Sunday, 20 July 2014

Zombicide Season 1 Survivors and Zombivors

I have currently been painting loads of Survivors and Zombivors from the Zombicide board-game. I know I have posted the original six Survivors before, but what you have not seen are their Zombivor versions, What is a Zombivor? It is a cross between a Survivor and a Zombie - essentially a good zombie with intelligence who fights as a player character against the undead menace. Survivors start with two wounds and when they are wounded a second time they are dead. Game over. Now, however, they can come back, but only if their second wound was caused by a Zombie. On the turn after they die, the character is resurrected as a Zombivor. Zombivors keep the equipment cards that the dead survivor had and all their previous experience points. They can choose skills up to their experience level, which may or may not be different from those previously chosen. Best of all, they now have five wounds, making them much harder to kill. Zombivors are great for beginners, campaign-driven players and for super-heroic missions. I like their inclusion in the game.
To start off with, we have Amy Paulson, the Goth Girl. Please note that in Zombicide most characters do not have a surname, so I have had to invent surnames for all my Survivors. Survivor Amy is armed with a katana and a double-barelled sawn-off shotgun tucked into her belt. Zombivor Amy keeps her katana but has lost her shotgun... and her backpack. Bear in mind that the weapons shown on a figure are probably not the weapons you'll use in a game, as weapons and equipment are determined randomly from a deck of cards.
Wanda Jane was a waitress at a drive-thru restaurant before the zombie apocalypse came. Her roller skates make her one of the fastest characters in the game. Survivor Amy is armed with a chainsaw (a devastatingly effective weapon, even if it is noisy) and a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun tucked into her apron. Like Amy, Zombivor Wanda retains her melee weapon but loses her shotgun.
Doug Michaels was once an officer worker doing a mundane and boring job he hated. Now he kills zombies for a living. Doug is a two-gun specialist and his Survivor version is armed with a pair of 9mm Uzi sub-machine guns and tucked into his belt, a pair of 9mm pistols. Zombivor Doug uses the twin 9mm pistols and has lost his twin Uzis.
Josh Pinkman was a street thug growing up in a tough neighbourhood. He finds his street smarts in high demand with other Survivors. Survivor Josh is armed with a pair of 9mm pistols and has a machete hanging on his left leg. Meanwhile, Zombivor Josh has lost the twin pistols and machete but found a pair of double-barrelled sawn-off shotguns.
 Ned Moore is more often known as "Crazy Ned" because no one believed his predictions about an impending zombie apocalypse. But Ned KNEW! He is a street person skilled in the art of urban survival. He is armed with a hunting rifle with scope-sight, a baseball bat and a frying pan. Yes, a frying pan is a weapon, albeit, not a very good one. Zombivor Ned has a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun and a torch.
Finally, is Phil Walsh, a police patrolman who has sworn to uphold the law, even though the law has virtually ceased to exist. Survivor Phil retains his .357 Magnum service revolver and his 12 gauge pump-action shotgun. Zombivor Phil still has his Magnum revolver but has lost the shotgun.
The level of sculpting on these figures is very high and to be honest, I really like all twelve figures. However, my favourite character out of them all still remains Wanda the waitress. Try to arm her with a chainsaw as soon as possible, even if it means another character finding it then swapping it with her. With her extra movement and chainsaw she is perfect for scouting ahead and killing zombies. All of the characters have their plus points. Both Amy's starts with a free Move action. Both Doug's start with a Matching Set (great if you can find them early on). Survivor and Zombivor Josh begin by being Slippery (he can move freely through zones occupied by Zombies). Both Ned's start with a free Search action, which you should ALWAYS use. Both Phil's start the game with a Pistol. Finally, Survivor Wanda and Zombivor Wanda get to move 2 Zones per Movement action.
Look out for a lot more Zombicide Survivor and Zombivor reviews in the  coming weeks.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Vampifan's Views 53 - Answers and Winners

Two of my favourite comic book characters - Lady Death vs. Vampirella in a dramatic painting by Dorian Cleavenger
Last week I ran a competition to win some cool prizes. All you had to do was send me up to three questions. All who entered sent the full quota and some of you even asked bonus questions, which I didn't mind. I did think it would be fairly easy to pick three obvious winners from them but that has not been the case. The standard of questions asked have been exceptionally high. In the end I resorted to drawing names from a cup. Every one got entered three times and 20 people entered the contest. So who did win?
In first place was Mark Brown. He wins a boxed set of 20 Zombicide Zombie Dogs.
In second place was Bob Kinnear. He wins a boxed set of 6 Zombicide Dog Companions.
In third place was Lord Siwoc. He wins a set of 6 painted Armorcast Road Kill Animals.
Congratulations to all three and a huge thank you to you all. I'm sorry you couldn't all be winners.
I have a lot to answer so let's get on with my answers. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did. Believe me, coming up with my answers was a whole load of fun!

