It’s been a busy week, and there wasn’t time for a group session at the weekend, so I decided to use my spare time constructively – that is, by playing more All Things Zombie.
For Mike Blackman, would-be road warrior, it’s now 21st March 2013, Z+80. Mike hasn’t eaten in a long time, so I decide he will move back into the ‘burbs where the tins of spam – and zombies – are more numerous. So, it’s a Search scenario; I prefer those in urban or suburban regions, as you can win the encounter earlier on; in rural locales, I find it better to use a Take Back scenario, as you might very well not find anything, but you can clear the board.
I was going to use one of the nifty maps Lee Sweeney pointed out to me, but I already had the Village from Cry Havoc! loaded in Hex Map Pro on the iPad, so inertia won, as it often does these days. I set one hex as 1" because it’s easy, which makes the board a bit small at 16" x 26", but as I’ve said before, these rules are really hard to break, and a small board won’t do it; it just speeds up play a little, and with Mike’s current Rep of 2, that’s useful, as he will fail to activate two turns out of three.
We begin with Mike entering the board from section 7, with two PEFs in section 5 and one in section 6, all three of the beggars Rep 6. There are 2 + 1d6 = 4 vehicles, which I place as if they were PEFs in sections 1, 3, 4 and 4. There are three zombies, at Mike’s 2, 6 and 8 o’clock, rotated around until they fit on the board. The game board now looks like this:
I thought it might be useful to label the board sections and show the borders between them, so I added those. You’ll see some of the labels later are on sideways – sorry about that, I was playing the game “vertically” and it didn’t occur to me at the time that I always post the pictures “horizontally” so they fit on monitors better.
I don’t bother rolling for lack of sleep, because Mike’s Rep can’t get any worse than it is already, poor guy.
Activation: Mike 3, Zeds and PEFs 6. Rep 6 PEFs always activate and always pass 2d6 for movement, so they all move 12" towards Mike, staying in cover at all times. As usual, I apply my house rule that given a choice between moving closer and staying in cover, PEFs will stay in cover.
This leaves them all lined up inside the yard of Building 3, glaring at him like something from Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Activation: Mike 2, Zeds and PEFs 5. The zeds still fail to activate, and the PEFs can’t get any closer without breaking cover, so Mike moves. Mike fast-moves, rolling 2d6 vs Rep (2); 6, 2 and he passes 1d6, meaning his move this turn is 12". He runs to the corner of Building 5 and flattens himself against the wall. Since the PEFs rolled higher for activation than he did, he moves after them, so they stay where they are. Mike can now see a vehicle crashed into a tree in section 3.
The white square is a turn counter, while the coloured squares are the activation dice for Mike (green) and zombies (red), using Hex Map Pro’s dice roller.
Activation: Mike 4, Zeds and PEFs 3. Mike doesn’t activate, but everyone else does. The PEFs follow him and squat on the other side of the wall he’s backed up against; the zeds shamble 6" in whatever direction they’re currently facing, which conveniently takes them towards where they last saw him.
Activation: Mike 6, Zeds/PEFs 5. Nobody moves, Mike and the zeds because they failed to activate, and the PEFs because they can’t get any closer.
Activation: Mike 5, Zeds/PEFs 3. Pretty much a repeat of turn 3, with the zeds coming up on the edge of the board now.
Activation: Mike 2, Zeds/PEFs 6. Again, although the PEFs always activate and always pass 2d6 to move closer, they go before Mike; which means they don’t actually move. While the zeds pause for breath (all that shuffling takes it out of you), Mike fast-moves up the board toward the vehicle in section 3. He rolls 2, 5 against Rep on 2d6, and so passes 1d6 and moves 12".
A little metagaming here; in the real world, danger could come from anywhere, but in the game, I know any attackers will be on the board somewhere. So, I turn Mike to cover as much of it as possible. This is why he needs a companion; someone has to look out behind him, since attacks from the rear are vicious.
Activation: Both sides roll 4, so there is a random event, and for the first time I turn to the rulebook. Oh look, it’s an 11; Mike twists his ankle again. He really ought to get that ankle looked at. This happens in almost every game with Mike, for some reason.
Activation: Mike 1, Zed/PEF 4. As the zeds can’t see any people, they are Rep 3, so miss a turn. The PEFs realise Mike is in section 3 now, and stampede towards him. Meanwhile, Mike fast-moves; as he has twisted an ankle, he only counts 1d6 for this, but rolls a 2 so still passes 1d6, and has a move of 10" (8" normal move, +4" for fast move, -2" for twisted ankle). That doesn’t bother me, he needs much less than that to reach the crashed car, but will still count as fast-moving if anyone shoots at him, which is all I wanted.
After a quick skim of the rules, I can’t see anything that says there should be anyone (or anything) inside, so I decide this car is empty. Mike clambers in, because then he counts as concealed. As per p. 39, at this stage of the outbreak in a suburban area, it’s out of fuel on a roll of 4-6 on 1d6. I roll 1, so it’s still operational, and then 4 when checking if the keys are in the ignition; as that roll is more than 1, Mike will have to hotwire the car if he wants to use it. Let’s search the car, shall we, Mike? That’ll have to wait, though, as he needs to spend an activation doing it.
