Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Home, sweet home...

Day One - Location #1
Cast: Mr. and Mrs. Whiteface
Objective: go home, join each other, grab weapons, drive away
Area: suburban

Mr. and Mrs. Whiteface hadn't really listened to the morning news in the radio. They had been drinking some coffee while talking about Mrs. W's strange dream last night. Mr. Whiteface concluded that all those violent incidents in the media had some influence on her dreams and he assured her that those kind of things wouldn't happen in Whiteville.
Five hours later both of them were fighting their way home. There were riots and looting all over the town. The Whitefaces agreed to meet at home before going to the kindergarten to get Dorothy.  
pic. #1: The peaceful suburbs of Whiteville
This scenario is played on a 4' x 4' table. Mr. Whiteface starts on the road coming from the right. You may spot him next to the roof of the church tower. Mrs. Whiteface starts on the road at the bottom of the table. No zombies or terrified civilians are present at the moment. The Whiteface's home is this time the small blue house on the left side with the two blue pick-ups next to it. It had been bigger in Mrs. Whiteface's dream. Both miniatures are 30" away from the door of their home.
As a house rule I will roll three activation dice in this scenario. One for Mr. Whiteface, one for Mrs. Whiteface and one for the zeds. I will check Mr. Whiteface's die and the zombie die for random events and I will check Mrs. Whiteface's die and the zombie die the same way. This way I know where zeds, terrified civilians or the police may appear. This house rule will be used throughout the whole location, even after they join each other or activate as a group.

Turn 1: As Mr. and Mrs. Whiteface don't see anyone they both try to run down the street towards their home. From the shadows of the church a pale looking female jogger appears (both activate, Mrs. W. triggers 1 zombie). Mr. Whiteface runs to the T-crossing (2 successes) and Mrs. Whiteface runs to the flag pole (1 success).

Turn 2: Mr. Whiteface sees his wifes and stops while he waves to her (he's inactive). The jogger walks onto the road between the two Humvees parked in front of the church (Zed activates first). An old guy staggers across the lawn behind the white house and a guy in a torn business suit appears at the border next to the same house. As a special surprise an old granny appears on the road nest to the T-intersection, only 9" away from Mr. Whiteface (Yes, Mrs. Whiteface rolled another seven for three new zombies). I have to admit that after reading my notes I think that I forgot to move Mrs. Whiteface this turn.
pic. #2: There is not much life in this part of town.
Turn 3: Having been undead only for a short time, the inexperienced zombies hesitate this round (inactive). Mr. Whiteface runs (2 successes) to his home. He could easily move inside, but he decides to wait outside and turns around to watch his wife. Mrs. Whiteface sighs when a business women and a little girl with a teddy bear appear on the road behind her. She doesn't really notice that a street maintenance guy moves onto the green next to the business suit man (Oh, well, Mrs. Whiteface does what she does best: bringing zeds into the game! Three again.). She runs (2 successes) toward her husband stops beside him and turns around as well. She couldn't have move into her home, so it's better to prepare for a fight.
pic. #3: Seven zombies on the table in turn three. Not bad, eh?
pic. #4: Prepare to defend position!
Turn 4: The Zeds move first this time. All move close and granny-Z ends here movement just 3" away from Mrs. Whiteface, but a fraction farther away from Mr. Whiteface.
Mrs. W. passes the Zed Or No Zed test with two successes,...but hey wait a second, isn't that Granny?! (She rolled doubles on the test, counting just as one success). Granny Whiteface charges while Mrs. Whiteface hesitates. Due to the leader die of her husband Mrs. Whiteface is able to fight in melee and OOF's Granny. I checked Mr. Whiteface for Zed Or No Zed during the charge and he passed without problems.
The small group led by Mr. Whiteface enters the house.
pic. #5: What the...?! It's Granny!!!
Turn 5: The Whiteface's close the door behind them and try to catch their breath (They are inactive. To get the weapons they are looking for they have to be active for one turn.). The zombies have cannot see them anymore, but they move closer to the spot where they last saw them (active).
pic. #6: Home, sweet home!
Turn 6: Everbody stops to listen to the strange noise coming up the street. The Whiteface's hear a lot of shouting, screaming and knocking on their door and the zombies think they hear a dinner bell. (all inactive, Mr. Wh. with doubles). Five terrified civilians demand entry into the house.
Comment: I decided that just for this situation Mr. and Mrs. Whiteface could fight together against single opponents coming through the door. Out on the open ground I would let each of them fight one enemy.
pic. #7: Shoo! Shoo! Go away!
Both of them manage to push the five wannabee intruders out of the door, but Mr. Whiteface has to use his "Luck" attribute. Remember, I will use this attribute only once over whole Day One.

