Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Simple Run (Conclusion)


Dawn attacks the feasting zombies

Dawn saw the zombies tearing at the ganger and knew he was dead.  She couldn’t stand to see the zombies feasting and ran from the car wreck she had been using as cover towards the grisly scene.  Holstering her pistol, she used her machete to finish off the zombies as well as ensure the ganger would not rise later.
Jack jogged up beside her.  “It seems the locals aren’t too happy with us.”  He gestured back at the barricades.
Dawn checked and reloaded her SMG, glancing at the woman staring at her.  “I don’t get it.  You’d think they’d be glad to have some help.”
“LEAVE!”  The woman shouted and pointed at Dawn.  “GO AWAY!” 
Dawn shrugged and pointed across the street.  “We’re going to check these buildings and then we can leave.”  She said to Jack, who nodded.
“If we can get some gas we can move on.”  He suggested, looking back at the camp.  “I still don’t get what their problem is.”
Jack catches up to Dawn

We pick up part 2 with Dawn and Jack killing the zombies that were feasting on the ganger.  They still need to search the shops nearby, they need fuel and food to continue their trip.  Dawn clears her out of ammo, getting her SMG reloaded and operational.  They move across the street to the discount store.
Dawn and Jack approach the dollar store

Peering through the broken glass doors, Dawn could see the interior of the dollar store was a tumbled mess.  “Looks looted.”  She said to Jack as she pulled open the door and they entered.
Sunlight from the street illuminated the interior and the crunch of broken glass gave away their movement as they entered the shop.  Displays were knocked over and piles of boxes and clothes littered the floors.  A turned over display blocked the center of the store, and as they approached it, a young black woman stood up, holding a sub-machine gun at the ready.
“That’s far enough.”  She said.  “You’d best be getting back in camp.  When the boss hears about this, he’ll be pissed enough.  Maybe if you get back in there, he’ll let some of you live.”  She sneered as she spoke.
“What the hell do you mean?”  Jack said, his own weapon at the ready.  “We’re just trying to get back to our friends east of here.”
The young gang member laughed.  “You’re not even from here?  Yeah, right.  Nobody is on the road these days, I bet you’re from the school camp, out making trouble.”  She lifted her SMG to aim.  “Maybe I should shoot you now…”
A lone ganger

Checking the building, they find a lone ganger.  The meet and greet goes to Dawn, she scores more successes than the ganger.  We don’t learn much more, but I decide Dawn isn’t going to leave a ganger who is threatening to kill a bunch of people alone, and we go to in sight checks.
Jack fires and knocks the ganger out of the fight.  They take her SMG and search the store and find nothing.  Time to move to the next shop.
Checking out the liquor store
Checking the liquor store, Dawn and Jack find the building empty.  Searching yields nothing of value.  This is starting to look like an empty town.
The store is empty
There is a small tanker truck on the street, it is inoperable, out of fuel.  The tank on the back was most likely water or heating fuel (it’s a small truck) but still worth checking out.
Old Tanker truck

Jack stood looking at the small tanker truck, sitting on the sidewalk.  Bullet holes pockmarked the tank and the cab.  Shaking his head Jack checked the valves, getting nothing from opening them.  “Looks like a bust again.”  He said as dawn hopped down from the cab.
“Yeah, the cab is empty too.”  Dawn shrugged and pointed across the street.  “Let’s check the rescue truck, it looks like it’s in rough shape, but maybe there is something useful.”
A ruined rescue vehicle
Checking the truck as they cross the street, they find nothing of value.  It is out of fuel, so no point wasting any more time with it.  Dawn and Jack continue to the gas station.
Jack closed the utility cover with a clunk.  “I can’t believe there isn’t anything on these trucks.”
“Well, they did say some gang was around here.”  Dawn replied, gesturing to the camp.  She shook her head when she saw Mary still standing at the barricade, bow ready.  “They probably stripped this place clean.”
Jack sighed and scratched his chin.  “If that’s the case, there won’t even be a scrap left at this place.”  Moving forward with his SMG at the ready he continued “Never know ‘til ya try!”
As they walked towards the pumps, Dawn stopped, looking at the pearly white sedan parked at the gas pump.  It was in good condition, barely any dirt on the white paint.  Looking at the rear, it had a dealer name where the rear license plate should have been.  “Well this seems odd.”  Dawn said, looking around.
“Hey, alright!”  Jack said flashing a thumb’s up.  “About time we get some luck!”
Finding a car with gas

Moving to the gas station, the pair check the car parked at the pumps.  I check and it has gas (4 units – the most you can find) and the keys!  Did someone just leave this here?  It never fails to amaze me how the randomness of the dice rolls create things sometimes.
Not much left to do – time to check the gas station.
Checking the gas station

