“I could write more about the breakdown of government and technology over the last few days, but what is important to me at the moment is that we buried Annie and Jules today. Was it my fault? I don’t know. Was it my responsibility? Absolutely. This is how it happened…” – Reed’s Journal.
Reed & Co still need to go shopping. We’re starting to feel the lack of firearms. We have improvised two handed weapons, which have an impact of 2, but having to mix it up with the zombies in hand-to-hand is a bad approach, and it will get worse when we have to take on other survivors. So, it’s back into town. This will be a discovery scenario in daylight. Annie’s attributes were undecided, so I decide to give her a new one I shall call “First Aid”, meaning she can count as a nurse for purposes of recovery tests.
The party numbers four, so as per p. 29 there are 4d6+4 zeds when we enter the board. As usual when I enter the table from one edge, the zeds clump up as shown in the first picture…
Activation: Humans 1 (activate), Zombies 6 (fail). Reed & Co move towards the nearest building, intent on searching it, which is also away from the zeds. On reflection, this is where things went wrong, tactically speaking. As our heroes are Rep 3 and the zeds are Rep 4, over the course of six turns on average the zeds will activate four times and move a total of 24″ towards us; the humans will activate three times and move 24″ at base move rate; and if we fail two activations in a row, which is not unlikely at this Rep, the zeds will be on us. The lesson learned is that the protagonists should fast move all the time, and I should also remember the rules for Born Leader, Athletic and the Leader Die, which between them would pretty much guarantee a double move each turn. Perhaps I would miss less of this stuff if I player more often, and before 10 at night…
Activation: Humans 2 (activate), Zombies 4 (activate and go first). The zeds start to close in while the humans continue to move towards the building, still not running.
Activation: Humans 5 (fail), zombies 4 (activate). The zombies continue to close in.
Activation: Humans 4 (fail) zombies 1 (activate). The zeds will get into melee this turn. When they are a short distance out, since zeds always Want To Charge, the humans take the Being Charged test. I use Reed’s free will (he is a Star) to pass 1d6, as retiring and hunkering down would be lethal. (Post-game note: Rereading the rules shows that hunkered down figures are invisible to those that caused them to flee, so had I chosen to pass 0d6 at this point we would all have got out alive, using the same approach I eventually got to in turn 9. Another tactical error.)
The zeds now close to melee. Nick and Annie have two zeds each, and Jules has three. They have to split their melee dice as evenly as possible between the combatants; each human has 4d6, except Reed who has 5d6. Nick rolls 1, 3 vs 3 against the first zombie, which rolls 4 vs 3 in return; since Nick has two more successes than the zombie, he kills it. Glossing over the detailed die rolls, Nick draws against his second zed, Jules kills two of hers but is knocked Out Of The Fight by the third, and Annie kills both of hers.
As Jules has fallen, we now need to take a Man Down test, but Reed uses his free will to pass 2d6 and his Born Leader to force everyone else to do likewise, so everyone Carries On in good order. I was too engrossed in the game to take a picture at this point.
Activation: Both sides roll 6, so we consult the event table and learn that the humans’ car is out of fuel. We’re on foot, so that’s no problem just yet – might be later, though.
Activation: Humans 2 (activate), zombies 4 (activate and go first). Jules is down, so all unengaged zombies which can move to her and feast. Those which can’t move around the flanks to engage the rest of the humans. (This was also an error, due to my thinking there was a stacking limit – there isn’t, there is no limit to how many zeds can pile into a feast.) As per p 31 I roll 1d6 to see how long Jules will occupy them; this turns out to be two turns. Meanwhile, elsewhere the melee continues; Reed faces off against three zeds, killing two and drawing against the third; Nick kills one, draws against another, and is knocked down and stunned by a third; Annie kills one but is knocked down and rendered Out Of the Fight by the second. This is going downhill fast.
Now it’s the humans’ turn, and Nick uses his activation to recover from stun before the zeds can pile in and feast on him. There is however a feast going on, so everyone takes the See The Feast test; Reed can’t use free will on this, but can use Born Leader to roll an extra die and force everyone to follow his lead. He rolls 1, 4, and 5, passes 1d6, and everyone ducks back into the nearest cover within 6″ (there is a crater nearby, which doesn’t show up well on the pictures, but that’s where they go) and take a Sanity Test: Rolls of 2, 2, and 1 mean Nick and Reed pass 2d6 and are stunned.
Activation: Humans 2 (activate), zombies 3 (activate and go first). The zeds now pile in on Annie and Jules, whichever one is closer, and feast again. Annie will occupy them for 3 turns starting now, Jules will last until the end of this turn. Nick and Reed use this activation to recover from stun.
Activation: Humans 3 (activate), zombies 5 (fail). Reed uses his Born Leader to force passing 2d6 on a Wanting To Charge test, and he and Nick barrel into the zombies. (In game terms, it’s already too late, but from the figures’ viewpoint I figure Civilians wouldn’t just leave their friends, they’d try to do something about it; so in they go. By the time the protagonists switch to being Gangers or Survivors, they probably would just use this opportunity to slip away.) At least they have the sense to go for outnumbering the enemy in terms of dice count; Reed takes on two and kills them both, Nick drops all four of his dice on one zombie and kills it.
Activation: Humans 1 (activate), zombies 2 (activate and go first). Those zombies not already dead are feasting on Annie, so I decide a second See The Feast test is called for. This time Reed rolls 4, 5 and 6, passes 0d6, and he and Nick retire to the nearest cover within 12″ (the crater again) and hunker down.
At this point the game is over. The remaining zombie can’t see them, as it was what caused them to hunker down, so it will wander off in a random direction. The humans stay hunkered down until someone comes to rally them. So, I picture the other group members frantically searching for them until nearly nightfall, then finding them in shock, hiding in the crater and driven nearly mad by what they’ve seen. Camp will not be a happy place tonight.
This session took 90 minutes from start to end, including setup and packing away, and used four human figures and 14 zombies. As ever, THW rules are merciless in their punishment of bad tactics. Tonight’s lessons are: (1) Keep moving, fast; (2) use all your figures’ attributes to best advantage; (3) split the party into at least two groups, so that if one hunkers down the other can rally them.