Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Zombicide first thoughts

Grrr Zombies! 

I ordered Zombicide a week or so back from Amazon and it came in the mail yesterday, 15ish days before Amazons estimated delivery date of the 14th of August. It was a bit of a debacle finding a place to source Zombicide from, perhaps because it is from small time publishers Guillotine Games and Cool or not Minis. So I dropped into Dans work on my way home from the ward to pick it up (I get my stuff sent there to avoid the complication of missing couriers) to find they had already taken a sneak peak. No problem, I was a bit choked up about it but got over it fast.

Zombicide is a co-op survival horror game where you take on the role of survivors of a zombie apocalypse to complete various scenarios. The great thing about it being scenario based is that each scenario states how long it will be and the difficulty making it easy to adapt the game for different situations. Anyway lets take a quick look at the pretty impressive components.

First look. Thankfully there is only one tray of cardboard pop-outs,
making the game simple and easier to set up! 

Behind the pop outs is a couple of cardboard boxes with arrows!

In the cardboard boxes were the characters and 'Zombies!' Just to clarify there are a lot of 'Zombies!' I wasn't expecting them to be in trays like that but was pleasantly surprised. This means if I ever want to paint these suckers up then they have nice safe pockets to fit them into. The only downfall is there are 8 double ups of each model except the abomination of which there is one.

You can see the box compared to a more normal sized game,
it is a big box! 

First Game! 

I managed to convince my flat mates including SWMBO who normally isn't into games. They have an introduction scenario to 'teach you the game'. I feel like games with introduction games think everyone playing are brain dead (pun intended) so need a little tutorial. So I was like, stuff the system I am going to play scenario two and skip the introduction scenario! And it was great, I had no problem with the rules.

The rules are pretty simple. All the survivors get to go first, each gets 3 actions which they can spend on, moving, fighting, searching for items, getting into and driving cars and a few more. After this the zombies get one action each, either to move towards the noisiest zone (you make noise during the game which is represented by little tokens) or towards a survivor they can see. The aim is to complete the requirements that the scenario gives you, for example find food, or level up to level 4 (red) by killing a lot of zombies.

So we got the show on the road playing "Y-Zone" a 60 minute medium difficulty scenario. Our goal was to get from the starting point to the exit! Seems easy enough, well it was pretty easy to be honest.

The survivors ready to kick some 'ZOMBIES!'

So we started out searching for some good weapons, which you have to do indoors. We only started with a crowbar, an axe, a pistol and some cast iron pans. Because it was our first game and the deck wasn't shuffled well we had a few of the same items been drawn after the other.

Here is my SMG, Katana wielding homeless guy! 

We maintained a nice area of control in the middle of the board for a while and enjoyed socking it to some zombies. We also had a discussion about the many different names for 'Zombies!' which was humorous at the time but I don't think it would be that great repeating it now.

After a bit of ass kicking zombie action we realised that our goal was to escape not kill lots of zombies. So we devised a plan to run through an abandoned building, and it worked with quite a few zombies on our tail!

End game, you can see the survivors at the exit point
lower right hand corner, we started upper right hand corner.

In summation it was a pretty fun game with a lot of laughs. It is worth noting that it was more fun just killing zombies than actually completing the mission. I am sure that there will be better scenarios with more exciting zombie killing action however! I like having a diversity of games for different situations and groups and this definitely seems like it will be able to be played and enjoyed with lots of different groups. I guess as I mentioned before being scenario based helps as you can tone up or down the difficulty and length of game and co-op can be enjoyed by most. Plus the game play is simple enough but enough strategy in surviving to keep it interesting for a casual to semi-serious board gamer. That is all I have to say for now, just some finishing photos.

Which way? 

This guy is called a Fatty in the game. Not very PC.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Guess Who? Stugs and Star Wars.

Finally throughout a few busy weeks I have managed to fit in the time to finish my Open Fire StuG G anti-tank guns. Without further to do here they are:

I don't have any terrain at my house so they are being displayed on my quilt

The Lieutenant with his red and blue corded headphones. 

The fabled StuG with the graphite Geboren Um Zu Toten
translated as "Born To Kill"
I thought I would have a bit of fun with my graffitied stug, it also happened to be the first one I painted. I looked at about four different translators to try and get the most accurate translation. I ended up using this website which compared four of the most common translators so I could pick the most common translation. Every translator except babylon had Geboren Um Zu Toten. 

You may have also noted, if you have been following the blog that these stugs have seen some action, not quite completed. Check out the session reports here and here

I think I overdid the camo on top of the tanks, not leaving enough khaki brown to brave the world. I also did the same cargo on two of the tanks... oops. I think when I get some more tanks to paint up I will try out some different camo patterns and techniques. I used the stippling technique for these tanks. 

Same baggage, at least they are painted slightly different. 

Eagle eye view

So there you go, the StuG Gs from the Open Fire box set. Pretty neat! 