“We’re going to go at the ready.”  Dawn said, checking her SMG and stretching out her arms as she and Jack stood by the brand new Buick.  “I have to think whoever left this car here is inside looking for whatever else might be left.”
Jack nodded, checking his own weapon.  “Makes sense.  I can’t believe anyone would just leave a new car and gas just sitting.”  Cracking his back with a twist, Jack added “Let’s do this.”
Dawn and Jack plunged through the doors of the station, a small bell tinkling as they entered.  Holding their weapons at the ready, they startled a young man rummaging through some boxes at the counter.  He quickly held up his hands, not even trying to raise the shotgun he had slung.
“Don’t shoot!  I’m no threat!”  He yelled, panic edging his voice.
“Who are you?”  Dawn asked, not relaxing.
“I’m Will.”  He gestured slowly towards the camp barricades.  “From the City Park Camp over there.”
“We’re moving east, towards some friends.”  Dawn said, easing her weapon down.  “You’re welcome to come along.”
Will shook his head.  “I appreciate it, but my home is here.  Besides, you have plenty of trouble ahead of you.  The Jackals are a big gang and they do not forgive.”
Jack snorted a short laugh.  “Nothing we can’t handle.  Hell we’ve been on the road since Minneapolis.  Roads are rough, but if we keep moving we’ll be fine.”
Dawn nodded.  “I doubt any of that gang wants to bother trying to chase us down.”
Will shook his head slowly.  “Those guys you shot are just a few of the Jackals.  They are going to chase you down and kill you.  They have plenty of military hardware, and I’ve seen it happen.”
“What do you mean?”  Jack asked, his grin slowly fading.
“A dozen men attacked our camp two weeks ago.  We did what we were told to do by the Jackals - we gave up everything the raiders demanded, but within an hour or so, more than twenty Jackals showed up.  It didn’t take long for the Jackals to win, they shot a few of the raiders and took a few prisoner.  The others fled, but the Jackals chased them all down and dragged their bodies back in front of us.  We didn’t get the food back, and what they managed to do during that hour…”  Will shook his head.
Dawn nodded, looking out the window.  “So you’re saying they are already coming here to kill us?”
“I’m sure of it.”  Will said.  “Mary should have invited you in and kept you until the gang showed up.  That’s what we’re told to do, until the Jackals can show up.  If you go now, the Jackals will chase you down.”
A long silence followed, as Dawn and Jack exchanged glances.  Dawn slowly shrugged, looking around the gas station she asked “Well, what do you think Jack?”
With a sigh, Jack replied “Looks like we’re back on the road.”  Pointing out the front window he asked “Is that your car?”
Will shook his head.  “No.  That was left here by the Jackals.  They have a few cars and trucks around town, probably some supplies as well.  Nobody touches their stuff, if they catch you messing with it at all…  Well,  they have killed and maimed people.  It’s not worth it.”
Dawn snorted.  “Looks like we have fresh wheels, right Jack?  If they are going to chase us down, they will know what car to look for.”
Will’s eyes went wide.  “You’re crazy!  Why would you make them more upset?”
“If they’re coming anyway, we might as well use their gas to get a head start.”  Dawn said.  “Well, Jack, Ready to roll?”

So the gas station is not empty, we meet another survivor.  The meet and greet is tied, so he is talkative, but won’t join.  His story is a pretty standard development in the post-apocalypse, there is a gang that has taken over the town.  If Dawn and Jack leave, there is a chance the locals won’t be punished, and instead ‘The Jackals’ will hunt down our survivors.
I decide to take the car; they will head back to the station wagon and load up.  At least they have the fuel to move if they need to.  Given what this gang can muster for equipment, they need to get moving.
The new ride attracts some attention
Dawn starts up the car and she and Jack drive back out of town, past the camp and stony gaze of the leader, Mary.  I can’t believe I couldn’t get some better People skill rolls or even reaction rolls.  The dice really don’t want these people to get any help.
Leaving town in their new car
Dawn drove down the county road, circling back to the house where the station wagon was parked.  The morning was giving way to midday, the heat and humidity was going to make the day miserable.  Even the bright sunlight did little to brighten the mood.
“We should have done something.”  Jack said for the tenth time since they got in the car.  “Something to help.”
Dawn pulled up next to the station wagon, turning off the car.  “You heard them.  Us being gone was the best chance they had.”  Getting out into the summer heat reminded Dawn of the morning.  “Transfer the gas to the wagon, leave enough to ditch this thing when we can.”  She said, walking to the back of the car.
Jack grabbed a siphon hose from the station wagon and began to transfer the fuel.  Grumbling he said “We should do something.”
“Jack, make sure to leave a gallon or so behind.”  Dawn said from the rear of the car.
“I’m done.  You want to torch this or something?”  Jack asked, walking to the rear of the station wagon.
Dawn tossed Jack an assault rifle.  “I think it will be good wheels to get back to town.”  Dawn replied and checked the action on the SAW she had pulled from the back of the car.  “I’m not going to wait for them to find us.  Let’s go see what these ‘Jackals’ are all about.”

Jack smiled.  “Damn right.”

