Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vampifan's Views 65 - Monthly Musings 43

Miss Vampirella June 2015 - Kitana Baker
I start this month's musings with another of my favourite Vampirella models - Kitana Baker. She was born in 1977 as Christi Michell Josenhans in Anaheim, California. Keen to get into show business, Kitana began working as a showgirl in local clubs, eventually winning Local Showgirl of the Year 1998 and National Showgirl of the Year 1999 awards along the way. She also began modeling, posing for various magazines and web sites, and caught the attention of Playboy magazine in February 2001. Playboy hired Kitana to work on their network, and she has been a feature of the Playboy empire ever since. She was hired by Harris Comics in 2003 and appeared on the cover of numerous Vampirella magazines between 2003 and 2004. She certainly fills Vampirella's red costume magnificently, which I'm pleased to see that Harris have altered for the better. The costume is perfect and whilst I have absolutely nothing against the gorgeous Kitana, she is just far too busty to be Vampirella. That does not mean that I don't lust after her! She's welcome at my home any time!

This month's gaming news is exciting... well, it is to me! First, I have backed the Zombicide: Black Plague Kickstarter project. That was a no-brainer, obviously. There is still over a week for it to run and it most definitely is going from strength to strength with nearly $2.5 million already pledged. Will it reach $3 million? I hope so.
My second piece of gaming news is that a few days ago I received a small parcel from Studio Miniatures, containing the Survivor and Zombie figures I ordered in their Z-Clipz: Outbreak Kickstarter project. Obviously, with these being Studio Miniatures, they are superbly sculpted. I received about 50 figures and a resin cast wrecked car. The figures are primarily based on characters from popular films and TV series, especially The Walking Dead and George A. Romero's classic zombie film, Dawn of the Dead. Ever since I first saw Dawn of the Dead way back in 1979, I have been waiting for someone to make the four heroes of the film. My patience was finally rewarded when this Kickstarter was launched. Sorry I have no preview photos to show you of the figures I received but they are high on my painting list and I hope to review them soon.
I have been adding to my collection of Zombicide Season 3 stuff by buying a few sets I missed out when I made my initial pledge last year. First up is this boxed set of a Murder of Crowz. It contains 15 stands with each stand containing 6 zombie crows. Anyone who has seen the film, Resident Evil: Extinction will know about zombie crows! I must admit that these figures will be an absolute doddle to paint. Although I received a few of these Crowz with my Kickstarter package, I didn't get any rules or spawn cards for them. Now I do have  them.
I bought all of the Special Guest Sculptor boxed sets of figures that were offered in the Season 3 Kickstarter launch except one. That one was the set you see here to the left. It features four characters from John Kovalic's popular Dork Tower comic series. This series has been running since 1997 and features a group of nerdish gamers whom most of us will recognise from our own gaming groups. I passed on this set because the figures are so cartoonish. I didn't see how I could use them in any realistic game, especially one as dark in tone as Zombicide. But the more I looked at them, the more I realised I wanted them. Yes, I am a Zombicide fanboy. I admit it! It did bug me that I was missing a set. So, when I saw them on offer on eBay with the Buy Now option my willpower collapsed and I bought them. I am now a happy bunny. I already have a few scenarios in mind that should be ideal for them. I see no reason not to inject a bit of fun into the game.
Now some of you might be thinking I bought them because they look like Chibi miniatures. Wrong! They may be cartoon characters but they most definitely are NOT Chibi characters. John Kovalic has placed a huge backlog of Dork Tower cartoon strips on his website here - which I have thoroughly enjoyed going through. Yep, I read them all... although not in one sitting! I happen to know that John does a lot of work for Steve Jackson Games so I did a search to see just exactly what he had done. I saw that there was a Dork Tower boardgame, which didn't interest me, and set of 28mm scale metal figures to go with the game, which did interest me. Sadly, the figures were out of stock and out of production, but a quick search on eBay revealed a seller living just a couple of miles away from where I live with a set for sale at the ridiculously low price of £6.95. What a bargain! I leapt on it. This time the characters are dressed in fantasy garb and I plan to use them in an offbeat game of Zombicide: Black Plague sometime in 2016. As soon as I get both sets painted up I'll review them.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Toxic Fatties 02

Following on from my last post, here are the rest of my Zombicide Toxic Fatties. The first three, going from left to right, came from the Box of Zombies - Set #2: Toxic Crowd. The other two were freebies I received for backing Zombicide Season 2 on Kickstarter. Please note that four of these are different sculpts to the sculpts found in the Toxic City Mall expansion set.
