Friday 24 April 2015

Pre Salute and Bullets and Brains part 3

As it comes out of the fridge in one solid mass
that is not all for you.
A total of 500g of Chocolate in that!
Yes the day before Salute and all is well, I have made all the orders for pick up at the show that I need. Ok just 1 order! I have been to the bank to work out how much is worth taking. I have even washed the blog tee shirt so it should be easier to avoid me if that is your choice. My final preparation was yesterday when I checked and the fudge is now set! Not so very much as usual as I have different people asking for it at home in the form of neighbours, relatives and even some of the ladies who work in my local Tesco. Being honest the ladies in my local Tesco are better looking and much more fanciable than most wargamers. There are exceptions of course, but generally!

So generally I am ready. Well as ready as I need to be! (I hope)

So pressing on.

Part 3 of the Bullets and Brains games put on By East street games.

As Kev had to leave early to amass enough brownie points to go to Salute tomorrow, that left Ian, Dave and Myself to take on Paul and Christine from East Street Games. We were allowed to select some different US troops. I was in the loo when the choice was made and came back to find I had a flame thrower and a leader. They did give me the option to change them but what the heck I though might as well stick and see what the flame thrower does. The flamethrower rules were simple logical and straight forward.  Mostly flamethrowers work by using up all the oxygen and making it impossible to breathe, being set on fire is a secondary effect. I did not think zombies would be too worried about the fire or indeed the lack of oxygen but I did think that it would do them no good what so ever. The rules they just made sense on the table and I think worked very well indeed.

Dave had a sniper and a goffer carrying extra ammunition for everyone and Ian had a commando and a dog with handler. Our mission this time was generated randomly from a table in the rule book. The task was to kill 10 or more zombies in one of 2 separate areas (no not 5 zombies from each area) and to exit 1 figure from the opposite board corner. The board was set up, we had a minute deciding what to do and as per usual totally ignored the plan and changed it in the second turn! That really does sound like us.

Given that the flamethrower only had four shots but auto hit and a range of 12 inches I needed to get him up the board pretty quick! So Dave set up the sniper and the Ammo Carrier and I advanced the leader and the flamethrower. Ian moved as fast as he dared towards and into the pub! We did wonder if he would stay there! But he did not stop. Then the zombies started to arrive. Which infected my leader on the first turn as he was in move range of a spawning point. But I had very little choice if I was to move up the board.

The ammo guy did most of the heavy lifting and killed the zed. Dave's Sniper picked of a couple at long range and before long our kill total in the area was 2 and we needed 10. generating 1 a turn over 8 turns we knew we would have to get loud to generate more zombies. So by turn 2 I had my leader on 2 wounds and some sneaky zombie had taken a bite out of the flame thrower guy as well and had been dispatched in melee. But that left him wounded as well and with the infection they would get an extra wound each turn  and when on 5 wounds they would become zeds! The Ammo guy protected the sniper and the commando, dog handler and Fido all moved through the pub and climbed over the bar on the way to the rear entrance..

By fluke I had placed the leader just out of zombie reach when the spawned which resulted in some melee battles right on the edge of the killing zone. Which in turn resulted in the sniper getting so good shots in. Ian had now reached the back door and we were on 5 kills in the right zone. The Ammo guy had been luck in melee taking care of the two who had spawned behind the flamethrower. While the flamethrower would automatically hit it would only wound the zeds and while firing it as often as possible with only its 4 shots in the whole game my leader was able to keep the zombies clear of him.

meanwhile Christine had abandoned one of her zombie spawn points and was concentrating on another. So when Ian left the pub he had a wall of biting flesh ahead of him. And he needed to get a single figure over the yellow line. (top right in picture).

When the leader was down to a single wound I moved him into the kill zone. The result was his death and turn into a zombie. Dave took great delight in using the sniper to drill a shot into the back of my head and we suddenly became 2 zeds short of the total that needed to die in that sector. And my flamethrower guy was on his last wound. So I did the sensible thing and crossed the line into the killing zone and turned into a zombie. We had no medics or antibiotics so once infected I was always going to die. Again Dave Grinning  killed my other character the instant he turned and was still able to dispatch one other so in 8 turns we had managed to kill the required number of zombies in that sector.

Ian somehow managed to get past the wall of zombies, but taking damage as he did so and killing a couple in the process. We asked if the dog was acceptable as the figure to make it of the table or if it had to be a human. (The Dog can move faster). Casper who was refing looked it up in the rules and decided in our favour and on the last turn the dog made it to safety.

Thus we earned a human victory (of sorts) in the last game.

We played 3 games in a single day with 2 zombie wins and one Human win. All games were very close and came down to the  wire. Which gave the games a great and exciting feel to them. The rules work very well and if you allow for the fact that the zeds can think tactically and know the human victory conditions were hard to fault.

While these rules work very well for one of games but the death rate among humans makes it hard to imagine continuing characters at this stage. Maybe this will change in the future as I know they are planning further PDF releases of rules updates. But if you want a fun game played in 8 or less turns with about 40 figures total I would recommend the rules.