Turn 7: Guess what! I rolled triples! After staring gloomily at the dice for some time I rolled for terrified civilians...for Mr. Whiteface AND for Mrs. Whiteface. Twelve, yes twelve, terrified civilians try to break the back door. It's the same situation as last round: one looter enters and receives his deserved beating by the Whitefaces before sending in the next guy.
pic. #8: This is madness! I hate my dice!!! 
Although they are still unarmed they manage to push the terrified mob outside. No delusions of grandeur though, the elventh guy was a close call. This is a world gone crazy!

Turn 8: All need some time to catch some breath or marvel about the amount of food running around. No one is active this turn, but another zed arrives (Mrs. Whiteface again!).

Turn 9: Time for some action. The Whiteface group is active, but they will move last. The zombies will move first. Three zombies charge the five civilians at the front door. With double and singles successes on the Zed Or No Zed check all three zombies charge and the civilians have to take a Being Charged test. Of those three that are attacked two retire around the corner of the house. Two civilians in the second row have to take their place. It's three against three. The first civilians kills his zed (a relative!), the female civilian  is OOF and the third one kills his zed as well. The surviving civies take the Man Down check and though the first one would have stayed he notices that his companion retires. So he decides that ducking back behind the corner might be wiser this time.
As a result one zombie prepares spoon, fork and napkin for his next activation and four civilians hide around the corner and pretend not to hear anything. All the humans at the back door move randomly and the Whiteface's finally grab their weapons.
pic. #9: Do you think they're gone?
Turn 10: The group is active, but Mrs. Whiteface triggered terrified civilians with a double five. The zombies are having the time of their unlife and decide not to rush anything this turn (inactive). The family does a fast move (0 successes) out of their home facing a group of four terrified civilians at the end of their movement.

Comment: Every Whiteface has to fight terrified civilians on his own because there is no narrow door opening this time. The civilians don't have to split up their dice.

Mr. Whiteface is knocked out by his first opponent. Good start, I guess he hadn't enough practive with his spade. Mrs. Whiteface putting her steel baton to good use. She defeats all civilians, although the last one is a tough fighter.

The neighbour's car is just a few steps away, but Mrs. Whiteface will have to carry her husband now. Embarrassing, I know...
pic. #10: "I will take this *#&% car!" yelled Mrs. Whiteface
"Now get the &%$§# out of my way!"
Turn 11: A triple one! Wonderful, eh? All are inactive and I will roll twice for terrified civilians. I am kind of lucky, only five civilians dare to oppose her. As you can see in the next picture I had to fall back on my special survivor box. You won't see me putting any unprimed miniatures on the table. Even I have my standards!
pic. #11: Meeow!
The Missus slaps the blue haired girl with the back of her hand and sends her running away crying and complaining all the time. She manages to knock out the strange guy in the orange suit with her steel baton before she goes down against a small guy with a club. This location is over. Just one activation away from the car or the table border, but it's over nevertheless.

Final Comment: This game was great fun, even though I technically lost! I had no problem of bending the rules to my will without feeling like I was cheating. Sometimes it was to my advantage, sometimes I had a disadvantage, but it always felt right. Being so close to a successful completion of this scenario and getting knocked out again by terrified civilians is hard, but this time it doesn't feel like I have lost. Eight zeds and 26 terrified civilians were messing around in this scenario, but I managed to get the Whiteface's together and grab the weapons and almost left the table. If - after I have played through Day One - it is not clear if Day One was a success or not I will not hold this against them very much. The Whiteface family did a formidable job.



  1. Man! For a guy with 'luck' as an attribute you don't seem to have much! :) Good batrep. Thanks for sharing. I hope the Whitefaces are able to recover...

  2. Yeah...well....eh, taking the lucky attribute leads to abysmal dice rolls. And I have another problem: me and statistics don't work well together, the bad way.

  3. Wow! What an exciting start to your new campaign. So much going on! And to think Vampifan just faced a single zombie at the first location of his Day One experience!

    I'm with you regarding whether this was a success or not. The Whitefaces performed admirably. Don't hold this minor setback against them at all. I don't see how anything you did in the game could be classed as cheating. What you did helped tell the story in an entertaining manner. I can't wait for part two.

    By the way, you have some very nice unpainted and partially painted minis! They would look even better painted (cough, hint, cough!) but at least you've primed them all.

  4. Yeah, I know I should do some painting, but for this I would need a week without work and without family...and maybe without internet. Oh, and without ATZ. At the moment I just want to continue the campaign!
    I will continue to paint the Whiteface family and after that continue with some obelisk gangstars. Zombies are the last on my list, because I am really not good at that undead skin. And I don't think that GW Rotting Flesh is the way to go.

    The painted und half-painted miniatures from the last picture are back in the special survivor box...in the darkness between the other mutants.

  5. I fully understand, Oliver. It's a dilemma that affects most gamers, myself included - finding the time to do everything we want hobby related, whilst still leaving enough time for other important matters like family and work. It's a juggling act that we all have to cope with. Being unemployed I probably have more spare time than a lot of gamers I know, but even so, there are never enough hours in a day for me to do everything I want to do. Such is life, huh?

