Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Great War (Boardgame): & Tarot`s Musings "To Be or Not to Be?"


The Great War:
A Board Game by Richard Borg:
Article by Stephen Gilbert.

When this game hit the shelves late in 2015, I thought I must have died and gone to gaming heaven. From the reviews I read and the you tube video previews I watched on the lap top, this box of loveliness promised to be everything I had ever wanted in a game. More than that, it was more than a game. It wasn’t just another `game in a box` like oh so many others out there. One more box to add to a whole collection of other boxed games. This was also a complete genre specific wargame as well. In fact, the company selling the boxed game do something unique. They actually sell all the individual components that come with the game... separately... for those who want to take the experience well and truly out of the confines of just being a board game. So you can literally get more infantry, more guns, more machine guns, mortars and crew, extra tanks and so on. The figures are about 15mm, so if you choose, you can literally turn this game into a whole new hobby subject to collect and game with. So, without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at what you actually get for your £59:00 when you open this game box up and look inside.



A double-sided hex gridded game board,

folding out to approximately 28” x 23”


Seven terrain and accessories boards which include 58 double sided terrain hexes depicting countryside, forest, buildings, hills, rubble, trenches, shell craters, mine craters and barbed wire sections

58 Command cards


40 Combat cards


8 Battle dice


5 Targeting dice


Rule book with 16 scenarios

2 Unit and Terrain Summary sheets, and some handy re-sealable poly bags in which to store components


162 15mm (1/100th scale) plastic figures.







The Great War is designed for one or two players, but this can be increased by purchasing more terrain boards and figures. The rules are easily learned after just a few rounds of play, but the rules simplicity doesn’t detract from the tactical challenges or the re-playability of the game in any way what so ever. Best of all I think, it really wouldn’t be at all difficult to generate your own scenarios to open up even more gaming possibilities... especially with the ability to buy extra components. Combine that with the new expansions planned for the game`s future... including the entire French contingent, Russian (and Cossacks), Austrians, Americans,  and eventually into the air with WWI bi and tri planes, and you have yourself a rather unusual neat `sleeping beast` of a wargame.

Command and Tactic cards are used to introduce variables into the gameplay; and I find myself preferring this change of pace, opposed to the modern gaming trend of everything being controlled by the roll of a D6 which I find too random for my taste. With the Command and Tactic cards, you don’t have total control, but there is plenty of opportunity for good generalship to be rewarded. The use of these cards is controlled by HQ cards which you collect during the game… but use them with care. Run out, and your great offensive may not happen and your `pals` will be shot to nothing!

Determining the fall of shot from the off-table (reserve) artillery is achieved by first placing the special targeting template over the target hex. D6 number of targeting dice are rolled and positioned on the appropriate hexes surrounding the template. ‘Doubles’ indicate an additional hit on the target hex itself (not just the surrounding spaces). You then roll the appropriate number of Battle Dice for each hex, and the results are determined depending on the images on the upper face of each dice. You then put a ruddy great big bomb crater terrain piece down to show that area of the battlefield is now churned up and has become a huge hole in the ground.

I should point out here that the board itself, and the host of additional terrain tiles... while two dimensional (like any boardgame), are very highly attractive... if you like trench warfare, which I do. But it would be very easy to make your own 3D terrain to plop on top of the board to make the whole thing even more aesthetically attractive to game with.

The specially designed battle dice are a good idea too, as a single roll of the dice can result in a sheer indulgent plethora of different gaming possibilities. I think that`s really nice.
Victory in the game is determined by gaining Victory medals which you earn by completing pre-determined mission objectives, capturing terrain hexes, holding certain terrain objectives, and of course, by eliminating enemy units.
Victory Medals
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES:
Well, firstly, you get a lot of these... 162 in all. The Allies and the Germans each get 48 infantrymen in six distinct poses, 3 Special Personnel bomber figures (which are sort of early WWI Grenadier type hand grenade throwers), 3 machine guns and teams comprising gunner and 3 additional crew, and 3 Mortar teams also with 4 crew. The figures are 1/100th scale which in this case means that they measure 15mm from sole of boot to eye level.
Figures are always split into four man units, like all other Richard Borg games such as, Memoir 44, and Battle Cry, etc.
German Infantrymen
The casting is generally excellent (VERY excellent actually for 15mm) and I must make particular mention of the British water-cooled Vickers machine gun, and the German Maxim teams. These pieces are ruddy marvellous.



British Vickers machine gun and crew.



The components for the German Maxim machine gunner model.


