Archive for the ‘Zombies’ Category

h1

Halloween in the Caribbean

November 3, 2016

Halloween came and went, and it brought a nice chance for some horror-themed gaming. I obviously wanted to do something a bit more pirate-y this year, so the theme was obvious.

Putting together a game to play with my friends, I went with my go-to ruleset, Flashing Steel by Ganesha Games. I tweaked and simplified it at places for ease of gaming, and then wrapped it in a nice little cocoon of story. The story was a suitable genre piece, with the dread undead pirate captain Armitage Shanks (last seen bothering the Orient) coming to claim charming young Rosalie Underwood for his bride for all eternity at the strike of midnight. To make things easier for him, Shanks decided to bring along an army of the dead as well as two horrible, imaginatively named lackeys, Ghost and Crab man. Luckily a group of heroes was there to thwart Shanks’ evil scheme! The protagonists consisted of dashing captain Pemberton Smythe and his two redcoats, pirate queen Valeriana de Torres with her voodoo priestess Madame Labadie and first mate Benson, Rosalie Underwood’s father with his priestly friend Father Wexcombe and trusted servant Belinda, and Daring Dragoon, the people’s swashbuckling hero.

What followed was an epic battle, with poor Rosalie’s fate hanging in the balance almost up to the last dice rolls of the game. What did we get to see? Our heroes cut down waves upon waves of zombies. Father Wexcombe banishing the ghost with holy water, only to get shot down by Shanks just moments later and brought back as a zombie. The terrifying Crab man crushing poor Daring Dragoon after the hero’s valiant charge. The pirate queen and His Majesty’s captain fighting side by side to buy more time before falling to the claws of Crab man and Shanks’ blade. The voodoo priestess dueling magically with Shanks, pulling the enchanted Rosalie this way and that…and finally, first mate Benson putting a pistol bullet in Shanks’ skull just as the witching hour passed and the forces of darkness withdrew.

It was a blast! We laughed a lot, we rolled a lot of dice, imitated death groans and roars of frustration (thanks Joonas!) and pushed little toy soldiers across the board, all the while overdosing on sugar. What more could you want from a Halloween game?

Shown below are photos of various quality from the game, taken by the various participants on their phones. You can click on any of them for a larger view.

14573037_10154012986554135_2137438047953026384_n

The defenders

14581479_10154109199310749_3676851601036449779_n

Preparing for the forces of evil

14595682_10206759405655206_395519739451889529_n

One of the character sheets I put together

14600899_10154109198790749_7868827646426728095_n

First mate Benson pretty much spent the game standing in this spot killing zombies

14610945_10206759406855236_8511295479360398756_n

The Daring Dragoon’s fateful battle

14633055_10206759407495252_1566699974784562390_n

The Halloween theme extended to the snacks as well

14639826_10154785195198629_727172475103169671_n

Another shot of our heroes, with the Daring Dragoon showing off

14650274_10154621417154493_2281784033036404633_n

SHAME

14910316_10154012984964135_2427133918869627423_n

Father Wexcombe’s heroic moment

14910352_10154109199140749_7548370516502412034_n

A closer look at pirate queen de Torres

14910461_10154012983979135_6499117846319695713_n

Belinda comforts the rescued Rosalie

14925811_10154020472358359_4020673940203237871_n

Our heroes hold off the zombie horde

14938114_10154785198148629_6360552308436314591_n

An aerial view of the starting positions

Shanks and his minions go forth

Captain Smythe half-hidden by a fountain

Captain Smythe half-hidden by some stocks

The battle is won!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Belinda and Rosalie again – a subtext of romance was suggested

A blogger with that good old Innsmouth elegance

A blogger with that good old Innsmouth elegance

I think ending this post after that photo is appropriate.

h1

Different upcoming zombie goodness

June 22, 2016

I can’t remember when I’ve last made one of these posts, but it was years ago. While this blog has obviously drifted far from its roots as a zombie blog with miniature gaming elements, I haven’t lost my interest in the genre. In the last few days I’ve come across two zombie movies that seem interesting and different enough to warrant sharing.

