In preparation for the game I have gone through my lead pile and hobby supplies and come up with the following:
Almost a complete infantry section of late war British infantry. I should have a full section, but some seemed to have been separated from the collection somewhere. Still, given casualty rates for the war, this is in keeping.
The secton includes an NCO, Lewis gunner and loader and some riflemen. I also have an officer if I feel like including one.
I have plenty enough of the Mantic Games zombies, so they are squared away.
I have one WW1 pilot figure on foot, scenarios for the use o.
I uncovered some resin sand bags that can bet used, as well as some barbed wire enplacements, which although were intended for 20mm, they will fit in perfectly.
I also have enough coffee stirers and match sticks that I can try making some duck boards to see if I can make some worth using in a game.
My stock of unsued kitty litter will be perfect for making some rubble, so I should be able to knock plenty of rubble up as scenery.
The figures I already have should give me a chance to play a game whilst I make some scenery, so I can play test some ideas and develop this plan further.
In preparation for the game I have gone through my lead pile and hobby supplies and come up with the following:
I really want to come up with a good background for this game idea.
I don't really want to go down the occult ritural path for why there are zombies, rather choosing to go down the 'when science goes wrong' path. Having said that, the occult path allows for the need to search for more clues to progress the story/campaign.
Maybe a starting point is a gas attack on some trenches that turns the victims into zombies.
Another idea is a flame thrower has been altered to spew chemicals over victims and zombies are the bi-product of such a weapon.
A variety of weapons were used to deploy gas: grenades, artillery and cylinders were all used to deliver gas to the battlefield.
For me this seems like a more believable way for zombies to be created.
If I want the Germans to make up the majority of the initial zombies, I can use changing wind direction as a reason their gas weapons back fired instead of Allied zombies being in the majority to start off with.
Rather than play the game as simple trench warfare type of thing, I feel a WW1 Zombie setting would probably have to be scenario driven with clues as to what created the
zombies and how to defeat them being he ultimate goal.
The type of scenarios that spring to mind right away are:
- a basic 'hold the line' until releaved. This is simply a watch and shoot kind of game for X number of turns.
- a patrol. Maybe to search for clues, or to kill off zombies in the area. In campaign games, this could have some benefit for the next game.
- a trench raid; used to scavenge supplies, find clues or learn more about what is happening.
- a seek and destroy: with enough clues to point the lads to a particular point a seek and destroy can be used to further the story plot and set up future games.
- rescue; go and rescue someone that can help in the future. I have a pilot figure to try this game out, but a tank and tank crew would be great fun, as I want a tank.
- Raid; the enemy has a gun park firing shells of zombie gas, and the section must conduct a raid further in to enemy held land to put the guns out of action.Would need a bit more work on the idea, but could be used if I purchase some enemy trench mortars or artillery. This is but one idea for a Raid game.
- Protect: the reverse of the raid, this has the section protecting some assests until they have either completed their job or can be withdrawn. Again an excuse to buy some artillery and or support weapons.
- Escort: take person /team X from A - B and ensure they are not killed along the way.
- Escape: like the escort mission, but with only the section needing to traverse the playing area to safety.
Scenarios based on furthering the story and the background should be included too.
The rules will be combination of rules from Chain Reaction, ATZ and NUTS! as needed. Judging by a post on TMP by Ed from THW, there could even be a WW1 game in the making, so that would be greatly welcomed.
I would be interested to hear others thoughts, ideas and suggestions on the topic.
Continuing on with the WWW1 idea, I will now take a look as some figures for the game.
The Mantic Games zombies are my obvious choice. They are generic enough to use for any game, meaning the ones I have can be used for any setting, and as no one that I know of actually makes 28mm WWW1 figures, let alone zombies, I have to use what is available to me.
Then I could add some not quite zombies: zombies that move fast and can use weapons. Maybe they are soldiers that didn't fully turn.
The film "Sucker Punch" has a WW1 scene with zombie like Germans:
I could use some WW1 Germans with gas masks to represent these, painting the lenses on the masks red to give them that supernatural look. If I had some talent (read as "any talent") I could try and make the tubes on the masks to complete the effect. My thinking is that the masks are needed to give quantities of the gas to the horrors so that they can function, thus why they have the masks on.
I probably wouldn't need more than an infantry section to use for my heroes in the game, maybe some support weapons, and just because I really really want one, a tank.
I have some late war British figures... I have found some of them and need to dig the rest up so I can play test a game.