They’re dead easy to assemble, and as for the infantry themselves, you wont even need to base them... the bases the pieces come on are just fine and ready to play with.


DO be very careful about removing the pieces from their spurs I WARN YOU!!! Use a pair of sharp clippers to snip the delicate pieces off. DONT be tempted to use a sharp modelling knife, and whatever you do, don`t *gasp* try twisting the miniatures off the sprus, simply won’t work, and you`ll just end up losing untold numbers of bayonets, or worse. Sharp clippers is the best and possibly only way to proceed here. Trust me.


If you’re intending to paint the miniatures, the results you can achieve with these little chaps is absolutely staggeringly good. You can keep the base plastic as is... unpainted. Grey (for the Germans) and the base khaki (for the Brits) and simply paint the flesh, and the leather and wood, and the metal on top... THEN use Games Workshop Purity Seal lightly over the top (again trust me, there is nothing else as good as this amazing stuff). This will give the figures an old matt... weathered look, and trust me, the plastic grey and khaki you left unpainted will look simply bloody amazing . 




To command your forces, and as a hint of what else Plastic Soldier Company Games have planned, you can also buy a Generals packs for £4.50 containing 2 British, 2 German, 2 French and 2 Russians! You won’t need them in the boxed game though… but they’re nice figures, so why not buy a set anyway? The ideas that come to mind for including these guys in self made scenarios alone, make purchasing them (for less than a fiver) a total worthwhile investment.

Generals

There are no artillery pieces in the boxed game because it’s always ‘off table’, so they’re represented by tokens.  BUT the big box “Tanks” expansion for this game  includes some truly lovely artillery and full crew complements.
Reserve artillery tokens.


Again, you can buy British and German plastic artillery model packs for just £12 each. The British set contains 5 x 18 pounder guns and 20 crew, and the German pack contains 5 x 105mm howitzers and 20 crew. So great value for money all round. I`m dead impressed with the Plastic Soldier Company for this (but I am NOT impressed by their overseas customer policy of charging a ridiculous standard charge postal fee for minimum orders under a certain amount; forcing overseas customers to buy a lot of goods at a time, just to avoid this stupid marketing condition.



The German 105mm howitzer complete with 4 crew.



The figures would not look out of place on any wargames table, and clearly AFVs, and more troop types and nationalities are on the way, which should reassure potential purchasers that PSC Games are not going to leave The Great War unsupported.


Major credit must also go to Richard Borg for the creation and development of the Command and Colours rule concept and for Great War itself, and it would be churlish to ignore Sian Fahie at The Plastic Soldier Company who was the figure sculptor.



All in all, I would happily give this game a  solid and well deserved 10 out of 10: but I have to drop 2 points from the total....  for the difficulty of removing the lovely miniatures unharmed from the multiple sprus that come with the game. I`m quite dextrous but the whole operation took me the best part of an afternoon to accomplish. And I STILL broke four figures, and ended up having to `tart them up` and nurse them back to full (fixed) health.

If there is any serious interest in this article, in a few weeks time I will do a follow up one on The Great War: “Tanks” Expansion.


The First Ever WWI German Tank

Next Artcle from me will be a fairly hefty review on another Richard Borg game (World War II this time): Memoir 44 and its many expansions.


TANKS!!!