The Girl with All the Gifts 

(Note! The text below contains spoilers for the book of the same name)

The near future; humanity has been all but destroyed by a mutated fungal disease that eradicates free will and turns its victims into flesh-eating “hungries”. Only a small group of children seem immune to its effects.

At an army base in rural England, this group of unique children are being studied, subjected to cruel experiments by biologist Dr. Caldwell. Despite having been infected with the zombie pathogen that has decimated the world, these children retain normal thoughts and emotions. And while still being subject to the craving for human flesh that marks the disease, these second-generation “hungries” are able to think and feel, making them a vital resource in the search for a cure.

The children attend school lessons daily, guarded by the ever watchful Sergeant Parks. But one little girl, Melanie, stands out from the rest. Melanie is special. She excels in the classroom, is inquisitive, imaginative and loves her favourite teacher Miss Justineau.

When the base falls, Melanie escapes along with Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks and Dr. Caldwell. Against the backdrop of a blighted Britain, Melanie must discover what she is and ultimately decide both her own future and that of the human race.

 

In general I’m not too partial to the idea of thinking zombies, but I do like the concept of this one. It also seems to be a refreshing take on the genre, even if we’ve seen the “this child is the key to the cure” storyline many, many times. It might be Britain as a backdrop, but this one also reminded me of 28 Days Later. That’s always a good thing. The movie is coming to UK theatres on September 23.

Seoul Station

Yeon Sang-ho earns his place in the zombie pantheon with this biting animated feature that takes a look at some of South Korea’s biggest social issues through a tale of a father searching for his runaway daughter just as a zombie outbreak is spreading throughout Seoul Station’s homeless population.

I have a soft spot for adult animation (oh, that sounded wrong…) so an animated zombie movie with a Romero-ish political take sounds like a treat. This South-Korean film is apparently doing the festival rounds at the moment.

h1

From the painting desk #38 – Living pirate, dead pirate

November 23, 2015

Two more miniatures for my pirate project, and very different ones at that. The first one is a merchant sailor by Galloping Major Wargames, mercilessly press ganged into service as a pirate:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

A simple paintjob on a lovely miniature, he adds some firepower to my group. I really like the Galloping Major minis, as they’re neat sculpts and very chunky. They’re also very tall, but fit in nicely with the rest of my ranges.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The other miniature is an undead pirate by Black Scorpion Miniatures. I absolutely love this range – the undead pirates are really characterful and evocative of the whole “cursed to wander the seven seas” vibe. I painted the model using a different style than with my living pirates, using plenty of heavy drybrushing to make him more worn and weathered. I used black decorating sand mixed with pizza herbs to create a sort of afterlife base, drawing inspiration from Terry Pratchett’s depiction of The Desert, an afterlife of greyish-black sand, and adding some withered plants for a more maritime feel. I threw in an old GW metal skull for additional effect. I think the end result is quite pleasing, and creates a lovely contrast with the living pirates and their bases of almost white sand, as you can see in the photo below.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

That’s 33 miniatures painted this year, and the pirate project moving along nicely! I’m looking to build a small band of undead pirates as well, because…they’re undead pirates, that’s why.

h1

Halloween fun

November 1, 2015

So, Halloween is behind us, and it was a blast! We had a few friends over for gaming, too much food and a movie, and while sadly a couple of guests had to give it a miss due to a flu, the evening was a success. The movie of the evening was Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. I was seriously suspicious at first, but the movie was an absolutely brilliant 80s horror comedy that I had somehow missed until now. We ate, ate and ate some more, here are some pictures of what was on offer:

Photo by Emmi Lounela

Photo by Emmi Lounela

Photo by Emmi Lounela

Photo by Emmi Lounela

I did a lot of prep for the game, which in my mind was the main event of the evening (although the food and sweets most likely were it, actually), painting the last minis until 6AM Saturday morning. Even with that I wasn’t able to finish everything on time, so the priest mini you’ll see in the photos had to go on the field unbased. In the end I had most of the minis finished – pictures will follow in later posts – so we got to play the game with fully painted minis. Plenty of pictures to follow, just click on any of them for larger versions.

