Ghouls on Film: 7ombieTV II

Last time saw me take a look through Crooked Dice’s new 7ombieTV rulebook, so it seems only right to follow that up by taking a look at a game in progress.  To make things easy I went for a solo mission based on the Cabin in the Woods scenario from the book, but running it with just 100 points of Survivors and the same in Zombies.

Set up

So much for a quiet weekend at the Lake House…

I went for a simple nuclear family style group of survivors – Mum, Dad and two kids.  Using the profiles in the book, I made Dad a Natural Survivor (star), Mum a Cop (co-star) and then the two girls a Survivor (extra) and a Kid (extra).  Each archetype comes with a standard set of skills and weapons, but you can pay extra points to improve these or add new ones.  I made Mum a crack shot with her rifle (Police standard issue, apparently) and gave Dad a Machete.  The older girl got a knife, as well.  Survivors get Luck Points, which can be spent on re-rolls – my family started with a pool of 7.

Zombie set-up was easy – the survivors totalled roughly 100 points and as basic Zeds are 5 each that meant the family would be facing 20 of them.

The board was set up on a 4′ x 4′ surface, with the family inside the house and the Zombies coming on in a semi-circle from the board edges.

The last thing to do was allocate Scavenger cards.  As the family have been caught fairly unawares, they didn’t start with as many as normal.  Luckily, the younger girl had the Scavenge (2) skill so I got to draw two cards at the start.  She found a Gas Can (use an action to kill one knocked down model), which she kept for herself, and she gave Dad a Pool Cue (+1 Strength in close combat).

Now all our heroes have to do is survive the twelve turns until morning.

Turn 2: the noose tightensTurns One & Two

At the start of each turn you need to allocate activation tokens.  Each side gets half as many as they currently have figures on the table.  Each token allows the figure to take two actions.  Zombies without an activation token can still take a single move action, but that’s all.

With four survivors on the board, they receive two activation tokens per turn which went to Mum & Dad.  As both of them have the Leader (1) skill, when they activate they can add a token to any unactivated figure within 6″.  This meant that as long as they stayed near the girls all four would get to activate.

Both turns saw the Zombies win the initiative roll by one point, giving them one audience appreciation token.  Luckily, Zombies are Slow so can only spend one action per turn on moving.  This meant that the first two turns just saw them slowly shamble their way towards the house.

Mum took her rifle outside and starting shooting Zombies.  As it was dark and at long range, she used the survivor’s heroic action (one per turn) to improve her chances to hit.  Both turns saw her take down a Zombie, but in each case she failed the Hard to Kill roll meaning that they might still come back (you roll at the end of each turn for every dead survivor or Zombie which has been reduced to 0 health but not killed – on a 6 they get back up).

In turn one Dad helped the girls barricade the back door (each entrance can have up to three barricade tokens), before heading outside to help Mum hunt Zombies.  Whilst her older sister finished off the barricade, turn two saw the younger girl searching the cabin for anything useful.  She succeeded, and a draw from the Scavenge Deck gave her some Hollow Point ammo (+1 to Hard to Kill rolls) which she gave to Mum.

Turn Three

Human initiative.  Blam! With the aid of the Hollow Point ammo, Mum finished off her first Zombie. Dad manages to knock another down.  The Zombies continued to close in.

Turn 4: Falling back into the houseTurn Four

Zombie initiative.  Mum had misjudged her distances, and one Zombie moved into contact with her and took a grab – luckily it missed.  Meanwhile, three had reached the back door and with all of them hacking at the barricade it was torn apart (Zombie’s get a strength bonus for each extra Zed in contact with their target).

Mum retreated inside and took a shot at the Zombie which had attacked her.  She missed, so spent a Luck point to reroll – this hit, wounded and a headshot saw the Zombie go down for good.  Dad followed her in and threw some chairs in front of the door.  At the back door, both girls quickly rebuilt their flimsy barricade.  One of the knocked down Zombies crawled back to its feet.

Turn Five

Human initiative.  Dad took a shot through a hole in the front door and knocked down a Zombie, then worked to strengthen the barricade.  Mum moved forward for another shot, sending another Zed tumbling over, shot neatly through the brain.  The girls franticly brought the back door barricade back up to full strength, however on the three Zombies on the other side tore their way back through the hastily positioned protection.

Turn 6: Dead endTurn Six

Zombie initiative.  With the back door wide open, and three hungry Zombies almost on top of the two girls its probably time we leave this cosy family scene behind…

Conclusions

As I mentioned in the first part, this ruleset does an excellent job of feeling like a Zombie movie.  Survivors are out-numbered, and despite all your careful planning a few unlucky rolls can see their plans (and barricades) pulled apart.  Meanwhile, the Zombies just keep lurching forwards in search of prey.  As this was a small game to try out the basic concepts, there were a few things which I left out such as morale, most of the special abilities and event cards.  Its nice that the rules scale well and you’re free to add bits in as you go without feeling like you’re playing too basic a game.

Whilst not the most in-depth set of Zombie rules on the market (which is no bad thing), 7ombieTV combines a strong theme and fairly simple rules to provide a fun yet tense system which is open to all manner of games.  The included scenarios give you some good ideas to start with, whilst the points system should allow you to ensure your own ideas are reasonably balanced in play.

I’ve played a fair few of the available Zombie games – both miniature and board, and this is definitely my favourite so far.

One last thing to note – although I didn’t mention it above, gunfire tends to be unwise as it gives the Zombies additional activation tokens.  This wasn’t too much of an issue whilst they were shambling in, as Zeds can only move once per turn.  Once they’re in close though, those extra actions mean more attacks.

Update:

In response to the question below, only the rules came from Crooked Dice – they do some nice figures, but their stuff is more along the lines of 60/70s action TV.  Everything else is from my own collection, so I’ve linked the manufacturers in below.  That said, you could just as easily use cardboard counters, a print & assemble house and a bit of green felt as your playing surface.  The figures from the Zombies!!! boardgame would do the job, although I think they’re 20mm-ish scale.

The board is made up of four 2′ square pre-painted/flocked terrain boards from Total System Scenic.

The Zombies are from Mantic Games‘ Kings of War range.

The family are from Heresy Miniatures, with the parents bearing a stunning resemblance to the current stars of a certain Saturday night BBC family show.

The farmhouse is part of EM4 Miniatures Walled Farm set (it’s actually the barn).

Author: Dan

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3 Comments

  1. What’s the deal with all board and pieces?

    I guess you buy the book and you can choose to play with paper and coins or buy all the models and stuff from them extra?

  2. I’ve updated the post with details of where the various figures & scenery come from, although you’re quite right in saying that you could just as easily use paper and coins to play.

  3. Nice piece. It sounds a fantastic game and makes me want to play. Don’t know if I’ve got the patience or skill to go down the whole war games route but I’d love to give it a go

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