A ZONA ALFA/KONTRABAND AAR
The Cape Cod Wargame Commission met last night to venture into the Deep Zone with a game of Zona Alfa/Kontraband.
For this mission, five Stalkers were tasked with repairing a radio tower to boost Radio Free Pavlohrad – a pirate station broadcasting from a secure, hidden location somewhere in the embattled territories. Slava Ukraini! – Heróyam sláva! Mike E had family obligations but first-time visitor Liam fit right in, opting to run Raven, the crew’s designated marksman. Matt G took Maxim, on the M249 SAW, Other Pat ran Bones the medic, Mike D stepped up as team leader, Tsar. The scrounger, Swede, was under joint command of all players.
11 POI, 1 Main Objective, and 5 Anomalies were scattered throughout a 3 x 4 mission area. Artifacts and salvage are always important, but were secondary for this game.
The wider, ongoing conflict combined with the ever-present dangers of the Zone demanded a full military crew. No Institute eggheads for this run.
Stalker minis are 1:48 scale Moderns from HLBS. POI were marked by dummy 7.62 x 39mm rounds. Anomalies are assorted Spell effects and 3D prints.
Fan out and start shooting
The crew entered on the far corner opposite the tower and advanced into the war-ravaged town wary of mutants and ambushes. Raven sought the high ground while the Swede – scruffy pack rat that he is – spied a stack of crates in the first building. Bones, Tsar, and Maxim headed down the main avenue, toward a cluster of bodies in the road and immediately saw the reason those unfortunates had ‘shuffled off their mortal coil.’
Big uglies sighted, Raven starts shooting with his heavy caliber rifle. Maxim, Tsar, and Bones open up with assault rifles. All that lead in the air, they go down fast.
High in the abandoned office building, the Swede delicately avoids Cobwebs to snag a multi-tool and a med-kit. “What’s all that shooting? I’m trying to concentrate here.”
Grandmothers, Pinballs and Mutants
First sign of opposition eliminated, Maxim and Bones dart to the next nearest POI. Tsar, Raven, and the Swede remain cautions. Maxim loots the bodies of three stalkers sprawled between the statue of Prometheus and a glowing anomaly. (ominous, I’d say) He gets zapped by a radiation spike but pockets three bottles of e-juice. (really)
Bones meets a babushka sorting through some boxes outside an apartment building. He dusts off a discarded Extractor as grandmother tells him to be wary of nearby hazards. “How about a nice hot bowl of borscht, dear?”
The uneasy silence holds as the crew leapfrogs toward the tower. Maxim and Bones investigate the central anomaly and repeatedly fumble their reaction rolls. They end up being teleported around the middle of the board several times, kinda like a pin ball machine. Tsar and the Swede yell at their team mates to quit screwing around as Raven plays it safe and smart, advancing to the next building, the next vantage point. (Probably wondering what he got himself into here.) “Tuesday Night is Amateur Night in the Exclusion Zone!”
Maxim calls it quits after the second nauseating teleport and shifts right. He wants to give the thing a wide berth and go to the tower. Bones stays however, and uses the Extractor to grab a Bubble artifact. Unfortunately, all the noise disturbs something lurking in the basement of a nearby building. Tsar steps up to help. Raven, who managed to climb to the third floor, shoulders his battle rifle.
The Swede continues on the right with every intention of providing support but has a knack for stirring up vermin. He burns through ammo to stay in one piece.
E-Juice, e-juice, and more e-juice.
Objective in sight, Matt G elects to down e-juice in a desperate bid to finish the mission. He chugs all three and sprints toward the tower. (is there a rule for your character’s heart exploding?) Just on the other side of the wall, Bones cracks open a hatch looking for loot – only to rouse a BAM. (1″ away. worst spawn roll. ever.)
Thankfully, Liam is on Overwatch. Bones shats his BDUs but manages to put rounds center mass. Between the two of them, the huge beast tumbles to the ground.
At the base of the radio tower, Maxim’s (Matt G) hands are shaking so hard, it takes several turns before he can repair the tower. But, it gets done.
Radio Free Pavlohrad broadcasting once again. Mission Accomplished.
Thing about smart players is their games tend to be brutal and efficient. Little to no stupidity-fueled drama. All the players are veteran gamers and in particular, Liam’s slow and steady repositioning to good vantage points combined with judicious use of Vigilant/Overwatch pulled the team’s chestnuts out of the fire several times. Unhealthily large mutants aside, solid tactical efforts were rewarded. (Altho Maxim will be spending the next several weeks in rehab)
That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by. If you’re interested in getting your Stalker on and visiting the Exclusion Zone, you can purchase Zona Alfa and the optional, solo/cooperative supplement Kontraband online and at discerning FLGS.
Til next time,