Saturday, 16 September 2023

Gimme fuel gimme fire…

So, one of the Last Days scenarios requires specific food and fuel scavenge tokens. I have suitable tokens featuring boxes of canned goods already, but for fuel I knocked up these:

The gas bottles are from Fenris, and the other bits come from a Tamiya 1/48 WWII stowage kit that I bought a million years ago when my only project was AE:WWII.

I know technically in the game fuel is more likely firewood (as you even get a bonus to gathering it if the model doing so is armed with an axe), and realistically  gasoline would go bad within a year, but aesthetically I thought they’d be more fun than just matchstick cut down into a pile of firewood! The gas cans are red because I think that’s the colour they are in Fallout 4, in the unlikely event that I start yet another project…

Getting these finished was a quick win, which was handy as my painting motivation has been almost nonexistent for thee last couple of months. I’ve finished Front Mission 3 now, so that’s one less distraction, I just need to stop falling asleep in the evening putting the kids to bed…

On the work front, I had a meeting in London at Foyles on Charing Cross Road, which is conveniently just round the corner from both Orc’s Nest and Forbidden Planet, so between those three places I ended up with this little haul:

And of course I needed a nerdy tote bag to carry it all in:

Between the issues of a Warhammer partwork, officially licensed miniatures of the Crow (pure impulse purchase) and a Battletech lance that features a couple of mechs that will be my first Kurita paints (apparently they’re weebs that love war crimes, so I think that’s going to be my faction), the Tally stands perilously at:

27 vs 100 = -73

Well at least it’s a pleasingly round number of miniatures received? Even if my Heresy order is still on its way…

As well as miniatures, magazines and a new paintbrush, whilst spending a lot of time on trains I treated myself to this:

Because again due to spending a lot of time on trains I was able to finish Zombieslayer (where I’ve been re-reading the entire Gotrek and Felix series):

And got to thinking - maybe for Zomtober this year I could convert and paint some minis for Zombieslayer (as it’s a horde of zombified beastmen mostly). I hopped onto eBay, thinking I’d be able to pick up some battered old plastic gors that I could strip, but pickings are surprisingly sparse - does anyone have a gor sprue in their spares that they’d want to swap?

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: August

Having had quite a busy month (being in Ohio for a fortnight for my Brother-in-Law’s wedding ate up a lot of potential gaming time!) I found myself setting up for this month’s zombie survival game the night before my birthday. 

(Brief aside - I didn’t find any fireman miniatures in Ohio, so the previously shown fire axe wielding miniature joined the group as my as yet unnamed firefighter)

Looking back over my campaign record, I noted that a lot of the time I’d been playing custom scenarios of my own invention, so figured I should probably try one of the generic scenarios from the rulebook (to make sure I’m getting my money’s worth, if nothing else) and promptly rolled Home Defence, which I’ve not yet finished the scenery for, so I re-roles until I got Bushwhack. Now, bushwhack doesn’t really work as a solo scenario (as there’s not really much point in trying to assassinate a particular zombie) so I set it up as a sort of reverse bushwhack that I dubbed ‘the rookie run’ - three survivors find themselves cut off from the rest of the group and must make their escape with their scavenged supplies as well as their lives. So, it seems Devon and Cece have taken the new guy into the city on a supply run and found themselves surrounded - can they break out? Can the rest of the group get to them to cut them a path to safety?

Setting up the table, it looked like this:

Why is there a pile of corpses in the ruins next to the cemetery? Just what have people been getting up to?

Rolling for weather, it turned out we had been caught in the middle of a summer storm, and so visibility would be notably reduced. 

The group make their way through the gate of the garage where they had briefly taken shelter and Devon and the Fireman start shooting at aimlessly milling zombies to try and clear a path. Devon manages to take out the first zombie on his second shot, but the Fireman isn’t yet used to his brand new revolver and is wildly inaccurate.

Barely five minutes into their breakout attempt the weather changes. No more storm, but the sun is starting to set - luckily behind the group so the sun isn’t in their eyes!

At the start of the next turn, my usual inability to roll low on noise checks is rewarded, as rather than more zombies Dionne and Kev appear on the board to investigate the gunshots. And are immediately jumped by a pair of zombies.

The fireman had apparently only loaded a single bullet into his revolver, and found himself needing to reload. Luckily his superior physical fitness means that even pausing to do so he can still cover just as much ground as Devon or Cece…

Dionne attempts to break free of the zombie grabbing at her in order to bring her murderous crossbow skills to bear, but it seems to be fairly handsy and so she is forced to draw her samurai sword. Is it a replica or is it real? Who knows, but we’ll find out in the CQC phase…

Devon again takes out a zombie on his second shot (thank heavens he has a semi-automatic rather than a revolver!) The Fireman, slightly embarrassed at his earlier performance, takes a little longer to line up his shot and gets his first zombie kill. Cece almost manages to line up a shot on a zombie coming up behind them, but unfortunately the sun is in her eyes and she narrowly misses.

Dionne’s samurai sword turns out to be real enough, as she takes out her opponent with little difficulty. Kev however struggles somewhat, eventually managing to get the better of his opponent, and thanks to his Headhunter skill narrowly manages to get his knife in the zombie’s eye. 