___________________

Tarot`s Musings "To Be or Not to Be?"
An article by Tarot Hunt

To be or not to be... that really is the question?
To de-base my Clix, or not to de-base them at all: hmmmmm? Whether it is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, especially with some of the more extremely silly and clunky Clix rules, or to whip the lot off their bases and start afresh?
Hmmmmmm.
See, we had this debate a while ago. Between us, Stevie (who is the writer and pretty much undertook the bulk of the mammoth task) me.. Hil, our good friend (and club treasurer) Dave, and with a lot of Bryan`s input: some weeks ago we were wondering whether we should do a complete re-write of Hero and Horror Clix, and present it for everyone on the Gamers Cupboard to enjoy.. a gratis gift for you all. We even wrote the first draft: I did all the abilities and powers, and Stevie wrote the bulk of the rules.. and then we put them out at one of the local clubs for beta play testing: and things looked good.  We called the whole thing “HeroClix Redux” (Bryan came up with that one) and it was shaping up to become a really nice, simplified, little game, with all the Clix rule-ish `clunk factor ` removed,  and streamlined for a modern audience. We were so happy with our initial trial tests, that we even had the jacket cover for the new rules designed, and we all got rather excited by the whole project for a while.
But then we stopped!!!! We put on the brakes and sat back and thought hard and fast. Did the official version of game need changing? See, I started to play lots of BOTH versions, side by side. I`d play test our rules and then I`d run through the same scenario using the official rules as they stand. I must have done this for over forty games, using the lads and lasses at our two clubs as guinea pigs to try everything out. Luckily they were very obliging and sat with me and played dozens of games without a single complaint, and patiently indulged all my pauses and *scratch scratch* of pencil and note paper, and I recorded all my findings in meticulous intensity. So much so, I even surprised myself. Always a stickler for detail and depth.  The end result of all this labour (and fun too) was nearly a fifty/fifty split between us and our ultimate opinions. Half thought the HeroClix game worked just fine as it is: while the other half thought the Clix game too clunky, old fashioned in its approach (being that it is a game originally invented  nearly two decades ago) and all together, too dull to play extensively.. i.e. too limiting in its scope.
... and so, a little regretfully, we decided in the end to scratch our idea and just stay with the game as is (for now) : using the old adage “if it aint broke, don’t mess with it.”
But herein lies my personal dilemma, and I know the guys (Stevie and Hil in especial) have talked themselves into a bit of a corner, and don`t dare utter the words I just know (like me) they are silently  thinking. Is HeroClix and Horror Clix enough of a game to withstand our enduring deep focussed drive and pursuit? Or is it in fact time to `lop` the figures off their beautifully attractive Click-y bases and lovingly re-base them onto smaller (more practical and usable) 20mm roundels? And THEN throw out the Clix rules altogether and move seamlessly towards a new, and more enjoyable rule system.. perhaps something a little closer to 7TV?
Cut our beloved Clickys off their cool bases *oh shock horror* !!!
Chris Evans leading his men. 
It sounds sacrilege I know. I know; and the whole idea fills me with an intrinsic terror and inner shame.. at the very notion of mentioning it. And yet, the very practical part of my brain.. the part which just wants what’s best to make an enjoyable game, practically yearns and screams at me, to do just this, and cut them all off their stupid oversized bloody bases, and convert the entire precious collection into a more usable whole. A direction that means we can use them smoothly in our games (alongside other non Clicky minis), employing a more up to date and enjoyable set of rules with which to pit our indomitable heroes  against on the table top? Maybe something more like 7TV, but equally likely, perhaps we might simply write our very own new set of rules to follow up this major idea epiphany.
I can tell you exactly what started all this.
In my mind.. and silently (perhaps almost ashamedly in the others` minds as well, feeling like traitors to the Click-y cause) was a seed of doubt caused by things we were seeing on line.  For me, it was the amazing threads and articles I was starting to get really interested in on other gamers` blogs.
Bryan`s series of converted Clix figures immediately comes to mind, and Blaxkleric`s  amazingly addictive conversions (yes, I’ve scoured his site page by page. The Blakes 7 thing is just.. wow.. totally inspired: and utterly `did it` for me): then there are Jez`s cool conversions and sculpts, and Andy`s sheer drive and focus on his Bushido.... all of it, has forced me to look at my eclectic range of minis, to look at Hil`s and Stevie’ s combined collection(s) and wonder: are we being a bit dim simply to stick to the old, practically defunct game of HeroClix, when we COULD be using this simply incredible range of miniatures to re-paint, convert, and enjoy in a totally new and upbeat guise, using our own re-paints and re-sculpts, and a totally new set of more playable and enjoyable rules.. more to our joint liking (possibly even making our own set of rules from scratch, or even.. as Stevie has hinted a few times.. writing a conversion of the Chibi World rules set).
