Wednesday 31 May 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: May

So for this month’s game, I fancied making up a special scenario to use my newly painted clock tower. So I set up the table with it pride of place in the centre:

I decided that there would be three supply tokens, the central most of which would let me roll twice on the supply table and choose which result to keep:

However, it would be tougher to get to it, as the door to the clock tower would be locked. That, and 21 zombies on a 2.5 x 2.5 foot table (since that fits neatly on my dining room table, rather than hanging over the edge like a 3 foot square does) might make things pretty challenging!

Starting the game, I rolled for weather, and got light rain, which reduces the maximum range for shooting to 18”. Not the worst result, as on the slightly smaller board it wouldn’t take long for zombies to be that close! 

With the terrain being so dense, no zombies activated on the first turn, leaving the survivors to take the initiative. Their plan is much the same as ever: Devon (the groups leader) leads a team up the middle, Cece peels off to the flank to look for a sniper perch, and Umlaut the monkey races off as far as possible from the rest of the group to try and draw away as many biters as possible.

Almost immediately, the weather changes - the rain stops, replaced by a high wind that would make using bows etc more difficult, if I had any. 

Hearing Umlaut’s shrieking, the entire horde starts to move towards him. Undeterred, the brave ape hides his head in his hands, cowering in a ruined building:

The centre most group continue their advance on the clock tower, while Dionne and Cece split up - one goes to grab some supplies, while the latter moves to higher ground. Kevin, meanwhile, weighing his newly assigned Magnum in hand, takes the first shot of the game - and I roll a 1, typically, making a lot of noise but nothing else.

Unbeknownst to the survivors, at this point a body in the clock tower just sat up…

(I kept rolling high on the end of turn event table - I don’t think a single turn passed without something happened all game!)

Operation: ‘make noise on the left flank’ is a rousing success, with a conga line of zombies forming as they funnelled around various buildings:

At this point I realised I might have made a mistake, as I’d forgotten that there was a supply token on that side of the board that I was merrily leading them all towards… in my defence, it was tucked the other side of a ruined building and so I couldn’t see it from my side of the table! At this point I was starting to regret having survivors sneak up quietly, maybe they should have been sprinting to try and grab the supplies before the wave of zombies crashed down on it!

In the centre, Devon and Lynn made their way to the clock tower. I could have sworn there was rules for breaking down locked doors in the rulebook, but I couldn’t find them, so I might have imagined it. So I improvised a rule - 2AP to attempt, TN6 Strength check, which he succeeded first try. Revealing the zombie aside, which is assumed would have fallen down the stairs from the top of the clock tower during its activation (I was previously going to have the survivors spend AP to climb up to where the supply token was, if I hadn’t rolled the result on the end of turn event table that put a zombie there). 

Lynn dashes in to provide Devon with some backup, while Kevin heads to over to try and grab the previously forgotten supply token on the left hand side. As he does so, Umlaut leaps in front of him to shield him from the crowd of zombies that are getting uncomfortably this point.

Kevin again tries shooting, but fails to take out the zombie he aims at (looks like he had a shotgun for a reason). Cece also tries to take out a zombie heading towards Umlaut, but despite hitting (thanks to all that target practice last month) fails to take it down. Devon and Lynn both try to take down the zombie that shambled out of the clock tower, but neither are successful.

Unfortunately for the group, 5 zombies sit up in the ruined building dust behind them, malevolence burning in their dead eyes, as another stumbles onto the board near Kevin, drawn by the loud reports of his Magnum.

Given how my luck runs, I probably shouldn’t be surprised at the fact that both Kevin and Cece simultaneously find their guns empty at this point. 

Zombies swarm Umlaut, while penning Kevin in:

Things aren’t looking too hot in the centre either, with a steady stream of zombies starting to trickle into the central square:

Cece tries to take out a zombie sneaking up on Devon, but again narrowly misses out on taking it out. Unfortunately she can’t take the sniper skill (which would have turned the last 2 shots into kills), but I wonder if I could maybe find her a sniper scope or something at some point in the future?

Kevin meanwhile has grabbed the supply token and throws himself at the zombies penning him in, hoping to be able to punch through and make a path to safety. It’s at this point that I start to think that I should have given the knife we found last month to him rather than Cece - but I needn’t have worried, as he takes out the first zed of the game with some judiciously applied cricket bat. Umlaut however fails to take down any of his three opponents, and one of them manages to get in a lucky blow and leave Umlaut inches from unconsciousness. 