The first four Fatties in my photos are the new sculpts. They look very similar to the original sculpts and you can do a comparison with the Fatty at the far right. A closer look reveals that their T-shirts are not as badly torn, they lack spikes on their shoulders and they carry a bottle in their right hands. The two at the far left are unconverted. For the one in the middle I bent his left arm at the elbow so that it points forward instead of to the side. This was done using the flame and cold water technique I described last time. For the Fatty standing second from the right, I chopped his right hand off and added a small piece of Milliput to the stump to show a bone poking through the wound and to create a jagged edge to the wound, indicating his hand had been bitten off not sliced off.
The Fatty at the far right had a hole drilled into his neck to represent a gunshot wound. It's not an obvious conversion and if you didn't know it was there you could easily overlook it. This gives me a total of nine Toxic Fatties, which is quite a frightening amount. As I said last time, I had a lot of fun painting these obese monsters.
By the way, Box of Zombies - Set #2: Toxic Crowd also contains new sculpts of a couple of Walkers and comes with 24 figures plus 6 Toxic Zombie Spawn cards. You can still purchase this set. I've just checked and Amazon UK have it in stock for £15.52 instead of the RRP of £19.99.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Zombicide Zombies - Season 2 Toxic Fatties 01

This is the 600th post of my blog, which is quite an amazing achievement. Yay! :-)
I suppose it should be marked in some special way but I'm not going to. Sorry! :-(
Instead, I'm going to showcase some of my Toxic Fatties from the Zombicide Season 2 expansion set, Toxic City Mall.
Toxic Zombies are disgusting creatures and are easily recognisable by their multiple spikes and profusion of boils that cover their bodies. The first three Fatties in my photos are straight out of the box figures. Only my paintwork distinguishes them from one another.
For the Fatty at the far right of my photos I bent his right arm at the elbow by briefly holding the arm over the flame from a candle. Whilst it was pliant I bent it into a new position and then immediately dunked the figure into a glass of cold water. This set the arm in its new position. He now looks like he is clutching his stomach. It is a very simple conversion. Just be careful not to hold the figure too close to the flame and for no longer than ten seconds.
I really like these figures. They are beautifully sculpted and very detailed, which made them a lot of fun to paint. For the most part they were painted with the Army Painter Zombicide paints from the Zombie Core Paint Set and the Zombie Toxic/Prison Paint Set. I like these paints a lot but not quite as much as my Foundry paints. For the gore effects I used a mix of the Zombicide Glistening Blood with a smidgeon of Zombicide Dead Black (any acrylic black paint would do) and a lot of Tamiya Clear Red (the best paint on the market for doing gore effects). Painting gore is always the last thing I paint on my figures and I must admit, it is the part I enjoy the most!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Zombicide Scenario C23 Day Zero Part 5

AMY. "I'll deal with these," Amy announced as she swung her chainsaw in a wide arc that resulted in the beheading of two Runners.
Doug, Josh and Ned all had their guns raised just in case things went wrong for the young Goth Girl, but by now Amy knew exactly how to wield her chainsaw. She thrust the spinning blades into the mouth of the third Runner, splintering his teeth. She pushed harder until the chainsaw blades emerged from the back of the Runner's head. He died messily.
JOSH. "Fucking awesome!" the teenager declared, full of admiration for Amy's skill with the chainsaw.
DOUG. "Hey, Ned, I found this and thought you might find it useful," Doug said as he held out the flashlight he'd recently found. "Do you want it?"
NED. "Yeah, thanks, Doug," Ned replied. He slipped the sturdy torch into one of his coat pockets. "Do you know what this really is?"
Doug didn't understand the question. The answer seemed so obvious. "It's a flashlight," he said.
"No, it's a metal tube for storing dead batteries!" Ned shot back, grinning widely at the joke.
Doug looked blank, until the penny dropped and he suddenly realised the drifter was pulling his leg.
PHIL. Phil's concentration was fully focused on the two Runners who were moving fast enough to give any Olympic sprinter a good run for their money. He let them get within a few yards of him before he blasted them with his Remington 12 gauge pump-action shotgun. Their legs flew out from under them and they fell to the ground in ungainly heaps. This time they stayed dead.
