Sunday, February 28, 2016

Scenery: Ruined Gas Station (Flo's V8 Cafe Toybash) WIP

This starts with a CARS play set of Flo's V8 Cafe.  When I got it, it was already in rough shape, so I figured a ruined gas station was the best way to go.  The set was already missing one gas pump, the top was broken, the sign was missing and some various parts were missing.  It's not the largest building, but the overall look and feel of a gas station was easy to start with.
The original out of the box (not my pic)
The one I found was in pretty bad shape (which to be honest, is the way I love to find these toys!) but still had the main parts intact.  Normally I wouldn't post until I had the build completed, but I am hoping to use this in one of my next campaign games.  With luck, showing something half done will encourage me to finish it more quickly!

Some WIP pictures:
Front view, still pretty clean

Front and above
The first shots I have are pretty clean still.  I'm adding junk to the base, as well as show a little more damage.  The interior I have added some fallen shelves and other bits.  There are some cans and bottles, plus a cash register salvaged from a Polly Pockets play set, just painted up.  I'm pretty pleased with the interior, although I may add a bit more debris before I call it complete.
Interior Details
I have some crushed glass beads I have used for simulated broken glass.  I was hoping they would pick up the light a touch and give that 'broken glass' glint.  It works, but not as well as I had hoped.  I have a ton of beads, so I'm going to play around with them some more and see if I can get them to work better.
Side view, open access plate behind
I placed a wreck where one pump was missing from the original play set.  I'm not pleased with the wreck, so I am making a new one.  The pictures show what I was thinking at least.  I'd like a much more "skeleton" wreck I think.  Hopefully I can make something work.
Wreck where a pump should be
It's a wreck.
The toy was missing the sign post, so I need to come up with a new sign.  I'd like to make both a sign post as well as something for the roof of the building.  There are various details on the roof, I think it should lend itself to a collapsed sign structure once I have a design.

That's it so far, comments and suggestions are welcomed!

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Little Bit of Shelter

Dawn pulled the SUV off of the train tracks, the rhythmic thumping from driving over the rail bridge finally stopping as the vehicle moved onto the muddy ground.  As she drove towards the nearby road, Dawn was glad to be back on  solid ground.  "I thought that drive was going to shake my kidneys loose."  She said to Tina.
Tina looked out the passenger window as Dawn drove onto the road.  "It looks like there are some homes scattered around out here.  Farms too."
Dawn paused and glanced at the sky.  "It's going to be dark soon, we should find a place to crash for the night.  Maybe find some gas and rest a bit."
Tina checked the pistol Dawn had given her, glancing out the window at the scene ahead.  "Maybe we can find some more people.  Maybe there aren't as many zombies here."
Dawn considered what Tina had said for a moment before responding.  "Let's be careful.  If we can find a place without many dead maybe we can stay for a while, rest up for the trip across the state."
Dawn drives into the area
Dawn and Tina have crossed the St. Croix river into Wisconsin.  It is late afternoon of day 41, they need to find a place to spend the night, as the daylight is fading.  There are 4 zombies on the board, this area has an ER of 4.  There are three PEFs, one in each solid "house", they will not move, instead they will represent possible inhabitants.  The area counts as rural, with zombies appearing on a 6 from gunfire or noise.

As it's getting late, the first turn that has doubles for activation will trigger night fall.  That will reduce sight to 24" and then by 2" every turn until it drops to 12".  Dawn and Tina are looking for a place to spend the night, they can clear any buildings that are intact (not ruins).  If they empty them of any hostiles (living or undead) and there are no zombies with 12", they can consider it secure for the night.  Note that they do NOT have to trigger all the PEFs.

I will be using the scarce searching rules, finding anything requires a matching card on a second draw from the risks & rewards deck.  If the group secures a place to stay, they can spend the next day doing a thorough search, which will give normal search results once for each room in the building they stay in.  After a thorough search, the area will be 'fished out' and further searching will result in nothing.

I will also be using slightly modified new melee rules from Two Hour Wargames.  For the most part, it will work as written in the update.  I am adding an effect that when a melee has rounds that exceed the rep of the living character, they will need to check for infection (the "Harry are you okay?" rule) the next time they activate.  However, they will slowly loose rep, losing one point every time doubles come up for activation.  Once their Rep drops to 3 (or if they are already 3 or less, at the first doubles) they turn into a zombie.

On the first turn, the survivors win initiative.
Zombies close in
Dawn pulled the SUV to the side of the road near a wrecked Subaru.  "Let's check this cabin first."  She said to Tina as she moved to get out, grabbing her pack from the back seat.
"There are several of those things around here."  Tina replied, readying her pistol.  "Let's hope we can stay in one of these places."