From Mathyoo.
1) You seem to have everything anyone would need for a perfect zombie outbreak campaign. What kind of miniatures you think you'd still need to make your collection even better? I'd like to see a lot more figures of corpses. So few companies make them and they are great for littering up the gaming table. Another range I'd love to see are more zombies feasting on body parts. They are even rarer than corpses. 
2) This was probably answered in the past - but why did you decide to set your games in an American and not British environment? Was this just a random choice or did you actually put some thought into it? There was nothing random about my decision to set my campaign in America. First up was that I was heavily influenced by the card models made by World Works Games. Their buildings and streets were clearly American in design. Converting them into English versions would have meant too much work. Yes, I know that you can get English style ground tiles nowadays but none were available back in 2009 when I started out. Secondly, in America, it is far easier to find or own guns than it is in the UK. That also heavily influenced my decision.
3) Your sculpts are great, why did you stop making miniatures? And don't tell me you didn't need to make anymore - you can never have enough zombies!
I agree. I began my blog just as zombie gaming was really taking off. It is true to say that as more and more figures came out, I felt less of a need to make any. Yes, I'm a fair sculptor but there's no way I could compete with the likes of Studio Minis or Hasslefree. I probably enjoy converting figures more than sculpting them from scratch but with the right motivation I'd happily go back to sculpting my own figures.

From Christopher Sheets.
 1) Other than crossovers/mash-ups that have already appeared in comics, who would be the ultimate/best crossover for Vampirella? Oddly enough, for such a minor league character like Vampirella, she has had many, many cross-overs and team ups throughout the years. However, she has never teamed up with anyone from the Marvel universe, so my answer would be Wolverine. When I played my GURPS Supers campaign I played Vampirella. One of my players was as big a fan of Wolverine as I am of Vampirella, so together we created a GURPS version of Wolverine. Vampi and Wolvi worked well together in my campaign. I'd love to see them paired in a comic series or a one-off.
2) What would be your personal everyday carry gear in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
For weapons, my katana and wakizashi. Yes, I do own them in real life. In a back pack I'd carry a day's supply of essential items like basic medical supplies, some food stuffs and bottled water. Oh, and a roll of toilet paper! On my person, small items like a box of matches, a pen knife, a small hand mirror. a watch.
3) Do you think you'll ever do any more of your incredible paper terrain build write-up/tutorials? I know they're what first drew me here, although I stayed for the wonderful ATZ AARs, book reviews, figure reviews and, of course, the friendship we've formed. Here's to the next 500 posts! Oh, yes, that's an absolute given. Just wait until I post my review of Carl Stoelzel's Brummies Burgers fast food restaurant. It's about 90% completed now and should be finished in the next few weeks. I promise you, it'll blow you away. I lost my card modelling mojo after my long stay in hospital last year, but believe me, it is back with a vengeance now and I have loads of card models I still want to make. Plus, I MUST do a write up on a card scenery tutorial. Keep bugging me for one!


From Warlord Paul.
1) What does the future hold for miniature wargaming? I think the future is safe and I can't see it ever going away. The popularity of such Kickstarter projects like Mars Attacks, Reaper Bones and Zombicide has given the hobby a massive shot in the arm. It would seem that Kickstarter projects are where the most money can be made. I foresee them becoming more popular than ever.
2) What would be the ideal hobby gift for the person that has everything?
A group of gamers to share his hobby with. If he's got everything he isn't going to have much time for a social life or making friends!
3) What is the secret to a good horror genre game?
In a word, suspense! If you can create an atmosphere of fear and suspense you've cracked it. 


From Clint.
 1] If a fat person and skinny person both get sunburnt to the exact same amount, which will feel the greatest pain? Logically, you'd think the fat person because he has more skin to burn, but pain doesn't work like that. They'll both suffer the same amount of pain. Next time they go out in the sun they'll remember the sun factor 50!
2] If you wear a yellow tee shirt all day how come your belly button fluff is still bluey-grey? It just always is. Put it down to one of the mysteries of the universe.
3] How can something be "new" and "improved"? if it's new, what was it improving on?
Ah, now we're getting into Ad-speak territory. Ad-speak is more often than not complete and utter bollocks. Don't believe a word advertisers say! I view all adverts with a huge amount of scepticism, not to mention, utter disdain!


From Simon Quinton.
 1) If you could have any character from any book or film etc made in miniature who would it be and why? Lady Death from Chaos Comics (see picture at the top of this post). Lady Death is a demon and I love her comic series. Many companies have made not-Vampirella figures, so I couldn't choose her. Also, you can get figures of my other favourite vampire characters like Durham Red from 2000AD comics and Selene from the Underworld  movies. If I could extend my choice to three, I'd add the vampires, Chastity and Purgatori, who are also creations of Chaos Comics.
2) If you could do any job in the world what would it be and why?
A model maker working for a company like Weta Workshop, who made some amazing models for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That would be a dream come true. Not only do you get to make model scenery, but you get paid for it as well!
3) What do you think would be the best Country or Place to ride out the Apocalypse and why?
Texas in America because of the amount of guns Texans own! Alternatively, a remote island far away from mainland civilisation.


