Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Happened?

Sorry for dropping out of sight.  I wanted to post something long before now, but I have just not had any chance to do so.  I wish I could say this was where I would be able to start posting regularly again, but I don't know when I will be back.

My family is facing a problem.  My father in law has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and we are working to spend as much time supporting him and my mother in law for as long as he can fight this.  I know it's a downer, but I need to spend my time in the real world, not in gaming for now.

I am hoping to be back for Zomtober.  It all depends on what my family needs.

Once I have moved past this, I will be back to gaming.  Until then I will be on hiatus.  I thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.  Seeing a loved one dying is a difficult (to say the least) situation but I look forward to the distraction that is the zombie apocalypse.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

This is WAR!

"We need supplies."  Patrick said, lacing up his boots.  "I say we check that small warehouse we passed on Highway 11."
Sandra looked over the few supplies they had in the truck they were using.  "You're right, we need more than a a couple of cans of beans and a blanket."  Pulling on her jacket, she added "Let's go."

This is a recap of the first scenario, meant to teach the basics for The Walking Dead - All Out War.  I have played it a couple of times, both solo and with one other player.  I will show just one of my solo plays, it was the most interesting of the times I played anyway.
Basic setup
The first basic scenario is a supply run.  I have to use Sandra and Patrick, a runner and a bruiser.  This is mean to teach the game, so I have no equipment, and the survivors are designated by the scenario.  I have setup 1/4 of the playmat that comes with the game to designate the warehouse, which is supposed to be 10"x10".  I have to get three supply crates for a successful mission and there are three walkers to face to start out.
Sandra and Patrick
The miniatures that came with the game are of good quality.  I expected as much, Mantic games has a good record of quality.  The plastic is bit soft, but I think they will take paint well enough.  As you can see, I have not painted them yet.
Sandra and Patrick move towards the supplies
Event card
Walkers close on the survivors
There are a couple of key concepts to the game, noise and events.  As you move, you can choose to run (move 8"), which causes noise, and the nearest walker to shamble (move 6") or you can choose to sneak, and move 4".  On the first turn I have Sandra run, with her special ability she has a chance to avoid combat, and Patrick sneaks.  Each turn, you draw from an event deck, which determines how the walkers move and can cause general chaos.
Sandra loses her melee
After melee the losing models are pushed 1" away from the victor, allowing movement each turn.  I found this keeps the game moving along.  After a few turns, things get messy, I move Sandra to get the crates and Patrick keeps the walkers busy.
Things seem to be okay
Moving around it seems things are well in hand.  The events stack up, and the walkers really make things..."interesting".
Pandemonium is aptly named
More walkers appear
The events cards definitely give the game twists and turns.  You may have the walkers not even move, or you may see several more enter the game.  I must admit they do make each game unique, on one play through the walkers barely did anything, we killed them (or knocked them down) and grabbed the supplies in like 3 turns.  Kinda boring.  Other times went sideways in a hurry...
Two down, one to go
Sandra and Patrick move along, grabbing the second supply crate.  I hope to just move along the back wall and grab the final supply crate to win the scenario.
Walkers swarm the survivors!
Luckily Sandra has picked up some armor and a tire iron.  She and Patrick manage to win the melee, even killing one walker (with a head shot) and buy enough space to get the final supplies.
A walker is knocked down...
...Only to get back up again
Sandra moves to the final crate, and the game gives a final surprise!
A lurker!
Luckily Sandra has football pads on, combined with a decent defense roll, she doesn't take any damage.
Sandra and equipment
The final round of melee goes well for the survivors, and the victory conditions are met.  The game ends with the survivors getting the supply markers.  Even with some walkers on the board, the victory conditions are met and the game ends.
The walkers are pushed away and knocked down
As Sandra grabbed the last pack of supplies, a legless torso grabbed and bit at her.  It's teeth latched onto the shoulder pads she was wearing, and she kicked the lurker away.  She yelled at Patrick "I've got them!  Let's go!"

So I have played the game a few times.  There are good and bad points.

