lack of posting and slow review - an apology

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

Skirmish Outbreak - video interview with Colin Phillips

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.

Skirmish Outbreak has arrived!

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


Skirmish Outbreak - new wargame rules

I have been very tempted to order a copy of "Skirmish Outbreak" as it looks interesting and a review I read on a blog piqued my curiosity.

I thought I would purchase the actual printed book rather than just the PDF, but after adding it to my cart I was amazed to find this book made in New Zealand is selling in $USD.

By the time I added postage and then worked out the exchange rate from $USD to $AUD I decided the $68AUD price tag was a bit steep at the moment, especially as I have medical costs to fork out for at the moment.

I would have thought a book made in EnZed would have been in kiwi dollars, but it is not the case.

 I am sure there is a perfectly good reason for this, such as aiming the product at American gamers, but it doesn't help us Aussie gamers on a tight budget, especially as the Chinese currency caused the Aussie dollar to drop even lower today ( australian-dollar-falls-sharply-on-yuan-devaluation ).

I could buy the PDF which is much cheaper, but I really want a physical copy of the rules.

 I might have to save my money for a bit and see if the Aussie dollar can go up a bit more before investing in a copy.

For those with a larger budget, you can check out the rules and order a copy here:

Of course I am open to doing a review on my blog and on forums if a copy was sent to me as part of a publicity drive.....  (yep, I am shameless it seems)

Life imitating art.. well kind of

I am currently reading "Zombie Apocalypse" created by Stephen Jones, which was released in 2010.

It is a bit different to your normal zombie novel, in that the story unfolds through the use of diary entries, emails, police reports, letters and blogs to make the big picture.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but I am really getting drawn in to how the zombie apocalypse takes off in this novel.

Without giving too much away, I was surprised to see this news article today from the U.K.:

It is very similar to what is happening in the book, even right down to the time period the bodies were buried in this area.

This all makes me wonder if knowledge of the burial site was commonly known before they started digging it up, or if Mr Jones and Co. stumbled upon the idea of the book and it is just a coincidence.

Either way, I find it interesting.

Oh, and I started reading 'zombie apocalypse' as I first saw the cover for the third (?) book in the series and as I wanted to read it, I figured I would start at the beginning:

Been busy, but active in the background

It has been a while since I last posted a blog.  Since March this year it seems that time has moved faster than normal at the same time that real life has increased.

I have been doing hobby/zombie things though.

On the wargames front, I have purchased around 40 15mm zombies from Khurasan miniatures. They are glued on to bases ready to have the bases and the minis prepped before painting.

I have recently placed an order for some extra bits from Khurasan, such as the scientist figures.

 I also have some jersey barriers from Rebel miniatures in 15mm scale which virtually don't need painting at all, as they arrived having been cast in cement colour resin.

 I am waiting on another order from Rebel Miniatures - a pack of 20 (?) zombies, which includes the zombie clown... which I will use as an evil clown, not a zombie clown.

 I have two MDF 15mm scale ruins from Warbases to use in any and all games I will play with my 15mm minis.  They area a good price and I intend to get a few more to add to the collection:

 On the to be painted bench are some 15mm scale body bags and oil drums, courtesy of The Scene:    There are a lot of interesting things for sale on their web site, and I will probably order from them again soon.

I did play a zombie game last weekend - I tried out the Pulp Alley rules with my 28mm WWW2 figures. The rules are great, but I will need to adjust them to match the type of game that I want to play. Basically keep the mechanics, but make the game last longer than the six turns suggested in the rule book for scenarios.

I have recently started using face book, so one or two of you may have seen some images I posted on a zombie wargaming face book page that Brummie invited me to. Cheers Brummie!

The other zombie things I mentioned at the start include doing a lot of reading of zombie books, so I will have to do some book reviews.

I have watched a few zombie movies, and one of them, called "Zombie Night" was so bad I didn't finish watching it, and that is saying something, as I almost never stop watching something once I start. The acting was bad, the plot sad, and characters so pathetically stupid that I hope they were all eating by the end of the movie.

On a personal front, I had a cancer tumour removed from my head at the start of June. The hole on the side of my head is only just starting to heal, and I have to have an operation at the start of August to make sure they cleaned it all out. So when I attend my Brother in Law's wedding at the end of August I will have a bit of a Frankenstein's monster look about me.

 Apparently the cancer is "the type of cancer you want to have if you have to have cancer".  Not many people die from what I have, so unless it was worse than they thought I will recover.

So as soon as I decide to pull my finger out I have a lot to blog about.

Zafehouse Diaries PC game

I recently picked up a text driven game called "Zafehouse Diaries" going for a couple of dollars on steam.

Being a text driven game I wasn't too sure on if I would like the game, but a video I watched on the game piqued my interest enough to give it a try, especially for a few dollars.

I was surprised and happy at how addictive the game actually is.

 Basically the game revolves around (up to) five survivors, and you give them orders based on their current location and a map.

 Once each survivor has been given orders you click a digital watch to progress to the next turn, and the results of your orders are provided to you in diary form for you to read.

 You need to make decisions that will ensure their survival and meet any objectives, this last being based on which scenario type out of three you choose to play.

