28 Feb 2013

Zombie Aeons...a horrible tale of horrible deeds


So...in hobby terms, I was in a muddy field. On one side, I really wanted to continue my zombie project, but still didn't grasp the NMRIH rules. It went as far as starting designing my own (didn't came out of the theory and some scribbles). On the other side, I really like Strange Aeons and am my mojo is flowing, finishing one miniature after another, as you can see. A couple of days back, I saw once more how someone mentioned about versatility of Strange Aeons...core rules are dead simple after all. So it dawned to me...zombie wargaming with SA...how could that go wrong? I made up some rules and gave it a try out game, presented here.

This is first actual game of Zombie Aeons, if we should call it that way. The rules were simple. Team made up with points given in SA book. For lurkers, only zombie profile was used (unchanged from as given in a rulebook). Next, all the activation rules apply for "treshold", that is survivors from here on. Lurkers, or zombies, as refered from now on, had changed activation. I've used Shelldrake's rules for NMRIH, but with few tweeks.

On zombies turn, zombie would move two actions (each miniature in SA has 2 actions, can be any combination of move, shoot, charge, and other) towards closest human in line of sight 10" around.

If there was no such human, it would move 1 action to nearest human not in LOS, but that has used both actions for movement (so it ran). I decided on 1 action as zombie is confused so it only moves roughly to direction it hears/feels tremors from.

If there is no such human, zombie moves to closest sound all over the board, so shooting, car etc. Moves 1 action.

If there is no such sound, zombie stands where he is, as there is no reason for it to move anywhere.

Game was played on 2x3 board, standard SA size.

Survivors were made of:

Character, armed with bowie knife, .45 pistol and a tommy gun (actually has an assault rifle, but as said, I've used given rules, tommy gun being understood as a generic SMG)
Agent, armed with bowie knife, .45 and a shotgun.
Female Civilian, armed with .22
Male Civilian, armed with .22 and .45 handguns.

As you nominate 1 miniature each turn, with some able to nominate more, this is how I justified it. Character (has ability to nominate 2 others for the turn he is nominated), is a leader of the group. Besides being the most motivated and skilled in combat, he is also charismatic. Agent had "lieutenant" skill, allowing him to nominate one more. He is Characters (no, I didn't gave them any names :D), close friend and this gives him certain degree of authority, hence he can nominate one other.  I have to note, zombies' activation proved too much, so I expect to drop nominations and perhaps everyone in the group would be able to be nominated. This loses the sense of hierarchy, tho...which is the reason to keep the nominations.

Survivors managed to come up to 14 points, which is less than what is allowed for first team in normal game of SA.

Each zombie costs 3 points, so I took 5 of them (15), then opted for 2 extra, as 5 seemed so little. That gave me 7 zombies total. 

I went WYSIWYG, except for bowie knifes and agent's .45 as those are given to them by the rules.  I would prefer having civilians armed with melee weapons. What bothers me personally is the amount of focus all the zombie games give on ranged weaponry. 

Further in the game, I've decided on two extra rules:

FEASTING - if zombie is feasting, he needs to pass resolve check (5+ on D6) to quit eating the easy pray and move on, attacking alive humans. 5+ sounds harsh but if you think about it...animated body has no brains, doesn't see the broader picture. He has the meat, he is satisfied. I wasn't totally consistent with this rule, however. I think I will make them feast on every body they pass.
Example: Zombie feasts on a dead body, hears a gun shot and rolls 5+, so it moves towards gunshot. On the way, he goes past another dead body in his reach, so he forgets about his intentions and goes feast on that one, until further disturbed. If he would not pass 5+ check, he would continue feasting until attacked in melee. As they got no senses, shooting shouldn't provoke them enough to stop feasting (but it would be enough to make them do another test)

GRAB - zombies are not made of fluid and can't go past fences. Opportunity arose where a zombie could attack a survivor over a fence. As ordinary hand-to-hand would be utterly boring, I went for a "grab". As zombie can't hurt survivor as easily as in open combat, he starts grabbing him. Survivor has to use an action to try wrestle free. It is passed on Dexterity check. If grabbed and charged by another zombie, survivor fights with -1 attack in close combat (as per rules for "face up" models).

Also, there was no goal of mission, get there and do something was the order of the day. No new zombies would be spawned.

So...on to the report!

This is a set up. It is an abandoned military check point at the entrance to the little pensioners resort city of Evergreen fields.

 Below you can see dead civilian that used to man a mighty .50 cal!
 More dead defenders on the main road.
 Body bags that defenders have hoarded in HQ's backyard. Mind they're not painted as I am toying with the idea of casting them more and more. They aren't that bad and I could use several more. Especially empty and those full, but not opened. Don't think I'd need more than one of the one where zombie is trying to get out!
Also, not the barricaded back door.
 Must have been horrible when the place was over run...this one has ended his own life!

 A group of survivors drove to the outskirts of the Evergreen fields in their Fiat Cinquecento (which means 500, but it's not to be confused with actual Fiat 500, not new nor old :P). It is not the best ride, but hey, beats walking and its not demanding on gasoline.

As the road was blocked and there were some walkers about, a quartet of brave individuals disembarked. Character, agent and male civilian took a look around, while female civilian checked the nice handmade painting of the welcoming board. Really nice!
 Intruders were spotted by zombies fast and a shambler, feasting on .50 cal gunner has found fresh meat more interesting than carrion he has just had.  He started shambling towards the fearsome four!

