Currently play testing KONTRABAND, a supplement for ZONA ALFA- Salvage and Survival in the Exclusion Zone. These rules are designed for Solo/Cooperative games where players command a small team of veteran stalkers facing mysterious hazards and dangerous hostiles deep in the Zone’s center.
Yesterday’s game featured a straightforward Acquisition mission: recover artifacts from two anomalies in the Krasny Rog region near an abandoned Institute bunker. The team consisted of two Stalkers ( a Guide and a Bounty Hunter) and two Scientists ( a Field Agent and a Researcher) Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, and brings a specific set of skills to the team.
There were nine Point of Interest Locations scattered across the mission area and two Anomalies: the infamous ‘107’, and another near the damaged Hazardous Environment Suit outside the bunker. The POI locations were represented by a specific scenic items and marked with inert 7.62 x 39mm rounds. (AK-47) The Anomalies by a new piece of terrain and a Litko acrylic token.
In KONTRABAND, you’re limited to 4-person teams, so it’s vital to select members with skills that compliment one another and give you the best chance of accomplishing the mission and getting out alive.
The team advances on the dirt road. The Researcher (Pencil Neck) makes a beeline for the 107 with the Field Agent (Finch) keeping an eye on him. “Slow down there, Professor.”
Meanwhile, the Bounty Hunter (Raven) investigates the first POI while the Guide (Hound) goes on Alert. In case, you know, something unusual pops up.
It’s another day in the Zone as the POI triggers a pack of feral dogs. They burst out of a nearby stand of trees and head straight for the unsuspecting Researcher. (He’s only got eyes for that Anomaly) Fortunately, Raven, then Finch, manage to take the dogs down before they can do any serious damage.
With a Detector and an Extractor, the Researcher easily snags an artifact at the 107. (His Makarov never cleared its holster. Not that he’d do much good with it, but it makes him feel better.)
Off to a typical start, the team elects to shift left, toward the body of a dead stalker and some crates under a camouflaged outpost.
Turns out the stalker left a bitter surprise for the next guy. Fortunately, Finch easily passed her Skill Check to disarm it. (her Multi-tool helped) Similarly, Hound is disappointed when he finds a damaged case. Something’s inside, but he can’t get it open. Two tries, he walks away disgusted. “Probably old junk in there anyway…”
*Note: This deep in the Zone, it’s too far to run to the Stalls between missions, so players must ‘live off the land’ and scrounge much-needed supplies from the POI Locations. Each spot yields either General Supplies, Military Items, or Scientific Equipment.
Emboldened, the team moves toward the bunker. Again, the Researcher is fascinated with the Anomaly buzzing and shimmering in front of the old HE suit. Finch and Raven check out the supply dump.
Raven hits the jackpot with a serious supply cache. Finch, on the other hand, finds weird plants nestled among the other crates. Ugh, they shoot thorns and spores and she takes a hit. Ouch. One wound, one less action. (Thankfully, she’s a Bone Doc carrying a full compliment of Med Kits.) “Someone make a note to stay the hell away from the flowers, OK?”
On the right, the Researcher grabs another artifact under Hound’s watchful eye.
An embarrassed Finch moves up to cover the Researcher, allowing Hound to inspect the POIs along the treeline back toward the road. Raven clambers up on the roof to check out the POI near the satellite dish.
The Witches Brew burns off a layer off Hounds armor but he snags some Genral Supplies before it burns all the way through. “Who’s got a repair kit?” Raven encounters some funky gas on the roof but backs away before he starts hallucinating. “This stuff will get you higher than high…”
Meanwhile, the Researcher gets in over his head, checking out the POI near the radio antenna. “I can do this,” he assures Finch smugly. Unfortunately, he triggers a mutant which then charges him. He claws for his pistol but Finch starts blasting away with her shotgun.
The creature goes down with a gurgling hiss, there’s a new stain on the researcher’s suit, and Finch reloads a little smugly.
At the final POI, Hound is stung by paralyzing Cobwebs. He staggers, is down an action, but recovers and grabs some Scientific Gear.
Artifacts acquired, POIs cleared for enough salvage to continue, everyone’s still alive. I’d call that a good day in the Zone, eh?
Still hammering out the finer points but KONTRABAND is shaping up to be good fun. Day Two of our Deep Zone Excursion coming soon.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and game hard.