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  AN ONGOING NEWSLETTER November 2007


Zombies in the Zone!
The Walking Dead Return
by Arjen Pilon

Zombies: You think you've dealt with 'em, but they keep coming back.

Zombies have been dealt with in the CoZoChron twice before: In Pete Garnhams "Night Of The Living Dead" and in Robin Hill's aptly named "Zombies". Since neither really fit my opinion on how to best represent these creatures in games, I chose to write my own rules.

There are two main differences between these zombie rules and the previous ones.

The first is that these zombies do not have a fixed program, but are controlled by a player as he wishes. This rules out any abuse of their automatic nature such as sending in bait, and having zombies move back and forth between two targets.

The second is that head shots are dealt with separately from regular shots, in a way that puts more emphasis on figure quality than on weapon strength.

Using zombies in games:

A zombie costs 12 points, but this value is meant as a guideline only. Zombies are meant for use in scenario based games, as the effectiveness of zombies in a straight firefight depends greatly on the amount of terrain on the table.

The zombies are controlled by an independent player (referred to as the zombie player) and the zombies may not 'ally' with non-zombie models.

They may not be given any equipment other than worn armour (at the normal points cost, but do this only when the scenario calls for it). Hand held armour like a shield is out of the question as well.

Zombie initiative:

As zombies have no leaders they cannot have and do not need group coherency. Each zombie functions as an individual.

Because they do not form groups the usual initiative and activation system does not apply to games involving a zombie player.

Instead, all zombies may be activated in the zombie turn, and the opposing player may activate all of his groups and individuals in his turn.

These turns alternate, so there's no rolling for initiative at the beginning of the turn. Who gets the first turn is dictated by the scenario.

When this is not the case, roll a die to decide. In the case of multiple non-zombie players each non-zombie player finishes all it's activations before moving to the next player.

Alternatively, all zombies move at either the beginning or the end of the turn, and the other players alternate squads as usual. Use whatever fits the scenario and the forces best.

Zombie actions:

Zombies have four action points and are always of average quality, even if it used to be a hero or elite. Zombies may perform the following actions:

Movement:
Turn up to 90 degrees: 0 AP
Move up to 5cm: 1 AP
Move up to 4cm in a combat suit: 1 AP
Turn 91-180 degrees: 1 AP
Move up to 5cm through difficult terrain: 2 AP
Move up to 4cm through difficult terrain in a combat suit: 2 AP

Combat Actions:
Initiate Close Combat 1 AP

General actions:
Open door: 2 AP
Crossing obstacle: 3 AP

Note that zombies do not usually wear combat suits, but it may happen that a member of your squad is bitten and infected, therefore the movement in a combat suit is included above.

Zombies may only initiate close combat with humans and with vehicles or buildings containing one or more live humans. They may not attack robots or animals.

Zombies may not fire firearms (even if they have them), they may not pick up items, and may not drop down. Zombies may not close doors, but they may open closed doors at an increased cost of 2 AP (because opening doors does not come naturally to them).

Zombies may not operate machinery (such as elevators and electrically operated doors). Zombies never suffer a rout reaction but treat it as a panic reaction instead.

Zombies suffer from panic as normal, but recover automatically as do heroes.This represents their getting slowed down by gunfire or close combat rather than them actually panicking.

Zombies automatically treat all other reaction tests as an OK! result, this means they are also able to leave close combat without penalty, even if already panicked.

Shooting at zombies:

Zombies can be destroyed by ranged combat in two ways: by normal shooting, or by shooting them in the head.

Normal shooting:

You can effectively destroy a zombie by rendering most of it's body useless. This will usually take a lot of bullets, or a powerful weapon.

To represent this a zombie shot in the regular way can be destroyed by beating it's toughness of 11+. The downside to this technique is that for most weapons this requires a lot of shots, and more shots attract more new zombies (see "Attracting more zombies" below).

This also makes small firearms such as pistols pretty useless against zombies. Fortunately there's another, more subtle way of taking out a zombie.

Firing a head shot:

The alternative to regular shooting is a shot through the head. Head shots are represented by two new combat actions.

Both are available to all non-zombie models (including robots and replicants) in zombie games. Note that heavy weapons may not be used to fire head shots.

