Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beaver Town: Zombies-1, Humans-0

Last Saturday we had the CGC Xmas Game for 2012, and what a game it was. Thanks again to Shane for hosting, and to everyone who came to share in the camaraderie and back stabbing! Everyone appeared to have had a good time, as evidenced by everyone being willing to play two hours past our initial stopping time. Regardless... the zombies won anyway!

I am not going to write up a bunch of "stuff" as I have a ton of homework staring me in the face, so I'll just post the snaps and add some comments to each as seems appropriate.

This is the extraction point. Guarded by Beaver Corp security, who are safe from the zombie hordes thanks to an experimental zombie repulsion field generator (patent pending). They are in the process of repairing a bus (all the vehicles in town were disabled by another experimental pulse generator that failed to kill the zombies, but did blow out most anything with an electrical system) so that important Beaver Corp personnel can be extracted to safety before the town is nuked in order to wipe out the zombie infestation and keep the plague from spreading further. The good news for players is that they are welcome to escape town on the bus too. The bad news is that they all have a mission to accomplish first. Missions take three types: Rescue someone (an NPC) by getting them to the extraction point safely; collect a favored or important item before going to the extraction point; or destroying 30 zombies before being extracted. There is one unique mission, as we shall see in a mo.

Here's a snap from the start. In the bottom center is one of the player's teams. In this case, it's the Beaver Town Jihadists. Their mission does not fit any of the three main mission types, in that they must blow up two buildings that represent American imperialism (such as the police station, movie theater, brewery, etc.). The bad news is that the only explosives they begin with are suicide vests. Sure, they can use them to accomplish their missions, but there would be very little of them left to extract. So they started searching for explosives early...

Here the Beaver Town SWAT tries to hold back a gaggle of zombies. It is critical to have a few choke points on the table or it becomes virtually impossible for the players. The table is designed as 10'x6', but we only managed to eek out approximately 10'x5' (the game was originally going to be played at my house, hence the oversight for playing at Shane's). Losing a foot of width actually had a big impact on how the game played, making this little corner of the table much deadlier than it would have been otherwise. Just a fun game design fact.

Cities being what they are, the players tended to use main routes of travel as they were often the most direct. Here, to the left the Beaver Town Mafia is trying to get across to the town to loot the bank ('natch) before being extracted. Running up behind them are the only two survivors of the Beaver Town Game Club, intent on looting the Sleven (a regional mini-mart chain) of all its pornography...

And that leads me to comment on the nature of the CGC Xmas Game (and other CGC events for that matter). The Zombie Game is part serious, in the sense that it requires team work if the humans are to stand any chance. It is mostly funny and irreverent, however. All the characters are caricatures from popular media. As a result, they are anything but PC. If this offends you, then you are at the wrong web site. It's all just for fun and we make fun of everyone equally, including - and mostly - ourselves. 'Nuff said.

Located on The Wrong Side of the Tracks is Sarge's Military Surplus. Beaver Town Bail Bonds are currently in the store, looting it of whatever firearms and ammo they can find. Models are placed on roofs to indicate they are inside a building, because only some of the roofs lift off (the downside to using railroad buildings). If a living human was in a building for more than one activation, zombies would start to appear. Here the bonds men are fighting a zombie in a chicken suit. The pretty lady in the yellow jumpsuit is waiting to be rescued by her beau from the local Kung-Fu academy.

Two retired boxers are seen scrambling away from zombies!!! Unfortunately, I don't think Billy noticed that he was running by a zombie generator. He was soon overwhelmed, but then one of Beaver Corps experimental exploding zombies wandered by and... blew up. That wiped out the zombies, although Billy's boxers were grievously hurt in the process.

On the left is Herschel Liebowitz, of Beaver Town Talent. Next to him is his hired help, Clint. They are trying to get across town to the trailer park to help their rising star, Davy Jownz, to escape to safety. As you can see, it's not going well...

Billy's boxers are about to get swamped...

More action around the railroad tracks. These tracks bisect Beaver Town, separating it into "Downtown," and "The Wrong Side of the Tracks." Beaver Town P.D. is fighting zombies in the lower right, Beaver Town SWAT to the left, and the Beaver Town Boxers are at the top. They are near two zombie generators, a proximity that made things difficult.

It was at this point that the boys from Beaver Town Talent decided that running any further wasn't going to pay off in anything other than them becoming zombie chow. In a decision that would only delay that inevitability, they opted to stand and fight near the corner of the Beaver Town Memorial Park and Homeless Shelter (TM). This is actually just a fraction of the zombies they would end up battling. They put up a hell of a fight!

