Welcome To Lazarus

Instead of a "BANG", humanity is passing away with the shuffling of dead feet, and hungry moans. Desperate men and women fight against the rising tide for the newly risen dead.Sometimes, though, the undead are not he most dangerous things out there. Civilization has failed the test; the only thing left is survival.

Lazarus is just one of many places where humanity holds on by a thread, and life and death come as easily as a roll of the dice.

Friday, October 28, 2011

High School Of The Dead - Zombie Anime

I've said it before, I'll say it again, "I love Netflix Instant View".  I can troll around and find mindless movies to watch, as I piddle around the hobby cave.  Well, I found one that I can post on  WTL; "High School Of The Dead", or "H.T.O.D".  As the title of this post says, it's zombie anime.    It is presented in a series of 12 episodes, each about 20-25 minutes long, and is based on a manga (that's a Japanese graphic novel, for the uninitiated) of the same name.

Hold on, don't get all indignant about it.  It's actually a decent zombie tale; once you get past the anime.  Additionally, the anime isn't all the bad; the zombies are done very well. I'll let the Wiki blurb explain the plot.

"Highschool of the Dead is set in the present day, beginning as the world is struck by a deadly pandemic that turns humans into zombies, euphemistically referred to by the main characters as "Them".  The story follows a group of high school students, the high school's nurse, and a young girl as they fight their way to safety through the deadly streets of Japan during a worldwide catastrophic event known as the "Outbreak". As the cast tries to survive the zombie apocalypse, they must also face the additional threats of societal collapse, in the form of dangerous fellow survivors, and the possible decay of their own moral codes."

 Now on to lay out why I am going to recommend this to the zombie aficionado.  As far as zombie stories go this is a really good one.  It's not all zombie slaying and the characters are explored.  Their pasts are explored and the way they each deal with the the end of the world is more interesting than the plot of most zombie flicks.  Additionally, the zombies are rendered very well and are true Romeroesque zombies.  When the zombies make an appearance the sense of dread is enhanced by their looks as well as a decent soundtrack.  At points, there is a whole "28 Days/Weeks later" vibe; mostly due to the soundtrack.

Now, the caveat.  It is anime; your typical anime.  I like certain anime; "Akira" and "Ghost In The Shell" are two of the greatest Sci-Fi stories on film, in my opinion, but most leaves me flat.  I don't like certain aspects of most anime, and this one has them.  Not enough to make it unwatchable; enough to grate on my nerves at times.

First, while some of the animation is really good, life like and such, some of it is typical anime.  Eyes are too big, as well as boobs at times.  There are lots of up skirt shots, that the Japanese are so fond of.  Most irritating of all is the anime habit of shifting into what I call "Hello Kitty mode", where the animation morphs momentarily into super simple, over exaggerated style; ala Hello Kitty.  Hey, my daughter is the age that she was into it when she was younger; hence my  knowledge.

Secondly, most anime has an under current of the repressed sexuality of Japanese culture.  It's released in gratuitous scenes with nudity and sexual innuendo.  I am not a prude.  Still, there were times that it  detracts from the story.

Lastly, and this isn't really a big one, at least for me anyway; is the action at times.  Close combat can be portrayed WAY over the top; at times even putting John Woo to shame.  I can get past it, others may not be able to.

In conclusion, I'd say that if you like zombies and anime, you'll like this one.  If you are a zombie fanatic, give it a try; it's better than most low budget zombie flicks you've sat through.  If you can't stand anime, even the zombies won't be enough to get you through it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Survivor House

Here's a bit I did a couple of years ago and sold.  I ran across the pics browsing through my photobucket albums, looking for something unrelated.   This is an old Plasticville O scale house that I turned into a suburban fortress.  I made it around the time the "Dawn Of The Dead" remake came out; hence the message on the roof.  It definitely fits the genre, and I hope it gives someone some inspiration.

If you've seen it before, apologies.  If you see this, and are the person that bought it, post some pics of it in action...please!






Monday, October 17, 2011

The Walking Dead Returns

 This is one of those posts from the  "In Case You Missed It" Dept.  Last night, 10/16/11, was the 2nd season premiere of AMC's "The Walking Dead".  I have to admit my geek meter was pegged.  As a zombie gamer it was a good week for fodder to get the juices flowing.  Season 1 of " The Walking Dead" came out on Netflix Instant Watch, so I had something to throw on while hiding out in the hobby cave this last week. 


