A busy month

Entering the Zone: Zona Alfa!

Lately, I've been playing loads of Tainted Grail solo with Ailei ... but it's a board game and also it would also make for a boring read here since I can't spoil the campaign. So I decided to knock Zona Alfa off my list of unplayed skirmish games.


I prepared some basic models from The Hunters AD 2114 and AT-43. I did a solo Training Run (my own scenario) on a 3x3 table, with the crew being tasked to grab some classified data off a disabled APC, with their reward being whatever they could find in the Zone and no need to pay a faction fee (for their first run).


Table setup: 3x3. 8 Hot Spots. Roll on Threat 2 table for Zone Hostiles.


TURN 1


Maksim threw a rock, triggering the Hot Spot and discovering an Anomaly into the bargain. Plus a Mutant spawned! Normally a Hot Spot will spawn Zone Hostiles when a model moves within 3" of it. But models can throw rocks and empty tin cans at it to trigger the Hot Spot from a safer distance.

Maksim transferred his final action (Leader skill) to Sveta and she took the Mutant down with her shotgun since it rolls one extra die compared to Maksim's AK-74. 


Everyone else moved forward leaving Nastya to deal with the Hot Spot + Anomaly. 


TURN 2


The rest of the crew quickly moved out of the Anomaly's 12" threat zone in case everything went kaboom.


Maksim gave an action to Nastya who looted the Hot Spot then used one of her actions to use her Scrounger ability for more loot. Then Searched the anomaly successfully, helped by Maksim’s Leader Will boost. Besides gaining an Artifact, the experience toughened her up and she got a +1 Will boost to her stats.


Sveta tried to trigger another Hot Spot and failed. 


TURN 3


Sveta used both actions to throw stones at Hot Spot and spawned 6 Zombies... thankfully out of LOS of Sveta and Xenia who were actually within charge distance... so they headed for Nastya instead since she was in the open and in plain sight. 

The zombies only had 4" movement, and couldn't reach her (but see my ERRORS comment later on). 


Maksim to the rescue! He moved into LOS and grenade range and tossed a grenade into their midst. Success! All 6 Zombies blown to bits. 


Nastya moved into contact with Hot Spot (7) discovered by Sveta. 


Xenia moved behind a barrier and managed to trigger another Hot Spot (5), spawning 6 Rad Ghouls who can move fast (7"!!!) and one just managed to contact Sveta. Melee time! (Melee is simultaneous).

Thankfully Sveta has a shotgun and she managed to fend of the attack by using her 1 success to negate the Ghoul’s success.


TURN 4


Maks saved the day again! A grenade toss and boom! All 6 ghouls are blown to bits. 


He moved closer to the objective. Sveta moved up next to him and succeeded in triggering the Objective Hot Spot. Another 6 Rad Ghouls spawned. Ugh! They have 7" movement. Thankfully they were on the other side of the APC. 

Sveta couldn't target the center of the spawn with the potential to drop all ghouls, because she would've received a negative 3 penalty on the grenade toss instead of the normal 1. So she tossed it at a spot within her LOS and managed to blow 3 up. 


The remaining ghouls charged Maksim. Thankfully he was out of charge range. 


Xenia to the rescue! She threw a grenade... and missed! But it hit the concrete barricade and rolled back at the feet of the ghouls, blowing the last 3 up. Phew!

Nastya scrounged up more loot.


TURN 5


Xenia moved up and grabbed the data plus some extra loot. 


Maksim gave Nastya 2 actions, so she could move up to Hot Spot (5) then he pulled back in LOS of a Hot Spot that the crew could loot in the next turn. 


Nastya used her 2 actions to scrounge more loot.


Sveta positioned herself for the inevitable Hot Spot spawn next turn. 


TURN 6


Final turn.


Xenia threw a rock and triggered a Hot Spot (2) spawn: 4 Bandits. She still had an action left so she threw her last grenade and succeeded in blowing them up.

Maksim gave 1 action to Nastya to move her to Hot Spot (2). Then gave his final 2 actions to Xenia so she could move off table with objective. Xenia completed the rest using her movement. 


Nastya got some loot and discovered another Anomaly! So she didn't use her 2nd action on her Scrounger skill to get some bog standard loot and used it to Search the Hot SPot instead. She succeeded (helped by Maksim's Will Boost) needing a 5 and below to succeed and she rolled a 2. 


Nastya got another artifact worth 5,500 and in addition incread her Will by +1 again!


Game end.


AAR: 


So I had 4 models in my crew but only 9 activations. A standard game should have 12 activations. After playing the game, I really missed the extra activations.


I killed most of the Zone Hostile spawns with grenades. Is that how it's supposed to work? (EDIT: no! I totally forgot about armour saves! Argh! Now my OCD is telling me I need to play this again.)


The theme and background are seriously cool and can tell lots of stories. The mechanics are kind of standard nowadays (now that I've played Horizon Wars Zero Dark). Weapons with standard effective ranges, a fixed target number to hit, roll to save (armour roll). I like that it uses d10s. Much better than standard d6s.


Some stuff is still unclear from the rules... or I didn't read them properly. After Zone Hostiles spawn, I assume they activate after the currently active model completes its activation.


The game uses a lot of tables for random rolls, so I need to make my own charts to obviate the need to flip pages in the rulebook. Not as bad since I'm using the PDF version on my tablet, but still...


Overall the game fun to play, as the designer encourages modifying the rules to suit your game. I modified the game rules using components of the solo rules. I can see this will be lots more fun as a 2-player game, with 2 competing crews and neutral 3rd party Zone Hostiles getting into player's faces.


Zona Alfa shines when playing in campaign mode as you can level up your crew, buy gear and generally craft your own narrative game story. It's the traditional Osprey Wargames blue book, and I always get the PDF because they are normally on sale 2 or 3 times a year for a very nice price.


ERRORS: 


Forgot critical successes (natural 1) give an extra activation. Forgot Zone hostiles should have 2 activations, not 1. But since it's my first game... 


This means tactics are even more critical. Need to stay well out of the way behind barriers while triggering Hot Spots and have someone on Alert (Overwatch) to toss grenades while the hordes charge at the nearest model.


Kills: 5 (counted per unit and not per model so a single Mutant = 6 Rad Ghouls)

Money : 15,000

Loot: Electric Juice; binoculars x2; med kit x2; red dot; scope

2 Artifacts : a glowing ball floating in a lead glass box and a small cube that with sub-zero temperature that doesn't affect its surroundings.

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