The good is the quality of the minis, the various components and the rules are well done.  Games move at a fair pace and for a zombie game, how can you not want to have the Walking Dead franchise?  There are decent rules for solo play, and competitive play as well.

On the bad side, I dislike games that use 'special' dice in place of numerical results from d6s.  How hard would it be to note results as 1-2, 1-3, etc?  The lack of customization and the limited number of survivors hurts the repeat play of the basic game.  I realize I can get a few expansions, but they are still limited.

Once the narrative campaign expansion comes out, it might improve my opinion of the overall game.  It is good, but on a par with Zombicide (which is a great game as well) but I think it is lacking in various scenarios.  It's worth checking out and worth getting it for the miniatures if nothing else.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Welcome to the Jungle!

This week I tried out Zombie Island from The Flux Capacity.  My wife and I have taken turns playing the survivors and the zombie master.  The game has been reviewed on Board Game Geek, where is gets a 5.6 out of 10.  I'll try and give a complete review as well.
Cover of the rules, showing components
First, unboxing shows pretty good production values, I was impressed with the weight of the box and the tiles that make up the bulk of the components.  Both are of a good quality cardstock.  I was also impressed that they added a few tiles for future expansion.  That was a nice surprise.
Everything out of the box
There are not many miniatures, and they are a bit disappointing.  While they are made of decent quality plastic, they are very sloppy casts or prints.  It's too bad, they could have been a good feature for the game.
Mold lines and spatter!  Too bad
 I tried to show the best figs I could find, they are all about the same quality.  Very sloppy looking, but they are a hard plastic.  I may still paint them up, if I feel ambitious. 
Miniatures on a game tile
The game premise is pretty straightforward.  The 'explorers' move through the jungle, looking to discover 26 tiles.  Four of the tiles have zombie spawn points, marked with a 'Z'.  Humans can move an unlimited distance, where the zombies can only move 3 spaces, and can only enter one new tile per move.  All movement is straight line only (think the queen from chess).
Game underway
Once a survivor reveals all the tiles, they are trying to get back to the beach.  Meanwhile, the zombie master is slowly losing control of their minions, so the explorer can simply outlast the zombies.
Run through the jungle
The explorer gets up to 4 'machete tiles' to modify the board as they move.  These allow for movement through areas that are impassable.  It also allows for the game to change each time.  They can also be used for an escape from a bad situation...
Boxed in!
Zombie chow
Game play is pretty fast.  While the explorer has a machete, if a zombie makes contact, that's it.  No combat at all.  Playing as a match, with players trading sides has been fun.  There are a couple of scenarios, but they are all basically the same, with up to 3 explorers on the board at the same time.
The grey explorer makes a run
Zombies hot in pursuit!
Making a loop!
While the game is fun and quick, it is pretty limited.  I would have hoped for some additional missions, with alternate tile usage perhaps.  Overall I would say it's a fun quick game, but not one to replace something like Zombicide.  It reminds me of Twilight Creations Zombies!!! game, without the randomness of the various cards.
Great tag line!

I would recommend this game for a quick pick up game or if you want to have a zombie themed game with people who find Zombicide too daunting.  It really plays pretty fast so it's not a huge investment from that standpoint.  I wish the miniatures had been a bit better, but overall the components were good quality.

I'd score it about 6/10, we have been having fun this week with it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day Zombies!

It's Father's Day in the US, so I'd like to send a happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.  I hope you had a great day!

I had my two nephews visit this weekend.  They are 2 and 6, and now I realize why I am glad my kids are 21 and 23!  Not much for gaming, but I did get a couple of great zombie themed games to try out.
High hopes!

First is The Walking Dead: All Out War.  I have not played it, but have seen it played in a few places and it certainly looks cool.  I'm looking forward to at least painting the minis and adding them to my ATZ games.
Has potential...

Second is called Zombie Island.  I have never heard of this game, my wife found it at a game store that specializes in out of print games and accessories.  I haven't had a chance to unbox it yet, but I plan on breaking it out and posting a game recap.  It sounds like fun, you are an "explorer" making your way through a jungle infested with zombies.  That is what I have gotten from a quick read of the box...