The fireman needs to reload after taking a single shot again - if we make it back to the shelter, someone is going to have to show him how to chamber more than a single bullet at a time! Saying that, maybe he learned from Cece, as she also keeps needing to reload after taking a single shot…

Drawn by the sounds of gunfire, zombies start streaming out of the woods and nearby cemetery:

The central group of survivors continues their advance to freedom, back to back (and probably with some sweet military hand signals as they do so), with Cece clambering on top of a dumpster to try and bring her hunting rifle into play to cover their escape:

As they do this, Kev and Dionne move up to link up with them - Kev lunges at a zombie on the way, hoping to quickly take it out to prevent it later sneaking up on them, and unfortunately gets some disgusting fluid in his mouth, gaining another level of sickness (which means that he’ll unfortunately be bedridden after the game).

Dionne, on the other hand, doesn’t have time for getting up close and personal, and instead starts heading for open space so that she can start peppering zombies with crossbow bolts.

Devon takes out another zombie between his group and freedom with his semi-automatic (again on the second shot - more time needed shooting tin cans on the firing range methinks to get used to shooting with only one good eye). The Fireman then attempts a shot at the one remaining zombie between them and freedom, and narrowly misses, his bullet pinging off of the back of a yellow truck nearby. Luckily, this doesn’t set off it’s alarm. ‘Be careful of car alarms when you’re shooting’ hisses Cece to him, before narrowly avoiding doing the exact same thing.

Dionne, meanwhile, shows us why she is the deadliest survivor on the block, easily taking out a zombie cheerleader with her crossbow.

Kev manages to beat his zombie in close combat, but despite being armed with a suite of weaponry and skills to excel in specifically this situation fails to put it down. In return, the zombie scrabbles ineffectually at him, tying him up for another turn. 

All of a sudden, five zombies burst out of the garages that the group had originally been taking shelter by in the centre of the table - this is going to put a bit more pressure on the group to make their escape speedily!

Luckily for the group, Jess has apparently heard all of this commotion and appears on the table directly in their path. Less fortunately, the Fireman and Cece discovered once again that they had apparently only reloaded a single bullet previously - more haste less speed needed! And then Devon’s gun clicked empty (presumably because he’d been taking two bullets to hit each zombie he’d taken out so far) - torn between whether to reload their guns or put all of their energy into making a break for it, they decided that discretion was the better part of valour and that they were just going to try to sprint straight to Jess! 

(Normally I’d have gone xp farming and tried to rack up as many zombie kills as possible, but it was getting late on the night before my birthday, so trying to get the supplies off safely won out - I’m assuming that at least one of the supply tokens was the ingredients for a birthday cake). The Fireman, having a surplus of Action Points and no space to move into with his extra reloaded his revolver before making his run - I imagine that he was reloading, complaining about how seemingly often you have to reload a revolver, before looking up to see Devon running off some distance ahead of him, at which point he goes ‘oh shi-‘ and sprints after him, not wanting to get left behind.

Cece climbs down off the dumpster, the box of supplies cradled awkwardly under one arm, and seeing that she wouldn’t make it safely far past the zombie between her and Jess grimly reloads her hunting rifle… Luckily for her, just our view Dionne has come around the corner and is sighting down her crossbow at the same zombie. Cece makes her shot and hits, but isn’t able to turn that hit into a kill. A second later, a crossbow bolt appears puncturing it’s skull, and it ripples out of sight. ‘Dionne, is that you?’ Cece timidly calls…

Or at least that’s what would have happened if I hadn’t realised at this point that in my excitement to to see if the survivors could break out I’d forgotten to move the zombies this turn, so set about rectifying this. With so many zombies immediately behind her:

Cece would have run round the single zombie rather than staying where she is and getting mobbed, so I retcon the last paragraph and move her. Re-playing events, as she sprints past the zombie a crossbow bolt sprouts from its head just as it is reaching out to grab her, and out of the corner of her eye Cece sees Dionne furiously gesturing for her to run faster. Ahead of her, Jess blasts away with her surplus assault rifle, taking down a single zombie that had been closing in on the escaping group. 

Kev, despite me only managing to roll a 1 manages to beat his opponent again, but for a second time fails to turn it into a kill. I’m assuming this is because he’s already starting to feel groggy after getting splattered with grossness earlier, and so will need a lie-down when we get back to the shelter…

The sun goes behind a cloud, which is handy, as pretty much every zombie is now between the group and the direction of the setting sun! 

Hearing Jess’ fusillade of fire, Lynn appears at her side, cradling the sawn-off shotgun that Kev had previously gifted her after receiving his arm injury that meant he was no longer able to make use of it.

Seeing that the shit was about to hit the fan with a huge horde of zombies moments away from catching up to the group:

everyone turned tail and sprinted off of the board to safety. Except Kev, who still couldn’t get away from the zombie that he had been grappling with for the last few turns, and there were now a couple more zombies bearing down on him…

Seeing that he was now all alone, Kev was spurred to greater heights of ferocity and savagely hacked apart the zombie, before dodging the clawing hands of the next zombie reaching for him, and dancing off of the board (which is probably for the best, as I’d just rolled the event that means from that point on D3 zombies appear whenever 1 would have previously, so the board was going to start getting even fuller…)


Fairly quiet for level ups this game, as most characters only rolled a 1 or 2 on their D6 for surviving the game, and most of the characters that didn’t start the game on the board didn’t really do much, truth be told.