  6. I love it! You have coined a new phrase: "inexperienced Zombies".

    I don't think it is possible to cheat in ATZ. If you forget something or improv something don't worry about it. ATZ is such a hard game that it always equalizes with you in the end. I just like to let the game decide and tell the story.

    Great job, what happens to Clan Whiteface next?

  7. I guess it takes some time getting used to being (un)dead. :o)
    The next location will be the kindergarten. I have started to prepare the terrain yesterday evening, but didn't begin with the game. I had intended to play, but there was to much distraction and I wasn't in the mood until it was too late in the evening.

    On the bright side I have received a package with more trees and finally some transparent bases. Until now it was one wrong move and I had to yell "Timber!". The reason why some of the trees are so close to the houses, is that they need the buildings for support.

    I have yet to discover why some of my pictures can be enlarged with a mouse click and some can't. Strange.

  8. LOL love it, nice batrep Oliver, that was fun to read, I cant help but feel that the ATZ rules seem a little slow and a little unrealistic at times, eg when all are inactive, and when the terrorified civs appeared out of nowhere, mmmm.... what do you guys think ? but overall I found it inspiring, wish all my terrain was ready to rock n roll, I'm looking forward to another batrep :)

  9. @The Extraordinarii: Hmm, the rules are very abstract in some situations. Terrified Civilians are supposed to be all over the board and those that you meet as the result of a random event are just those that try to get in your way. As you may have seen in my batreps the cinema inside my head plays these scene a little bit different: the area is empty and suddenly a mob of people comes runing down the road. Works better for me than imagining invisible people on the board.
    And the zeds...they don't appear out of nowhere. They have been sitting at the wall in the side alley, lying in the tall grass or in the back of a car looking rather dead when suddenly you managed to get their attention.

    In my "Blast from the past" batrep I had to leave out about 50%+ of the turns. Everyone inactive, no special event, so no sense in writing this down. My last batrep however had not a single turn that was unimportant. It was a fun game and comparatively quick considering all those random events occuring all the time.

    Terrified Civilians are a very vague rule. Once you've made up your mind to improvise you will gain a lot of speed. And the most improtant thing: Terrified Civies are gone after Day One!

    Maybe someone should try this game with a house rule saying that zombies are never inactive because they never hesitate! *eek!* ;o)

  10. ATZ handles things a bit differently from other games but I don't really see anything "realistic" about any game. I always view games strictly for their playability and fun value. In ATZ when you are inactive, or when Zeds "catch" you, it doesn't mean you were standing still. It represents many things such as indecision or simply not being aware of a threat until it is upon you. It is just their way of increasing the suspense and creating surprise or tense situations without the very difficult task of moderating hidden movement etc..
    I have played a lot of games over the past 30+ years and at the end of the day I love ATZ and similar games because the players have fun and we always finish our games! A huge plus.

  11. LTL Dad has hit the nail on the head. Just because a person is inactive does not mean they can't talk. I've used such lulls in the action to have my characters speak to one another. To use the film analogy, you can have bouts of action intermingled with bouts of dialogue. Sometimes its necessary for the audience to catch their breath. I don't see being inactive as a flaw in the game - it's an important game mechanic that simulates the fog of war.

  12. Ok, all good points of view, it kinda seemed weird that the civs 'appeared' and that they werent tracked coming in off from one side of the game board, and in some situations the zeds froze in time, then awoke and attacked the civs who had 'appeared' and managed to get to the house without anyone noticing them, and there were so many of them aswell!... just felt outta place.
    @ Ltl Dad - I dont expect my games to be super realistic, because there games! but they must be based in realism, or there not really enjoyable, sorta know what I mean ?

  13. I hope my Stars will advance in Rep this time. That would lead to a little less conversation, a little more action (please).
    All in all the ATZ rules do an outstanding job. Mood and suspense is spot on.

    I just think about replacing the zeds at the start of the game with PEFs and to resolve those PEFs like I would process a chance encounter in a building. One Zed = one PEF would possibly lead to more zeds, but PEFs may also evaporate into nothing or into roaming bands of survivors. I would just have to place them farther away than 12". Would this work? Is there something that I missed?

  14. Extra, I absolutely know what you mean. When I first started playing THW games I had a couple of weeks of serious adjustment to make in precisely the same mindset you are describing. It takes a while to get your head wrapped around it.
    Over time I realized this system was just a brilliant way of managing potentially huge amounts of figures with no record keeping which makes the game very playable. I really had a hard time adjusting to the WW2 set called Nuts! and I have even experimented with adding more detail and controls but in the end I have gone back to playing very close to the way it was designed. Give it a try for a while and see how it turns out. We've gotten a lot of enjoyment from ATZ.