It has been quite a while since I ran a battle report. I'd like to run more on my blog but I am limited as to when I can set them up. I live at home with my parents and I have to wait until they go away on holiday so that I can set up the scenery on our dining room table and leave it there until I've finished the scenario. Taking notes and photos for my blog is very time-consuming and so a game can take up to three days to complete. I was very fortunate a couple of weeks ago in that my parents were away for a week (they usually take long weekend breaks - Friday until Monday). As a consequence I was able to run two scenarios that week. The second one continues the action where the first one ended.
This time, the scenarios used the All Things Zombie: Better Dead Than Zed (ATZ:BDTZ) rulebook by Two Hours Wargames, which I reviewed quite a few months ago.See http://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.com/2009/04/all-things-zombie-better-dead-than-zed.html Character generation was easy to do and didn't take long to complete. I decided that my heroes would belong to the military. I diced to see if they were National Guard (1-5 on 1d6) or US Army (6 on 1d6). Not surprising, they were National Guard. The two photos below show my team. They are all from set SV5/4 Backstreet Militia from the Foundry Figures 30mm scale Street Violence range.
In the centre of the group is Lieutenant Ulysses Catweazle, a Rep:5 Star. As the group leader and a Star, I was able to choose his attributes and I gave him Brawler and Nerves of Steel. He was armed with an Assault Rifle, a Machine Pistol and a One Handed Weapon (combat knife).
The female standing closest to him is Private Angela Ziskin, a Rep:4 Grunt with the Marksman attribute. She is armed with a Bolt Action Rifle and a One Handed Weapon (combat knife).
Last in line is Private Carrie Bryce, a Rep:3 Grunt. She had the Runt attribute and was armed in an identical manner to the lieutenant.
All five wore concealed body armour and they had all witnessed the Feast (this meant that they did not have to take a reaction test if they saw a zombie feeding on a victim).
As with all of my zombie games, this one took place in Mayhem City, USA, this time in the suburbs. It took place on day 33 after the outbreak and occured during the daytime. The encounter was a Discover one, which to quote the rulebook, "in this encounter your group will search the board to determine what and who can be found. This is the "basic" encounter and is great for introducing players to ATZ." That seemed like a good enough reason for me to try it out. The initial number of zombies on the board is determined by rolling 1d6 per human if the setting is in the suburbs. I rolled 5d6 and scored 16. The mechanic for placing zeds is to roll 1d6 for each zed and depending on the result place it 12" away to the top, bottom, right or left of the group with top or bottom being twice as likely to crop up. In a word this is boring! Not to mention too unrealistic. So I used a house rule that I came up with and rolled a Games Workshop scatter die for direction. This gives me a 360 degree arc for where a zed could suddenly appear. The whole concept of how zombies can suddenly appear, seemingly out of thin air, is frankly unrealistic! However, as a game mechanic it adds a great deal of tension and uncertainty to the game, so I'm not knocking it.
TURN 1. Activation = Team Catweazle:4, Zombies:5.
Activation in ATZ works like this. Each side rolls a different coloured die. I used white for the military team and red for the zombies. If the scores are tied, then re-roll. Otherwise, the higher score determines which side is active and will activate its groups first. It also determines which Rep or higher the corresponding group may activate. After the first group completes all its actions and any reactions that it caused have been resolved, the active side is the team that scored the second highest activation roll, and so on until all sides have moved. However, if the die roll is higher than that of the team leader's Rep, then that group remains inactive for the entire turn! In the case above the zombies scored higher than the humans but zombies are only Rep:4. This meant that none of them could activate this turn! The humans were lead by a Star with a Rep of 5 so could move normally provided they stuck together. If either or both of the Rep:3 females began the game as a separate group they would have been unable to activate because the die roll of 4 was higher than 3. Being lead by a much higher Rep character does not stop much lower Rep characters from activating provided they remain as part of the group.
The National Guard team had parked their SUV outside the apartment in the south east corner of the board prior to the game starting and were allowed one turn of movement before the zombies were placed on the board. They moved at a walk towards the front door of the apartment. After rolling for activation, each soldier made an In Sight test to see if they could shoot at the zombies. Ziskin passed 2d6 and held fire because the zeds were over 6" away. Catweazle, Shuggy and Kroeger passed 1d6 and snapfired. Incredibly, they all hit and killed their targets. Bryce passed 0d6 and so could not fire.