Devon gained the gunfighter skill (one last step on the way to getting a master skill!) which will let him dial-wield pistols. Here’s to hoping we find one! Otherwise he might have to borrow Kev’s magnum, which I think he’s only actually fired once since getting it…

The Fireman, being a fresh recruit, gained enough experience to level up and chose a characteristic boost rather than a skill to start with, and gained +1 to his Firearms skill - I’m assuming Devon has sent him to shoot tin cans for the forseeable (reloading after every single shot I don’t doubt).

Having managed to get all 3 supply tokens to safety, I decided to roll once on the Sunmer table, once on Winter, and once on the standard table from the main rulebook. We found some fuel, a preserved meal, plenty of Scavenge, and a semi-automatic - hooray, dual wielding for Devon is a go!

When it came to allocating jobs, I took a bit of a risk and only had Dionne gathering food, but I figured that as the group had a substantial stash of preserved meals it was worth it to allow Jess to continue building up a stockpile of medicine (as the real enemy for the group so far has been sickness more than the zombies) and Lynn to build a second garden so that in future months multiple people can work on harvesting and hopefully canning food to prepare for the coming winter. On that front, we also need to build up our fuel stores, as well as thinking about ways to heat the farmhouse more efficiently. Thanks to the single dose of medicine that Jess managed to harvest last month, Kev was able to recover completely from his sickness, and is now feeling right as rain again.

Seeing as how I’m 8 months in and with no plans to stop, I should probably see about printing out and laminating some proper tokens rather than the scraps of paper I’m currently using…

As well as playing a game, the Tally has taken a number of hits:

In Ohio, I picked up the Battletech Essentials box (as it’s a Target exclusive), as well as picking up a Beginner box and Barnes &  Noble exclusive box of battlemechs (as seen in my previous post - we went to another B&N so I grabbed them!). And a couple of packs of D&D minis from a comic shop we found on an excursion into Colombus - some pixies, because I’ll probably need them for Silver Bayonet, and Xorn, because I figured they’d probably come in handy if my attention swings round to my Monstrous Alphabet project again.

Then the day after I played this game it was my birthday, where I was gifted miniature goodies:

The battletech box has another 8 mechs in, and that Skaven Bombardier fits on a 20mm square base with a certain amount of cursing about fiddly tubes…

So once everything is factored in, the Tally now looks like:

27 vs 86 = -59

Oof, the chances of me ending the year in the positive are looking fairly slim aren’t they? Especially when you consider I placed a little Heresy order at the start of the week during their big sale…

Monday, 7 August 2023

Ronin of Ronin of Shadow Deep

Here are the first two miniatures for my Ronin of Shadow Deep project:

These were painted about a month ago, as unfortunately I listened to a podcast about the game Battletech and found myself with the urge to replay Front Mission 3, which took up the majority of my very limited evening time in the following weeks. They were also painted about 4000 miles away from where I currently am, so I haven’t been able to take less washed out pictures!

This is going to be Rei Togarashi, my Ronin (Ranger) and an as-yet unnamed archer. For the name, I chose Rei as a generic Asian sounding name, and Togarashi, because he’s a bit of a firey character:
Coming soon, a mage called lemon pepper.

But I digress. His shirt is my attempt at recreating this pattern from memory: 

It looks about half-way between that and him looking like he should be in Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet, which I’m not entirely unhappy about, truth be told.

As well as sporadically painting things, I’ve also been acquiring things. Games Workshop announced a new Clan Pestilens warband for whatever their skirmish game is, which got me thinking that a couple of them would make nice Plague Censer bearers, one of the only options in the Skaven army book that I don’t own any of. Not enough to make a unit though, so I had a browse on eBay and found myself the proud owner of these two lovely rats not much later:

Not long after, we found out we need to find a new place to live, so not the best time to keep buying vintage metal, so they might be on their lonesome for a little while longer. 

Also not ideal timing, as we were about to travel 4000 miles for my brother in law’s wedding. Which I took as an opportunity to save on shipping and placed a little Khurasan order:

(Shipping saving aside, it’s mostly the customs charges that I was keen to avoid)

I grabbed some Kappa to stand in for gnolls in my Ronin of Shadow Deep project, and also the mini that looks a lot like Torchwood head Yvonne Hartmann, so all I need now is a Genesis Ark and I have all the minis I need to play through the Battle for Canary Wharf booklet that Crooked Dice put out way back when.

All in, the Tally now stands at:

27 vs 64 = -37

We’re two thirds of the way through the year, and getting busier all the time, so the chances of the Tally getting back into the black by the end of the year are getting slimmer and slimmer…

Speaking of being 4000 miles away, I had a nose in Barnes and Noble and was jealous of their selection of exclusive games…

I kinda wish I’d picked up the Battletech box, but I haven’t even got a starter set yet so have no idea whether I’d have any use for them (that’s waiting until I can get to a lTarget to grab the exclusive Essentials set)

Monday, 31 July 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: July

Another month, another venture into the city for our band of intrepid survivors. Another custom mission around a new piece of terrain - in this case an mdf oil well that I built without any of the oil well bits so that it can stand in for all sorts of things, in this case a radio tower that the survivors want to get to the top of to get a better signal and make contact with other survivors!