 From Zombie Ad.
 1) If you were a character in a zombie/vampire film or novel... How would you like to be introduced into the story or what would your introductory line be? First of all, if I was a character in a vampire/zombie book or film I'd probably die very early on! If, however, I played my alter ego, Vampifan, I'd like to come to the rescue of some pretty young damsel in distress. Perhaps she has tripped and fell in front of a mob of zombies. All looks lost for her... until Vampifan appears with an assault rifle at the ready. "Stay down!" he commands. The woman obeys and Vampifan just blows away all opposition with a long spray of gunfire. Zombie heads explode in slow motion. Naturally! Slowly, she looks up at Vampifan. He smiles at her and offers her his hand. "Follow me!" he says. Okay, so it's cheesy as hell - it's my fantasy!
2) Which three characters would be in your Zombie Survival team? Vampirella for very obvious reasons, her long time companion, Pendragon (who is a bit of a magic user and not as dumb as he looks) and Alice from the Resident Evil films for her knowledge of zombies and for her fighting skills. Brains, beauty and kick ass ability aplenty! I dunno where I'd fit in - probably as a snack for Vampirella! These would be my top choices from fiction. From real life, I'd choose a British SAS trooper, an army field medic and author Sean T. Page, who wrote The Zombie Survival Manual and various other zombie books. Sean would be able to supply intel on zombies and survival techniques. The SAS trooper can deal with zombie threats and threats by hostile humans, plus he'll know all about survival techniques. An army field medic not only has valuable medical skills but survival skills as well. Once again, I'm just the spare wheel and most likely the first to die out of the group.
3) If you hadn't had such an enthusiastic zeal for zombie gaming, what else do you think you might have ended up doing? Probably more vampire gaming. If I found a set of solo rules like ATZ wherein I could play Vampirella that would be so cool. Sure, I played her in a GURPS Supers campaign but that requires a group of players and would be difficult to play solo. Other possibilities include Judge Dredd, and Wild West gaming. I'd also like to play some gangster games, although not so much in the 1920's as in the 1970's. Yes, I am thinking of  The Sweeney or Life on Mars, both of which I love.

From Toni Morey.
 1) Why have you never brought out your own range of miniatures? Cost! I looked into it during the 1980's and discovered the start up costs were way out of my league. Being an unemployed graduate I had very little in the way of savings.
2) How much hobby time do you dedicate each week? (not including reading and watching films) Roughly four to five hours per day, so say about 30 hours per week.
3) Has your hobby life always been with zombies, or did you start out in another "genre"? I started out with the traditional wargaming subjects of Napoleonics and World War 2. From there I moved on to skirmish wargaming - World War 2 again and Wild West. Then I developed an interest in role playing games - Dungeons and Dragons and Traveler at first. I have been an avid gamer since the mid 1970's. My interest in zombies began in 1979 when I saw the film, Dawn of the Dead by George Romero. That film was life changing for me and to this day still remains my favourite zombie movie.

From Francis Lee.
1) A fictional or movie character to spend the zombie apocalypse on the run with? Ah, it could only be Vampirella. Come on, who else could I say?
2) This is the morbid one.....your funeral song or songs? It's actually not morbid at all, Fran, but a very good question. The answer would be Whispering Wind by Michael Flatley from his show, Feet of Flames. You can watch it on YouTube here - http://youtu.be/aUZj-Zl1smg
3) The last time you cried? About five minutes ago whilst watching that video of Whispering Wind. It is simply the most hauntingly beautiful piece of music I've ever heard. The first time that I heard it I sobbed my eyes  out because it was just so beautiful. I've heard it many times since and it still affects me deeply. Now you're definitely going to want to watch that video!

From Carl Stoelzel.
1) How did the Vampirella appeal begin for you? Any particular story you remember as being the "this is really REALLY cool moment for you?" My love affair with Vampirella began in 1991, when Harris Publications took over the Vampirella franchise from Warren Publishing and brought her back in the traditional sized comic in full colour. From 1969 until 1983, Warren published Vampirella magazine, which were almost always in black and white. The Harris Vampirella comics reinvented her and brought her up to date as one of the forerunners of the so called "bad girl" comics. I can remember buying the very first Harris Vampirella comic and just being blown away by this sexy, kick ass vampire. The story was great; the artwork by a then unknown artist, Louis Small, was even better and just grabbed me by the throat!. It was love at first sight for me.
2) What will you be posting about 5 years from now? Could you give a mental preview of that blog entry?
Yes, I can. By then I could be running two blogs per week - my usual "Vampifan's World of the Undead" and "Vampifan's World of the Living." I have often thought about running a second blog to cover my non-undead gaming interests. This would allow me to review my figure collections for sci-fi gaming in general and Judge Dredd in particular, Wild West, Samurai and Gangsters. It would be nice to play some games in these categories as a break from my zombie campaign. In five years time I probably won't be playing ATZ any more but will have converted my ATZ zombie campaign to GURPS. Figure reviews and scenery reviews will continue and I can't ever see them stopping. In short, much will remain the same but there will be changes as well.
3) How many zombie miniatures are currently in your horde. Painted/un-painted? (This feels like a potential "how many jelly beans" are in the jar type game).
Carl, I don't know if you've noticed, but on the left hand sidebar of my blog is a heading that reads My 28mm Scale Zombie Horde. You'll find it below Search This Blog and above Blogs I Like to Read. That tells you that I currently have 883 painted metal and plastic zombies and 142 unpainted metal zombies. God knows how many unpainted plastic zombies I have. I'm too afraid to count them all! This notice gets updated regularly - whenever I finish painting any zombie figures or buy any new metal zombie figures.

