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.

20 comments:

  1. One thing you don't mention is how much of this supplement can be used by other game systems. I know ATZ is your Fave but we all accept there are other systems. It is not a supplement that I feel I need to purchase at the moment but I have enjoyed your review so thanks for that. Keep smiling and all the best.

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    1. Well this IS an ATZ supplement, Clint, so obviously it is meant to be used with that system. As for other systems, it would certainly work with GURPS or with AFMBE with a little tweaking. As for converting it to Zombicide, which is also a board-game, it would need some major reworking but it could be done. For any other zombie games (AR:SE, NMRIH, etc.) I suppose it could be converted but once again, you'd have to work on it. If I switched my campaign over to the GURPS system, I would certainly convert it and use it .

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  2. Great review Bryan. I like the idea of the floor plans, for us mere mortals without your card-fu skills.. Although we all want a massive 3D hospital to play in, well I do. It's also really cool that 2HW is still supporting ATZ.

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    1. I totally agree with you about the floor plans. A 3D Hospital would be nice and it is something that has been on my "to do" list for a long time now. But it certainly isn't essential and the floor plans are perfectly adequate.
      Also, you're right in that it is great that THW continues to support ATZ.

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  3. Rood review Bryan, the maps/game board sound particularly interesting. The various changes that link to CR3.1 (and presumably in all up-dated THW product) won't be to everyone's liking.
    Whilst this is meant as a "supplement" it does seem expensive for even the just the PDF at $15 (about £10?), but presumably it does give you all the other rules you need to play a "straight-forward" game.
    Whilst it'll never be a 'must buy' for me, it could certainly be one to add to the "when I win the lottery" list.

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    1. Thanks, Joe. I don't think it's that expensive but that's just my opinion.

      Incidentally, I must stress that this is a supplement and not a stand alone product. In order to play it you will still need to own the ATZ-FFO rulebook.

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  4. This actually sounds like a very good supplement and would probably make for a fantastic game in itself. The idea of using this scenarios as a flash back is well worth executing!

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    1. It is a good supplement, Mathyoo. Seeing as it ought to be played on Day one of the zombie outbreak, I thought of ways to play it without pressing the restart button of an exising campaign. Hence, the use of flashbacks. Given the amount of different character types who can play Hospital 911, virtually anyone in an existing Survivor or Ganger group could experience one or more flashbacks.

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  5. Love the review, Bryan. I'm preparing models for my own playthrough and it's funny you should mention that these would be ideal flashback scenarios because (spoiler alert) a familiar face from Safe House will be featuring in mine. Batreps will be forthcoming of course.

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    1. What can I say, Simon? I like your thinking and I'm glad to hear that we'll soon be seeing more adventures of the Safe House team.

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  6. Great review Bryan it sounds like a fun supplement to play and the board game elements gives people a chance to capitalize on the current zombie board game craze but getting new players into a board game like version of ATZ. Hopefully people will use it to suck new gamers into the world of ATZ.

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    1. i totally agree with you, Robert. This could potentially attract both fans of tabletop gaming and board-gamers. A win-win situation!

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  7. Glad you reviewed this, I had not understood what exactly this supplement was, and now it moves to a "will buy" from "maybe". I was a little let down by Haven, it's handy, but a little too specific for my tastes, and this sounded too much like that. Now it sounds like some useful scenarios and a way to play outside a campaign, but still feel like part of a larger story.

    Thanks for the detailed review!

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    1. Hey, Nobody667, it is great to know that my review may have persuaded you to buy this supplement. I must admit that I was not all that impressed with "Haven" either, but this is a much better product.

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  8. Awesome its worth it for the maps alone very useful to have indeed! Nice review Bryan I love the idea of slotting them into a campaign as flash backs brilliant!

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    1. Thanks, Simon. The maps are very cool and my idea about flashbacks has gone down amazingly well.

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  9. What I most dislike about this new rule is that it now makes Body Armour totally worthless.

    Ah, I see.Had to go back and see in ATZFFO how that's handled. The newer rules (Urban Renewal, etc.) allow the wearer to roll 3d6 instead of 2d6 on the Knock Down Test. I'll have to post that on the forum. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for your imput, Ed. That could help, but I think I'm still going to adapt my house rule to make body armour a more viable option and more useful. I'm reminded of how Glenn escaped from the prison in "The Walking Dead" TV series by wearing a full suit of SWAT Armour, which rendered him impervious to zombie attacks. Whilst I do not want Body Armour to offer total protection all the time I feel it should offer more protection than at present.

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  10. Sounds like Ed has done a great job with this Bryan. My only question is, who is going to be the first to replicate these maps in 3D?

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