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Simple Run (Part 1)

“This should be decent cover.”  Dawn said to Jack as they walked around the station wagon, parked on an overgrown gravel driveway.  The house had burned, and several trees had gone with it, but the rest of the area was covered in weeds and scattered trees.
Jack threw a few branches over the roof, scattering more around the car.  “Yeah it will do fine.”  He said, standing back and looking over the scene.  “I wish Traci had shown up.  I really thought she would come back.”
Dawn shook her head, adjusting her pack and checking her SMG.  “She made her decision.  We need to find food and fuel and keep moving.  She had a week to change her mind, plus we left that note.”
“I know.”  Jack said, also checking his gear.  “I had just hoped she would come to her senses.”  Looking around, he pointed to the burned out subdivision ahead to the right.  “We should cut through there, the ruined homes should give us cover and we can take a peek at that camp we saw before we get too close.”
“Sounds good.”  Dawn replied, looking ahead down the road.  “Hopefully they are friendly and want to trade.”
Slowly the pair moved down the road in the muggy morning air.
Dawn and Jack approach the camp
It is morning of Day 81, Dawn and Jack have moved on from the wayside where Traci had left them a week ago.  She didn’t return to the group, so they are continuing towards the east.  While they have plenty of guns, they need food and fuel and are approaching a small town, hoping to find some supplies.  They have scouted the edge of town a little, and found a camp they have decided to approach.
The camp
The camp is in a city park, behind some hastily built junk walls.  There are four tents and one camper, scattered around some trees and a small pond.  There is also a generator, which will not be running.  At the start of the game, a ‘blank’ PEF is placed in the center of the camp.  Once one of the survivors can draw line of sight to it, I will determine the camp make up.  The PEF will automatically resolve as an encounter, and each tent and the RV will each have a roll for occupants as well.  I’ll explain it when it happens.
There are three more PEFs on the table, treated normally.  There are also 4 zombies on the table, wandering as they have no active targets to start.  It is morning and I will be using really tight ammo rules, but normal looting rules.  The area is suburban and has an ER of 5, zombies will appear on a 5+.
Dawn and Jack look for a vantage point
“Let’s try that house up there.”  Dawn pointed ahead as the pair moved around a burned out shed.  “Those stairs look rickety, but we should get a better view from the second floor.”
Jack looked towards the house Dawn had pointed out and nodded.  “Good idea.  Though I think I saw something moving just east of here.”  Jack pointed with his SMG to their right.  “Let’s be careful.”

Dawn and Jack on the second floor
The first few turns are uneventful, zombies wander randomly, though one does get close enough to detect Dawn and Jack, and starts moving towards them.  The PEFs move around, moving away and then moving closer.  There is a ruined house with stairs to its ruined second floor.  This will give good sight lines towards the camp, and Dawn and Jack move to it and climb up.
Dawn sees the camp
Scorched boards creaked as Dawn stepped through the ruined house, passing through what might have been a bathroom.  She stepped out towards the east edge of the second floor and looked out across the street, over the low ramshackle wall that had been built around the camp.  The morning sun still cast long, deep shadows from the trees in what had been a park.  As Dawn watched, three people walked into the center of camp.  They didn’t appear armed, and one of them stopped and pointed towards Dawn.
“Here goes nothing.”  Dawn muttered, standing up and waving to the people.  The three seemed to be confused and had a quick discussion amongst themselves before one waved back.  Dawn relaxed a bit and said to Jack “They seem friendly.  Let’s approach the wall.”
Giving a snort Jack answered “Well they didn’t shoot.  I guess that’s a start.”
Moving towards the camp
Dawn triggers the Camp PEF and I roll for occupants.  I get three citizens.  What an odd find after day 30, I didn’t expect that.  Each tent and the RV have a 50% chance for occupants, I get two tents and the RV and rolling for those, I get survivors, more citizens and zombies.  I decide the zombies are actually citizens – I don’t need to have a separate battle in the camp to deal with.
The long distance meet and greet goes okay, Dawn wins by 2 successes.  That means the camp isn’t initially hostile, but we need to do a meet and greet at close range to get a final result.
She also triggers the nearest PEF and finds 3 zombies, who move towards the camp...

Moving closer to the camp
Zombies attack the barricade
Dawn and Jack picked their way through the ruined house, their movement kicking up gray clouds of ash as they crossed the burned yard.  As the sun rose into the morning air, the humidity rose as well, making the day uncomfortable.  “This is like moving through a wet ashtray.”  Jack said, wiping away grime from his face.
Dawn nodded, glad when they finally stepped onto the pavement of the road.  “Let’s head around that car, it should shield us from the zombies over by that gas station.”  She said and pointed ahead.
“Right with ya.”  Jack said, checking his SMG.  “I’ll watch our back and you talk with the nice folks.”
Commotion from the walls ahead made them pause, and Dawn saw a woman stand up on the barricade and fire an arrow, killing the nearest zombie.  A man in a mix of camouflage and hunting gear moved to the wall with a bayonet on an old rifle, making short work of the last zombies threatening the walls.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped out from behind the pickup truck... 
Dawn meets the camp
Holding her SMG down, Dawn stepped from behind the wrecked pickup truck towards the woman on the barricade.  “Hello!  We’re not looking for any trouble!”  She called out.
“Stop right there.”  The woman replied, holding her bow ready, but not drawn.  “You need to leave.  Now.”
Dawn was surprised and disappointed.  “We’re just passing through, we won’t cause any trouble.”  Dawn let her SMG hang on its sling and held out her open hands.  “Do you have any food or fuel to trade?  We can offer a couple of guns.”  Dawn suggested.
The woman shook her head waved off Dawn.  “No, we have nothing to spare or trade.  You need to go, right now.”  Looking around towards town she turned back to Dawn.  “Whatever you do, don’t fire those guns or they’ll be coming after you.  Just go, if they catch you, they will kill you!”
“We can handle the dead.”  Dawn said, shrugging and checking her weapons.  “We’ll leave you alone, but we’re going to at least check the gas station for fuel.”
“Don’t be stupid!  Just leave while you can!”  The woman yelled back, before her attention was drawn into her camp.
 