Not much happens to start.  The survivors park their SUV near the small stone cabin, turning off the engine.  There's no combat this turn, the zombies stroll closer, and the turn ends with one more zombie appering from the engine noise during the turn.

Next turn, Dawn charges the zombie nearest the cabin.  Tina is still a citizen, and suffers from the "Brown Pants" rule, so I don't want to expose her to much chance of melee.  It's going to be tough when they enter the buildings though.
Dawn charges!
Dawn charges the first zombie and easily wins the combat.  She rolls 7d6, five for rep, plus 1 for wielding her machete one handed and plus another 1 for being protected.  The zombie only rolls 3d6, and Dawn wins on the first round.
Tina leads the way to the cabin
Dawn and Tina head into the cabin on the next turn.  Once again, they win initiative.  I love getting to go first, but it does tend to lull one into complacency...
Knock, Knock
Small one room cabin
Dawn pulled open the door on the cabin, stepping into the dim interior.  The earthy smell of wood and stale air greeted her.  Pausing to let her eyes adjust, Dawn slowly scanned the single room.
"Whew.  This must be someone's hunting shack."  Tina said as she poked a blaze orange jacket on the floor.  "Looks like its been empty for a long while."
Dawn relaxed slightly, looking at the dusty floors and furniture.  "Take a look around, I'll watch the door."

Resolving the PEF results in a nothing result, not even an increase in the ER.  Dawn and Tina swap places, and the next turn, Tina searches the cabin.
Zombies move towards the cabin
Dawn covers the door while Tina searches
Unsurprisingly, Tina doesn't find anything.  I plan on Dawn running out and taking out the two zombies by the trees, and Tina can shoot the other as they make their way to the next location.  Of course, the next turn the zombies activate, but the survivors don't.  Sigh.
Zombies swarm the door
Dawn stood in the doorway as the zombies closed in.  "Tina!  we have to move!"  She yelled over her shoulder.
"I can't find anything!"  Tina yelled back.  "Come on, they don't have anything here?"
Dawn swung her machete through the air, preparing to face the undead.  "Get ready, here they come!"  She yelled.
Dawn faces three zombies
Dawn is facing three zombies, this combat should be a bit more dangerous than the first melee.  Things start off pretty well, and Dawn wins by 1, killing one zombie.
Round 1
The next round is a tie.  The rules don't specify what happens with a tie, but I am choosing to count it as a round of melee, which may make a difference for a potential infection check.
Round 2, a tie
 Dawn wins the next round again by one, killing a single zombie.
Round 3
Round 4, Dawn wins
Dawn narrowly misses having to make an infection check, luckily she killed the last zombie on the fourth round of combat and never lost a round.  In my modified version of the melee rules, if the number of rounds of melee exceed the rep of the character, they have to make an infection check on their next activation.

On the next turn, the survivors go first, jogging out to the road.  Tina takes a pair of shots and kills the last zombie in the road before it can charge.
Tina shoots the last zombie
As the echoes of the gunshots faded into the afternoon air, Dawn and Tina could feel a sense of calm in the area.  "I think that was the last of them right here."  Dawn said, looking along both roads.
"Let's check that house up there."  Tina pointed with her pistol a ways up the road.  "I bet it is more comfortable than that cabin."
Dawn looked up to the rapidly sinking sun.  "We need to find a place to camp for the night.  Let's go!"

Dawn and Tina have eliminated all the active zombies on the table.  The sun hasn't started to set yet, and instead of just staying in the small cabin they found cleared, they are checking a bit larger house nearby.
Jogging to the next house
The next house is a much larger building, it is multi-floored and has several rooms on each floor.  I check the PEF and it indicates 4 zombies.  Instead of them all being inside the front door, I will search room by room, drawing a card for each room from the risks and rewards deck until all of them have been killed.  On each turn after a fight or when the zombies win initiative, I will draw another card to see if any zombies 'wander' into where I am (they will get +2 on surprise rolls).  As an added bonus, the sun starts to set as Dawn and Tina enter the house. 

