After a long run at Larger Than Life I wanted to re-acclimatise myself to All Things Zombie, so I decided to play a quick game of Chain Reaction 3.0 to get myself back in the groove and also as a demo for a friend to whom I recommended the rules recently (hi, Tony!). The whole thing took one hour 55 minutes, including setup, knockdown, and numerous rules checks – I’m out of practice.
Scenario: It’s January 2013, a month after the outbreak, and in a rural area five undercover cops are moving in on a small group of buildings when they detect movement.
The cops (eM4 prepainted Chequer Gang) were diced up on the Police List, CR3 p. 7, and given attributes from the table on p. 6 as they are the good guys, or at least the less bad guys:
- Drew (Star, Rep 5, Star Power 5, Born Leader, Brawler, BA Pistol)
- Vince (Officer, Rep 4, Runt, BA Pistol)
- Trenchcoat Larry (Officer, Rep 4, Brawler, BA Pistol)
- Sylvia (Veteran, Rep 5, Brawler, Shotgun)
- Kate (Rookie, Rep 3, Athlete, Shotgun)
The PEFs (two prepainted eM4 Recce Squads) were diced up on the Military Table, CR3 p.7. Theoretically one does this when a PEF is resolved, but I prefer to pre-roll them for speed of play. This gave me four Soldiers (Rep 4, Assault Rifle), three Veterans (Rep 5, Assault Rifle or BA Pistol depending on the figure) and two Team Leaders (Rep 5, Assault Rifle).
I lay out the only gaming mat I have ready, The Village from Cry Havoc, downloaded from Cry Havoc Fan, printed at an enlarged scale, laminated for durability, then Scotch-taped together. This means the terrain can fold flat in a drawer when not in use. It also means I bypass all the terrain setup rules on p. 21. I decide that for this game, each hex represents 2″ so that I don’t have to measure ranges and movement with a ruler. I haven’t made or acquired any game tokens yet, so I decide I will mark OOF figures with a die showing “1” and OD ones with a die showing “6”.
Three PEFs are now placed, and turn out to have Rep 2, 1, and 1 respectively. The first picture shows the state of play as battle commences.
Activation: Cops – 1d6 = 1 vs Leader’s Rep (5) so they activate. The PEFs roll 2, 4, and 5 respectively, so PEF 1 activates, and since it rolled higher than the cops, it goes first. The other two PEFs rolled higher than their Rep, so do nothing. PEF 1 rolls 2d6 vs its Rep (2): 2, 4 so it passes 1d6. Consulting the PEF movement table on p. 26 and rolling a 6, I see this means it moves 8″ towards the enemy. It starts moving around the buildings towards the cops. The cops move up to the wall of the nearest building, thinking to use it as cover.
Activation: Cops 3, PEFs 1, 2 and 6 respectively. PEF 1 passes 0d6 against its Rep so fails to move. The cops sneak along the wall and step around the corner. They now have Line Of Sight to PEF 1, so it is resolved. I roll a 1 on the PEF Force Composition Table (p. 26) and see this is the enemy Main Body. I roll 2d6 + 3 = 8 so it has one more figure than me (How Many Of Them? Table p. 27), and a 1d6 roll of 2 means the enemy commander is in this group. Must be one of the team leaders. I replace the PEF with the relevant number of figures.
Since the cops have walked around the corner into sight, the inactive side (the former PEF) takes an In Sight test (see QRS sheets). 2d6 vs leader’s Rep (5): 1, 6 so pass 1d6. Those who can snap-fire at the cops, the others halt in place. Looking at the position of the figures, I decide that the team leader (the one pointing), the veteran (the one with bare arms), a soldier and the medic (medical bag and pistol) have line of sight. Each now rolls as many dice as their weapons have Targets (Weapons Table in the QRS), adds their Rep to each die, and looks up each result on the Ranged Combat Table in the QRS. The team leader aims his assault rifle at the three nearest foes and scores 10, 9 and 5. The 10 hits Drew (the closest target gets the highest scoring attack), the 9 hits Vince (second closest so gets second highest attack), and the 5 misses Sylvia. I roll a 6 for the hit on Drew; this exceeds the rifle’s Impact of 3, so Drew is knocked down and rolls to recover from that. He rolls 2d6 vs 5: 1, 3 and passes 2d6, so he cannot act until he has spent one full activation recovering (“miss a turn”). The cops now take a Leader Lost test as their boss has been shot; they roll 2d6 against the highest remaining Rep (5) and get 3, 4 so they pass 2d6 and carry on – Sylvia, as the next highest Rep, steps up and takes command.
Vince gets a similar result to Drew for his wound and is also down. The cops take a Man Down test – 2d6 vs Sylvia’s Rep (5): 2, 5 so pass 2d6 and carry on.
The veteran fires and scores one hit on Sylvia; she is knocked down but only passes 1d6 on the Recovery Table and so is Out Of the Fight – she’s not doing anything for the rest of the game except bleeding profusely. The surviving cops take another Leader Lost test: 2d6 vs highest remaining Rep (4): 2, 6 so pass 1d6 and all Duck Back, moving 6″ into the nearest cover. However, under the Recovering Wounded rules on p. 19, each of them is allowed to pick up a wounded comrade within 4″. Kate grabs Vince, Trenchcoat Larry grabs Sylvia, and they duck back out of sight behind the wall. The soldier and the medic now have nothing left to shoot at.
