Friday, March 30, 2012

Zombie Killer

This is Oscar...
He's half Beagle and half English Bulldog.  He's a good dog and we love him very much.

We got him in January and in March he was one year old.  He's a rescue puppy and seems very happy to be part of our family.

He has more personality than 10 dogs and is very affectionate.  Truly everyone's best friend.
He looks great in his Ohio State jersey and is always up for some fun with the kids.

These are some zombie miniatures I painted a while ago.  Note especially the one on the far right.

We had a game the other night and several zeds were close to the table edge.  No one noticed but apparently Oscar decided to get in on the action.  My beloved found Oscar with this in his mouth at some point in the evening...

You will note in the above pic the zombie has no head.  Coincidence?  I think not!

Apparently Oscar knows what he is doing when it comes to zeds.  A natural born zombie killer.  Can't fault him for that.

Did I mention he is a good dog and we love him very much?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Eastside Refinery

We had another game night date night a couple weeks ago.  We used the same characters we had last time.

E - Rep 5 Civilian, BA Pistol, Knife, No Attributes
D - Rep 5 Civilian, Shotgun, Cricket Bat, No Attributes

We decided to do an urban discover scenario based loosely on the area where we live.  About half a mile away from us is a huge refinery.  It is surrounded by urban neighborhoods and major streets.  I have a bunch of refinery-like scenery from my 40K days so I was able to cobble together a reasonable modern refinery.  I used some house ruins to represent the edge of our neighborhood and my roads for the city streets.  The grey 'pavement' under the refinery is foam sheets I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  I used the black version of this same stuff to make my roads.  I wish I had some chain link fence to put along the road at the edge of the pavement but I have not modeled any yet.  New project I suppose...

The Eastside Refinery
We decided the party would move onto the table along the main street, coming in from the 'West'.  ('North' is the top of the table in the above pic)  We rolled 2d6+2 for starting zeds in an urban area and got 7.  We used a scatter die to place them and ended up with three pairs of zombies roughly surrounding the party and one straggler behind some barrels.
D and E move onto the table

Street Level View
You can see my ruined houses have that Gothic 40K look.  I really need to develop more modern scenery.  I should also get some kind of backdrop for my photos.  Having my living room in the background spoils the mood...

Turn 1 - Initiative roll:  Humans 3, Zombies 2
D and E decide to cut to their right and take out the two zeds there.  They Fast Move.  Both pass 2d6 and easily charge the zeds.  The zombies are overwhelmed and taken down without incident. (both D and E win the combats in the first round of rolling.)  The remaining zombies shamble towards D and E, moaning as they come.
Two quick dead zeds
Turn 2 -  H 4, Z 3
D and E Fast Move again, heading towards the big fuel tank.  They hope to loop around it, evading zombies and head toward the ruined house in the North East corner of the table.  E passes 2d6 and easily reaches the tall tank.  D passes only 1d6 and struggles to keep up.  Typical...  The zombies continue to shamble after the humans, intent on their prey.
E darts between the tanks, running easily

D Plods along behind, still visible to the zeds
Turn 3 - H 1, Z 4
The zombies continue to pursue the humans.  D and E move to the door of the maintenance shed near the tanks.  They both prep weapons to storm through the door...
What's inside?  Loot or a sticky end?
The zeds are unsure where the humans went but head in the direction they were last seen.
Turn 4 - H 6, Z 1
D and E hesitate to open the door.  They check weapons again and take a deep breath.  The zombies continue to close on the spot where the humans were last seen.

Turn 5 - H 3, Z 5
The zombies realize their prey has evaded them.  They pause, confused, and moan.  D and E enter the shed.  We drew a Risks and Rewards card and found a Rep 4 Survivor armed with a machine pistol.  Immediately E turned on the charm and won the Meet and Greet by two successes.  Rufus decides to join our group!  "Thank God you're here," he says.  "I thought I was all alone."  Rummaging around, D finds a can of baked beans. (1 Food)
Turn 6 - H 6, Z 5
D and E take a little time to get to know Rufus.  Just small talk while he gathers his things.  The zeds, their prey having avoided them, take to shambling aimlessly.
Turn 7 - H 1, Z 5
The zombies continue to do nothing, waiting in the silence to hear their next victim.  The humans move quickly out of the maintenance shed and head towards a smaller storage tank to the east.  The plan is to loop around the tank and continue to head towards the ruined house.
Making a break for it
Aaaarrrgh...where did they go?
Turn 8 - H 6, Z 1
The humans pause, listening.  It seems quiet...too quiet...  The zombies may have heard the door of the shed swing shut.  The zeds begin to move with purpose again.
Zombies close on last know human location
Turn 9 - H 4, Z 5
Once again the zeds get confused and pause.  The humans move into the shelter of the small tank.  D takes lead while E covers him.  Rufus covers the party's rear.
It's quiet...too quiet...
Turn 10 - H 6, Z 2
Once again the humans hesitate.  Something just doesn't feel right.  It's too easy...  The zombies again begin their wandering hunt.