Then, yesterday AMC showed all the TWD -  Season 1 episodes during the day, leading up to the premiere.  Since my Chiefs weren't taking the field, I had a bit of free time, for a change, on a fall Sunday afternoon.  So I bounced back and forth to AMC all day.  Also, AMC has some decent Walking Dead "webisodes" and videos on the TWD site, along with other show related vids.  The whole site is really well done, and I say that from an IT Professional stand point, not just a zombie geek one.  Then of course the premeir last night.

One last thing, a comment on last night's episode, and Season 2.  I liked it.  My expectations were met, and I look forward to the rest of the season.  I will say this, though.  The producers and writers of the show are cruel SOBs.  The story thus far has really diverged from the graphic novels.  Not a bad thing; it just is what it is.  Last night, they threw out a what looked like a bone to those who had read the graphic novels, only to take the story in a completely  different direction.  It wasn't a shock to me; I will venture that some of the print purists were a little shocked by it, though :-)

TWD definitely gets my zombie gaming juices flowing, so as I said at the outset, I really had a good zombie gaming week, because of it's return to the idiot box.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More 15mm(ish) Cars

I was digging around in my bit box for some things.  Way down at the bottom of it, I found some 15mm(ish) vehicles.  I don't remember where they came from.  I'm thinking they were from a car hauler that I used for another project, or maybe they came in an E-Bay purchase I got many moons ago.  Anyway, I remember throwing them in the bit box, because they looked bad and I couldn't use them; cheap looking, the tires were WAY to small, and I was doing 20mm at the time.

With my current emphasis on 15mm in mind, I dug them out to see if I could come up with anything.  The tires; the tires were still a problem.  I looked around a bit more and came up with a solution.  I cut the wheels off some of the left over, out of scale vehicles from my previous vehicle project and replaced the tires.  It worked better than I imagined it would.  So, here I am with some rather unique 15mm vehicles; an extended cab pick-up, a VW Beetle, and Jeep Commander looking SUV:


Additionally, there was a truck that was missing the glass, for some reason. I mulled ideas around and came up with this; a burned out vehicle:

Those are the original tires, painted to look like rims.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ambush Z - Outbreak (Battle Report)

I had such a good time playing the games that Ambush Alley Games hosted at Fall Recruits (Lee's Summit, Mo) last month, I decided it had been WAY to long since I broke open any of their rules.  With that in mind, I set about refreshing my memory on Ambush Z.  Instead of Hometown USA, I've set it in the Middle East; just so I can break out some different scenery.  Here's the results; enjoy.

Situation:
A team of Scientists (aka Whiskey Charlies) has taken up refuge in a nearby building; due to a broken down vehicle.  A US Army fireteam (Fireteam Blazer) is dispatched to rescue them.

Setup:
The board is setup per the scenario directions in the Ambush Z rulebook.
The board with Hot-Spots (HS), zombie units (Z#), the human Entry/Exit Point (E) and the target wayward Whiskey Charlies (X)

The frightened scientist look on from the balcony of their hideout.


Turn 1
Living Turn: Fireteam Blazer rapid moves 12 inches, into awareness zone of group Z3.  It interrupts, but can't get through the hedge.  Since the Whiskey Charlies can see Fireteam Blazer, they move from the building, cautiously to the gate of the compound.
The Whiskey Charlies move to the gate, anticipating rescue.
Zombie Turn: All unmoved zombies mill around.
Zombie Reinforcements: Z4 (8 Zeds) appear by HS 1
End of Turn 1
 Turn 2
Living Turn: Fireteam Blazer rapid moves 12 inches towards the small white shop to its front.  Z3 interrupts Fireteam Blazers movement, but Blazer wins the Reaction Check (RC).  Again, the zombies can't get through the hedge, so they follow Blazer’s movement down the hedge row.
Zombies looking for Fireteam Blazer
(Game Note: I wasn't sure how to handle the situation.  The zombies knew the living were there, but couldn't get to them on their interrupt.  Conversely, the Living couldn't Def Fire on the Zs, but knew they were there.  So, I had the zombies shadow the living unit down the hedge row, until they could attack.)

Fireteam Blazer makes its first kills.
As Fireteam Blazer makes it to the patio of their target building, they engage the pursuing zombies with Defensive Fire (Gunfire Zombies: Z5 (6 Zeds) appears at HS4).  They fire and kill 4 zombies.  As they reach the street, the remaining 2 zombies come around the corner and engage them in Close Combat (Gunfire Zombies: 0) As Fireteam Blazer finishes its move it enters group Z2's awareness zone.  Z2 interrupts Blazer’s movement, with the humans winning the RC again.  One zombie is killed as Z2 charges Fireteam Blazer (Gunfire Zombies: Z6 (5 Zeds) appear at HS2).  The remaining 5 make it into melee.  After 4 turns of melee Z2 is destroyed; with no human casualties. (Gunfire Zombies: Z7 (6 Zeds) appears at HS3).
The humans take on the second wave of undead.