WANDA. "You guys never give up, do you?" the rollerskating waitress said with an air of resignation. She jabbed her chainsaw into the throat of the leading Runner and deftly removed his head from his shoulders. The second Runner crashed into the back of his colleague and they both fell down. Wanda could not believe her luck. As the second Runner tried to stand back up she placed the chainsaw on the back of his neck and sliced his head off.
ZOMBIES. A fresh batch of seventeen zombies arrived to replace those recently slaughtered. From the north came six Walkers, from the east came three Runners, from the south came two more Runners. Finally, from the west came two Fatties and four Walkers.
AMY. Amy stepped up to face a group of six Walkers head on. She blasted one in the head with her special combi-weapon and was considering charging the others with her chainsaw but Doug called to her in warning.
DOUG. "Amy, back off!" he shouted. "We can deal with the others."
Amy was happy enough to obey. She reloaded Ma's Shotgun as she retreated. Doug fired two short bursts from his twin Uzi sub-machine guns and killed three more Walkers.
Doug is the first Survivor to reach the Red Danger Level. Now the zombies would come flooding in!
JOSH. "I'll get the last two," Josh said eagerly as he swapped places with Doug. His twin sawed-off shotguns barked twice, fatally wounding the two remaining Walkers.
"Teamwork," Amy acknowledged. Josh nodded at her and reloaded his weapons.
NED. "That's a big group down there," Doug said pointing one of his Uzis at the four Walkers and two Fatties who were advancing from the west side. "Do you think you can whittle 'em down some?"
"I reckon so," Ned replied as he took aim with his sniper's rifle. He was true to his word. In an impressive display of marksmanship he killed the four Walkers with four shots.
Ned also advances to the Red Danger Level and chooses the Tough Skill, making it harder for zombies to wound him.
PHIL. The young police patrolman also displayed fine marksmanship. He killed three Runners with four shots from his hunting rifle.
WANDA. Wanda was only a short distance away from the crossroads where the two Runners had suddenly appeared. By now she was feeling sick and tired of constantly killing zombies. She wanted nothing more to wash away the blood and gore from her hair, her face, her hands and arms. She dreamed of lying in a hot, soapy bath as she swung her chainsaw repeatedly at the two Runners. It barely registered that she'd killed them. She just stood and blinked until her eyes focused on the two headless corpses at her feet. With a sigh of resignation she spun round on her skates and glided back along the street to the store front.
ZOMBIES. Suddenly what had once been a trickle of zombies arriving turned into a raging torrent. From the north side, a group of seven Walkers shuffled into the neighbourhood.
All Fatties gained an extra Turn during this Zombie Spawn Phase.
Four Fatties led a charge of eight Walkers from the east side of the city.
The two Fatties facing Doug and Ned were swiftly followed by four Runners. Wanda got a well deserved break when no new zombies appeared from the south side.
At this point in the game the Experience Points totals for the Survivors were - Amy 38, Doug 43, Josh 35, Ned 43, Phil 40 and Wanda 35. 43 was the total needed to reach Red Danger Level.
AMY. "We could do with more firepower here," Doug yelled in warning.
"I'm on it," Amy responded as she stepped in front of Doug. She swiftly put a stop to the advance of the two Fatties with head shots from both barrels of Ma's Shotgun.
Josh originally scored 1 hit and 3 misses but used his Re-roll Skill and scored 3 hits and 1 miss.
JOSH. "Is it just me or does there seem to be more zombies arriving?" Josh asked rhetorically. Their numbers were increasing and that worried the youth. He killed three Walkers out of seven with his twin sawed-off shotguns. He stepped back and reloaded.
DOUG. Doug jogged along the street, hoping to kill all four Runners with his twin Uzis. Unfortunately for him, he only scored two kills. As he sprinted back he shouted, "Ned, get 'em!"
NED. Ned did not reply. He calmly fired and shot one of the Runners clean between the eyes. The last remaining Runner ducked down just as he fired. The bullet passed his head by a fraction of an inch. The zombie had been lucky once. He was not lucky a second time. Ned's third shot hit the Runner just above the left eye and splattered his brains out of the back of his head.
PHIL. Phil moved closer to the four Fatties advancing on him and cranked a round in his pump-action shotgun. His first shot caught the foremost Fatty in the face. Phil quickly fired again before the body had hit the ground. The recoil momentarily caught him off guard and the shot went far too high. It was a stupid mistake to make and he knew it. Annoyed at himself, he took more care with his next shot. A second Fatty fell down with half his head missing from the blast.