At this point we had a little debate.  We were headed towards the ruined house but I was wanting more to explore and discover.  Between us and the house was a collection of 55 gallon drums.  We decided that this would be considered like a building.  In other words, when we moved into the area of the barrels we would draw a Risks and Rewards card as if searching a building.  It seemed likely to me that there would be something among those barrels...

Turn 11 - H 3, Z 3 Reroll - H 3 Z 1
The humans move to the barrels and we draw a card.  5 zombies burst from the barrels as we begin searching!  We roll for surprise.  The zeds get a 9.  D gets a 9, E gets 7 and Rufus gets 6.  We get jumped!  Rufus is attacked by a surfer zed wearing nothing but swim trunks.  He ends up locked in melee after a long series of rolls (0 successes after 6 rounds).  E is attacked by two of the beasts leaping over the barrels.  Quick like lightning, she knifes one in the eye (2 successes in first round).  The second proves a little more difficult but she eventually manages to put it down (1 success after 3 rounds).  D is less successful.  He is also attacked by two monsters and puts the first down with a quick swat of his bat (1 success after 1 round) but before he can turn to the other it knocks him down and bites his shoulder, preparing to tear him apart.  (D goes OOF after 1 round).
Crap!  They're everywhere!

It's a bloodbath.
Turn 12 - H 3, Z 6
At the moment of victory, the zeds hesitate, perhaps gloating over their prey.  Rufus continues to fight the zed he is tangled with.  He manages to avoid being bitten but he can't seem to put it down.  "Get it off me!  Get it off me!" he screams (0 successes after 3 rounds).  The zed who put D OOF is standing over him with his back to E preparing to dive into the feast.  E springs into action and puts her knife through the base of its skull.  It drops without a sound.  (E pops the weasel).

Turn 13 - H 2, Z 2 Reroll - H 6, Z 4
Stunned by the attack, shaking with adrenaline and fear as she watches D bleed from the shoulder wound, E does nothing for a moment.  Rufus fights desperately for his life as the zed renews its attack on him.  He struggles to get his hands around its neck and twisting, twisting, twisting he finally manages to put the thing down (1 success after 3 MORE rounds).  The rest of the zombies on the table amble around aimlessly.

This is not good.

The zed menace leaves no time for mourning.
Turn 14 - H 5, Z 6
Everyone pauses to catch their breath...

Turn 15 - H 1, Z 5
The zombies are purposeless now and return to their default mode:  standing and staring, slack jawed, occasionally emitting a low moan  As she stoops to help D, E sees a BA pistol stuck in the belt of the zed that wounded him.  She grabs this and tucks it into her belt.  Rufus walks over and looks at E kneeling beside D.  D is bleeding badly.  "You got a place to hole up?" he asks.  "Yeah, not far from here," says E her voice flat.  "We can take care of him there," she adds.  They both know what this means. 

Turn 16 - H 3, Z 4
Rufus and E lift D and head east, leaving the table and ending the game.

Since she had killed a zombie and found a resource we rolled for E to advance.  Unfortunately she did not.  We rolled for recovery for D who did recover, regaining consciousness without losing Rep.  Then came the most important roll of the whole game:  infection.  D couldn't hack it and as one might expect from such a wound, he was infected.

A word to the wise here:  in ATZ there is no reason to go looking for trouble.  Trouble is usually just around every corner.  If you find yourself in a game that seems too easy, just wait, it will likely get much more difficult very shortly.  In hindsight I wish I had left the barrels well enough alone...

At this point I asked my sweetie if she wanted to keep me around as a pet zombie or put me down.  She made the hard call and decided to end my undead life.  She made Rufus do the dirty work.
"This is gonna hurt you a lot more than it hurts me."
Once again we had a lot of fun.  The game started slow and seemed like it might end up like the last cake walk we had but true to ATZ style it all changed in a heart beat.  The picture in my head of those zeds leaping out of the barrels is my favorite moment.  The stuff of the best B horror films.  It stinks that D was lost but E will carry on.  She is now the leader of a small group, just her and Rufus, but with the skills she has gained I'm sure her party will grow.

Friday, March 16, 2012


So, if you've been paying attention at all you know that I am in a new relationship and she likes All Things Zombie.  Well, she also has a couple of kids - a girl, 10 and a boy, 7.  And guess what?  They think zombies are kind of cool too.