The ground floor of the apartment was occupied by two civilians - Ray Pegg (Rep:3) armed with a Shotgun and a Two Handed Improvised Weapon (cricket bat) and Ed Frost (Rep:3) armed with a Two Handed Improvised Weapon (golf club). Lieutenant Catweazle offered them the chance to join them and they gladly accepted the offer. Rolling on the Meet and Greet table was pretty much a foregone conclusion!
Zombie Reinforcements = 1.
TURN 2. Activation = Team Catweazle:5, Zombies:2.
I rolled to see where the new zombie appeared. Zombie reinforcements could arrive at any loud noise, like for example, gunfire. The soldiers searched the ground floor for loot. Shuggy and Ziskin found a cache of food each. The others found nothing. Ray and Ed watched as the zombies began to shuffle towards the apartment.
Zombie Reinforcements = N/A.
TURN 3. Activation = Team Catweazle:3, Zombies:1.
Ziskin made an In Sight test and passed 1d6. She snapfired at one of the zombies and although she hit him, she only knocked him down. No kill this time. She then followed her four colleagues up the stairs. Ray locked the front door then he and Ed also moved upstairs. Hiding in the spare bedroom was a single female civilian called Siobhan O'Hearne (Rep:4) armed with a Pistol. She had no hesitation in joining Catweazle's growing band of survivors. Being outnumbered seven to one she'd have been foolish not to!
Outside, eight zombies approached the front of the apartment, another four emerged from the small wood by the billboard and the zombie who was knocked down by Ziskin stood up.
Zombie Reinforcements = 0.
TURN 4. Activation = Team Catweazle:3, Zombies:4.
The zombies reached the front door of the apartment but couldn't enter because it was locked. They would have to spend a turn knocking it down. Lieutenant Catweazle ordered everyone to move upstairs and out onto the patio, so that they could fire down on the zombies trying to get in. Ray, Ed and Siobhan followed but the two guys stayed indoors to watch their backs. Before anyone could fire they all had to make In Sight reaction rolls. Catweazle, Shuggy, Kroeger and Bryce passed 2d6 and could fire normally because the zombies were within 6". Ziskin and Siobhan each passed 1d6. Ziskin could snapfire but Siobhan could not fire at all because she was a civilian and not as well trained in firefights as the military. Shuggy went first and dropped a Flash Bang Grenade amongst the zombies below. It landed on target and exploded, forcing all zombies within the blast (6" radius) to lose their next turn of activation. This was an excellent result for the heroes! Catweazel, Kroeger and Bryce fired twice with their Assault Rifles. Ziskin fired once with her Bolt Action Rifle. Catweazle scored two hits and both were kills. Kroeger scored two hits as well, but only one was a kill, whilst the second was just a knockdown. Bryce scored one hit but it too, was just a knockdown. Finally, Ziskin scored one hit and it was a kill.
Zombie Reinforcements = 3.
TURN 5. Activation = Team Catweazle:3, Zombies:6
Once again, the zombies failed to activate. Due to the Flash Bang Grenade, the zombies at the front of the apartment wouldn't have been able to move anyway, but this result prevented the three reinforcements from closing in. Another excellent result for our heroes! All four soldiers armed with Assault Rifles fired twice and Ziskin fired once. Although Ziskin was limited to just one shot, she was able to roll 2d6 to hit and choose the best result because of her Marksman attribute. Catweazle, Shuggy and Kroeger each hit once, all scoring kills. Bryce missed with both of her shots. Although Ziskin hit her target, she only scored a knockdown result.
Zombie Reinforcements = 2.
TURN 6. Activation = Team Catweazle:5, Zombies:3.
Kroeger threw a second Flash Bang Grenade that landed slap in the middle of the six remaining zombies at the front of the apartment, causing them to lose this turn's activation. Catweazle continued to impress with his shooting. He fired twice. Both shots hit their targets and reulted in two more deaths. He was on a roll! Shuggy equalled his leader's feat this turn by scoring two kills from two shots. Bryce only hit with one of her two shots but it did kill one of the zombies who had been knocked down. Ziskin fired at the last of the knocked down zombies but this time she missed completely. Siobhan succeeded in spotting a zombie emerging from the house across the road. She could only snapfire, but amazingly, she hit the zombie with her first shot and killed him.
Zombie Reinforcements = 2.
TURN 7. Activation = Team Catweazle:1, Zombies:4.
Five zombies advanced on the apartment. The knocked down zombie struggled to his feet. Catweazle bagged himself two more zeds with a couple of highly accurate shots from his Assault Rifle. Shuggy, Kroeger and Bryce also fired two rounds each. Shuggy and Kroeger each hit and killed their respective targets. Bryce finally had a bit of good luck as both of her shots hit and scored kills. For a brief second the board was cleared of all zombies!