If you look closely, you’ll also spot the comic book shop (that I forget when I made, but it’s older than this blog so over a decade ago) getting its first turn on the gaming table, as well as a couple of vignettes that I’d originally built as spawn points when I was working on my own rules, but are just thematic terrain here, like this fun detail in the graveyard:

Or this potential cause of the entire zombie outbreak out by the bins behind the comic book shop:

And also my post-apocalyptic campsite, that was originally made for fallout gaming but I love so much it gets pulled out at every opportunity:

As ever, the group split up (divide and conquer!) - Devon and Cece heading off to the right, planning to scale the radio tower and potentially use a garage to get a better vantage point respectively; Kev, Jess and Dionne headed off to the left, to try and claim some unsupervised supplies whilst generally being rowdy enough to try and draw some heat away from the other group.

Devon and Cece cautiously advance, hoping to quickly and quietly take down the first zombie in their path:

In the other group, Kev dashes forward to try and brain a zombie with his cricket bat, but immediately contracts another level of sickness and so will be bedridden after the game. Jess and Dionne step out around a ruined building planning to spray the oncoming zombies with assault weapon fire. At which point I remembered that I’d swapped Dionne’s assault rifle for a hunting crossbow, a silent but deadly weapon, so her being part of team ‘really loud noises’ rather than team ‘sneaky stealth’ didn’t really make sense…

Jess pumps a couple of shots into the zombie immediately in front of her, but does little more than make a lot of noise (so, exactly according to plan I guess?). Dionne, however, powers a crossbow bolt straight into the zombie’s eye socket - first blood!

Devon snaps off two shots at the zombie on his side of the board, but both miss. He however takes advantage of his new ‘fire and maneuver’ skill to scoot around the corner of a parked truck and move a little closer to the radio tower. Cece, on the other hand, casually lines up the shot and takes the zombie out. She shrugs, and gestures Devon towards the radio tower with a shooing motion.

Kev, meanwhile, easily takes down his zombie with a swing of his cricket bat. Which is doubly impressive, considering the zombie was wearing a protective hard hat…

At the end of the turn, I rolled the event ‘changing weather’ - which made me realise that I’d forgotten to roll for a weather condition at the start of the game! I rolled Summer Storm, which reduced all Survivor’s maximum Line of Sight to 18”. Not the worst result, as the zombies tend to be fairly close to me by the time I start shooting at them…

Operation ‘loud noises’ proved to be a double edged sword, because as well as distracting the zombies on the board away from the other team, a zombie shambles into the area just behind Jess - here’s to hoping that Dionne is quick enough to take it out before it gets it’s teeth into Jess (and thank heavens for Dionne being Locked and Loaded for just this sort of situation). At this point, I realised that a hunting crossbow needs reloading after every shot, so Dionne going Locked and Loaded was a waste of AP and she wouldn’t be heroically intervening…

Jess span round and sprayed bullets at the advancing zombie, but despite landing a hit it wasn’t enough to keep it from lurching into grabbing distance. 

While all this was going on, over in the centre Devon dashes to the foot of the tower:

While Cece moves to sneak around to the rightmost supply token, reloading her rifle as she does so.

Kev sprints forward to engage the zombie emerging from a gap in the fence next to the comic book shop, trusting that Dionne will be able to take down the zombie in a chicken suit bearing down on him (and presumably not realising that his target has got a few friends lowing along behind him, out of sight behind the fence). It’s a pretty safe bet though, as with her hunting crossbow and selection of skills, if she hits she can take out a zombie on a 2+, which she can then re-roll if she gets a 1…

Devon again shoots twice and misses twice, which is probably for the best as I think I’d forgotten that he had run so shouldn’t have been able to shoot at all! That and he’s still getting used to being blind in one eye (it’s going to take a little while for him to figure out depth perception again…)

Cece also narrowly missed her target, her bullet pinging of of the dumpster between her and the zombie:

Dropping her assault rifle to hang by it’s sling, Jess crashed her fire axe into the zombie that had sneaked up on her’s skull. ‘Huh, that was easier than shooting them…’ she quietly exclaimed to herself…

Kev manages to narrowly beat the zombie that he’s grappling with, but can’t seem to land a telling enough blow to take it out, but at least manages to prevent the zombie from doing any damage in return.

At the end of the turn, the weather changes again - the storm dissipates, leaving a relatively pleasant afternoon (if you ignore the life-or-death struggle against the living dead, that is).

With a new turn comes yet another new zombie sneaking up on Jess - when will that girl ever catch a break? Kev is also unlucky enough that his brief run to engage a zombie was seemingly loud enough to also draw the attention of another zombie in the area.

Devon at this point finds himself out of ammo and surrounded:

Although I’m glad I re-read the rules on how zombies move which states that if a zombie can’t get into contact because it’s way is blocked by other zombies engaging it’s target and it doesn’t have another viable target to move towards they stand in place rather than bundling up to form a horde - I wonder how some of the previous month’s games would have gone if I’d remembered that?

Jess span around again and blasted the new zombie with her Surplus Assault Rifle, the second shot taking it through the roof of the mouth and blowing the top of its head clean off. Safe for now (or at least until next turn when she’s inevitably ambushed by yet another wandering zombie) she reloaded her SAR and cautiously advanced forward after Dionne.

Kev manages to break away from the pair of zombies trying to drag him down, and shifts sideways to face one of them one-on-one, leaving Dionne a clear shot on the other - which she makes, obviously, because she’s awesome. Although that sort of hubris is the sort of thing I was saying about Umlaut not long before his untimely demise, so I probably shouldn’t tempt fate…

In the centre, Devon also pulled the same trick, spinning round to try and take out a cop zombie before the pair of them he was originally entangled with could gang up on him. 