Combat actions:
Fire 1 head shot: 3 AP
Fire an aimed head shot: 5 AP

Fire 1 head shot:

Head shots may only be fired at short range. If you announce a head shot and the target turns out to be at long range the head shot automatically misses, though you must still roll the die to see if any new zombies are attracted by your shooting (see "Attracting more zombies" below).

Firing a head shot works in the same way as a single shot, but instead of rolling to wound against the body's toughness, you have to roll against the toughness of the head, which is 4+ for all models (zombies, humans, gang leaders and heroes alike).

This wound roll is modified by cover, point blank range and armour as normal. A model may fire a regular shot (or burst) and a head shot in the same turn, as long as the total Rate of Fire of the weapon is not exceeded.

Though intended to kill zombies, head shots and aimed head shots may also be used against living human (or animal) models, though generally speaking you're better off shooting them the regular way. Head shots may not be used against machines or vehicles.

Fire an aimed head shot:

Aimed head shots work in the same way as a normal head shot but they have an additional +1 to hit modifier. Note that an aimed head shot is more difficult than a normal aimed shot because the head is simply harder to hit.

An aimed head shot may instead be used to attempt a head shot at long range.

In this case the shooter receives no extra to hit bonuses, but of course the zombie goes down easily if the shot hits.

Attracting more zombies

If any model rolls a 1 to hit for a shooting weapon a new zombie is attracted by the noise of the battlefield. Area effect weapons will attract a new zombie on a roll of 1 or 2 on the scatter D8.

This zombie may be placed by the zombie player immediately. It may be placed anywhere on the table as long as no more than half of the model is visible and it's placed more than 15cm away from all non-zombie models.

Zombies may be placed in (wrecked) vehicles. If no such spot is available the zombie is not placed.

This zombie can be attracted by both regular shots and head shots. For simplicity's sake this rule applies to all ranged weapons, including 'silent' weapons (such as crossbows, silenced pistols and smoke grenades).

Fighting zombies in close combat:

If you think killing off a zombie from a distance is tough, consider killing them in close combat!

Because it's particularly tough to achieve a head shot in close combat, you can only kill a zombie in close combat by beating it's toughness of 11+. Zombies cannot be captured.

Zombies roll 2D6 attack dice in close combat, and benefit from initiating the first round of close combat and from other zombies attacking, as normal.

Zombies roll 2D8 wound dice, apply panic and rout reactions as normal. If the victim is wounded do not remove it from the table as it may become a zombie itself.

Roll a D6 for each zombie in close combat with the victim and total the score. If the result is 10 or more the victim is simply ripped to shreds and devoured, and all zombies in the combat may not activate any more this turn (if they haven't already done so) as they are too busy eating.

Leave the victim in place to indicate that the zombies are eating. At the start of the next zombie turn remove the victim and activate the zombies as normal.

If the total is less than 10 the victim has been bitten but not devoured and turns into a zombie immediately. Replace the figure by a zombie model (keeping note of any armour retained, see below) or place a counter by the figure to indicate that it is now a zombie.

The fresh zombie may not activate anymore this turn but may activate as normal in the next zombie turn. Zombies created in this way keep any armour they are wearing (but they will drop any armour they are carrying such as shields) but otherwise behave as regular zombies.

The zombie scoring the killing bite loses its remaining actions, but other zombies in the combat may activate as normal if they haven't already done so.

New weapons and equipment.

Following the rising undead threat some new equipment has been developed which can be incorporated into your zombie games. They have less value for regular combat zone games.

The Electrocutor Charge Gun - 12 pts

In all it's simplicity the ECG can be described as a lightning gun. An ion beam is 'shot' and locked at a target, after which a high voltage electrical charge is run through it.

This electric charge effectively fries the target, including the brain. The nature of the weapon means head shots are no longer a necessity in taking out zombies because a hit on any location of the zombie body will char the brain.

The downsides of the weapon are its limited range, and it uses a lot of power. EM4 troopers carrying light lasers make perfect ECG specialists.

