Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Zombicide - A Twilight World:

Zombicide
 
"A Twilight World"
 
Long ago, I wrote and published a zombie novel called “Twilight The Awakening.” I always wanted to go back and write the sequel, but somehow, I was always too busy with other writing commissions. Maybe that second book will never now get written, but I can at least bring my world alive again, on the table top.
 
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Dakota stopped running! She couldn`t have managed another step, even if the bowels of Hell had opened up before her and spewed forth entire legions of zo.......  Dakoto shock her head, still not fully able to say that word.... unable to believe and register what she had witnessed only half an hour earlier at the Penitentiary.


She bent forward, leaning her hands on her knees, looking at her shoes; head down and breathing like an express train. Still standing though; that`s it, just like the Cell 7 Gym instructor had taught her. "Atta girl. Breath, slowly, that's right, through your nose.... no, don`t collapse. Stand... ride the pain out." Dakota could still hear Cooper`s voice in her head standing over her. Ogling her, wanting her, desiring and wishing he owned her. Yeah right, in his dreams.


"Spit!" Dakota shivered at the images flooding her mind now. `Cooper was gone, like the rest of them... maybe.. maybe everyone, all gone.` Cooper had gone down in the Gym... along with the two armed guard gorillas in there... and all the lycra covered posing macho dudes with their blaze tattoos and muscle six packs: the hollow girls and the packing babes, hustling the guys with tease and `come on`, enough maybe to get a piece of action later behind the Beufort store rooms; some blow, a snort, or maybe even a full pack of Ace... lifers all within that manic eternal merry-go-round, grey stoned electrically fenced city!


Then the shit had gone down. Within minutes, the world... the normal world where sane people lived... was gone... and Dakota was running, hiding, killing, anything to stay alive. "One in a thousand kiddo" she told herself. She had escaped the sack and was running, stumbling and gasping her way through Briar Wood, just as the sun began to fall, easing over the sky horizon in a sickly blood red haze.


Dakota half expected heavy pursuit: the wail of the police sirens, the high power search lights; the torches, the shouts of men, and the barking of dogs... the road blocks ahead, the..........  but nothing came.


Only the heavy choking of her desperate breathing as she now stood puffing, alone on the stony path.


Freedom. So close. Living hell behind her; a future ahead... hell yeah. She had to make it.


The full reality of the world gone wildly wrong had not yet hit Dakota with its entire dark, stark, slap in the face wakeup call madness.


There was a heavy belch, ahead, and to her right among the trees at the side of the path!


Dakota looked up, and for a full series of seconds, transient time stood still as the blank horror of what she was seeing, filtered through her rapidly weakening senses.


The stench hit her next. The filth of death: the decay assailed her lungs and threatened to topple her over into darkness: `night, night, lights out, and.... the end.!`  With effort Dakota found strength. "On your feet girl... move it" The fattest dead man she had ever seen, was slowly stumbling towards her, menacingly. Hatred and hunger filled his eyes and his mouth slobbered frothy crimson as he crunched down upon a recent kill.. some warm flesh still lodged within that deadly, gaping maw.


The `herd` which followed was almost upon her. So silent had been its deathly approach.


 A flash of speed... the smell of death.... and defying all logic, a dead runner sprinted towards her; its feted stench was over powering.


Dakota raised her stolen `sawn off` with shakily uncertainty.... and fired.... instinct..... the runner went down like a lump of lead, twitching where it lay.
Crap! More of those foul smelling bad boys started to pour out of the woods, either side of the road ahead of Dakota: totally blocking her intended path.

Dakota found herself with no other choice. She turned and ran, back... back along the path towards the prison. "Oh God, noooo!" she wailed to herself. "Will this ever eeeeend?"  Dakota screamed into the rapidly approaching night, as she sped back along the same path she had just recently taken.