Activation: Mike 1, Zed/PEF 4. Hmm, same as last time. The PEFs close up, and stare at him through the windows. Mike searches the car; only one person can search a car, but there’s just him, so that’s OK. I roll 2d6 vs the Encounter Rating of 3; 1, 5 passes 1d6, so Mike finds a food unit. Hurray! I would imagine he eats some of it, as it has been weeks since he had any real food.
Activation: Mike 1, Zeds/PEFs 5. Mike’s on a roll here. Pausing only to stuff his pockets and backpack with food, he exits the vehicle and fast-moves along the top of the board towards the car parked in section 1. He has now achieved the encounter objective, but he needs to kill a zed to gain a chance to improve his Rep, and given its parlous state, that is definitely worth a shot. I roll 2, 4 and again Mike passes 1d6 and moves 10", flattening his back against Building 1.
Activation: Mike 1, Zed/PEF 4. Wow, four activations in a row! The PEFs move up as always, and Mike fast-moves to the next car, again getting a 10" move. The car is fuelled, but there are no keys. Mike looks out of the windows, and has line of sight to two of the PEFs, so I resolve them now by rolling 2d6 vs location ER (3) on the PEF Resolution table.
For the first, I roll 6, 6 and pass 0d6 – just Mike’s nerves playing tricks on him. For the second, I get 2, 4 and pass 1d6 – there’s definitely something out there, and the ER increases to 4. Good for looting, bad for getting shot at.
Activation: Mike 4, Zed/PEF 1. Ah well, it had to happen sometime. As the highest Rep that activated, the PEF moves up as close as it can. Then the zeds finally move, hit the board edge, and start shaking out into the traditional conga line.
Activation: Mike 6, PEF/Zed 3. Mike doesn’t activate, the PEF can’t get any closer without being seen, and the zeds shuffle around the edge of the map.
Activation: Mike 3, PEF/Zed 1. A repeat of turn 13.
Activation: Mike 1, Zed/PEF 5. Mike searches the second car, and finds a second food unit. Excellent. For the previously-explained reasons, nobody else moves.
Activation: Mike 1, Zed/PEF 5. Still lucky, Mike. Mike sees he is within range for the shotgun, and pokes it out the window to blast the zed moving up the left-hand edge of the board. As per p. 23, he rolls 6d6 to hit, counting the best three for purposes of hitting and all of them for purposes of running out of ammo. He rolls 362363, and uses 6, 6, 3 as his rolls to hit. I add his Rep (2) to each of those dice and get 8, 8, 5. The 5 is an obvious miss – any roll of 7 or less is – but looking at the Range Combat table, both 8s hit. (8 misses "if second or higher target", but it’s the same zombie, so I guess both hit.)
As soon as I fire, I must roll to see if the gunfire attracts more zombies… I roll 6d6 (one for each shot), and get 612331; any results of 5 or 6 in the ‘burbs are a new zed, so I deploy one more, 12" from Mike. I roll a 3 for direction, meaning it would be at his 6 o’clock (you just double the score to get a clock face direction), and then rotate that vector clockwise until the new zed fits on the table, facing Mike, but it doesn’t activate on the turn it is placed.
Now for damage. It doesn’t matter if I use the Easy To Kill rule (which would apply) from p. 49 or not, as Mike’s Rep is the same as the shotgun’s Impact – 2. I roll 1d6 for each hit, and get 6, 2; the 6 is higher than the Impact, so Knocks Down the zed, but the 2 is the Impact or less, and so puts the zombie Out Of the Fight – which for a zed, kills it (p. 49). I flip the counter to its grey side in celebration, as Mike has now met all the victory conditions for the scenario.
As my beloved wishes me to clear snow from the drive at this point, I call the game and Mike uses his movement to exit the board while I exit the house with shovel in hand.
Mike rolls 1d6 to increase his Rep, and gets a 2. I am unimpressed, but the dice roll what they roll. As the ‘burbs look like a good compromise between loot and safety, Mike will stay here for a while, so it’s worth checking what loot there is; I roll this as per the Availability rules on p. 57, then deduct the 2 Food Mike has already found.
I suppose strictly speaking I should keep track of resources left in previous areas, but that sounds like high effort and low fun, so I won’t bother. The primary purpose of Over Fishing is to force characters into a new area from time to time, and in my experience that’s usually triggered by a shortage of food.
The next adventure should be a Take Back encounter, as Mike looks for a place to stay for the next few weeks. He definitely does not want to spend another winter living rough in the boonies. Also, he is reaching the limit of what he can carry, so he needs a safe place to store things. At Rep 2, he can only carry 4 Items (twice his Rep), which are currently the shotgun, the knife and the backpack (counts as two items). However, he can carry twice his Rep in items inside the backpack, which are currently a crowbar and two units of Food; that means he can only carry one more item.
Mike Blackman:* Rep 2 MM Survivor, Pep 2, Sav 1, Poser, Rage. Shotgun, crowbar, knife, backpack. Food 2.
Suburban Area: Body Armour 9, Food 29, Fuel 14, Luxuries 28, Medical 7, Weapons 25.