I didn't model out the whole house, and while the toy I am using on the tabletop has an interior, it's just two open rooms, not very exciting or realistic.  I have drawn out a floor plan on some card stock, and I'm using that for the house layout.  I think it works out okay, I do need to paint some more of the dollhouse toys I have for furnishings though!
Entering the house
Glancing over the shot-up pickup truck, Dawn considered checking to see if the truck would run.  "It looks like there was a gun fight around it."  she said to Tina.  "It may still have gas though."
"What do you think this means?"  Tina asked from near the front door of the house.  "It's like one of those markings from Hurricane Katrina."
Dawn stepped up next to Tina at the front door.  A black spray-painted 'X' had some letters and numbers marked around it, across the whole door.  "I don't know.  It does look like some sort of emergency marking though."
Shadows grew up the side of the house as the sun began to set.  Dawn tested the front door, finding it unlocked.  "Let's check this place out in a hurry.  The sun is setting and we won't have light for much longer."
Family room clear
Nothing in the dining room
Dawn holstered her pistol, turning on her flashlight on her phone.  Attaching it to her arm, Dawn moved to the bathroom door.  "I swear I hear something moving in there."  She whispered as she opened the door.
Two zombies
Dawn finds two of the zombies lurking in the bathroom.  As an added twist, I have two child zombies, and encountering them requires a Zed or No Zed check.  Who wants to kill a kid in combat, even if it's a zombie?
Dawn passes her check with 2 successes, and the charge test as well.  She moves right to melee, rolling 8d6 (rep 5, two handed melee weapon, protected) versus 4d6 for the zombies.
Dawn wins by 1 the first round...
...And wins the second round easily.
Leaving the bathroom, Dawn leads the way to the living room attached to the dining area.  They find a lone zombie stumbling over the furniture and Dawn charges into melee.
Dawn faces a lone zombie
Dawn kills the single zombie easily.  After the combat Tina and Dawn search the kitchen and head into the basement, before going upstairs.  Having to draw to find the last zombie lends some tension to the game, and it takes me quite a few turns to move around, checking room by room until the last zombie appears.
Last zombie in a bedroom
The last zombie is another child, and Dawn misses her Zed or No Zed check this time, and counts as unarmed for the first round of combat.  Her rep of 5 carries the day easily though, and she kills the zombie on the first round.
The house is cleared
Night has fallen and the team has secured a place for the night.  I decide they will clear the dead zombies out and do a quick search of the place before I end the game.  Surprisingly, Tina manages to find a luxury item!  They barricade the doors with furniture and block the stairs, before holding up in the master bedroom upstairs.

Keeping it together goes well, Tina gets 2 successes, Dawn gets 3 and they decide to stay together for another day at least.

Dawn leaned against the door, facing Tina laying in the bed.  Bluish light from the moon filtered through the bedroom windows, giving a ghostly hue to the room.  Tina sat up on one elbow, looking at Dawn over the edge of the bed.  "Do we keep moving tomorrow?"
"We'll see what the day looks like.  Maybe we tear this place apart, see what we can find and then decide when we want to go."  Dawn said as she considered their position.
Tina laid back down, staring at the ceiling.  "I hope we can stick around a while.  It would be nice to sleep in a bed every night."

Friday, February 12, 2016

Scenery: Damaged Telephone Poles

A real quick project - inspired by some of my time playing Fallout 4.  There are telephone poles all over, and many in states of ruin (of course).  I have a few telephone poles made by Lemax from after Christmas sales, and I figured turning a couple into ruined versions would be a good use for them.  I wanted something that will look dangerous/damaged and not take too much space on the table.
This is where they start
Base repainted, black wash
I painted the snow (white) base an earth brown, and gave the pole a black wash.  I drilled a couple of holes in the various arms, and ran some small wire I had left over from one of the various toy bashes I have done.  On a side note, it's a shame but I have become quite the hoarder with the various kit bashing and such.  Ahh well, I'll just get some more bins to store stuff in...
Mostly done
After running the wire through, I did a little dry brushing on the wire, but it didn't look right to me.  I went back and painted the wires black again.  I flocked the base with a generic green/yellow mix.  I decided to make a few of these.
Telephone Poles on the street
The three poles next to each other
It's a quick project and easy to do.  The overall look is what I was hoping for, though I considered connecting two of them, but I'm afraid they will be too difficult to game around.  I'm hoping to play soon and try these on the table top.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Bad Day at the Outpost (New ATZ Melee rules test)