Time to leave the camp
So the meet and greet goes poorly.  Dawn only gets one success and the survivor gets four.  At least they don’t draw down on each other.  Why the survivor is so hostile is a bit of a mystery, I tried a PEP test to get to barter and Dawn failed at that as well.  Not a great turn.  Time to move onto the buildings, maybe there is something worth salvaging.
Dawn and Jack move away from the camp
 “Well, let’s check the gas station, hopefully we can get some gas.”  Dawn said to Jack as they walked away from the camp walls.  “I wonder why they are so unfriendly.”
Jack shrugged, looking at the barricades.  “Well, those walls aren’t all that sturdy, maybe they just want to keep the dead away and stay safe.”  Giving a short laugh he added, “Maybe they have had to deal with some people coming in and taking their stuff.”
Dawn nodded.  “That’s true, we have certainly met our share of assholes on our trip.”
Jack laughed again.  “Maybe if we show we’re not, they might be more friendly.”  Jack moved to cover at a car wreck and became more serious.  “Sounds like some dead moving around here.  Better be careful.”
Dawn moved next to Jack, hearing the same tell-tale movement in the grass.  “I’ll check it out.”
Dawn and Jack moving in the street
Dawn and Jack move off, picking their way from car wreck to car wreck.  The last two PEFs move up, almost together.  I figure now is as good of a time as any and Dawn steps out to trigger them.  The first is two zombies, but the second is three gangers.  It’s time for another meet and greet…
Dawn sees the dead and the gang
Dawn stepped out from the car wreck, expecting to find zombies wandering towards her.  Instead a loud voice boomed out at her.  “Just stop right there sweet pie!”  It was followed by a gruff laugh.  “See I told ya, Zeke would find something.”  The other men laughed.  “You were warned if we found any of you outside the camp, there’d be hell to pay!”
“Darren!  She’s not with us!  She doesn’t know!”  The woman yelled from the barricade of the camp.
“Shut up Mary!”  Darren yelled back, ignoring the zombies that now seemed interested in the humans.  “The rules are the rules!”
Dawn looked warily at the three people, just beyond the pair of zombies they had apparently been following.  They were a rag-tag looking group, the leader, Darren, was sporting a wicked looking machine pistol, and the guy to his left was carrying a shotgun.  The last man had a pistol at the ready, clearly watching for zombies sneaking up from behind.
“We’re just passing through.  I’m not looking for any trouble.”  Dawn said, tightening her grip on her SMG.
“Well you sure found trouble!”  Darren laughed and gestured to his companions.  “Brett what do you think?”
Brett with the shotgun gave a half smile and looked Dawn up and down.  “I bet she could be fun to play with.”  Brett ran his hand down the slide on his shotgun and gave a lewd look at Dawn.  “Been a while since I got to play.”
“Whach you think T-Diddy?”  Darren asked the man with a pistol.
“Rules are rules.  What you say goes Darren.”  T-Diddy replied, glancing around.
“Well, I give you this chance.” Darren said turning to Dawn.  “Toss down your hardware, you come with me and the boys to that liquor store over there and after we all get a tumble, we’ll let you go.”  Darren gave a wide toothy smile.  “If you play nice that is.”
Dawn gave Darren a cold stare.  “How about we all just go our separate ways and everyone lives to see another day?”
“Ha!”  Darren let out a loud laugh at Dawn.  “You know that ain’t gonna happen, right?”
Gunfire erupted on the quiet street…
Time to draw down
What an odd development.  Revealing the PEFs, I get 2 zombies from the nearest.  The second PEF is three gangers.  After this came up, I decided they must be the reason for the camp to not be friendly.  There is gang in this town that is in control, and they are ruthless.  This could lead to some other encounters, if we get through this game first…
Anyway, the meet and greet goes about as you expect, with the gang scoring more successes.  We go to in sight checks and Dawn gets four successes (a good time to get a good roll!) and goes first.  Jack is still behind cover, so will not participate.
Dawn fires, trying for all three, and gets two hits.  Darren and Brett each get hit.  I roll a one for Darren, he is Obviously Dead and a 4 for Brett.  Brett is knocked down and goes Out of the Fight.  T-Diddy fires and hits Dawn, getting an obviously dead result!  Dawn’s Hard as Nails kicks in and she is knocked down instead.  Passing 2D she carries on.  Wow, what an in sight round!
Dawn gets two down
Dawn felt the punch of a bullet slamming her shoulder, spinning her around and down to the pavement.  Rolling up she saw T-Diddy’s eyes go wide as he jumped for cover.  Raising her SMG, Dawn pulled the trigger snapping off a single shot that went wide before the magazine dropped from the weapon.  Cursing to herself, Dawn let the SMG hang from its sling and pulled her pistol.
Jack finishes off two zombies
Dawn passes 2D for received fire, and fires again, missing and going out of ammo (triple ones came up!)  T-Diddy passes 1D for received fire and 2D for man down and elects to duck back, moving to the cover of the car behind him.  Jack moves up and kills the closest zombies, but as T-Diddy has Ducked Back, he can't be seen so no in sight check.