Cece, Kev and Devon all manage to take out their zombies in hand to hand combat - if this was a movie, there would have been a beautiful moment of split screen carnage showing their simultaneous killing blows as the music swells, one can only assume.

Unfortunately for Devon though, at this moment of triumph four zombies then emerged from the block of garages just behind him…

Cece, deciding at this point that discretion is the better part of valour, without even having time to reload her rifle slipped around the corner of the garages and out of sight of the zombies pursuing her… only to find herself in plain sight of another zombie behind the garages!

Dionne calmly slotted another bolt into her crossbow and moved to give Kev some backup, while Jess also moved forwards to try and give the increasingly outnumbered Devon a hand:

Devon again managed to slip out of a position where he was outnumbered to focus on one opponent, and despite hugely beating her he was unable to turn his success into a kill. Kev, on the other hand, continued to prove that long term injuries don’t stop you from being an absolute zombie killing machine, taking out his third zombie of the game - although he hadn’t quite caught up to Dionne, who had earlier taken out her fourth! Between them, they’d now opened up a clear path to one of the supply tokens!

Obviously, my usual luck being what it is I then rolled the end of turn event where a random unclaimed supply token has a zombie stand up and start carrying it about, and can you guess which one I rolled?

Heading into turn 5 I have no noise tokens at all to resolve - can we keep going quietly quietly and stop any more zombies descending on us?

Cece tried to break away from the zombie that had grabbed her so that she could make a dash for the supply token to her right, but was unable to break free. Even worse, Devon was also unable to break free of the 3 zombies surrounding him…

Seeing this, Jess vaults a barricade and leaps to his aid, with Kevin also sneaking up hoping to join the pair of them, leaving Dionne behind to deal with the supply token carrying zombie. Which she does, of course.

Cece tries to put down the zombie grabbing her if she can’t escape, but despite landing some good blows can’t seem to finish it off.

Back in the centre in the scrum forming at the foot of the radio tower, Jess tries to chop down one of the zombies surrounding Devon, but her fire axe seemingly isn’t sharp enough to cut through the zombie’s hoodie. Devon simultaneously fares little better (in game terms, they both rolled a 1 when rolling to see if they’d brained their opponent), but luckily for the survivors the zombies have similar luck with dice rolls and so our heroes live to fight another day!

At this point the weather changes again, as the storm returns to limit how far the survivors can see - again, not much of an issue really, as at this point most of the survivors are fighting hand to hand!

Cece successfully manages to break free of the zombie grabbing her and moves to attack the zombie closest to the supply token, figuring that if she can take down all 3 she’ll be free to grab the loot and escape at her leisure. Tricky, but doable with a bit of luck…

On the other side of the table, Dionne coolly reloads, steps forward and picks up the dropped supplies, before aiming her crossbow at the one remaining zombie behind the comic book shop, taking it down easily. 

Dodging a wheelie bin, Kev skirts forwards to engage the zombie grabbing at Devon from behind, figuring that once he takes them out he Devon and Jess will be able to make short work of the remaining zombies, and one of them can then climb the tower to try and make radio contact with other survivors.

Cece’s plan to single handedly take out 3 zombies one after the other hits a slight snag when she fails to take out the first one, while in the centre Jess takes out her opponent (while Kev fails to do the same to his), leaving Devon slightly less surrounded, which emboldens him enough that he then takes out another zombie himself with his knife. 

Adding further complication to Cece’s plan, another zombie stands up holding the supply token that she was angling to make off with. Right, one girl with a shiv against four zombies - let’s see just how far a can-do attitude can take us!

With some careful maneuvering, what had been a swirling melee in the centre (with Devon looking like he’d drown in the centre of the whirlpool) becomes a carefully considered set of pairings with Dionne picking off any stragglers at range with precision crossbow shots.

Over on her own, Cece fails once again to take out her chosen target. Maybe once Dionne has murdered everything else on the board she can move on to rescuing Cece?

Kev again fails to take out the zombie grabbing at Devon’s back, but Jess manages to chop down another zombie that was moving to surround them. If she can keep this up we might even make it up the radio tower at this rate! 

Obviosuly, as soon as I wrote that in my notes the next event I rolled was obviously a body standing up holding the last supply token, the one at the top of the tower…

(And there was really only one zombie mini I could choose for that)

Dionne immediately snipes Spider-zombie off of the top of the tower - all we need to do now is clear enough zombies out of the way for someone to climb up and claim it!

While Kev fails to take out the zombie in front of him for the third turn in a row, Jess takes out her fifth zombie of the game - looks like a few people might be levelling up this month! Devon chops a down another zombie, and the ladder is now clear ahead of him - or at least it would be if Kev would hurry up and pull that zombie off of his back!

As they’ve now been at this for a while and it looks like it might be starting to get dark soon, Cece unfortunately loses her nerve and makes a run for the edge of the board, still pursued by four zombies.

Encumbered as she is with her ace and assault rifle, but being the only one near enough not currently grappled by any zombies, Jess begins climbing the tower (presumably having grabbed the radio from Devon. I didn’t really work out the exact mechanics of how completing the objective would work before I started playing - I figured a survivor making an ‘Interact’ action at the top of the tower would do).

