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Subject: Dawn of the Zeds session report -- "The Tholian Web" rss

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Wes Erni
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I just did a Dawn of the Zeds session report less than a month ago, and vowed never to do it again. However, inspired (and egged on) by Hasan and his epic video play-through, I am giving it another go. I want to re-create the feeling of being overwhelmed, needing all my wits to give myself even a chance of survival. As such I will start with minimum resources (2 Supply, 1 Ammo) and all the pro-Zed options. Given how slow I am as a typist, part of me is hoping for a short, and brutal game. The part of me that plays games however, is ruthless, and never gives up.

Set Up: Walking Zeds Campaign game. All Pro-Zed options will be used.
Civilians: 4 in Ingeburg, 3 in Beauxville, 3 in Town center, 2's in others.
Green Diamond Security Guards: 4 in Town Basement, 3 in Guard Post.
Zeds: Forest 6(3), Mountain 6(3), Highway 7(5), Tunnel 8(4), Suburbs 5(3).
Supply = 2, Ammo = 1
Heroes: Agee (chosen), Pickles, Wilson.

I badly needed a "Resource Gatherer" playing this "Desperation" game. Be careful what you wish for — I got two, neither one of which was the awesome Mr. Johnson. There is a silver lining to this "duplication of values" — Pickles is somewhat expendable, and I can push his bonus feature till he dies. Unfortunately, this Hero crew couldn't win a bar fight, I am going to need some luck to survive in this Scenario.

My pre-game strategy still revolves around Agee, and quick acquisition of the Super-Weapon. The difficulty here is that I may have to scrounge for supplies just to be able to advance at all on the Research table, AND I have to scrounge right away for ammo just to use the SW. I have very little margin for error.


Card #6 Research Materials
Zeds: Forest #6
Action 1: Agee Moves — Lab
2: Agee Research — Success
3: Pickles Move — Nuclear Plant
Infection = 0, Supply = 1, Ammo = 1, Research = 2

Normally I wait until occupying the Chromo-Technics Lab before starting Research — but I can't wait in this game, Agee must act anytime I have a Supply available. I would prefer getting this card a little bit later (to gain a more difficult Level), but I am not complaining here. Sadly, this moment is probably the last time Pickles will ever see sunlight.

Card #8 Secret Hatch
Consume Supplies
Zeds: Sub East Irek — 1/3* Zed 1 Dead, Chaos. Civ 3 Hits, Retreats with Refugee to University.
Tun C-T Lab — Chaos.
Secret Entrance in Lefty Pass
Action 1: Pickles Move — C-T Lab SURVIVES
Infection = 1, Supply = 0, Ammo = 1, Research = 2

My hopes for a second research attempt with starting supplies was killed, but Pickles wasn't — so this a good turn. I am not quite sure how the dog is transmitting vital data from Lab-to-Lab while surrounded by zombies — but I suppose we'll just say Pickles is "special" and leave it at that.

Card #3 Well-Armed Civilians
Well Armed marker placed on GDS Guard 4
Unable to consume Supplies — my Civilian at the University is removed to the Hospital.
Zeds: Forest #5
Action 1: Wilson Forages — Supply
2: Agee Research — Success
3: GDS Guard 3 Moves — Tun #3
Infection = 1, Supply = 0, Ammo = 1, Research = 3

I wiped out my crippled Civilian to avoid Infection and several nasty cards. Maybe I am just being a pessimist — the Civ had 1/6 chance to halt the Zed, and possibly saving my Refugee. I will have no shame in equipping Refugees this game (these Heroes won't be doing much fighting), so I am not at all sure I am doing the right thing. The Guard cleared out of its Post, to make room for Wilson to scrounge for ammo (for the first time in any game I played — I shockingly missed the Guard Post was an Ammo source). However I can't get ammo until I have supplies for research.

Card # 1 Supply room discovered
Zeds: Hwy #6
Action 1: GDS Guard 4 Moves — Mall
2: Wilson Moves — Guard Post
3: Wilson Forages — Ammo
Infection = 1, Supply = 4, Ammo = 2, Research = 3

At least I got one of Supply cards in the Prologue. It will probably be a long time before I forage for supplies again — maybe I should have re-read "The 900 Days of the Siege of Leningrad" before starting this game.

Act I

Card #19 Zed Disease Quickening
East Irek Refugees Deploy to Beauxville
Consume Supply
Zeds: Hwy Ingeburg — 2*/1 Zed 2 Dead Retreats to Hwy #6, 4Civ 1 Hit
For St. Thomas — 0/3* Chaos, 2Civ 3 hits, Retreat to Farm with Refugee.
Action 1: Agee Research — Success
2: Agee Research — Fail
3: Agee Research — Double Success
4; Wilson Forages — Ammo
Infection = 3, Supply = 0, Ammo = 3, Research = 6 = SUPER-WEAPON!

The ability of the player to selectively add +1 to either or both dice dramatically increases the chances of ‘Doubles" for Agee (and Mayor/Forager combinations). I only found this out in a Q&A post. I probably should have had Wilson forage in town more, but I want to start shooting soon, and I would rather be hungry than dead.

Card #12 Suburbs Night Assault
Zeds: Sub University — Chaos. Beauxville — 2*/2, (3)Zed 3 dead, Retreats to University. (2)Civ 2 hits.
Action 1: Wilson Forages — Fails
2: Wilson Forages — Double Ammo
3: Wilson Forages — Ammo
Infection = 5, Supply = 0, Ammo = 6, Research = 6

Major Victory in the Suburbs. Normally I don't give a hoot about my perimeter Civs, but I need some refugees to re-build my 4Civ (soon to be in the Hospital) and absorb starvation losses. Weathering the second Suburbs "Blitz" was sweet.