A few more zombies appear from the shooting noise.  It’s making the area a mess, and the zombies activate first the next turn.
More zombies appear
T-Diddy heard the two zombies closing in around him, watching the rear of the car, he saw an undead salesman step out, reaching for him.  Firing quickly, T-Diddy killed the zombie, quickly shifting to the second zombie that just burst from the nearby bush.  Grappling with the zombie, he managed to draw and plunge his knife into its skull, killing it before it could bite.
Looking over the car hood, he saw the crazy chick had drawn a pistol that looked like a small cannon.  Some dude had joined her and was moving towards the car with an SMG at the ready.  “Hell with this!”  T=Diddy said to himself.  Pushing the dead out of his way he turned and sprinted up the street, yelling behind him “You’ll all pay for this!  We’ll be back for you all!”
Mary yelled back from the barricade “No!  They’re not with us!  We’re not breaking the deal!”  She watched T-Diddy running away, a look of desperation taking over.
“Jack, we need to stop him!”  Dawn yelled at Jack, pointing at the fleeing ganger.
“On it.”  Jack replied, running after the young man.

Jack takes his shot
T-Diddy passes 0D to recover from Duck Back and will Run Away.  Normally this is just the figure being removed, and T-Diddy almost makes it with a double move to the exit table edge.  He is out of range of Dawn and only Jack has a chance to shoot him.
Running up, Jack fires and manages to hit T-Diddy once, knocking him down.  T-Diddy passes 2D for knockdown and is stunned for one turn.
More zombies!
Four new zombies spawn, and go first the next turn.  Unfortunately for T-Diddy, a pair of zombies are close enough to find him delicious.
The zombies find the ganger tasty!
Dawn watched as the zombies devoured the gang member.  His screams were cut short in a wet stuttering gasp as the undead tore into his chest.  Clearing and reloading her SMG, she waved at Jack “Let’s kill those things.  Nobody should go out that way.”
Jack nodded, looking around to see Mary firing an arrow from the barricade.  “You’re welcome!”  He yelled and gave a mock salute before jogging off.
“That’s not all of them!”  Mary yelled.  “They’ll be back and we’ll be the ones to suffer!”  She watched as Jack and Dawn ran up and killed the zombies feasting on T-Diddy.  “Why didn’t you just leave?  Just go away!”  She yelled.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, September 6, 2018

They are LEGION


In July, I picked up a small new game…  Okay, not so small, but the base set isn’t too big - Star Wars Legion, from Fantasy Flight Games.  I was going to write a review shortly after I unboxed the game, but I wanted to live with it a bit before I wrote this.  To be honest, I want to give it more play time before a final judgement, but having played a few games in the last month or so, I thought this would be a decent time to give a first impression review.
FFG Rebels

Good:
1.       It does have a feel of Star Wars.  I felt like I had Darth Vader leading a charge into a rebel force.   I know West End Games had Star Wars miniature skirmish rules back in the (90’s?) and I dabbled with it as I played the RPG back in the day.  I have a fair amount of minis from the WOTC collectable game.  Both had a decent Star Wars feel, but Legion does a good job of keeping the action moving and not bogging down in details.
2.       The miniatures are detailed enough, certainly they match what you expect from FFG and Star Wars.  No confusing Stormtroopers and Snowtroopers – even with nearly all white on both models, they are visually different.  They have done a nice job making the models detailed; I have seen other places online comparing the airspeeder to the Bandai 1/48th scale fine model favorably.  The bit larger scale does help painting, especially as white and black (for Stormtroopers) is a major pain to make look good. 
3.       The rules and game play is easy to pick up, you can play small skirmishes right out of the box, and build to larger battles pretty quickly.  As expected, the game components are all excellent; FFG has mastered the task of getting art and cards to be high quality.  It looks good, feels good, and isn’t overly complex.  I was able to teach a complete non-mini gamer to play the basics in less than 10 minutes.  Cards have enough rule notes to actually help instead of adding confusion.
FFG Stormtroopers