A while back we had an evening together without mom.  I had been working on cleaning, assembling and undercoating a few zeds earlier in the week.  They watched with interest and asked a lot of questions which I was happy to answer.  I told them how long I've been painting and playing with minis and they were amazed to learn that I was not much older than them when I started.  I asked them if they wanted to try and they did!  On the spot we got the paints out and they had a go.  I let them each pick out one of the undercoated zeds to work on and gave them a few tips on getting started.  They dove in with gusto!

A Hard at Work

I only got two pics with my phone but we had a great evening and they did a decent job.  For the first time out I think they did pretty well in fact...

A's is on the left, T's on the right
It is great fun introducing The Littles to a new hobby.  We've yet to play the game together but they've enjoyed seeing all the terrain and figures I've collected over the years.  I'm sure in time we will be having whole family game nights.

I have to confess that for years I was a bit anal about my figures.  (I still can be at times but I'm in recovery...)  Maybe it is the perspective of age but I'm realizing that one of the great joys of this hobby is sharing it with others and seeing them enjoy it.  Having a pristine collection is cool, but seeing the eyes of young ones light up when they are invited to participate is even more cool.  So, if you have Littles around, don't be afraid to share the hobby with them.  Who knows? You might even raise a built in gaming group.

On a final note, I'd be interested in hearing how others have introduced their young to the hobby.  Any good tips out there?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Game Table

Years and years ago, when I lived in Montana, I made a set of game boards.  I had a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood that I cut into four 2 foot by 4 foot pieces.  I painted and flocked the tops with green and brown and then coated them with matte clear coat spray.  I've used them by simply laying them atop a convenient table and can make anything from a 2 foot by 4 foot table to a full 4X8, assuming the under table was large enough.  They've served me well over the years.

For a long time I've wanted to put folding legs on them and make 4 separate tables that can be linked together or stand alone.  A few weeks ago I stumbled across these at Menard's...

They were only $20 so I decided to give it a go.  First I needed to reinforce the plywood boards...

The gap is for the legs to fold into.  I probably should have looked for a set of narrower legs but these will work fine if positioned well.  As it turned out, the folded legs make a great handle on the side of the table for carrying.

I also needed to add a thicker, more solid surface for the legs to attach to...

Then it was a simple matter of screwing the legs into place...

After only a couple hours in the shop...voila!  A couple of stand alone tables...

They are a little bulky.  If I were building these from the start as individual tables I would probably use a thinner plywood.  I might also look for a set of legs that are more narrow at the bottom.  Alternatively, I might cut my plywood into 3 foot by 4 foot sections.  Still, for only a small amount of money and a little time in the workshop I've managed to build a games table that I can set up anywhere.  With care, it can even be moved mid-game.

The table set up for a recent game

That's it for this week  Next week I will have another battle report for you.  Another game night with my beloved.  The pic above is a teaser...  Until then, peace.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Newbie First Game

Back in November I managed to enjoy a game night with my beloved.  We planned a date night to introduce her to All Things Zombie.  She had seen my blog and my models and was flattered when I painted up a figure to represent her on the table (  She is interested in learning more, though she can't say she totally 'gets it'.  Still, we had a really fun evening.

We played a couple of simple introductory scenarios to learn the rules and then we set up a Take Back scenario.  We decided on a rural location with just a few buildings.  It was a crossroads where there had been a pile up with a small store and auto workshop nearby.  The scenario takes place on a cool, summer evening about a month or so after the rising.  Sorry to say the pics are rather poor as I was using my iPhone.

