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Friday, 16 March 2018

Palaeo Diet - The Mammoth Hunt

The Rock Clan needs more furs and meat to survive the coming artic winter, a Mammoth has plenty of both, we just need to persuade it to part with them. Eat or be Eaten a Palaeo Diet Adventure.

Mammoths on the long trek south to the Alps before winter comes.

The Rock Clan

They are a small group of Palaeolithic Hunters, who inhabit the scrubby plains that the Mammoth herds have to pass through on their way back from their summer feeding grounds of Dogger, the area that is now the North Sea. They need to make a big kill to survive the coming winter and so far they have had a lean time of it.

However they have been trailing a small group of mammoths and have managed to split 3 animals off from the main herd. Mammoth hunting is quite simple, you either find a big cliff and drive them over it, or the harder way is to dig a pit and herd one or more animals into it.
There is a 3rd way but no one in their right mind uses it as it involves walking up to the big beastie and hitting it until it dies. You will immediately see the flaw in this method.

The scrubby plains where they live is devoid of cliffs and so they have to dig a pit, a bloody big pit, but in the vast expanse of the plains it is quite a small target to hit with your chosen mammoth, at least an inner bull.

The method of driving the animals is not as easy as you might think, shouting and waving your arms about is just as likely to get them charging at you as stampeding away. Fire which is the other method can be just as difficult, carrying it about is quite tricky and lighting it on demand even trickier, there is the added danger of setting fire to the brush which is just as likely to roast you as your prey.

The rules I am using are Palaeo Diet – Eat or be Eaten, they are by Nic Wright and published by Ganesha Games.
This link should take you to his blog, there a quite a few games showing the rules as he was developing them, with as cute a set of mini's as you will ever see, I think they are 15mm and from Australia I believe. http://irregularwars.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/palaeo-diet-bloodbath.html

I was keen to try them because they are designed for solo play, the animals reacting to an AI series of tables, there are 5 groupings of animals, Apex Predators, Pack Predators, Giant Grazers, Herd Grazers and Critters, all self explanatory.

The hunters all have the same statistics although as is customary with rules nowadays there are traits such as Alert, Healer, Thinker etc, takes me back to Bruce Quarrie with national characteristics.

This is something I dislike for two reasons, they usually seem so artificial and have some strange special effects but mainly because I can never remember to use them and have to continually look them up when I do remember. This is not aimed at these rules in particular, just rules in general, and yes I know I'm out of step with the rest of the world, or maybe the rest of the world is out of step with me.

I mention all this because I usually use character cards that give me some feeling for the figure are they brave, weak, fast etc, and this also does away with a lot of artificial traits. Well in this case I’m not, I'm using the rules as written, so the characters will hopefully develop as I go along, or they will die, whichever comes soonest.
My original intention was to steal Nic's AI ideas and incorporate them into the rules I normally use and I may still do that. This is the 5th game I've played though and I've not felt any great compulsion to make this change, there are a couple of things I might still be doing wrong, but if not I'll probably change the rule, but on the whole I'm very much enjoying them, they are simple enough for me to grasp easily and give a fun game.

Please note I am not recommending you buy the rules just explaining why I am using them for this game and the cover art picture is just there to break up the text.

OK sorry for the rambling introduction but you’re probably used to that if you’ve read anything else I’ve posted. So on with the game.

The Mammoths are only moving slowly, eating on the way and this has given the clan time to get into their designated ambush positions.

A quick overview, the mammoths – giant grazers - are being ‘driven’ by Akoba, out of sight on the right, I say driven but basically they are going in roughly the right direction and he is following. You can see the pit, or CD covered in a bit of flock.
If I was serious about this stuff I would have created a beautiful pit for the mammoths to fall into like Frank did, but his Nickel and Dime film production company has a bigger budget than mine and anyway I’m not digging a hole in my table for anyone.

Hopefully you can see the two females who are either side of the planned route and will guide the beasts into the trap, and also out of sight just beyond the pit is the other male, Tumak, he is acting a bit like a line backer, his job is to stop the beasts if they are going to miss the pit. Good luck with that one.

The only other thing of note is that by each member of the tribe is a fire pit. This should have had small bits of wood in them, ready to catch fire but I’ve only just thought of it.
If you could just imagine they're there and we’ll all be good.

Mouflon sheep – herd grazers, they are Warbases figures but I got them from Col Bill because you get more adults for your money.

