Blackman, Z+124: Say Goodnight, Mike

2013 is not going so well as 2012 did for gaming, as you can see it’s been about five real-world months since I played any ATZ. But now Mike’s back, and to get back into the saddle I’m running a daytime Take Back scenario in a rural area. The plan this time is to take out all the Zeds and PEFs first, which will hopefully increase the encounter level to the point where there are some goodies in the buildings.

Hex Map Pro is back, this time a 36″ x 36″ map made in native HMP rather than an imported map, with buildings represented by the biggest tokens I could make. I’m not sure how well that will work, but let’s find out, shall we?

SETUP

Mike consumes one unit of Food for the new month, and should consume another as he is moving to a new area, but at Rep 2 it hardly matters. He’s out of food again, though.

The Map: Grey hexes are road, bright green are trees, blue are a pond, brown are contour lines; orange hexes mark out the 9 board segments. The white octagon is the turn counter, red and green squares are activation dice. Mike strolls a full move (8″) onto the board, then I resolve the opposition.

Zeds and PEFs: As this is a rural encounter, I roll 1/2 d6 per human (just Mike), and get 3 zombies; as per pages 55-56 of the rulebook, these are placed 12″ from Mike at his 2, 4 and 8 o’clock. I generate three Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs) as per p. 60, and get one in section 5 (Rep 6) and two in section 6 (Rep 4 and Rep 6); the one in section 5 is in the middle of the road, so will be resolved immediately, while the others are both placed inside the farmhouse.

To resolve the PEF Mike can see, I roll 2d6 vs ER (which starts at 1 in a rural area): 4, 4 so pass 0d6 – nothing out there but a case of nerves. I remove that PEF.

There’s no point rolling for sleep deprivation as Mike’s Rep can’t get any lower. The board looks like this now:

2013062305

TURN 1

Activation: Mike 2, Zeds and PEFs 6. PEF6 goes first and moves as close to Mike as it can without breaking cover.

Mike fast-moves towards the barn, hoping to get his back to it before his turn ends; he rolls 1, 6 and passes 1d6, increasing his move this turn to 12″. Might as well make the most of it before you sprain your ankle again, Mike. Reaching the barn, he turns, and there is one zed within 12″; Mike could unload his shotgun at it, but the best he could get is a score of 8 (6 on the die, plus 2 for Rep), which would miss because he fast-moved this turn. “Gotta conserve ammo,” Mike mutters to himself.

TURN 2

Activation: Mike 4, zeds 4 – a tie; nobody moves. Because this is not the original ER of the area or less, there is no random event.

TURN 3

Activation: Mike 4, zeds 5. Only PEF6 activates, and it makes use of Mike not having Line Of Sight on the farmhouse to move across into the barn. (I realise at this point that I need to understand where the doors and windows are, and decide there is a window in the middle of each wall, and doors in the middle of the north and south walls of each building, plus the east side of the barn has big double doors opening away from the pond.)

I didn’t have to roll for what PEF6 does, as I know it will always pass 2d6, and thus always close on Mike.

TURN 4

Activation: Mike 4, zeds 1. The two zeds that can see Mike move 6″ towards him; PEF6 can’t get any closer; PEF4 rolls 1, 3 and passes 2d6, so it will close up as well; after rereading the rules on p. 48 I decide it won’t charge this turn, but will definitely do so next turn. The third zed ambles off towards the road.

2013062309

TURN 5

Activation: Mike 2, zeds 5. PEF6 would go first, but it would try to close on Mike, and it’s already in the next hex. The closest zed is too close for comfort, and if Mike had more Rep, I’d have him open up with the shotgun; but he needs to roll a 6 to hit, so he wades into melee.

First I check the Charge Into Melee table on p. 30. The zed automatically passes 1d6, but Mike must roll 4d6 vs Rep – 2d6 normally, +1d6 for being a Survivor, +1d6 for his Rage attribute. He rolls 1246, and passes 2d6; as this is more than his opponent, the target may not fire (no help, it couldn’t anyway), Mike moves into melee with no reaction tests taken and – this is the part that makes it worth charging rather than being charged – the target counts as Unarmed in the first round.