But yes, most assuredly it was seeing the Clix conversions on other people`s  blogs which first instilled a sense of awe and wonderment in my mind, and got me pondering on the possibilities of doing something similar. See in this household, we very much share our table top `toys` and that means, if one of us goes off on a passionate new project, the rest of the gang rally round, support, and don’t mind if that means making alterations and conversions of existing `toys`.  This is all very true of the Clix range, and if we DO all decide to do this thing, then no one will put on the brakes and say “you`re not touching MY figures”, if the decision is made, then we will convert the lot... which translated probably means (as Clix is really Hil`s and my baby in this household) Hil and I would end up doing most the re-basing. Though Stevie will probably end up doing half the playing with them when they`re done.
It DOES seems sacrilege. These figures look gorgeous on their existing Clix bases. Especially the lovely newer Oreo type bases, but if we can create a better game, with nicer re-painted miniatures, and more exciting scenarios and campaign potentials, then wouldn’t we be silly not to pursue this to its natural conclusion?
Put it this way, if I..we... DID do this thing: as I am the one pretty much putting the whole campaign together at present, I have a very definite and strict idea of what I would want to do and where I would want to go with this whole venture.
Forget X Men *more shock horror*, forget almost all the Clix factions as they stand now *major gasp*. My interest really, really, really and honestly lies in two very distinct and yet very divergent directions. And yet we easily have enough Clix now (thank you Bryan) to pursue both directions at once.
Mr weedy guy
The first is a World War Two version of Chris Evans.. aka Captain America (like in the first film “Captain America: The First Avenger”) and the whole Hydra adventure element simply rocks my boat and makes me want to immerse in it deeply. It’s all so amazingly clever. EVERYONE knows Hydra “Hail Hydra” is all about Naziism, Hitlerism, and the Third Reich. But there`s not a single Nazi uniform on display, not a single overt reference made.... i.e.  it offends no one, yet at the same time opens all sorts of doors, reveals untold game potential, and gives us a wonderfully evil enemy we can really really rally behind hating, and this gives us an almost untapped recourse for us to campaign with using our little toy soldiers: from alien artefacts, Hydra archaeology, Hydra experimentations, super weapons, evil nefarious deeds and megalomaniac power struggles to take over the world. It’s like Dick Tracy and Fu Man Chu all rolled into one.
My Captain America “Winter Soldier” Clix starter set and maps are simply made for this idea. And my Agents of Shield (with a tiniest of re-painting) will fit perfectly into a Weird World War Two setting.
*Sighssss* My Hero!
Prequel time line X Men, Fantastic Four, Superman,  all the villains and bad guys,  are all just crying out for a lick of paint, rebasing, and moving the whole Clix thing firmly into a non click-y 1940`s style superhero gaming. Even the comic books, for source material (I think) were better written back in the pre 1980`s, and I find myself ever drawn to reading the adventures of Fu Man Chu, the early Adventures of Batman, The Amazing Spiderman, The Man of Iron (Superman),  The Mask of Zoro,  and the very hot well written stories of Vampirella and her menagerie of allies and bad guy nemeses. Helps too that I have all the terrain and cars and sundry vehicles for a more gentler `pulp` era setting, all at my finger tips for using in these games. Including  World War Two soldiers and Tanks and stuff (thanks Stevie... his collection is now MY collection hehe).
I can see, if I do do this thing, and revamp a lot of the Clix collection into usable genre specific figures, for a very genre specific campaign,  I am aware it would be a one way trip. All the various sects and sets of this and that faction would be totally re-painted and converted (where necessary) to make them ideal for a Weird Wartime theme... a sort of The World versus Hydra setting.
I`d need to convert thugs and henchmen into Hydra soldiers, scientists, hoods and evil villains, and I`d need to turn all the Avengers and Batman and Spiderman types.. etc.. into 007 style spies, allied soldiers and special forces, and pre-Nick Fury agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I`d have to reinvent the Joker, Harley Quinn,  Harvey  Dent (Two Face), The Scarecrow, Penguin, Bane, Charles Xavier and Max Eisenhardt (Magnito), Scarlet Witch, etc etc etc.. I`d literally have to re-invent my own separate time line, using the early comic books as a guideline in places, so as not to stray toooooo far off track in places (Not that that would even matter).
Then there`s the second passion. My second divergent path.. and perhaps the one that most excites and thrills me, just thinking about it. This second path is the fault of Blaxkleric blog, and Mikes Projects. Two blogs which fill me with such respect and admiration. But it is for ONE subject in especial which both these guys have covered, which has awakened a deep desire within me, to follow in their footsteps.. in my own unique way.
*drum roll*
And that is...
Blakes 7.
I am massively into this classic Terry Nation retro sci-fi show which was first aired in 1978 I believe, and finally ended after series 4 in1981. AN English TV show, remarkable for its good acting and believable (low fantasy) storylines.. cheap budget and sometimes laughable props. Yet when you think it was written at a time when Star Wars was new to the screen, I like to think of it as Britain`s contribution to good, enduring cinematic history. The show simply wows me, in ways most high tech, big budget, American made movies of today fail to do. I believe I have more than enough left over Hero and Horror Clix figs in the collection to be able to custom make literally ANY personality, character, item or thing I could possibly ever want, to make this game come alive. Even the props and terrain seems like it will be a caboodle of fun to recreate on the table top.