The game featured an unlucky town somewhere around New England in the 18th century. Every year this town gets attacked by monsters on Halloween. It’s not that big of a deal, some towns have to deal with drought, some with Indians, some with monsters, and at least the monsters attack only once a year. The scenario was very simple, with an endless stream of villagers streaming towards the village church from the edges of the board, monsters trying to catch then and five villagers armed with muskets trying to drive the monsters away. There were some bonfires scattered around the table, making life more difficult for the monsters and weakening them in combat if they got too close, with the church and the priest having a similar effect. The game lasted for 12 rounds, or the twelve tolls of the church bell on witching hour. The system we used was a simplified and streamlined version of Ganesha Games’ Fear and Faith, utilising the Song of Blades and Heroes engine.

The monsters were a werewolf, a vampire and a group of zombies. Each had their own strengths and weaknesses: the werewolf was the strongest in combat, but if he killed anyone, he had to stop for a while to savage and eat the body. The zombies were slow, but all but impervious to shooting and they added anyone they killed to their ranks. The vampire was the weakest one in combat, but usually had more actions than the others. He was also unable to go too near the bonfires and the church grounds. The villagers couldn’t kill the monsters, only drive them away momentarily by shooting – after all, the monsters were the stars of the show. The players were running the monsters, trying to gather as many points as possible by eliminating the villagers.

What followed was a riot. I don’t have a detailed report of the game, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. We saw the vampire and the werewolf rampaging around, the zombies milling around in confusion, plenty of villagers die and the monsters getting driven off several times by well-placed shots. During the entire game, only three villagers made it to the church alive, with the vampire proving to be the most efficient killer despite the werewolf collecting big points by catching the priest on the final round. Everyone really enjoyed the game, especially my girlfriend playing said vampire and trying miniature games for the first time. And NO, the game wasn’t biased…

First off, the monsters:

The zombies (Photo by Joonas Laakso)

The zombies (Photo by Joonas Laakso)

The werewolf (Photo by Emmi Lounela)

The werewolf (Photo by Emmi Lounela)

The vampire (Photo by Emmi Lounela)

The vampire (Photo by Emmi Lounela)

And then the game itself (photos by Emmi Lounela):

In the darkness of night, the church offers sanctuary (Photo by Emmi Lounela)

In the darkness of night, the church offers sanctuary

A villager's eye view of the church. It's far away and there's a vampire waiting (Photo by Emmi Lounela)

A villager’s eye view of the church. It’s far away and there’s a vampire waiting

The werewolf catches sight of two villagers

The werewolf catches sight of two villagers

Will the musket be enough?

Will the musket be enough?

The bonfire offers meagre protection

The bonfire offers meagre protection

In the woods the vampire attacks a villager

In the woods the vampire attacks a villager

Photos by Mia Meri:

The werewolf goes after the priest and a villager

The werewolf goes after the priest and a villager

“Where is your God now?”

This lady took down two zombies - it wasn't enough

This lady took down two zombies – it wasn’t enough

The town's previous priest is a little under the weather

The town’s previous priest is a little under the weather

The gentleman lines up his sights

The gentleman lines up his sights

The priest by a bonfire proved to be a tough nut to crack

The priest by a bonfire proved to be a tough nut to crack

Safety looms but the vampire is close behind

Safety looms but the vampire is close behind

Divine light

Divine light

...for the night is dark and full of terrors

…for the night is dark and full of terrors

This is what it's all about!

This is what it’s all about!

