Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday 28 July 2014

Return to the Burbs

Part of Springwater Hill
This game was set just after the scenario "A Day in the 'Burbs" and sees our erstwhile 'hero' Mattias Groschen, returning to Springwater Hill in a taxi with one Brendan Cram, a jogger whom he had escaped with from St. Mary's Heights. He is meeting up with Scott Briand a friend he is staying with whilst on holiday. The picture shows the playing area, Scott's house is in the top left of the photograph. The taxi, bottom right is Mattias and Brendan's starting position.

The various circles on the  photograph  above show either the starting positions of other civilians (in Red) or Possible enemy forces (PEFs, in yellow)
General view of Springwater Hill

Mother and Daughter in the park
I had very simple objectives for all the civilians, for example the mother and child in the park were merely making their way to their car to meet up with 'dad' who was currently at the front of the bank, locking up for the day. Elsewhere, most of the other civilians would also be heading for home from turn one. A single female shopper (bottom middle of top picture) was heading for the red car behind the supermarket; a couple in the supermarket were also heading out to their car (the blue
The two shoppers heading home.
one at the back of the supermarket); the three staff in the supermarket had to lock up the doors first before heading home; the truck driver had to drive the fork-lift into the store, close the two back doors of his truck then drive off.
Scott awaiting Mattias' arrival.
Meantime when Mattias arrived he had to meet up with Scott and the two of them (or three if Brendan could be convinced to join them)  would make their way to Scott's house just down the street, an easy walk.
Truck/fork -lift driver (notice hand in doorway)
  This was going to be an unusual scenario to play through in that I had two true Player -characters in the form of fellow bloggers Vampifan and Mattyoo playing the roles of Scott and Mattias respectively. All the other roles would be played through as NPCs.
There were no zombies on the table initially but there is a chance that zombies will spawn at any one of the six indicated spawn points each turn. The Encounter rating of the area was set at 3 initially and the PEFs all had a REP (read Initiative) rating of 4, which is the latest change to the Two Hour Wargames stable of rules (CR.3.1 final, final version) . It's a feature I quite like as do I the PEF's new movement/reaction and I've adopted this change readily.
As with all my scenarios at the moment this one was another means to test my own rule changes and amendments to the THW rules, which I'm still slowly tinkering with to get the kind of game I want.

"So how did our two (or maybe three) pals do ?" I hear you ask. Well, that story will have to wait for another week to unfold as I'm still trying to decipher my scrawled notes and edit photographs that all three of us took ! - I, for once can truthfully blame the photographers skill for blurred shots etc.

That's it then, same time, same place next week for the next episode in this almost thrilling tale.

As always your comments are welcomed and appreciated

Monday 21 July 2014

World War Z - Quick Review

I've had a pretty busy time over the last 5 days, a visiting blogger's arrival and the inevitable gaming session following, with two fellow bloggers! I will of course be posting about all our adventures in a future blog when I catch my breath.
Having held back watching WWZ as long as I could though, I have finally managed to pluck up the courage to watch it.
If you like Brad Pitt, fast zombies and haven't read the book then this film will probably make it into your top-ten of of zombie films. I like neither of the above and I have read the book, so it doesn't make it into my top ten.
The production values of film are what you'd expect from a "blockbuster" Hollywood epic, with no expense spared and even though it runs at about two hours for the extended version I watched it does move along at a rapid pace, and there is little to no characterisation probably because of the pace. I actually didn't care whether or not Mr Pitt's character survived or not, he was so memorable that I can't even remember his character's name.
Unlike a lot of reviewers I didn't mind the obvious CGI used extensively for the "big" zombie scenes", I guess it's so common-place now in films that I expect them., and they're not that bad in this film imo.
I do however like a plausible plot line, a storyline that isn't full of holes and makes more sense than in this.
Ignoring the fact that the film has nothing to do with the book save the use of the title, it had many features I didn't like. The fast zombies didn't have the look of zombies I now expect (the Walking Dead does have "the look") and their incessant sprinting, which does give them their lethal aspect,  just doesn't appeal to me. Similarly when victims turn into zombies, it's almost instantaneous, another feature which is a great film mechanism for keeping the action going but does little to build any sense of suspense or impending doom.

It is of course a film that you have to watch at some time if you're into action films and/or zombies but have the popcorn handy. I'd rate it as no more than a 3 on my scale .

Next week, when things here have returned to what passes as normality, I'll tell of our shopping sprees and games, so watch this space.

 That's all for this week except to welcome  my latest follower "Uniteallaction" and to say that as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday 14 July 2014

World Cup Wrecks

These are some other scenic items that I made whilst watching the World Cup, though to be fair, they were made at the same time as my sheds. They were finished and painted recently though whilst I was bored, due to the lack of football.
They're all made very much the same as the last car wreck I made (here)
The first vehicle is actually the same model that I used in my previous attempt at a wreck (they're 3 for £1 in Poundland).
As previously I've removed the flashing light and hidden the resultant hole where the lights were.
Once more I've taken a scalpel to various doors, car-lights and so forth to get a more wrecked appearance. the main difference with this and the last model was the interior. I used the interior that was with the car for the most part, but I did cut away the rear engine and replaced it with a piece of card.
All four tyres were filed down on their bases to represent flat tyres, but this hardly shows on the finished model.
After all the cutting and gluing (this soft polyethylene is a pain to glue) there were probably a few more gaps in the structure than I 'd have actually wanted, but as it's a wreck it's not that important.