Servalan & Travis

What do you guys think? I`d be very interested to hear your input into this proposed mega project of mine.. well project of ours really I think: this entire Irish mad house of gamers.

... I even have a way formed (in my head) how to tie it all neatly in with the existing Jim and Barbara Gordon adventure I am currently running on the blog.
As the guys here often say, it’s all cool beans.





 



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

To paint or not to paint

As a gamer and a miniature figure painter I get a deep sense of satisfaction from seeing a table covered in finely made and painted scenery and beautifully painted figures. A visit to any gaming convention can leave me in awe at the sight of professionally painted figures that I can only dream of matching. No pun intended but painting is an art. I happen to be quite good at painting figures and it is a part of the hobby I find extremely enjoyable and very rewarding. I get quite a thrill when I have finished painting a batch of figures and think to myself, "that's a good job done well." As well as being grateful for reducing my mountain of unpainted figures.
This post is just a ramble about using painted figures in your games and when is it okay to game with unpainted minis and when should you use painted figures? Let's start with using unpainted figures.
The figures for the Von Drakk's Manor set for Super Dungeon Explore, straight out of the box and unpainted.
Until I got to know Steve quite well, the thought of using unpainted figures in a game was anathema to me. I hated the idea of using unpainted figures. For years and years I always gamed with fully painted figures. If I popped into my local Games Workshop (back in the days when it was worth visiting) or visited a wargaming convention and saw a game being played with unpainted figures I'd just think, "how sad! Can you not at least make an effort to slap some paint on them?" To me, gaming with unpainted figures was one of the worst sins a gamer could commit.
However, my attitude completely changed a few years ago when Steve and I had a discussion about using unpainted figures in a game. I can't remember what game we were talking about but the gist of Steve's argument was that I had two choices when it came to playing whatever game it was we were discussing. One, I could wait to play the game until after I had painted all of the figures for it, which could potentially take a year or more, or two, I could play the game now using the unpainted figures that came with the game. That was my light bulb moment! That was when I realised, it was acceptable to play with unpainted figures. I have no idea why it took me so long to realise something that is so blindingly obvious! After all, as a solo gamer, the only person who knew I was gaming with unpainted figures was myself... and ultimately, did it matter all that much? No, of course not; not if it meant I got to play the game straight out of the box and get to grips with the rules. For sure, I much prefer playing games with fully painted figures. Aesthetically, it is much more appealing. But by breaking my own self-imposed commandment - "Thou Shalt Not Game With Unpainted Figures!" I was able to do far more gaming than if I'd waited to paint all of the figures that came with the game. Nowadays I will frequently play a game using unpainted figures... but only ever in the privacy of my own home.
The same figures for Von Drakk's Manor, all superbly painted (not by me I hasten to add) and a real treat for the eyes.
So now that I have been convinced that it is okay to game with unpainted figures, what are my feelings on the matter now? Is it a good thing or still a bad thing? I'd say it all depends upon the circumstances. If you're playing a game at home, either solo or with a group of friends I see no problem in gaming with unpainted figures. If you can paint your figures and have the time then do so.  However, if you are putting on a display game at a wargaming convention or taking part in a tournament, you really should make the effort to paint your figures and avoid fielding unpainted figures. As a blogger, I would never dream of publishing a batrep using any unpainted figures. The only time I'd show an unpainted figure on my blog is if I'm showing the unboxing of a game or expansion, or possibly if I'm doing a Work in Progress post. When dealing with the public I believe it is always best to show the hobby in its best light and that means showing off your painted figures.
Which brings me to another point, which I'm sure applies to a lot of gamers. There are those who can not paint or who simply don't have the time to paint due to work and/or family commitments. What are they to do? Or perhaps they can paint but not very well. To be honest, they're stuck between a rock and a hard place. There is not much they can do other than use their unpainted figures. I'm just glad I'm not one of those people.
I realise I'm very lucky in that I have artistic talent and I have plenty of spare time to devote to my hobby, which must place me in a minority. For those who can paint but not to a high standard, I'd advise they carry on painting and gaming with their painted figures. To me, a badly painted figure is a lot better than an unpainted figure. It at least shows you've made an effort. Plus, the old adage of "practice makes perfect" still holds true. The more you paint, the better you'll become.
I'm a completely different painter now than what I was 20 years ago and back then I was completely different to what I was a further 20 years ago. I now use ink washes, dry brushing techniques, fine-lining, blending, etc. when I paint nowadays. These are techniques I would never have attempted or even thought of doing years and years ago. When I first started painting figures I was just a young lad and as long as the colour looked right, that was all that mattered to me. So I'd paint my old Airfix 1/72nd or 1/32nd scale figures with a mix of Humbrol matt and gloss paints! Also, with those Airfix figures, they were often made of a coloured plastic that resembled their uniforms, for example, WW2 U.S. Army soldiers were made of olive drab coloured plastic, whilst WW2 Afrika Korps were made of sand coloured plastic. So, because the plastic was the main colour of their uniform I wouldn't bother painting those bits! Oh, dear! It was a long learning process before I knew better. I've got rid of most of those old figures but of the few that remain, I look at them with deep embarrassment.
A selection of my own painted figures from the Von Drakk's Manor set, which I'm very proud of.
I know I'm a good painter but I'm certainly not a great painter. My level of painting is better than that considered as tabletop standard but definitely not up to competition winning standard. I'm happy where I am with my level of painting.
This brings me to my final point - always strive to paint to the best of your abilities. For the vast majority of gamers, being able to paint to tabletop standard is perfectly acceptable and I'd certainly go along with that. We can't all paint to professional standards and why should we? As long as we can paint a figure and say, "I'm happy with that," then nothing else matters. If you can paint, whatever your standard is, then you should paint. If circumstances dictate that you can't paint your figures then by all means, and use your unpainted figures. I still say it is better to game with painted figures than with unpainted figures but what is just as important is that gaming with unpainted figures is better than not gaming at all.