Private Boothe checked her pistol again, shaking her head in disgust at the half dozen rounds she had left.  "If those things attack I'm dead!"  She exclaimed.
"Calm down."  Sergeant Hanson said in a gravely voice.  "You're here to drive the Hummer.  Corporal Lewis and I will make sure you're fine."  Looking into the morning gloom around the trenches the trio were stationed in Hanson had a bad feeling.  "It's awfully calm out there..."
With a crackle of static the radio came to life on the nearby table.  "All sectors, plan white!  I say again, plan white!"  The radio went silent as gunfire and explosions suddenly broke the morning calm. 
"Well hell."  Hanson said, unslinging his rifle.  "Seems this day is ruined."
"What is plan white?" Corporal Lewis asked, copying the sergeant and checking his rifle.
"We're being overrun by those things."  Hanson shouldered his rucksack.  "We're on our own now.  Let's leg it to the Hummer, Boothe, get us out of here!"
"Sarge, I think those things are already nearby!"  Lewis said looking out of the trenches.  As the morning light grew brighter, he could see massive amounts of figures in the distance.  "There's a million of 'em!"
"Crap.  We gotta be as quiet as we can until we get to the truck."  Hanson fitted his bayonet to his rifle.  "Let's do this quick."
The start of a bad day
Instead of just changing in the campaign, I have a quick scenario to test out the new melee rules tweaks from Ed at Two Hour Wargames.  The changes seem pretty straightforward, I'm hoping to give them a decent workout.  If you haven't had a chance to download the rules, I suggest getting them, but I will try and relate what is happening as I go through the report.

The scenario will force a large number of zeds into close contact with the living.  It is Day 35, this military post is being overrun by zombies and the action will follow a small observation/guard group as they try to escape.  There will be no special events, zombies will automatically spawn from all noise, 1d6 zombies will enter each end of the roadway at the end of each zombie turn.  All zombies will spawn inside of the the fences, basically on the road or in the trench area.  Nine zombies start on the table and there is one PEF beside the Hummer, which will be a group of 6 zombies when it is triggered.  The PEF won't move, it will just stay still until triggered.

The group consists of:
Sergeant Hanson (rep 5, Assault rifle, bayonet, BAP, Protected) *Star
Corporal Lewis (rep 4, Assault rifle, bayonet, grenade, Protected)
Private Boothe (rep 3, Pistol, knife, Protected) Has 'driver' special ability - can automatically start the Hummer and counts rep +1 for driving checks

From the new rules it appears zombies are going to be rep 3.  I am leaving the zombies as a base rep of 4 for this report, as the evidence I have is just one mention in an example on the summary card.  As ammo is a concern, nobody will fire when charged, but instead will go straight to melee.  (Besides, I am trying to have as much hand to hand as possible!)

Turn one activation: Humans 4, Zombies 2

With three zombies solo in the trenches, each model moves to fight one zombie each.  This will also give me a decent test of the three different character setups.
Lewis is up first, his rep 4, plus a 2 handed weapon (rifle with bayonet) and being protected gives him 7d6 in melee, versus the zombie's 4d6.

Lewis Attacks!
and rolls well
Lewis rolls three successes to two for the zombie.  He gets one additional success for fighting a zombie, but doesn't need it.  Each success over the zombies equals a kill.  He handles the zombie easily.
Sergeant Hanson and Private Boothe both do well, handling their opponents.  On the zombie's activation, two zeds charge the sergeant and Private Boothe. 
Sergeant Hanson handles his attackers easily, with three more successes than the zeds.  Boothe has to fight a bit more to get through hers...  Boothe rolls 5d6 for melee (rep 3, plus 1d for 1 hand melee weapon and plus 1d for protected), the zombies get 5d6 as well (rep 4 zombie, plus 1d for second zed).  It's a pretty even match.
Blurry action in the trench
Boothe wins by 1
Boothe by 1 again!
The first round of melee was even, with both sides rolling two successes.  Boothe gets an automatic +1 success for being alive versus the undead, and wins by one.  This eliminates one zed, and the melee continues, with the zombies loosing 1 die.  The second round of melee goes much like the first, with Boothe winning thanks to the human bonus success. 

Completing the melee in the turn is a change I must say I like, it makes the game move along much more quickly.

Turn two activation: Humans 3 Zombies 5 (no activation)

Hanson charges a lone zombie in front of him, clearing the way to the Hummer.  His 8 dice in melee is pretty impressive.  Corporal Lewis moves up to the Hummer and springs the PEF.
What's over here?

Cpl Lewis fires on the zombies!
Corporal Lewis fires his assault rifle into the zeds, killing two.  His shots will summon three more, but at least they will be further away to start next turn!  Boothe decides to run back and stay close to Sgt Hanson, in a more clear area for now.
Boothe decides to stay with sarge
Turn three activation : Zombies 4, Humans 2

The zombies surge forward the next turn, a group of two (from the shots last turn) move towards Hanson and Boothe with a group of four following close behind them.
It seemed safer just a minute ago...
Near the Hummer, the zombies swarm into Lewis.  I had misjudged the distance behind Lewis to a lone zombie on the road, and it added into the melee.  He was facing five zombies!
Lewis is surrounded
Lewis is rolling 7d6 for melee (rep 4, plus two handed weapon, plus protected) the zombies start at 8d6 (4d6 for first zed, plus 4d6 for four additional zombies).  This fight unfolds over a few rounds of melee.
Lewis wins by 2 (thanks to the bonus success!)
Three zombies left
Lewis wins by one.  Thank you bonus!
Two zeds seems easier
Lewis finishes them off easily
Lewis held up pretty well, once he managed to get ahead in dice, even with a 'bad' round of dice, the bonus success kept him killing zombies.  Luckily he's well armed and protected too.
Sarge takes out two more
At the end of the turn, Hanson had taken out two more zeds near the hummer, Boothe gets in the truck and gets it started and Lewis joins her.  The group should be able to drive to safety next turn.