The front of the Sleven. To the left are the boys from the Beaver Town Game Club. To the left are (my team), Kewl & The Gang, the latter consisting of Sampson L. Jackson. As I recall, I was doing a lot more running than fighting, thinking that would be the key to success. While in theory my strategy should have worked... well, you'll see soon enough!

Bobby showed up late due (and I am thankful he could show up at all, all things considered), and opted to run the folks from the Beaver Town Senior Center. Their mission was to rack up 30 zombie kills before being evacuated, so they came out of the senior center with shotguns blazing!

Remember how I told you that this game is not PC? Well, Shane was in charge of the Beaver Town Black Leopard Party. Feeling a bit... LARPy... he took his characters' hatred of "the man" to heart and opened fire on Timmy's team (Beaver Town Bail Bonds) as soon as he had a clear shot. Here they are, facing off against each other on Main Street.

The boxers and cops fleeing from the growing zombie hordes. Maybe those giant dice can be used as weapons?!?

A nice shot showing (most) of the table. Before long, the number of zombies will be twice what are deployed in this picture.

Sampson L. Jackson (left of the tracks near the top) attempts to distract the zombies from his boss, Kewl, who has taken a hit of crack "for medicinal purposes" and run off the right side of the photo.

A wider view of the previous shot. You can see Kewl bravely running away to the right.

Things were really heating up at this point. Shane was on his anti-Whitey vendetta against Timmy's group, my gang was trying to run around various zombie packs, and anyone in the park was currently surrounded. Here, John, who was in charge of Beaver Town Game Club, ran his guys into the Sleven, where they quickly started stuffing their backpacks full of porn, slipping it between RPG books and Warhammer codices... The zombies could smell their pungent gamer flesh and were chomping at the bit just outside!!!

Not knowing where to run, a giant finger from the heavens points the way for the beleaguered survivors!!!

Akboom of the Beaver Town Jihadists decides to strike a blow against imperialism by setting off his suicide vest in the brewery. Way to take one for the team!

The first human casualty! Sylvester, former Beaver Town Boxing champ, becomes zombie show! He died due to an experimental zombie exploding, avoiding the embarrassment of coming back as a zombie himself.

More action on Main Street.

Robert, running Beaver Town Talent, does his level best to make a silk purse out of a... well, a huge pile of crap, really.

The Zombie Game uses the "Something Good, Something Bad" card system. Shane had to draw a Something Bad card, and ended up getting the dreaded "Don't Roll a 1" card. Youch! Well, he rolled a 1 that activation, trying to open the back door to the Military Surplus, so his hero dropped dead on the spot. You would think one of the CGC Flounders would know better than to tempt fate when rolling a 1 is involved...

And the zombies continue to pile up downtown. Apparently, Robert's guys were really tasty...

By some miracle, Sampson L. Jackson survived the zombie hordes, and caught up with Kewl at the Warehouse. Here, they are about to enter to Kewl can grab his stash before heading to the extraction point.

By this point, the Beaver Town Bail Bonds guys were both zombie-fied. Here, one of them joins some garden-variety zombies as they chase down the Beaver Town Black Leopard Party.

On the left are the Beaver Town Lipstick Lesbian Alliance, busy chopping up male zombies wherever possible. They actually ended up accomplishing their mission (thanks to finding a chainsaw in a dumpster), but failed to get to the extraction point in time.

Sic semper talentus agentus!!! Robert's team put up a good fight for a long time, but - as you can see - they never really had a chance. Life's not fair. My game's aren't either.

Gamemaster Phil makes a run for the extraction point, his backpack full of pilfered porn for the apocolypse!!!

Zombies continue to swarm around the Sleven, thanks to Mayonnaise Boy still being inside.

Just a big cluster-fork of zombies. There you go.

Because I am always most interested in what's happening to my characters, here's a snap of Kewl trying to make a break for it with his stash. Unfortunately, I made the same mistake Billy did, and ran too close to a zombie generator, allowing them to rat pack me...

A closeup of same.

Meanwhile, around the corner, Beaver Town SWAT had managed to rescue the mayor (their mission objective), but weren't having much luck getting him to the extraction point...

It was getting near the extraction time, so several teams were trying their best to get their before the bus left and Beaver Town was nuked. In the lead is the Beaver Town Mafia, followed by Beaver Town P.D., followed by lots of zombies.

Old Pete from the Beaver Town Senior Center does his best to blow away as many zombies as possible. Unfortunately, he ran out of shells and soon became zombie chow...

The girls try to make a break for the extraction point!

The shites starting to hit the fan now. Here, Mayonnaise Boy finally gets chewed down!

For awhile, I was afraid that my game would have a crack-friendly message, thanks to all the action points I was getting and the lack of consequences. Finally probability reasserted itself, however, and my character succumbed to his drug "solution", passing out in an inopportune spot. That he was eaten by a fat zombie was somehow ironically appropriate...