Insanity would almost have been a mercy for her.
Still short of breath, Dakota raced along the path, back towards the Penitentiary as fast as she dare, ever fearful of losing her footing in the growing darkness. To slip, stumble or fall to these sickeningly horrifying walking monstrosities, would mean certain agonizing death, literally pulled apart and eaten alive by these manic mindless cadavers.  To twist an ankle now on a loose stone would be disastrous. She fancied she could almost feel the rancid breath of the herd, close on her heels.
The lights of Midway West at the bottom of Mabry Hill, twinkled off to her left: distracting her attention for a moment. The huge shopping centre and surrounding suburb housing  should have been awash with lights. Even from the prison, if looking out from the higher most levels of Block H, where you could see the shoppers` delight sprawled out either side of the Delta River.. a veritable city of shops and arcades, all fed by the spaghetti  intersection at Highway 9. Dwellings from the Alexandria `First Time Paradise.` The Happy Homes estate should have been alive and buzzing at this time of the evening. It was secretly every inmates daydream pleasure to tiptoe up and stare out the barred windows of H Block and spy life... real life... as real people lived it, and to imagine what it must be like to know freedom. Now almost the entire urban sprawl lay in stark darkness, and only the anguished moans of the dead drifting on the wind, reminded her that Alexandria.. even now.. wasn’t an entirely deserted place, but had instead become a charnel house for the unliving.
But there were lights, never the less. Not many.. not bright, but flickering through the trees below. They were all centred about one spot - The Happy Shopper Mall. It must run off its own generator, like parts of the Penitentiary ran off its own power system. When the grid went down, the Shopper had flipped itself automatically to emergency backup power, and now the lights Dakota was seeing sparking through the woodland below, all coming from that week-end shoppers` metropolis.
Fuck! it was week-end.
 That place must have been a frickin` buzzing hive of people when the shit all went down. It had all happened so fast. Now that mall would be infested with those.... things. Whatever they were?
But that place was a still maybe a better option than returning to the awful Prison.
Suddenly, Dakota veered off the road to her left, through the trees, hoping against hope that they were clear of the nightmare... the dead that walked. Midway West and that shopping mall was her best course of action now. That place had food, lots of food, and maybe guns and... hell, all manner of things she would need. Looking down at herself, she allowed herself a wry smile.  She looked a mess, and stank too. That mall would have clothing, and perfumes and.... mmmmm cigarettes. She quickened her pace; grateful that the woods all about her seemed to be completely clear of anything wanting to eat her. The branches whipped at her face and bare arms, but she barely felt it. Getting there might be easy, but getting into the shopping mall would be the tricky part. Luckily, the heavy duty wrench she has thought to pick up as she fled the Prison, might just come in very useful indeed.
Quickening her pace as much as she dared without making too much noise as she battled her way through the dense foliage, she headed in as straight a line as she could, towards The Mall.