Bryan ©2016

Friday, 22 July 2016

Zombicide Scenario BS01 - Death From Above Part 3

TURN 8
ROSS. Moving closer to the double threat of three small flocks of Crowz and two Runners, Ross fired his 9mm Pistol, hitting with four of his six shots. The Crowz died first, quickly followed by one of the Runners.
DAKOTA. She was all alone in the apartment building, free to explore without any interference from the undead or her colleagues. When she moved into the lounge she noticed something of interest on the round table. It was a small gold-plated box. She picked it up and stuffed it into one of the pockets of her orange jump suit. She planned on checking it out properly later.
(She had found the second of the four objective tokens, but it was not the first aid kit.)  
She felt well pleased with herself as she sauntered back through the kitchen to the lobby.
ELSA. Being a skilled cat burglar, Elsa had no problem in unlocking the door to the small building at the end of the main street. It appeared to be a small pizza parlour and the door opened into the kitchen area. Inside were four Walkers - three males and a female. She fired four short bursts from her 9mm Uzi Sub-Machine Gun at the slow moving Zombies, missing more often than not but still managing to kill all four.
(Remember that Elsa's Break-in skill counts as a free action when she unlocks doors, so she was able to use her four Actions to make Ranged Fire attacks, missing twice and hitting once with each of her three round bursts.)
GARY. Feeling left out and lagging behind the others, Gary trotted down Main Street to team up with Ross. He immediately saw the threat to his new friend and swiftly raised his Rifle and calmly shot the Runner in the centre of his forehead.
"Cheers, mate," Ross said gratefully acknowledging his fine marksmanship.
"No problem," Gary replied, only too glad to have been of assistance.
ZOMBIES. Three flocks of Crowz flew into Elsa's Zone, instantly surrounding her. One Runner sprinted towards Gary and Ross. Dakota was safe for the moment but lots of Zombies were moving onto Main Street, especially from the second apartment building east of her. Three Crowz emerged from each of Spawn Points 1 and 2. From Spawn Point 3, an Abomination arrived (uh oh!) and from Spawn Point 4, three more Walkers arrived.
TURN 9
DAKOTA. She stepped outside of the apartment to confront three Walkers. Her shooting with her Pump-Action Shotgun was erratic. She had to shoot each Walker twice before they lay dead on the street. Even so, the threat had been eradicated.
ELSA. "Not again!" Elsa spat out derisively as she opened fire on the troublesome Crowz with both guns, which she fired one-handed. Ma's Shotgun proved to be devastating and obliterated two flocks of Crowz. A short burst from her Uzi Sub-Machine Gun put paid to the last of the Crowz closing in on her. She turned back to face the pizza parlour and strode through the now empty kitchen into the service area.
"Now what do we have here?" she thought out loud.
GARY. The former miniature figures sculptor grinned maniacally as he fired up his newly found Chainsaw. The spinning blades sliced off both arms of the Runner before Gary beheaded him. He switched to his Rifle and tried to whittle down the group of Walkers and Runners who were dangerously close to Ross and himself. Three shots resulted in one miss and two hits, which killed a pair of Walkers. It was now up to Ross to deal with the rest of the Zombies.
ROSS. The overweight warehouse manager did his best but he knew instinctively that he should have done a lot better. Out of eight shots from his 9mm Pistol only four proved to be lethal. Three Walkers and one Runner died in his barrage. The Runners proved especially difficult to hit as their speed made them particularly elusive.
ZOMBIES. "Oh, fuuu...!" was all Ross could scream before two Runners were on him in a flash. One clamped his teeth on his neck and tore his throat out. The other bit a large chunk of flesh out of his gun arm that now flailed uselessly. They bore him to the ground gorging themselves on his flesh and blood. He died messily and painfully as his screams filled the air.
Gary fared slightly better but was not unscathed. Another Runner bit him in the left shoulder, but thankfully, it was not a deep wound. Still, it hurt a lot and it took him by surprise. As he struggled to ward off his attacker he lost his Crowbar.
(This was bad. But incredibly, things got a lot worse for the Survivors when I drew the card for Spawn Point 1 - all Walkers get an extra turn! Oh shit! Through no fault of her own, Dakota would die and there wasn't a thing I could do to prevent it! It was just pure bad luck and a terrible time to draw that particular card.)  
Dakota was caught totally unaware when a pair of Walkers ran at her. Yes, ran!
"They shouldn't be that fast!" were her last thoughts as they bowled her over onto the ground. Her head hit the hard tarmac and she was stunned for just a second. It was a second too long. As their arms held her down the pair of Walkers bit her repeatedly, filling their mouths with her warm succulent flesh.