Card #17 Noelle "Hell Razer"
East Irek Refugee to Sub #3, St. Thomas refugee to For #2
Unable to consume Supply, Farm Civ removed to hospital.
Zeds: Sub Beauxville — 1/3*, (3)Zed 4 Dead — Chaos. Civ Removed to hospital, Refugee Retreats to Sub #3
Mtn #6
Hwy Ingeburg — 1/2*, (5)Zed 3 Dead — Chaos. (2)Civ 3 Hits, Retreats with Refugee to Hwy #5
Tun #6 (Bark fails)
Wilson Premonition "Wandering Zeds"
Action 1: Agee Moves — Sub #3
2: Agee Fires! — 1 Hit, (3) Zed 5 Dead
Infection = 8, Supply = 0, Ammo = 5, Research = 6

My "crack" Civilians were both shredded. I feel terrible using Wilson's first Premonition here, but there is a lot at stake — two Refugees and Noelle hang in the balance. Despite a brewing Outbreak and Wandering Zeds — Professor Agee boldly charges (did I just type that?). I think this "Desperation" game requires Act I risks that I normally would never consider. I am going to look really dumb if the "Stocked Barn" card is drawn soon, after "cleverly' starving my Civ in the farm, but I need to keep my Town center Civs "fat" — for the lean times ahead.

Card # 5 Wandering Zeds
St. Thomas Refugee to For #2
Outbreak Fate — (Mountain) The Living Dead. Outbreak Zed 4(2) Lefty Pass — 1/2* Zed 1 Dead — Chaos. (1)Civ 2 hits and Retreats with Refugee to Mtn #3.
St. Thomas New Zed 5(1)
Zeds: Wandering Zed Fate — (Highway) I think I see somebody! Attack on (2)Civ Removes Civ to hospital.
Hwy #4 Refugee Eaten
Tun #5
Action 1: Agee Fires — Zed Destroyed
2: Agee Moves — Beauxville (will restore order)
Infection = 6, Supply = 0, Ammo = 4, Research = 6

Although a lot a bad things happened, this was lucky turn. Agee was vulnerable (most Chaos, AND weakest Zeds in Suburbs), and I have a fourth Hero card (actually a pretty clear road to achieving a fourth Hero). I really want both Kingman and Wright to complete my "Tholian Web" around the Tunnel Zeds (hang on Pickles!) — I just need Agee to sweep the Suburbs before something bad happens.

Card #15 Helicopter Strike
Refugee Lefty Pass Deploys to Campground
Zeds: Tun Dr. Marteuse's Office — Chaos
Helicopter Strikes Zed 4(2) in Lefty pass — 2 hits, zed(2) has 3 Dead
Action 1: Agee move — University (will restore order)
2: Agee Manhunts — Fails
3: Agee Manhunts — Kills Noelle
4: GDS 3 Guard Fires — 2 hits, Zed 2 dead Retreats (sw) to Tun#5
Infection = 5, Supply = 0, Ammo = 3, Research = 6

Another good turn — Noelle is finally dead (Action hero Professor Agee!), and the rumors of Colonel Kingman's approach are sweeping the town. I just need time (and ammo).

Card #7 Local Zed Outbreaks
Lefty Pass Refugee Deploys to Mtn #1
Unable to consume supply — (1)Civ in Mtn #3 Removed to Hospital.
Zeds: (2)Zed to Mtn #3, 6Zed to Lucky Mine — Chaos
Hwy Nuclear Plant — Chaos
Tun Fails (Catacomb)
Action 1: Agee Moves — East Irek (will restore order)
2: Wilson Forage — Ammo
Infection = 3, Supply = 0, Ammo = 4, Research = 6

I agonized over using Wilson's last Premonition — I could guarantee Kingman's appearance right where I want him in East Irek. The "Zed Wave" (Card #24) has a 1 in 12 chance of being drawn next turn, which would ruin my "University Mousetrap". This game has been a stream of running small risks, even though no Zed has gotten near the town. Having Zero Supply actually paid off this turn, as I dodged a new Zombie through starvation.

Card #4 Stocked Barn Discovered
Lefty Pass Refugee Deploys to East Side
Zeds: (2)Zed to Campground — Chaos, 6Zed to Lefty Pass
Place Kingman in Suburbs Start.
Action 1: Agee Moves — Bridge
2: Kingman Moves — East Irek
3: Wilson Forages — Fails
4: Wilson Forages — Double Ammo
Infection = 3, Supply = 0, Ammo = 6, Research = 6

I lost a die roll full of Supply due to my "cute" starvation doctrine — but having Kingman in the field more than makes up for it. I don't know when (or if) Kingman is going to use his fancy supply sucking specialties — but his "free" defense perimeter ability is THE ace in the hole in a game like this.

Card #24 Where are they all Coming From?
Zed: Remove 2 Dead zeds, New Zed in Suburbs 9(4)
For: Mob 5,6 to Farm — Chaos
(2)Zed to Mtn #1, 6Zed to Mtn #3
Hwy #2
Tun Dr. Marteuse's office
Sub Blocked by Kingman
Wilson Premonition — Space Artifact found
Action 1: 3Guards — Move to Left's Pass (will restore order)
Infection = 4, Supply = 0, Ammo = 6, Research = 6

My chortling over the Zed Queen being a turn too late for this card — ended quickly with both Town and Tunnel pressured, and so many of my refugees in danger again . I am glad I didn't have to shoot that monster new Zed, away from Kingman's grille — but that is battle that will be coming soon. I used my last Premonition to guide my precious one Action point. It would be easy to toss my 4Guards Downtown to crush the racing zed, but they are far more brittle than my 4Civilian (soon to return), and I need my 3Guards to police the Tunnel (in this game, they're the Marteuse Manhunters). With such limited Ammo and wretched shooters, this could be a big mistake.

