Groundhog Gary

Writer_smallerBetter Dead than a Gnome?

Oh, Gary. With your winning ways. We miss you already. And not just because Zombie Gary is useless at X-Wing. Always knocking over ships and chewing on the cards. The fact of the matter is, you were important to us as a player in our Imperial Assault campaign, and now we will have to replace you, much like we have had to replace the gaming table that got covered in, um, zombie stains, shall we say.

We are both feeling better this week, but we are catching up on a lot of work, both comic-related, and real life related. So no gaming, and very little news. I did back the Near and Far Kickstarter. I’m a sucker for a campaign game, and this looks to be excellent. And wow, that artwork. It’s just gorgeous, and that makes such a difference.

Every now and then another miniatures game comes along and I think -oh, that looks really great. Or it will have a really interesting, new mechanic; something that shakes things up, or sounds fascinating. But I’m deep into the Galaxy Far, Far Away with X-Wing (also deep out of pocket) and I still have a small Bolt Action army waiting to be painted. So I always manage to resist the urge and let that small amount of common sense I still have left in my head prevail. Or, even better, I show it to a friend I know it will appeal to so they will buy it and I can play for free.

The point I’m getting at is, miniatures games are a no-go and I’ve been really good at avoiding temptation. I haven’t even thought twice about the Warhammer 40K Escalation campaign my friends are playing. I prudently avoided watching Shut Up & Sit Down’s video playthrough of Infinity. Day after day I resist the urge to look at the skirmish rules for Imperial Assault and buy a whole carpet of Wookies (it’s their collective noun).

But then Warlord Games went and announced pre-order of the first packs for their upcoming Dr Who miniatures game. I didn’t even know they had the license. I didn’t know there was a license to be had for a Dr Who miniatures game. I am sunk! Done in! Trapped! I have no choice. I don’t even know what type, kind, or scale of miniatures game this is. Will I control but a few Daleks, or a whole Parliament of the mindless fiends? On what form of battlefield will I exterminate Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, Zygons, Time Lords and pathetic humans? All I know is Warlord Games have checkmated me once again.

It’s Dr Who. What choice do I have?

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A vote for victory

Writer_smallerWinter is coming (back)

This comic is pulled from a game we played over the weekend, and is exactly why we love Dead of Winter.

A little after we did our last Dead of Winter comic, the game was running a little thin for me, due in no small part to playing it at every given opportunity. Returning to it has been a revelation. I felt the game needed a rest because in terms of what players can do, it’s relatively simple. The mechanics works perfectly well, but are too straightforward to allow for the depth of strategy that I tend to prefer in games. But that’s missing the point. In Dead of Winter these mechanics are not the foundation of the game. They are simply a scaffold that supports the real game. Focusing on the mechanics is missing the point, in the same way that zombie games which focus on the zombies miss the point of the genre.


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(Dead of ) Winter is coming

Writer_smallerDead of winter

She arrived at the colony early on, when everyone was still happy to have another pair of hands to help out, and less worried about another mouth to feed. She was a doctor, of course, which helped a lot. So much so that no-one minded that she brought baggage. But I mean, she was a doctor, so even if her companion was sick, that was fine. She could help out with everyone. I mean, who wouldn’t want a doctor around in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, in the dead of winter?

If she demanded everyone kill more zombies so she would have samples to work on, to help cure the zombie plague? Sure, I mean, no-one was going to say no to that, to some small sliver of hope that there might be a cure, a way out of hell. In those days, hope was worth more than food, or even medicine. In those days they didn’t know how hungry they could get.

It was when her companion started to get really sick, to blister and bleed, that was the sign they should have seen. Not the bleeding, or even the pus. But the fact that she decided to kick him out, to simply throw him to the wolves rather than keep trying to save him. But they all voted, so maybe they didn’t want to think too hard about what they had been complicit in. Maybe they needed to keep moving. It was easier to think about the food shortages, the barricades that needed to be erected to keep the undead out. What was one sacrifice compared to that? If the barricades weren’t maintained, no-one would survive. Keep moving, keep working, and not think about how bad things were getting.

If their humanity was being eroded, like toes to frostbite, well, that wasn’t the only sacrifice they would have to make. And she was looking for a cure, right? I mean, they all saw her, tinkering in the shed. They didn’t understand it, but they knew science and medicine when they saw it being practiced.

Maybe those were all good enough reasons. Maybe not. Maybe they only had themselves to blame. Maybe not.

I mean, they weren’t entirely wrong. She was experimenting. It just wasn’t the zombies that were the subject of the experiment. And when she told them all what she had done, that she had made a smarter zombie, a better zombie, and once they were all infected, they would have just enough of their minds left to obey her completely? Well, she had already poisoned the colony’s water supply. The deed was done, and blame was yesterday’s problem. They had kept the zombies outside the door, sure. They just let something far, far worse in, and now it was too late. The colony was lost. Everything was lost. Now there was just hunger.

But not like they had known it before.

That was our first playthrough of Dead of Winter. That is exactly how it played out, how the betrayer crept in and ended it for everyone. I’m not filling in blanks, joining dots, making parts up. That’s the game we played, that’s the story we told.

Who was to blame really was up for question. I’m not sure our game of the year is anymore though.

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