north via the Eastern table edge.  The theory was that they should avoid the large concentration of slackjaws in the middle for as long as possible. The more noise that the Survivors make, the more active the living dead become.

Businesslike and professional rolling up of a flank

Leon brings up the rear while Botan beheads a walking corpse with his katana.  Chris gives covering fire as they head to the junction where they will proceed West towards the car which contains the briefcase.  So far so good.  “This is a snap for a international woman of mystery such as myself” thinks Ada as the survivors make short work of any zombies in their path.

The first casualty

As she rounds the corner Ada is attacked by a corpse that has been drawn by the gunfire.  In a surprising display of incompetence, Ada is caught flat footed, while the zed seems to be at the top of its game.  Ada has her throat ripped out in a gurgling spray of blood.  “NOOOO!” cries Leon.  “I never expected our flirtatious will-they, wont-they relationship from opposite sides of the track to end like this!”.

“At least she is properly dead.  She isn’t coming back from that”. Chris advises Leon using stilted, computer game-y dialogue.  Chris then riddles the offending zed with lead.

Objective acquired

Botan is “in the zone” at this stage and advises a stealthy approach as he has heard the crying of a Witch up ahead.  “What are supposed to use now? Harsh language?” says Leon in a predictably action movie quote style as he holsters his pistol.  Silent Yoshi does not speak.

Botan ignores them both and chops up two more undead with  ninja like stealth before he pins a crawler to the ground as he retrieves the crucial briefcase from the crashed car.

The Plan

At this point viewers at home were treated to some expert commentary about the situation from back at the ZTV station, complete with a play analysis.  The circled vehicle is where the briefcase has been retrieved from and the green path is the direction that the survivors have chosen to take to get to the car park and getaway vehicle.

Turning Eastward again

Chris runs forward and clinically dispatches the Witch in their path before it can react.  He then provides cover as the remaining survivors head past the limo and towards the cinema.

The "Horde" in the foreground starts moving...

 A large zombie mob starts to stumble toward our heroes, forcing them to hurry away from it, perhaps a little rashly…

Zombies approach from all sides

 Despite gunning down a number of zeds as they closed, Suzi and Yoshi are forced into hand to hand.  Leon and Chris are unable to help as they keep the other closing ghouls at bay.

The death of Botan...

Botan bites off more than he can chew.  While he makes good account of himself in terms of eviscerated corpses, he is eventually dragged down to his doom…

...and the birth of a Tank!

With a series of bloody, squelchy sounds the thing that was Botan convulses.  With a roar, all of its hair falls out and tentacles sprout from its rapidly growing body. Witness the birth of a Tank.

(In game terms we had been using the AR:SE rules to determine if downed heroes would come back as zombies.  Ada hadn’t but Botan had.  We had also been incorporating a simple incrementing roll to determine when the next zombie to spawn would be a Tank.  As luck would have it, this happened when Botan shuffled off, so he was the one that came back as a Tank.  And all in front of a poster of the Governator.  “I’ll be back” indeed.  Hooray for narrative!”)

 

Decisive action required

 The Survivors have a small chance to re-kill the Botan Tank if they can get to it while it is transforming.  With that in mind the four remaining survivors attempt to circle the Tank and neutralise with extreme prejudice.  Suzi has to riskily dodge away from her close combat aggressors to help out with the tank, but a well timed cartwheel reminiscent of Xiaoyu in Tekken 3 gets her where she is needed most. 

Our heroes repeatedly plug the Tank and barely manage to re-dead it before it gets a chance to get up.  “If its dead, we can kill it!” cheers Chris, confusingly.

Car park bound

 Almost as if our heroes have overcome the main aggressor in the third act, the sun breaks through the clouds (or the camera flash was too close) giving the survivors the strength to run around the side of the cinema toward the car park and salvation.  Chris cheerfully riddles a few zeds that get too close en route.

Bus stop

The survivors jump over the car park wall and line up beside a bus.  Suzi, familiar with hotwiring her own school bus during the many Battle Royale school trips that she has been on suggests that she get the bus up and running.  Leon whimpers self pityingly about Ada.  Yoshi remains quiet.  “Holy $h1t! Its Michael Jackson!” says Chris and heads for the roof of the bus.

Chamone in peace... again

“THAT’S for “Earth Song!” hollers Chris as he empties a clip into the former Prince of Pop turned cannibalistic reanimated corpse.
“Its too late to look at he man in the mirror now sucker!”  says Chris in a failed attempt to deliver a pithy closing one liner.  Zombie MJ’s head explodes in a shower of gore.

Clang!

The bus shudders to life and Suzi floors the pedal, heading straight through the gates with a clang.

Vehicular extermination

Suzi expertly guides the bus over four zombies as the survivors drive off into to sunset.  Billie Jean plays to fade.

 

 

Conclusions

We had good fun with the scenario and rules.  We had a couple of minor rules decisions to make a call on during the game, but as we are both grown ups with a lot of hours gaming time clocked over the years, they were decided upon quickly.

I plan to make cards for each of the survivor miniatures that I use as quick reference for the weapons and abilities that they have.  Having played the game, I have more of a handle on how it works now and I will base the stats accordingly.  I plan to bring a very, very simple points system (as in each character is rated as 1, 2, 3, 4) so that James Bond type characters are distinguishable from some survivor with a two by four.

Next time I will incorporate some Hunters and Jockeys into the mix, along with a different scenario.

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