Zombie Reinforcements = 2.
TURN 8. Activation = Team Catweazle:2, Zombies:3.
As one zombie crossed the street towards the apartment another moved slowly through the wood by the billboard. Ziskin made an In Sight reaction roll and passed 0d6, so could not fire. Catweazle, Shuggy, Kroeger, Bryce, Ray and Ed moved back downstairs with the two civilians leading the way.Zombie Reinforcements = N/A.
TURN 9. Activation = Team Catweazle:6, Zombies:3.
For the first time in the game, the humans fail to activate. The two zombies moved closer to the apartment.
Zombie Reinforcements = N/A.
Turn 10. Activation = Team Catweazle:5, Team Ziskin:2, Zombies:6.
Ziskin made another In Sight reaction roll and this time passed 2d6. She fired at the closest zombie and killed it with a clean head shot. With more time to spare now, the four soldiers and two civilians on the first floor searched for loot. Catweazle found another cache of food and Shuggy found a luxury item (toilet paper!). The others found nothing of value.Zombie Reinforcements = 0.
TURN 11. Activation = Team Catweazle:4, Team Ziskin:3, Zombies:1.
Catweazle led his team downstairs. Ziskin shot and killed the last zombie on the board.Zombie Reinforcements = 0.
TURN 12. Activation = Team Catweazle:1, Team Ziskin:6.
As Ray unlocked the front door, Ed and the four soldiers gathered around him. Ziskin and Siobhan were inactive this turn, although it did not matter as there were no enemies left on the board.Zombie Reinforcements = N/A.
TURN 13. Activation = Team Catweazle:3, Team Kroeger:3, Team Ziskin:2.
Catweazle decided to split his team into two groups. He took Corporal "Shuggy" McGraw and Ed Frost and led them towards the house directly across the road. Having the highest Rep of the remaining three, Corporal Kroeger took charge of the second group, which included Private Bryce and Ray Pegg. They headed for the house diagonally opposite the apartment. Both teams moved at a fast pace, with the soldiers doubling their move (i.e. 16") and the civilians moving at 1.5 their normal speed (i.e. 12"). Private Ziskin and Siobhan O'Hearne watched their progress from the safety of the apartment's lower patio.Zombie Reinforcements = N/A.
Catweazle's team entered the other house and found it occupied by three zombies. Melee ensued immediately. First I had to make Surprise rolls. For the zombies this meant rolling a single die and adding the number of zombies in the encounter to the result. Their score was 8. The humans also rolled a single die each but they added their Rep to the score. Their results were Shuggy on 10, Catweazle on 6 and Ed on 5. These scores determined who went first in the melee.
With Shuggy scoring highest he went first and sensibly elected to fire his Assault Rifle. He hit his opponent but only achieved a knockdown result. The zombie who attacked Catweazle was on a hiding to nothing! She rolled 1d6 for melee, whilst the lieutenant rolled 7d6 (5 for his Rep, plus 1 for having the Brawler attribute plus 1 more for having a higher impact weapon). Suffice to say, Catweazle easily killed the zombie. Ed should have easily won his combat but luck deserted him. He began by rolling 4d6 but only passed once. The zombie rolled 1d6 and passed, thus tying the score. Both sides rolled 1d6 but this time Ed failed his roll whilst the zombie made her roll. This meant that Ed was Out Of The Fight and he fell to the floor unconscious.
Zombie Reinforcements = 0.
TURN 15. Activation = Team Catweazle:2, Team Kroeger:1, Team Ziskin:4, Zombies:4.
The zombie that had attacked Ed dropped to her knees and began to feed on him. I rolled 1d6 to see how long the Feast would last and unfortunately for Ed I rolled a 1. Ed was Dead! The zombie that Shuggy had knocked down stood back up. Catweazle scored an Auto-Kill on the feasting zombie and Shuggy killed his zombie assailant with a single bullet to the head.
They spent the rest of the turn searching the ground floor of the house for loot. Catweazle found nothing but Shuggy found yet more food hidden away.
Across the road Team Kroeger discovered that the house they entered was occupied, not by zombies or civilians but by three Gangers. The Gangers were led by Josy Alsopp, a Rep:5 Head Case armed with two BA Pistols. Her two companions "Slipknot" (the figure in the black T-shirt) and "Whitey" (the figure wearing the white baseball cap) were both Rep:4 Bangers, armed with a BA Pistol apiece. The Meet and Greet dice off resulted in the Gangers winning by two successes. So the two leaders rolled for Activation (the character's Rep plus 1d6), which saw Josy scoring 10 and Kroeger scoring 5. So, Josy got to fire first. She hit Kroeger but her Out Of The Fight result was reduced to a knockdown because Kroeger was wearing body armour. Nonetheless, this was a bad start for Team Kroeger.Zombie Reinforcements = 1.