 
 ***
 
Game On:
I wanted this game to feel more like an episode from The Walking Dead. Perhaps one of those episodes from time to time which features only one (or two) of the main cast... as seems to happen to the character “Carol” or ”Daryl” quite a lot of the time. But Zombicide needed quite a few changes for it to work the way I wanted it to... to give it a more cinematic feel.
First off, the guns mostly all had to go the way of the do-do. Zombicide has faaaaarrrr too many of them for it to feel like a realistic horror epic. I mean come on man.... you walk into a burger joint and there`s a machine gun under the counter: you walk into a toy shop and find a flame thrower....  jeeese, who writes this stuff hahaha.  In my collection alone I have dozens of zombie films, and have seen way over a hundred more in my time, and I have read the same number of books on the subject... and with the exception of, literally, two episodes of The Walking Dead (throughout all 7 series), to my certain knowledge, guns have never exactly `jumped out` at anyone for the taking. No the trouble with Zombicide is that it is primarily a boardgame and if you think only within that box, the game can never really be anything more than the sum of its parts. You actually need to put some constructive input into the thing to make the tone realistically macabre, so you feel like you are actually there, and can buy into the whole ethos of the thing. So I took out almost all the weapons and simply gave my main heroine what she needed from the start... no doubt, picked up as she fled the prison.  A pair of short barrelled shooters.... “Jack and Jill” she calls them.
In fact, I`m not even using the Zombicide rules at all, I am instead using “Generic Wars & Miniatures Figurines” which is a set of rules I wrote for myself and my friends to enjoy (for home use), though I will happily send a copy to anyone who asks me for them in comments. The rules are based off of another thing I wrote called Chibi World, but with many, many alterations and additions, new artwork and so on. I always knew Chibi World could be more than the sum of its parts, and as that game works so well, I wanted to create a truly generic version of the same, but which would work equally as well for, oh let`s see.... Roman Britain, King Arthur and the Dark Ages, Medieval Knights in Armour, the Horse and Musket era, 19th century Colonial, Pulp, Horror, either of the two Worlds Wars, Post Apocalyptic and zombies: Superheroes, and of course fantasy or science fiction.
I have decided (for now) to use most of the components from Zombicie (just because they are useful): and I have also put a lot of emphasis on the `lesser` search cards: the food stuffs and drink, etc; and have written up extra rules to cover their usefulness in the game. In addition I have allowed Dakota to start with a number of Search Points (6 in total) which allows her free searches (as many as she wants to make per turn, while they last). But each time she searches, it gives her a -1 to her chance of pulling more undead onto the board.
Zombies spawn on the roll of a 6... -1 per search card pulled from the pack, -1 per noise token in play. I think the amount of noise the survivors make should be proportional to the risk of attracting more zombies into play (a ruling that the official game misses out on entirely). So for example, if Dakota searched a room normally in the game: that just counts as one of her actions for the turn. But let’s suppose she is feeling lucky (and greedy) and uses two search tokens for two additional searches in the room she is in. Let’s also say there are no noise tokens currently in play. When it comes to the zombies spawn phase, a card will be pulled from the deck on the roll of a 6, -2 for the two search tokens used (from Dakotas initial search pile of six), so a zombie will be spawned this turn on the roll of a 4+ (CHECK ONCE FOR EACH SPAWN POINT ACTUALLY IN PLAY). See how it works?  However, had Dakota used her guns this turn (6D6) this would have resulted in -6 to her roll... obvious maths would indicate it would have been impossible for Dakota to roll low enough on a D6, so a spawn card would have been pulled automatically from the deck. Her guns make a LOT of noise.
I also only reveal the tiles I figure the survivor(s) could realistically see or hear. Just like a ‘Dungeons and Dragons dungeon crawl where the map is revealed slowly as the players explore more and more of the complex. I do the same for the zombie spawn points as well.
The Pimp Mobile is also going! The name alone is just awful. In its place I have used standard vehicle tokens from the Last Night on Earth game. Much better and much, much nicer I must say. Playing Zombicide, one would get the impression that the streets are patrolled entirely by police cars and pimp driven limousines. Such an easy fix to make and its these little things which really help improve the game no end.
Dakota starts with 20 wounds (for those who know Chibi World, they will know what this means and how strong this makes her). I figure as she`s a prison `bint` she would be hard as nails and quite used to handling herself... even thriving, in that environment. Also, she does not lose equipment if she takes any wounds (like Zombicide forces you to do).
Equipment dropped in the game, stays in play throughout.
Cars are not driven by idiots, and do NOT hurtle into other survivors with pre set default regularity. Similarly, survivors tend not to hit other survivors when firing into a space containing both humans and zombies. But of course, you can`t fire if adjacent to an enemy in any case (similar to Chibi World). But due to the nature of the Zombicide tiles, I will have to implement a bit of common sense here when/if needed.  Finally, I have customised the spawn deck, removed many of the cards and reduced the number of the special (expansion set) cards quite considerably.
The scenario is my own, and I call it “ Shopping Like There`s No Tomorrow!” It uses a similar tile configuration as the Toxic City Mall scenario “The Big Rubble.”
Scenario Objective: Well, let’s just get her there and inside safely shall we. After that, her priority is food and drink; some warm bedding, and perhaps somewhere safe to hole up for a while so she can take stock of her situation and plan her next move. Maybe.. just maybe she might find something else she can use as a weapon: a stout knife or even a hand gun in a locker... and some ammunition too (i.e. perhaps a dice upgrade or something). The thought of finding anyone else alive, strangely perhaps, has not even crossed Dakota`s mind at this stage.
Dakota enters the board.
 
Not using the Zombicide character cards in my game. But it is handy to use as a reference when customising my own version of Dakota.
Dakota (Survivor):
Movement (that`s 4 actions per turn)
 
Weapon Attacks: 4D6 / ranged 6D6-2 (only 2 because we are using the Zombicide tiles)
 
Iron: 4
 
Hits: 20
Traits: Control, and Hand Grenade (Molotov) I have upgraded this in the game to an 8D6 weapon on the target, and 2D6 on all others sharing the same tile.
 
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Just as she had guessed, when the shit hit the fan, the guys working at the Mall at the time had hurriedly closed and locked the outer doors. Luckily, Dakota had her crowbar to hand.

But before she even tried the heavy duty Mall doors, first thing she did was to slide over to a lone abandoned truck sitting close by.. and carefully open the cab door to check what she could find inside. Whhoooa!!!  Dakota really came up trumps this time. Sitting on the passenger seat was a dusty old green bottle. A piece of rag was sticking out the top and by the smell of the thing, was coated in petrol. She had found a ready-made-up Molotov cocktail, just waiting to be lit and thrown at the lifeless hordes. Maybe burning them wound destroy them... Dakota wasn’t sure? But judging by how they smelled, there must be a hell of a lot of noxious gas building up inside those nasty fuckers? 
Whatever had happened to the original owner of the vehicle, Dakota didn’t want to think too much about that: however, judging by the dried blood smears on steering wheel, whatever it was couldn’t have been pleasant.
 