This is Tumak the line backer and just beyond the pit are a small herd of Neolithic Horses – herd grazers. These are plastic zebras I got from B and M a cheap supermarket in the UK and I painted them to look similar to the cave paintings in the SW of France. They are probably a bit tall but they were pennies rather than pounds so will do for me.

Yani - one of the clan females with a cave lion – apex predator in the distance. This is a plastic tiger again from B and M in the same set and repainted.

Wolves – pack predators - very badly painted I’m sorry to say. After I’d done these I saw what Joakim had achieved with some wolves he had painted and made a much better job of them, I might go back and re-do these.

You still can’t see Akoba but it’s a good shot of the very expensive mammoths that didn’t come from B and M.

After the long winded preamble, Akoba skulks forward and howls. Each hunter can do 3 things in a turn, they have to roll 1, 2, or 3 D6 and achieve a certain score to be successful in each action, the 3rd die is harder than the other 2. Different sorts of movement cause animals to react once the hunter is within a certain distance, failed activations have a similar effect. Basically you try and creep up on the animal so as not to disturb it and then attack. Akoba is trying to frighten the beast into running away towards the pit.
He moves forward quietly but fails the 2nd roll to howl, I guess being so close to a mammoth might make your throat go dry.

This is probably not the sort of close up view you would normally want of a Mammoth.

Failing the action causes the mammoth to react and it attacks him. Ironically with the same throw, if he had successfully howled the beast would have fled. What a difference a dice roll makes.

Those sweeping tusks miss by inches, Akoba ducks to one side. Next turn he activates and slams his club down on the mammoths leg, causing it 1 point of damage, 3 to go before the Mammoth is down. The mammoth reacts and attacks back, wounding Akoba, 1 more point and he is down.
Mammoths have a Resilience of 4 wounds and Hunters 2.

Next turn Akoba attacks again, bravely or stupidly but he hits again and the mammoth takes another point of damage – 2 to go.

In response the mammoth roars in pain and anger, Akoba is frightened by the noise and backs off.

As this is going on the rest of the clan are trying to remain quiet but still have to test for activation even if doing nothing. At this point both Yani and Tumak fail an activation, this causes the nearest animals to react and the horses become alarmed and some start to move away.

Akoba needs to get the mammoths running and so he howls but it is more of a mewling noise and the beasts just turn and move away on their original path.

He realizes he is letting the rest of the clan down and makes a final effort to howl convincingly and this spooks the wounded beast and it stampedes.

Nuponda, the female who had been nearest to us sees that the beasts are in direct line from her to the pit, she ignores her instructions and she skulks forward howling like a banshee, this has the desired effect.

All the animals flee directly away from her and the big male mammoth falls directly into the CD err mammoth pit and can not escape.

You can just see Yani in the distance – in front of the calf.

A close up

A very close up – oh dear.

Tumak runs forward to attack the calf but it turns and roars at him, he is so surprised that he backs away.

Yani has been frantically trying to start a fire and finally she gets smoke but not much flame. Tumak moves forward again and attacks the calf, and the calf attacks back, both take 1 hit.

Nuponda skulks forward but fails 2 activations and the calf and mother both attack.

The calf sticks it’s little, umm 2’ long tusk into Tumak and he falls to the floor. Akoba rushes to Nuponda’s aid.

The wounded mother mammoth roars and they both recoil from the angry animal. In the background the calf appears to be goring Tumak as he rolls wounded on the ground. That’ll teach him to mess with baby mammoths. At this point in the game I realize I’m not sure whose side I’m on.

Akoba howls but the mother and calf ignore him, he really is a pathetic howler but both animals are wounded and obviously tiring. However when Nuponda howls they both move away from her and back towards Yani. I’m not going to make any comment about a female howl being more effective than a male howl.

Just at this point Yani gets the fire going, flames start to leap up, this scares the animals.

You just know what’s going to happen and it does, the beasts turn 180’ from the fire and run.

Nuponda manages to jump out of the way stabbing the calf as they thunder past. Akoba runs in to attack the big mammoth, will he never learn.

Yani’s fire is now burning brightly. Did you see how it got bigger, did I mention I had been making stuff with DAS.

Predictably the mammoth turns and attacks Akoba and you can see Yani running in to help, but the big beast roars and she stops in her tracks, Nuponda backs away but Akoba stands his ground.

As the fire starts to spread, the herd of horses and the cave lion run off in fright.

Yani gets to the mammoth just as Akoba is wounded again and collapses in a heap. She strikes at the beast but causes no damage, in return she is struck and is wounded. Nuponda moves forward and strikes causing no damage but the mammoth moves away.

The mammoths moves off and the 2 females are wondering what to do.