Lynn manages to finally take out the clock tower zombie in the centre, leaving Devon to take out the zombie behind him, leaving them unengaged, and buying them a brief reprieve.

In response to this brief moment of things going their way, a car alarm suddenly goes off - which could be a curse if it draws more zombies onto the board, but a possible blessing if it distracts some of the zombies away from the main action!

Over on the right, Dionne clambers onto the roof of he garages to try and provide some cover fire for her companions to escape, as Cece continues to fail to do anything useful with her hunting rifle. I finally remember Dionne’s Double Tap skill, and she takes out a zombie that was creeping up on Cece.

Things start to go badly in the centre, with both Devon and Lynn failing to take down any zombies, and the main objective supplies tantalisingly in view but just out of reach. Things then go from bad to worse, as Lynn is pulled down by the combined efforts of two zombies.

Kevin meanwhile manages to fend off his attackers, but Umlaut is not so lucky and disappears in a sea of rotten teeth and broken fingernails. 

Having taken some casualties, the group had to take a bottle test, but pass and stay in the fight. I briefly considered voluntarily routing, but wanted to try and at least get Dionne off the table with a supply token!

3 more zombies then join the fray, all reaching up and grabbing at Cece’s ankles, as she snaps off yet another ineffectual sniper shot.

At this point I realised that I’d completely forgotten that the knockback rule was a thing all game, but given how I’d been rolling (and how close the zombies were) I didn’t think it would have made any difference…

Seeing that the situation seemed fairly hopeless, Dionne tucked the supplies under her arm and dashed off the board. As her silhouette disappears over the horizon, one of the zombies reaching up to Cece manages to grab her ankle, and gashes her calf with its sharp nails.

Back in the centre, Devon fails to take out any zombies despite the target rich environment, and is pulled down for his troubles - despite his huge Endurance stat, 3 zombies all damaging him was enough to knock him down!

Kevin, despite being ridiculously surrounded, manages to keep his feet, but at this point it’s just him and Cece left on the board so the game ends and they run for the hills…

In the post game sequence, it’s injuries first - Devon is blinded in one eye, and since Lynn (the group’s first aider) is out of action I couldn’t use her skills to change that result! Lynn makes a full recovery, but Umlaut is unfortunately infected with the zombie virus, and so with a tear in their eyes the rest of the group put them down.

Lynn is the only character in the group to level up after this game - she gains the engineer skill, which will make developing their base a little cheaper (but also I have my eye on the master skill that lets you grow medicine to finally get ahead out of bed, and you need three academic skills before you have a chance to get that!)

At this point I take to twitter to ask the game’s designer whether supply tokens get dropped if you break and run to end the game, or whether you’d keep it - when I hear back, I’ll have to amend what we found, but for now Dionne’s supply token was worth 2 fuel and 1 scavenge point, a fairly disappointing haul considering we lost the best member of the group…

With much of the group recovering from their injuries or sickness, there are a lot fewer bodies to assign jobs to - despite this, the group manages to produce enough food for everyone to eat without having to dip into their store of preserved meals, and both Jess and Kevin improve a level of sickness. Celebrations at Jess having finally been able to get out of bed are cut short when Lynn becomes bedridden with sickness after having been taken out by zombies, so the quest to find medicine continues! Luckily everyone in the group is of the same alignment, otherwise there might be a leadership dispute with how often people seem to be sick…

‘Hey google, play this monkey’s gone to heaven by the Pixies’

Monday 29 May 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: April

So, as I prep to play May’s Last Days game, I realised that I apparently never posted about April’s! It was okayed the weekend before Salute, so we’re well over a month overdue at this point…

For April’s game, I decided to play a custom scenario, based on the escape vehicle scenario from the main book. Essentially, they’d have to get to a locked truck, break into it (using the same mechanics as hot wiring the escape vehicle in the original scenario), and if they did there would be two more loot tokens to grab (in addition to one already on the board in the back of the truck at the start of the game. 

I also played on a smaller than usual board, so that I could use a mat that came with the Walking Dead miniatures game. Since the playing area was a lot smaller than usual, I had the survivors move into the board in the first turn rather than starting deployed on it, and also used slightly different set up rules for the zombies. Rather than having the full number of zombies start on the board (which at this point in the campaign would be 17, not leaving much space for anything else on their edge!), I set aside this many zombie miniatures at the start of the game. I set up five in the middle of the board (one centrally, then the remaining four out towards each corner of the board), four along the edge of the board, and then set the remainder up to the side of the board. To represent the high density of zombies in the area, until all of these zombies had been deployed to the board, new zombies would appear on a roll of a 6+ rather than the usual 7.