Cthulhu hovers outside reality

Cthulhu hovers outside reality

So that’s it! We had so much fun, I definitely recommend themed games and plenty of sugar for everyone. I’ll leave you with one more horror, happy Halloween everyone!

hallodork

h1

Fear the Walking Dead trailer

July 11, 2015

Now, the zombie genre experienced a massive growth in popularity in the early 2000s. While it has been on the decline – or rather become a staple of pop culture – every now and then something really interesting pops up. As you may or may not know, this blog used to focus a lot more on zombies when I started out in 2009, but the focus has shifted almost exclusively to miniatures. I’m a big zombie fan, but I must admit even my interest has wavered with the over-saturation of the zombie market. This means my interest is nowadays not easily piqued when it comes to zombies.

This goes double for The Walking Dead. I used to love the comics, but they got boring. I used to love the series, but haven’t watched it much since season 3. The adventure game I love, but in general the franchise has gotten pretty boring. Then I saw this:

It’s the trailer for the new Fear the Walking Dead series. It’s a prequel and a “sister story” to the main series. Apparently it details what is to me the most exciting piece of any zombie story: the rise of the epidemic and the collapse of society. Interestingly, and probably because of budget constraints as well, few movies ever show this.

Night of the Living Dead stops before it happens. In Day of the Dead28 Days Later and many others it has already happened.

In Shaun of the Dead it’s flirted with hilariously throughout the film, but never happens:

Dawn of the Dead shows little snippets of it at the start of the film…

while its remake condenses it into one of the best sequences ever in zombie cinema:

At the very first post of this blog, I wrote the following:

I’ve always been fascinated (in a very sane, rational and normal sense) by catastrophes, what-if fantasies, tales of desperate struggle and the end of the world. The sinking of Titanic, alternative history, Helm’s deep, Alamo, Chernobyl,  The Book of Revelation, global epidemics, thermonuclear war…you name it. The zombie genre combines all of this. Simple as that.

This is exactly what Fear the Walking Dead appears to showcase. No wonder I’m pretty hyped.

Fear the Walking Dead launches August 23 on AMC with a 1½ hour special episode.

h1

Running for my life – Zombierun Finland

June 8, 2014

zombierunfinland

While the blog’s zombie content has dwindled in the last few years, I still love the genre. As it happens, I also like running – or rather, jogging. When the opportunity arose to combine these two, how could I possibly miss it? I didn’t.

If zombies and jogging sounds like a familiar idea, you may have run into the game Zombies, Run! (see my review here) which is basically an audio adventure you listen to while running, and has zombies chasing you at random times meaning you have to pick up your pace. Well, Zombierun Finland was basically this but as a live action version: a group of runners sets off for an approximately five kilometre run, with the route infested with zombies of both the shambling and the running variety. Every runner has three “lives” represented by plastic streamers attached to their clothing, and the zombies try to grab these streamers. If a runner loses all of their lives, it’s game over for them.

A group of six from our kung fu school entered as a team (“The Rage Monkeys”). The happening was advertised as a combination of exercise and pop culture experience, and it most certainly was. It was a warm day and it had rained earlier, so it really turned out to be a sweaty evening. I wasn’t just because of the weather, though…

Zombierun Finland was mostly an excellent event. There were some glitches with the biggest being the whole group running off-route before the organizers managed to turn the runners in the right direction. Some runners lost all their lives very early in the run, which was obviously a letdown for them. However, considering that it was a fairly large, first time event produced by volunteers, it was very well executed! The zombies had excellent makeup and props, as you can see from the photos. This really added a lot to the feel of the event.

With the glitches dealt with, on to the good stuff. For me the absolute best thing about the event was the way it created many of the things I love in the genre. The whole run started with a very authentic mass panic. I think a fair few people were expecting an easy start with the zombies steadily trickling in along the way. I know I was. Instead the horde attacked us right off the bat and it was full-on chaos. I was just going along with the crowd when it started parting and it seemed there were zombies everywhere. People were screaming, zombies were moaning…awesome! When we got our group together a few hundred metres later, there was a genuine “is everyone ok? Did you lose any streamers?” dialogue very much in the vein of “did anyone get bitten?”