A quick recap at this point might be a good idea, Nuponda and Yani have both been wounded, one more and they are down. The Mammoth has 3 wounds and the calf 2, 1 more for either of them and they are also down.

These girls are as tough as my western ladies and of course chase after the mammoths.

Which might not have been their brightest idea to date as the female mammoth attacks and Yani is down. Nuponda has a longer reach with her spear and stabs at the mammoth, but fails to do any damage.

They obviously did not read my opening preamble about getting close to big beasties.

The mammoth and it’s calf then moved away. At this point any sane person would have backed off and tended to the hurt and wounded, but I knew it just needed one final push to have 2 mammoths to feed the clan during the coming winter. Maybe even 2 and a half, and calf meat has to be tender, doesn't it?

That’s not really true – I was after blood at this point – mammoth blood, rare steaks, veins in my teeth, I started jumping up and down, shouting kill - kill - KILL, and that's when the little white van arrived.

Nuponda moves forward and makes that killing blow and the mammoth is down. The clan will survive the winter, well what’s left of them will. Just need to see how the calf reacts.

Sure enough, rather than running off it stays and protects it’s dead mother, stabbing Nuponda with the small 2’ tusk, and she sinks to the floor.

Anyone who has read these rules knows that the predators have a part to play in the game, when they are in sight of a wounded or dead animal they may move towards it and indeed may end up eating the animal before the hunters can drive them off. In the excitement of the game I forgot all about this and so they didn’t take any part. When I realized I’d forgotten them, all the clan were wounded and would have been eaten by the wolves who were still on the table. This seemed a bit rough on the poor old Rock Clan, especially as it was their first time on the table, so I ignored it. I also had far more animals on the board than the rules recommend, but I've spent time painting them and wanted to show more of them.

The game fairly zinged along, but strangely I’m a bit uncomfortable about it. When Mrs Vagabond came into the room, (she likes to make sure I’ve not died in here, it would make the place even more untidy than normal) and saw the mother mammoth on it’s side - dead she gave me hell for killing poor defenceless animals. My “it’s only resin” defence didn’t seem to cut any ice and the fact that all the hunters were down didn’t worry her one iota.

The game rules have a series of scenarios and after each game the hunters see if they survive or don’t, One hunter who has contributed most to a successful hunt gets to roll on a trait table (yes I know I don’t like them) and if it is unsuccessful something else happens but I can’t remember what.

I’m not sure how to call a game in which everyone on my side was taken out, even though the only thing to survive on my opponents side was a calf that will undoubtedly die or be eaten now that I’ve killed it’s parents. (There’s that uncomfortable feeling again). As the clan has enough food for quite a while I decided it was successful.


Nuponda recovered from the goring with a nasty disfiguring scar. She is my man of the match and becomes Alert. She gets to re-roll 1 failed activation dice if within medium distance of something.

Yani survived and made a full recovery with a disfiguring scar.


Akoba makes a full recovery but has a nasty disfiguring scar. ( all 3 of them rolled a 6 on the recovery table and I now have to change their name from the rather dignified Rock Clan to the UGLY Clan, I don’t think I can to do that.

Tumak – he was only mostly dead and makes a recovery for the next game but has a nasty disfiguring limp.

If you've not already read it Colgar6 posted a better resume of the rules than mine and its also a pretty good read. Here http://colgar6.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/paleo-diet-hunt-begins.html

Well if you are still here – thanks for reading and please leave a comment so I know you were here.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Red Sparrow Down

Hasimoto Taichi is a top ranking Japanese Diplomat living and working in the USA. There have been some rumours that he has Yakuza connections but there is no hard evidence and the US needs all the friends she can get nowadays, so there have been no significant investigations into his activities.

Hasimoto likes fast cars and fast women, but best of all he likes fast helicopters and is on a flight across the Mohave Desert in his latest plaything the Red Sparrow with a couple of bodyguards and his latest fast woman Amori Mizuke. The engine temperature started rising, going from normal into the red - very red - very quickly.

He sees a small town in the middle of nowhere, he's over the Mohave Desert so it can't be nowhere.

There appears to be no one around and so he decides to put down immediately and lands quickly on top of one of the building roofs.

Due to the updraft from the hot desert floor he misjudges the landing and buckles the undercarriage. No taking off with that damage, so he puts out a call on the radio, the acknowledgement is swift. “You are in a restricted area, there is a security force not far away. They will be with you shortly, stay with the helicopter and everything will be OK”.

That doesn’t sound too reassuring - does it!