Turn four activation: Zombies 3, Humans 1
Zombie surge!
Ahh, what is that about plans and contact with the enemy?  Zombies stream forward activating first, and four of them crash into Sergeant Hanson.  A large group behind the hummer can't quite get to the truck, so sarge is on his own for melee this turn.
Sarge faces tough odds
Sarge is still rolling 8d6 for melee (rep 5, 2 handed weapon, protected) and the zombies are rolling 7d6 (rep 4 plus 3 extra zombies).  Sarge has the advantage by one die.  Things don't start all that great...
A tie.  Hmmm, now what?
A tie is not mentioned in the summary for the new melee rules.  I assume that all parties just proceed to another round of combat.  Unlike previous editions there isn't any additional dice for 'Evenly Matched'.  I just re roll the combat and continue to fight rounds of hand to hand.
Oops.  Sarge looses by 1.
The zombies win by 1 success.  Rolling for their damage (see the chart) I roll a 6, Sergeant Hanson reduces his rep by 1.
When I first read this, I thought the zombies were rolling against their TOTAL success, not the difference.  It's an interesting idea - a large number of zombies, or even just multiple zombies could kill someone pretty quickly rolling against their total not the difference.  I may consider that for a house rule, if I am feeling particularly sadistic...
Sarge is down 1 rep
Epic comeback starts right here
One zed down, three to go
Sarge wins by 2 (thanks bonus!)
Last zombie to go
Now the dice roll well!
Sergeant Hanson clears the street.
Under the new rules, if a human looses any round of combat with a zed, after the combat on their next activation, they must make a 'Harry are you okay?' check.  This is rolling 1d and adding it to the character's rep.  On a 9+ they are okay, otherwise they will turn into a zombie on the next activation that comes up double equal to their rep.  (The turning process is new compared to FFO, it gives some uncertainty to when a character may turn.)
Not Hanson's day.
Sergeant Hanson is infected.  He elects not to get to the truck and instead charges and kills a pair of zombies that didn't quite make it to melee last turn.  Boothe guns the Hummer forward, running down two zombies in the process.  I handled the Hummer versus zombies per the existing FFO rules (roll vs bash).
Looks like two of them will escape
Turn five activation: Humans 3, Zombies 2
The Hummer is moving, so as an active, moving vehicle, it moves first and exits the table.  I decide to play out the sergeants last turns before he becomes a zombie or is killed.  He fights for a couple of turns, moving to the middle of the road before his rifle runs out of ammo.  Then we get this situation:
Alone and surrounded
I may be interpreting the rule wrong, but it seems that all zombies that can make contact from charging will charge and add into the combat.  The rules are as follows:
If I interpret the first bullet point to mean all the zombies within 6" (the zombie charge range) add into a combat, it means that weight of numbers from zombies has become very dangerous.  I like the idea of this, zombies in large groups would be a monstrous force to deal with, and having them all add into a melee simulates this pretty well.
For our scenario, I did a rough mark out of a 6" radius around Sergeant Hanson below:
That's a lot of zombies
I moved all the zombies in charge radius first to form a mass around the sergeant.  This was a total of 12 zombies.  Sarge is still rolling 8d6, the zombies this time will roll an impressive 15d6 (4d6 from rep, plus 11d6 for extra zombies).
Sarge looses by 1
The first roll off was actually very close.  Hanson rolled 6 successes, giving him a total of 7 with the bonus success.  The zombies got a (slightly above) statistical average 8 successes.  Sarge looses one rep from this beating, and never recovers...
Ouch, loosing by 5
Sergeant Hanson is knocked out of the fight and eaten by the zombie horde.  What a horrible end for his day.

The new rules did prove to be pretty well streamlined.  Even dragging out the sergeants demise only added about 10 minutes to the play through time.  I like the idea of finishing off a melee in a turn, no more just having an endless hand to hand combat between a survivor and a zombie just because the dice decide I can't kill the damn zed.  I'm still not sure if I will switch the campaign over right away, or wait until I can get ATZ: Fade to Black.