No rules are perfect however and I would be looking for more than 1 off games. But as they stand they are pretty good. Simple and enjoyable. The mechanics are sound and work well, they are also fairly instinctive and other than zombies not acting very zombie like due to player involvement and the mortality rate being very high. Other than those things which I know I could tweak to suit what I want, these rules make a good set for "Outbreak" era zombie wargaming.

Thanks for reading and with Salute tomorrow I will no doubt do a loot post on Sunday. So until then have fun and don't get bitten.

Take care of yourself.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Bullets and Brains (Part 2)

Yes the second game. If you have yet to read about the first game just refer to the previous posting by me and you will get the low down.

Well this game was a bit different. Dave and myself had the zombies this time and Kev and Ian the humans. No they did not have US army, but a bunch of civilians including 2 criminals which had special powers and did not trigger encounter tokens. Normal civilians did. As a crew they were much lighter armed with no automatic weapons and no medic (Gulp) but they could scavenge from crates. A variety of items were to be found in the crates but I did not see the lists so I will only comment on what was pulled out. Those finds being weapons (Mostly knives) bandages and antibiotics. When they spent a turn and an action by a crate they could search and roll a d6 and take any single item of that value or lower from the list.

The civilian mission was to kill two random zombies which were identified when players entered that sector of the board and again if possible get one figure from the boards opposite corner. I will admit I may have gotten their Victory conditions wrong as I was at this stage in zombie mode and the brain had shut down. The zombies Victory condition was to stop them getting to the two designated zombies and that was enough for me to think about while in zombie-mode.

Kev and Ian split the civilians evenly and each set about entering each sector separately rather than working as a single team. But again the 8 turn limit was most likely to scupper any attempt at that from the outset.

When you play with a certain group for a while you can predict how they will react. I am sure they know how I will at times and play on that. Well typical for Ian in zombie games he wanted the most scavenged equipment as possible so he had a slight detour when approaching my sector and after dispatching the only zombie I sent to block him looted the crates till they were exhausted. There were still other crates though
and I could see that he wanted to arm all of the civilians before confronting a load of biters. Kev at the other side was doing just as well and killing and looting as he went. To be honest I suspect I would have done the same.

They were using a noisy and quiet alternative turn tactic to slow down the zombies arrival via the spawn points meaning that me and Dave would have less zombies on the board when it came to them reaching the sector and determining who the random zombie to be killed as part of the VP. A sound choice of tactic and much to be applauded.

Now Dave and myself did not play the spirit of zombies. Well I for one did not no matter what Dave may later say. Zombies should not be tactical and should behave in a mindless feeding frenzy manner. But having checked with Casper and Christine we decided to have the zombies runaway and hide in a very un-zombie like way. By doing so we were able to keep the zombie with the victory conditions out of any fight and put a meat shield of living dead between the civilians and the target. Yes unsporting and very un-zombie like which makes me think zombies have to be played via an automated system or by an "Impartial" ref! And not by other players who all want to win. And that is probably the only fault I can say about the rules at present. But the game is the game and you always play to the whistle and the whistle was not blown and that was not considered a fowl, so we protected the target zeds. As you can see by my positioning of the zombies in the building with the target zombie in the corner and a wall of biting flesh as an undead barricade.

When It reached this stage and with a spawning point directly outside Ian gave up trying to get to that zed and went to support Kev. I did feel bad about it as it was not a very zombie like thing to do. Runaway and Hide!

meanwhile at the other side of the board Kev was doing better and had actually got into hand to hand with his target, but had lost a couple of people along the way. But time was really against them now and in the last few turn while they did loot that zombies body they just ran out of time. I was exiting the building and giving chase to Ian's civilians and did manage to bite one who spawned from a different spawning point and not with my conga line exiting the building. But the bitten one was a sacrificial piece left there to slow us down.

So we had another zombie win.

While the game was fun having players control the zombies and having the zombie player know which zombie was the target did mean every player behaved in a different way. For example the Humans used the loud and noisy turn and the quiet and sneaky turns to limit the zombies moves and the number arriving on the board and the zombie players marshalled their troops to protect their asset. You can blame no players for doing so. And while it was a very fun and enjoyable scenario the turn limit of 8 turns always meant that there would be 8 zombies to fight to get the asset zombie.

If you buy these rules and I probably will I would make a few changes to this scenario. Firstly forget the turn limits. This will allow the humans to get enough resources to take on the zeds. As without the tools the job becomes so much harder. But if you choose you could start the humans with a pool of equipment already as opposed to the meagre supply they started with. Additionally I would change the zombies, if you cannot have them automated in some way (OH someone please make an app!). I would not have the zombie identified but simply say when they searched the totally dead (brain dead) zombie roll a d6 needing 5+ to find what they are looking for on it. needless to say it would need to be playtested a few times first but it might stop the zombies running and hiding!