Moving next to the doors of the Mall: she looked quickly left and right to make sure she was still alone. She set the wrench to the lock, then twisted and pulled downwards. The lock came apart,... silently! Bingo... she was in!

Taking a moment to check all around her again, she looked left and right one last time. To her left the rubble caused by.. God knows what, totally blocked the path ahead, ensuring no zombie could reach her from that direction even if it tried. However, the way was totally clear of all movement in any case. To her right (the one active spawning point in play) the direction she had come across the parking lot, shapes moved about in the distance, but nothing to worry about. Darkness hid her from all roving, hungry eyes.


{She rolled a 3 on the spawn table... safe for now}.


Bingo! She was in...


Moving quickly through the foyer, her eyes darted hither and thither about the floor. Rubbish lay strewn everywhere, but nothing useful caught her attention. But as she opened the next door, horror of horrors, there was a foul shambler, several paces in front of her.

Without even taking aim, she raised her weapons and fired BLAM! The thing exploded in a showed or blood, bone and gore. But this zombie was different, as it came apart, it turned into a toxic grenade and spewed disgusting green ichor everywhere. Where the globules landed, the surfaces smoked as though they had been touched by acid. Dakota was visibly startled for a few moments, and thanked her lucky stars she not been standing any nearer to the thing when it... went off. As it was, none of the gloop landed on her at all.


 But the sound of her weapon was horrendous and she looked around nervously. Sure enough, lady luck played her a different sort of card this time. A terrible, horrifying roar filled the air... coming from behind her. It sounded like it came from quite far away, but then again, the other side of the world would have seemed too close right now. A second dreadful roar filled the air as... whatever it was.... built up momentum, and began to lumber clumsily towards her – no doubt having now caught her succulent scent. Hunger drove these things, and hunger made them deadly in their single minded focus to feed.

Too much noise!
 
Walking carefully across the arcade, avoiding broken glass and underfoot detritus as much as she could, she headed towards the big metal mesh doors on the other side of the Mall avenue.
Behind her, the thing roared once more! It sounded slightly closer this time.
Dakota felt the need to move it! And began, with force, to apply her crowbar to the mesh. The metal buckled, and gave way under her efforts, and with an audible wail of twisted plasteel, it gave way, and Dakota was able to lift the door... it didn’t take any effort and after a slight flick, the mesh gate slid upwards of its own accord. The squeal of runners made her wince, and sure enough, behind her came another mighty bellow of frustrated anger and unquenchable hunger.
It was only now that she realised that ever since entering the Mall, there was illumination... not  bright, only the emergency generator doing its thing, but its flickering neon lighting was enough  for her to see quite clearly... except for in those dark oh so darkest, sinister corners.
A small toy store lay before her. It looked like it had been recently looted, judging by the state of the place. Adjoining this small block was a discount shoe stockroom. Footwear spilled onto the floor hither and thither from the disarray of racks. But it was the zombie shambling towards her which most caught Dakota`s attention.. another followed close on its heels.
BLAM! BLAM! Went Jack and Jill, and the lead most cadaver, probably once an attractive looking woman - now  splattered the walls with her pale green hued gore. Once again, Dakota was thankful she wasn’t too close to the thing when her weapon fire hit it. She pressed the trigger again, hitting the second zombie in the kneecap. It staggered and went down for just a moment and in that instant, she was in and on the vile creature before it had time fully to recover.
She swung her weapon, heavily pistol whipping it in the side of the head: and the thing collapsed at her feet and lay twitching for a moment. But this time Dakota wasn’t so lucky and a dollop of green goo from the zombie`s head, splattered her semi bare chest. Dakota screamed in pain, clasping at herself... and only succeeded in getting yet more of the nasty stuff on her hands.
{{1D6 Hits: divide by two – round down = she took 2 hits}}
Using a discarded piece of wapping paper she spotted on the floor, the blooded woman worked in a frenzy to clean as much of the stuff from her skin as possible. The skin would smart and itch like hell for a while, but she would survive the wound.