Card #20 Space Artifact Found
Space artifact Fate — Tunnel (choice) #5. Bubba Denardo's Band.
Denardo Band fate — Mountain — Explosives cache Discovered.
Band Raiders placed in Mountain Start and deploy to Mtn #6
Left Pass Refugee to Town Center — Equips 4Civ completely, St. Thomas Refugee to For #1
Unable to consume supplies — 2Civilian in Town Center takes 1 Hit.
Zeds: Hwy to Downtown — Chaos
Tun #3
Action 1: 4Civ Fires — 2 hits, Zed(5) 5 Dead, retreats to Hwy #1
2: Wilson Forages — Ammo
3: Wilson Moves — Downtown (will Restore Order)
4: Wilson Fires — 1 Hit, Zed Destroyed
Infection = 5, Supply = 0, Ammo = 6, Research = 6

Now Wilson is shooting — in my last game I fired one shot on the 4 column and all the rest on the 5-7 columns. With more limited ammo, I can't help but think this inefficiency is going to bite me later (literally). My 3Guards are now threatened by Bubba Denardo — they can't seem to find a safe harbor (I assume the Band deploys before RRR movement — it doesn't specify in the rules). Having the Rangers around the town would make my play so much more efficient. Sigh.

Card # 23 The Doctor is "In"
Dr. Marteuse and Ravagers Deploy in Dr. Marteuse's Office
Zeds: (2)Zed to East Side — Chaos, 6Zed to Campground
Tun Guard post — Chaos, Ravagers Tun #3
Action 1: 4Civ Fires — 2 Hits, (2)Zed 5 Dead Retreats to Mtn #1
2: 3Civ Moves — East Side (will Restore Order)
Infection = 6, Supply = 0, Ammo = 5, Research = 6

I was very tempted to throw Agee into the East Side and cut my infection to 3, but there just too many mountain movement cards out there. I may have to initiate a Hand-to-Hand battle (against the Ravagers) — between that and all my weak shooting this shaping up into a very strange game.

Card # 13 A Hero Arrives
Raiders Deploy Lucky mine (will Restore order).
St. Thomas to Refugee to Mall, East Irek Refugee to Bridge
Zeds: For Mob 5,6 to #2
Sub #6 (Kingman Fails)
Tun 8Zed to #1, Ravagers to Guard Post
Special agent Wright Deploys in Town Center
Action 1: Kingman Fires — 2 hits, 9Zeds 2 Dead, Retreats to Sub Start
2: 3Guards Move — Dr. Marteuse's Office (will restore Order)
3: 4Guards Move — Town Basement
Infection = 8, Supply = 0, Ammo = 4, Research = 6

Huge relief to see Wright appear — she is the final piece of my puzzle. Unfortunately, I am taking a massive risk this turn. I know the dreaded BRAINS Card is one of the last 4 cards (about 5% chance a combo will get me), but I have to complete my plan, or I will die just a slower death later. I could have played an entire game of Israeli Independence, in the amount of time I thought about my Action Phase. The Tunnel Addition to Dawn of the Zeds, adds a tremendous layer of tactical options with the various Entrances. Overlaying the tactical problems, lay a wide variety of strategic choices. If my only object was to survive Act I, then I haven't played very well. I am sacrificing some short-term chances, for the sake of long term survival (of the human race). Doesn't mean I'm right.

Card #22 Hidden Zeds appear
Raiders Deploy to Lefty pass (will restore Order)
Outbreak Fate — Forest (choice) Sturdy vehicles Commandeered. New Zed 5(3) deploys in Farm
Zeds: Hidden Zeds Fate — Dud ammunition and spoiled supplies. No Effect
Sub Blocked (Kingman)
Tun 8Zed to Basement — 2*/1 8Zed 2 Dead, Retreat to Tun #1. 4Guards takes 1 Hit. Ravagers Blocked
Action 1: 3Guard Manhunt — Marteuse Arrested
2: Wilson Forages — Suppy
Infection = 5, Supply = 1, Ammo = 3, Research = 6

The BRAINS failed to come again — this is very nerve-wracking. Unless it can kill me, I much prefer having BRAINS cards appear early in each Act — I can then maneuver much more freely. I am about to lose my Super Civilian (a bedrock "chess-piece" in every game) — I could probably save it just by pulling the trigger ... and ruin my Act II plans. I could have left the Basement empty to begin with, relying on Wright to automatically shoot them off (about the same chance of a BRAINS Death). Problem is: I need the ammo, and I need to keep the weak Ravager in the caboose of this Tunnel "train". One thing I didn't need, was dud ammunition. On the bright side, the tragic/comical P.E.T.Z. protest didn't occur (which probably would have resulted in everyone eaten in no time at all).

Card #25 BRAINS!
For Zed Mob 5(1),6 to For #1, Zed5(3) to For #2
Mtn (2)Zed to East side — 3*/0 Zed Destroyed, Mtn 6Zed to Campground
Tun 8Zed to town Basement 2*/2, (4)Zed 4 Dead, Retreats to Tun #1. (2)Guards 3 Hits. Ravagers blocked.
Sub #6 (Kingman Fails)
Infection = 10, Supply = 1, Ammo = 3, Research = 6

Finally. At least I am alive. As feared, my Elite Guards unit is ruined — Kingman is being threatened again, and the glacial horde in the forest is in striking distance. Perversely, drawing the Ranger next turn would probably wreck me.