But overall a very good scenario and well worth playing and I would be very happy to do so again.

I will do the final part of Saturday as we did play 1 more scenario in the day. But so far 2 zombie wins and no human wins.

Monday 20 April 2015

"You have to interact with a zombie" Ewwwww I thought!

Yes that was a quote by Casper, one on the three guys who came down on Sunday to the club. They were Paul, Casper and Christine all from East Street Games, and they put a zombie game on for us. Actually we played 3 games in all. So who is who, Paul  is the owner of East Street Games, Christine  is the rules writer for "Bullets and Brains" their zombie rules and Casper  tweaks the rules and makes it all work. I have over simplified their roles but it should give you an idea of what they all do and who they are.

Firstly let me say they are all very nice chaps so if you see them at a show Please do go and bug them all. In fact make a real nuisance of yourself! I did and will do again! That counts as a fair warning for you P. Seriously nice chaps and worth a chat with.


The table was set up and a briefing given to all players. I was with Dave and we had 6 US army figures our mission was to get 1 figure to a corner and one figure to the opposite corner of the board and we had 8 turns to do so. Ian and Kev played the zombies and they had to stop us. Easy right! Err No. Not that easy. 8 turns is a very tight schedule. Very tight.

Our roster was leader, saw gunner, medic and 3 standard troops. I had the standard troops and Dave the specialists. Each figure gets two actions a turn. The leader may sacrifice his actions to activate another for an additional 2 actions. The SAW gunner could fire 4 times in a action, and the medic could well no surprise heal wounds and cure infections.
 Each figure can take a number of wounds, all zombies can take 2 wounds, and each of the army could take 5. Red dice represents wounds taken and black dice "Infected" wounds. The zombie player has 4 spawning points as well as some encounter tokens. The encounter tokens may be placed on the board OR a small number may be played before activations. Different encounters were worth different points for a total of 10 points.

So here is what happened in the first game. Zombies spawn at each spawn point at a rate of 1 a turn and an additional zombie if the humans were being noisy. Me and Dave were noisy every turn for the 6 turns of the game. So you get more zombies and they get faster if the humans are noisy. But we had a long way to travel and we had to run to cover the distance and running is noisy!

So the first turn I set of an encounter token by getting to close and receive an infected cut for my trouble. Woops! The zombies spawned and as we were close we got attacked. the result was 1 more infected wound on another figure. We used the medics actions to cure wounds and the saw gunner to shoot things as my troops could not hit a barn door from inside the barn with my dice rolling.
 The zombies started swarming and as we were close to the school bus they played an encounter token one they had held back and not placed on the board. The bus exploded. Lucky for us all our troops within 8 inches of the buss were un hurt. God Bless flak vests. Unluckily the last figure who happened to be the medic did take a wound. But it really could have been so much worse, it could have devastated us.
 WE continue to move and do get a single figure to the corner edge. Thus giving us a victory point. At several places melee had been joined and mostly the soldiers had come of better. Yeah Mostly. And at this stage mostly we could get the medic to heal. But as each infected wound progresses a level each turn we were struggling to keep everyone healthy and alive and then we realise we were running out of time. So we had to split and that is where it all went to slime.
 As you can see we were getting a steady stream of opponents chasing us. and while the saw gunner was able to pick of a few each turn it was noisy and was not quite enough to allow for the new noes generated but as we were running and being noisy anyway there was little point in keeping him from not shooting.
 Splitting from the corner we became strung out. the result was the zombies could team up against us. But with only 8 turns we really had little choice but to split up. The 8 turns was the entire game length and we were on turn 5 at this stage! Christine was making "Nom Nom !" Noises at this stage when she moved the zombies.
 Dave used the SAW gunner to clear a path and I sent the troopers running and not fighting.
 Our leader was surrounded and rather than let him fight back we used him to active one of the running troopers. Suddenly it was turn 7 and I was at least 12 inches away from safety. The leader was engulfed by 4 zombies and succumbed to his wounds and instantly turned into a zed!

My fastest runner just short of safety flits an encounter token and that allows the zeds to make 3 free attacks on the soldiers. If I cross the yellow line I would make it to safety and win the game. But with only 1 wound left they made their attack and....

He gets turned into a zombie. inches from safety.

So the first game was a zombie victory. Hard luck Dave and well done Kev and Ian. Tactically we did make a few mistakes we spent too much time healing at the start of the game and that cost us time. Secondly we sent too many people to carry out the first objective to the determent of the second. But the scenario was very balanced and did result in a clear zombie win 2 Victory points to 1 US army Victory point! But for 2 more inches of movement it would have been a US army Victory.

I will post games 2 and 3 later this week. But this blog post is long enough for now so I will need to leave it there.

Overall I was impressed by the rules, they were simple and intuitive and the guys had picked them up half way through the first game. I will talk more of them in the next couple of posts.

Cheers For looking today and episode 2 on Wednesday. Until then take care, have fun and no biting!