 He was joined by another zombie that was further down the road. Third, however, found his meal more appealing!
 Character wasn't moved by the walking dead. He aimed his G36 and sprayed. Scored 3 hits but only managed to stun the closing monstrosities! (I am not too fond of turning my miniatures "face up" or "face down" because of the paint job and as they're dynamic is hard to tell what position it is in to. So I am using 20mm plastic bases for face up and turned upside down for face down). All the others have either missed them totally (harder to hit if they lay down!) or did no serious damage to them.
 Next turn zombies managed to get back on their feet and continue the charge. One has charged agent, that was so repulsed by the hideous appearance of the decaying flash (failed his resolve check -1), that he has frenzied (6 as a result of failed resolve check) and gathered all strength in the following melee (giving him double attacks). His effort was in vain however, and the combat resulted in a draw.

Next turn zombie managed to hit critical and bite the poor soul without any problems. As Agent's death was witnessed by all 3 of his friends, they all had to make a resolve check to see how this has influenced their morale. Male survivors made it, while female civilian failed it (1). Her sorrow became a rage (5) and she had stormed into attack, to avenge her friend!

As she had no melee weapons, her frail hands were no match for relentless undead and she has suffered the same fate as Agent.

 The remaining duo saw those zombies are no joke and Character has moved a move back to the fence and sprayed the walking bodies. He must have been really stressed out, as he only managed to get one hit, that didn't do much but he also jammed his weapon. TWICE! (as if once wouldn't be bad enough!)

 Male civilian was unable to get any hits. He should really do some target practice next time! Zombies moved on, attracted by all the shots. Character was grabbed by a decaying hand from back! Oh...catastrophe! While he tried to wriggle free, his friend, Male civilian was charged by zombies. He got terrified and fled the table, ran as long as his legs carried him.

 After Character saw his last friend abandon him, he was also abandoned by his hope. He failed his resolve test, managed to get free from the zombie's grasp and he, too got filled with fear. Two of his friends have just got massacred, third ran...and now, so did he...

 ran to save his life...

 Aaand that was it. Miniatures die with a relative ease in SA, so they get phobias and such. But that is so-so, in a campaign it would be awesome, but I guess the team should win scenario to be able to help  injured to get to the safe base, which would seriously shorten the campaign.

So, to conclude, the lessons:
- all characters could be nominated due to command from Character (him + 2) and lieutenant from Agent (him +1) skills - makes it able to nominate all 4 members
- zombies are really strong
- only 2 (and a half?) zombies actually got into the game, but kinda fast...as its played on small table, perhaps I should further limit the range at which zombies react/activate.
- had bad luck, so need to try another game shortly

Over all, this is much more in the aspect of what I wanted from a zombie game. I think that with some more playtesting and mixing NMRIH scenarios (those are really one of the best things in the book) with SA rules, it could be possible to play a campaign. SA has its own way of collecting artefacts (read supplies for Zombie Aeons), so by tweaking few things it could all work. Also, call "jam" "out of ammo" and I get myself ammo as variable. For food, I can surely come up with a simple system. Only "problem" is the absence of vehicle rules in SA, but those wouldn't actually be used too much anyways, so I'd just give them values for "inanimate objects" as per SA rules.

I really need to make more jungle, buy company Bs japanese zombies, buy some US marines and play that a bit, hah! When I get bored, swap japanese with nazi, do it all over again :P

Thanks for looking,


  1. Nice report mate, like where this is going. One thing though the zombies sounds quite tough how would you manage hordes and such? One thing I like about zombie gaming is hordes of the buggers.

    1. Close combat works like that. Each miniature throws as many dice as it has attacks. Then you pick the highest one and add the close combat bonus of weapon used. If equal, its a draw, if one wins, you go to wounding. More miniatures from one side against one of the other add 1 attack each. I think this is good enough as horde is only as good as those in the front ranks....others can't reach them.

      But now that you've reminded me of it, in one of the SA supplements there are "mob rules". If a list contains 5 models of the same profile (so 5 zombies in our case), you can upgrade it (but I would do it for free as it is braindeads anyways) and gain benefits, like causing fear (a char has to make resolve test 5" from the mob, as opposed to in base-to-base with ordinary zombie)

      I would just have to find a way to decide on number of zombies then make 1 mob and the rest single. I'd always put mob on the main street, as thats only place where you could move CD sized template around. I should try that next time.

      And above all I need more close combat weapons, as with better bonuses, zombies aren't that strong anymore :P

  2. Nice report. I really like those casualty markers.

  3. I too like the casualty markers. the rulesseemed to run fairly well. I think that I'll have to read this again and get a better view. But it all seemed to run smoothly.Well done.

  4. Great idea! Wish I had thought of this first :-P

    As it was your idea, I will award you a VC medal (VC = Very Clever).

    I will have to look in to this further and happy to work on things with you if you would like.

  5. Dead bodies can be seen here - http://mathyoo28mm.blogspot.com/2012/11/fortunately-unfortunate.html

    As for the game, it needs more playtesting. My dice were horrible and I have never seen zombies in SA be that strong!

    Haha, thank you Ian. Even if it is true that I don't surf, don't call me Charlie now! :D

    I have wrote my additional rules on various scarp of papers (call me organized!), but if you want I can put them all together and we move the discussion to the BOTLL :)

  6. ummm not Victor Charles, but Victoria Cross..... and BOTLL is a good place to go over this idea.

  7. Nice rep mate, and I really like your setup.
    I've not played Aeons but the rules seem to work well