Card #18 Vengeance
Denardo to Mtn #3. East Irek Refugee to Suburbpia
Outbreak Fate — Forest (choice), Rampant Paranoia. New Zed 3(1) Deployed in Farm.
Agee Removed from Play
Zeds: Vengeance Fate — Mountain, Refugees Argue about What to Do.
3Civ Advances to Campground — 2*/2 6Zed 2 Dead. (2)Civ Takes 2 hits, Retreats to Mtn #1.
Rotate both Suburban refugees
Action 1: 3Guards Move — Guard Post 0/3* Ravagers(6) 3 Dead Retreat to Tun #3 (will Restore Order)
2: Kingman Fires — Miss
3: Kingman Fires — 1 hit (4)Zed 3 Dead
Infection = 8, Supply = 1, Ammo = 1, Research = 6

I took back the Guard Post. Now the bad news: Professor Agee, the East-Siders, and my suburbanites are crazy, and Colonel Kingman should have spent more time on the shooting range. This looked like a pretty good card draw — I actually would have liked Vengeance in the Tunnel. I didn't bring my St. Thomas Refugees to Camp to help manipulate an Outbreak next turn (what's the saying, "Be careful what you wish for").

Card #11 Forest Night Assault
Denardo to Campground 1/3* (3)Zed 5 Dead Retreats to Mtn #3, Denardo takes 1 Hit.
St. Thomas Refugee to Town center and Refugee Camp
Outbreak Fate — Tunnel (choice) Rescue Signal brings Supply Drop. New Zed 4(2) in C-T Lab Pickles SURVIVES.
Zeds: For Zed Mob 5(1), 6(3) to Mall — Chaos, Zed 5(3) For #1, Zed 3(1) to For #2
Action 1: Wright Fires — 3 hits (1)Zed 3 dead, retreats to For #1, 6(3)Zed Retreats to For #2
2: Kingman Constructs Strongpoint at East Irek
Infection = 5, Supply = 0, Ammo = 2, Research = 6

The badly needed supply drop allows Kingman to do what he does best — Hunker down and hopefully NEVER shoot again. Pickles survives a second roll — if she can keep this up the University will be a choke point for all those Super-Zeds ready to enter play. Of course I still have to find the strength to defeat the existing Zombie hordes — so I am nowhere near feeling confident

Act II

Card #26 Mine Explosion
Denardo deploy to Mtn #1 — 1/2* (3)Denardo has 2 Hits, Civ to hospital.
Zeds: Mtn Campground — Chaos
Sub East Irek — 3/0* Zed Destroyed
Action 1: 4Civ Moves — Mall (will restore Order)
2: 4Civ Fires — 2 Hits, 5(3)Zed has 2 Hits Retreats with(1) to Farm
3: Suburban Refugees rotate back in "action"
Infection = 7, Supply = 0, Ammo =2, Research = 6

It was nice Kingman wasn't scratched — unfortunately, now either Zed Wave card, will bring another Zed to the Suburban Start space. Bubba Denardo has been far nastier to us than the Zeds.

Card # 45 Cute Puppies
Denardo Deploys to East Side
East Irek Refugee to Town Center, and Equips completely a 3 Civilian
Outbreak Fate: Tunnel, Undead Loved One. New Zed 7(4) in Tunnel Start. Fate No Effect
Mtn #1
Tun (4) Basement — 2/2* Zeds Destroyed, Guards to Hospital, Ravagers to Lefty's Pass,
4Zed in C-T Lab blocked from moving to University (Bark failed, but Kingman succeeded). 7Zed Blocked
Action 1: Wright Fires — 2 hits, Denardo Destroyed
2: Guard — Town Basement
3: 3Civ Moves — East Side
Were-Zeds placed tunnel start
Infection = 4, Supply = 0, Ammo = 1, Research = 6

My version of the "Tholian Web" in action — but I'm trapping zombies, not Starships. Between the two of them, Pickles and Colonel Kingman will block 75% of the Tunnel moves to the University. As long as the Tunnel Zeds completely outnumber the Suburban Zeds, they will mindlessly try to enter the University (turns out, even Zombies want to move to the Suburbs). With Special Agent Wright "directing traffic", I can turn Dr. Marteuses's evil spawn against him. There will be leakers, and Pickles will inevitably die at some point — but the operation still can work with Kingman alone (just now 50%). The good colonel is much more effective deploying at "right angles" to the Zed advance, than directing in front of it (at least he is when half the Zeds on the East Coast are passing by him).

Card #33 Disaster at the Lab
Unable to consume Supply, (1)Civ in Town Center has 2 hits
Zeds: For Zed Mob 6,3 to For #1, Zed Mob 5,(1) to For #2
Reduce Research
Action 1: Guards Move — Town Center, Dr. Marteuse to Interrogation Room
2: Interrogate Marteuse — to holding cell
Infection = 4, Supply = 0, Ammo = 1, Research = 6

That Lab disaster could kill me next turn — both the "Fast Zeds" or a BRAINS combo would threaten annihilation. At least I am ready for next turns Action phase. I am close to getting some control over this game, but I have to sweat one more card draw.

Card #40 Soldiers of Fortune
Refugee to Bridge
Zeds: Mtn to East Side — 3*/0 Zed destroyed. Ravagers to Mtn #3
Action 1: 4Civ Fires — 3 hits, (3)Zed has 3 dead, Retreats with 3 to Farm
2: Wilson places Explosives Downtown
(1)Civ to hospital
Infection = 5, Supply = 0, Ammo = 1, Research = 6

Wilson deploys explosives just prior to what may be his final game move — to the Guard Post. (Downtown looks to be the Leapers eventual destination). The Z team nails me for the 4th time, but I don't much care this time, the extra ammo and Dead were worth it.

