Sunday, 10 January 2010

ATZ scenario: Giving Up The Goat

This is the first of a series of scenarios for All Things Zombie (ATZ) by Two Hours Wargames. The introduction to the scenario reads as follows: "Three days ago two members of your group went down river by boat in search of supplies. They were expected back before nightfall but it's been three days since they left. Julie and Phil have only been with your little group of survivors for a short time. Maybe it was a mistake to let them go by themselves but sometimes that's the way things go. Since the zed outbreak it's better to look out for yourself. But that still doesn't make you feel any better. You asked for volunteers and two others will go with you. You just hope for their sake that Julie and Phil didn't go all the way down to Lake Havasu. Not with the rumours about things worse than zombies prowling the countryside."
This is a short scenario that introduces new rules and monsters to the world of ATZ. The new rules consist of sleep deprivation and its affects on a PC as well as detailed rules for using boats in your campaign. There are short rules for encountering feral dogs, javelinas (a large boar-like beast found in the US southwest) and rattlesnakes. The new monster that features in this scenario is the Chupacabra, whose name translates from Spanish to "goat-sucker." Be warned, they are a lot tougher than a zombie in a fight! The scenario also introduces a new concept to ATZ that is a common tool in other THW games - PEFs or Possible Enemy Forces. They can be enemies, allies, items or places. PEFs can be almost anything and their use reflects the uncertainty of what the player can expect.
So far, so good. the scenario is played as a series of random encounters on a board that has been divided into 18 squares, forming a 3' by 6' rectangle with each square being 1 foot per side. You start with a Rep:5 Star and two Grunts or you can substitute characters from your own campaign. I was going to give this scenario a negative review because it lacks a clear ending or indeed any guidance on how to end/continue it. I mentioned this on the THW forum and got a reply from Ed Texeira, the scenario's author. He informed me that the scenario was complete but the key to it is that it is the first of many. There are clues to be found as to what has happened to Julie and Phil but nothing concrete. At the end of the scenario you can only speculate upon their fate. I wanted something more satisfying, even if it was just a note to say "to be continued."
The scenario is only available as a PDF file but the good news is that it is only 14 pages long, which isn't much to print out if, like me, you prefer to have a physical copy to hold in your hands. The even better news is that it only costs $3.00. If you are a fan of ATZ, do you need this product? That depends entirely upon the campaign you're running. Yes, the rules for sleep deprivation and using boats are useful but they aren't essential. They're entirely optional. Ditto with the rules for the animal encounters and the Chupacabra. For me personally, I doubt if I'll ever use the Chupacabra in my games. It just doesn't really float my boat. However, I can see myself using the other new rules. So although the scenario has faults, I'm still going to give it a thumbs up and recommend it to ATZ fans. If, as Ed suggested, this is just the start of the story, then I look forward to seeing how it unfolds.


  1. Thanks for the review Bryan. I'll be picking it up as I am a total ATZ nut and cannot help myself. If nothing else, Ed's rules bring a lot of joy into my house and I always like to support good hobby sources.

  2. Hee, hee, I thought you'd find it hard to resist, Willy! C'mon, for just three bucks, what have you got to lose?

  3. Excellent write up, thanks Vampifan. Might have to pick it up myself. :)

    Have a look at some of the new Zombies from Studio:

    Carn't wait to see yours painted!


  4. It's funny you should mention them, Neil. About two weeks ago, after reading Veloci's ATZ battle reports, it occured to me that I needed a zombie Santa. The closest that I could find was the Foundry skeletal Santa. So I sent away for him and had just about finished painting him when I read that Studio had just released their "A Christmas Nightmare" set. I've ordered the set already and it will get painted as soon as it arrives. Review will follow soon!