Bad:
1.       It is not as flexible of a game as I would have hoped.  Full disclosure, I have not purchased any expansions yet, but I have had the chance to play around with extra units.  The basic set is enough to play, but not enough to really play.  It was fun for a few plays, but you quickly find out you need more troops and want more toys to make it interesting.  Hey they need to make money somehow, and as a former 40K player, I understand how this works.  As much fun as it is, Darth Vader vs Luke Skywalker does get old, and pretty much everyone has at least one of each of them.  Including a second, minor commander in the base set to give some flexibility would have been nice.
2.       Gameplay is pretty easy to grasp, and there is a good amount of nuance (rock-paper-scissor-shotgun) but it seems to limit the games to smaller affairs for best effect.  The small skirmish game is the most common play style, and with a seeming focus on tournament play similar to X-wing coming through the stores, I can see why.  Aside from painting the miniatures, there is not much customizing (some game modifications from cards, but not creating a custom commander for example) so everyone should be able to play in a Legion event and not question what they are seeing.  Given time and expansions, the customizing will change, exactly as it has in X-wing, with hundreds of options for ship modifications, everyone can find a combo they like.
3.       On the subject of the miniatures, they are a bit larger scale than other games (heroic 40K) and they have nice detail, but they are a PVC based plastic.  That means you have to use a gorilla glue/superglue to put them together, not traditional hobby cement.  They also have a noticeable ‘bendiness’ as the PVC is pretty soft.  In general, this doesn’t cause any problems, but some of the detail is lost and they don’t look as nice under inspection.
 
FFG Luke and Vader face off

Other:
1.       Distance measurements are all from custom rulers and movement gages.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  They work well enough, the shooting ruler is pretty sturdy (a sectioned triangular stick) but the movement templates may be a problem.  The movement gages have a rotation point in their middle, and need to be snapped together to work.  Mine went together okay, with one nearly breaking as it snapped together.  I have heard horror stories from other players whose gages broke during initial construction.  Decent idea, maybe better execution next time.
2.       Scenery is another area I am not sure how I feel.  There is already plenty out there and making scenery is something I enjoy and for Legion it is easy enough to make.  The barricades that come with the game are good for getting started, but a few ‘tournament’ type players who don’t consider any custom terrain ‘legal’ does sour the experience a bit.  It’s easy enough to avoid those folks, but long term I see where X-wing has gone, and I wonder if Legion will go down the same road where tournament play is the focus of the overall game.
3.       Game play is okay, but most of the battles seemed to come down to a lot of ‘fighting in a closet’ to me.  I know some of that is my limited selection of troops.  Plenty of games suffer from a focus on hero units, and Legion is no exception – if Vader crashes into the rebel line with Luke not able to counter him, the results are just what you expect.  It’s just too many games came down to this effect.  I am sure I am to blame for a portion of this, it’s partly how I play, but other players mentioned this effect as well.
4.       Another game play observation – playing Legion feels more like a ‘game’ compared to other miniature wargames.  Moving units around leaders, not every individual is a great idea - it speeds up the game considerably.  Custom dice, I am not a huge fan of.  They are fine; it makes sense for how the game is setup to compare hits, surges, defense, etc.  The old curmudgeon in me wants to see normal dice and +/- modifiers and make us do math.  Just how the game works makes it feel like a ‘game’ and less like a miniature representation of a battle.  That is likely my own personal feeling and may change with more play.
5.       Not a bad thing, maybe, but I feel it is a missed opportunity or possibly corporate influence – there are only two sides, Rebel or Imperial.  This is how X-wing started and after about 2 years (maybe less) they added Scum and Villainy for the bounty hunters and such.  I see Boba Fett is coming out for the Empire, and I think about how long until Legion has the same thing happen.  May be plan ahead a bit for another faction, or maybe even add some sort of sub-factions to the mix, just to make it a bit more varied. 

Conclusion:
In the end, I have to say I have enjoyed playing Legion.  That alone makes it a good game - after all if you have fun playing a game, it has done what it was designed to do.  From a hobbyist point of view, I am not quite as sold.  The models are not cheap, but they don’t feel quite as good of a value compared to some other miniatures.  Not that you couldn’t give your Stormtroopers some custom poses, or head and arm swaps on rebel troopers and such, but it is a bit more difficult with the minis the way they are. 
If you are looking for a fun, quick playing Star Wars themed miniature game, Legion is a pretty good effort.  It plays well, looks nice and isn’t too complex for newer gamers and has enough to it for more veteran gamers.  In a few years we will probably have so many expansions it will feel like the epic war it represents.
For now, I may try some more games, but it's not going to be the focus it was for me for the past couple of months.  Back to the zombie apocalypse!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Traci Situation (Part 3 Conclusion)

