Misc., Fantasy Nonsense (Zombie Hunting), Gentlemen Prefer Zombies, 28mm
I was down in London this week, and seized the opportunity to visit old friends. One of these was Dave Marks, who was laying on a Victorian zombie game in his swish wargames annex – Ugley Hougemont. Really – its the size of an average house, and boasts two large wargame rooms, and several tables. It even has a sort of bar, and an upstairs gaming room for Dave’s kids. The strange thing is – even with all that space there’s hardly an empty flat surface in the place, as its filled with crap – unopened e-bay purchases, unwanted Warhammer tanks (the ones that look like M113s), bits of scenery and abandoned dice. Dave really needs a good wargames maid! Anyway, this was a flying visit – partly because zombies aren’t my bag, but largely because I already had plans that evening – ones involving a sleigh ride visit to Lard Island (home of the too Fat Lardies). This means my chauffeur for the day (Dougie Trail) and I had barely time to waste a zombie or two before we headed for the hills.Heres’ what the rules blurb says about the game; Gentlemen Prefer Zombies is a game of sporting upper-class gentlemen and beastly zombies, set in Victorian London towards the end of the Nineteenth Century. In many ways, this world is the Victorian world described in most history books. There are no steam-powered flying aircraft carriers, but – hidden away in dark and squalid corners – is a growing plague of shambling, living corpses desperate to satisfy their monstrous appetites.Each game or scenario is a hunting expedition that takes our gentlemen hunters away from their usual genteel surroundings to the grim and seedy hunting grounds of East London.It seems Dave and his chums were well-versed in all this nonsense, as they had pre-established characters, and knew what to expect. For my part I was a zombie virgin… Dave (pictured above swigging a beer) is a lovely guy, and a very good friend, but quite why he plays with ruddy zombies is beyond me. After all, he has enough figures to refight Leipzig in several scales. That must surely be more satisfying than taking on the walking dead… However, his chums were all as keen as he was, and better still the group included Steve Danes, who wrote the rules (and many others, including “proper” ones covering the Thirty Years War and the Age of Reason). Ok, he’s also written Zombie Pike & Shot, which suggests zombies might be something of a “thing” with him. Anyway, back to the game.The players (all Victorian characters) had to enter the mean streets of London, in search of a warehouse used by cultists, who had kidnapped a local priest. Well, we split into two teams and chose a street, which conveniently appeared to converge near the warehouse. My lot – three players, including Dave’s young son – took on an ever increasing number of zombies with alacrity, firing shotguns at them then wading in with swords. For Dougie and I this was a ploy to get killed quickly, as we knew we didn’t have long to play, but it actually proved a rather effective tactic. The little round counters represent piles of spilled zombie guts – not something you’d want to step in…Things weren’t going so well on the other side of the table, where Dave’s character encountered the priest who’d escaped, and was able to direct his team towards the cultist’s lair. That – apparently – was when things went horribly wrong. Dougie and I made our excuses and left just as the fun was starting. Apparently the zombie hunters reached the warehouse, but were accosted by both cultists and zombies who picked off the hunters one after the other. Apparently it was mayhem, and most of the players’ characters were killed – and presumably turned into zombies. The few survivors fled the scene – presumably to catch a handsom cab back to the Savile Club and a much-needed drink. It all seemed great fun – although utterly silly, and Steve’s mechanisms seemed to work well, giving the game a good fast pace and a nice feel – a cross between a regular skirmish and a role-playing game. Meanwhile Dougie and I repaired to Lard Island, where we had our own libations in the company of Richard Clark – Lord Lard himself.