Range: Point: 3, Short: 25, Long: n/a
RoF: 1D6
Damage: 2D8

Special rules:

In zombie games, the damage of the ECG is worked out against the head's toughness of 4+. Armour and cover modify the wound roll as normal (armour often has some insulating qualities). A successful wound roll will destroy/kill the victim (even if it is a zombie) at once.

This also applies to shots fired at living models. In effect this means the weapon can fire "head shots" for 1AP. The ECG damages machines and vehicles as normal.

The NBC suit - 6 pts

While not originally intended for use against zombies, it has proved it's value on several occasions because every inch of skin is protected by thick rubber, which is difficult to bite and tear through.

The NBC suit gives a -3 armour modifier against zombie attacks. This protection is only offered against zombie attacks, and a model wearing an NBC suit may wear no other form of armour except for a shield.

An NBC suit does not impair movement the way a combat suit does. EM4 sells some excellent trooper models in NBC suits, and one of them even has a light laser (which can be used as an ECG).

Designer's notes:

These rules are the result of a lot of playtesting, but unfortunately that does not mean they are fool-proof.

At the moment the rules favour the zombie player. This means that it may not be very challenging to be the zombie player, but on the other hand it makes being the human player extra challenging.

If you feel the zombies are too hard to beat, play a scenario with less cover or fewer zombies.

Of course you are free to amend these rules further as you see fit. One amendment which may come in handy in some scenarios is omitting the "Attracting more zombies" rule.

When you do this though keep in mind that it will give the zombie player a great disadvantage and therefore the cost for a zombie drops to 6 points each.

Helicopter rescue, a basic zombie scenario

In this scenario a rescue helicopter has landed in the centre of the city, any survivors who make it there in time can be saved.

The survivors:

Each player has 100 points of survivors which he may spend at will. All survivors operate as inidividuals and there is no need for leaders. You may however still opt to make some survivors heroes or gang leaders to increase their chances of survival. A player activates all of his survivors in his own turn.

The zombies:

The zombie player is allowed an equal points value as the survivor players. So with three survivor players the zombie player is allowed 300 points of zombies. Zombies may not be given armour in this scenario.

Setup:

The game is played on a 4'x4' table covered with urban scenery. In the middle a helicopter waits: It will leave at the end of turn six. The zombies are set up first and may be placed anywhere on the table but not within 15cm of any table edge. Each survivor player chooses a table edge and sets up his survivors within 10cm of a table edge. Each survivor must be placed within 15cm of another survivor of the same group.

Who starts first?

The survivor players dice off to see in which order they activate. The zombies activate last.

The chopper:

To enter the chopper a model must be in base contact with the door and expend one action point to get in. The chopper has room for four people before it gets too heavy: If there are four people inside the chopper takes off and the rest of the survivors are left to die.

The chopper will only wait for six turns: At the end of the sixth turn it takes off. The winner is the person with the most people on board the chopper.

The zombie player wins if no one enters the chopper. The chopper cannot be destroyed.

This zombie may be placed by the zombie player immediately. It may be placed anywhere on the table as long as no more than half of the model is visible and it's placed more than 15cm away from all non-zombie models.

Zombies may be placed in (wrecked) vehicles. If no such spot is available the zombie is not placed.

This zombie can be attracted by both regular shots and head shots. For simplicity's sake this rule applies to all ranged weapons, including 'silent' weapons (such as crossbows, silenced pistols and smoke grenades).

Fighting zombies in close combat:

If you think killing off a zombie from a distance is tough, consider killing them in close combat!

Because it's particularly tough to achieve a head shot in close combat, you can only kill a zombie in close combat by beating it's toughness of 11+. Zombies cannot be captured.

Zombies roll 2D6 attack dice in close combat, and benefit from initiating the first round of close combat and from other zombies attacking, as normal.

Zombies roll 2D8 wound dice, apply panic and rout reactions as normal. If the victim is wounded do not remove it from the table as it may become a zombie itself.

Roll a D6 for each zombie in close combat with the victim and total the score. If the result is 10 or more the victim is simply ripped to shreds and devoured, and all zombies in the combat may not activate any more this turn (if they haven't already done so) as they are too busy eating.

Leave the victim in place to indicate that the zombies are eating. At the start of the next zombie turn remove the victim and activate the zombies as normal.