So at the start of the game the board looked like this:

While setting up, I realised that I’d been doing combat wrong in my previous game - if the defender wins, they don’t actually get to strike, so this game my survivors should go through zombies less like a knife through room temperature butter!

To begin, the survivors all rush onto the board, figuring that with the high concentration of zombies in this area they needed to get in and out as fast as they could. Devon lead a strike team towards the van with the loot, Cece clambers atop a parked car to get a better vantage point with her hunting rifle, Umlaut throws himself at the nearest zed, and Kevin moves forward to take up a position to block the way to Cece:

Everyone bar Dionne (who figures her assault rifle is too noisy to risk using yet) blasts away at the plentiful targets, but fail to take down any zombies. Except Cece, who fails to even hit, let alone take down a target. Umlaut, on the other hand, rips of a zombie’s head with his bare hands, wondering what everyone else is playing at…

Unfortunately, at this point a couple more zeds shamble into the area, one of which heads to the scrum around Dionne and Lynn:

While another reaches up to try and claw Cece down from her vantage point:

At this point, the dice abandon me completely, and Dionne, Kevin, Devon and Umlaut all get a level of sickness from contact with the undead, which is less than ideal given how it’s laid up poor Jess!

There is no shooting in the following turn, as everyone is embroiled in hand to hand combat. Dionne and Lynn both manage to take out a zombie each, leaving the central strike force free to resume their march up the centre to advance on the supplies.

Kevin and Cece are less lucky, and continue to struggle against their opponents.

Umlaut is a killing machine, taking out yet another zed - shame he doesn’t get any XP for it!

Despite not having fired her gun this turn, Cece mysteriously finds herself out of ammo. Presumably she dropped the bullets she had chambered fighting off the zombie still trying to clamber up on top of the car with her.

Kevin finds himself getting surrounded, with more on the way:

So Dionne dashes over to reinforce him, figuring that Devon will probably be fine breaking into the truck on his own. As Lynn makes a dash for the supplies in the back of the truck:

Umlaut hurls himself into danger once more to shield her from the advancing wave of zeds:

At this point in the game the only person that could possibly take a shot is Devon, but everywhere he looks there isn’t a shot he could take without potentially hitting one of his companions, so he holsters his pistol and gets back to the job at hand - breaking into the truck (yes, I know, realistically a survivor would just smash the window to get in rather than trying to pick the lock, but that would make for a much shorter game!)

Umlaut takes out yet another zombie, presumably thinking to himself ‘what are these humans complaining about, this is easy!’

Over to the right, Dionne and Kevin both take out a zed apiece (hoorah for Kev’s Headhunter skill!) and decide to form a perimeter to protect Devon from any encroaching undead.

Cece however continues to kick ineffectually at her zombies:

Having painted up the wrecked vehicles for this scenario, obviously thanks to a random event 2 have their alarms go off, drawing in even more zombies…

On the left, Umlaut finds himself starting to get swarmed (although given his performance so far this game at this point I’m honestly more concerned for the zombies)…

Another zombie shambles onto the board behind the group, and heads towards Cece, so Kevin (figuring that Dionne is probably fine managing things in her own) heads back to try and rescue her. 

While all this is going on, Devon and Lynn continue their efforts to try to break into the truck, but success still seems to be just out of reach. Umlaut meanwhile destroys yet another zombie with his bare hands - why can I only roll a 5+ with a monkey?

Despite his best efforts, Kevin fails to save the day, but spurred on by his arrival Cece finally manages to stave in the zombies brains with the butt of her rifle. At this point in the game the weather changes, and it starts to rain, reducing the maximum range of any shooting to 18”, although on such a small board this doesn’t make the greatest difference. 

Lynn and Devon finally manage to break into the truck, pulling out two additional supply tokens. When planning the scenario, I’d originally reduced the difficulty to a 12, but it didn’t matter in the end as their successful total was a 15 in the end anyway.

Seeing Cece has seemingly found her second wind, Kevin bundles back to help Dionne who is struggling against a pair of zombies. Devon finds himself the only person who could potentially take a shot, and again is unable to due to there not being a single zombie that isn’t grappling with someone!

Kevin manages to take out one of the zombies, but Dionne fails to take out the other, while elsewhere Umlaut fails to take down his opponent (for the first time all game!) - but that’s fine, at this point the most important thing is keeping the escape route to get the supplies off of the table clear.

