Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Día de los Muertos, WWII style

Yesterday was the start of Solo Tabletop Gaming Appreciation month. It was also the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). So what better way to kick off the month than with a solo game with zombies?

Turn 4: I was still very confident this would go my way
For the rules, I used Stephen Gilbert's Solo Semi-Skirmish & Role Playing Wargames System and the scenario Terror Beneath Their Feet from Rattrap Productions. Per the scenario, my objective was to either kill the Axis officer controlling the zombies (not on table until 10 zombies are killed) or destroy the controller itself, all the while dodging, shooting and bludgeoning zombies as they pop up all around us.

Foolishly, I ignored the most basic rule of the horror genre: Don't Split Up! and I made it worse by leaving cover to do so - all for the sake of offing some knocked down zombies. The result of which was that two of my squad with the lowest hit points were out on open ground. I'd say the zombies smelled brains, but they couldn't have - who would run from cover in front of a bunch of zombies?
The zombies close in on Pvts. Hawk and Standing.

Sarge and Pvt. Kneeler fight their way over to the hapless duo.

 Things are under control again. I breathe a sigh of relief. Prematurely.
A few turns later, all hell broke loose.  Both Hawk and Standing were done for (I didn't get any pictures of their grisly demises). Kneeler and Sarge managed to keep off the zombies long enough to get the Axis officer on the board - who decided to join in the fray by spraying his submachine gun from cover.

Between the officer's accurate shooting and the arrival of more zombies (I had every zombie mini I own on the table), Pvt. Kneeler was inevitably  done in. 

It was all up to Sarge.

As a final act of desperation, he ran for cover while he unloaded his Tommy gun at the Axis officer. If he could just bring down the officer, the zombie threat would be neutralized and he'd be safe. If not, all hope would be lost.

As an aside, in Gilbert's rules, card draws are used to determine hits. The submachine gun gets 6 cards. 

I held my breath and drew:



Although he fights on, driven by a desire to live and to crush the Nazi war machine, the zombie horde soon overwhelms him and it's just a matter of time.

It was a fun game although it dragged a bit. This is more than likely due to my modifications of the rules to handle zombies and the requirement that only a head shot can kill them.

I definitely like the rules as written but since the most you can have is 10 pts of actions per turn (which at best means 10 figures move on open ground), most of the zombies, who numbered 30 on the board by the end of the game,  often appeared to be standing around doing nothing (perhaps they were moving imperceptibly?) .

Melee is not quickly resolved given that saves are allowed on each hit.  This is great in a small skirmish Pulp or VSF game with a handful of characters/figures per side, which I believe is exactly what the rules are designed for. But with unlimited hordes of the undead, who require a head shot (which I ruled was K, Q or J) it really slowed things down- resulting in knockdowns (hits on zombies that don't kill them) and a general slogging match between sides. 

Overall, though I liked the effect it had, particularly at the end of the game where it really felt like a desperate fight against a zombie swarm.


  1. Nice report -- I'll have to check out Stephen Gilbert's Solo Semi-Skirmish & Role Playing Wargames System.

  2. Thank you!

    And do check out Mr. Gilbert's rules when you can. There's a lot there for a free download.

    In addition to the wargame rules proper, he includes a system for producing plots/scenarios using card draws and something he calls IN-RADIC, which is a Mythic GME-type approach for handling yes/no questions but using 2d6 instead of percentile dice.


    Please enjoy...... with my complements :))