It was a busy and tiring weekend.  Hopefully Fear the Walking Dead tonight doesn't disappoint!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wasteland Cruiser

I found an older muscle car toy at a second hand shop, and it inspired me to create a post-apocalyptic ride.  It was red and beat up pretty bad, the rear window was missing, wheels damaged, chipped bumper, not a wreck, but in bad shape.  I'm sure you all know the inspiration for this vehicle...
Mad Max anyone?
I added some fuel tanks to the rear window area (taken from a truck) as they fir the space pretty well.  The front end has a reinforced bumper made from wire and sprue parts.  I also added wire mesh to the windows, they need some protection.  Overall a rust and dirty paint job finished the cruiser.
Ready for a rough road
Improvised front ram
Rex stands in for Max
Pretty much straightforward, a rusty beat up muscle car.  Some reinforcement and extra fuel tanks for the long empty roads...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Armed Zombies and Ruins

A quick post of some projects.  I have some specialized zombies, armed with hand weapons.  One of the random event cards has a zombie armed with a hand weapon, which increases it's impact rating by 1.  Under the new melee rules, I have the zombies gain +1d6 in combat, just like a living opponent.

Jack says hello to three armed zeds
These zombies are not using the weapons, they are just armed with them.  Given the way zombies fight, the mere presence of the weapons makes them more dangerous.  If defeated they could be a source for weapons, which could make them worth dealing with.
Just a quick paint job

I also painted a toy, or part of a toy I had found at a second hand store.  Nothing fancy, I figure it will make a nice piece of ruined scenery.
Jack checks the random rusty pillars
Not too much done this week, but still progress.  I'm hoping to finish off some more small scenery bits and some other projects on my workbench.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I've got a Ticket to Ride...

Okay, this is embarrassing.  It's been a month of life just conspiring against me.  I apologize for the lack of updates, but between an illness, holiday, work trip and new game I just plain didn't have any time left for zombie gaming.
Not my work, but a cool zombie apocalypse train!

On a gaming note, my sister introduced me to the board game Ticket to Ride.  I know it's been around for years, but I hadn't tried it.  Trains just are not a huge draw for me.  I played Empire Builder way back in the day and couldn't get into it.  Ticket to Ride is a much more social or beer and pretzels game, and it has been a go-to for the wife and I for the past month or so.
Ticket to Ride USA board
The game is basically collecting cards to turn in sets and 'build' rail lines.  You can focus on making the longest sets possible or building specific routes and connecting cities to fulfill various 'tickets' to score points for routes.  I am pretty impressed with the game mechanics, it allows for different strategies as well as ways to score and win from seemingly poor starts.
Example game play

No zombies, but there is some sort of expansion with a large monster (Godzilla) and space alien.  Not sure what that is about, but the game has solid mechanics and I could see it adapted to many milieus.  Who knows, maybe there will be a Walking Dead version...  (hmm, they did have rail lines to Terminus...)
Map expansion maybe?

It is a fun strategy board game, and there are plenty of expansions and options to keep it fresh.  We have the basic game, set in the USA as well as the Ticket to Ride:Europe set.  It gives us a geography lesson when we play as well!

I have waited to post again until I felt I could commit to a few posts and get back into regular posting.  Once I get back to the apocalypse, we will see what happened to Dawn after the gang attack!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Deadly Ground

Dawn was startled awake by the sound of assault rifles firing at close range.  Bullets pinged off the pavement and shed walls around her as she shook off sleep and drew her pistol.  With a sudden cry Traci yelled out and spun to the ground near the rear doors of the garage.  Dawn could see Jack sprawled out on the floor, he looked like he was still asleep.  She hoped he wasn't dead.
"Come out you bitch!"  A gruff voice barked and laughed.  "You killed two of mine, time to die!"
Dawn grimaced, but just kicked off her sleeping bag, aiming at the man at the front of car.  "