From Bob Kinnear. Second Prize winner for his second question.
1) If you love vampires so much, how come zombies? That's simple, Bob. Vampires and zombies are my top two favourite movie, book and comic monsters. For sure, I write more about zombies than vampires, even though I love vampires more. Zombies are definitely more popular with my followers, so I tend to concentrate more on them.
2) Is Zombicide adding or detracting to ATZ for you?
Definitely adding! Why? because of the figures - loads more zombies and loads more survivors. Note that I am basing and painting my Zombicide figures the same way that I base and paint all of my other figures. This is simply because I want to integrate them into other games. Now I see that scenic items are on offer in Zombicide season 3, and who wouldn't want to use them in other games?
3) How seriously have you thought about prepping?
When my good friend Joe/Zabadak started e-mailing me on a regular basis, we had many a long discussion about preparing for a zombie apocalypse. What weapons we would we use, what supplies would we take, where would we hole up? All of these and more were discussed. However, other than chatting about a potential zombie apocalypse I have done virtually nothing in the way of physically preparing.


From Nobody 667.
 1) What was the moment you became a 'gamer'? When I was aged 16 and in the sixth form of my school. I enlisted in a wargaming club run after school  hours once per week by one of the teachers. This introduced me to Napoleonic and World War Two gaming using proper rules as opposed to just playing with my toy soldiers. That was 40 years ago.
2) What is your must have 'luxury' item for the zombie apocalypse?
Oh, that's easy! First up would be toilet paper. Life without toilet paper would be unthinkable! Secondly, as many bars of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate as I could carry and/or stash away. I'm a chocoholic and I would NEED my chocolate fix!
3) If you could visit, explore and view any historical event, what would it be?
The Gunfight at the OK Corral. I am fascinated by the Wild West and I would have loved to have been a witness to this classic gunfight.


From Robert Audin.
1) Since Vampirella is your favorite character how did you end up with a zombie blog rather than a vampire one? I still cover vampires in my blog. It's not all about zombies, although I agree it can seem that way. Vampires will always be a part of this blog. As I said to Bob above, zombies are far more popular with my followers than vampires so inevitably, they get more coverage. But look closely and you'll still see a lot of book, film and figure reviews of vampires. Remember, Robert, my blog is called Vampifan's World of the Undead, which implies ALL types of undead creatures.
2) If you where an angst ridden teen girl when the Twilight movies came out would you have gone for the sparkly vampire or the shirtless werewolf?
I'd have done exactly the same as Bella and gone for Edward. For me, I was always more a Team Edward fan than a  Team Jacob fan. It probably has everything to do with the fact that I prefer vampires to werewolves!

3) Not counting zombies what is your most favorite movie monster? Vampires! Obviously!
And a fourth bonus question.
4) Why haven’t you read any of the original Vampirella comics? They are worlds better than the ones you have been reading. Ah, Robert, I have read many of the old Warren Publications Vampirella magazines. I collected a few myself but soon realised that I could never collect all of them. Fortunately Dynamite Entertainment came to the rescue a few years ago by releasing the Vampirella Archives. These hard-backed volumes contain on average six copies of the old magazines. So far I have nine of these volumes. Volume 10, containing issues 65 through 71 will be released in August of this year. I already have it pre-ordered from Amazon. Eventually, all of the old issues will be re-released in this format and I'll have a complete collection. I'm not sure if the old black and white strips are better to the current comics but they are different and very much of their time. A lot of the old artwork is simply stunning. I must admit that to me, a lot of the stories are poorly scripted but having said that, there are some absolute gems amongst them.

From Mark Brown. First prize winner for his first question.
1) How would you react to encountering Vampirella in real life? In all honestly, I'd be a gibbering wreck! If I could stop drooling and take my eyes away from her breasts I might just manage to say something remotely coherent, but most likely it would be something totally lame and inane, like, "hi pet, do you fancy a bite?" Earth, just swallow me up now! One thing is for sure, there is no way I could take my eyes off her! Watching the way she moves would be such an erotic thrilll!
2) If you could alter/ change/ erase from existence/ any zombie film, which would it be and why? World War Z. How is it possible to take one of the best written zombie novels and make a film of it that is complete and utter shit? Answer, by changing everything that was in the book. Other than the title, the book and the film had nothing in common.
George Osborne - smug fucker!
3) Which fictional character or real person would you absolutely hate to be stuck with during the zombie apocalypse?
I can't think of anyone from fiction but in real life I am spoiled for choice. Do I go for politicians, so called "celebrities" from "reality" TV, soap stars. pop stars, footballers, rap musicians, civil servants, the royal family? Okay, you probably want me to narrow it down to just one person. So after much deliberation I'll say anyone from our current government, all of whom I hate. But out of all of them I reserve the greatest hatred for our current Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. He is a man I would gladly feed to the zombies after repeatedly bashing him in the head with a baseball bat! He's pompous, arrogant, totally out of his depth and an all round smug git!