Card #47 What the...there's more!
Refugee to Suburbia
Zeds: 2 Dead Zeds removed. New Zed 8(6) Hwy Start, New Zed 5(3) in Suburbs Start.
Tunnel 4Zed blocked (Pickles), Army in Tunnel Start blocked
Hwy #6
Mtn Ravagers to Campground
For Zed Mob 5,(1) to For #1, Zed Mob 6,3 to For # 2
Sub #6 (Kingman fails)
Action 1: 4Civ Fires — 2 Hits, 5Zed 2 Dead, Retreats to Farm with (1)
2: Wilson move — Guard Post
Infection = 5, Supply = 0, Ammo = 0, Research = 6

Oh well, I wish this card had come just a little later. I could have built up some ammo, and thrown the next Outbreak into Beauxville (to protect Kingman). At least the new Suburbs Zed is mediocre. I feel silly now, being cute with the explosives — I have zero ammo, and Wilson is still not in the Guard Post.

Card #50 BRAINS
Zeds: Sub East Irek — 2*/0 5Zed 2 Dead, Retreat to #6
Tun 7Zed to University (Pickles and Kingman both fail), 7Zed to C-T Lab — Pickles SURVIVES, Were-Zeds blocked
Hwy Ingeburg
Mtn Ravagers #1
For Zed Mob 3,(3) to For #1, Zed Mob 5,(1) to For #2
Infection = 10, Supply = 0, Ammo = 0, Research = 6

Zed Wave and BRAINS cards back-to-back — maybe I didn't shuffle enough. The Zeds slipped through my Web, and all of a sudden have equal numbers on Tunnel and Suburban tracks. The 0- 0-10 (resources & infection, License NOT to kill) looks horrible, but only the Ammo is a problem — Outbreaks "help" strategy at this point in the game.

Card # 16 Death Trap
Outbreak Fate — Tunnel (choice) Zeds Mutate Super Toxic Stench, New Zed 7(5) Tunnel Start.
This New Zed has the Stench
Zeds: Mtn Ravagers to East Side — 1/2*, (6)Ravagers 4 Dead. (2)Civ takes 2+1 Hits, Doesn't Retreat, 2nd Fight — 2*/2 Ravagers Dead, Civ to Hospital
For Zed Mob 3,(3) to Mall — 1/3* (3)Zed 4 Dead — Chaos, Civ to Hospital
Action 1: Wilson Forages — Ammo
2: Wright Fires — 3 hits, 6(3)Zed Destroyed, 3Zed 1 Dead, Retreat to For #2
Infection = 8, Supply, Ammo = 0, Research = 6

I make a crack about the Zeds being mindless, then they pull this hat trick on me. The town defenses just collapsed, my Elite Civilians (actually my only Civilians) wiped out. Luckily my East-Siders redeemed themselves when cornered, and Wilson remembered his way around the Guard Post. The Fast Zeds get drawn — I die.

Card #42 We're going to need a bigger gun!
Refugee to Town Center, Equips 4 Civilian completely
Outbreak Fate — Tunnel (choice) Some civilians get organized. New Zed 9(4) Tunnel Start
4Civilian receives Civilian Leader marker
Zeds: For Zed Mob 5,(1) to Mall, 3Zed to For #1
Tun 7Zed Blocked (Pickles), Army in Tun Start Blocked
Action 1: Wilson Forages — Double Ammo
2: Wright Fires — 2 hits, (3)Zed 4 dead Retreats to For #2, (1) Retreats to For #1
3: 4Civ Moves — Mall (will restore order)
4: Wilson Forages — Fails
Dread Zed placed in Tunnel Start
Infection = 5, Supply = 0, Ammo = 1, Research = 6

This card looks terrible at first glance, but it is not fatal — actually more of a breather (4 actions). Army Group North in the forest just fell short, and their thinning ranks had the door shut on them. The "Web" has bounced back stronger than ever, and even the Toxic stench has been diluted. The rules don't clarify the ongoing Tunnel situation, I have been playing that the play must choose the stronger Zed to move in to the C-T Lab. Their is a precedent for the player simply choosing in unspecified situations — but the similar situation of a Zed Mob entering a more restricted space through a Tunnel Entrance, leans me toward the "strongest" answer (much as it pains me). The rules for the Toxic Stench seem almost designed to play havoc with this Kingman "Web" approach (maybe they were), as a Stench Zed would vaporize Kingman (in back, and/or Strong-Pointed are no defense). The combination of Dread Zed and his prototype, present in the Tunnel start space, actually protect Kingman from the Stench, thus I can avoid the painful and inefficient antidotes to the Stench threat.

Card #21 Ranger scout team
Unable to consume Supply, Wilson takes Hit and flips.
Zeds: Sub 5 Zed East Irek — 2*/1, (3)Zed 4 dead, retreats to Sub #6. 4Zed to Beauxville — Chaos
Tunnel 7Zed Blocked (Pickles fails, Kingman succeeds), Tun Start army blocked.
Ranger Fate — Suburbs(choice) P.E.T.Z. Protests Rangers in Suburbs start. Fate lose 3 Ammo
Action 1: Rangers Move — Sub #6 — 1/3* Zed destroyed, Rangers take 1 Hit
2: Wilson Forages — Ammo
3: Wilson Forages — double Ammo
Infection = 7, Supply = 0, Ammo = 5, Research = 6

Finally! My Rangers have arrived. I can't believe I actually chose to go do a Hand-to-Hand attack with them — but Kingman was wobbling, and I didn't want stand or shoot with him. The "genie" coming out of the bottle, seems to be the main way I can be beaten right now. Given that I have no problem with Outbreaks, I would truly enjoy handing the protesters over to the Zeds right now (at least I can weather the ammo loss at the moment).