In other news, I was away in Napier over the weekend and scored Star Wars Guess Who! OK its not that exciting and doesn't warrant its own post so I have tacked it on this one. However I think it will be a bit of fun to play with some younger gamers... Err quite young as I think, as much as I enjoyed Guess Who, I grew out of it around 8-10 and Risk became a fast favourite.  Here is a shot of one of the boards:

Pity its has the new trilogy characters, especially Jar Jar Binks *shudder*,
although Natalie Portman is hot ;)
(I had a high school crush on her, mainly because of Garden State)

Stugs ridding into the night (or ridding into the quilt)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

More FOW: Practising what we Learnt

Monday night games night saw us play again the no retreat mission that we played with Scott from Scotts Wargaming and Paul from Kapiti FOW (see previous post).  Scott had offered to come down on Monday night for another game, but I said to hold fire (excuse the pun) because I wanted our next game to be competitive, rather than another instruction game for him.

So we replayed the same mission, with the Fallschirmjager defending again against an Irish Guards Rifle platoon, with a Sherman armoured platoon in support, heavy mortars and two armoured car platoons (the Market Garden list allows one, but we needed to match for points the FJs).  First use of Easy Army, as referred by Scott, before the match made life a whole lot easier.  For just $2.00US you have access to all the Market Garden Lists, which is superb.

Before the photos come out, I must say it got it a little tense regarding rules and mistakes etc.  Me and Steve probably the biggest culprits.  I think we will chill out in time, just our enthusiasm getting the better of us.

Here are the photos from the night's action:

A sleepy village in Normandy

The Fallschirmjager dig in and go to ground as the recon approaches

Chris advances the first platoon up the left flank

The Shermans advance on the right to sweep through the FJ

And the Pak 40s ambush them


But Steve and Zac forgot the objective on the left

The Germans start to push resources over to the left

The StuGs come on finally from reserve
Geboren um zu toten aka born to kill (watch Full Metal Jacket)

The mortars have a lazy day pinning platoons and never being shot at.
As an after thought, I actually played through a few turns myself and it did indeed turn out well for the British, losing another Sherman and a stand of infantry but otherwise mopping up.  I discovered that the best way to take out Pak40s is to assault them with infantry really.

I have brought in a few supplies for the Brits so expect to see more pictures of them shortly.  We are all very FOW obsessed right now and have decided that DnD will indeed end so we can fit more games in.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Flames of War at Scott's Place

Friday night saw Steve and I travel up the coast to Scott's place (from Scott's wargaming) to play a game of Flames of War with Scott and Paul from Kapiti Flames of War.  Steve and I have been embracing Flames of War recently, but really need some help to get to grips with the rules.  Big thanks to Scott and Paul to give up playing a competitive game with each other and using their time to take us newbies through the rules.

We played the no retreat mission, with Steve and I playing a company of FJs (two platoons and one with fausts), Pak40s and 3 stugs.  Here are the pictures:

You'll see above the first lesson of the night: when you are defending it is best to actually contest the objectives...

Scott starts with a recce move up the road
We ambush the Shermans on the Left Flank and Steve takes out the whole platoon

After putting up a good fight the stugs are then taken out
Meanwhile on the right flank...

Our Infantry come on as reserves and push up to contest the objective

You can see the might of the German forces on the left

And now with a few friends to help out

Steve's epic role in his counter assault (4x 1s and a 2)

Scott's Brits mopping up
We called the game about 10:40 - Scott magnanimously saying that it was evenly balanced.  We had a long drive home so we couldn't really keep going.

Steve and I learnt heaps from the night - seeing reconnaissance in action and being able to see the correct way that hit allocation and assaults are done.  We were tactically naive (we probably played with the tactical insight of a five year old), but that is because our understanding of the rules and the mechanic is so limited.  We are now keen to bring on more games so we can consolidate what we have learnt and develop a strategic approach to our different armies.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Dungeons and Dragons thoughts.

The last month or so we have been playing D&D with our gaming group. It has been a good way to introduce some new people to, ahem, more geeky games. The campaign we have been playing is led by Dan and is around the "Deck of Many Things" and Gardmore Abbey which we are slowly making our way towards. Click here to see a session report from the start of our adventures. So here are a few thoughts that have cropped up over this adventure. 

Some of our adventurers. Looks suspiciously like LOTR figures.

Sensible Role-Playing.

Getting into the role of a character can be hard for new gamers, of which I am one. There seems to be a fine balance of  sensible roleplaying, and speaking as if you were the character. Err not sure if I described that well so maybe an example:
Our version of roleplaying, "We would like to trade this pearl for that ring."
What the actual character would say but we are to sensible to say, "Oh good sir! I propose a trade, how about this fine pearl for one of your rings?"
Anytime I try to act out my character authentically I feel things becoming more awkward. Naturally this means I don't do that often. However I watched an episode of TableTop (a youtube show where Will Wheaton plays board games with supposedly famous people) where they played a RPG Dragon Age (converted from a video game). They got into it and seemed to have a lot of fun doing it, perhaps an inspiration for whenever I timidly overstep the boundary of sensible role-playing. Feel free to watch it if you have a spare hour, here is part 1.