Unlike the rest of the group, Cece has seemingly found her rhythm at this point and takes out another zombie in close combat - it’s just a shame that her vantage point for shooting hasn’t really been used for any shooting yet!

At this point it seems like time to head out, as it seems like a horde of zombies is now descending on their location, with two more heading towards Umlaut.

Lynn and Devon grab the remaining supplies and head East away from the swirling melee surround their monkey pal.

Buoyed by her recent successes in zombie elimination, Cece takes a shot at a zombie advancing on Umlaut, and promptly misses. Devon also takes a couple of pot shots at the same zombie as he makes his escape, but despite hitting once fails to put it down. Ahead of him Dionne jacks down the final zombie near her, making another viable route of escape.

Apparently that was Cece’s last remaining bullet, as she finds herself needing to reload again despite only having fired her gun maybe… twice? this whole game. I really need to get her a firearms skill increase, as my sniper isn’t having much success sniping! Then again, her precious increase in CQC whilst not what I’d hoped for was at least thematic, as I imagine it’s actually her just having a backpack full of shivs…

Lynn and Devon manage to book it off the table, supply tokens in tow, leaving Umlaut fully surrounded by the truck. Dionne and Kevin however bundle in to try and save their hirsute companion, as Cece stop her car (ineffectually) takes pot shots at the horde bearing down on them.

Despite their plucky charge, Kevin and Dionne unfortunately both fail to take down a zombie to make Umlaut a path to get clear. Umlaut, on the other hand, proves he would have been just fine on his own as he takes down a zombie to make a hole in the crowd! 

Cece unfortunately loses her nerve at this point, and beats a hasty retreat off of the board. The zombies start to encircle the remaining survivors, but Dionne manages to hack one down, leaving four to go - but then Kevin is dragged down and taken out of action! The one silver lining to this chain of events, is that close combat is relatively quiet, so at least even more zombies haven’t been attracted by it…

As Kevin falls to the ground, Umlaut leaps over a zombie and makes a break for freedom, leaving a slightly perplexed Dionne staring down the maws of four zombies. Unfortunately, our luck being what it is, another zombie shambles onto the board directly between Umlaut and safety before he can make good his escape. Dionne manages to break free of her remaining foes, and runs in the opposite direction, as the game ends with her and Umlaut running for the hills…

Post game, the first thing to do is roll for Kevin’s injury. I initially rolled a Shellshocked result, which would have removed the additional AP he has from a previous advance. Lynn’s first aid skill met me Reroll one die - if I rolled 3-5, it would have been a Full Recovery instead, so of course I rolled a 1, which makes it an arm injury, meaning he can no longer use his shotgun. Nuts.

Lynn goes up a level and gains the Agriculturalist skill, which is handy given the fact that our primary food source is laid up sick in bed. She could have gone up a second level, but that would have left 0xp for affecting the rolls, and I didn’t fancy my luck that much, so she’ll save the rest for next time.

Dionne levelled up and gets an additional point of firearms, which is impressive considering the fact that she didn’t actually fire her gun all game! I really need to find her a quieter gun so that she can make use of her increasingly impressive skill set…

Kevin levels up, and spends some xp to change his advance CQC instead of firearms, as it looks like his shotgunning days are sadly over…

Cece, however, frustrated at never hitting anything, spends an evening shooting at the B-road side of a barn door, and emerges with an additional point of firearms.

With a lot of survivors needing to rest, it’s a bit harder to man all the jobs that we need, but between the supplies (the most exciting find of which was a knife, which I wish I’d taken more of when we first started out) and careful assigning of tasks, everyone eats, and everyone gets a little less sick. Except for Jess, who remains bedridden, of course, and now Lynn is starting to show symptoms too…

A little plump guy…

Every now and then I diverge from my keenly focused projects and throw a random mini into the mix, and this is one of those:

He’s a repainted Mage Knight figure (that my daughter hates, and refuses to look directly at), who will work as an imp or minor demon for Frostgrave, and I’m sure can pop his ugly head up in Silver Bayonet games too.

I took painting him as an opportunity to use flesh tones that I wouldn’t usually - I started from Bestigor Flesh, so he looks fairly ruddy.

The Tally took a hit both ways though, as I grabbed this month’s freebie mini from GW:

An Arbite - you could really make a decent Inquisitorial warband with the minis they’ve given away over the last couple of years!

All in, the Tally now stands at:

21 vs 42 = -21

Coming next: more things that aren’t on this year’s project list, if I’m being brutally honest…

Friday 26 May 2023

Got wood… kits?