Pursued to the edge of the board, Cece is finally able to take down one of the zombies. One down, three to go…

As is traditional by this point, Kev fails to take out the same zombie that he’d been struggling with for several turns, at which point Devon stabs it through the eye over his shoulder.

Cece turns tail and flees off of the board, while the remaining zombies mostly mill around, unable to see or hear any survivors. 

Jess continues her climb up the ladder - as the slowest of the group, she’s the worst candidate for this task, but needs must! 

While Devon and Kev head off to try to capture the third supply token (which Cece had been attempting to rescue), Dionne finally misses a shot with her crossbow, to everyone’s surprise and dismay.

Being as we’re approaching the end of the game, from this point on every turn a survivor will lose their nerve and make a run towards the table edge. Which works in my favour this turn, as Devon sprints blindly into the pack of zombies that had previously pursued Cece off of the board that he was hunting down…

The zombie that Dionne previously missed with her crossbow lurches forwards to try and eat her brains, but is swiftly despatched with a swing of her samurai sword. 

Despite his heroic charge, Devon fails to take down any enemies and then flees off of the board, while Jess finally reaches the top of the tower and manages to use the radio to complete the mission objective.

As Kev heads towards the zombie with the supplies (that now both Cece and Devon had failed to take out, Dionne misses again with her crossbow. Is she actually out of bolts and trying to use pointy sticks she found on the ground at this point?

Jess grabs the supplies from the top of the tower and begins the arduous task of climbing back down the ladder, as both Kev and Dionne find themselves within grasping range of zombies.

Holding onto the ladder with one hand, Jess unslings her Surplus Assault Rifle and takes a pot shot at a zombie below her, scoring a head shot! 

Kev manages to take out the zombie holding the supplies, hoping that one of his comrades will be able to dash in and retrieve them. Presumably Dionne, who just took out yet another zombie with her katana. Kev flees the board, leaving just Jess and Dionne.

At this point there’s little chance of either of them being able to get to the supply token before losing their nerve and fleeing past it, but I decide to play out the remaining turns to see if they can grab any more zombie kills (and the accompanying XP). Each turn goes very similarly - Dionne flees towards the edge of the board while Jess advances behind her, kills a zombie, rinse and repeat…

until she eventually runs over the supply token and off the board. 

Jess then spends several turns getting grabbed by a zombie, failing to kill it, then breaking away and fleeing 2” towards the edge of the board, then getting grabbed again. Each turn she moves slowly closer and closer to the supplies, until she finally manages to kill the zombie, grab the supplies, and high tail it off of the board!

Post game:

(The morning after, as I didn’t finish playing until 2 in the morning)

Having missed a few months then having the world’s most productive mission, Jess gains enough experience to level up twice - for her first, she learns First Aid Training, so between her and Lynn the group should be pretty resistant to any long term injuries). With her second level, now that she has 3 Academic skills she’s able to make a roll on the master skill table, and gets Naturopath, the skill that will let her harvest medicine from the garden rather than food if she chooses - which will hopefully help stop my survivors getting so sick as to be bedridden with alarming regularity!

Dionne spends a bunch of experience to turn her level up skill into Quick Load, as now she has a hunting crossbow she’s spending an awful lot of time reloading and it’s slowing her down! That’s her third shooting skill, so she can potentially take a master skill next time she levels up if she wants to, although only one of them would really benefit her, so it could be a bit of a gamble.

Kev learns the Free Runner skill, which feels a little weird given his arm injury. But I’ll take what I can get, and this should make it even easier for him to get up close and personal with any opponents.

For Cece, technically she can’t take shooting skills, but given that she’s spent so much time in previous months practicing shooting I hand waved it and house ruled her being able to spend an additional 3XP to roll on a skill table outside of her usual ones, and she was able to pick up the Sniper skill, which should make her a little more effective at range!

Rolling for the contents of the scavenged supplies, I find 1 preserved meal, 16 scavenge points, a Military Sniper Rifle (that no one can use at present, as no one has the Gunsmith skill) and a knife, which I give to Kev to make him even more efficient at taking out zombies up close.

As the only person previously not showing any symptoms of sickness, Cece obviously rolls a 1 and starts feeling sick too. We need to get Jess into the garden to start harvesting some medicine!

Assigning jobs to everyone, Devon goes to recruit a new member of the group (I figure this is who the group made contact with on the radio); bedridden Lynn rests and starts feeling a bit better (which is handy, as she’s my post-game specialist, and she can’t heal anyone or build anything if she’s laid up in bed); Jess harvests medicine in the garden (but only managed to find enough for one dose); Dione goes out hunting for food; Kev gathers fuel (although I remember later that he was actually supposed to be bedridden, and so amend his job to rest, and he thankfully starts feeling better); Cece works the water collectors and then purifies what she has collected. Dipping slightly into the group’s supplies, there is enough for everyone to have enough to eat and drink again Thais month.

Now, for the exciting bit - the new recruit! I used the Chaos Theory supplement to randomly determine who was on the other end of the radio - my daughter rolled for me, and came up with a Firefighter armed with a revolver, who we hire! We already have a spare fire ace in the group’s stash, so with that he’s good to go. I’m torn currently - do I get a new miniature, and if I do will I be able to paint it in time for next month’s game (factoring in that I’m going to be in Ohio for a fortnight for my brother-in-law’s wedding)? Or do I go with this guy that I already have painted:

We’ll see… it’s him or the guy in his pants and a fire helmet from Hasslefree!