The next turn the survivors win initiative.  Dawn is already in sight to one ganger, and she starts by shooting him down.
Dawn shoots from the ground..
..and starts to even the odds!
Beckie watched Dawn shoot, she could hear the gangers moving around the car.  She knew this could be the end, and even as her bite ached, she knew she could help.  Racking her shotgun, She stood up and aimed over the car...
Beckie stands up
I make a bit of a meta-game decision for Beckie when she activates.  With her being infected, even if nobody else knows, she is more expendable.  I am going to take a chance and hope the car offers some protection in the shoot-out from triggering an In Sight check.  She should be able to catch two gangers, and with her shotgun she has a good chance for hitting both.
Beckie drops two gangers
Beckie wins the In Sight check, and scores well for shooting.  Too bad she couldn’t get more hits, or catch all three gangers.  Her attack drops two of the gangers and she has at least cover from the leader.  Unfortunately, his shooting is pretty good, and he knocks Beckie OOF.  That leaves Dawn alone to face the gang.
Beckie gets shot
The zombies activate, and move towards the gunfire.  There's not much to show, and John moves forward to finish off Dawn.
John moves towards dawn
“I’m going to kill you bitch!”  John yelled as he stepped around the car, looking for Dawn.  “You can’t hide forever!”  The darkness and shadows made spotting anyone difficult, but John could see the mess of sleeping bags where the group had been sleeping.
As John rounded the end of the car, Dawn replied “Who’s hiding?”  Gunfire shattered the quiet night again.
Dawn wins the In Sight Check
John moves forward on his turn (I pass 2d on his action check) looking to finish this with an In Sight showdown.  This was another moment of meta-gaming (hey, this is a tough scenario, I’m trying for all the angles!) as I purposefully had Dawn prone, which gives her a bonus to shooting.  She needs to make every shot count!
John falls!
Dawn manages 4 passes to john’s 3 and shoots first.  She hits twice, getting a kill shot and a knock down.  John has Hard as Nails, and changes the kill to a knock down result.  Rolling for the knock down, he passes zero, and is Obviously Dead.  Woot!
Zombies wander the streets
I haven’t been focusing on it much, but zombies have been spawning near the garage, and the undead are attracted to the sounds of shooting.  Dawn has plenty of work left if she is going to save her team.  She could easily exit the table and survive, but that would be the death of everyone else. 
Dawn protects Traci
Dawn drew her machete, rushing towards Traci as a shambling woman in a dress appeared in the garage.  Her machete sliced the things head in two, tumbling the corpse to the ground.  Dawn paused, squinting into the dark, trying to see if any more of the dead or gang was close.  She could hear the rumble of motorcycles getting closer. 
After a moment, Dawn checked Traci for signs of life and found she was just unconscious.  “Let’s get you into the car.” Dawn whispered and dragged her friend away.
Dawn drags Traci to the car
Dawn has some time to react, first up is taking down a zombie that was attracted to the rear of the garage.  Luckily it didn’t quite make it to Traci, or she would have been eaten!  I decide Dawn is going to try and pile everyone into the car and just get out of the area.  At the very least she can get everyone in the vehicle and not worry about random zombies walking up and eating them.
Sally and team encounter zombies
Sally heard the gunfire from the garage, she had heard John yelling before everything went silent again.  John didn’t yell the all clear, and she knew he wouldn’t be quiet unless he was hurt, or worse!  Leading her group through the ruins was slowing them down, but now as she could see the headlights from the motorcycles approaching, she wasn’t sure what to do.
“Hey, are we going or what?”  Dan asked.  “Standing in the road like this feels stupid!”
Sally shot him a hard look.  “Just wait a sec.  We’ll go when Scott and the bikers are ready!”
Sally's team facing zombies
Luckily for Dawn, the NPC movement rolls for Sally have her waiting more than charging.  Add in zombies moving towards her group, and they don't move much.  This break will give Dawn a chance to not face all the gangers at once.  Dawn spends the next couple of turns getting everyone into the car, and taking Beckie’s shotgun for the inevitable face off coming up.
The bikers arrive!
With a roar the four bikers drove into the area.  Scott pointed to the right as the group passed a pickup truck, and the the group pulled their bikes over.  Their headlights illuminated the area, showing zombies wandering the roads and several feasting on fallen gangers.
"Let's clear them out!"  Scott yelled.  "Where the hell is everyone!"  He continued as he parked his bike, looking for John.
More gangers!
The bikers arrive, and bring more zombies as well.  They have an idea where Dawn is, and move towards the garage, shooting the undead as they approach.
Gangers move towards the zombies
Scott racked his shotgun as his team crossed the road.  "Clear those things from our guys!"  He yelled and took aim at the feasting zombies ahead.
"There's zombies everywhere!"  Eugene yelled, looking around as he loaded his machine pistol.  
"Calm down you pussy!" Scott yelled.  "We've faced more before!"
The gang clears the doorway
The gang lets fly and clears out a bunch of zombies.  Eugene manages to go out of ammo, but otherwise the shooting goes perfectly for the gang.
Dawn moves around the car
Dawn set Beckie in the back seat of the car.  As bullets pinged off the car and the garage around her, she picked up her shotgun.  "I think I'm going to need this more than you for now, Beckie." She said and moved behind the car, waiting for the gangers to get close.