Card #32
Rangers Hold
Outbreak Fate — Tunnel (choice) Zombie Gathering call. New Zed 2(1) in Tunnel Start
Fate Draw — Forest — Infected Vermin. New Zed 6(3) in Farm
Unable to consume Supplies, Guards take 1 Hit
Zeds: Zed Mob 3,(1) to Mall — 2*/0, (2)Zed 3 Dead, Retreat with (1) to Forest #1, (3) Zed Blocked
Tun 7Zed Blocked (Pickles Fails, Kingman succeeds). Army in Tun Start Blocked.
Drone Strike puts 3 Dead on (6)Zed in Ingeburg
Action 1: Wilson Forages — Ammo
2: Wilson Forages — Fails
Infection = 4, Supply = 0, Ammo = 6, Research = 6

I may have overreacted to the threat to East Irek — now my Rangers are cooling their heels on the perimeter. I don't want them involved in Hand-to-Hand again unless there is an emergency. I want to wait until no Tunnel movement before retake the University, and engage in some long- range back shooting — they belong around town. Infected Vermin at this time, in this game, is just amusing — if my Web collapses, I won't be laughing.

Card #34 Contamination
Rangers Deploy to University (will restore Order)
Increase Infection 7
Outbreak #1 Fate — Tunnel (choice) Alpha Zed. New Zed 4(2) in Tunnel start
3(2) in Forest is Alpha Zed
Outbreak #2 Fate — Tunnel (choice) Yeah, they fell for it...this time. New Zed 6(3) in Tunnel
Action 1: 4Civ Fires — 3 Hits (2)Zed 4 Dead, Retreats to Farm, (1) Retreats to For #2
2: Wilson Forages — Ammo
3: Wilson Forages — Double Ammo
4: Wilson Forages — Fails
Infection = 6, Supply = 0, Ammo = 8, Research = 6

The Tunnel Zeds are overflowing — I don't remember any rules for running out of Zeds. The pro-Zed Double Outbreak on 10+ has turned out to be no disadvantage at all — the Toxic Stench is never going to see the light of day. Brimming with Ammo, and the fantastic "They fell for it" card, my confidences is sky-high.

Card #41 Hospital efficiency
Rangers deploy to Sub #6
Zeds: Sub #2
Tun: 7Zed blocked from University (Pickles), Army in Tun Start blocked.
Action 1: Wilson Forages — Ammo
2: Wilson Forages — Fails
3: Wilson Forages — Fails
4; Wilson Forages — double Ammo
Infection = 7, Supply = 0, Ammo = 11, Research = 6

My Rangers backed off, rather than risk an engagement — I may be too paranoid about damaging them further, they not going to accomplish much hiding in the ‘burbs. Bizarre to be calmly collecting Ammo, while Infected Vermin run rampant through the streets. By the way, how efficient could the hospital be, after such massive contamination?

Card #30 Smart Zeds
Unable to consume supplies (2)Guards takes Hit (total 2)
Zeds: Sub to Suburbia — Chaos. (Also Chaos at Bridge)
Action 1: Wright Fires — 3 hits, (2)Zed 3 Dead, Retreats to Bridge
2: Rangers Move — University
3: Guards Move — Suburbia (will restore Order)
4; Wilson Forages — Ammo
Infection = 9, Supply = 0, Ammo = 11, Research = 6

A Brains/Smart Zeds combo would have killed me without that beautiful "They fell for it card". Allows me play a little lazy. I probably should do something about that constant Supply attrition, but its not nearly as important as Ammo (at least with one more refugee in camp). Looks like my Rangers will get home.

Card #10 Highway night assault
Ranger Deploy to Beauxville (will restore order)
Outbreak Fate — Tunnel (choice) A Diamond in the rough. New Zed4(2) in Tunnel start.
Zeds: Hwy to Nuclear Plant
Place Mr. Johnson in Town Center
Action 1: Johnson Forages — Double Supply
Infection = 7, Supply = 3, Ammo = 13, Research = 6

Mr. Johnson joins the group — first time I've had all 3 Foragers. There are now 8 Zeds in the Tunnel Start — The web has held beautifully.

Card # 44 Leapin' Lizards
Rangers Hold
Zeds: For Zed Mob (3),(1) to For #1, Zed Mob 6,(2) to For #2
Tun 7Zed to University (Pickles and Kingman both fail) Pickles — Chaos. Dread zed to C-T Lab — Pickles SURVIVES. Remainder of Tun Start Blocked.
Action 1: 4Civ Fires — 2 hits, 5(3) Zed Destroyed, (1)Zed Retreat to Farm
Action 2: Rangers Fire at long range — 2 hits, (2)Zed 5 Dead, retreats to Sub #2
Action 3: Rangers Fire @ (2) — Zed Destroyed
the Leapers are placed in Tunnel start.
Infection = 8, Supply = 3, Ammo = 10, Research = 6

Of course, the second I start crowing about my web, it gives way. Thankfully, Pickles is still going strong. At least the zed penetrating the Suburbs allowed me to obliterate the zed blocking the rangers — maintaining my protection of Kingman (from the next Zed Wave, Card 47).

Card #2 Hunting lodge located
Rangers deploy to Bridge (will restore order)
Action 1: Johnson Moves — Campground (will restore order)
2: Wilson Forages — Ammo
3: Wilson Forages — Fails
4: Wilson Forages — Ammo
Johnson finds 2 Ammo
Infection = 10, Supply = 3, Ammo = 14, Research = 6

Still biding my time. I already have enough Ammo to start a war, but I like to be ready for anything.