Traci stood in shock and horror, watching Kevin slump to the ground.  Alone she faced two zombies, which turned to face their final prey.  Their ragged pallid hands reached out for her, and Traci could imagine the horror of them grabbing her.
Finally snapping out of her shock, she fired her SMG, pulling loose her machete to face the undead...
Traci shoots the first zombie
Traci stands alone, Chad has died (and will rise as a zombie in 3 turns if Traci doesn't kill him) Kevin has been knocked OOF (I need to check for infection yet) and she still hasn't managed to enter the building of the RV dealer.  She manages to shoot the two zombies, killing one and knocking one down.  She follows this up by charging the zombie on the ground - easily finishing it off.
Traci kills the last zombie
Chad's body spasmed, arms and legs flopping on the road.  Traci saw the movement, knowing what it meant - Chad was nearing reanimation.  Slinging her SMG, Traci stepped over to Chad, pausing to consider this man she barely knew.
"Sorry."  She said, plunging her machete through his head, killing him before he could rise again and attack.  Looking around, Traci realized the area was quiet.  The midday sun was hot and the still air was making the day uncomfortably warm.  
Traci stood for a moment and looked back up the road she and Chad had walked down, what felt like a lifetime ago now.  She considered walking back, Jack would be happy to see her.  Dawn...would welcome her back, probably with a lecture.  Kevin coughed from where he lay, not getting up, but clearly injured.
Snapping out her daydream, Traci moved to check the car and get Kevin off the street...
Traci says goodbye to Chad
Traci is persistent at least.  She kills Chad before he turns and the table is empty of zombies.  Time to make the best of things.  I check the car - I give the same chance for a spare tire as the check for if it has gas.  It does and Traci will need to pass a simple 2d savvy check to change the tire.  The car has 1 unit of fuel and luckily has the keys in it!  Finally a break goes her way.

Only to go bad when I find out Kevin is infected...
Traci decides to check the building
Traci dragged Kevin to the relative safety of the car, pulling him into the back seat.  As she climbed out, Traci noticed blood on his jacket.  Pulling aside his coat and shirt, she found the bite mark.  Already the skin was darkening, black tendrils of corruption were tracing his veins and spreading like the roots of a weed across his chest.
Traci closed the car door, nearly in tears at loosing another companion so quickly.  Looking at the door to the RV Office, Traci unslung her SMG, making sure it was ready.
Traci enters the office
Traci enters the building and finds 2 zombies.  She isn't surprised, but the zombies manage to charge her before she gets a shot off.  Luckily she is protected and armed with a machete.  She makes short work the two zombies and moves upstairs.
Another zombie!
Traci wiped her machete blade on the tattered pants of the last zombie.  She glanced around the office and decided to check the rest of the building before trying to search for anything useful.  Walking up the stairs, she reslung her SMG, the close quarters would make it difficult to use.
At the top of the stairs, she glanced at the mess of boxes and folding chairs, just catching the motion from the open doorway as a teenage zombie lurched at her.  Traci reacted with a swift swing, killing the zombie with a solid blow to the head.  The rotten corpse slumped to the floor, dead.
Traci saw filthy sleeping bags and boxes of a small camp in the room.  Looking at the debris in the room, she found personal items of a family.  She nearly broke down realizing the zombies she just finished off had been a family that ended up turned here together.
Time to change the flat tire
Traci searches the building and finds a luxury item.  She heads back outside and fixes the flat tire, passing a 2d savvy check.  The car has 1 unit of fuel, so now she has wheels and can leave.  Of course, she has to do something about Kevin (somewhere double came up and the morning became daytime and Kevin went to level 2 infection) plus she was actually here for an RV.  There are no zombies on the board, so Traci drags Kevin away from the car, and moves to check the first RV.
Traci moves Kevin out of the car
Traci left Kevin laying in the road.  She felt bad, but she knew he was already dead.  As she walked back to the car, Traci could see the fence was down to the RV lot.  Looking from the plain small sedan to the new red and white RV, she knew what she would rather try sleeping in.
Walking across the the road, the day's heat was starting to wear on her.  The humidity made the June day feel like the dead of summer.  After all the gunfire earlier, the quiet made her a a little nervous, she readied her SMG for action, just in case.  She hoped her decision to check the RVs wasn't a bad idea... 
Traci checks the first RV
 Traci opened the side door on the RV, Just stepping inside, she was shocked to see several boxes stacked around the interior, it looked like someone had started stocking the RV for a trip.  She took one more step when she heard the sound of a rifle being cocked.  From the back of the camper, she saw the barrel of a rifle pointed at her and a ragged man behind it.  "This is mine!  Git yo ass outta here and find your own!"
"Whoa!"  Traci said "I'm just looking for help."  She gave a cute smirk.
"You mean like with that other guy!"  The ganger replied, jerking his head towards the road and Kevin.  "Hell no!" 
Traci runs into a ganger
Well, that's what you get for exploring when you could just take the win and end the game...  Traci checks the inside of the first RV and finds a ganger inside.  The meet and greet goes poorly, and the ganger chooses to walk the walk.
In sight checks are tied
Both Traci and the ganger score two successes on the in sight check.  They will react at the same time, we'll see who hits the hardest...
Wow, not good
Traci heard the rifle fire, and the dull thud of the bullet slamming into the side of the RV next to her.  At the same time she was squeezing her SMG, which barked twice and clicked empty.  Time seemed to stand still as the ganger and Traci locked eyes, neither hit by the other's shots.
The ganger started to cock his rifle again, a grin spreading across his face as he realized Traci's SMG was empty.
A zombie approaches the gun fight
Traci goes out of ammo and the ganger misses his one shot.  Technically Traci should be outgunned, but I am treating her like a star, so she can't be outgunned.  Everyone passes 2d on the received fire check, the ganger rushes a shot and misses Traci, who has her machete out and charges.
Traci charges
Traci closed the distance to the ganger, who looked surprised that she didn't run away.  His rushed shot went into the roof of the RV and Traci swung her machete right for his head.  Catching the rifle just in front of the trigger, her swing sent the rifle flying back into the ganger's forehead and he slumped to the floor, knocked cold.
Traci kicked the rifle away and drew back the machete, ready to finish off the ganger.  She paused, looking out the nearby window and seeing a zombie shambling towards the RV.  She shook her head, and reloaded her SMG, drawing aim on the zed.
Traci and a lone zombie
So Traci wins the melee, easily winning in hand to hand versus the ganger.  She only manages to get an OOF result, and I choose not to finish off the ganger.  I know survivors and gangers don't usually show any mercy, but it just didn't feel right.  Traci reloads her SMG and kills the zombie approaching.  Searching the RV yields a unit of food, the bolt action rifle from the ganger, plus the RV has 7 units of fuel, but no keys!  She dumps the ganger out of the RV and works to hotwire it.  She manages to get it started, but the car alarm goes off, and zombies start showing up!
Traci lines up on the gate
It takes a couple of turns of driving and reversing to get the RV positioned to try and get out.  During that time doubles come up again (but no event) and Kevin passes away, he will rise as a zombie after 5 turns.  Traci guns the RV and rams the gate, which was a lot more dicey than I had thought.  The RV bash value of 8 versus the DV of 3 for the gate (reinforced door) and Traci gets some good luck, smashing it in one go!