Looking back on it, there are two mistakes here. Tactically, I should either have fast-moved the group into the bushes to get into cover while gaining line of sight along the wall, or used one guy to stick his head around the corner rather than expose the whole group; in terms of rules, Drew has Star Power so should have rolled to soak the wound. Never mind, the purpose of the game is to get my head back into ATZ/CR3 combat, and this it is doing.
The former PEF now activates. In a third mistake, I overlook the NP Force Movement Table on p. 28 and decide the enemy will charge into melee. They roll to fast move (one set of 2d6 vs individual Reps), and close in on the helpless Drew.
However, this brings them into Line Of Sight for Trenchcoat Larry, who takes an immediate In Sight test, passes 1d6, and snap-fires at the oncoming enemy, missing twice. This triggers a reaction test for them for being fired upon, but they are made of stern stuff, pass 2d6, and carry on charging. Drew passes 1d6 on the Being Charged test (rolling 1 and 6 against Rep 5), and the enemy team leader and veteran make contact for melee. Each now rolls as many d6 as their Rep, but Drew is down 2d6 for being prone, down 1d6 for having a lower Impact weapon, and up 1d6 for being a Brawler, so he rolls 3d6 not 5d6 – and he must split these as evenly as possible between the two enemies. He rolls 1, 6 vs 3 for the team leader, passing 1d6, and 5 for the veteran, passing 0d6. The team leader rolls 1, 1, 2, 4, 5 and passes 3d6. The veteran rolls 2, 2, 3, 5, 5 and passes 3d6. Since the veteran has rolled at least two more successes than Drew, and Drew is down to no passed dice against him, Drew is Obviously Dead. But wait – Drew is a Star, and thus has Star Power. He rolls 1d6 per point of Rep, hoping to score 3 or less: 2, 3, 3, 4, 4 and passes 3d6. Each passed die here reduces the damage level, so it shifts from OD to OOF to Stun to OK.
The cops and the troopers both activate, the unresolved PEFs do not. Troopers go first. Again I forget the NP Force Movement table, which would probably have got them to split into one group which takes cover and opens fire, and another group which tries to flank the opposition. Oops. However, I decide that the soldiers will open fire on the Trenchcoat Larry, whom they can see. The team leader scores three hits, one of which makes Larry Obviously Dead. Kate takes another Leader Lost test, passes 1d6, and ducks back into the next nearest cover within 6″, namely a tree just down a low hill. She is still carrying Vince. However, the veteran now has line of sight to her, takes an In Sight test, fires, hits her, and she goes Out Of the Fight.
Vince and Drew use their side’s activation to recover.
Neither the cops nor the soldiers activate. PEF 2 does, but passes 0d6 on the PEF movement table so doesn’t move.
The cops roll a 3 for activation, the soldiers a 1, and the PEFs 3 and 5 respectively. The PEFs roll over their Rep so fail to activate. The cops and soldiers both activate, but the cops rolled higher, so go first. Vince pops up and fires at the soldiers from cover. This triggers an In Sight test for the soldiers, the team leader and veteran have line of sight so return fire. The team leader scores 8, 9 and 9 to hit, but all these miss because Vince is in cover. The veteran scores 8, 9, and 11; the 11 hits even in cover, and a damage roll of 6 vs Impact 3 means Vince is knocked down again. He takes an immediate recovery test and rolls 2, 5 against a Rep of 5; he passes 1d6 and is Out Of the Fight.
Things are not looking good for the home team, with Larry dead, Drew surrounded by the enemy, and everyone else OOF. Drew stands up and shifts 1″ to break out of melee, which triggers another In Sight test. The troops roll 5, 5 against the leader’s Rep of 5 and pass 2d6, opening fire. The team leader hits Drew twice, scoring an Obviously Dead (reduced to OK by Star Power rolls, although Drew loses one SP die because it rolls a 6) and an OOF (reduced to Stunned by Star Power rolls). Drew has to miss another activation.
The troops now activate, and I belatedly remember the NP Force Movement table on p. 28. Troops roll 5, 6 vs Rep 5, so pass 1d6; because they outnumber the opposition, they split into two groups. One takes cover and opens fire, and the other moves to flanking positions. Three of those in flanking positions have clear shots, so they fire. The veteran hits once, scores an OOF, but Drew’s Star Power saves him again, reducing the wound to no effect. The medic hits twice, gets one OOF, but again that pesky Star Power keeps Drew upright. Finally the soldier scores a hit, knocks Drew down, he passes 1d6 on the recovery test and goes OOF, and this time not even Star Power can save him as he rolls all sixes. To save time later, I roll on the After The Battle table (p. 20) for all casualties. Drew rolls 2, 3 vs Rep 5 and passes 2d6; he will return at full Rep. Vince and Sylvia both pass 2d6 as well, but Kate passes 0d6 so her OOF escalates to Obviously Dead.
The enemy team leader steps out of cover, looks around, and shouts “Clear!” His men move forward to examine the bodies.
“Sir,” says the medic. “One dead. The girl in yellow isn’t going to make it; she needs a field hospital, and we don’t have one. The other three should be OK.”
The team leader thinks for a moment.
“All right,” he says. “Tie up the survivors and bring them with us back to base. They survived this long; that means they have supplies we can use, and maybe they have friends to come looking for them. I’ll ask them when they wake up. We can always kill ’em later.”
We’ll leave Drew & Co. there for the moment and switch back to Reed’s troupe. Will the two groups encounter each other later? What are the soldiers up to? Who knows?