Dakota was still screaming when five more Walkers moved in to join in on the feasting, whilst a large flock of Crowz viewed the scene with greedy eyes. Four Walkers entered the neighbourhood from Spawn Point 2 and were joined by one more from Spawn Point 3. Three flocks of Crowz emerged from Spawn Point 4.
TURN 10
GARY. Something snapped in Gary's mind and a red mist descended over him. Ross was dead. Dakota was dead. Elsa was out of view and could be dead. And it was all the fault of those god-damned fucking zombies! It was payback time. He fired up the Chainsaw again and set about on a killing spree. The first to die were the Runner who had bitten him and the two Runners who were more interested in feeding off Ross's still warm corpse than in defending themselves. A female Walker had no chance of stopping him moving further down the main street. As her headlesss body dropped to the ground her head spun away and rolled to a halt beside a pair of overturned rubbish bins. Three more Walkers barred his way to the pizza parlour, where he had last seen Elsa enter. The two males suffered the same fate as the female Walker - death by decapitation. He was confident of killing the remaining Walker when his Chainsaw sputtered and the blades stopped spinning.
"Bummer! This is it," he muttered fatalistically. "It's the end!"
ELSA. Searching behind the counter of the pizza parlour, Elsa discovered a fully stocked first aid kit in a shoulder bag.
"Very useful," she mused as she took possession of it.  
(Elsa had found the third objective and this time it was the Green Token, which was the first aid kit. This gave her enough experience points to advance to the Orange level. Being a cat burglar, she chose the Slippery skill to help her sneak past zombies.)  
She hurried back outside and saw Gary fumbling with his Chainsaw. A smartly dressed female Walker was almost on top of him. She had to act fast. She snap-fired Ma's Shotgun. It was a risky shot. If she missed she would surely hit Gary and at that range and at that height the blast would certainly kill him. But the risk paid off. The Walker took the blast from both barrels in the back of her head. Blood and brain matter sprayed Gary in the face but for now, he still lived.
ZOMBIES. Gary's day went from bad to worse as he suddenly found himself surrounded by nine flocks of Crowz. Behind them a horde of zombies advanced along Main Street.
(With Elsa now at the Orange level, the Zombies spawned in even greater numbers than before.)
Three Runners emerged from Spawn Point 1. Two Walkers arrived at Spawn Point 2 and one Fatty entered at Spawn Point 3. Three more Walkers arrived from Spawn Point 4.
TURN 11 
GARY. To stand and fight would have been suicide and Gary was not ready to die just yet. He ducked inside the large apartment and ran through the lobby into a messy-looking lounge. A small shiny object attracted his attention and he quickly pocketed it. He'd examine it later, if he survived, and see what it was.
(Gary used his Slippery Skill to evade the horde of Crowz and so was able to enter the apartment without any hindrance. He found the fourth of the four Objectives. As soon as he took it he advanced to Orange level. He chose the Lucky skill. He'd enjoyed good luck so far and with a bit more he might just survive the rest of the day.)
He walked back into the lobby, unsure of whether he'd live or die in the next few seconds. But come what may, someone had to survive this deadly encounter. He knew what had to be done.
"Elsa!" he shouted. "Get the hell out of here. Just go! Run and save yourself! I'll follow you!"
ELSA. Momentarily torn by indecision, Elsa quickly came to realise that Gary's advice was the only sensible choice she could make. The Zombie horde was growing considerably. There was no way she could kill them all. Gary was trapped inside and was surely beyond all help.
"God, damn you,Gary," she muttered through clenched teeth. "It wasn't supposed to end like this." She took one last glance over her shoulder at the apartment entrance, now blocked from sight by a massive flock of Crowz, before running away to what she hoped was safety.
ZOMBIES. Nine groups of Crowz swarmed into the lobby of the apartment building, and practically filled the space as they prepared to feast on the one remaining human. Seven Walkers had gathered just outside the building and elsewhere even more Zombies were approaching. Four more flocks of Crowz arrived from each of spawn Points 1 and 2, whilst four Walkers arrived from Spawn Point 3 and three Runners emerged from Spawn Point 4.
TURN 12
GARY. "To hell with this," Gary said determinedly, "I'm outta here! Maybe I can outrun these bastards."
He kept his head down and covered it as best he could with his arms as he snuck outside. Incredibly, the Crowz simply ignored him and the seven Walkers who saw him emerge into the daylight seemed surprised to see him. Their mournful moaning was their only reaction. Gary sprinted as fast as he could and raced out of the neighbourhood to catch up with Elsa.
(Once again, Gary's Slippery skill proved to be a life saver. He was able to sneak past the hordes of Crowz and Walkers unmolested and so reached the exit with ease.)

