A Zona Alfa Battle Report
Occasional Tom and I managed to carve out some game time. We were determined to put the new Solo/Cooperative “Point of Interest” rules through their paces.
The idea here is to replace the usual set number of Hot Spots/Mission Objective with more numerous ‘points of interest’, all of which trigger some sort of response, one (or several) of which is the mission goal.
Mission Goals are determined by dice roll. (See table)
|D6 ROLL||CREW MISSION|
|1||Recover Supply Caches (number = Threat Level)|
|2||Investigate 2 Anomalies and acquire Artifacts from both.|
|3||Repair/Recover (1) Complex Item. (Requires Skill Check and TL+1 multiple actions to accomplish)|
|4||Rescue Injured Stalkers. 1 per TL of Area.|
|5||Clear Nests. 1 per TL of Area.|
|6||Eliminate Bandits. 1 per TL of Area.|
‘Points of Interest‘ are specific locations such as a small terrain item or scenic. These are in turn associated with a POI Deck of event cards, each of which has a random incident, danger, or salvage written on it. (I used a Word Business Card template to make the deck, writing things like ‘Supply Cache’, ‘Injured Stalker’, ‘Vermin Nest’, ‘Anomaly’, ‘Bandit Ambush’ and the like on the back of each.) Mixed in each mission’s PI Deck are the cards for the objective, plus random events.
When a crew member approaches and triggers the location, the top card is revealed and comes into immediate effect.
Tom and I spread 10 POI tokens (7.62 x 39mm dummy bullets) across a 4 x 4 area. We each fielded a 7K squad of a Veteran Leader with two, Hardened men. Our objective was to locate and rescue two injured Stalkers who had been sent to clear the area the previous day.
That didn’t work out well now, did it?
An eight turn limit, Tom and I entered via the main road on the south edge.
POIs near by on our left and right, we split up and started to clear them.
Chuvok tossed a bolt and popped a simple booby trap at the dumpster while Tom’s squad lucked out with a small supply cache. Envious, my team veered off toward the cell tower POI while Tom’s bunch advanced deeper into the facility, angling for the POI at the entrance of the office building.
Tom found the first Stalker. I found rats.
Thoroughly disgusted (covered in rat blood and fur) my crew moved back toward the main road and headed to the garage while Occasional Tom grinned and sauntered on up to the rusting panel truck near the fuel depot.
Second Stalker located. But also some zombies! Perfect occasion for grenades and shotguns. (I ask you – is there ever a bad time for those?)
Meanwhile, my crew stirs up more trouble, messing with the POIs at the garage, the warehouse and the guard shack. Zombies and rats and mutants, oh my!
Stalkers rescued, Occasional Tom and I could have bailed and ended the game, but we decided our lads had been promised a bonus if we could complete the other crew’s original mission of clearing the area for the Department of Zone Studies and Exploration. So, turn limit counting down, we headed toward the remaining POIs.
The final POI? An Imminent Blowout card. Last turn of the game, both our crews got caught in the open. We got rattled hard but had enough MedKits to come out on the other side more or less intact.
Weekly game sessions cancelled indefinitely, it was nice to be able to get a game in. It was good to hang out and hobby over snacks and seltzer.
Regarding the POI rules, I’ve tweaked a few of the cards, plus made some new ones for variety and to raise the inherent danger of each game, but the mechanic held up well. It adds a lot of variety and randomness to the mission, forcing players to stay vigilant.
Of course, sometimes fate will fall your way and you’ll uncover the objectives early. Luck of the draw and all that. But given that you can make your mission deck yourself, mixing in whatever events you like along with the objective cards, the option is there to give your crew a serious challenge. Your Zone, your call.
That’s it for now. I might be out of radio contact later this month while I recover from surgery, but the Bone Doc assures me it shouldn’t be a real problem.
“Two slugs of vodka, bite down on this, and I’ll stitch you up afterward, OK?”
Good Hunting, Stalkers.