Traci smashes the gate and a zombie!
Bouncing in the driver's seat Traci steered towards the zombie standing in the road as the chain link gate folded away in front of the RV.  With a gratifying crunch the zombie went under the front wheels.  Traci could see Kevin shuddering in the road, as well as Chad's pack in the backseat of the car she had considered taking earlier.
Slamming the brakes, Traci stopped the RV, determined to grab the pack and supplies before she left...
Traci stops in the road
Yeah, yeah, I know better.  All Traci has to do is drive away.  She is active in a running vehicle, has two units of food, plenty of fuel, no reason to stop.  However, Chad's pack is RIGHT THERE!  She can run, grab it, hop back in and speed away.  Easy-Peasy.

Of course, I DO have to activate for that to work...
Traci faces the first zombie as she gets out
This turns into a good demonstration of why you don't leave a vehicle running during the zombie apocalypse.  6d for zombie spawning each turn, even looking for sixes, is tough to ignore for very long.  Add into that suddenly Traci doesn't activate every turn, and, Yikes!  We have problems.
Two zombies attack Traci as she stands still
Traci handles the first zombie easily, but doesn't activate the next turn.  Two zombies get to melee, and thankfully she is well armed and protected.  She wins the melee, and finally gets to act.  I left the RV running, so each turn it is rolling 6 dice for zombie spawns, and the dice are pretty hot, with one or two zombies appearing each turn it feels like!
Traci grabs the supplies from the car
Traci misses another turn, and Kevin reanimates and moves to attack.  The zombies are closing in, and the running RV keeps bringing more and more.  I just need a turn of activation and a clear path back to the RV...
Traci watches the zombies approach
Undead Kevin attacks with help!
Traci shouldered Chads pack and stood up from the car.  She looked at the gas cap, considering if she could get the fuel out and into the RV.  Scraping on the pavement behind her made Traci spin around, machete at the ready.
Shambling towards her was Kevin, looking nearly grey from the corruption that had turned him into a zombie.  Traci paused, but only to setup her attack...
Just need to get back to the RV!
Traci passes 2d on a zed or no zed check, apparently she really didn't care about Kevin.  Even facing 2 zombies charging from behind, she handles them in melee.  More zombies are moving up, but she should be able to get back to the RV, if she can activate!
Traci takes down the closest zombies
Traci ran to the RV, throwing the full pack into the back.  She could see more zombies moving towards her from the lot, stumbling through the smashed gate.  She was worried that the sides of the camper wouldn't stand up to the pounding of the zombies.  She stood her ground, waiting for the nearest to come close enough to kill...
Traci has an opening...
I decide to take one last chance - Traci stops short of the RV and lets the two nearest zombies charge her.  If she had gotten in the RV she couldn't have moved and would have had 5 zombies attack the RV, so I thought this made more sense,  Traci takes the two down, gets a turn with no zombie activation and starts driving away!
Almost gone!
Slamming the driver door closed, Traci gunned the RV into motion.  Rather ponderously the RV moved forward, building up speed.  Looking right, Traci considered driving back to Jack and Dawn.  It wouldn't take an hour, and they would be shocked at what she found.  After such a hard day, Jack holding her tonight would be wonderful.
Traci turned hard left, heading for the highway.  She had left and wasn't going back...
Traci makes her escape!
So Traci succeeds in getting an RV, has plenty of supplies (three units of food and a ton of guns!) and no strings attached.  I thought for certain she was done for when I tried for the supplies in the car.

I will continue with Dawn, maybe we will revisit Traci in the future...