CONCLUSION. This was the first time I'd used these particular Survivors in a game of Zombicide and the first time I'd used the Murder of Crowz expansion set. Although it was a relatively short game (just 12 Turns) I connected with the characters and quickly grew to like them, especially Elsa, who was my personal favourite. I wanted them all to survive. In almost every zombie apocalypse game I play I want the humans to survive. So, I felt really bad at losing Dakota and Ross. The death of Ross was inevitable after his very average shooting in Turn 9. If only he could have killed one more Runner, he would have survived as I'd have had the two remaining Runners splitting their attacks between Gary and Ross so that each of them took one wound. As it was, with three Runners attacking Gary or Ross one of them had to die. It was my choice and I chose Ross because I felt Gary had a better chance of surviving the encounter. 
The death of Dakota was tragic and nothing more than a bad turn of the cards. These things happen and you just have to accept it. It was a shame because up till then, she was doing the best out of the four humans.
Elsa and Gary survived thanks to having great starting skills. Elsa's Break-in skill proved very useful, allowing her to unlock doors automatically and silently and counting it as a free action. Gary began the game with the Slippery skill and that saved his life in the last two Turns of the game.
Crowz are an absolute menace! Okay, so they never killed anyone in this game, but that was only because Gary's Slippery skill and Elsa's superb shooting prevented any human deaths. Things could have gone very differently against another group of Survivors. I'm just imagining how lethal they'll be in Zombicide: Black Plague if I combine them with the Wolfz, who can also move three Zones per Turn!
Playing this scenario rekindled my love for Zombicide and just goes to show what an exciting game it is. I have lots more Zombicide batreps planned for the future, which will include batreps for the base game, the four contemporary expansion sets and for Zombicide: Black Plague

EDITORIAL. Some of you may have noticed a few changes we have made to the blog. Steve, Hil, Tarot and I realised we had a problem with the blog, albeit a nice problem to have. We have between us, loads of articles we want to post. As an experienced blogger I can tell you that it is a wonderful position to be in but with our blog appearing just once per week, it meant it would take ages for us to wade through our backlog. Then, there was the added problem of us wanting to add new stuff as well. So, it was clear that changes had to be made. First up, we are increasing the frequency when the blog appears so we are aiming to publish one new post every three days. We believe this gives the optimum amount of time for folk to leave a comment. 
Secondly, Steve and Tarot wanted to add separate Pages to the blog, where they could produce really long articles and add to them whenever they liked. At present we are looking at page updates once per month but that is not set in stone. You'll find the tabs that will link you directly to the appropriate page directly beneath the title of the blog. Currently, we have three extra pages in addition to the Home page. Steve is running the pages for  
King, Parliament & Zombies
and The Horns of the Buffalo - Part 1
Tarot is in charge of Tarot's Clix & Bits 
Please take the time to check them out and feel free to leave comments. We'll try to keep you informed when they get updated but if not, just check in once per month. Will I be publishing my own page? Not at present but never say never. We hope you approve of the changes as we want to make this blog as fine a product as we can.

Bryan.