WANDA. "Hey, Wanda, are you free?" Phil called out. "I could do with some help here."
"Hang on. I'm coming," Wanda shouted back. She skated around the general store and past Ned's bunker to come to a stop alongside the patrolman.
"Jesus, you weren't kidding," she gasped as she saw just how many zombies were heading towards them. She fired her own pump-action shotgun one-handed, killing one of the two remaining Fatties.
"The fat bastards are going down," she declared through gritted teeth. Her second shot was just as accurate as her first and the fourth Fatty collapsed from a fatal head wound.
 ZOMBIES. The twelve remaining Walkers were joined by five more from the north.
To the utter horror of Phil and Wanda, a horde of six Walkers and three Fatties suddenly came into sight from the east side.
 Another eight Walkers arrived from the south side of the city.
The two Runners who arrived from the west side appeared to be little more than an afterthought. It beggared belief where all the zombies were all coming from.
AMY. "Hmm, chainsaw or shotgun?" Amy wondered out loud as she jogged towards the two newly arrived Runners. She fired up the chainsaw just as she reached them and swung into action, scything them down with confident ease. She sprinted back to join the others.
DOUG. Doug walked up to the T-junction leading to the north side. He fired two short three-round bursts from his pair of Uzi sub-machine guns at the horde of nine Walkers and was delighted to see three of them drop down dead.
"Guys, they're getting too many to deal with," he said solemnly. "I really think we should get outta here."
He dashed into the general store behind him. There was a time for fighting and a time for running. This was the time for running he'd decided.
NED. Ned took out a female Walker with a single shot from his 7.62mm sniper's rifle.
"I'm with you, Doug," he called out as he followed the office worker into the general store.
JOSH. The teenager totally agreed with his colleagues' decision to split. But he also knew that the more zombies they killed the greater their chance of escaping would be. He took a couple of paces forward to face five bloodthirsty and ravenously hungry zombie Walkers. His twin sawed-off shotguns boomed twice, spraying out a cone of destruction that killed four of the walking dead. He reloaded both shotguns as he slowly retreated.
PHIL. Although he hadn't seen Doug and Ned run back into the relative safety of the general store he had heard them and agreed with their tactics. It was time to quit whilst they still could. He fired once with his Remington shotgun and beheaded a teenage Walker.
Phil is the third survivor to advance to the Red Level. He picks Sniper as his new Skill.
"Wanda, we can't fight them all," he said concernedly. "We have to get out of here. Now."
"Go," Wanda ordered. "I'll follow shortly."
"Make it very short," Phil said as he sprinted into the rear entrance of the general store.
WANDA. The young waitress had come to the same conclusion as Josh. The more zombies they killed now the less they'd have to deal with later. She fired her shotgun repeatedly until it clicked on empty. She did very well with her shooting. Four Walkers lay dead just a few yards away.
She saw her friend Amy further down the street as she skated to a halt alongside Josh. Amy waved at her and she responded with a thumbs up sign. Ned, Doug and Phil were making their way through the general store.
ZOMBIES. The eighteen remaining zombies were joined by a further nineteen. Seven Walkers came from the north.
Two Runners from the east and five Walkers from the west made that part of the neighbourhood a no-go area for humans.
Five more Walkers came shuffling in from the west side.
AMY. Amy knew that she was getting low on ammo for Ma's Shotgun. She took a few steps towards a group of five Walkers and fired the combi-weapon at extreme close range, killing one of the undead. She had hoped to have got more of them in the lethal discharge but one was better than none.
Amy is the fourth Survivor to reach Red Danger Level. She chooses the Medic Skill, which will should prove very useful.
As Amy sprinted as fast as she could away from the Walkers she suddenly realised she had never used the machete attached beneath Ma's Shotgun.
There was only one road out of the neighbourhood that had remained free of zombies throughout the morning. It was the obvious escape route to safety and Amy took it at speed. She would live to fight another day.
DOUG. Doug was the first to exit the general store and he saw Amy leaving. Sensible girl, he thought as he followed her.
JOSH. "One more kill and then I'm leaving," the reformed street thug said to Wanda. He fired his pair of sawed-off shotguns at the nearest Walker. It was overkill and Josh knew it. But he didn't care.
Josh also makes it to Red Level this Turn. He opts for +1 Free Move Action as his fourth Skill.
 "Don't wait any longer, Wanda," he warned. "Follow me quickly. We have to get away."
 He raced through the general store and out the front entrance.