So, with a new friend, the group makes their plans for the future. It would be good to dig in some additional gardens on the farm so that more people can help to harvest food each month, but let’s not forget that winter is coming, so it might be a good idea to build some sort of stove that could be used to heat the farm…

And from a gaming point of view, I should probably play some more of the scenarios from the books, as I’ve been playing a lot of custom scenarios…

Thursday, 29 June 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: June

Last weekend was pretty hot, so I figured what better to do than play the special Summer scenario from the Seasons book!

This is the board I laid out (yeah, I know, I should really crack on and build some more city terrain, but hey a wildfire in the forest is thematic right?)

I’ve been mulling over what to do about zombies currently. Now that people in the group have gained a couple of levels, I should be starting with 24 zombies on the board, which is so many that after two turns when they reach the middle there’s not a lot you can do, and while you can lure some away (RIP Umlaut, this is what you used to do) it’s slightly more hopeless than I want my leisure time to be. So for this scenario, I just laid out the zombies specified by the scenario, and figured that the oncoming wall of fire would probably do well enough to add a sense of peril to proceedings!

Supplies were randomly placed using an old scatter die, with 2d6 providing distance - and if that spot was an ‘illegal’ placement for the token, I’d roll to scatter from there again. This ensured some more interesting placement than just putting them all in a line halfway across the board.

As ever, the survivors divided themselves into groups to support each other as they advanced up the board - Devon with Cece and Dionne on the left, heading for the truck, while Kevin and Jess (who was mostly just glad to be out of bed and getting some fresh air) heading for the scattered supplies over to the right.

Then I rolled to see what direction the fire would be entering play, and unfortunately it was from right to left, where most of the supplies were!

Almost able to smell the oncoming fire, Kevin bundles forward to engage the nearest zombie, leaving Jess free to sprint ahead and grab the first stash of supplies:

No time for a stealthy advance here with a wall of flame on it’s way! 

Devon’s group however advanced more cautiously, very aware of how noisy things are about to get. Devon levels his pistol, and thanks to his Sniper skill coolly plugs the nearest zombie. On the second try, admittedly.

Cece on the other hand needs a 2+ to hit her target, and so of course rolls a 1. At this point I wondered if I was remembering to give survivors the +1 bonus to hit for shooting at a zombie in previous games? It feels like Cece should have been hitting s lot more than she had if I did… Then again, when I do remember she still misses, so I’m not sure how much it would help…

Desperate to open a path, Dionne let’s loose with her surplus assault rifle - despite her double tap skill, she can’t seem to land a single headshot. On the one hand, that zombie won’t be able to do much other than pick themselves up off h to e ground next turn; but at the same time, it will take a lot of luck for that much noise to go unnoticed by other zombies!

Hearing this through the trees, Jess decides not to fit her assault rifle this turn, as she figures she’s already made enough noise with her sprinting…

Just behind her, Kev fumbles his cricket bat - but luckily the zombie he’s fighting doesn’t fare much better, and Kev turns his fumble into an impressive upswing that caves it’s skull in!

Then came the fire…

(Fire markers from Mantic’s Hellboy the board game)

In an unusual turn of luck, despite there only being a 1 in 6 chance of Dionne getting away without calling another zombie onto the board with how much noise she made last turn, the dice decide to cut me a break and it goes unnoticed.

Devon, however, despite having made nowhere near as much noise is not as lucky, and a zombie shambles up behind the group:

Cece manages to snap off a shot at it (as the only survivor that has really been going Locked & Loaded recently, Last Days’ version of overwatch for those that don’t own the game) but being taken by surprise isn’t able to land a fatal shot, and unfortunately the mild knockback of her hunting rifle isn’t powerful enough to stop the zombie from reaching her. She briefly considers trying to break free of its grasp in order to backpedal enough to shoot it in the face, but then remembers the knife that she was given a month or two back, and an evil gleam enters her eye…

While all this is going on, Dionne sprints up to grab some supplies, while Devon calmly walks up to try to shoot the zombie between him and some supplies at point blank range.

On the right, Jess secures the supplies and starts heading for the next stash (her sturdy farmer body making her best suited for lugging multiple heavy things around), as Kevin runs past her to engage a zombie that is sneaking up on her around a ruined wall.

Devon manages to take out the remaining zombie on his side of the field (again on the second shot), when I realised that the way things were going it was going to be too easy for the group, so I added 2D3 zombies to the board (rolling 3) to add a little pressure.

Brief diversion to muse some more - at this point, 20 odd zombies bearing down on them would have been too much to handle, but the 5 starting on the board from the scenario was definitely too few. Hmmmm, something to think about to try and find a happy medium. I’ve asked over on the Facebook group and gotten some suggestions, so I might have a play in future months - probably a mix of deploying them spread across the board as well as along their board edge (to avoid them ending up as a clumped up horde) and my adapted rules used on a smaller board where you allocate the correct number of zombies to come into play, and make it easier for them to get called on by noise until you’ve put on the number of zombies you allocated at the start, at which point you’d return to the usual ‘appears on a 7+’.

Jess cautiously opens fire with her assault rifle (is that possible?) and manages to take out a zombie with her first shot. ‘That’s technically more stealthy than going full auto I guess’ she mutters to herself…

Cece manages to win her fight with the zombie that snuck up on her, but isn’t able to get her shiv into it’s eye socket.  Kevin on the other hand lives up to the name of his headhunter skill and caves in another skull. 