E is a Rep 5 Civilian armed with a BA pistol. She has no attributes.
D is a Rep 5 Civilian armed with a Shotgun and a Cricket bat.  He also has no attributes.
(I decided to have us be higher Rep to keep the game moving and interesting for E.  I also decided to not use attributes so as not to confuse her with too many rules at first.)
D and E enter the table from the north edge, walking up the road to see what they can find.
We diced up three zombies and placed them using a scatter die.  One ended up in the woods to D and E's left.  It can barely be seen in the above pic.  Another was in the open to their left and a little behind, almost at the edge of the table.  The third was in the road in front of the car wrecks...
Turn 1:  Initiative roll - Humans 3, Zombies 4
Humans win initiative and get to go first.  D charges the zed near the cars and with a quick smack of his bat takes it down.  E moves up more cautiously, watching the wrecks closely in case any other zeds are lurking about.  During the zombie turn the zeds shamble after D and E, stumbling through the woods..  (The red bead is my way of marking kills so at the end of a scenario I can get an overview of the flow of the action.)
Turn 2: Humans 4, Zombies 3
Again we win the initiative.  We decide to fast move to the nearest building.  E passes 2d6 and ends up at the door to the auto shop.  D passes 1d6 and tries to keep up. (This sparked some laughter in RL since E is a triathlete like me...only she is consistently faster than I am...)
Again the zeds shamble after them.
Turn 3: H 3, Z 5
The zombies win initiative but have rolled higher than their Rep.  Confused by the car wrecks and not sure which way D and E have gone, the zeds stand still.  One lets out a long, low moan of frustration.  E waits at the door to the auto shop for D to arrive.  When he finally moseys up to the door she smiles and says, 'taking your time or just waiting for me to clear this building for you?'  D grins and offers her his bat.  'Ladies first,' he says.
Turn 4: H 3, Z 6
Again the zombies win but are unable to act.  One zed continues it's unearthly moaning as it stands and rocks back and forth.  The other stares slack jawed, great gobbets of drool dripping to the ground.  D and E prep their weapons and burst through the door.  In the dim light from the sun coming through the dusty windows they quickly see the store is empty.  It has been looted and the only thing of value left behind is a rifle scope.  Neither D nor E can use it but D pockets it in case he ever finds a rifle.  'Might come in handy,' he says with a shrug.
Turn 5: H 2, Z 4
The two zeds begin shambling again only now they've lost sight of D and E.  They each move forward 6", heading to the point where they last saw the humans.  D and E exit the auto shop and move to the rear of the RV parked next door.  'Now this could come in handy,' says E, patting the rear bumper of the RV.  'Better make sure no one is living in it first,' says D.  He hefts his shotgun and sidles along the rear of the RV, listening for any sounds of movement from inside.
Turn 6:  H 2, Z 5
Again the zeds stop and stare, unsure where to go or what to do.  They seem to have lost their purpose.  D and E move to the door of the RV and enter.  Inside are two zombies!  D and E achieve total surprise and before either zombie can do anything D and E fire their weapons. (Zeds rolled a 1 for surprise and D and E each rolled a 6!)  E drops her zed with a swift shot from her pistol.  D levels his shotgun from his hip and lets it roar.  In the enclosed space the zed catches the full blast and nearly vanishes into a reddish spray across the far wall of the RV.  'Nice,' says E, 'so much for an RV to live in.  Did you really have to splatter that thing all over?'  'Just watching out for my baby,' says D, 'besides, you don't like RVs anyway.'   They take a minute to rifle through the cupboards and E finds food.  Looking out the back window, D sees another zed moving behind the pickup truck across the street.  'I suppose we ought to be more quiet,' he says.  (D's shotgun blast has attracted another zed.)
Turn 7:  H 2, Z 6
Again the zombies are aimless.  D and E exit the RV and move to the road.  'Only one more building to check out,' says E.  'Yup,' says D, 'and then maybe we can settle in for the night.  Might even stay here a few days.  It seems pretty quiet.'
Turn 8:  H 2, Z 1
Ducking low, D fast moves across the road to the door of the small store.  Keeping low herself, E follows at a slower pace.  They move in such a way as to keep the pickup truck between them and the zombie that showed up after the shotgun blast.  They just manage to stay out of sight.  The zombies are on the move again.  The one behind the pickup shambles into the road, looking for the humans it saw leave the RV.  It is unaware they've given it the slip.
Turn 9:  H 2, Z 5
Again the zeds are inactive, only standing and moaning, unable to perceive their prey.  D and E enter the store and inside they find two survivors.  On the Meet and Greet table E manages to win by 1 success.  The survivors, Randall and Carl, decide to join D and E for the remainder of the scenario.  Randall is a Rep 5 Survivor armed with a shotgun.  Carl is a Rep 4 Survivor armed with a Semi Automatic rifle.  As they rummage around the store, D finds a unit of fuel. 
Turn 10:  H 4, Z 5
Again the zeds are inactive!  Since the store was a two section building we still needed to search the other side.  Everyone spread out and searched but we found no other humans or zombies.  Randall found a bow and some arrows.  At this point it was getting late so we decided that the party could easily take out the three remaining zombies on the board.  We deemed the mission a success!
In the aftermath Randall and Carl took off.  I would have liked for them to stay on but they didn't want to be weighed down with a couple of civvies.  I diced for advancement for D and E and neither of us were successful.
Overall it was a fun game.  I was surprised at how often the humans activated and how often the zombies didn't.  We literally moved every turn and the zombies only got to activate 4 times.  That's the way of it in ATZ though.  Next time I'm sure there will be some other, nastier surprises.

The best part was that E enjoyed the game.  She seemed to get into it as she understood the rules better.  There were some nervous moments when we weren't sure what was going to happen and we had some good laughs at a few points.  As I said earlier, she doesn't completely 'get it', but she appreciates that I like it and she's willing to give it a try.  All in all a great, albeit somewhat nerdy, date night!  In fact, we are going to do it again tonight.

So why not give it a try?  Talk to your significant other, set it up, make it easy and fun and have a game.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll discover something else to share.  Peace.