From Ross.
1) What would you do if you weren't into zombie gaming? Take your pick from Vampire gaming, Judge Dredd, Weird World War 2, Wild West or 1970's Gangsters.
2) What is your favourite TV show? It is hard to pick just one but probably my favourite current TV series is True Blood.
3) What motivates you to write this blog twice a week? Lots of reasons. First up because I have enough spare time to devote to it. Secondly, because my followers inspire me more than you could imagine. Without their continued and enthusiastic support I'd have given up years ago. But mainly because I write about a subject I am very passionate about - the Undead. 


From Michael
1) How will 3D Printing affect the world of miniature figure gaming? I can foresee it having a massive impact on the hobby. It will make a pirate's job a whole lot easier for printing out duplicate figures. Limited edition or unique figures could become a thing of the past unless there is strict regulation on what can and can't be printed. To be honest, I don't know enough about the subject to hold any informed opinions on the matter, but my initial reaction is one of trepidation. We all know if technology can be abused it will be. There are just too many unscrupulous people in the world. However, looking on the bright side I can see some companies totally embracing the concept. For example, there is currently an upsurge in companies offering scenery models made from laser cut MDF. Much as I love them, they are quite expensive. Would plastic replacements made from a 3D printer be a cheaper alternative? Hopefully.
2) Why would I want to win one of your prizes? Michael, you know full well that you don't want to win any of the prizes, so I am not entering your name in the prize draw! For those of you who are not in the know (probably most of you), Michael is my brother! As such this competition is not open to family members. That would just be so unfair if he did win.
3) How many orange creams do you have to eat, in a packet of Cadbury’s Misshapes, before you encounter a solid chocolate? From our earlier discussion on this subject (you wouldn't believe the discussions Michael and I have!) it would seem that three out of every four Misshapes are orange flavoured. But does that mean that the fourth one will be all chocolate? No, it doesn't. It could be toffee, or coconut, or honeycomb or coffee (yuck!). The best way to be sure is therefore to eat the whole packet. As a confirmed chocaholic I firmly believe that no other answer could possibly suffice! Oh, and by the way, if you weren't my brother, questions 1 and 3 could have won you a prize as they were amongst my favourites.


From Lord Siwoc. Third prize winner for his first question.
1) So WHY did you start to blog? Your motivation behind it. Two events that happened almost simultaneously caused me to start my blog. First up and probably most important of all, was the release of All Things Zombie by Two Hour Wargames. Up until then I had always had a burning desire to run a zombie apocalypse campaign. Unfortunately, when I had my gaming group of friends, none of them were remotely interested in zombies or in playing in such a campaign. As often happens due to deaths and marriages, my gaming group dwindled down to just one - me. What totally thrilled me when I first saw ATZ was that it was designed with the solo gamer in mind. Rejoice! At last I could play my zombie apocalypse campaign. My first thoughts were to play it on gaming boards or maps. possibly like the ones that came with the Heroclix games. But I happened upon an advert for World Works Games' Mayhem City card scenery in a  gaming magazine and I was hooked. Furthermore, I saw what another gamer had done with the scenery on her blog and that convinced me to get back into card modelling. I had previously made loads of card models in 1/32 scale (54mm) for my Wild West skirmish games, so I knew an awful lot about card modelling. The marriage of ATZ rules and WWG scenery was one made in heaven. I had to chronicle my campaign and the best way to do that was to start a blog. The rest is history.
1000 unique zombie miniatures in 28 mm. You must be over the halfway point now.
I refer you to my answer to Carl Stoelzel's third question above. But, yes, I am well on the way to reaching 1000.
2) Which zombie model (28mm) is your favorite in your collection and why?
The Studio Miniatures zombie version of George A. Romero, simply because I cannot think of a more worthy candidate to appear as a zombie. After all, George has done more than anyone else alive to make zombies so popular and if it wasn't for his film, Dawn of the Dead, my interest in zombies would never have surfaced.
3) Any famous person that you could think of (alive or dead) To sit down with and have a game with. Who would that be and why?
Can I cheat and pick two? First up would be George A. Romero, for the reasons listed above, plus in all the interviews I have seen with him, he comes across as a genuinely nice guy. Gaming with George would be an honour and a privilege and it would allow me the chance to offer him my eternal thanks for all his work in making zombies so cool. Secondly, I'd like to pick the actor, Simon Pegg, who famously played the title role in the film, Shaun of the Dead. I have always been a big fan of Simon ever since I first saw him in the TV sitcom, Spaced. He once wore the coolest ever Dawn of the Dead T-shirt in that series. Me, jealous? You bet! His love of zombie films and literature is well documented. But he is also a big comics fan, especially of 2000AD, which I collect, and so we share many similar geek qualities. I just think he'd be a great gaming companion.