TURN 16. Activation = Team Catweazle:1, Team Kroeger:6, Team Ziskin:3, Gangers:4, Zombies:2.
It seemed like Lady Luck had totally deserted Team Kroeger! They could not activate this turn. Josy fired once at Bryce, scoring a hit, which resulted in a knockdown. Slipknot fired once at Ray and killed him with a well aimed shot. Whitey tied up Kroeger.
Across the road, Catweazle and Shuggy moved upstairs and found the first floor of the house to be empty. Meanwhile, Ziskin and Siobhan made In Sight reaction tests to spot the zombie woman moving closer to Team Kroeger's house but the results meant that neither woman could fire.Zombie Reinforcements = 1.
TURN 17. Activation = Team Catweazle:1, Team Kroeger:4, Team Ziskin:4, Gangers:3, Zombies:2.
Once more, Ziskin and Siobhan were unable to fire at the zombie reinforcements because of the results of their In Sight reaction tests. Kroeger and Bryce made their Recover from Knockdown reaction rolls and scored 2 and 1 successes respectively, meaning that both were stunned for the rest of this turn, unable to do anything.
Josy stripped Kroeger, Bryce and Ray of their weapons, whilst Whitey tied up Bryce. Slipknot opened a window in the kitchen. The two zombies moved even closer to the Gangers' house. Catweazle and Shuggy searched the first floor of their house but found nothing worth looting.Zombie Reinforcements = N/A.
TURN 18. Activation = Team Catweazle:5, Team Kroeger:N/A, Team Ziskin:6, Gangers:4, Zombies:3.
Catweazle and Shuggy moved back downstairs. Josy led her gang with two hostages in tow out of the kitchen window towards the skateboard park. One zombie reached the front door of the Gangers' house, whilst the second zombie approached the side door of the house.Zombie Reinforcements = N/A.
TURN 19. Activation = Team Catweazle:4, Team Kroeger:N/A, Team Ziskin:2, Gangers:1, Zombies:3.
As Catweazle and Shuggy crossed the road to see how their colleagues were faring, Catweazle made an In Sight reaction roll to spot the zombie granny. He succeeded and fired once, killing her easily. The other zombie reached the side door of the house. Ziskin passed 1d6 on her In Sight reaction test and snapfired at the last zombie on the board but her shot missed.
Josy and her gang moved at the double across the skateboard park. I gave all of Josy's gangers the Athletic attribute, which allowed them to roll 3d6 when taking the Fast Move test, but it only applied if they used their skateboards. Josy, Slipknot, Whitey, Kroeger and Bryce all passed 2d6 on the test so they all moved at twice their normal distance, heading towards the skateboard park exit.Zombie Reinforcements = 0.
TURN 20. Activation = Team Catweazle:4, Team Kroeger:N/A, Team Ziskin:1, Gangers:5, Zombies:3.
Josy led her gang out of the skateboard park and off the board. It had been a good day for her. She had acquired some good military weapons, body armour and two hostages. Her gang would celebrate that night. Catweazle passed 2d6 when taking the In Sight reaction test against the last zombie on the board. He fired at her once and scored another kill. Shuggy entered the house and found the corpse of Ray Pegg.
Zombie Reinforcements = 0.
It was game over, and what an immensely enjoyable game it turned out to be! All that remained to do was to see if any of the surviving characters improved their Rep. Certain criteria must be met before a character can make a roll for improving Rep. If met the character must roll higher than their Rep or score a 6 if Rep:6 or higher. If these criteria are not met then they must roll to see if their Rep goes down (roll a 1 on 1d6). Catweazle, Shuggy and Ziskin were all eligible for improvement. Catweazle and Shuggy failed their rolls but Ziskin passed hers and thus advanced to Rep:5. Kroeger, Bryce and Siobhan rolled to see if their Reps dropped but fortunately none failed their rolls.
So what happened next? Lieutenant Catweazle would not allow any of his team to be taken without making a rescue attempt. Fortunately the ATZ rules allow for this possibility and have an encounter called Raid in which the heroes must raid an opposing human settlement and rescue a member of the group, or in this case, two members. I'll post part two of this mini campaign very soon. Keep watching and if you've read all of this account then many thanks for your time and interest.