Z6 interrupts and charges Fireteam Blazer.  The humans are able to defensive fire and kill one zombie, before Z6 can enter melee (Gunfire Zombies: 0).  Z6 is wiped out in one round of Close Combat.(Gunfire Zombies: 0).  The Whiskey Charlies move to join Fireteam Blazer and become their dependents.  Z1 see’s them cross the street and is able to activate.  It advances towards the humans, but can’t reach them.  Fireteam Blazer passes a Quality Check and is able to hold fire.

(Game Note:  I didn't want Blazer to fire at the zombies, as I knew they couldn't reach them.  I figured that in the heat of battle, though, there was a good chance that the humans would open fire a the advancing threat; hence the QC to hold fire.)

Zombie Turn: All unmoved zombies advance towards the sound of the recent gunfire.
Zombie Reinforcements: Z8 (5Zs) appears at HS1
End of Turn 2
Turn 3:
Living Turn: Fireteam Blazer moves cautiously, due to its dependents, back through the patio it had entered the street from.  It is headed towards the exit point, and safety.
The humans start to head to safety.
Multiple zombie units attempt to interrupt their movement; Interrupt Chain Z7, Blazer, Z1, Z4,Z5, Z6.  Z7 charges into melee, and after 2 rounds of melee Z7 is wiped out.  Wounded by a zombie, Blazer’s Grenadier becomes a dependent.  (Gunfire Zombies: Z9 (9 Zeds) appear at HS2).  Blazer passes the ensuing Morale Check for the wounded member. The rest of the interrupting zombies are only able to follow at a distance; unable to catch up to the humans.
Zombie Move:  The remaining unactivated zombies move towards the gunfire; most of them just following the crowd.
Zombie Reinforcements: 0
End of Turn 3
Turn 4 (Zombie Quality Goes up to D8)
Living Move:  Fireteam Blazer continues to move towards safety and Z1 tries to interrupt.  Even with the Whiskey Charlies dragging the injured grenadier, the zombies are unable to catch up with Blazer.
Two Whiskey Charlies drag the wounded Grenadier to safety, while the rest of Fireteam Blazer watches the rear.
The humans move into Z9’s awareness zone, activating it, but it can't get through the hedge (same situation as Turn 2), so it shadows Fireteam Blazer’s movement.  Eventually, this movement takes Z9 to an opening that will allow it through.
Zombie Move: All remaining zombie units follow Fireteam Blazer's path.
Zombie Reinforcements: Z10 (5Zs) appear at HS 2

Turn 5
Living Unit:  Fireteam Blazer moves towards the exit point.  Again multiple zombie units attempt to interrupt; Interrupt Chain Z1, Z9, Z4, Fireteam Blazer, Z6.  Z1 charges into melee.  Caught off gaurd, Blazer is unable to Def Fire on the cahrging zombies. Blazer’s SAW gunner goes down in the first round of melee.  Having survived the first round of melee, Blazer elects to flee Close Combat.  It moves 6 inches away from Z1, which is directly towards the exit point.  None of the other interrupting zombie units could catch up with the humans at this point.
Zombie Move:  All remaining zombies move after the humans.
Zombie Reinforcements:  Z11 (6Zeds) appear at HS4.
Turn 4 Movement and the End of Turn 5.

Turn 6
Living Move: Fireteam Blazer moves off the map, as no zombie unit is able to interrupt it.

Aftermath:
Fireteam Blazer escorted the scientists to safety.  Unfortunately, the Grenadier died from his wounds, and the SAW gunner was put out of action for a long time.

Victory Points
Tallying up the points in the Ambush Z rule book, it is obvious that the humans won (Humans 45, Zombies 3), no question.


Game Notes: 
It's been a while since I played Ambush Z, and I am positive that I screwed some things up.  Two things I know for sure are:

1)      I allowed the civilians to leave the house, before Blazer reached them.  They could see the rescuing unit, so I think it was within the guidelines of the rules, but I am not sure it was within the spirit of the scenario.
2)      The humans should have had to get into cover to asses their first causality on Turn 4.  I didn’t realize this until after I had finished.  I think the zombies most likely would have won had they done this.  The zombies would have swarmed the building the next turn, and kept the humans from getting away.  In any event it would have been a lot closer run thing than it was.

All in all I had fun getting to know the Ambush Z rules again.

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