From Shintokamikaze.
Mel Smith as Vampifan?
1. If Hollywood produced a movie of your life story, what actor, living or dead, would you most like to play the part? Sadly, he is dead now, but I always thought the English actor and comedian, Mel Smith, bore an uncanny resemblance to me. So, Mel Smith would be my answer.
George Osborne the zombie. He's mine!
2. What famous person would you like to see turned, so you could splatter their brains? Ha, ha, ha, I love it! It has to be George Osborne again. After beating him senseless with a baseball bat and feeding him to the zombies in Mark Brown's third question, it would be ever so satisfying to smash his skull repeatedly and watch his brains splatter all over the ground. This way I get to kill him twice! Yay!!!
3. If you could adapt any book to a movie, what book would you choose?
I'm not sure I'd want to adapt it to a film, (a TV series would best do it justice) but my answer is the Feed trilogy by Mira Grant. Actually, I can think of quite a few vampire and zombie novels that I'd love to see turned into films or TV series. Picking just one was not easy, Shinto, but ultimately it had to be Feed and its two sequels.


From Magokiron.
1) Having played a good deal of different zombie games, can you tell us your favorite game mechanic that really captures the zombie mood on a tabletop? This is a good question. I'm going to choose one of the rules from All Things Zombie - Zombie Feasting. Zombies feeding on the flesh of the living or recently dead is something that is now accepted as a universal trait of what makes a zombie, a zombie. You can have slow moving zombies or fast moving zombies. There are countless theories of what causes a zombie to rise from the dead. But the one thing they all have in common is a need to feed on living flesh.
2) What is your personal favorite reason or "explanation" (invented, or from a movie, novel or TV show) as to how the zombie outbreak started?
Once again, I have to mention the novel, Feed by Mira Grant. Mira came up with the Kelis-Amberlee disease, two benign viruses designed to do good but when combined mutated into something unimaginable. I just loved the background to her stories. She had clearly done loads of research into the subject of why zombies would exist and it showed on the pages of her books.
3) Do you think a zombie apocalypse is at all possible in "real life"?
No, I don't. And nor do I believe in the existence of vampires. I just pray to God that I am never proved wrong! I accept zombies and vampires in fiction but not in real life.

From Zabadak.
1) What was the first Wargames Book (not set of rules) that you bought (if you haven't then why not)? Well, I've had to wrack my brain and search high and low for it but I've found it. I never throw any books away. It was called Discovering Modelling for Wargamers by Dennis C. Teague and it cost the grand sum of 30p. It was first published by Shire Publications Ltd. in 1973 and is a very small format book, measuring 7" (175mm) by 4.5" (115mm). It was only 48 pages long but it introduced me to a side of wargaming I knew nothing about - making scenery. The first pieces of scenery I made were some hills made from polystyrene ceiling tiles.and painted green. Very simple, I know, but they saw a lot of use.
2) What figure (or figures) in your lead (and plastic ?) mountain do you think you'll never get around to painting? Oh, I have so many! For example, I once bought a complete set of 28mm scale American footballers back in the early 1980's. Why? I do not remember. They still languish in a box of unpainted figures. I suppose I could convert some into zombies but I doubt if I will. I really do have too many but my problem is that I'm loathe to throw anything out. It's my hoarding instinct that kicks in!
3) If you were to write a book, what would you write about if it couldn't be about the undead? Hmm, that puts a big restriction on my choices. I suppose I'd have to stick with subjects I know a lot about, so top of the list would most likely be the Wild West. After all, when I was at college, I wrote my dissertation on Wild West Gunfighters.

From Phil Curran.
Jennifer Lawrence as Vampirella?
1) Which actress should play Vampirella? This is a tough one. Personally, I'd go for a total unknown. That's probably not the answer you're looking for, so I'll say Jennifer Lawrence, who has form at playing a superheroine (see X-Men: First Class where she played a young Mystique) and she can certainly do action movies as seen with her starring role in The Hunger Games films. Plus, I like her. But would she want to play Vampirella? Probably not.
2) What zombie figure would you most like to see made? Pretty much all of the zombie figures I want to see have been made. I guess I'd like to see a figure of Billy Connolly as Fido from the film, Fido.
3) Pirates or Ninjas, which one is best? Ninjas, because they're sneaky back-stabbing bastards.

Would three prize winners please drop me an e-mail with their full names and addresses at vampifan@talktalk.net and I'll post you your prizes as soon as I can.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