Dawn gets everyone in the car, and I have her grab Beckies shotgun.  The extra firepower is going to be handy.  I have her move around the rear of the car, I'm hoping to limit the number of gangers that can see her when they come in.
I almost forgot - the zombies go.
Zombies close in
Zombie grabs Dan from behind
The zombies crash into both groups of gangers.  Scott shoots his way clear, but Eugene has problems...
Scott clears the horde
Dan is killed
The next turn starts with doubles (Beckie moves to infection level 2) and then the zombies go first.
Zombies swarm the gang!
Two zombies attack Lola!
The zombies attacking Lola have a tough time.  She shoots and knocks one down before melee, and hacks the other in melee easily.
Lola handles the zombies
Scott looked at the undead closing in, they were shambling out of the darkness, in a seemingly never ending stream.  Almost in a panic he started firing his shotgun, yelling at the others to shoot as well.  A choked scream from Eugene told him not everyone was going to make it through tonight.
"Shoot and Scoot!  Towards the garage!"  He yelled as gunfire rippled through the night.
Eugene is down
The gangers activate, shooting and then moving towards the garage.  Scott goes out of ammo (not a surprise from the shotgun) and everyone moves towards the garage.
The gang shoots the zombies
Lola finishes off the zombie nearest her, and Sally once again rolls zero successes, and decides the best course of action is to hold in the road.  Dawn activates last, and I decide it's time to got for encountering the gangers!
Dawn moves up and spots the gangers!
Dawn made sure her shotgun was loaded and ready, and slid along the car to the garage entrance.  She could make out three men, one looked like he was reloading his shotgun.  She bumped the car as she stood for a clear shot and the men spun on her.
"Kill her!"  Scott shouted, desperately trying to load his shotgun.
The In Sight test goes Dawn's way
Dawn fires and manages to hit both gangers who can fire.  One does get his shots back and gets a kill on Dawn, which changes to a knocked down.  She passes 2d and will be able to carry on next turn.
Two more gangers down
Dawn felt like she had been hit with a sledgehammer as the large caliber pistol round knocked her down next to the car.  She was amazed that the road leathers and the ballistic vest still held up to the gunshot.  Grunting as she righted herself and started to stand, she momentarily thought that just a few months ago she never would have considered shooting other people, even as she saw two downed forms in the road in front of her.
Dawn faces off with Scott
Leveling the shotgun on the last ganger, Dawn yelled out “Drop the gun!  I’ll shoot!”
Scott was trying to cram a shell into the shotgun, he had dropped three other shells to the pavement as he heard the blasts from Dawn’s shotgun take down his teammates.  “Screw that!  I’ll kill you!”  he yelled back in defiance.
Dawn shook her head and pulled the trigger, a cloud of lead engulfing the foolish biker.
Dawn finishes off Scott
Dawn wins initiative, stands up and steps in front of the car.  This triggers another In Sight check with the last ganger, Scott.  He is still trying to reload his shotgun, but Dawn isn’t feeling generous, and Scott doesn’t pass any dice in a check to see if he will throw down his weapon and surrender or flee.  Dawn kills him with a shotgun blast.
Dawn wins the In Sight
Sally finally passes her checks and moves her group forward.  We are going to get another round of In Sight checks!  
Dawn heard a gasp and the slap of feet on the road.  She whirled around to see Sally brandishing her pistol and looking shocked to see the crumpled form of Scott on the ground.  Behind Sally Gary aimed his assault rifle, surprised to see Dawn still standing.
“Where’s John?”  Sally yelled, facing Dawn.  Her hand had the slightest tremble as she took aim.
“I have no idea which of them was John.”  Dawn replied, holding her shotgun at the ready.  “Everyone who came in after us is dead.  Why don’t you just run away?”
With a yell, Sally started firing.
Dawn takes down Sally
Mike misses Dawn