So, over on Facebook (nearly a fortnight ago- I need to get better at writing blog posts in a timely fashion!) I saw an offer that was hard to refuse: ten random old TTCombat mdf kits for £16. I ummed and ahhed a bit about whether to take the gamble and sink some of my limited hobby funds into what could potentially be useless to me, but caved when I figured that if I could use two or three of them that was still under a fiver a kit, and hoped that I got some useful buildings. 

So, not long after I received roughly five inches of fun (feel free to insert your own joke here):

First off, I was immediately onto a winner, with a building suitable for the zombie project that was worth the price of admission on its own:

As was this clock tower, which could happily see use in the majority of my ongoing projects:

This set with no front page which turns out to be a billboard, which should work for zombies as well as scifi etc:

A ruined Wild West house. Not the most obviously useful for me, but a ruin is a ruin…

Crates! Everyone loves crates!

Another Wild West building. Onto the back burner you go, but I’m sure I can make it into something useable…

I figure if I leave out the actual oil well part of this, it becomes a perfectly serviceable generic tower. Stick a satellite dish on top and you’ve got sci-fi scenery!

Market stalls - great for fantasy, and equally useable for modern games:

The least useful thing, a billion chairs. But on the other hand, I’m sure some of the Rangers of Shadow Deep scenarios are in trashed parts of a convent, so a smattering of smashed up chairs would likely make perfectly good scatter scenery there…

Not immediately useful, but cool nevertheless:

And so I set about building one, having never made an mdf kit before:

YouTube had a variety of handy tips, like slightly raising the sheet on something to pop out the pieces, and spray priming them rather than brushing it on as they will apparently just drink paint.

Then my children wanted to do some painting, which was a perfect opportunity for me to carry on working on my kit! Unusually, I painted it in pieces rather than my usual approach of ‘stick it all together and if you can’t get a brush there you probably can’t see there either’, mostly sponging on colour to try to give the piece some texture:

Then it was a case of assembling it with lashings of glue, and weathering it until it looked like it would fit on my tabletop:

I decided against glueing down the roof piece, so that if need be I can stash loot tokens up there, use it as a sniper nest etc…

Saturday 13 May 2023

Who you gonna call?

 So, we have a ghost:

Normally, I’m very measured in my miniature purchasing, and everything has a purpose for one of my current projects. Not this banshee though, that was picked up in a previous North Star sale just because she was such a lovely sculpt! She can stand in for a ghost for Silver Bayonet, Frostgrave etc though…

I painted her with a series of light grey dry brushes, and washed her with a bluey green contrast paint (she’s a bit greener in real life than she looks in these photos taken on a rainy day) to make her look a bit spectral. If I were to paint her again, I’d maybe have worked some colour into the initial layers of paint rather than having it all come from the wash at the end, but I like her enough not to want to strip her and start again, so I’m calling it done.


20 vs 41 = -21

Sunday 7 May 2023

It just came off in my hand!

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to start watching Doctor Who again. We’d originally stopped watching when Capaldi took over, and so I thought I might as well start again, and work my way back through the modern series that I’d previously watched. I then delayed this plan by a couple of years, as I figured that I’d like to watch it with my children, but they were a bit young for it at the time. So when my eldest hit 8, I figured it was go time! It’s still a bit scary (and to my surprise, my youngest has clicked with it more than my eldest, and he’s only just turned 4), but I thought it might also be an opportunity to play some games too, so I turned to the Doctor Who Miniatures Game:

(The sun came out today, so I took the opportunity to take a poses picture too!)

For the first scenario, based on the first episode with Christopher Ecclestone’s Doctor, you need 6 Autons:

3 are Autons from the Doctor Who Micro Universe range, that I was luckily able to pick up dozens of packs of way back when.

I mixed up the colours a bit to try and give them some variety, but didn’t do any conversion work, as I figured animated mannequins would probably be on pretty much the same pose anyway…

To bulk out my ‘official’ Autons, I turned to the human figures from the Micro Universe range. While the monsters are generally brilliant, the human figures suffer from soft detail on their faces and hands - which makes them ideal candidates to be painted up as mannequins!

I took (from L-R) Martha, the eleventh Doctor, and Sarah-Jane, and cut and repositioned their arms to make them look slightly awkward, like their arms are fixed in position:

Mannequin Martha has come out looking a little bit like she’s coming in for a hug, but I’m not mad about it.

Finishing this half dozen brings the Tally to:

19 vs 41 = -22

What comes next? There’s a bunch of odds and ends on my painting tile, so I should probably work on clearing some space there! Although I should probably work on some more modern terrain…