Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Zomtober is here!

"Tempus Fugits", and it's certainly fugited this year! October already, and I haven't managed to get my act together in preparation for the great Zomtober event. I've got some survivors that need painting, but other than an undead dragon that's awaiting pigment application, I've currently got no unfinished zombies in da house!

October is also insanely busy gigs-wise (actually our busiest month this year - why are we so popular for Halloween parties??!!), so this years challenge is going to be a real, erm, challenge!
More of the Zomtober activities to follow in their own dedicated posts, along with links to this years participants blogs.

Unfortunately, I've still not had the opportunity to fit in any of the games that are queuing up to be played (and written up), and I just know I'll be "binge playing" as soon as I get the chance - I've also been giving some thought about what to do when my "gaming table" is in use as a modelling bench, and have my own take on "Travel Battle" in the pipeline, using Irregular Miniatures 2mm minis and terrain.

Now, as promised, some thoughts on "All Things Zombie - Evolution".
The title is really fitting, because Ed has really made some BIG changes to our beloved ATZ game! I'm not one of the 'old hands' since I cut my teeth on Final Fade Out, but the veterans out there who started playing with Better Dead Than Zed and earlier will find massive changes to "THE" zombie apocalypse game.

I'm not sure how to tackle this - posting details of the rules would probably breech various copyright laws, so I'll do my best with generalisations. Ed is posting examples of play on the THW blog, which you'll find over in my list on the right hand side bar >>>>>>>

First off, let me say that the game is extremely streamlined with most of the changes aimed at speeding up play - for example, the introduction of "battle boards" which dispense with measuring distances for movement and firing. Also new rules for actions like "Searching Buildings" are very much simplified - two battleboards are supplied with the rules, but you can optionally treat each 1ft square of your old table as a 'battleboard'.
For us folks who prefer to play over a 3ft x 3ft table and don't like the 'abstract' nature of the battle boards (all movement and firing is restricted to just the battle board area - the rest of the table is 'ignored'), there's a free download supplement titled "ATZ Tabletop Convention Play" ( I think "Conventional" play would be more explanatory), and here we find all the familiar mechanics along with some additional 'new' content.
Of course, there just had to be changes to the old "In Sight" test....... is this the most tweaked rule in the history of the game?

Other significant changes include a new method of increasing/decreasing Rep in campaigns, a new class known as "Sheeple" who are neither Gangers or Survivors, new (simplified) age groups, and (I really like this one) gone are the 'standard' 3 PEF's per encounter..... the number is now randomised and weighted so there's the probability of fewer in rural areas, more in suburbs and most in urban environments!
Players who like to 'Talk the Talk' will either love or hate the new "Interaction" rules,  and my own star character Brad will need to have a read of the new "Companionship" rules considering his relationship with Hannah!
What I don't want him looking at are the new "Fame and Fortune" rules - Stars decide on their campaign 'goal' then track their progress via monthly Rep increase/decreases before "Retiring" at the end of a ten year campaign..........

To end, I'll  draw your attention to "The Town", a six area introductory campaign module provided at the end of the main rules.
Oh, and did I mention the "Ragers" or "Smart Zombies"? (or the magic using "Casters", hairy "Lycaons", blood thirsty "Vampires" or Resident Evil 'Alice' - esque "Razors"?) If you're finding survival against zombies and gangers too bland, you have these additional optional classes fully described and given their rules stats to spice up your games!

So, will I be 'Evolving' from Final Fade out?
No. But just as players have ported over their preferred mechanics from older versions into ATZ:FFO, I'll definitely be taking some of the better rules out of this new 'tool box' to use in my existing campaign.
I can also see an opportunity to use a lot of the 'streamlined play' content to allow for quick scenarios and 'side quests' to be played out while I'm away from home gigging!

Sorry for this being yet another late and "wordy" post - normal service WILL be resumed as soon as possible!!


  1. Hi Greg, I found this post very interesting & while I only have a little knowledge of THW, I trying to get my head around High Moon & you come a long telling things like talk the talk are changing & that things like werewolves & vampires have been added in here, so now I wondering should I be picking up these rules as even the insight test has changed.

    Good luck with the dragon & the gigs & worry not when things get to normal we'll still all be here :)

    1. Many thanks Frank, the dragon will be a "bit of a rush job" between gigs since it needs to be done by Sunday (just finished base coating as I type) and we're in Stevenage tomorrow, then Brean Sands on Friday Saturday off (painting the dragon), then Bournemouth Sunday and Monday :-(

      I think anyone NEW to Two Hour Wargames might find the new mechanics a tad easier to learn than the 'older' versions - the latest FREE "Chain Reaction" rules are available to download, and at the price are definitely worth getting ;-)

  2. Great to see a posting from you Greg, go steady with all the gigs.
    Interesting Zombie dragon, shall wait to see what it looks like in painting. your travel gaming looks interesting, never done anything in 2 mm but if it keeps you gaming has to be a good thing.
    Nice to see you've found some bits in the new rules that you can adapt to your current ruleset, which at the end of the day means you're getting the best of both worlds

    1. Thanks Dave - I tried to post a comment on TGC, but got hit by some rogue pop-up which my browser (Firefox) wouldn't let me proceed beyond.
      Fingers crossed I can get the dragon finished as this weeks entry in the challenge, it's proving to be a HUGE break from painting two 2mm armies :-)

      As far as I'm aware, ATZ has a history of players 'porting over' old edition rules into new releases (and vice versa), so "Evolution" is a pretty apt title.
      No doubt the new rules will develop their own fan base, while the Grognards will remain faithful to their personal favourite edition ;-)

    2. If you ever get the pop up hit the close button on it quick and then it works fine, happens to me all the time, and I've no idea where it comes from.