ATZ-FFO Supplement - Hospital 911

Two Hour Wargames recently released their newest supplement for ATZ-FFO, Hospital 911. To quote the blurb on the back cover,
"Hospital 911 takes you to the first recorded encounter with an infected person in the US. In Hospital 911 you will have a variety of roles from patient, to police officers and much more. Some are good, some are bad, but all must escape the Zeds.
In Hospital 911 you'll find:
Fifteen scenarios from eight points of view.
Six unique colour floor plans.
A variety of characters to play.
New rules for the ever present News Crews.
New rules for Firemen and fighting fires.
Over forty locations to be explored.
Rules and scenarios that can be brought into your normal All Things Zombie games."
What makes this supplement different from other scenario packs are the six hospital floor plans. These are all A3-sized and are meant to be used as gaming boards in this game. Essentially, Hospital 911 is part board-game and part table top game. Your figures can move so many squares on the board as opposed to the normal x amount of inches. A word of warning, most characters, including zombies, are slow moving. SWAT Troopers, however, are incredibly fast. Zombies can move three squares. Hospital patients move 1d3 squares or not at all, depending upon what they roll. Non-patients can move four squares. SWAT Troopers are Fast, meaning they can move five squares and if they Fast Move, they roll 3d6 and count all results! (Note that a successful Fast Move roll grants the figure an extra two squares of Movement. In theory, a SWAT Trooper could move 11 squares in a turn!) The squares on the maps measure one inch by one inch or 25mm square, making them ideal for use with 28mm scale figures on their 25mm diameter bases.
Three new rules that were introduced in the new Chain Reaction 3.1 rulebook are included in this supplement. They are In Sight, No Stunned and PEFs. For In Sight tests only the leaders (or temporary leaders) of each side take the test. Whoever wins, gets to activate all of his figures In Sight of the enemy. This makes a huge difference to the game. Winning this test is now vitally important!
The No Stunned rule means that if a character receives a Stunned result he ignores it and Carries On instead. However, he still has to stand back up and this results in him losing half his Movement allowance. What I most dislike about this new rule is that it now makes Body Armour totally worthless. My solution? If a character gets wounded and they are wearing Body Armour, have them roll 2d6 vs their Rep. If they pass 2d6, the Body Armour totally protects them and they take no wound. If they pass 1d6 then reduce the wound level by one. So Obviously Dead becomes Out Of the Fight. Out Of the Fight becomes Stunned, and Stunned becomes Carry On. If the character passes 0d6 then the wound stands as is. I would also add that any roll of 6 is classed as a failure to avoid Rep:6+ characters wearing Body Armour gaining total immunity from wounds.This works in a similar manner to a Star's Star Power advantage in that it can help reduce damage but it works differently. It has more chance of success but it also helps Grunts as much as Stars. Note that it can be used in connection with the Star Power advantage. Use the Body Armour test first. Also note that in both  cases, Stunned still means being Stunned and would necessitate a Recover from Knock Down test. This is just a House Rule but it is one that I will be adopting.
For PEFs, they now all have a Rep of 4 and the way they move has changed. The PEF Resolution Table (taken against the PEF's Rep) is very much geared towards this particular setting and should not be used in normal play away from the hospital.
Moving on, we come to the scenarios. You don't have to play them all. In the order they are written they concentrate on the point of view of one character type, starting with a Civilian Patient. This is followed by a scenario in which you play a member of the hospital staff. Next, are two scenarios in which you take on the role of a  Police Officer. These escalate into a SWAT response and there are three scenarios in which you take control of a SWAT Team. Most scenarios take place on just one floor (i.e. one map) but the third SWAT scenario requires the team to clear out the whole hospital floor by floor, staring at the bottom and working up. This is unquestionably the toughest scenario in the book. Moving on, scenarios 8 and 9 introduce a news team as the heroes. In one you play a reporter and in the other, a cameraman. Next up are a series of three scenarios in which you play a Ganger. In scenarios 13 and 14 we discover how Firemen work in ATZ. Here are the rules for starting fires and how to put them out. In the 15th and final scenario you are an assassin working for the Prosperity Corporation (see the High Rise To Hell supplement for more details about this shady organisation). Your task is to assassinate a rogue Pro Corp doctor who released the zombie virus in this hospital.
At first glance the scenarios seem fairly simple (with the exception of that SWAT scenario I mentioned) but they are all challenging and different and offer a  great deal of variety. Would I play all fifteen? Probably not. One way you could use this supplement is to play the scenarios as flashbacks for party members of your own group. This would allow you to slot any scenario from this supplement seamlessly into an existing campaign.
I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this supplement and I can even forgive it for adapting a board-game feel to it in lieu of a more traditional tabletop game. Special mention must be made of the six maps, which are really good. They are printed on thick cartridge paper in full colour with a very matt finish. You could buy the PDF version of this supplement and print out your own maps but for me it was worth paying a bit extra just to get the proper maps. Plus, I much prefer "real" books to electronic books. The PDF copy of Hospital 911 costs $15.00, whilst the printed copy is $20.00. Both are available from the THW webstore. As an introduction to the zombie apocalypse presented in the world of All Things Zombie - Final Fade Out this succeeds very admirably and so I'm happy to award it a 9 out of 10 rating. For those of you on limited budgets or with little room to set up a big game board, this will be ideal. You don't need to build a big 3D hospital to play it. The maps work just fine and take up hardly any space at all.

NOTE: You still have time to enter my 500th Post free competition. See my last post for full details and prizes. The closing date is 12.00 midday on Wednesday 16th of July 2014.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Vampifan's Views 52 - My 500th Post

