Friday, March 27, 2015

Dead of Night: Dead Heat

It was a fun night at the casa.  I had a full house: Ken, Jon Mark, Terry, Bill, Nick and myself.  I made poppers and the drinks and wasabi peas were flowing freely.  Ken surprised me by bringing me walker reinforcements.  We decided that the blue clowns would equal four zombies in the game.  The rest would equal one, but provide variety to the horde's mix.  Thanks, Ken!
The plot was as follows:  "Leaving the military facility behind, our heroes are back on the road (minus Nick's character, who was thrown out the back of the Van of Victory when his death rattle was heard).  Speeding through the night and growing tired, the driver (me, unfortunately) fails to spot a burned out truck stretched across the road.  Our heroes barely escape with their lives as their vehicle rolls over and catches fire.  They manage to scramble out and escape the explosion, but much of the equipment they had gathered is lost in the flames.  Luckily, they spot a light through the trees.  There is a house, but the light is from a fire which has begun to engulf the ground floor.  There are a few zombies in the vicinity and if our heroes' luck changes, they should be able to resupply and find a new vehicle without too much trouble..."

The rules for this scenario state that we each only get to keep one item from previous games and start with 1-6 life points.  So...we kept the rifle (Kenny) and fire axe (Jon Mark) and a ton of ammo on our personages.  Evidently the crash was pretty severe as all of us had either one, two, or three life points to start.

The beginning of the game
 With all of us injured, the game started slowly.  Some of the group headed for the garage and shed while the rest limped toward the house.

Some wise-acre made the comment of "Hey!  Nobody got bitten in the first round!"  We all soundly accused him of hexing us for the rest of the game and dooming at least one of us to become undead...

...little did I know that it would be me.  I had ran into the cellar and encountered three zombies.  They promptly took a sampling of my flesh before I could head toward the stairs.  Already wounded and almost unable to move, it would take a miracle to get me out of this one.

The ants are starting to march
Meanwhile, exploration of the garage yielded no escape vehicle.  That meant that we were in it for the duration and would need to explore the burning house.

Did you hear it?  Yep.  It's the generator.
 Here's why I like games like these.  Literally right before Nick searched the shed, the card was drawn that turned on the power to the buildings.  Then when Nick searched, he 'found' the generator.  It's a moment straight out of a movie.  "Hey!  The lights came on!  What's that I hear?" (steps into the shed) "Well whaddya know?  It's the generator!"

 With the lights on in the house, Bill started searching the rooms.  He first checked the room that was slowly becoming engulfed in flames, then a storage room, then the kitchen.  He found food, but was unable to bring it to me in time to save my life.  My guy died a lonely death.  On some farm house's cellar stairs.  Wounded.  Alone.  Desperately trying to crawl up the stairs to his friends and help.  Clawing hands pulling him back down the stairs, his last thoughts are full of pain and fear.  Then...

I'm a rock star zombie!
 The rest of the group explored the main floor of the house in short order, while the mass of undead moved inexorably closer.

We had decided earlier in the night that our starting point, which were zombie spawn points, would only activate when unoccupied.  To that end, Terry stayed in place for a looonnnnng time, healing his wounds and poleaxing any undead vermin that spawned next to him.  It kept a lot of zeds off the board while we explored and was a fine bit of gamesmanship.

Bring it, suckahs!
Eventually, he bolted for the house.  On his way to the upstairs, he encountered my rock 'n' roll corpse.  He didn't give it much thought before finalizing my death.  Thanks for that, Terry.

Ken was already upstairs, ready to search for anything of value.

The horde approaches...

Ken and Terry plundered the upstairs, but didn't find too much of value.

Lotta notta squatta
 Finally, Ken decided that stairs are too passe', so he jumped out the window.  It cost him half his life points, but he stands as the only person to have jumped.

It's a long way down!


That was a hard landing!
The fire spreads and the horde grows...the constants of this scenario.

A plan was needed.  The survivors were piling up the kills, but the zeds were still drawing near.  To make matters worse, the lights went out, plummeting everyone back into darkness.  It was decided to hole up in the shed and wait it out.  With dawn comes the end of the game, so finding a defensible position was paramount to success.  Between the firearms, sword and fire axe, the gang kept the shed fairly clear of zombies for the rest of the game.

At some point, a new term was created.  Nickrophilia.  I'll let you figure out its meaning.

