Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Happened?

Boom.
Sorry for dropping out of sight.  I wanted to post something long before now, but I have just not had any chance to do so.  I wish I could say this was where I would be able to start posting regularly again, but I don't know when I will be back.

My family is facing a problem.  My father in law has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and we are working to spend as much time supporting him and my mother in law for as long as he can fight this.  I know it's a downer, but I need to spend my time in the real world, not in gaming for now.

I am hoping to be back for Zomtober.  It all depends on what my family needs.

Once I have moved past this, I will be back to gaming.  Until then I will be on hiatus.  I thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.  Seeing a loved one dying is a difficult (to say the least) situation but I look forward to the distraction that is the zombie apocalypse.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

This is WAR!

"We need supplies."  Patrick said, lacing up his boots.  "I say we check that small warehouse we passed on Highway 11."
Sandra looked over the few supplies they had in the truck they were using.  "You're right, we need more than a a couple of cans of beans and a blanket."  Pulling on her jacket, she added "Let's go."

This is a recap of the first scenario, meant to teach the basics for The Walking Dead - All Out War.  I have played it a couple of times, both solo and with one other player.  I will show just one of my solo plays, it was the most interesting of the times I played anyway.
Basic setup
The first basic scenario is a supply run.  I have to use Sandra and Patrick, a runner and a bruiser.  This is mean to teach the game, so I have no equipment, and the survivors are designated by the scenario.  I have setup 1/4 of the playmat that comes with the game to designate the warehouse, which is supposed to be 10"x10".  I have to get three supply crates for a successful mission and there are three walkers to face to start out.
Sandra and Patrick
The miniatures that came with the game are of good quality.  I expected as much, Mantic games has a good record of quality.  The plastic is bit soft, but I think they will take paint well enough.  As you can see, I have not painted them yet.
Sandra and Patrick move towards the supplies
Event card
Walkers close on the survivors
There are a couple of key concepts to the game, noise and events.  As you move, you can choose to run (move 8"), which causes noise, and the nearest walker to shamble (move 6") or you can choose to sneak, and move 4".  On the first turn I have Sandra run, with her special ability she has a chance to avoid combat, and Patrick sneaks.  Each turn, you draw from an event deck, which determines how the walkers move and can cause general chaos.
Sandra loses her melee
After melee the losing models are pushed 1" away from the victor, allowing movement each turn.  I found this keeps the game moving along.  After a few turns, things get messy, I move Sandra to get the crates and Patrick keeps the walkers busy.
Things seem to be okay
Moving around it seems things are well in hand.  The events stack up, and the walkers really make things..."interesting".
Pandemonium is aptly named
More walkers appear
The events cards definitely give the game twists and turns.  You may have the walkers not even move, or you may see several more enter the game.  I must admit they do make each game unique, on one play through the walkers barely did anything, we killed them (or knocked them down) and grabbed the supplies in like 3 turns.  Kinda boring.  Other times went sideways in a hurry...
Two down, one to go
Sandra and Patrick move along, grabbing the second supply crate.  I hope to just move along the back wall and grab the final supply crate to win the scenario.
Walkers swarm the survivors!
Luckily Sandra has picked up some armor and a tire iron.  She and Patrick manage to win the melee, even killing one walker (with a head shot) and buy enough space to get the final supplies.
A walker is knocked down...
...Only to get back up again
Sandra moves to the final crate, and the game gives a final surprise!
A lurker!
Luckily Sandra has football pads on, combined with a decent defense roll, she doesn't take any damage.
Sandra and equipment
The final round of melee goes well for the survivors, and the victory conditions are met.  The game ends with the survivors getting the supply markers.  Even with some walkers on the board, the victory conditions are met and the game ends.
The walkers are pushed away and knocked down
As Sandra grabbed the last pack of supplies, a legless torso grabbed and bit at her.  It's teeth latched onto the shoulder pads she was wearing, and she kicked the lurker away.  She yelled at Patrick "I've got them!  Let's go!"

So I have played the game a few times.  There are good and bad points.

The good is the quality of the minis, the various components and the rules are well done.  Games move at a fair pace and for a zombie game, how can you not want to have the Walking Dead franchise?  There are decent rules for solo play, and competitive play as well.

On the bad side, I dislike games that use 'special' dice in place of numerical results from d6s.  How hard would it be to note results as 1-2, 1-3, etc?  The lack of customization and the limited number of survivors hurts the repeat play of the basic game.  I realize I can get a few expansions, but they are still limited.

Once the narrative campaign expansion comes out, it might improve my opinion of the overall game.  It is good, but on a par with Zombicide (which is a great game as well) but I think it is lacking in various scenarios.  It's worth checking out and worth getting it for the miniatures if nothing else.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Welcome to the Jungle!