Trenchworx make an excellent Mark V British tank that by using magnets can be a male or female type, so this would probably be my tank of choice:
Even if I can't use the tank for what it is intended for, I can always play a scenario where the tank has broken down and the crew needs rescuing.
So figure wise I am looking at a section of British infantry with maybe some support figures and extras for scenarios, the zombies and some Germans in gas masks. As I have the British and zombies already I should be able to get a game going with minimal effort.
I have been in a bit of a zombie wargame doldrums of late. I have been struggling to find the time to actually play, and I want to do something a bit different.
As such, I am thinking of testing some different zombie settings to see if a) the setting will work with zombies, and b) if it will spark some kind of interest.
The first idea I am toying with is Weird WW1.
This setting will see the zombies created due to some gas, as gas was used a lot during WW1. I am thinking that 1917 or 1918 would be a good starting point for the game.
For figures I have some of the Great War Miniatures late war British already, and with the zombies I have all I really need to do is some more painting and creating scenery.
Whilst I would love to have a trench network to play on, I am thinking a zombie setting for WW1 might also take place out side of the trenches, as zombies are not that likely to need trenches for protection. Yes, the outbreak would occur in the trenches, but I see it spreading to all areas, such as in the image below:
The mud and the tree idea is inspired by this iconic photo:
Portals for a ruined church ground:
Blotz 28mm ruins
I like the idea of the mist / fog on the table... in my head it works, but I would need to try it out to see if it looks cheesy or not.
I won't be going to the expense of using a fog machine like in the following photo, but it does look cool:
I am in the middle of a game of Skirmish Outbreak and an AAR will follow.
But I thought I would pass on some thoughts about the game having played about four very intense turns.
Creating a Survivor band is very straight forward. If you are like me and want your survivors to actually use what the figure is carrying, then you may need to create a few items that aren't in the book.
If you post your ideas on the Skirmish Outbreak forum you are sure to get a reply to let you know if you are on the right track or not.
At first game play was slow due to looking up a few items in the rule book, but the game started to speed up quickly enough and I only had to check my Survivor's stats or the QRS at the back of the book after a turn or so.
Combat: as I mentioned in my big review, combat is fairly easy. What isn't easy is keeping noise levels down and being able to get rid of zombies.
Relying on good dice rolls to kill a zombie in Hand to Hand combat isn't a great idea as more often than not I didn't kill a zombie.
Using the rule that allows you to make a head shot for the cost of two Action Points is really a good idea if you have the action points to spare.
By the end of four turns I knew that relying on high dice rolls during melee to kill a zombie isn't the best option, thus if you can afford the APs I would go for a head shot every time.
At the end of the fourth turn I had one player out of the game, and only two zombies dead. The game is still in progress and the tension is building.
There are a few rules that need clarifying, and I am waiting on a reply for one rather important question about noise levels in a building and spawning zombies.
So far I am really enjoying the rules - they are simple enough to learn quickly, but mastering them and being able to survive the game are different things.
The best bit of advice is to create your Survivor band very carefully and never go out alone.
Labels: Skirmish Outbreak
...with a long over due review.
This is a very long and dry post, so hopefully the handful of people that still follow or read my blog will take the time to read the detail, as the rules are worth taking a bit of time to learn about.
|Image borrowed from the internet without permission - sorry.|
Initial review of 'Skirmish Outbreak" by Colin Phillips & Chris Pooch
Ok, this review is based on reading the rules over a few times, but not actually playing them. A review of how the game plays will follow.
The rules can be broken into a logical sequence making it easy to follow and find a section to re-read as needed.
After a one page introduction as to why the authors created the rules, a small section on game mythos follows, explaining the whys and wherefores to the background of the game setting, explains zombies and how they act in the game, with a note on dice rolls at the end of the section.
Although this section is only three pages long, I wouldn't skip over it, as lets you know some useful information for the game.
Edit - dice used in the game are d20, d10 and d6. The d6 will also need to double as a d3 if you can't buy and actual d3.
The Game Turn
The Turn Sequence is explained next, with a description on the order players take make their figure/character activations and how and when a game turn ends.
A good amount of detail has gone in to explaining the Turn Sequence: a quick summary with an explanation and an example, followed by a detailed explanation with activation point cost and a detailed example.
Each player, be they controlling survivors or zombies, has a number of activation points to spend in total for each turn, and depending on what type of action as to how many activation points it costs to perform.
The next section is the all important part of the game; creating survivors.
Survivors have a character sheet with all the information needed for a game recorded on it. The information is not overwhelming and easy to pick up as you read the rules. Once play starts the important details are found on the character sheet, and only the quick reference sheets should be needed after a game or two has been played to learn the rules.