We now move to the Melee Combat rules on p.31. The zed rolls 2d6; its Rep of 3d6, -1d6 for being Unarmed. Mike rolls 3d6; 2 for his Rep, 0 for using an improvised weapon, 1 for Rage. The zed rolls 1,4 and gets one success; Mike rolls 344 and gets one success, but adds one success because he is fighting a zombie. He beat the zed by 1d6, so rolls 1d6 against his margin of success (1) and gets a 6; the zed is knocked down, but as it is a zombie does not take the Recover From Knocked Down test (p. 50), instead it is prone and will get up on its next activation. I consider shooting at it – you can shoot at any point during the turn in ATZ – but now that it’s prone, I’d need to roll a 7 on 1d6 to hit it, so I’d be wasting ammo.

Mike does turn on the spot, though, so that he has LOS to the second closest zed; it’s a really bad idea to let them get behind you. I wasn’t sure whether this should trigger an In Sight test or not, so let it slide; the zed can’t shoot, and Mike is a Star so has discretion over what he does.

2013062311

TURN 6

Activation: Mike 4, zeds 2. Oops. Mike doesn’t activate, but the zeds do. Let’s leave the melee until last.

PEF4 rolls 4,4, passes 2d6, and moves up to join its buddy in the barn. The two zeds not in melee close in, but because I foresaw this and moved Mike accordingly, neither is close enough to join the melee.

The zed stands up, and now both sides are rolling 3d6. The zed rolls 444 and gets no successes, Mike rolls 244 and gets 2 successes; he rolls a 2 for damage, and since this is equal to or less than the number by which he beat the zed in melee, the zed is Out Of the Fight; since it’s a zed, it’s incapacitated. Just as well, there’s another one incoming. Mike turns to face it.

TURNS 7-11

Turn 7 Activation: Mike 4, zeds 4. Miss a turn. (This doesn’t make a difference in this encounter, but sometimes things are on a timer.)

Turn 8 Activation: Mike 4, zeds 5.

Turn 9 Activation: Mike 4, zeds 6.

Turn 10 Activation: Mike 6, zeds 6.

Turn 11 Activation: Mike 6, zeds 5.

TURN 12

Activation: Mike 3, zeds 4. Although zeds have a Rep of 3, they count as 4 for activation when they can see a human.

PEF4 rolls 66, passes 0d6, and thus stays where it is. Both zeds close up, and one is close enough to charge into melee, so it’s back to the Charge Into Melee table. Mike rolls 1666, passing 1d6; the zed doesn’t have to roll as they always pass 1d6. This means Mike gets one shot off before melee begins; he rolls 1d6+2, gets a 4, and misses. I roll 1d6 immediately vs ER to see if another zed appears, but on a 4, nothing happens.

The second zed rolls 125 and gets 2 successes; Mike rolls 246 plus a success for fighting a zombie, and also gets 2. Evenly matched, so they stay in melee. This could be a problem as the second zed will be able to join in next activation.

I notice Mike has LOS to the window, where PEF6 is watching, so I decide to resolve it now, as the outcome may be dramatically appropriate. 1, 6 vs ER1 = pass 1d6; this removes the PEF but increases the ER by one, to ER2. Oh well, no cavalry today, then.

TURN 13

Activation: Mike 4, zeds 1. Here it comes. PEF4 rolls 16, passes 1d6, and is frozen in place by the spectacle outside. We go back to the Charge Into Melee table for the second zed, but Mike can’t shoot as he is already wrestling with a zombie. Mike rolls 1336 and passes 3d6, the new zed passes 1d6, and because Mike beats it he is not Unarmed against it this turn.

2013062313

I’m a bit rusty so reread the multi-figure melee rules on p. 32 and discover you basically fight them one at a time until you get knocked down, but being a Star you can choose when to go. I decide Mike should go first in the hope of whittling down the opposition before they attack. He rolls 122 and adds a success for a total of 4 successes; the zed rolls 336 and gets 2. Mike rolls 1d6 for damage, scores a 1, and kills it outright. Way to go Mike, I thought you were zombie chow there for a second. On to the next zed.

Against the remaining zed, Mike rolls 2336 and gets 4 successes, while the zed manages 125 = 2 successes. Mike rolls a 2 for damage and offs the last zed.

TURNS 14-16

Turn 14 Activation: Mike 3, zeds 6. Nobody moves.