NED. He might be crazy to some but Ned was a lot smarter than most people gave him credit for. He had predicted the zombie apocalypse and he knew exactly what to do in order to survive. Right now, running away was the only sensible tactic. He jogged out of the store to follow in the footsteps of Amy and Doug. Safety beckoned and he was relieved to have escaped without loss or injury.
PHIL. Phil was behind Doug and Ned and so had farther to go to reach safety. He moved at a steady pace, eyes and ears alert to any danger. He saw three of his friends depart but hung back to make sure that Josh and Wanda were safe.
Wanda actually missed when she first shot at these two Walkers but because she had Plenty of Ammo she was allowed a re-roll and this time she scored two kills.
WANDA. Like Josh, Wanda could not leave without a parting shot. She fired her shotgun at a pair of Walkers and caught them both in the blast.
Wanda is the sixth and final Survivor to advance to the Red Danger Level. She selects the +1Die: Combat Skill.
She spun round through 180 degrees and agilely skated into the general store, relieved to be away from the vast horde of zombies that were inching ever closer.
ZOMBIES. The neighbourhood was filling up with a tidal wave of zombies. Twenty-nine Walkers, three Fatties and two Runners were joined by two Runners from the north.
Just look at all of those zombies! Now imagine throwing a Molotov Cocktail at them, he he!
Four Walkers and two Fatties joined the horde from the east side.
Five Walkers had spotted the survivors making their escape. They were too far away and too slow to reach them. Their number doubled when five more Walkers from the south joined them.
Off to the west, four Walkers would soon be overtaken by four Runners. The neighbourhood was now populated by fifty-one zombies.
JOSH. "What a morning, eh?" Josh remarked as he jogged past Phil away from the zombie-infested neighbourhood.
PHIL. "Yep, it has been one hell of a morning," Phil agreed. He glanced at the front entrance to the store and shouted, "Wanda, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Phil," the pretty young blonde replied. "Go. I'll catch up with you in a second."
Phil smiled and followed his four comrades in arms away from the danger zone.
WANDA. "Wherever we're going, I hope they have a bath or a shower," Wanda wished out loud. She glided gracefully out of the general store on her rollerskates and quickly caught up with Phil and the others.

CONCLUSION. They made it! All six survived what was without doubt, the longest and toughest game of Zombicide I have ever played. What is even more incredible is that they survived without suffering a single wound. So how come they performed so well? It's all down to the three "T"s - tactics, teamwork and terrain.
TACTICS. The primary tactic I used was hit and run. Move in to shooting or melee range, strike, then back away. This coupled with the long range shooting from Ned and Phil with their rifles was so effective in dealing with small numbers of zombies.
TEAMWORK. This is absolutely vital in any game of Zombicide. The Survivors supported one another whenever one needed help. Ideally, I like to keep my Survivors grouped together but the nature of the scenario and the location of the Zombie Spawn Points meant it was necessary to split up the Survivors so that they could cover each Spawn Point. Even so, they still kept fairly close together and were able to offer assistance when needed.
TERRAIN. This game was played on a large game board and as a consequence the four Zombie Spawn Points were spread far apart. The Zombies kept arriving in such small numbers (up till the Red Danger Level) that they never had the chance to group up. Most times, all zombies who arrived, were killed in the following Turn. This kept their numbers down, making them less of a threat. Because the survivors almost always kept to the centre of the board it meant that the Zombies couldn't reach them quickly enough to attack. That proved very decisive for the Survivors.
I loved every minute of that game and it just reaffirmed why Zombicide is such a great game. My stand out moment of the game was when Amy drove the pimpmobile at four Walkers and killed them all. That was so unexpected but so cool! As for who I thought was "Man of the Match" I can only say that all of them were. They all performed heroically. They survived and that was the main thing.
I should say that not all games of Zombicide run as long as this one did. The scenario objective (reach Red Level before escaping) meant it was going to be a long slog. Amy, Doug, Josh, Ned, Phil and Wanda are my six favourite Zombicide Survivors, so you can expect to see them again in more batreps.
One final thought before I leave - this was such an intense experience for the Survivors. They bonded well and killed an incredible amount of zombies? So, do you think they did enough to warrant Ultimate Survivor status? My feeling is no, they didn't. I'd like to run them through more scenarios before according them that accolade. But, there are no rules to state when a Survivor becomes an Ultimate Survivor, so anything is possible. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this topic.
If you have stuck with me this far, many thanks for your perseverance. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed playing it.