Monday, February 7, 2011

Timeout for Learning

I decided to take a break from my campaign and play a one off game using my survivor and ganger minis.  I'm still getting familiar with how the Reaction System works.  All the games I've played to this point have not had humans fighting humans - at least not in large enough groups to make me work through the reactions.  This report will have more rules details than what I've been doing.  If you notice something that doesn't seem right please comment.  I may have misunderstood something in the rules.

I dug out some old scifi terrain I made years ago for 40K.  You might recognize the trash and random bits I used to cobble it all together.  I think it makes for a passable industrial area for ATZ.  I'm counting this as a suburban area for this scenario and only the large square warehouse building can be entered.  All the rest of the buildings are storage tanks or machinery.

For those that are interested, the vehicles are all Fast Lane 1/43 scale diecast.  The roads are homemade from sheet foam I got at Hobby Lobby and painted.  The hedges/fences are scratch built from dowel bits and kitchen pot scrubbers.  The trees/woods are Woodland Scenics mounted on foamboard or card shapes to designate the edge of the wooded area.  The stacks of barrels and crates are a combination of scratch built, some Games Workshop terrain kit stuff and some 1/35 scale military models.  All of this terrain is stuff I've been building and collecting for years.  Some of these pieces are literally 15 or more years old!  Scary...
The survivors started at the edge of the board near their pickup.  The characters are defined as follows:
   Doid (Star), Rep. 5; Shotgun, bat; athlete, fencer
   Mom, Rep. 4; 2xBA pistols; slow
   Doc, Rep. 4; shotgun, axe, pistol
   Monkeyboy, Rep. 3; pistol, hockey stick; athlete
   Pinkie, Rep. 3; bat and shield (protected); brawler
The gangers started at the opposite side of the board.  At the beginning of the scenario they are investigating the utility truck.  In the picture below the characters are as follows, from left to right:
   Franklin, Rep. 3; 2xBA pistols, knife
   Teesha, Rep. 3; pistol, knife
   Tyrese, Rep. 5 (Star); 2xBA pistols, knife
   Randall, Rep. 4; shotgun, knife
I only counted the survivors for initial zombie placement rolls since I didn't want so many starting zeds that my groups never got into a fight with each other.  I rolled 10 zeds.   I then deployed the zombies using the center of the board as the deviation point and they ended up scattered nicely between the two groups.
Turn 1 - Activation Roll:  Survivors - 4, Gangers - 5, Zeds - 6
The zombies do nothing.
Gangers:  Tyrese checks the truck for keys and finds nothing. The rest of the gang take up defensive positions, some drawing their knives anticipating melee with the nearby zeds.  Teesha wanders over to one of the crates and searches it finding nothing.  (I drew one card from the ATZ deck and got 'none' for loot.  Apparently this stack of stuff had long since been looted...)
Survivors:  Decide to investigate the warehouse.  One zed is close enough to charge so Doid and Doc attack and take it out easily.  Doid is allowed to choose to charge since he is a star.  Doc passes 1d6 on the 'Wanting to Charge' test but since Doid is the group leader and passed 1d6 for the LDR Die, Doc gets to add 1d6 and counts as passing 2d6.  The melee is short and brutal. Doid rolls 6d6 (5 for Rep plus 1 for having higher impact weapon) the zed rolls 1 as usual.  The zed scores 0 successes and Doid scores 4 - total obliteration for the zed!  The rest of the group closes in behind Doid and Doc, facing around to cover all approaches.
Turn 2 - Activation:  S-4, G-1, Z-2
Survivors activate first and move towards the warehouse, continuing to cover all approaches.
The zombies all move towards the humans, either Ganger or Survivor.  A few zombies move into sight.  Doc passes 0d6 on the In Sight test and does nothing.  Monkeyboy passes 2d6 and holds his fire (sound discipline is critical!).  Mom passes 1d6 and snap fires, killing one zed.  Pinkie also passes 1d6 but has no ranged weapon so does nothing.  One zed is within charge range of Doid.  I choose to have Doid pass 1d6 which allows him to melee normally but not fire.  (I don't want to make noise that will attract more zeds...)  In the first round of melee, Doid rolls 4 successes and the zed 1.  In the second round neither score any successes so Doid is trapped in melee with the zed.
The Gangers hear Mom's shot and are alerted to the presence of other humans  They all pass 2d6 on the Wanting to Charge test and plow into the approaching zeds, killing them easily.  This brings them into sight of Doc and Monkeyboy who both pass 1d6 on the In Sight test - they see them but halt in place and do nothing.  Considering that they have no weapons with enough range it wouldn't have mattered if they'd been able to fire anyway...
No new zeds are generated from the shot.

Doc and Monkeyboy's view of the Gangers
Ganger's view of the Survivors
Turn 3 - Activation: S-6, G-4, Z-3
The Survivors all hesitate (not able to activate).  Since Doid is trapped in melee maybe they are waiting for orders...
 
Gangers:  Tyrese and Randall advance to cover, watching the Survivors.  Franklin and Teesha charge the next closest zombie.  Both pass 1d6 but are able to add Tyrese's LDR die (which he passed) so count as passing 2d6.  Teesha easily kills the zed (reminded me of Michonne from the Walking Dead comic...)
Zombies:  All move towards the humans, some charging the Survivors.  Pinkie passes 0d6 on the Being Charged test but adds Doid's LDR so is able to melee normally.  Monkeyboy passes 1d6 and adds the LDR die so he shoots and then melees normally.  His shot kills the zed closing on him.  Doid melees and after 3 more rounds is STILL locked in combat.  This is one tough zed!  Pinkie manages to take out the zed that charged her. No new zeds are generated by the shooting.

