"Eat bike-borne death, red scum!" – Steve Bell, If
Here’s my first serious attempt at running ATZ for my regular face-to-face gaming group. Since they love the speed of the game, I glossed over rules I was unsure of to keep things moving, but we’ll get there. I really need to preload PEFs though, stopping to look up what they are was the only time the hectic pace slowed.
A couple of them haven’t assigned their Stars names yet, and the group as a whole doesn’t have a name either; so I’ve dubbed them the Dojo Gang on the basis that one of them is a kendo teacher and they have holed up in the basement of his dojo.
Week One: Zed!
Above: The tactical group, consisting of Gouda Killem and two other as-yet-unnamed Stars played by NS and GM, enters the board from section 8 and walks up the board. There are three PEFs on the board as always. GM and Gouda move together up the road, NS moves up the right flank.
Above: The second picture shows the state of play half a dozen turns in. GM and Gouda entered the building full of zeds and opened fire on them, causing the concerned citizens to call the cops, just now entering the board from the right edge.
Meanwhile, GM and Gouda have moved on to a building in section 6 (they are behind the green pawns denoting citizens). NS fast moved up the right flank and used his katana to break into the garden shed (1) where he found a man, a woman, and a mountain bicycle. In this shot he has stolen the bike and is riding away from the scene of the crime, ringing his bell to draw the zeds out of the building in section 9 just on his right. Meanwhile, the couple have reported the bike as stolen by a sword-wielding maniac and more cops are due to arrive any minute.
Above: Near the end now. Everyone has met all their victory conditions and is legging it off the table down the road in section 1. GM is behind because she is Greedy and keeps stopping to loot things. Clustered around her are a brace of Citizens (in the shed) and two cops who want to know why she is wandering around with a fire axe covered in blood.
Meanwhile, the other cops are running towards the sound of sustained shotgun fire in section 7, caused by NS riding around the edge of the board and pausing to blow away zeds as he goes. He and Gouda are now in section 2.
Everyone succeeded and earned a Rep advance roll; GM succeeded and reached Rep 5.
Week Two: Robbery!
Walking onto the board from section 9 – or, in the case of NS, riding a stolen bicycle – our heroes plan on leaving the board via section 1 and going home. They have rightly determined that this is their best chance to stock up on supplies and are methodically working their way through the buildings. Unfortunately, they keep finding zeds – given the couple of dozen they met last time, I decided the zeds in buildings rules should apply. Not wanting to alert the police, they are using melee weapons. NS, as a Rep 4 Star with Brawler, Rage and a two-handed weapon, is wreaking havoc. He and Gouda are in the building in section 7 cleaning it out, while GM is outside talking to two Citizens (green pawns), having just picked up a ringing cellphone.
A few more moves in, and the guys resolved the closest PEF as half-a-dozen National Guard, with orders not to let them cross the quarantine line (grey diagonal line in the picture). They decided to find something that made a noise, draw zeds to the Guard to kill them, and then loot the bodies for their equipment. GM decided that the building in section 9 was a toyshop, so picked up a very loud musical jack-in-a-box. However, before this sinister weapon could be deployed, random events dropped two more cellphones on the board.
The endgame. At (1), we see the Stars (who snuck past the Guard along the right hand table edge thanks to successful Fitness challenges) moving off table, with an Out Of the Fight Gouda slung over NS’ mountain bike, and GM trailing behind.
At (2), we see a ringing cellphone – those PEF markers have been recycled as cellphones. I have never seen so many cellphones turn up in a single game; at one point there were three going off.
At (3) we see the National Guard holed up in a house, being swarmed by zombies. The Stars gave up on looting their bodies when they realised just how many zeds two cellphones and sustained automatic weapons fire were going to draw.
Again, a total success. Nobody increased their Rep, but Gouda did pass his Harry Are You OK? test for being rendered OOF by a zombie and thus survived.
I told them that an "Item" could be anything they wanted other than weapons or body armour… "Commlink" is the group’s shorthand for the tactical radios they’ve acquired in the first three encounters.
GM * Rep 5 Citizen, Pep 3, Sav 2, Greedy, Medic-1. Shovel, one-handed axe, mirror, commlink, pink explorer backpack with compass on string, cellphone (on silent!), musical jack-in-the-box. Food 3, Luxury 3, Medical 2.
Gouda Killem * Rep 4 Citizen, Pep 3, Sav 2, Runt, Born Leader. Beretta pistol, crowbar, one-handed axe, nailgun, map, compass, lighter, commlink, propane lantern, Dora the Explorer backpack. Food 2.
NS * Rep 4 Citizen, Pep 2, Sav 3, Rage, Brawler. Food 1, Fuel 1, Body Armour. Shotgun (with bayonet and flashlight), katana, night vision goggles, grappling hook and rope, binoculars, commlink, mountain bicycle, large backpack.