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.
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.