Turn 15 Activation: Mike 5, zeds 3. PEF4 passes 2d6 but is already as close as it can get without breaking cover.

Turn 16 Activation: Mike 3, zeds 1.

TURN 17

Activation: Mike 1, zeds 2. Mike fast-moves into the barn; he passes 2d6 by rolling 22 vs Rep 2, but he only needs a normal move to enter – I’m only doing this to make him a harder target if he meets anything nasty with guns.

This brings him face to face with PEF4, so I resolve it. 2d6 vs Rep 2; I roll 2, 2 and there is really something there this time. I roll 1d6-1 (the -1 is because it’s daytime) on the Contact Days 30+ table and get a 2 – Survivors. I roll 1d6-2 on the How Many table (-2 because it’s a rural area) and get a 3, modified to a 1; a lone survivor, which I randomly generate from the tables on p. 75:

Toby: MY Rep 4 Survivor, Pep 3 Sav 2, BAP, Rage, Food 1 Lux 1. (#5 on the 1-3 table).

Mike and Toby each roll Rep d6 as they Talk the Talk. Toby rolls 2556 and gets one success, Mike rolls 12 and gets 2 successes. He can see by how many dice Toby rolled that fighting is a bad idea, and he has nothing to barter with, so they exchange pleasantries and agree to go their separate ways.

In hindsight, this was a tactical error – I should have used Star Power to persuade Toby to join me, as the extra gun with a higher Rep would have been useful.

I can’t see any reason not to search the building – I vaguely remember you can’t do that with an unallied person in the building, but I can’t find the rule; maybe it was in an earlier version. So, next activation I’ll search.

TURNS 18-20

Turn 18 Activation: Mike 6, zeds 1. Toby rolls 14 vs Rep for NPC movement, passes 1d6, and stays in the building.

Turn 19 Activation: Mike 5, zeds 2. Toby rolls 16 and again stays put.

Turn 20 Activation: Mike 2, zeds 4. Toby rolls 24 and stays put. Mike rolls 2d6 vs current ER (2) and gets 35; nothing. Toby probably looted the place already.

TURN 21

Activation: Mike 2, zeds 5. Mike fast-moves over to the farmhouse (5,6 so only moves 8″) and barges inside. I turn to p. 47 to check for zeds, rolling 6d6; 122356 so there are three zeds inside; the shotgun won’t help at Rep 2, so it’s charge into melee time. Mike rolls 2246, beating the zeds so they count as Unarmed. It’s getting late so I move straight to a multi-figure melee.

This was probably a second tactical error, and as you’ll see later, a serious one. If Mike had kicked open the door and backed away, the zeds would have come out after him, and possibly been easier to deal with. If not, I could have led them to Toby and let him sort them out. I was trying to finish the game before going to bed – unnecessary as I could just have flipped the lid on the iPad; Mike might not have been affected by sleep deprivation, but I was!

2013062315

Mike rolls 123 (4 successes) vs zed 1′s 26 (1 success), rolls 1 for damage and kills it outright. Moving on to zed 2, he rolls 135 for 3 successes, vs the zed’s 26 for 1 success, rolls 5 for damage and knocks it down. Zed 3 is up next, and rolls 16 = 1 success vs Mike’s 125 = 3 successes; Mike rolls a 6 and knocks that one down too.

TURNS 22-23

Turn 22 Activation: Mike 3, zeds 3. No action.

Turn 23 Activation: Mike 6, zeds 5. No action. Obviously they are wrestling, but nothing significant happens as a result. I realise I’ve been forgetting to roll for Toby, so go to roll a couple of turns to catch up, only to discover that since he is neutral and inside a building, he will stay there for the rest of the encounter. Suits me.

TURN 24

Activation: Mike 5, zeds 2. The melee is back on, and everyone is rolling 3d6 now; you’ve seen how it works. Mike’s 111 gives him 4 successes, the first zed gets 366, Mike rolls 2 for damage and it’s toast. Against the second one he rolls 555 for one success, it rolls 234 for two successes, followed by a 1 for damage – and Mike is Obviously Dead.

Normally this would be cause to break out the Star Power dice, but neither they, nor Larger Than Life, nor Cheating Death work against zombies.

Say goodnight, Mike.

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