The second vehicle shown comes from another pack of either four or six vehicles. This one had the same treatment as the one above, doors cut out etc. Unlike the first, where the sticker/transfer/decal things came straight off, the ones on this were very stubborn, so they were taken down as much as possible then used for texture to add rust to.
The wheel base of these was slightly wider than looked right so I also took a pair of pincers and cut them to a more acceptable length.

The rear "door" was lost in the making (turning up when I'd finished what I'd been doing to this of course) and left a gaping hole after I'd once more cut the engine out of the back.
I have since thought though that I could get a figure in the back - just.
The left hand driver's door cracked in the process of cutting it away, this was left as it was.
I had contemplated putting some fake smashed glass in some of the windows of all these models, but the effort outweighed the benefit, after all, these are wargame models primarily, for my own use and meant as nothing more.
The last model shown here has had the same treatment as the other two, except the inside piece has had the two front seats ripped out.
I had thought that I'd add a small piece of detail to the inside by putting a model mattress or maybe a sleeping bag across the front seat, but once more I decided the effort just wasn't worth it.
Like the sporty looking car above this vehicle has a sun-roof already cut out; I covered the one in the sports car, but left this one as is.

For variation I made this one a little different from the other two in that I decided it would be leaning on its side having had two wheels come adrift and I was quite pleased with the result.

All the models were disassembled, sprayed black then given their base coat of paint.
Further painting consisted of rust patches in various browns to each vehicle and the minimal possible amount of detailing to their interiors.
As these were meant to represent street wrecks, very thin card was used for the smallest bases I thought I could get away with. The bases were coated in PVA and had a sprinkling of sand over them to give them texture and then painted to match my roads.

At a cost of less than a £1 for all three and minimal effort on my part I'm pleased with the result.

As always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated !

Monday 7 July 2014

THW Rules OK ?

I'm a great lover of wargame rules ever since I discovered "Little Wars" and progressed to dice based games with Donald Featherstone's "War Games", back in the days of black and white television.
I started zombie gaming with Two Hour Wargames'  "All things Zombie - Better Dead than Zed by Ed Teixera"  rules after reading many recommendations. I had however already encountered the "Chain Reaction system" whilst looking for rules for a gangster skirmish game well before taking up zombie gaming.
The Two Hour Wargames Chain Reaction system has evolved into many, many different sets of rules covering periods as diverse as Ancients to Space, but all of them have at their core the same system of I act you react, I react to your reaction and so on, a game mechanic I really like.
I imagined gunfights with shoootouts, going back and forwards as one side or the other got the upper hand and this is basically what you can get with this system.
You can see from the left hand photo that the core rules in use then were CR3.0 these were "updated" with CR3.0 "final version" and have since been updated with CR3.1 "Final (final) version".
The changes between the sets of rules are sometimes subtle and easily missed between versions whilst other changes are complete overhauls.
The beauty of the entire system though is one of  "pick and mix" what you do and don't like.
I didn't like the single characteristic given to each figure (Reputation or more simply REP) that dictated how good the character was at everything they did and opted to have several characteristics, shooting, melee etc, to make the game a bit more like a role-play game.  The game is generally accepted to be a roleplay "Lite" (Americanism) meaning it has elements of role-play games in, but are basically wargame orientated.
The greatest plaudit for these rules is that "they say what they do on the tin", you can finish a game in two hours, something that appeals to many gamers. 
For those that know the system here a few of the changes implemented by 3.1 final, final version, in  no particular order.
The "In-sight" test has changed (again). This is the key feature that starts the reaction system and this is the third incarnation of its implementation that I know of.
Reaction tests have been somewhat streamlined but the old reaction of  "hunkering down"  has re-appeared.
The Meleeing rules have changed subtly, no penalty for being unarmed and a mandatory test for Grunts (read rank and file) having to break off from melee is no longer present.
I haven't looked at the sections for setting up a terrain as I think I  have enough experience to set up a terrain for a game without having rules for it, but they're still there !
The rules for Potential Enemy Forces (PEFs) have had a slight overhaul in both their generation and effects, which I will need to think about before deciding whether or not to use them. 
As I've always done (and is actually encouraged by Ed at THW) I'll be altering and adopting rules to fit with my way of playing including some of these latest ideas.
I also recommend anyone trying any of the THW rules to join the THW Forum where a lot of answers to questions about the rules can be found.
 Did I also mention that the CR3.1 rules are free as are the "Swordplay final version 3.1 " rules ?
Well, they're both available from the THW site as free downloads with only the slightest techy knowledge needed ! Even with just these two downloads it is easy to see how one game mechanic can be applied  across two different genres.

That's it for this week, with World Cup matches getting sparser  I've done much less on my zombie project other than a lot of zombie fiction reading and rules writing. Next week though I'm hoping to have finished three more scenic pieces to blog about.
As always you comments are both welcomed and appreciated.