Finally, the card was drawn...

As the card stated, the undead were piled up and burned.  It was a victory for humanity!

 Final tally?  Jon Mark, aka "Lizzie Borden", was again the victor with a whopping 48 kills.  With only a fire axe and a bad attitude.  That's the stuff legends are made of!  Nick came in second, followed by Ken and Bill, I think.  Terry was in the mix somewhere as well.  Not that it matters, 48 friggin' axe kills!

A great series of games.  Stories from said games will be around for years to come, which is the whole reason to play, right?  Priceless.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dead of Night: At Death's Door

"You're gonna pick me up, right?" - Nick
"Sure, but you know we're dumping you out the back when you die." - Me

This week the group (Jon Mark, Nick, Terry, Bill, Jared and me)  played scenario two of Dead of Night.  I was interested in how it played with six players.  Jon Mark and I had speculated that it would be harder the more players were present, so we put the hypothesis to the test.

The scenario's blurb was this:
"After a dramatic escape from the house, our heroes take to the open road.  After a few hours driving and picking up the odd survivor, they find the way ahead blocked by what seems to be a derelict military facility, with a huge gate across the road.  The power is out and the facility appears deserted, except for a few zombies milling around.  In order to proceed, our heroes will need to find a way to open the gate.  Unfortunately, the sound of the vehicle and the smell of their flesh begins to attract attention..."

We basically started on the left side of the board and had to open the gate and get off the right side of the board.  Easy peasy, right?

Note - Translucent zombies = two zombies.  Gray zombies = one zombie.

As you can see, there are already zeds nearby .  All we're presented with are windows that will get us into the facility.  We split up immediately, figuring that we can cover more ground quickly, before the zombies multiply too rapidly.

To make things a tad easier for us, Jon Mark drives the van closer to the gate.  We figure that it'll be that much closer for us to jump into later in the game.  Wise choice!

Nick decides to play the part of Carl (see last week's blog post) and was bitten on his first turn.  He lamented that he was screwed, doomed, yada yada, but we assured him that he was fine...for a while.  He started the game with two first aid kits, so he had time.

Things progressed well.  While we didn't find firearms, we did find fire axes and bats.  Those will do in a pinch!

We found the building housing the generator and gate control easily enough.  Finding fuel?  Not so much.  We explored the buildings past the gate, but none of them offered a fuel canister.  What to do?

Nick came up with a solution.  He was a dead man.  Eventually, his ability to replenish his energy would be depleted and he'd become one of them.  He was going to grab the gas cylinder we'd found earlier, walk it to the gate and detonate it.  Not only would it breach the gate, it would kill him and any deaders within three spaces from him.  Not the best idea, but without a fuel canister, we didn't have another choice.  Yes, fuel canisters and gas cylinders are different in this game.  Fuel is, well, fuel.  It's used to power vehicles, chainsaws, generators, Molotov cocktails and bombs.  Gas is pretty much a bomb.  Period.

Since that was the plan, one of us had to back the van out of the blast radius.  I was closest and jumped in the driver's seat.  I was soon surrounded by zombies.  Not a huge worry in this game, as there would have to be a lot of zeds to force their way into the van and I wouldn't let that happen.  What I instead did was drive over just about every single one of those suckers!  My body count skyrocketed!

Trouble's comin'!

Back it up...
...and pull it forward.

Pretty cleaned out!

While I was running over undead flesh, a couple other things happened.  First, Jared found a rifle.  Bill and Jon Mark promptly gave him all their rounds and he began his own mass shooting.  He managed to clear out pretty much all the threats in the center of the board closest to the gate and left himself in position to handle any new zeds.

Blam! Blam! Blam!
The second thing that happened was Terry, after following Nick to the rooms containing the gas cylinder, located a fuel canister in the generator room!  In game mechanics, it was a card draw that located the canister, but in game play terms it went something like this:

"Damn, that hurt my toe!  What was that?!"
(flips up canvas tarp)
"A fuel canister?!  How'd we miss that five times?!?!?!"

A fuel canister?  Really?!
So a new, new plan was made.  Nick fuels the generator, starts it and then activates the gate mechanism.  I drive the van through the gate and pick up everyone for the win.  Except, maybe not.  Nick is still dying and in his wounded state starts thinking that maybe he won't be invited to the after-party in the Van of Victory.  I assure him that I'm honorable...with a smirk on my face.  The quotes at the top of this blog entry?  Insert them here.