Card #46 The mysterious Dr. Marteuse
Rangers Deploy to Town Center
Zeds: Sub Beauxville — Chaos
For Zed Mob 6,(2) to For #1, (1) to For #2
Tun; Dread Zed Blocked from University (Pickles fails, Kingman succeeds), Army blocked
Action 1: 4Civ Fires — 3 hits, (3)Zed 3 dead, retreats to farm, (2) retreats to For #2
2: Guard Moves — Town Center
Infection = 10, Supply = 3, Ammo = 13, Research = 6

I finally have my Rangers ready to face the Highway threat — the Forest horde is laughably pathetic.

Mountain night Assault
Rangers deploy to Hwy #1
Outbreak #1 Fate — Tunnel (choice) School Bus Repaired. New Zed 5(3) in tunnel start.
Outbreak #2 Fate — Tunnel (choice) Adrenalin Supply discovered. New Zed 7(5) in Tunnel.
Action 1: Rangers Fire (LR) — 2 Hits, (6)Zed 4 Dead, Retreats to Hwy #4
2: Wilson Forages — Ammo
Infection = 6, Supply = 3, Ammo = 14, Research = 6

This has been a little boring — I almost wish their was a Mountain zed to fight, just to keep my men sharp. I think of all those turns I could have badly used the Adrenalin Supply — not so much at the moment.

Card #49 BRAINS
For Zed Mob (3),(1) to For #1, (2) to For #2
Hwy Nuclear Plant
Sub #2
Tun Leapers to Hwy #2, Dread Zed to University (Pickles and Kingman Fail), 9Zed to C-T Lab — 0/3* Pickles DIES.
Infection = 5, Supply = 3, Ammo = 14, Research = 6

OH NO! Pickles Dies. When we carry the day, the story of man's best friend must be immortalized in song and legend and...what...we can't tell Pickles story because you don't want to explain HOW Pickles accomplished so much. Sigh. Actually I had been thinking of having Pickles grab the artifact and live through this game. It would have made the game livelier, but no, my strategy is paramount — saving humanity comes first. I am not positive that I am doing the Leapers right. Certainly any normal Zed would move to the highway — but I am not sure here. I am basing my decision on the very fact that the "Frenzied Leap" is in the rules at all. Dr. Marteuse will always be under arrest or active, every single time the Leapers can enter play (due to deck construction) — so the only way to the surface is through a Tunnel entrance (unless players are doing some kind of unauthorized "mash-up" of cards during a Walking Zeds scenario). The fact that this a BRAINS card, further muddies the waters.

Card #35 Berserk Hero
Rangers to town center
Zeds: Sub 7Zed Bridge, Dread Zed Beauxville
Tun 9Zed to University (Kingman fails), 7Zed to C-T Lab, Army in Tunnel start blocked
Action 1: Johnson Moves — Suburbia
2: Johnson Fires — 2 hits 7Zed 2 dead, Retreats to Sub #2
3: Rangers Move — Bridge (will restore order)
4; Rangers Fire — 3 hits, (4)Zed 1 Hit, 3 Dead Retreats to Beauxville, Dread Zed 2 Hits,1 Dead.
Infection = 7, Supply = 3, Ammo = 12, Research = 6

The Suburban front is hemorrhaging massive Zeds — luckily I have some good shooters and plenty of ammo. I have never once used my berserk hero (as a berserker).

Card #47 We can't kill them fast enough
Rangers deploy to town center
Zeds: Remove 3 dead Zeds, New Zed 6(3) in mountain start.
Sub Dread Zed to bridge — Chaos, (4)Zed to Sub #2, 9Zed to Beauxville
Tun 6 Zed to University Blocked (Kingman), Army in Tunnel start Blocked
Hwy Leapers to Downtown — Explosives 4 Hits (2) — Chaos, (6)Zed to Nuclear Plant
Mtn #6
For Zed Mob (2),(1) Mall — 2*/1 (2)Zed 5 Dead retreats to For#1 with (1). 4Civ takes 1 Hit. For (3) blocked
Action 1: Wright Fires — 4 hits, Leapers really Destroyed
Adrenalin played
2: Johnson Fires — 3 hits Dread Zed 2 dead
3: Johnson Fires — 2 hits Dread Zed total 3 Dead (5)Strength
Infection = 9, Supply = 3, Ammo = 9, Research = 6

The Zeds are making their last desperate push — the Dread Zed "No retreat" ability is their best hope. I burned out my adrenalin to give Mr. Johnson a better chance in Hand-to-Hand (although I don't think there are many Suburban move cards left). Once I annihilate the Forest and Highway Zeds, those fronts will become boring — I can concentrate on a long running battle in the Suburbs (assuming of course the Dread Zed succumbs to my massive fire).

Card #28 Toxic zeds
Rangers Hold
Outbreak Fate — Tunnel (choice) Desperate times, desperate measures. New Zed 5(3) in Tunnel start.
Consume Supply (that's novel)
Zeds: Hwy #1
Action 1: Johnson Fires — 2 hits, Dread Zed 4 Dead
2: Johnson Fires — 3 Hits Dread Zed 5 Dead
3: Johnson Fires — 3 hits Dread Zed Dead
Infection = 5, Supply = 2, Ammo = 6, Research = 6

Mr. Johnson blazes away like his life depended on it (as it was). The Highway and Forest Zeds are no threat, the Zeds have shot their bolt this Act.