Mike misses Dawn, but passes his man down check.  Dawn passes her received fire check and gets a rushed shot.

Dawn finishes off Mike
There are quite a few zombies appearing on the table.  This is going to be a problem, but Dawn can hopefully get in the car and drive away when she finishes with the gang.  Lola isn't close enough for the In Sight check.  She fails her man down check and is fleeing, if she can get away.
Zombies appear in hordes!
Dawn goes first, then the zombies, then Lola.  Two zombies are entering the rear of the garage, so she charges them.
Dawn attacks the zombies
Dawn takes down one zombie and is charged by the other, which she handles easily.  I figure if she is facing zombies, it is best to stay in melee to reduce more from appearing.  Lola and the downed gangers do not fare so well.
Zombie feasting begins!
Lola is swarmed
Dawn heard a scream from the roadway.  With grim satisfaction, she realized the last ganger had been killed by the zombies.  Slowly she moved towards the front of the garage, pausing when she saw the undead feasting on the downed gangers.
"Looks like I'm clear."  she mumbled.  Looking around at the gore nearby, another thought occurred to her.  Ditching the shotgun in the car, she hefted her machete and jogged into the roadway.  "Time to finish off the deadheads!"  she thought.
Dawn stands alone
I could end it here, but I decide to try and secure the area.  The zombies are distracted by feasting, so she can run up them and pop the weasel on most of them.  If she can expose the last two PEFs and clear the board of zombies, I'll take all the looted weapons and four units of fuel from the cycles.
<Cue a montage of action shots!>
Dawn wades into the zombies

Taking on zombies in the road

Checking the last PEF
Dawn runs across the board and reveals the PEFs.  Along the way, she gets doubles for for activation twice, which moves Beckie's infection along to level 4.  In the end, Dawn manages to get a ton of guns and the fuel.
She also notices Beckie turning, as I check to see if everyone survives...

Dawn opened the car and gingerly moved Jack and Traci back to their sleeping bags.  She checked their wounds, dressing them as best she could.  "Looks like you'll be down for awhile."  She said as she tried to make them comfortable.
Beckie coughed from the car, a deep rattling gurgle escaping her body.  Dawn looked at her with concern, worried her wounds were worse than they appeared.  Slowly moving Beckie back to her sleeping bag, Dawn saw dark veins crisscrossing Beckie's neck and arms.  
"Oh Beckie!"  Dawn exclaimed, checking Beckie's arm.  Slowly pulling back her sleeve, Dawn revealed a nasty wound slowly oozing a greenish pus.  A gunshot wound near the infected bite looked like a minor scrape in comparison.
"What do we do..."  Dawn mumbled and slumped to the floor, knowing Beckie was condemned to death.

Everyone manages to survive, though I rule Beckie will pull through just to cause more trouble for the team.  Does Dawn kill her before everyone else recovers?  I say no, for now...