They all climb out of Red Sparrow and look around, there's no one to be seen. Hasimoto leads them through a trap door in the roof leaving Okumura Katashi guarding the helicopter.

The noise of the helicopter has attracted unwelcome visitors, but Katashi doesn’t see them.

Zombies are unseen over by the gun store.

Some strange **REDACTED** figures come rollicking down the road.

I'm sorry to say that the US Security Services have censored this document. I'm not at liberty to divulge the full story of Red Sparrow.

They seem to be doing some sort of ritual maypole dance.

Before moving over to the Deli, followed by the zombies. At this point Katashi and the **REDACTED** see each other but both fail activation and just stare at each other moronically, that is if **REDACTED** can be moronic? Katashi obviously can.

At this point the 3rd and final PEF is resolved as Alexander Lorne and 5 of her sidekicks. She is an A list International Criminal, you probably thought she had been arrested and jailed after the fiasco of the Uranium Handoff but that didn't happen. She knew of Hasimoto’s plan to fly over the small town in the desert and had acquired a jamming device that she used to override the engine electronics causing them to malfunction and forcing him down.

She is being paid handsomely to kidnap him and turn him over to his business rivals. There is a mob of zombies between her and her money. I wouldn’t want to be in the zombies shoes.

A better picture of them, the 6th member of the crew is just behind the Area Control Building.

A shot of Hasimoto and his bodyguards searching for a way out of the wired compound, round the back of the Deli.

At the same time in the distance you can see the Security Force, 4 men strong just at the end of the alleyway. It’s all getting busy around here at the moment.

The Security Team had to roll on 2 dice to determine when they arrived. Starting on I think the 7th move they had to roll 12 on 2D6’s, then 8th move 11, then 9th move 10 and so on, until they finally arrived on the 13th turn, is that an omen?

Katashi on the roof finally gets a shot off and kills a zombie, but he runs out of ammo, this was to be a regular event for him.

When I said 4 man strong Security Force I did in fact mean 2 men 2 women as I hope you can see in this closer shot of them with Danielle Steel on Point and Jethroe behind her in command, following him is Tiny Malone with the GMPG and watching the back door is Stephanie Kowalski. They were re-assigned to desert duty following the 1st attempted Uranium Handoff.

No one gets between Alexander Lorne and money, the crew step out and shoot down half the riff raff who were trying to break in to the Deli.

The next turn they take down the other half. Pretty good shooting but they are natural born killers, every last one of them.

As you would expect the shooting brought more zombies, but they are far enough away at this point.

Kowalski is cutting the wire so that the Japanese can get out, 1/2D6 to do this and she threw a 6 so 3 active turns to cut the wire!! Hasimoto seems to have forgotten all about poor Katachi who is still on the roof.

This was the crucial point of the action. Alexander knows that Hasimoto has joined up with the security forces, she knows they just outnumber her, she knows that there are zeds to the left and to the right, so if she goes forward they will cut off her retreat back to the vehicles.

Under these circumstances I think I would have pulled out but I rolled a die and she failed her brains test and then passed her guts test so the logical thing was to move forward towards the prize.

She makes the decision, sends Eric and Ray into the Deli on her right (our left) to outflank the security forces, she and Mad Dog Maguire rush forward, and Kurt and Toby Jung hang back to finish reloading their weapons.

She’s not daft enough to run up the alley but instead runs in to the junk yard, keeping 7’ high concrete wall between her and the Security force. Her plan is for Eric and Ray to come out the back door of the Deli and she and her 3 men will scale the wall catching the security forces by surprise. We’ll all be surprised if that works.

There is a young girl off to her left (our right).

Mad Dog shoots the little girl, hitting her twice even though he is running, good shooting but no moral fibre.
Stephanie cuts the wire. Eric and Ray break down the door into the Deli, Katachi is on the roof of the Deli loading again.

An overview shot, the wall is too high for anyone to see over it, even Tiny. Hasimoto failed to activate so still hasn’t come through the wire.

Kurt and Toby are given a leg up and see over the wall, strangely enough everyone was surprised!!

Jethroe reacted first (he’s the one with the Mohican hair style) and panicked shooting at Kurt (with the striped tie) but narrowly missed Tiny who was between the two of them. Kurt returned fire and did hit Tiny and he went down OOF. (The bigger they are etc) Jethroe returns fire and this time hits Kurt who drops down stunned but not hurt. Stephanie nearest to us and out of focus fires but hits Hasimoto who is immediately in front of her, he goes down OOF (friendly fire?). Toby fires and misses Stephanie, she returns the fire and also misses, he returns the fire and she is OOF, Jethroe fires at Toby and hits him – he is OOF. 21 shots were fired and 5 people hit, but this also generated 9 zombies.

