Zombie Albert: Empire of the Dead
The run up to Salute (the UK’s biggest wargames show, this year on April 21) is always an interesting time, as many companies use it to launch new products – it’s rare that I don’t come away with a bag full of miniatures for some game system which I will almost undoubtedly never get around to playing. This year, it’s West Wind Productions’ Empire of the Dead which has caught my eye.
(In case you don’t know West Wind they’re a UK-based company with a wide range of 28mm miniatures, including Historicals, Fantasy, WWII and Gothic Horror. They’ve produced a fair number of small rulesets over the years but it wasn’t until Secrets of the Third Reich that I really took much notice of them.)
Empire of the Dead is a Steampunk skirmish game, in which the Victorian Empire rules a world where technology has taken a huge leap forward, magic is real and monsters stalk the streets of London. It’s all fairly standard stuff, but that’s never a bad thing given that Steampunk seems to be the current flavour of the month.
It looks like they’re launching with a fairly complete range of models, and I’ve interspersed a few of my favourites down the page. As noted, WWP already produce a range of gothic horror figures but these would appear to be mostly if not all new sculpts. I’m just hoping that we get the Zombie Policeman who features in the artwork.
With the game due in a months time, WWP have just released a free set of quick start rules so that people can get a feel for the system. The scenario sees one player trying to harvest organs as Jack the Ripper, whilst their opponent must use Holmes and Watson to chase him down. Also in play are a bunch of the general public (who are moved randomly) and three London Bobbies who are controlled by whoever has initiative until such time as they move close to either Jack or a Victim. All in all, its a nice flavourful scenario and if its a guide to whats in store in the full rulebook then I’m eager to give it a try.
It’s hard to say too much about the rules at this point as what’s provided is obviously just the bare bones of the system. My first thought was that it has quite a lot in common with GW’s Lord of the Rings skirmish game (they share the same dice mechanic for combat), but as I’m fond of that system its no bad thing – there are, after all, only so many ways you can model combat. There’s a smattering of skills and powers given, but the impression that I get is that this will be a fairly streamlined and quick to play game.
If you’re interested in giving the rules a shot, then you can download the Quick Start rules from West Wind Productions’ website.
If only they’d produce a set of figures based around The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, then my gaming life would be complete. Margate Fhtagn pretty much writes itself as a scenario.