This week I tried out Zombie Island from The Flux Capacity.  My wife and I have taken turns playing the survivors and the zombie master.  The game has been reviewed on Board Game Geek, where is gets a 5.6 out of 10.  I'll try and give a complete review as well.
Cover of the rules, showing components
First, unboxing shows pretty good production values, I was impressed with the weight of the box and the tiles that make up the bulk of the components.  Both are of a good quality cardstock.  I was also impressed that they added a few tiles for future expansion.  That was a nice surprise.
Everything out of the box
There are not many miniatures, and they are a bit disappointing.  While they are made of decent quality plastic, they are very sloppy casts or prints.  It's too bad, they could have been a good feature for the game.
Mold lines and spatter!  Too bad
 I tried to show the best figs I could find, they are all about the same quality.  Very sloppy looking, but they are a hard plastic.  I may still paint them up, if I feel ambitious. 
Miniatures on a game tile
The game premise is pretty straightforward.  The 'explorers' move through the jungle, looking to discover 26 tiles.  Four of the tiles have zombie spawn points, marked with a 'Z'.  Humans can move an unlimited distance, where the zombies can only move 3 spaces, and can only enter one new tile per move.  All movement is straight line only (think the queen from chess).
Game underway
Once a survivor reveals all the tiles, they are trying to get back to the beach.  Meanwhile, the zombie master is slowly losing control of their minions, so the explorer can simply outlast the zombies.
Run through the jungle
The explorer gets up to 4 'machete tiles' to modify the board as they move.  These allow for movement through areas that are impassable.  It also allows for the game to change each time.  They can also be used for an escape from a bad situation...
Boxed in!
Zombie chow
Game play is pretty fast.  While the explorer has a machete, if a zombie makes contact, that's it.  No combat at all.  Playing as a match, with players trading sides has been fun.  There are a couple of scenarios, but they are all basically the same, with up to 3 explorers on the board at the same time.
The grey explorer makes a run
Zombies hot in pursuit!
Making a loop!
While the game is fun and quick, it is pretty limited.  I would have hoped for some additional missions, with alternate tile usage perhaps.  Overall I would say it's a fun quick game, but not one to replace something like Zombicide.  It reminds me of Twilight Creations Zombies!!! game, without the randomness of the various cards.
Great tag line!

I would recommend this game for a quick pick up game or if you want to have a zombie themed game with people who find Zombicide too daunting.  It really plays pretty fast so it's not a huge investment from that standpoint.  I wish the miniatures had been a bit better, but overall the components were good quality.

I'd score it about 6/10, we have been having fun this week with it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day Zombies!

It's Father's Day in the US, so I'd like to send a happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.  I hope you had a great day!

I had my two nephews visit this weekend.  They are 2 and 6, and now I realize why I am glad my kids are 21 and 23!  Not much for gaming, but I did get a couple of great zombie themed games to try out.
High hopes!

First is The Walking Dead: All Out War.  I have not played it, but have seen it played in a few places and it certainly looks cool.  I'm looking forward to at least painting the minis and adding them to my ATZ games.
Has potential...

Second is called Zombie Island.  I have never heard of this game, my wife found it at a game store that specializes in out of print games and accessories.  I haven't had a chance to unbox it yet, but I plan on breaking it out and posting a game recap.  It sounds like fun, you are an "explorer" making your way through a jungle infested with zombies.  That is what I have gotten from a quick read of the box...

It was a busy and tiring weekend.  Hopefully Fear the Walking Dead tonight doesn't disappoint!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wasteland Cruiser

I found an older muscle car toy at a second hand shop, and it inspired me to create a post-apocalyptic ride.  It was red and beat up pretty bad, the rear window was missing, wheels damaged, chipped bumper, not a wreck, but in bad shape.  I'm sure you all know the inspiration for this vehicle...
Mad Max anyone?
I added some fuel tanks to the rear window area (taken from a truck) as they fir the space pretty well.  The front end has a reinforced bumper made from wire and sprue parts.  I also added wire mesh to the windows, they need some protection.  Overall a rust and dirty paint job finished the cruiser.
Ready for a rough road
Improvised front ram
Rex stands in for Max
Pretty much straightforward, a rusty beat up muscle car.  Some reinforcement and extra fuel tanks for the long empty roads...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Armed Zombies and Ruins

A quick post of some projects.  I have some specialized zombies, armed with hand weapons.  One of the random event cards has a zombie armed with a hand weapon, which increases it's impact rating by 1.  Under the new melee rules, I have the zombies gain +1d6 in combat, just like a living opponent.

Jack says hello to three armed zeds
These zombies are not using the weapons, they are just armed with them.  Given the way zombies fight, the mere presence of the weapons makes them more dangerous.  If defeated they could be a source for weapons, which could make them worth dealing with.
Just a quick paint job

I also painted a toy, or part of a toy I had found at a second hand store.  Nothing fancy, I figure it will make a nice piece of ruined scenery.
Jack checks the random rusty pillars
Not too much done this week, but still progress.  I'm hoping to finish off some more small scenery bits and some other projects on my workbench.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I've got a Ticket to Ride...

Okay, this is embarrassing.  It's been a month of life just conspiring against me.  I apologize for the lack of updates, but between an illness, holiday, work trip and new game I just plain didn't have any time left for zombie gaming.
Not my work, but a cool zombie apocalypse train!

On a gaming note, my sister introduced me to the board game Ticket to Ride.  I know it's been around for years, but I hadn't tried it.  Trains just are not a huge draw for me.  I played Empire Builder way back in the day and couldn't get into it.  Ticket to Ride is a much more social or beer and pretzels game, and it has been a go-to for the wife and I for the past month or so.
Ticket to Ride USA board
The game is basically collecting cards to turn in sets and 'build' rail lines.  You can focus on making the longest sets possible or building specific routes and connecting cities to fulfill various 'tickets' to score points for routes.  I am pretty impressed with the game mechanics, it allows for different strategies as well as ways to score and win from seemingly poor starts.
Example game play

No zombies, but there is some sort of expansion with a large monster (Godzilla) and space alien.  Not sure what that is about, but the game has solid mechanics and I could see it adapted to many milieus.  Who knows, maybe there will be a Walking Dead version...  (hmm, they did have rail lines to Terminus...)
Map expansion maybe?

It is a fun strategy board game, and there are plenty of expansions and options to keep it fresh.  We have the basic game, set in the USA as well as the Ticket to Ride:Europe set.  It gives us a geography lesson when we play as well!

I have waited to post again until I felt I could commit to a few posts and get back into regular posting.  Once I get back to the apocalypse, we will see what happened to Dawn after the gang attack!