Day 1: Krasny Rog

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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.

OVERVIEW

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.

FIRST MOVES

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.

He makes it look easy – but it’s not. One wrong move and that Hi-Vis Haz-Mat suit would be as much good as tissue paper in a hurricane.

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.

13 thoughts on “Day 1: Krasny Rog

  1. Nicely done, were having a small convention at my place end of the month I’ll be running a Zona game will have six players trying to figure out how to handle a large game.

    1. Thank you. Couple questions: How large a mission area? What scale miniatures? You might want to look at the ZA Point of Interest Cards, add a mob of pre-deployed zombies, and run a co-op game against a turn countdown.

  2. Thanks for the help, I have a 4×6 table, doing 28mm I did plan on using the POI cards the game takes place deep in the zone. Scenario is called Dooms Day a cult has started the dooms day device there are 3 smaller devices that must be turned off before the final machine, I was going to throw in a cult group to take care of one player. I like the zombie mob should they be randomly placed how many? Trying to figure number of crew for each person. Having a countdown sounds great how many turns since they will have to turn off four devices total? Thanks again.

    1. 4 x 6 is a large area. 6 players is a fair amount too. So… if you’re running ZA as written (essentially competitive with the Zone as secondary concern) then I wouldn’t expect any/many objectives to get accomplished. Saving the Zone will go out the window at the first exchange of fire.

      If, on the other hand, you’re running it Co-op, then I’d scale the game back and limit the players to two Stalkers each. (have Pre-Gen stat sheets ready to go) I’d also ditch the POI and let the players focus on mastering the basic rules and achieving the objectives.

      I’d start each Stalker pair at the corners and middle of the long edges, have the Four Main Objectives, two mobs of Zombies (one in each half of the table) and a small gang of Cultists (run by you) clustered around the Main Objective. Paired Stalker models should stay within 6″ of each other. (Buddy system, mutual support, easier to track who’s who and where, smooth the game play)

      Keep the pressure on and set the Turn Limit at 10. Maybe 12. No more. Zombies lurch toward any thing in LOS. Anomalies are cool terrain items, present in this case to set the mood. And stay away from. Again, help players learn the game, concentrate and stay focused on the objectives.

      How many Zombies? How many you got? A box of Mantic Zeds is 30, I think. Easy to build and paint. So 15 in each mob in a 4 x 6 mission area. At least 10 if you can manage it. Keep ’em together and spread out only if they attack a pair of Stalkers. Again, make the game play smooth and easy.

      Cultists? Six outta do it. Bandit types in cowls with decent gear. A Veteran Demagogue leading Hardened initiates. They’re going to protect that last objective.

      If you keep the player’s on track, it should come down to a last minute firefight at the fourth and final objective in the center. Nice climactic battle.

      *whew* wrote a novel there. That’s my .02. Good luck with your game and con.

  3. Thanks for the great input I think this is going to be fun, these guys have played once before and are all experience gamers they all have the rules as well 😉 Zombies is not a problem about a 100 LOL. I’ll do the 15 in each section as you recommend and will do the Co-Op game. Thanks again I’ll post pictures on Facebook page like last time.

  4. I’ll be up your way the first week of June helping daughter settle in she is being stationed by you. Any games let me know would to be schooled by the master. John

    1. Hi John.
      Thanks for commenting. Our weekly group meets Tuesday evenings and we’re settling into a 5e campaign.
      I don’t know what your schedule is for your trip but I’ve got a backlog of studio work that needs attention during normal working hours.
      Let me know your plans and maybe we can grab a coffee.
      Take Care.

  5. Understand schedules are always a challenge, will be heading up Tues the 1st getting daughter settled in the 2nd then just hanging out seeing here new area heading back Sunday. Will be up off and on visiting her so hope at some point to game with you and your group. If you send me a message to my email I’ll give you my cell phone if you get any free time maybe we can get that coffee. Cheers John

    1. Hi John.
      I’ll be in my studio Wed – Friday that week. Sounds like you’ve got a full schedule but feel free to stop by if you’re in the neighborhood. Not sure I have your email.
      I’m sure we can schedule something during the summer, get you in on a Tuesday night session.
      I bet we can make it work.

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