Aerial view at the end of turn 3
Turn 4 - Activation: S-2, G-6, Z-3
The Gangers hesitate, uncertain of whether to confront the Survivors in a direct assault or move to flank them.  They are not able to activate...
Zombies: One zed charges Franklin who passes 2d6 on the Being Charged test.  He fires one shot and kills the zed.
The zombies on the other side of the table also charge the humans.  Doid finally manages to put down the tough zed he's been wrestling with for 3 turns.  Monkeyboy also puts down a zed in melee, cracking it's skull with his hockey stick.
Survivors: the group all moves into cover behind the tanks and crates to their right, hoping to catch the Gangers in the open.  Everyone is able to Fast Move, even Mom, who is slow, and get into cover.

The Survivors at the end of turn 4.  Note how they face in all directions so they are not surprised by any zombies...
Turn 5 - Activation:  S-1(5), G-2, Z-1(4)
Gangers get to activate first because Survivors and Zombies tied their first rolls with 1 each.  The Survivors will activate second, then the zombies.  (I'm not sure I did this correctly...)
Gangers:  "Let's get 'em!" Tyrese shouts.  All Gangers Fast Move to the tank or emergency vehicle, taking caution to not cause an In Sight test from any of the Survivors.  Pinkie could have taken one on Randall but since she has no ranged weapons it is a moot point.

Survivors: All shift to their right, staying in cover, trying to flank Randall and get a shot at him.  Doid leads the way...
...triggering an In Sight test from Randall who passes 1d6 and snap fires with his shotgun.  Randall designates 2 shots at Doid and one at Doc, who is also in sight.  Randall rolls 6 dice for the shotgun, counting the 3 highest scores and hits Doid twice but misses Doc.  Randall rolls a 1 and a 2 for damage on Doid from the two hits and blows Doid away!  Or at least he would have if Doid had not been a Star.  Doid uses 'Star Power' to avoid being killed by a lower rep character and is OOF instead.
The rest of the Survivors must take the Leader Lost test and all pass 0d6.  All Retire, falling back to the woods near the pickup where they Hunker Down...
1 zed is generated from the shotgun blast...

At this point I ended the scenario since there is no leader to rally the Survivors.  I figure as soon as the Gangers move close enough to shoot at the Survivors again they will flee the table.  So, the Gangers loot the table, steal the Survivors pickup and kidnap Doid.  Yikes!  I'm glad this is a one off and not part of a campaign!

Not a very good showing for my Survivors!  They did fine fending off the zeds, but in combat with people that shoot back they ran like scared rabbits.  Still, this has generated some new scenario ideas.  A little payback may be in order!  Or maybe a Rescue Mission...

Let me know what you think.  If you notice any errors in how I followed the rules, please point them out.  The reaction tests with zombies are easy enough but I find I get a little confused when you have two or more groups capable of shooting at one another.

I'd also be interested in hearing some tactical advice from some of you that are more familiar with THW's Reaction System.  How does one take the initiative in combat, maneuvering into position to get a shot without getting blown away before you get a chance to shoot?  Or is it best to wait for the enemy to show their head first?  Seems like the game could get really static (ie - 'boooorrrring', as my 13 year old would say) if two sides refused to take the fight to the enemy and just waited for someone else to 'go first'.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics...

7 comments:

  1. I am new to ATZ, have not even tried it yet. And this is great for me to read a battlereport like this. Well done one some good ingame pics as well.

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  2. Sorry not overly familiar with ATZ to make comments on it but your batrep was entertaining to read.

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  3. Yeah I'm the same, ATZ doesn't really do it for me, especially with all the 'NON Activations' either way I really enjoy reading your Batreps, and viewing your nice table set ups. (looks around for Vampifan)

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  4. And as if by magic, Vampifan appears. Great batrep, PDoid. You'll find in ATZ that things rarely go to plan. I couldn't spot any major mistakes, which must be reassuring for you. You handled the situation regarding activation in turn 5 correctly. Although, bear in mind if more than two human groups are taking part and doubles come up on the activation dice then those who rolled the doubles cancel each other out and become inactive for that turn.

    Taking the initiative in combat can be tricky, as you point out. I should mention, that if your party are armed with guns and melee weapons, why would they want to melee? There is the obvious answer - to make less noise if lots of zeds are nearby. But otherwise it is best to shoot your enemy whenever possible. In Sight tests are only taken by a group that hasn't seen the other group before, so it may pay you to wait a turn, whilst you're visible, before charging to avoid the enemy taking In Sight tests.

    If you can maneuver your party into a position where they can charge the enemy in the rear, that has huge tactical advantages.

    To be honest, this is a big subject to answer fully here and in fairness, it all depends upon the quality of your party and what they're armed with and likewise with the opposition. In your example above you said that if two sides refused to take the fight to the enemy and waited for the other side to go first things could get boring. Hmm, maybe for a turn or two, but this ATZ we're talking about and things rarely remain boring for long. A random encounter or a group of zombies appearing somewhere really inappropriate will soon stir things up. That's what I love about ATZ - you just never know what's going to happen!

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  5. Nice looking table and I enjoyed your report.

    Cheers
    Christopher

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  6. Thanks for the feedback. I think I'm understanding the system well enough. I just need to get more experience with it to figure things out tactically. Look for more posts soon! I'll be starting work on my model house of my RL house this week. I'll post progress on it. I'm planning to do a vanilla version of the house and then build addons to make it look boarded up and defended. That way I can have an early apocalypse version and a late.

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  7. It is great to be able to haul your old stuff back into service for a new game. Looks great and a fun read too.

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