Give me the idol and I throw you the whip!
 Nick does the right thing and opens the gate.  I do the right thing and drive by him pick him up along with everyone else.  Not a moment too soon either, as the dead heads were coming in as fast and furious as shuffling zombies can.

Hurry and get us out of here!

Um, guys?  You comin'?
We almost made it off the board.  Only one person can drive (me) and we were two spaces short of victory.  Remember when I mentioned that it would take a lot of zombies to break into the van.  This qualifies...

I hear 'em comin'!

 Not to worry, though.  I rolled well and only needed a little nudge to get us off the board.  Victory!

A post-game collation of points indicated that Jon Mark "won" by swinging his fire axe, with Jared's rifle marksmanship coming in second and me third with vehicular zedslaughter.

A great game!  I think we'll complete the trifecta next week!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dead of Night: The House of Lots of Corpses

With Kenny out for the night, it was time to get out the zombies for some ol' fashioned fun!

My go-to zombie game is Dead of Night (DoN), a web-published, print and play gem.  I also have Zombie Plague (ZP), but I wanted to play DoN due to it being "meatier" than ZP.

I've played the first scenario, The House of Lots of Corpses, a couple of times over the years and have had a blast each time.  The game truly plays like your watching the climactic end of a good zed movie or TV show.  In many ways it reminds me of the Reactor Room scenario in the incredible Aliens game.  I also like that everyone plays as humans.  The zeds are auto-ran.  Yay!!!  So...get in, get your stuff and fight your way out.  Easy, right?

The gaming gang was Jon Mark, Carl and me.  Neither of them had tried the game before, so after a couple shots of whiskey and jalapeno poppers, we commenced the fun.

My first turn I opened up a couple of rooms, fought a couple zombies in one of said rooms and then found an antique pistol and an antique rifle.  I had to drop the pistol, as it took both hands to carry the rifle.  I did pilfer its ammo, though.  Jon Mark opened up rooms and found a torch (flashlight) and an energy drink.  Carl wasn't so lucky.  He first went into the garage, where he found an old rusty van that would be a perfect getaway vehicle...if it had gas and keys.  Unfortunately, he also found a few loitering dead heads who tried to steal his brains.  While they missed Carl's cranium, they did bite his body.  Thus infected and rather mad at his luckless start to the game, he ran into the shed...only to uncover two more zombies!  A brief scuffle resulted in him taking yet another wound before heading for the house.

Unlucky Carl

The end of the first turn
The search of the house continued as the zombie horde slowly progressed toward us like ants to a brain picnic.  At first we didn't have a coherent plan.  We found a lot of sticks and flashlights, but other than my rifle, not many weapons.

They keep coming...

...and coming...

Eventually, Carl's declining health meant he was slowing down.  Jon Mark had to leave him in the back bedroom.  On the plus side, Carl then recovered a shotgun, which played a small role in the game's end.

I started clearing out some zombies with the rifle, but then the dang thing blew up in my hands, injuring me.  With my hands free, I grabbed the fuel canister and headed toward the garage.

Jon Mark ranged ahead of me with his trusty bat, intent on giving his best impersonation of the mighty Casey.  He managed to blast through six the rotters, clearing a path to the van for me.


Around this time, Carl was feeling poorly due to his bite and wanted payback.  He pumped his shotgun and nailed six of the undead suckers!  He then flipped his grip to the gun's barrel and charged the nearest target, cleaving its head like an overripe melon.  The rest is typical for this genre: He was overrun and ripped apart.  RIP, Carl's blue guy!

Nom, nom, nom!
Meanwhile, the zeds south of Jon Mark and I surged ahead and made contact with me.  I could only move half speed due to the weight of the canister and was defenseless.  Jon Mark once again showed how stout Louisville Slugger bats truly are and bailed me out of the mess without a hitch.

I fueled the van, then jumped in.  Jon Mark ran to the front and hot wired the vehicle.  He had a 33% chance of either being successful, accomplishing nothing, or ruining the van forever.  I guess Carl took all the bad luck, as Jon Mark was successful on his first attempt!

We quickly put the sucker in reverse and got the heck out of Dodge!  Jon Mark "won" the scenario, as he had the most zombie kills, but we both lived to play scenario week!

Free at last! (bottom right corner)
A very fun night with a couple of great guys!  I can't wait for the next game!