Card # 27 A Hero arrives
Rangers Deploy to Bridge (will Restore Order)
Zeds: Hwy Downtown
For Zed Mob (2),(1) to Mall — 3*/0, 3(2)Zed Destroyed, (1)Zed 5 Dead Retreats to For #1, (3)Zed to For #1
Tun 7Zed to University (Kingman fails), 6Zed to C-T Lab, Army blocked
Action: Sheriff Hunt to Town Center
1: Wright Fires — 3 hits Zed Destroyed
2: Rangers Fire — 3 Hits Zed Destroyed
3: Rangers Fire (LR) — 2 Hits 9Zed 2 dead, Retreats to University
Hunt Bonus Action: 4Civ Fires — 2 Hits, Zed5(1) Destroyed, (3)Zed 1 Dead, Retreats to For #2
Infection = 8, Supply = 2, Ammo = 2, Research = 6

Sheriff Hunt finally joins the action, and presides over an immense slaughter. My Ammo has dropped to a mere 2, but every threat has been extinguished, and Wilson still can find more Ammo in the Guard Post (if your going to have that much ammo there, wouldn't you have more guards?)

Card #31 Tough Zeds
Rangers Hold
Consume supply
Mtn to Lefty Pass, Chaos in Lucky mine
Hunt Action: 4Civ Forages — Supply
1: Hunt Moves — Mtn #3 (will restore order)
2: Hunt Fires — 3 Hits, (3)Zed 3 dead, retreats to Lucky Mine
3: Hunt Fires (LR) — 2 Hits, (3)Zd 5 Dead , Retreats to Mtn #6. Becomes a "Tough Zed"
4: Wilson Forages — Ammo
Infection = 10, Supply = 2, Ammo = 1, Research = 6

I couldn't stop the mountain Zed from becoming "Tough", but Hunt sure made him pay for that status. This might be all the fun I'll have for a while — the Zed mob in the University can't be touched (Kingman would face the retreats), and I need to restock my ammo locker. Actually, I now realize I blundered the previous turn — my blood-lust (as much as long-range sniper fire from professional Rangers can described that way) has led to an over-stacking problem. The Tunnel zeds are now forced back into the Tunnel and Kingman can't help. Dumb.

Card #29 Fast Zeds
Rangers Hold
Outbreak Fate — Tunnel (choice) Bridge Collapses. New Zed 8(4) in tunnel start
Consume Supply
Zeds; For to Mall — 2*/0 Zed destroyed
Action 1: Hunt Moves — Town center
2; Wilson Forages — Double ammo
Hunt action: 4Civ Forages — Fails
Infection = 6, Supply = 1, Ammo = 3, Research = 6

It is ironic that Act II ends with the card that could have instantly killed me earlier in the Act. Even with my tunnel gaffe, I find it hard to see losing this game. Even if the Zeds pour into the Tunnel, that's hardly a quick avenue for assault — barring incredibly lucky "Lost" rolls. I should have plenty of time to gather lots of ammo, and my Hero set has transformed from the weakest possible — into a murderer's row of crack killers. Plus I still have a "Super-Civilian" and the Rangers to boot. This session report has taken epically long again — so I will play out Act III, and report the end result. If there is a shocking defeat, I will try to re-construct what happened (assuming I didn't throw the whole game against the nearest wall).


One Zed did leak into the tunnel, but never threatened. I had plenty of firepower to overpower the Suburban Zeds, and even managed to bring the Artifact home. The Final component (Farm) was easy, because the final "Zed Wave" came to late to activate the Forest, Highway, and Mountain Tracks (the Tough Zed was a really a fast zed as it raced to its doom). I never needed my final Refugee to re-energize my Super-Civilian, so at least I wasn't sued (would have hurt my Presidential chances). Unfortunately, the valiant Colonel Kingman fell on the final Zed phase, over-powered by the long delayed Toxic stench. Later, rumors would circulate that I did not pull him from his post, because I wanted to be the only Presidential hopeful emerging from "The Battle that SAVED Mankind." Those rumors are of course, completely false.


The anti-climatic ending doesn't detract from the extremely tense first half of the game. I was in deep trouble from the get-go due to the terrible (albeit self-inflicted) Resource situation. My Heroes were laughably weak (in fighting strength), but did provide me with the Super-weapon and just enough ammo to survive. Receiving two Heroes in Act I was a huge bonus, even if the Rangers were long delayed. I was relying immensely on my "Web" forming, and that in the end required some luck. Not "Great Luck", just "Not Bad Luck". Pickles survived 4 Stealth rolls, and I was fortunate in just getting all the "pieces" together that I needed.

Thematically, I think this a fairly "hard to explain" strategy — I know the Zeds are mindless, but what is happening is they are trying to be too "tricky" for their good. Like all complex games (and Dawn of the Zeds IS a complex game), the multiple dimensions the game offers, leaves many loop-holes the players can exploit. The Artificial Intelligence is always fighting a losing battle against studious players — at least in a game where beginners have a chance, and random factors are "measured", to provide a rich opportunity for player skill to be rewarded (I guarantee, Dawn of the Zeds IS a game of skill.

Pickles never has to make a Stealth roll, if she is just moseying on by a Zed — but she must make a Stealth roll EVERY time she uses her Noisy Bark. Actually, just change the "6" result on the Noisy bark roll to "Zed move canceled, Pickles eaten.
This change might help a player in a lot of situations, but would most definitely decrease Pickles life-span if she is the centerpiece of a "Web".

As before, I suggest again that a Zed will move backward, if the player has a unit "behind" a Zed, but not one in front.
I've given reasons for this already, but now add that this complicates Kingman's "right angle's" Defense Perimeter. He is not easily made "safe".

I like that the players have great latitude to "out-wit" the mindless zombies, but "muting" some the extreme ways players can manipulate the system, is preferable.
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