The last snap. Here, Gamemaster Phil and one of the gals fall just short of the extraction zone when Beaver Corp pulled the plug on any more survivors getting on the bus. In other words, there were no winners. Zombies-1, Players-0.

That said, I think when we play again (and we will), now that folks have a better feel for the layout of the city, and the sidekick concept and how it can be used, we will see survivors next time. In this game, almost no zombie generators were destroyed (only two total), a fatal mistake by any measure.

Still, everyone had a good time, and it was probably the best CGC Xmas events since Warlord Zmerphs of the Apocalypse. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to spend the day with us, pushing around little lead figures and this wonderfully goofy hobby!


- Rod

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Zombie Game: Beaver Town Edition!

After some delay, the CGC Xmas Game for 2012 is finally happening! We will be having our annual party/game this coming Saturday. Shane has generously offered up his place as usual, and Billy has threatened to bring something likely to upset our doctors, so another good year is in the offing.

This year, it's The Zombie Game (TZG), only on steroids. John Sanchez deserves all the credit for the creation of TZG, approaching me with the idea quite a few years ago now. We collaborated on the rules, and we have run it as an exclusive-to-the-CGC-and-friends events at cons and elsewhere ever since. The core rules are solid and a lot of fun, although the success of the game relies considerably on table layout. In its original incarnation, the game takes place in a sleepy highway town somewhere in the deserts of Nevada. A truck wreck has spilled "something" that has caused the dead to rise from their graves in search of human flesh, and the players must shut down all the zombie generation points in order to win. The zombies are all on autopilot, operating under a simple AI, as it were. Players must cooperate to win, but, thanks to the "Something Good, Something Bad" card concept, must often screw their neighbors over.

This year's event is TZG: Beaver Town Edition. It is much larger than the typical TZG, and takes place in an urban, as opposed to rural, setting. Everyone will play two characters, a hero and his/her sidekick. In order to win, a player must complete a personal objective, and survive to be extracted before the bomb (set to blow by Beaver Corp, the evil corporation responsible for the zombie outbreak) explodes, destroying all the zombies, and any players who didn't get away in time, as well as all the evidence of Beaver Corp's complicity in the chaos.

Here are some preview snaps of the layout for the game, just to whet everyone's whistles:

Above is a view of the police station and the Sleven, a local mini-mart chain. In the background, one can see the infamous "wrong side of the tracks."

The Beaver Town "Heroes of Beaver Town Memorial Cemetery," located in the heart of Beaver Town Park. Guess what might be spawning here...

Beaver Town Happy Acres Trailer & RV Park: It is here that the trouble began, when, in the wee hours of the night, Beaver Corp sent a truck load of Compound Zed-Zed-Alpha to bury secretly in the park, thinking that the residents wouldn't notice. Unfortunately, the Beaver Corp workers ignored the no smoking or open flame labels on the chemical drums, and they burst into flames, sending toxic smoke over the city...

A most-of-the-city view. Sorry the lighting is bad. This time of year the window of opportunity is pretty small.

One last view, this time looking from downtown - over the back of the Beaver Town Theater - across town. Next to the theater is the Beaver Town Bank, and next to it is the Bus Station. In the far corner at the top of the photo is the trailer park.

This is all in 28mm, with the buildings being mostly Rail King O Gauge structures that come fully finished. The Sleven is a MBA building, and the trailers and vehicles are from a variety of manufacturers.

I'll post an after-report of the game... after the game!


- Rod

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mos Durpa Mayhem!

After a very busy spring semester, we had the first game of the year at my place last Saturday. Because the Star Wars games have the biggest draw, I selected it for the game du jour. The turnout was fantastic, with Dave Worley making an appearance all the way from San Antonio! Just about the whole local gang was here too, with Billy making a surprise cameo on the way to look out duty.

The scenario this time was a multi-sided rumble in the small Tatooine town of Mos Durpa. Everyone had their own faction, and everyone's goals were (mostly) kept secret from everyone else. The end result was interesting enough to keep everyone's attention until the end, with the exception of Brad who had to leave early for family obligations.

To describe each faction is more than I want to do at the moment. Instead, I'll just post the snaps I took and leave a few comments. I will probably run this scenario - with modifications - at a convention later this year or next.

An overview of the sleepy desert town of Mos Durpa. At the bottom of the picture is the "space port", and next to it is one of the two Imperial barracks in town - the Empire keeps a relatively strong presence in order to maintain the peace. At the top of the photo is Jawa sector of town, and to the upper right is the palace of Emo the Hutt.

Another pre-action shot from the opposite angle. Just another day in Mos Durpa...

An overhead view of Emo the Hutt's pleasure palace. There are some Gamoreans guarding the place, and a few thugs loitering about. Emo is under the blue canopy, shading himself from the hot Tatooine suns.