Each survivor has skills and equipments, and is based on an experience level that reflects the skills of such a survivor type and the point cost of that survivor.
Following this basic survivor creation is an advanced experience packages section to help flesh out your survivors and add a bit more colour to the character.
At the end of the survivor creation section is an optional creation method that give random weapons and armour to your survivors.
After survivor creation comes the most important part of actual game play - combat.
A lot of thought has gone in to the combat section and it covers virtually all bases for game play. The system is simple - make a die roll vs a target number with modifiers applied. Roll equal to or less than to hit.
The combat section covers spotting (no need to groan - if a target is in the open they are automatically spotted, so no need for dice rolls or anything to slow the game down... unless the target is in some form of cover), cover, shooting, wounds, grenades and melee.
All of the rules are written clearly, so no need to tax your brain to learn the system.
Yes, there is a section on morale, but you only need to worry about morale for three reasons, and it does prevent players from adopting an god like control of their survivors. Just don't let too many zombies get close to your survivors if you want to make a stand. Being behind cover is highly recommended.
The Living Dead
As this is a zombie game, this section is rather important, as it explains how to create a zombie hoard, how they react to the world around them (be quiet, be very very quiet...) as well as zombie combat.
Campaign play & Experience
This is the part I love in games the most - campaign play. Why spend lots of time and money collecting survivors, zombies and scenery if you are only going to use them once or twice?
This section covers how the survivors in your group met, which is random and adds some great background story to your group, putting together a survivor band and how they gather survival and resource points, which are the objectives needed in order to successfully complete a scenario or mission.
The Experience section explains how to improve the lot of band of survivors, should they live long enough.
Starting The Campaign
A fairly detailed section, the Starting the Campaign has details of scenarios and what is needed to set up the game and the victory conditions.
Game Controlled Zombies
This is simply the rules needed to play solo or co-operative games of Skirmish Outbreak. Very straight forward and there is no need to slow the game down making endless dice rolls to see what happens. Just follow the guide lines and play the game.
Gives a set of rules to play your stereotypical slow zombie if you don't agree with the mythos outlined at the start of the rule book.
QRS - Quick Reference Sheets
Everything you need to refer to when you are playing the game - either book mark this section or download the free PDF files from the Skirmish Outbreak site to print out copies for everyone playing.
This covers the basic review of the rules.
Initially I was against the idea of fast zombies, which is part of the mythos, but as they are not very common I have changed my mind. It kind of makes you more careful of your survivors during a game.
I have never been a fan of action points as some of the rules I have require you to micro manage a figure using action points to the level it becomes tedious.
Skirmish Outbreak is an exception to this - you don't have to worry about an overwhelming list of what you can spend your action points on, leaving you to worry how to spend them wisely.
My initial response to activation points was mixed, but the system is simple enough that it won't bog down play and it is easy to use.
Creating a survivor is easy and very straight forward. I don't really have any complaints, but it would have been nice to see a bit more background/occupation list for making different survivors. For example I would love to play the game using a section/brick of military types, but the rules have the advanced experience packages that would allow my to do this, or add my own or renaming some of the packs to reflect a military setting.
This is not a big problem, as it will be easy enough to come up with something myself.
I would love to reverse engineer the point system used to create survivors, as I feel the rules would be great for fantasy dungeon bashing games as well as a few different settings - with our without zombies.
Combat is very straight forward, and it is possible to kill a zombie if you roll high enough on your damage dice without the need to target the head.. although you can do this if you spend the action points. This means you don't need to stress out on needing to roll a special target number to cull the beasts during a game, unlike many other zombie games I have played.
Morale only comes in to the game under three circumstances and keeps the players honest. It is a simple enough system and isn't a game killer if you fail a morale test, but can be a game changer by limiting your options a little.
The campaign section is about the only section that leaves me asking some questions, but I will join and visit the Skirmish Outbreak section of the author's forum to ask those questions. Basically there is a chart to determine your next scenario if you fail to reach the victory conditions, but no guidance as to what the next game should you win the game.
I feel confident that I can come up with something for winning a game with very little effort - be it a 'choose your next scenario' option or some advanced scenarios.
Overall I like the rules very much - they don't hurt your brain to learn them, and unlike many other rules, didn't leave me asking questions about things that were left out or contradicting rules with in the game.
The rules are suitable for beginners in zombie wargaming and offer a lot for the more experience player.