A long range shot which doesn’t show the carnage well. Amori (The girlfriend, green hair) takes control of the Yakuza, shouting to Katachi to "get down here now - we are pulling out". You can see him still up by the helicopter. Alexander’s crew are all down behind the wall but in quite good shape – only Toby is OOF, and she has the outflanking force coming round to – well outflank.

The Security forces are pulling back and aiming to take their wounded with them. Jethroe is trying to lift Tiny but he is too heavy, Hasimoto is too heavy for Amori and Tomori to lift, they do get him up but Amori drops her end of him. Ouch!! Danielle can not pick up Stephanie – again she is not strong enough.

Alexander gives Mad Dog a leg up to see over the wall, he and Jethroe react as one, and both of them get shot, Jethroe OOF and Mad Dog dead, this shot shows the carnage better.

Katachi kept failing to activate and is still on the roof. Close to us, Amori and Tomori have managed to pick up Hasimoto and are moving slowly to our right (out of sight). Danielle Street failed again to lift Stephanie, she is just not strong enough, she has to make the decision – does she pull back and leave her team or stay with them. They are all wounded - no one is dead yet.

What would you do?

She passes her guts test and is ambivalent on her brains test so decides to stay and protect her team, calling for backup. Bet you would have run away!! I think I would have.
Anyway – at that point Eric and Ray come out of the back door of the Deli (Just under the helicopter). Eric and Danielle both fire simultaneously, Eric is killed and she is wounded and OOF, sinking slowly to the floor. She should have run, but we all knew that.

Raymond runs forward, shouting to Alexandria that everyone is down. You can see Tomori and Amori struggling to carry Hasimoto to the right of the picture.

Alexandria looks round and all she can see is a tide of zombies coming her way.

It’s a poor shot but these are some of the zombies attracted by all the shooting, they come round the corner and catch Ray by surprise he kills them all, well done Ray.

Amori (green hair) is stopped by a zombie approaching her, she puts down her end of Hasimoto and draws her Katana. This is going to be easy.

The horde of zombies gets closer to Alexandria and Kurt. He is trying to give her a lift over the wall but they are struggling. Panic and a horde of zombies will do that.

Katachi comes out of the back door of the Deli – sees Ray and shoots him in the back and Ray is dead. Boo hiss.

Alexandria is finally over the wall, in the alley, just waiting for Kurt to follow, and Amori is still facing off with the zombie, neither activated.

Just a close up of Alex over the wall and that back shooter Katachi. Another Boo Hiss. Yet again he is out of ammo and Alex doesn’t waste a bullet on him. She knows sound draws zeds like flies to a dung heap and that's the last thing she wants now..

You can just see Kurt with his hand up grasping for the top of the wall.

And this is why he’s grasping for the top of the wall.

Sorry I just like the guy on the right so I had to include him in the group shot.

Well I don’t suppose anyone thought Alexander would stick around and she didn’t, one final zed stands in her way and she quickly takes him out.

Kurt never made it over the wall, a bit too high and he was not quite strong enough to pull himself up.

Katachi has zeds all over him but it’s amazing what a sawn off pump action shotgun will achieve at close quarters and he kills them all. This was probably the only time he didn't run out of ammo, and a good job or he would have been dead.

Amori finally activates and charges into the zed facing her. She has a Katana and in my version of the rules rolls 6D6 to the zombies 1D6 and she losses and is killed. How did that happen?

Alexandria in the distance makes her way back to the transport. A Bad Day at Black Rock as they say.

Tomori shoots the Zed that has just killed Amori and ……. "HE’S BEHIND YOU TOMORI".

You could make up your own ending here, but it’s my game.

Tamori was attacked in the back but beat the zed, killing it dead – again. He has a last go at picking up his boss but is exhausted and can’t do it. He leaves Amori behind without a 2nd glance, he never liked her anyway.

Katashi also managed to make it out on foot, and was picked up by the back up team called for by Danielle. His whereabouts are **REDACTED**. Wonder if we'll ever see him again?

5 Gangsters, 4 Green Berets and 2 Yakuza eaten by the zombies. There were some bloated zeds wandering about the place after this.

If, as appears, the US Security Forces know about the mutations living here, why have they not eradicated the problem?

To be continued ..........

Well if you are still here - thanks for reading and if, after that mammoth read you have any time to spare let me know what you thought, or maybe just get a beer.