It was only then, that she was suddenly aware of a lone figure standing... silent, and as still as a statue in the far corner of the shoe store. She jumped, visibly, and almost screamed a second time. She stood open mouthed and staring at this apparition, with stark horror momentarily etched on her visage. It reminded her of something out Stephen King`s “IT.” It was a frickin clown! A hideous dishevelled, honest to fucking god clown!
“hi”  it said, with a deep guttural welcome, and waves an arm once, like it was cleaning a window. This alone nearly made Dakota put two barrels into its chest. But she barely stopped herself just in time. It was a man, for all his macabre appearance. In normal times he would have looked funny... a delight for the children as he no doubt handed out balloons and Candy to the greedy little brats out shopping with `mom.` His face paint was smudged, and he had a silly metal and rubber Honk Honk maker in one hand, in his other he wielded a nasty looking machete which she noticed, was dripping with fresh, very dark coloured blood. Patches of pale florescent green gore was mingled with the crimson.




“Hi” he said again lamely.  “Don`t worry, I won’t hurt you!” he added, in that same quiet, though almost empty tone.


Dakota raided her right arm a little higher: “I`m the one holding a fucking gun pointed at your head, Mister!”


The clown smiled.


“Yes but I`m the one holding the fucking keys to the Mall.” He replied, tilting his head slightly and smiled slightly wider. That cold smile made the woman shiver involuntarily.


Behind Dakota, now seemingly even closer, something big roared.


“I suggest we get moving.... talk later?” the clown reasoned in a level tone, and gestured to a door, half hidden behind a high pile of boxes and a tall shoe stand.


After a moment, she nodded stiffly in agreement and pressing necessity: lowering her weapon as she did so... and pushing past the man (to show she was not afraid of him) she walked slightly ahead. She paused a moment, looking over her shoulder,. “You coming?” She said.

 
 
End of Part One.
 
 
Part Two coming - SOON!
Thank You to Bryan.... without whom this story wouldn`t have happened. But when he `gifted` me Dekota last year (because he knew I loved the figure so much and couldn`t find one myself), I wonder if he knew the use I`d put her to in my games hehe.
 
Article written by Steve.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


38 comments:

  1. Stunningly outstanding Stevie. You wield a pen with the precision of an acrobat. I absolutely loved this, and can’t WAIT to see the rest of the story unfold. I have fallen in love with Dakota already.. I`m rooting for her so much; and that clown (whoever he is) really creeps me out big time.

    I`m loving how you have turned Zombicide from a boardgame mentality into something totally different and DOESNT demand you play always with four or six survivor minis.. which, to me was always a big letdown about the game, the fact its intrinsically built into the game default to be played that way. You`ve broken the mould and shown it can be done. I like how you`ve taken all the Zombicide components and made the game yours, and your own rules too. Wow, you got that one past me, I didn’t even know you`d written this set of rules. I know you were going to, but didn’t realise you`d actually starter and finished them too.

    Photos are lovely too. Its good to see you finally showcasing your models a bit more lately, which is something I know you very rarely do.

    I love this, thank you for the time you spent making it for us all to enjoy.

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    1. Awwwwwww thanks hun. Truth to tell, this game nearly never got written. All last week and into this week, life in general has gotten absolutely in the way and made it impossible to play any games at all. This morning was literally the only time we had to play it all out (to its conclusion... with me hurriedly taking notes and photos throughout), and I only started writing it all up into an article about 2 o clock this afternoon lol.

      My original novel was set firmly in Britain, but because of the nature of Zombicide, I`ve taken the tale across the pond this time, to the good old US of A. But it does all tie in to the same original book premise.

      I`m really glad you approve of the article Hils xx

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    2. Oops I meant Tar` (wrong one hahaha)

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  2. By the way, who's playing Dakota?

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  3. I am sweetie.

    Nice work Stevie. You`ve made the game come alive as much as you have the world its set in. Goes to show, an own world setting for a game always comes up dividends in the end.

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    1. Thanks Hils, I`m glad you like it. Actually, it was as much fun to write as it was to play... once I was finally able to get started.

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  4. Whilst I was expecting a post today (and may have been checking my 'phone on and off to see if it was up yet), I'd forgotten we were doing Zombicide next. Although, with your own set of rules, it's not really Zombicide. Gripping stuff, especially with what appears to be an abomination(?) running about. Look forward to part two.
    And the acronym for you rules is GWAMF, which obviously means that you are the "GWAMF-father"... (If that makes you imagine the girl from Poltergeist saying it, my work here is done. *tee hee*)

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  5. HAHA, hi Jez. Great to hear from you as always (I wish I had one of those super doper phones {{which ALL the kids own.. but sadly, not meeee}} but my little brain can hardly handle my old dinosaur `last decade` one, let alone handle all that touch sensitive predict text high falutin` stuff.... Sad init :-(

    An Abomination huh, hmmmm now there`s an idea *wink* Sign in next week for the answer to that one (answers on a postcard please). My, my, that would throw a real spanner in the works wouldn`t it, a real conundrum – especially as I threw out all the abomination cards from the pile, except one (seriously I removed all but two from the entire deck for this scenario) hehehe.