In the end phase the fire continues it’s inexorable advance, and Kev and Jess find themselves on the wrong side of the fire line, engulfed in smoke and flames!

Even more unfortunately, in this scenario any unclaimed supply tokens caught on the wrong side of the fire line are destroyed each turn on a roll of 1, and… well, they say a picture speaks a thousand words:

That’s annoyingly statistically unlikely isn’t it! To add insult to injury, I then rolled a result on the event table that caused a body to stand up and start dragging along one of the (now very few!) remaining supply tokens. 

In the next turn, it seemed that Dionne’s luck had run out. Firing full auto and probably whooping too? Fine, no one notices that. Running briefly for about 6 seconds? That’s far too much noise, definitely enough to draw the attention of another biter onto the board…

Jess, slowed by her wounds received in an earlier month and laden with supplies, decides discretion is the better part of valour and runs off the board while she still can.

Kevin, however, despite choking on the acrid smoke, sprints ahead of the fire line to bull rush the zombie bearing down on Dionne.

Figuring that Kev (and his current kill streak) probably had things handled with the zombie carrying the last set of supplies, Devon ran back to where Cece was outnumbered, and promptly dispatched one of them.

Emboldened by Devon’s sudden appearance, Cece follows suit, and the pair find themselves briefly alone…

Over in the middle of the board, Kevin gets overconfident and fails to take out his opponent, as the fire creeps ever closer behind him, and the truck next to him’s alarm starts blaring, drawing even more zombies to the area…

At this point, Dionne agonised over whether to leap in and help Kevin or to make a run for it with the supplies tucked under her arm. ‘Go, I’ve got this, I’ll be right behind you!’ Shouts Kevin, deciding for her.

Devon and Cece cautiously reposition to stay ahead of the oncoming wall of flame and ash, whilst trying to stay near enough to Kevin to run in and assist if needed.

There’s no shooting at all this turn, as the air is so thick with ash at this point that no one has a clear shot, so it’s over to Kevin and his cricket bat - and while he wins the fight, he fails to land a killing blow, as the flames overtake him once more, setting ablaze the zombie he’s currently fighting and destroying the remaining supplies:

Yes, that’s 3 for 3 on rolling a 1 to see if supplies are destroyed by the flames…
And obviously, at this point the truck’s alarm goes off a second time.

Luckily this turn Kev is able to hold his breath (aka I roll high enough for him not to get hurt by the fire) in order to try and make his escape - he successfully manages to push the zombie back, and runs like hell! 

Seeing that Kev is almost to safety, Dionne sprints off the board with her supplies, while Devon and Cece make a fighting retreat, but their snapped shots (me hoping for some bonus XP, mostly) unfortunately not amounting to anything, and that was the end of the game.

Post game:

Devon hit level 5, and spends some extra XP to ensure he gets the skill fire & manoeuvre, which should make him a little more nippy! I was tempted to take the gunfighter skill (for aesthetics as much as anything else) but not having a spare pistol in the group’s stash to give him it seemed like a bit of a waste…

Jess levels up easily (being a little behind the group having missed several games!) and gains the scavenger skill, hoping to be able to find medicine more easily at some point (and also bringing her one step closer to being able to learn the master skill that would just let her grow it on the farm!)

Dionne learns the skill sniper (presumably from having watched Devon shoot a fair amount over the last couple of months) which will make her bonkers good with a gun - I just need to find her something quieter than that noisy old surplus assault rifle!

Kevin and Cece alas didn’t level up this month. Which makes sense for Cece, given that she didn’t actually achieve anything this game…

Sorting through their supplies (only two, as everything else caught fire), the group gained 12 scavenge, 1 fuel, and thanks to Jess’s scavenger skill a hunting crossbow! It’s quiet, it’s extra good at killing zombies - do I stash it for if I gain a new survivor in the future, or do I give it to Dionne, limiting her to killing only a single zombie a turn, but on the other hand almost definitely killing it as opposed to now where killing multiple zombies a turn seems to be more theory than practice…

As a lot of the group are still a little sick (and Lynn is already bedridden), I’m torn between working and resting. On the other hand, winter is coming, so I set most of the group to gather food and water (with someone else working to can any excess food for future months), except Devon who takes a nap (as I figure that it would suck for him to be bedridden if I want him to try and recruit a new member of the group at some point). He doesn’t manage to shake the lurgy though, nor does Lynn’s condition show any signs of improvement. Everyone gets enough to eat and drink, and there is even an excess amount of food that gets turned into preserved meals for the future.

Unfortunately Kevin becomes sick from being in close proximity with everyone else that is already sniffly. One thing about Osprey rulebooks: the layout and organisation is sometimes a little funky - this rule (testing at the end of the game to see if survivors have become sick by fighting alongside someone that is already sick) is slightly buried at the start of the book in the description of the conditions that the Seasons book adds to the game, rather than appearing in the post-game sequence.

So, that could have gone a lot worse I guess, although Lynn is unfortunately still bedridden. Which is a shame, as I was hoping she’d be able to build us a heating system on the farm before winter comes…

Most importantly, I think this is the first game in which I managed to remember every rule. He says, having had to grab the book the morning after as I realised that I hadn’t rolled for the post game zombie attack as I forgot to do that, but luckily avoided rolling a double 1!