Monday, September 12, 2011

I was just asking myself...

...if I should keep PEFs for ATZ?

As you may probably know, I am a big fan of the Chain Reaction 3 system by Two Hour Wargames. I like PEFs for most of their settings and I imported them into my ATZ campaign even before ATZ: Better Dead than Zed, BUT I am asking myself if they don't change the tone of my games too much.

My first games (Day One) - without PEFs - had deserted suburbs, some zeds shuffling around and people hiding in buildings. This fits my vision of a zombie apocalypse perfectly. A mission starts with a few number of zeds on the table and the possibility of more zeds in buildings or as a result of gunfire.

My games including PEFs looked more like a game about gang warfare...with zombies. I am not sure if I really want this. My z-apocalyptic world - after the chaos of the first days - is supposed to be lonesome, desolate, bleak etc.

So, what do you think about Possible Enemy Contacts in ATZ? Am I just talking crazy?

Thank you


  1. Personally, I think PEFs are one of the best rule changes to be introduced to ATZ. It is the sheer randomness of them that I like so much. You never know who (if anyone) you're going to meet or indeed, how many. With the old system you always knew you'd start every game with 1d6 zombies per player character on the board within 12" of your PCs. That just became too predictable for me after a while.

    The idea of encountering hostile gangs appeals to me and I think it feels right for a world that is descending into hell and anarchy. Fair enough if that doesn't fit with your vision of the zombie apocalypse but it definitely fits in with mine.

    The beauty of ATZ is that nothing is written in stone, even more so with the release of I, Zombie. Players can choose which rules they want to use and which they want to ignore. It's your game and you can do what you like with it. I like PEFs a lot and I couldn't imagine gaming without them, but that doesn't mean you must follow suit. I'd say just go with what makes you the happiest.

  2. I would have to agree with Vampifan's vision of a Z Apocalypse. Its not just about Zombies if you read things like Day by Day Armageddon (fantastic almost finshed the second book btw)

    There are all sorts of factions, Looters, Military, Rogue Military, Other Survivors the list goes on.

    Maybe you should change some of the PEFS for things more suited to your style of Z world

  3. Hmm, maybe - instead of going back to vanilla ATZ - I could write my own rules for random encounters.
    At the moment I use a customized version of the BDTZ system (customized = to better fit a generic background i.e. not Havasu in Year 3), but I guess I could come up with something new.

    Am I right, that the chance to meet zombies wouldn't change between day / night, because they don't care. Most humans will restrict their movement to the daylight hour and of those few I meet in the night a higher percentage will be dangerous. Does this sound logically?

    humans inside building - less than in darkness
    empty building - more than in darkness
    zombie inside building - same
    humans outside - more than in darkness
    false alarm outside - less than in darkness
    zombie outside - same

    humans inside building - more than in daylight
    empty building - less than in daylight
    zombie inside building - same
    humans outside - less than in daylight
    false alarm outside - more than in daylight
    zombie outside - same

    I think I won't meet much military or police forces after two or three months into zed apoc (and not a whole year).
    I think there is a higher chance to meet someone (living & breathing!) during the first year, but if I meet someone later, there will be less solitary humans as most of them will have joined a group.

  4. Maybe just adjust the rules as you have stated to limit the amount of them, the more the merrier when there's a lot of players but sometimes less is better.

  5. I'm with Vampi and Brummie about the vision of "Z-land" but Your idea to change the random encounters is really good.... Why don't you just give it a go? If it isn't funny anymore to play (aka the new rules sucks! ;P ) you still can revert to the old ones or, eventually, to the BDTZ vanilla version... :)

  6. PEF is an issue for me too. I like the post-apocalypse setting with zombie, but it is, definitely, another genre.

    Maybe changing PEF results would do the trick, after all PEF is a better mechanics than Xd6 Zombie.

    IMHO of course.

  7. I would have too agree with you whiteface, I think a post apoc world would be more lonesome, but having said that perhaps you should take a good look at the ratio of the differ types of people that you would encounter, and look at how frequently you would actually encounter them.....this is a good topic to discuss as too much change may unbalance the gameplay.

  8. After my last post I would have to say that the majority of my games would take place in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse as opposed to taking place in the aftermath....being or becoming more like a mad max post apoc setting, hope that makes sense.

  9. @all
    Thanks for dropping in and helping me to think!

    I think I will keep PEFs, but something will change.

  10. I'm yet to introduce PEF's into my games. They do come in (in spades) for my next scenario so I'll be better able to commaent after that. However, I'm looking forward to the uncertainty issue.

  11. it all depends on perspective I think the more into the Apocalypse the more alone you would be but a higher concentration of undead

  12. I've yet to play a game of ATZ, and not sure of PEF generating rules - still painting and working on terrain, etc. My inclination would be to mix it up somehow, so you never know what it will end up being. Maybe make the odd PEF a hand full of zeds, if you don't want too many human encounters...

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  14. I think there should be fighting with gangers and other survivor groups the farher out you get from day one. This represents the dwindling resources and lawlessness. Remember that in the Romero films the monsters of the films were usually other groups of humans. Hehehe...
    But I also like the desolation and lack of humanity. In a world where 99%
    of the population has died and returned as the living dead you probably would not run into other humans on a daily basis.

  15. @Darkoath:
    Exactly. I'll have to see if ATZ - FFO can bring that feeling back into my campaign. I have yet to play more than just one-off games with those shiny new rules...and everything is different when you're playing campaign games.

    Whiteface / Oliver