 The game is not easy by any standards. It is simple to learn and play, but winning and surviving is another matter.

 So far the best I have done is to last five and a half days. Each game turn is an hour, so the best I have done is play out 132 turns.

 One thing I love about the game is that you can add your own photos to represent survivors, as well as create your own characters, giving each stats that determine how well the compete the orders you give them.

 You can also add images for houses, so you could, if the desire came over you, add your own house and those of your friends or neighbours in to the game to make it more interesting.

 There is the ability to create your own items for use in the game and I am still tinkering with these to learn what I can do.

The game was made in Australia, so another reason I was happy to give it a go - I like to support Aussie companies when I can.

The game is normally $9.95USD, I purchased it on special for something like $2, and it is now back at the normal price.

 If you are after an addictive game that is different to your average computer game I recommend taking a closer look at it, and if you are unsure, wait until it is on special again to pick it up cheaply.

To buy or not to buy, that is the question

I am in the process of placing an order for some 15mm figures from Khurasan, and I came across an interesting pack of figures that really beg the question: to by or not to buy.

It has even caused me to pause in my shopping to make this post.

Khurasan has some 15mm scale Zombie wolves. I like them, but the dilemma I have is do non-human zombies have a part in our games?

Khurasan's Zombie wolves (direct link from their web site)

I can see them fitting in with the right background. For instance, rather than have what ever has caused the zombie plague to be able to cross infect species, a mad scientist created two viral strains - one that affects humans, and the other canines.

"Ambush Z" has rules for zombie dogs, but they don't really go in to much detail, so I would have to flesh out the idea to make it work (yes, pun intended).

Anyway, back to the original question - to buy or not to buy?

 One pack is $4.99USD for six miniatures, so I would only really need one pack, and I could use them for fantasy games should the need arise.

 I might get them and hold them in reserve in case my Aussies need messing with at a later date.

 What do you think? Yay or nay?

John Ringo's Black Tide Rising zombie series

Hopefully my readers wont faint seeing another post so close to my last one.

 I just finished listening to the first audio book called "Under A Graveyard Sky" by American author John Ringo, which is part one of four books in a series entitled "Black Tide Rising".

 The book was different from most zombie books I have read/listened to, mainly due to the fact that what ever it is that turns humans in to zombies doesn't spread as fast as portrayed in virtually every film or book so far.

 At least that is how it appears.

  It does infect people quickly, but maybe people were a bit better prepared for an outbreak and able to take certain steps before things really escalated out of hand.

 One reason I liked the book is that the main characters are Australian, which I found very interesting in a book by an American author. Normally we barely get a mention in any zombie apocalypse that goes down, let alone get to be characters in a book, even if those characters are living in the United States.

 I don't want to give too much away to any prospective readers, but based on the first book I highly recommend the book/series to anyone interested in zombies... and lets face it, if you are reading this blog, the chances are that you do have an interest in zombies.

Those interested in learning more about the series can visit the author's web site here: click me

15mm in '15... probably

Whilst planning other modern day conflicts on my non-zombie blog I have been looking at the 15mm zombies sold by Rebel Minis and Khurasan Miniatures.

 The more I look, the more I am tempted to get some.

Rebel Minis sell 22 zombies (with 11 poses) for $11.99US and would be a good way to get lots of zombies to kick it all off, and Khurasan sells 20 zombies (with 20 poses) for $15.99.

The Khurasan zombies are a bit more expensive for two less zombies, but they are very nice minis.

Khurasan also makes police and scientists, as well as survivors with improvised weapons, something that is a must if I am to set the game in Australia. Having tight gun laws Downunder means it is unlikely to have people running around with AK74s or M14s when the zombies apocalypse finally arrives.

Rebel Minis do make a lot of civilian types that would be useful for any game, as are the police figures.

Rebel Minis zombies

Khurasan's 20 zombies, 20 poses

Khurasan police - I can almost get away with these as VicPol thanks to the new uniform

Khurasan survivors with improvised weapons

Rebel Minis civilians

Rebel Minis police - I quite like these too

The reason behind using 15mm is to get maximum use of my Eureka 15mm modern Aussies - I should be able to use them for at least three different settings, if not four or five that I can think of without putting too much thought in to it.

 As I would have the game set in Australia I would need the civilians to not have firearms, thus the comments made in this post.

 But this is all in the planning stage, and I still intend to play some 28mm games a mentioned in my previous post.

Will 2015 see more zombie post?...

... I hope so.

 I was rather slack on the Zombie war game front in 2014, but I hope to get my act together a bit better for 2015.

 I still have a ton of zombies to paint up - I just need to make the time to do it, but with other projects on the go that might be a long process.

 I have the 28mm Weird World War 2 setting to get off the ground, and as I have been playing 'No End In Sight' I wrote up some zombie rules for that game, and will most likely use 'NEiS' for the WWW2 games.

 I am also very tempted to do 15mm zombie games too.  I can get a shed load of zombies rather cheaply in 15mm, and I already have an Australian Army platoon painted up for use in the game, so I can 'double dip' as it were with the figures. 

 I am still not 100% sold on doing 15mm zombies as I am thinking of maybe doing an alien invasion for the Aussies instead.

 Much thought and planning will be involved before I do though.