Character Names

D&D persists with ridiculous fantasy names, which I guess makes sense as it is a fantasy setting. I was quite sensible during my first ever D&D campaign last year where I chose the name Carlos for my Eladrian Warlord. I chose this because of an episode of Freaks and Geeks where James Franco's character played a game of D&D and called his Dwarf warrior Carlos. I tried this time to get a bit more in theme calling my character Lucien (a Dwarf cleric) inspired by Lucien from the Sandman graphic novels.

Dan spinning a story as the DM.

Combat and Theatre of the Mind 

I think if I was going to pin down and say what the most annoying thing about Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition would be, that would be combat! Combat takes ages when you are lv6, it wasn't so bad at lv1 mind you. The main thing which seems to change as you level up are more hit points and more powers, however these extra combat powers often, though cool, don't do more damage. I find that combat ends up being a long drawn out process where you wait 5-10min for your turn to come around, you select a power to use, you roll a dice, do some damage and then wait for your turn to come around again. Obviously there is more strategy to it than that but it doesn't feel particularly intuitive and it is kind of boring after you have done several combats. 

Us fighting a couple of Owlbears, I used a pretty swish technique pushing the Owlbear who looks like the goblin king (what gives) giving my fellow adventurers a couple of opportunity attacks. 

Apart from the models looking cool I think we could do without them. I wan't to try out D&D 1st ed or some other RPG where combat is done as 'theatre of the mind'. It is what they did in Dragon Age (above) and it seems to be both fun and quick, letting the story and the role-playing take more prevalence.


I like D&D, it is a lot of fun when we are solving puzzles and acting as our characters while the story unfolds. However I just get bored during combat, as that takes up about half the time it can get a bit frustrating. I hope there is a RPG out there which doesn't do this as much, perhaps Call of Cthulhu. After this campaign is done I think we will give the Call of Cthulhu RPG a shot. Although going back to Will Wheaton's TableTop he just did a video post about some indie RPGs he likes, one was called Agents of Oblivion. Will sums it up as

You are members of a super secret global espionage team, your entire purpose in life is to stop Cthulhu and the great old ones from coming into the world.

I mean whats not to like about that?

Just to finish up, if you haven't seen the IT Crowd, a BBC comedy, I would recommend it in a flash. One of the episodes involves Moss playing an RPG with some hot-shot businessmen visiting who would normally be entertained by being taken to a brothel. Here is the clip:

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Empire of the Dead: Requiem update

It looks like the EOTD Requiem miniatures are working out nicely. On the kickstarter page yesterday there was another update with some of the new models painted up nicely.

The photo from left to right:- The Great Detective, Order of the Dragon thug 1, order of the Dragon thug 2, Lord Godalming, Chef (Victorian Servants), Houseman (vic servants), Maid, (vic servants), The Monster, Butler (vic servants) Dr Jeykell, Coachman (vis servants) Mr Hyde.

Looks like everything is on schedual for shipping end of August - September. Unfortunatly I will be going away late September for 6 weeks in Europe so wont be able to paint my minitures straight away. Still, something to look forward to.

Here is a photo of some of the other requium minitures they have compleated.I am looking forward to getting the Supernatural Branch figures to make my faction look more authenitic.

In other news the Flames of War open fire boxset is coming along nicely. I have almost finished my StuGs and pak40s and will post photos soon.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Flames of War Help Needed

Monday night saw a fun Flames of War evening, with my British being pitted against my FJ army.  I got my British Heavy mortar platoon painted in time and we got to try out the artillery rules / bombardments for the first time.  I'll give a few pictures, then ask some questions:

The set up late in the game.  Another epic dice role to the left
We called the game here for the Brits (me and Chris).  The germans pretty much had this left

Dusk in Normandy?

The Heavy Mortars - better photos of the British will follow
A few questions though that someone might help us with, which came out of the game:

1.Line of Sight

Perhaps a simple answer but I couldn't find it in the rules: an enemy team in a platoon being shot at is directly behind another enemy team in the same platoon.  Is it in line of sight (even though all teams in the shooting platoon cannot see it directly) such that hits are allocated against it as normal, or is it not?

Related to that - can infantry shoot through an enemy team at another enemy team from a different platoon behind it, which would be in range and line of sight but for the enemy team in front?

2. Bulletproof Cover

Can someone confirm you don't do an infantry save as well as a firepower test here?

3. Shooting at Two Platoons Mixed together

Hits are allocated to all teams within range and line of sight, even if they are from another enemy platoon that is different from the target platoon right?

Thought it would be helpful to record these questions after each game as we go so the same issues don't keep cropping up.  I do find the shooting and hit allocation stuff the most challenging aspect of the game.

Thanks for any help offered!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Dan's Fallschirmjager Army

With Flames of War now in full swing in our neck of the woods, I thought it a good time to showcase my Fallshirmjagers.  I have two platoons of infantry (one upgraded with panzerfausts), company command with two panzerschreck teams, pak 40s and a machine gun platoon.  Here are some pics:

The whole crew
Heavy Machine Guns (my first FOW painted)
Platoon One
Platoon one Command
Company Command
Panzerfaust Teams with Von der Heydte
Mr Von der Heydte himself with his close buddies
Pak 40s
Platoon Two (with fausts)
Platoon Two Command
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