Vampirella with unfeasibly large boobs by Julius Zimmerman
Hey, it's my 500th post! Let's party! Let's celebrate! Let's have a competition to win some cool prizes!
For a long time now I have wanted to run a prize draw competition on my blog, but I needed a good enough excuse to run it. When my blog celebrated its 5th anniversary earlier this year, I could and possibly should have ran it then. But I didn't. I did however notice that my 500th post was approaching so I decided to wait for it in order to celebrate.
First I'll explain the rules of the competition, then I'll tell you about the prizes. Yes, that is prizes, plural. Inspired by a question and answer session ran by Johnny/Lord Siwoc and copied by a few other bloggers, I wanted to run my version of it, but with a few tweaks to the format.
So, you can ask me any three questions you want, based on any subject and I'll give you my honest answers. If you want to ask less than three questions that's fine by me. Just send your questions in the comments section of this post. I'll run the competition for a week and announce the winners along with all of my answers next Wednesday (16th of July 2014). So now let's move on to the three prizes I'm offering.
The first prize will be a boxed set of 20 plastic 28mm scale zombie dogs from Zombicide season 2. If you don't play Zombicide, you can still use these figures in any post-apocalypse or zombie apocalypse game. There are four types of dog and five of each type.
Sticking with the theme of dogs, the second prize will be a boxed set of 6 plastic 28mm scale dog companions from Zombicide season 2. This set contains two of each of three breeds of dog. Because these are "normal" dogs you can use them in pretty much any game or genre.
The third prize is a set of 6 Armorcast 28mm scale Road Kill Animals. Unlike the previous two prizes, this prize comes fully painted by me. From left to right are an armadillo, a coyote, a jack rabbit, a raccoon, a rattlesnake and a skunk.
If you are wondering why I am offering these as prizes it is simply because they are all duplicates. I only need one set of each, so I thought I'd offer my duplicate sets as prizes. If there are any prizes you specifically want or don't want please mention it when you send in your questions. It is entirely possible that one person could win all three prizes! If you don't mention the prizes I'll just assume you don't mind which one(s) you might win.
Be creative and be entertaining with your questions. Let's have a bit of fun and may the best man (or woman) win. In the meantime, a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone for helping me reach this historic milestone. Here's to the next 500 posts and hopefully, many more!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Vampires: A Hunter's Guide by Steve White and Mark Mckenzie-Ray

It is not just fellow bloggers and gamers who can surprise me with free gifts. Just last month I received an e-mail from Emily Heagerty, the Marketing Administrator of Osprey Books. She mentioned that I had reviewed one of their previous books - Zombies: a Hunter's Guide by Joseph McCullough. You can see my review here - http://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/zombies-hunters-guide.html
Note that this review was posted in November of 2010, meaning that Emily has an excellent memory. Anyway, she was wondering if I'd be interested in reviewing their latest book in this series - Vampires: a Hunter's Guide by Steve White and Mark Mckenzie-Ray. Naturally, I was very interested. So, a  few days later, I received a copy of the book in the post and was absolutely overjoyed.
The easiest way to tell you what this book is about is to quote the blurb from the back cover.
"For centuries, vampires have lurked in the shadows, preying upon the weak and defenceless. It is only thanks to a group of dedicated and powerful hunters that the vampire threat has remained largely suppressed and evidence of their existence confined to the whispers of myth and folklore. However, with world population centres booming, the vampires have found new hunting grounds in which to hide their activities and build their underground empires. Covens across the world have grown powerful. It is now only a matter of time before they step into the light and begin their war on humanity.
Vampires: a Hunter's Guide contains all the information necessary to recognise and combat this growing threat.After an exploration into the origins of these undead creatures, it examines the numerous vampire species and subspecies that exist around the world today, placing particular emphasis on the role of the vampire hunter in combating the rise of the undead throughout the centuries. Focusing on the hunters' weapons, tactics and skill sets, this book provides information on identifying and eliminating vampires, noting the best practices from hunters from around the world. With full-colour illustrations of predator and prey, this is the ultimate resource in the fight to save humanity from the vampires."
As with Zombies: a Hunter's Guide, this book works on the premise that vampires do exist and are at large in the world around us. Its tone is serious and I have nothing against that. The bulk of the book details the "facts" about vampires from five continents - Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and South America. The most prominent vampires from each continent are respectively, the Strigoi, the native American Wendigo (more myth than a reality), but more likely European vampire immigrants, the Asanbosam (a monkey-like hybrid), the Jiangshi (pronounced ching-shee) aka the hopping vampire, and finally the Chupacabra, aka the goat-sucker. Sub-species include dhampires, incubi and succubi, amongst others.
The vampire hunters collectively work for an organisation called Special Action Unit (SAU, pronounced "SAW") who are a covert branch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). These small groups of highly skilled agents operate across the globe in a hidden war against the vampire menace. Their tactics have evolved from many centuries of study of vampire hunters to give them the best chance to deal with the growing rise of vampires in the modern world.
Anyone  looking for a suitable background for a vampire hunting campaign set in contemporary times will find this book very useful. I could easily see it working best with a GURPS Horror campaign or with THW's After The Horsemen setting (with a little tweaking). To the casual reader it is an interesting read but hardly essential. To a vampire fan like myself, it is very much a "must have" book. I know that I got my copy for free, but I'd have happily paid for it.
My major criticism of the book is exactly the same as my criticism of Zombies: a Hunter's Guide, and that is that at 80 pages it only scratches the surface of the subject. I'm sure that a longer book could have covered more vampire types and mentioned a lot more on SAU weapons and tactics. It is nicely illustrated with a combination of black and white photos and drawings and some exceptional full colour illustrations.
Vampires: a Hunter's Guide costs £10.99 or $17.99 from Osprey Adventure Books. I give it a 7 out of 10 rating. I did enjoy it but I wish it had been a lot longer.