    GWAMF hahaahaha, oh gosh, as Fagin in “Oliver” would sing “I think I`d better think it out again.” Oh God Poltergeist II is creepy, that priest chanting “God is in his holy temple” really gives me the Heebie-jeebies. *sighs* ah well, I`ll take a pill and try hard to think no more about it lol.

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  6. btw.... An abomination is in the card deck, the other is a surprise, and hopefully for the heroes, is a non show.

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  7. Oooh, I'm intrigued now. What could be worse than an abomination?
    I've also added a 'recipe' for a Jack o'Lich in the comments on my last post.
    And a final question to Tarot - I tried sending you an email, but it bounced it back. Are you no longer using the Gmail account?

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  8. I personally don`t use gmail much. I`ve been known to have mail sitting in there for weeks without even knowing.

    Tar` closed her one long ago due to problems with the account I believe) but she has a new one now... I`ll send it to you via an email. She`s not here at the moment as she`s winging her way to Warfare - as of earlier. But I`m sure she`ll get any message you send her.

    Oo, I`ll go check your `Crow` comments now.

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  9. Thanks Steve. I was only going to give her my mobile number, so we could meet up at Warfare. I assume you've given her a shopping list? Not that you NEED any more figures, of course...

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    1. Cool Jez. I`ve sent her a message and gave her your email addy. She should get it for sure.

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    2. shopping list *looks sheepish* oh how you know me *chuckles*

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  10. Somehow a "good" clown is worse than an "evil" clown!! Just shoot him Dakota and steal the keys, you won't regret it....

    Nice write up Steve, reads well and I like the fact you've adjusted the game to your requirements. Enjoy!

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    1. {{Somehow a "good" clown is worse than an "evil" clown!! Just shoot him Dakota and steal the keys, you won't regret it....}}

      Oh Andy, you have nooooo idea how close that was to happening. Dakota could have you know! She was standing at point blank range and could have really messed up the clown real good if she had wanted to. To this day, I don`t know how she stopped herself `having a go` at him hehe.

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  11. That was a really good read, Steve. It was so nice to finally see your painted version of Dakota at last. I know you've had her a long time.

    My one and only gripe about this article is that it was most definitely not Zombicide. Once you threw the rulebook and character cards away and used your own home-brew rules set it no longer became Zombicide. For sure, you're using Zombicide figures and tiles but they don't make it a Zombicide game. It is the rules that define a game. I have no problem with people making changes to a rules system or adding house rules. I do it myself. But when you use a totally different set of rules then you can no longer call this game Zombicide. This was a Steve's Home-brew Zombie Apocalypse game. Like I said, it was a very good game, but it wasn't Zombicide.

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  12. I hear you Bryan mate, and I concur with you... slightly *wink*

    But I got a good come back for ya *grins*

    There is a massively popular rule system out there (now a bit old fashioned, as its way over twenty years old now.... maybe nearer 30) and its called Hordes of the Things – HOTT for short. It was originally put out there by WRG for fantasy wargamers, but over the years, people started to use the system to make HOTT Sci-fi, HOTT Napoleonics, HOTT World War II, etc etc. It didn`t even LOOK much like the original game most the time with these adaptations, but you could still see (if you looked hard) the original system still there as a foundation. Same with Dungeons and Dragons, you now have people using D&D to play modern settings from Cold War, Vietnam, to Uganda. Or you can take Richard Borg’s Battle Cry or Command and Colours (boardgames for playing Napoleonics and American Civil War, respectively), but people often use the components to play American Revolution or Frederick the Great... I`ve even seen it used to play Spanish Civil War, and at its extreme end... Lord of the Rings. All these games I have mentioned (and I could mention many many many more) use the components of the original game and many of the original rules as well – usually using the games title and tagging on the conversion name as well: like HOTT Napoleonics, or HOTT WWII, Command and Colours WWI and so on and so forth. In my case I went Zombicide - A Twilight World because I use all the figures, all the components, and a lot of the Zombicide rules. SO surely, this IS still only a variation on a theme?