  3. It's good to see you got a bit of time to put this post out, good for you.

    I find the continual re-hashing of rules a bit tiresome. It takes me ages to learn the stuff and by then it's changed.
    If it was no good before why did they sell it and if it's so much better now then discount it to the people they miss-sold to before.
    Good to see your thoughts on the new rules though.
    Try not to work yourselves out, I know that will be easier to say than do.
    Enjoy the late night tipples.

    1. Cheers John - I know I owe you an Email reply, and as soon as I find out exactly what my commitments are I'll let you know :-)
      I agree in general with your rules comments, and would also question the morals of the companies that churn out regular "New Editions" in expensive hardback format to the 'tournament' players.... and releasing the latest "official" minis to coincide with the new tomes of course! ;-)

      I'll gladly take your advice, and was pleased to have 'most' of today off, but STILL enjoying a late night tipple :-)

  4. As soon as I saw your undead dragon I thought "hello, that looks familiar!" At first I thought it was an AD&D zombie dragon, but when I checked my old AD&D posts I discovered it was the Dracolich. See here for my painted version of it -

    Regarding ATZ:Evolution, I had no intention of buying it, as I still think FFO is the best version of ATZ. But right out of the blue, Ed sent me a free PDF copy of Evolution, just yesterday. Once I've read it I'll compare notes with you but I seem to be in agreement with your comments. For what it's worth, I want MORE detail from my zombie games, not LESS, which is why I fancy starting a new contemporary zombie campaign using the N.O.W. RPG rules by EN Publishing, with some of the rules from ATZ:FFO.

    1. Many thanks Bryan - to be honest, I do remember your Dracolich when you posted it as part of your showcase of the "Castle Ravenloft" minis :-)

      Yes please, once you've had a good read of Ed's generous offering, I'd really appreciate your thoughts on "Evolution". For me it's the Goldilocks syndrome... "This set are too simplified, this set are too complicated, but ATZ:FFO are JUST RIGHT!" ;-)
      Though I'll also follow with interest your new N.O.W campaign if you do decide to take that route!

  5. Thanks for the quick review, I'm one of the old school ATZ/BDTZ but didn't even manage to get in a game before the rules changed in the Haven Supplement and then again in the I Zombie supplement.
    As an example of rule 'evolution' originally, anyone within 8" of a target, rolled a reaction for "receiving fire"; this then changed to 4" and subsequently to just the target. Of course there was no explanation (that I could find) but why was it so in the first place?
    Fast movement has gone a similar 'eveolution' as has the infamous "In Sight" test of course. The latter doesn't confuse me, more than perplex me. I'm always wondering when I should use the "In Sight" test as opposed to the "Meet and Greet".
    I'm pretty sure that ATZ Evolution will exsperate me and I won't be going out of my way to get a copy.
    In Evo does a REP 5 Star (now almost unkillable) can ride a uni-cycle downhill firing a sub-machinegun and still have a good chance of hitting three zeds ?

    1. Cheers Joe, glad you enjoyed the mini review, and I'm with you on all the points you raised :-)
      I'm pretty sure a lot (most?) of use "fudge" the In Sight ruling to make it 'fit' the situation - after all, our characters aren't always just walking around and NOT expecting to contact the hostiles!
      I'll have to get back to you about Rep5 superheroes in "Evolution", I've read through, but not looked in enough detail or tried it out ;-)

  6. Thanks for your thoughts on "ATZ: Evolution"; I'll be watching for other reviews with considerable interest. Hmm, now that I think about it, I seem to have had the most fun games with ATZ:BDTZ :-( . I wonder if that's just the rosy glow of nostalgia rather than a real thing, though?

    Zombtober: I'm hoping that my own preparations are a little better than yours :-) .

    1. I dunno if it's all down to nostalgia, I'm sure we all have a soft spot for some early edition sets of rules that introduced us to a favourite genre - the "Oldhammer" community is based around that very syndrome :-)

      I'm sure EVERYONE's Zomtober prep has been better than my frantic scavenger hunt ;-)

  7. Good to see you back :) Hopefully in between gigs you can find time to knock out some cool stuff for Zomtober.

    Interesting stuff about ATZ, appreciate your thoughts on both the good and bad.

    1. Still chipping away here Ivor, and the "challenge" is a brilliant spur for my enthusiasm :-)

  8. Best of luck take your time with your dragon don't feel you have to post every weekend just do an in progress update for it. :)

    1. Cheers Simon, taking part in the weekly challenge is a useful excuse for me to make time for my hobby while things are this busy - also, my mediocre "Work" doesn't merit any "In Progress" reports ;-)