Captain Flack (for it is he) is out jogging near the Regiment’s base in Hereford. These last few years have seen more being taxied around in choppers than walking, and Flack is old school, so he’s out pounding the road before 0700. Although he doesn’t know it yet, he is about to come face to face with the Zombie Apocalypse. It starts small, but then zombie apocalypses often do…
The weather’s too hot for me to sleep, but it’s too early to go into work, so I decide to make good use of the time by playing ATZ. However, who knows when the family will surface, so no figures today – out comes the iPad. The map is the village from Cry Havoc, which looks built-up enough to be a suburb, and I quickly move Flack onto the board from one corner and set up three PEFs; two Rep 5 ones in board section 1, and a Rep 2 in section 2. As luck would have it there is only one zombie present (p. 45, 1d6 per human, roll of 1), 12" away at Flack’s 12 o’clock, which puts it in Building 4. Let’s call one hex an inch for today.
Flack slows to a walk as he comes up on a cluster of houses and shops, intending to get some cow juice from the newsagent.
I decide that the shop is Building 1, since there are PEFs moving around in it this early, and move Flack directly towards it. Since he has Rep 5 and Initiative, and is on his own, he counts as Rep 6 for activation and therefore always activates – this will be a big change from Miss-a-Turn Mike’s Rep 2.
Activation: Flack 4, zeds 2. Everyone moves, Flack first.
Unaware of what’s about to happen, Flack strolls jauntily up the village street. PEF5a, rolling as if it had Rep 4 because it’s inside a building, rolls 2d6 vs Rep 4, gets 35, passes 1d6 and tries to move 12" away from Flack through cover; that takes it into the corner of the board, whereupon it turns left and sets off along the board edge. The conga line is forming up early today.
PEF5b passes 2d6 and moves as close to Flack as it can get without breaking cover. Astonishingly, PEF2 does the same. Meanwhile, the zed was placed facing Flack’s initial position, and with no other parts of its programming being triggered, moves directly forwards, which by blind luck on the turning die rolls when it hits walls, brings it adjacent to Flack, but on the other side of a wall.
Activation: Flack 3, zeds 6. Oblivious to the nearby zed, Flack marches up towards the shop. This brings him past the corner where PEF2 and PEF5b are lurking, so I resolve them by rolling on the Contact Days 1-10 table (p. 61). I roll 1d6-1 for each (-1 because it is daytime), and get 3 and 4 – two sets of citizens. Rolling on the How Many table I get a 3 and a 5; PEF2 is a pair of citizens, and PEF5b is a trio. Using the special rules on page 68 and a couple of dice rolls I see that PEF5b is Neutral and PEF2 is Friendly. I expand the tokens into citizens 4, 7, 7 8 on table 1 and citizen 8 on table 2, but can’t be bothered to give them names, it’s too early in the morning.
Time to meet and greet. Flack rolls Rep d6 and gets 11556 for two successes; PEF2’s leader, Citizen 4-1, rolls 4d6 and gets 1566 for one success; PEF5b’s leader, Citizen 8-2, rolls 3d6 and gets 125 for two successes. That translates to PEF5b exchanging pleasantries with Flack, since they scored the same; but since he beat PEF2’s score, doesn’t want to start a fight, and they have lower Rep, they ask to join his group.
"Good morning, Captain Flack! Off to the shops for your usual? Mind if we walk with you?" Flack gestures assent, being a man of few words, and off they go in company.
Note that as Week One is a modified Search encounter, and Flack has now recruited two grunts, he has met the victory conditions.
Activation: Flack 6, zeds 4. The zeds move, but since Flack is no longer alone, he no longer gets the benefit from his Initiative and fails to activate.
The former PEF5b has a Rep of 3, so fails to activate and carries on gassing at the corner. PEF2 as was is now attached to Flack so fails to activate. PEF5a passes 2d6 on the PEF Movement table and closes under cover. Finally, although Flack can’t see the zed, it can see him, and is within charge range, so charges into melee. As per p. 48, it moves up to 3" from Flack and the Charge Into Melee test is taken. The zed counts as passing 1d6, and Flack rolls 2d6 vs Rep 5: 56, passing 1d6. Flack has no gun, so cannot shoot, and the charger moves into melee, although no reaction tests are taken. Note that Flack was charged from the rear, so turns to melee but couldn’t shoot even if he had a gun (p. 32).
The zed rolls Rep d6 and gets 4566 for no successes. Flack rolls 4d6; Rep 5, -1 for being unarmed, but will get an extra success as he is fighting a zombie. He scores 2246, giving him three successes; he rolls 1d6 vs those 3 successes for damage, and gets a 6, knocking the opponent down. All that means for a zed is that it misses a turn getting up.
Activation: Flack 2, zeds 3. The zed staggers to its feet. The former PEF5b passes 1d6 on the NPC movement table and enters the nearest building, no doubt to call the police. PEDF5a passes 2d6 and sneaks a couple of hexes closer, as close as it can get without Flack’s new buddies seeing it.
Flack resolves the melee, rolling 6d6 since the zed is now prone, albeit staggering to its feet, scoring 225666 and getting three successes. I can’t see anything that says the zed can’t fight back, so it rolls 1134 and also gets three successes; evenly matched. Citizen 7a-1 may only have Rep 2, but he does have a knife and is fighting a prone zed which is already engaged; first he takes the Citizen Brown Pants test to see if he can act, and to my surprise succeeds, so he and the zed take the Charge Into Melee test (Adding to Melee, p. 32); he passes 0d6 and the zed passes 1d6, meaning that if the zed had a gun it could shoot him, but melee is still joined. The Citizen piles in and rolls 5d6; two for his Rep, one for fighting an engaged target, two for that target being prone. He rolls 11336, five successes (+1 as target is a zombie), to the zed’s 1556 and one success. He rolls a 4 for Melee Result, taking the zed Out Of the Fight, and destroying it.
Flack sizes up the situation, and gently takes the knife from the citizen’s shaking hand.
"When police ask," he says, "I stabbed him. Understood?" The citizen blinks, and snaps out of it enough to nod.
"Excellent," says Flack. "Go home. Clean up."
Activation: Flack 6, zeds 4. Nobody moves.
Activation: Flack 1, zeds 5.
Flack turns to enter the shop, and as he steps around the corner gets line of sight on PEF5a, which resolves as a single neutral citizen. Seeing Flack stalking forwards, breathing heavily and carrying a bloody knife, the citizen remembers a more urgent appointment and moves 12" away.
Flack steps inside, and conversation stops.
"Morning," he says, holding up the dripping knife. "Call police please, got some explaining to do."
Aftermath and Reflections
Since Flack has plot immunity until he catches up with established history, it seems fair he shouldn’t get any advances either. It seems unlikely the Regiment would let him keep his two civvie recruits, though, so they wander off.
This went a lot faster than I’m used to from gaming Mike’s adventures, especially when Flack was on his own. It’s interesting though that the killing blow on the zed was put in by a Rep 2 civilian. Flack will never live that down, but it reinforces my growing conviction that this game is not about the Star’s Rep, it’s about the player’s tactics.