    I did the same with Heroclix, remember mate... in fact you came up with the new title for that onne and proof read and came up with many of the initial ideas for that cool adaption, Heroclix Redux you named it yourself. That was a rewritten set of rules (using some of the original ones, but mostly a rewrite of an existing game) but you never said at the time “Thats no longer Heroclix Steve” *grins*

    In this case, my Zombicide game was merely an evolution of the original game, and a mature `growing up` and `maturing` of a system that is already great... I just turned it into a game that plays more like a rpg (for those who like that sort of thing) version of the game as an almost naturally development from boardgame to boardgame rpg. I have seen similar things done with Heroscape, HeroQuest, Bloodbowl, and (would you believe) Arkham Horror. I`ve seen an amazing Star Wars game made out of Arkham Horror. Sticking with Star Wars a minute... I`ve seen a amazing Star Wars Steampunk version of Mayfair Games table top semi rpg version, stripped down, its not even the same game anymore, but people still call it MGSSW (Mayfair Games Steampunk Star Wars).

    End of the day, its a tricky one Bryan. For me it was a case of, do I call it a home brew zombie batrep and have everyone go “oh look, hes using Zombicide figures, tiles, cards and many of the rules” or should have called it Zombicide, as I did and then make it clear I have changed things (within the body of the work itself). I chose the latter, simply because it still has enough about it to justify the title.

    I think what makes it hard to see the rules in action (and just how much of Zombicide remains in my version) is that I tend to hide rule components in my batreps, as most people do nowadays. People want to read a bit of a good story and be allowed to forget about the rules while they are reading... which is the ultimate aim of us all, surely? A good game of Dungeons and Dragons for example, run by a good DM, allows you to forget the rules even exist, as you get wrapped up in the story, not the intricate mechanics of the rolls of the dice. If I were writing it for beginners, then of course, I would how the rules in action, but this was written more for people who already known the original game with some familiarity.

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    1. Good answer, good comeback. You are right that if you write your batreps as a narrative then the rules or either ignored completely or only briefly mentioned, as you did with the acid damage info you mentioned in red. I take your point and I agree, it was a tough call to make. By the way, in no way were my comments meant to detract from what was a very exciting and well told story.

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    2. oh gosh, I know I know: it never even occurred to me that you were doing so. Sometimes I get to caught up and excited in my replies that it might look like I`m being defensive, but in fact that's just me really getting into the discussion.

      It was a hard call to whether still call in Zombicide, and I wondered if you (being the Zombicide King) would like it, love it, be indifferent to it, or question it. My distain for some of the original game mechanics also came out in my `mid article` discussion about the rules and my decisions to change things and mix things up a bit was strongly voiced. What I failed to do was make it clear that my rewrite still uses a heck of a lot of the rules... as are, and fundamentally unaltered; and the stuff I`ve changed is more additions to, rather than just different (to make it more rpg theme-y) for the sake of being different. Obviously the combat system now works a bit differently (but not as much as you might think) and runs on needing to make a 5+ to hit (whether rolling a D6, D8, D10 etc), and the hit is an opposed roll against the Armour class of the target (called Iron), but it still means the Zombicide equipment cards are still completely compatible with the new rules in every way.

      What the new rules DO though, is make the Zombies a heck of a lot tougher to take down... en masse, as it were. A survivor now needs to think very carefully before wading into a full herd. I figured (by watching many films and reading books) that the fundamental thing about surviving zombies is to avoid them full stop, where humanly possible. So lots of distracting them (zombies are a bit thick and easy to confuse) evading them, sneaking past them, and NOT allowing them to get your scent is a very good idea too.

      So yeah, I took Zombicide and made it into more of a game I could play and write tales about. As opposed to it being a slaughter fest boardgame.

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    3. No arguments from me that Zombicide is a slaughter-fest boardgame. It is... and that's a massive reason why I love it so much! It was the same as when I played my "Feng Shui" campaign. The body count in that was higher than in some wars! I have to admit that sometimes, but not always, I love a bit of mindless slaughter in a game. However, I also like more cerebral or challenging games that make me think. Turning Zombicide into more of a role-playing game is a move that is to be highly commended. You have me hooked!

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  13. hehe, and glad you like Dakota, she`s cool isn't she ^^

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    1. Dakota is both a great figure and a great character as you have defined her. Yes, I too, am definitely rooting for her.

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  14. Not sure he made it clear, reading back through the post comments, that in re-writing Zombicide to a Chibi World spin off, we sat and worked out e-v-e-r-y last rule of the official game and took copious notes, making sure that when it came to the actual mechanics themselves, most things for it were left intact within the game, so Zombicide remained in place, but was altered to fit within the frame of the new creation. However, some rules had to go, as they simply ground the game down too much. So all the Zombicide Skills are still there.. just with some new names and where needed, new definitions and how to apply them. The cards are still all used too, but now the Zombicide decks are a lot more customisable (allowing you to add in or take out what you need to suit your scenario, if the game in hand suits that purpose better. In this after action report, for example, he simply took lots of the cards out to better fit the story). The tiles and the characters/survivors are all the same.. same names even: but now allows you to make up your own too if you choose to – even using the existing Zombicide miniatures. He simply, as he says, `hides` rule mechanics from AAR`s (as he writes these mostly nowadays for game magazines, it is the style most required by the editors and concept people, as they read more smoothly).