As mentioned I think the rules would be great with a bit of tinkering for fantasy skirmish games, as well as other historical settings, such as horse and musket (the French and Indian war or Napoleonic for example), Dark Ages/Medieval (Robin Hood comes to mind), Steam Punk (I could resurrect my Steam punk collection), maybe Vietnam wargaming and even science fiction games (post apocalyptic).
Finally... an apology
I had meant to do this review much sooner than I have. The last half of 2015 wasn't the kindest to me. I had a minor operation in August, caught a bad dose of the man flu three times, went away with my "part time" job and was sent to hospital instead whilst away, came home and had to catch up on a lot of work, and then two weeks before Christmas I caught a bug/virus that sent me for 'six' leaving me wondering if I had caught a zombie virus and I almost missed out on Christmas because of it.
Once Xmas was over I was helping the Mrs prepare for the Japanese New Year celebrations which are bigger than Ben-Hur.
A big Thank You
Last of all, thank you to Colin Phillips & Chris Pooch for sending me a copy of the rules to review. Without their kindness I doubt I would have been able to play the game due to having a tight budget due to various reasons.
If Skirmish Outbreak sounds interesting please order a copy - they even have the rules in PDF form that will save on postage.
You can buy the rules and view other items for sale, as well as access the forum here
Sorry for a lack of post lately and the delay in reviewing the Skirmish outbreak rules folks.
The last month or so has been nuts - I had to catch up for last time from July and August due to a cancer operation - all good on that front now - I was lucky, if you can call getting any type of cancer lucky.
My head as healed now, but I have another cold weather warning system to add to my body - when ever it is cold now it feels like pins are being stuck in to my head where the operation was.
With that out of the way I was catching up on my normal day time job, which being part of the plant nursery industry really goes nuts in Spring time.
On top of that I have also been busy with my second job, and I will be away for just over a week starting this coming weekend, and won't have access to a phone or the internet during that time.
The good news is I have been reading the Skirmish Outbreak rules, and they are fairly easy to pick up and make a lot of sense... but I will post proper reviews once I get back.
Until then, please enjoy this zombie image:
The image was 'borrowed' from this web site, which is zombie related, and worth a look over: zombie guide
I came across this youtube video where Colin Phillips gives an interview regarding the Skirmish Outbreak rules:
I know what Colin means about the Skirmish Wargames book by Donald Featherstone, as I was that person going to the library to borrow the book in may part of the world, and he has the same thoughts on wargaming that I do.
After weeks of anticipation my copy of Skirmish Outbreak arrived in the mail today.
The Postie had mistreated it a bit to carry it in his basket/pannier, but nothing that a good pile of books on top of the rules will fix.
Unfortunately I have to attend a function tonight, so I will have to use what part of the coming weekend I have to read the rules, but I will give my initial impressions in this post.
The book itself is almost A4 in size (a few mil wider and a couple of cms shorter) and is a soft back book.
If you don't like the colour yellow you are right out of luck, as most of the pages are printed on yellow paper. I don't actually mind this at all, as the yellow seems to be easier on my dyslexic eyes, making it easier to read.
It also helps that the font is of a reasonable size too, meaning I don't need to squint through my very expensive multifocal lens glasses that I had to buy this year (getting old sucks folks).
The book is laid out in a logical pattern and easy to follow, unlike some other rules I have seen, and all examples of the rules in action are printed in a dark grey box, making it easier to see where the examples are so that they are not lost in the main text.
There are plenty of drawings and photos to give you a bit of eye candy relief whilst reading, but not so much that you feel you paid for a lot of eye candy and no rules. It is a good balance.
Given that I have only glanced over the rules, the rules themselves seem very straight forward - there is no need to go to Uni to understand what you need to do, and after playing a game or two I feel sure that most players would have picked up on what they need to do, so that referring to the book would be kept at a minimum.
There is a campaign section! A must for myself, as any long term readers of my blogs would know. The campaign rules include gathering resources needed to survive and gaining experience to improve your survivors.
And before anyone asks, yes there is a section of the rules that lets the zombies be controlled by the rules so that you can have solo or co-operative play for your games.
Lastly the back of the book has all the tables and charts you will need, so you wont have to keep flicking through the book during a game to find information. I also believe you can download these charts from the Skirmish Outbreak web site so that you can have the information easily at hand for each player.
At first glance Skirmish Outbreak is a well put together product.
I will make some follow up posts on the various sections of the rules as I read them, and hopefully I will also post an AAR once I play a game.
My thanks and gratitude go out to Colin and Chris for sending me a copy for reviewing, and please check back on my blog soon for further updates as I make more in depth reviews of the rules.
Links (click them):
Skirmish Outbreak home page
Buy the rules