If the total is less than 10 the victim has been bitten but not devoured and turns into a zombie immediately. Replace the figure by a zombie model (keeping note of any armour retained, see below) or place a counter by the figure to indicate that it is now a zombie.

The fresh zombie may not activate anymore this turn but may activate as normal in the next zombie turn. Zombies created in this way keep any armour they are wearing (but they will drop any armour they are carrying such as shields) but otherwise behave as regular zombies.

The zombie scoring the killing bite loses its remaining actions, but other zombies in the combat may activate as normal if they haven't already done so.

New weapons and equipment.

Following the rising undead threat some new equipment has been developed which can be incorporated into your zombie games. They have less value for regular combat zone games.

The Electrocutor Charge Gun - 12 pts

In all it's simplicity the ECG can be described as a lightning gun. An ion beam is 'shot' and locked at a target, after which a high voltage electrical charge is run through it.

This electric charge effectively fries the target, including the brain. The nature of the weapon means head shots are no longer a necessity in taking out zombies because a hit on any location of the zombie body will char the brain.

The downsides of the weapon are its limited range, and it uses a lot of power. EM4 troopers carrying light lasers make perfect ECG specialists.

Range: Point: 3, Short: 25, Long: n/a
RoF: 1D6
Damage: 2D8

Special rules:

In zombie games, the damage of the ECG is worked out against the head's toughness of 4+. Armour and cover modify the wound roll as normal (armour often has some insulating qualities). A successful wound roll will destroy/kill the victim (even if it is a zombie) at once.

This also applies to shots fired at living models. In effect this means the weapon can fire "head shots" for 1AP. The ECG damages machines and vehicles as normal.

The NBC suit - 6 pts

While not originally intended for use against zombies, it has proved it's value on several occasions because every inch of skin is protected by thick rubber, which is difficult to bite and tear through.

The NBC suit gives a -3 armour modifier against zombie attacks. This protection is only offered against zombie attacks, and a model wearing an NBC suit may wear no other form of armour except for a shield.

An NBC suit does not impair movement the way a combat suit does. EM4 sells some excellent trooper models in NBC suits, and one of them even has a light laser (which can be used as an ECG).

Designer's notes:

These rules are the result of a lot of playtesting, but unfortunately that does not mean they are fool-proof.

At the moment the rules favour the zombie player. This means that it may not be very challenging to be the zombie player, but on the other hand it makes being the human player extra challenging.

If you feel the zombies are too hard to beat, play a scenario with less cover or fewer zombies.

Of course you are free to amend these rules further as you see fit. One amendment which may come in handy in some scenarios is omitting the "Attracting more zombies" rule.

When you do this though keep in mind that it will give the zombie player a great disadvantage and therefore the cost for a zombie drops to 6 points each.

Helicopter rescue, a basic zombie scenario

In this scenario a rescue helicopter has landed in the centre of the city, any survivors who make it there in time can be saved.

The survivors:

Each player has 100 points of survivors which he may spend at will. All survivors operate as inidividuals and there is no need for leaders. You may however still opt to make some survivors heroes or gang leaders to increase their chances of survival. A player activates all of his survivors in his own turn.

The zombies:

The zombie player is allowed an equal points value as the survivor players. So with three survivor players the zombie player is allowed 300 points of zombies. Zombies may not be given armour in this scenario.

Setup:

The game is played on a 4'x4' table covered with urban scenery. In the middle a helicopter waits: It will leave at the end of turn six. The zombies are set up first and may be placed anywhere on the table but not within 15cm of any table edge. Each survivor player chooses a table edge and sets up his survivors within 10cm of a table edge. Each survivor must be placed within 15cm of another survivor of the same group.

Who starts first?

The survivor players dice off to see in which order they activate. The zombies activate last.

The chopper:

To enter the chopper a model must be in base contact with the door and expend one action point to get in. The chopper has room for four people before it gets too heavy: If there are four people inside the chopper takes off and the rest of the survivors are left to die.

The chopper will only wait for six turns: At the end of the sixth turn it takes off. The winner is the person with the most people on board the chopper.

The zombie player wins if no one enters the chopper. The chopper cannot be destroyed.


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