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    1. I fully understand now, Hil. Thanks for clarifying what Steve had told me. I hope I didn't cause any offence.

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  15. Oh Bryan, we are both sitting here laughing happily and saying how much fun it is to discuss Zombicide in this way with a real expert - you. The thought of offense was never further from our minds sweetie. I just saw an opening and thought I should clarify a bit. Stevie tends to get so wrapped up in the nitty gritty of the mechanics when in discussion, that he forgets to explain the basic things (assuming everyone else is where he is in his thought process). I`m always telling him to s----l---o---w down a bit as no one can just guess what he's on about unless he explains in black ad white at times hehehe.

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  16. yes I`m so offended....... gimme your 24 inch Vampirella as recompense *winks and grins*

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  17. on a serious note a moment, that completely reminds me (I`d utterly forgotten) the SDE package you were kindly sending me, I never got it. I checked the post office and everything but they say nothing ever arrived. I was going up the wall with worry, but was afraid to say anything to you in case it had got lost.

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    1. Have no fears, my friend. I have them both ready for posting. I was planning on posting them to you in December as your birthday and Christmas presents. My fault for not telling you sooner but in truth it totally slipped my mind. You will definitely be receiving them both... but not just yet. I will e-mail you on the day I post them, okay?

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  18. wooohoooo thank you thank you thank you. I`ll stop worrying now then phewww!!!! I was really dreading telling you that THIS particular amazing thing was lost in the either.... images of some six year old kid receiving it by mistake and adding the contents to his Telly Tubby Lego was flitting through my head.

    YOUR December pressie is already picked by the way but not tellin` ya what it is... but you`ll frickin` love it, I think.

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    1. It is my fault entirely, Steve. I should have told you I was holding them back until December. But they are sitting safely in a box just waiting to be posted.

      Oh, a surprise pressie! I do like surprises. I get so few these days. Whatever you send will be gratefully received, i assure you. Thank you in advance for... whatever it is!

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    2. I WANT to get you both.. what ever it is, but I am waiting to see if I can afford both in time for Crimble. Even if just the one, it should really enhance things for you, especially as its your favourite subject.

      But as Forest Gump would say: "that's all I got to say about that" *spoken in an American southern drawl*

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    3. Well I know what my favourite subject is but I still have no idea what it or they could be. It's just as well I'm patient. The surprise will be all the more sweeter for not knowing what it is.

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  19. Awwwww, timing for him will be perfect as I happen to know he/we have a whole bunch of SDE stuff planned for here as soon as we can find time to start that ball rolling. Note, I say SDE not chibis, as we want to concentrate on that aspect throughout 2017 a bit more instead of Chibi World. And with Legends just around the corner as well (though they are now hinting release date for that will be spring time, and I bet its later than that too grrrrr) things for that game have never looked better.

    Well, yes it could be – they could have shipped them out to all their backers already, would have been nice (but like most the big companies they just love that money gathered in to be sitting in their bank account gaining interest while they flannel us with reasons why it’s all so late).

    I personally am looking forward to the nice change of pace back to anime and chibis, but there`s just so much happening at the moment. Ravenloft, Hero and Horror Clix: Black Plague and Brimstone soon to be added to the list of projects to write about, and other equally big things too. Not enough time in the day to do it all, and it’s so frustrating at times, uuugh!!

    But pssssst!!! I`m painting the -------- `thing` when it arrives, he just don’t know it yet. I love hags/witches: it’s my all time favourite iconic D&D monster as it happens.

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    1. Hil, I'm in the same boat. So many projects and not enough hours in the day to devote to all of them. On the other hand, it is nice to be so busy.

      The "thing" you are talking about is an absolutely stunning mini! I have seen some very professional renditions of "it" and it makes me question whether I can ever come close to them? Definitely not, is the answer, but I'll sure have fun trying.

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  20. mmmmmmm, I know. "it" sounds utterly and divinely amazing. Any chance of getting a peek at yours sometime?

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    1. Mine is still unpainted at the moment but as soon as I get "it" painted I'll send you a photo or two.

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