It involves some really nice mechanics for example new zombies are spawned from a "dice grave" which has a starting level but every time a firearm (or other noisy weapon) is used the "to hit" dice are put into the dice grave. This has the effect of rewarding stealth early on, but equally when it all goes down there is a nice build of pressure as the zombies reach a critical mass where the more zombies you shoot down the more are likely to spawn next turn.
It is possible to pick a gang of survivors who can swoop into each mission like Black Ops and carry the day, but far more fun is had from assembling a bunch of misfits contemporary with the start of most survival horror films. Indeed there is one class of character called "sheeple" who's only purpose is to get eaten by zombies as they pathetically fumble with a box of shotgun shells trying to reload.
I finally got round to playing a game recently with Jon, where we played a simple rescue mission. We both took a crew each of survivors and the objective of the game was to get to a central building, ascend to the roof, surviving whatever horrors were lurking inside to rescue a scientist, and then escape off the table with him.
As it was the first game we played with an odd mix of terrain and figures. I had picked up some cheap toy cars and a helicopter that were about the right scale, and we used an Infinity building I made with a Anisty pipefarm, some paper shipping crates and some of Jon's 40k ruins. Overall it was a pretty decent set-up considering.
The figures were mainly Hasslefree adventurers, with some Infinity minis and one I sculpted.
I started with Zombie Hunter Kev and 3 sheeple soldiers in the SW corner where they were hoping to approach the building from the rear through the Imperial Park (Jon has some odd terrain - A Space Marine arboretum being his pride and joy!)
Chainsaw wilding Ash took his band from the NW and Jon's crew lead by William came in from the NE. Keen to try and get their hands on some supplies both crews explored the "survive locations" nearby. However this didn't go so well. William found an old man hiding in a shipping crate who then proceeded to follow him round for the rest of the game preaching the end of the world and reducing the crew's Guts score. Ash faired even worse, firstly opening a shipping crate full of rancid offal, the smell of which drew zombies from all around, permanently raising the zombie threat level for the rest of the game. He then found a wise cracking kid hiding in the pipefarm, who also tagged along. No cool guns for anyone!
Jon's leader Harby had already got his crew to the front of the target building, but elsewhere things were starting to heat up. Zombie hunter Kev had got trapped in a long melee with several zombies and had lost all of his support crew and was now very alone and deep in hostile territory.
|He's behind you!|
The rest of the crews tried to form a perimeter to keep the zombies out and leave a path to the board edge for escape. As Harby worked his way up Zombie Hunter Kev also made it into the building and barricaded the back door as a group of 6 zombies tried to batter it down.
Jon's favourite character, an old lady called Madge with a hunting rifle was picking off zombies at will, but Ash's crew were sucked into a melee with a zombie horde and all his men were dragged to their deaths before the zombies could be killed.
As Harby secured the scientist the zombies finally broke down the back door and Kev was quickly overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers. Ash quickly realised that only his chiselled chin and massive chainsaw could save the day so he charged into the building and began laying about him with his whirring prosthetic chainsaw limb. Outside the end had surely come for Madge as she and William were trapped in melee with three zombies, William killed two before he was dragged to his death, but against all the odds Madge punched the remaining zombie to death with her bare hands! There was more to this old lady that an antique hunting rifle and nerves of steel.
Ash cleared the ground floor as Harby came down the stairs but more zombies were already pouring in through the front. The two heros locked eyes and nodded, Harby escaped out the back door and Ash fired up his chainsaw and prepared to hold them as long as he could.
|Harby makes it off the board with the scientist in tow|
As they fought their way free of the handful of zombies baring their way Harby and the others heard the unmistakable sound of a chainsaw splutter and then die as it ran out of fuel...
Jon and I had loads of fun playing this game, it really is one that doesn't take itself too seriously, but the basic mechanics are intuitive and work well (and dare I say it realistically). There are some really nice touches in the mechanics, I've already mentioned the dice grave, but the way the hero characters get weaker as they get injured particularly in melee is good (basically Wounds=Attacks). Using D10's also helps to give more gradual increases in skills and abilities between survivors. This is not a game where the good guys always win, we got the impression that the standard horror film ending is about the best you can hope for - one or two plucky heros make it to the chopper and freedom, everyone else gets eaten, as happened here.
From end to end it was about 2hrs playing time and it was only the second game we had played (the first being a quick free-for-all practise right before) so it plays pretty quick. Will definitely be trying it out again and I'll try and get my University club interested as well.