Every faction had its own, distinct goals, most of them revolving around the surprise visit of Imperial Chancellor Valmarin to Mos Durpa. The Imperial commander had heard rumors that rebels (note - not capital-R rebels...) were going to try and assassinate the Chancellor, so the storm troopers were combing the streets, interrogating the locals to try and find out where the rebels were hiding. Here they grill three citizens, but without success.

Meanwhile, the Jawas, who had it in for Emo and his operations, set about "confiscating" all the droids in town, because most of them were being used by Emo to smuggle contraband into and out of town. Because stealing droids is a crime, they had to do it outside LOS of the storm troopers. Here, they rat pack a mouse droid. I leave it to the reader to decide where that constitutes irony...

The Tusken Raiders had decided to settle their tribal differences by grouping up to raid town. Thanks to a recent treaty, they were allowed into Mos Durpa in small groups (four or less) to trade, so there were two groups in town already. The rest were menacing from the outskirts of town, inching closer. They eventually burst in and started taking civilians prisoners to use as slaves... or worse! They quickly formed a partnership with Mos Durpa's other put-upon minority, the Jawas. Here, the Tusken have deliberately committed a crime right in front of some storm troopers (just out of shot), in order to distract them from the Jawas and their robot-knapping caper! You can see the Jedi Diplomat, Mon Turwak, sneaking into town in the lower left...

Chancellor Valmarin landed at the end of turn two and proceeded with his four guard droids to Emo's palace, where he was to secretly meet with a Jedi representative in order to discuss his surrendering and receiving amnesty and sanctuary from the Rebels in exchange for sensitive information on the operations of the Imperial Inquisition. Valmarin had not walked 20 yards down the road when the rebels of the Mos Durpa People's Front sprung from hiding and tried to gun him down!

Cad Bane, the galaxy's most infamous and skilled bounty hunter, was in town, killing time. He knew he would receive a hefty bounty for killing any Jedi or Sith (from their opposing factions), and it wasn't long before the other factions in town started offering him work as a spoiler against each other. He was hired by Emo the Hutt to deal with the "Jawa problem", and here he  makes trouble for the Jedi Diplomat, who is frantically trying to deflect Bane's relentless blaster fire. The Jedi was so flustered that he hid behind the nearby people - who perhaps fortunately were mostly thugs working for Emo - a certainly un-Jedi-like behavior! Still, a plastic figure's got to do what a plastic figure's got to do, I guess...

Chancellor Valmarin was trying to get through town as quickly as possible, in the face of a great deal of - highly inaccurate - blaster fire from the MDPF. Because several other factions had a vested interest in at least seeing that the Chancellor made it to his meeting, the MDPF were taking a lot of shots in return. Valmarin was wounded, but his guard droids were deflecting most of the shots.

Cad Bane, intent on killing the Jedi Diplomat, followed him into the devious palace of Emo the Hutt. Unknown to most, Emo had a forcefield projector in front of his viewing stand (the reason for which will become obvious in the next photo). He allowed the Diplomat to leap up, but not Cad Bane, in spite of nominally having an agreement with him! What could the devious Emo be up to?!?

Oh, that's why... Tripping a secret switch, Emo released his Rancor from under the floor of his palace! It took all the Rancor's actions to emerge from his hiding place, which gave Cad Bane the chance to react. He asked Emo to lower the forcefield - Emo refused - and he ran back to the door (which is on the close side of the wall out of shot), only to find it locked. Using his rocket boots, he lept up to the balcony above - you can just see him in the lower left corner. Discretion is the better part of valor, even if you are as tough as Bane!

Eventually, Emo opted to keep his bargain with Cad Bane and, distracting the Rancor by pushing one of his own bodyguards down into the pit as a tasty snack, Bane lept up into the viewing stand and raced after the Jedi. By that time, the Jedi had already met with the Chancellor, and was preparing to escort him safely off planet, when he realized that the dastardly Emo had locked the way out - doh! Bane was hot on his heals, and in a brief fight, the Jedi was killed.

But hot on Bane's heels was the Sith Inquisitor! He burst into the room and, seeing the Chancellor and the body of the dead Jedi, put two and two together and came up with "Chancellor Valmarin must die!!!" He overcame the problem of the two guard droids by using his Force TK ability to bring the Chancellor to him, impaling him on his light saber and functionally ending the game. (There was a brief but inconclusive struggle between Bane and the Sith, which ended due to some bickering of the usual CGC type.)

Props to Shane for winning the game as Cad Bane! He ended up with almost double the VP of anyone else. In hindsight, not all the victory conditions were fair, so there is some balancing to do, but it was a fun event regardless.


- Rod