There were plenty of other genre moments. The slowly starting panic as a runner zombie attacked a large group from behind and created a sort of stampede where you couldn’t see who’s a zombie and who’s a human runner. That was very much 28 Days/Weeks Later. There was the solidarity between strangers in the lull between attacks (“So, where are you from? Man, I was expecting something far easier…”), the cruel logic of letting the runners in front of you distract the zombies to allow you to pass, the tired desperation of not wanting to run another step and seeing zombies up ahead and that feeling turning time and time again into determination to survive. At one point I was genuinely happy to catch up with my two remaining teammates and we had a great “so we’re the last ones alive?” moment.

For me a memorable moment was one near the end of the run, when we entered an abandoned factory. It was dark inside, and I made the mistake of staring into a bright window for a moment, causing a blinding afterimage to obscure most of my vision. Through the afterimage I could vaguely make out zombies shambling in the dimly lit room, adding a good touch of genuine panic to my escape.

So, how did I do? Fairly well, although I didn’t survive. Like plenty of others, I met my end in the murderous final room of the factory – a small enclosed space with too many of the undead. Of our team of six, only one made it to the end alive. Afterwards, with no need to run anymore, we sat at the end zone sweaty, tired, happy and fake-bloody, munching on the donuts, apples and canned pineapple chunks provided by the organizers. Not a bad way to spend time with your friends.

All in all, it was an awesome, fun evening and a really memorable experience. I’m really looking forward to attending next year, and maybe helping the organizers to make it even better. If any of the organizers are reading this, a huge thank you from both me and our whole team for creating such an event and doing a great job with it!

Here’s a bunch of photos lifted (with permission) from the event’s Facebook group. I hope they manage to convey some part of what made Zombierun Finland 2014 great. You can click on any image for a larger version – they open in a new tab. The second photo has our team, clad in black. Yours truly can be seen in the back, entering the underpass.

Photos by Matti Tervonen:

1978540_10152348663588880_5765923977910305761_o

1559299_10152348663658880_8005945754553265224_o  1973189_10152348663618880_6127349116529498533_o

10365495_10152348663708880_6506764277984544535_o

 

Photos by Ritva Savonsaari:

10265353_10152527085728408_2241651549643508994_o

10271310_10152527086243408_4401765326236415145_o

10452994_10152527087638408_7679673899013843717_o

10463601_10152527085818408_1505876165940622146_o

 

Photos by Anna Eskelinen:

1907335_10203236879675378_41140787849187058_n

10341950_10203236877955335_5174110478956462503_n

10458018_10203236880555400_6161055458746104417_n

h1

Z War One – Extraction

August 26, 2013
Click for a larger version - image © ill Gotten Games

Click for a larger version – image © ill Gotten Games

I recently came across this fun little video promoting an upcoming zombie themed boardgame with mighty tasty looking miniatures, Z War One. From the description on the official site:

Z War One is a miniatures-based survival horror board game. It blends tactical sci-fi shooting with classic RPG elements in an interactive comic book format.

Players take control of one of the game’s 4 main protagonists for the duration of a 6 chapter issue, completing missions to gain experience points which they may then either save, or spend developing their character. The player with the highest number of experience points at the end of the last chapter is the issue winner. Gameplay swings between co-operative and competitive as players work together to overcome insurmountable odds only to betray their teammates at the final hour in a bid for personal glory.

The boxed game contains issue one, with each subsequent comic book acting as an expansion pack, continuing the story and introducing new monsters, heroes & environments.

Sounds delicious! Anyway, while the video doesn’t bring much new to the table, it’s a nice piece of low budget zombie film. It makes you wonder why game companies don’t use more live action films to promote their product, as for me this worked a treat. It made me not only check out their site, but make a blog post about it as well.

After seeing that, you might as well go see their official site. There’s apparently a Kickstarter on the way.

 

%d bloggers like this: