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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.


  1. Om nom nom goes the Zombie banquet. Yet another nail biter from the Maestro. Loved the background story, very imaginative. Your battle board is a wargamer's dream and compliments all the aspects of the presentation. I think I even tasted the dust from the zombies shuffling along.

    1. Hi M.C. After countless years using a cloth as a base board, 2 years ago I did a textured mat and last summer did this board. Both have in my opinion have transformed the look of my games. Both were easy to do and yet I had procrastinated for more than donkeys years in doing them. Goodness knows why, but I expect it was because I never thought I could produce something halfway decent. I guess if I can do it anyone can.

  2. What a great looking set John very atmospheric, top rate script & fabulous cast but I couldn't spot Spencer Tracy anywhere : ) a great job all round & gripping stuff, your really keeping busy with all of these wonderful tales, the fear I'd have is at the rate people are dying you'll run out of cast members : )

    1. Cheers Frank - you've got to realise by now extras are two a penny, I don't tell them that life expectancy is short in one of my films and they seem happy enough. At first at least!!

    2. Couldn't agree more John extras are only there for one thing & the bloodier that one thing is the better :) but I need to ask who are in the leading roles as. of the guys I thought were seemed to fall by the way side, not that been in the leading role should guarantee a safe ride.

      The rules you use are very much along the lines of what I'm going to be trying out soon enough as they seem to have a kind of RPG feel about them which is what I'm aiming for, so if someone wants to be a hero their going to have to prove their up to the job :)

    3. Hi Frank, The leading roles are actually covered in the rules, they call them star powers, I don't use them but they go something like, the star can't be killed by anyone of a lower rank, that sort of thing.
      Most of my games are 1 offs, but I find that tends to lead to an opening for another game, so for example the Samurai game was just to put the figures I had painted on the table along with the houses again that I had just made and I wanted to try my adaptions to the rules for sword fighting. The scenario was dead simple but at the conclusion of the game there is such an obvious sequel that it just has to be played sometime.

      Red Sparrow originated because I bought a helicopter from Poundland and finally got round to dull varnishing it and wanted it in a game. Black Hawk - Red Sparrow.
      So the game was a one off, so no stars to keep alive, but as I was playing it I realized there is a sequel based around the **REDACTED** (I'm still being censored) which involves the restricted area and what it holds, rather than the current and now mainly dead cast. They were all expendable because the sequel will have a new cast but using the same location.
      Hope that makes sense.
      I am struggling a bit with Little Whiskey because I don't have many western figures and I intend to have the town and it's inhabitants as a long term playing area, and so you may have noticed a lot of people are getting shot but I'm not saying they are shot dead anymore because I want them back as the same character. Basically they are out of that particular game but can recover for a future game.

    4. Right that makes sense John & is grand for one off games like your doing but as you say is more of a problem for a continuing story with main characters like your Little Whiskey, one of the things I'm looking at is taking a leaf out of rolling playing where the leading characters will be able to take more damage.

      One of the problems I have with Pulp Alley rules in a campaign is character go out of the game but their all back for the next one, what I'm now aiming for is something that feel more real in that people can be killed off but hopefully not the main stars, it would take to long to try to explain how it all works here but as I play out games over on the blog I'll try to show how it all works.

      Anyway I'll finish by saying for what your doing in stories like this, the way your doing it is working fine & the story from what I see on the comments is working a treat :) Keep up the good work mate.

    5. Frank thanks for the compliments, imI pleased that you are enjoying it.

      One of the things I liked about what you were doing was writing a story and illustrating it with pictures of miniatures. I may be wrong in that you were actually playing a game but it felt very much as if it was a story.
      So I would suggest that even if the game ends with key characters dead that you rewrite the story/game to suit you, because it is the story that is important and the game supports the story, it may even direct it but it doesn't have to dominate it.
      I am looking forward to what you come up with and where it goes.

    6. You may have seen Stephen Gilbert's story of Carlotta Wynn,
      http ://www.tabletoptitans.com/reports/0001.php but basically he appears to be playing a game but is also telling a story, which I suspect is what you are aiming for as well.
      Have a read of this and let me know what you think, I always wanted to try and emulate it but have not got the bottle to try yet.

    7. I'd a read through it John & very enjoyable it was though I think my script team would down pencils if I asked them to come up with something like that, besides I'm more of a pictures man myself :)

      I did notice that like we were talking about how the leading characters had more wounds then the extras & that's the way to go as I've seen others do the same, what good is a movie if the star is dead in the opening shot ? :)

  3. Yay! I wondered if we'd ever get a zombie related tale from your table, and here it is! :-)
    VERY imaginative plot to get us going, and a glorious looking game - but so much of the story left to be revealed...... will weget to find out just what has been censored in the photographs??
    "he never liked her anyway" was the stand-out line for me, and a life lesson for ALL team managers ;-)

    1. Hi Greg - when I read this I thought - what - he's not been reading these post properly, there must have been zombie games , but you are quite right, how did that happen. It's the mish mash way I have approached this blogging business, I did mean to start at the beginning which was a zombie beginning, inspired mainly by Bryan, but a lot of the pictures and terrain from those games is pretty poor and I guess I'm trying to show you the better stuff.
      Maybe if you would indulge me I could show you some of the early games, they are just as intense but not as pretty.

    2. "Not been reading them properly"?? I'll have you know 'Vagabond's Wargaming Blog' will be my specialist subject if ever I get on Mastermind ;-)

      That Bryan has a lot to answer for - I can't recall what I was googling for when I stumbled across his blog, but whatever it was became irrelevant as I got immediately hooked on zombie apocalypse gaming!

      I'm more than happy to read WHATEVER you choose to post - there's plenty of inspiration (and entertainment) across the whole spectrum of your gaming genres, but if you're offering some early zed stuff I'd love to see it, and I think it would be cool to see how you've progressed with your terrain from those 'early days'.

    3. I knew there had been some zombies lurking in the wood work, they were in the 1st AAR - Bikers Breakout, not very many of them it's true.
      I think I shall post some games as done originally just to show how little can be achieved over such a long period of time. :-)

    4. Oh dear - put it down to me having just put another year on the clock and the slow decline into senility ;-) Obviously I wouldn't do very well on Mastermind (even if my specialist subject was "the bleedin' obvious"!), since I remembered that encounter as a bikers v cops tussle and TOTALLY forgot about the zeds!!
      Now, where did the nurse put my meds?

    5. I put it down to a little too much Little Whiskey ;-)

      Although of course I'd forgotten that I'd written about them as well. Duhh

  4. A very cool batrep that grabbed my attention from the start and never let go. Like Greg, I too have been waiting for you to run a zombie game. It sure did have a high body count, which made me think that the zombies won this encounter. I can only speculate at what the redacted bits of your photos were hiding, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself.

    1. Hi Brian - winning - loosing it's all the same but I think you would be quite right the Zombies, if they could count would chalk this up as a victory. Can they count?
      However I don't think they are the enemy, well not deep down, they would just eat you, that doesn't make them bad neighbours - hum maybe it does.
      But Governments - the guys looking out for us, I think they might be the enemy - just have to see how it pans out.

    2. Of course Governments are the bad guys. You can never trust a politician! At least with zombies, you know what to expect from them!

    3. I think we might be on the same wave length here ;-)

  5. AWESOME terrain, perfect choice of figures and a very fun and inspiring AAR as always! :O)

    Looking forward to the sequel!

    BTW: this scenery is just perfect for the (mis)adventures of a gang of Vampire Bikers! :O)

    1. Hi Eduardo, I sent you a PM on LAF - did it arrive? I hope so.

      The sequel may be a while as I'm planning on going back in history next. Quite a long way back.

    2. Oh, I hope it's another dinosaur hunt! Your Paleo Hunt batreps are such fun!

    3. Not quite that far. I've just read Colgar6 mammoth hunt and enjoyed that.

    4. Hey Vagabond!

      Vagabond, I cannot see my PMs nor post on LAF anymore... and as far as I've been PMed by several LAFers some days ago - when I still could read the PMs - I'm not the only one... Some of us prefer to see it as a server malfunction, because our supposed problems with North Star as a miniatures company does not have anything to reflect on the forum, right?! :O)

    5. I read part of the thread you started that referred to I think right wing fan boys, which probably wasn't going to get you the Mr Popularity 2018 award ;-) but not the one about Northstar figures.
      Would you like me to ask what is going on, or have they told you explicitly you can't post?

      I'll be honest and say I'm not supprised that the guy who was banned has been excluded, I've seen some very rude posts from him, we can all disagree but without being rude to each other. Some of the things he posted were totally uncalled for.

    6. Vagabond: to settle the matter down for good, all I have to say is that I live with a Brazilian top model in a beachfront house in a tropical island, so WTF would I give a damn to other things rather than if the winds and waves are going to be perfect tomorrow? :O)

    7. Sounds good to me, enjoy the beach.

  6. Wonderful romp through a zombie haunted desert town! Marvellous!

    1. Cheers mate - it worked for me so I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

  7. What a great fight, confusing and lethal too!
    Love the set-up and I suspect "Little "Whiskey" turns out just like this.

    1. Hi Joe - certainly lethal, I hope not too confusing, I do try my best to make it comprehensible but it's always difficult to judge, because I know who these guy's are and you don't. If I need to work harder at making it easier to follow let me know and at least I'll try.

  8. What a bloody battle! Great report mate. You are making me want to break out my Yakuza and paint them.

    1. Hi Simon, pleased you enjoyed it. Bloody - too right but I've found once those zombies get their teeth in you, there's not much going right after that.

      I enjoyed the firefight when the Marines got spooked and started snapfireing when the Japanese were in their line of sight so to speak. I've not really had that happen before.

  9. Beer collected and a great read to boot.

  10. Cheers Phil, appreciate you letting me know your read the post, I'm just thinking I could do with a beer myself. :-)

  11. Great game!!!

    I like the guy on the right too. :^)

    Love the terrain and how you made little alley ways using walls and wire. The game felt really claustrophobic and atmospheric to me and instilled a real sense of being trapped and a little panic as I was thinking about what it would be like to be trapped like that.

    1. Cheers DEW, I think once you get a certain number of zombies on the table the tension ratchets up as your chance of survival diminishes.
      When Kurt was up the blank alley with all those zeds blocking his escape, panic would have set in.
      Bad day at black rock.

  12. haha!
    Another great read. Really like these (even if I'm a bit behind, again...)
    Super terrain, as always,really inspiring.
    I do feel rather bad about Kurt. I can just feel his terror as the horde is closing in and the top of the wall is just a little bit to high... A horrid way to die.

    1. Hi Joakim thanks for letting me know you are still enjoying the stories, I appreciate it.
      I didn't write down how I was using strength to resolve things in this game, like Kurt pulling himself over the wall and the others trying to carry off their companions,which is a bit of a shame as when I was writing the report I enjoyed the extra level of realism it brought to it.
      I'm trying your wolf painting techniques on some dogs at the moment, hopefully an improvement on the last wolves.

    2. Cool, hope the dogs turn out good.
      Just had a solo-game of Pulp Alley and working on an AAR for the blog. Fun to do, but takes a lot of time

    3. Look forward to reading your AAR

    4. It's bloody excellent, one of the best game reports I have read.

    5. Thank you!
      One of the funniest to write :-)

    6. Ha - sorry just had to reply because its now 50 comments, what a tart I've become.

      Bye the way I reread your game again and still hugely enjoyed it. Read about 6 of your early games only another 37 to go;)

  13. Atmospheric and superb, I do like your wonderful terrain, what a stunning adventure!

    1. Cheers Phil, it was a full on game once Alex made the bold and completely wrong decision.

  14. What a great story and that town looks superb! Looking forward to learning the truth about what's going on there.

    1. Hi Martin I was going to bring this down to use on your desert mat but it wont work on your new terrain and there's no way I'm missing out on using that.

      The Truth ? there's more chance of us remaining sober. ;)

  15. Very very nice, setup and game, superb back stories as always regardless of Geography.

    1. Cheers T, and thanks for letting me know you read it, I appreciate that.