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Zombies: An Ambient Element

With Halloween fast approaching, I wanted to put out some content that would let players have some seasonal fun with HAVOC. An easy way to do this is through the use of a specific tool in HAVOC know as an Ambient Element.

Ambient Elements are units on the tabletop that do not exclusively belong to one of the primary players. Instead, they are controlled by the player that has Momentum (or has control as defined by the scenario or a unit specific rule). Let’s look at an example of how to employ Ambient Elements in your game using Zombies…

We’ll begin by selecting the scenario Hunter’s Moon and making some minor adjustments to it.

  • Zombie cannot Challenge! or be Challenged! during this scenario
  • If a player is eliminated, then they control the Zombies for the rest of the game.
  • Deployment Zones: changed to 6 inches

2 possible Victory Conditions:

  • The first player to move 6 models off the opposing player’s table edge (not Zombies!) wins.
  • Eliminating the opposing players force AND no Zombies left on the tabletop.

If neither player achieves one of these victory conditions and are both eliminated, then the Zombies win!

Now let’s add the Zombies!

During the table set-up, place a number of Zombies equal to the points limit for the battle, spread about evenly, within 24 inches of the table’s center. So, if you are conducting a 1000 point battle, then you would place 1000 points of Zombies within 24 inches of the table’s center. Momentum is determined as normal.

The player that has Momentum has control over the Zombies for their turn. This means that they must follow the Brains? rule whether they want to or not! If a Zombie engages an enemy model in melee combat, then the Zombie remains under control of the player until the Zombie, or enemy units, are eliminated (or until units are moved out of melee).

Easy enough, right? You can even experiment by adding another Ambient Element to the mix. Let’s say you wanted there to be a ‘Pack of Wolves’ on the table as well. In this case, I would place 500 points of Zombie on the Western half of the table and 500 points of wolves on the Eastern half (not in the player Deployment Zones!). The player with Momentum would control the Zombies each turn, while the other player controlled the wolves. Oh, the possibilities!

COMING SOON: The Zom-Beast!


14 thoughts on “Zombies: An Ambient Element

  1. Nice idea – should work well with non horror elements too.

    I used to love the Death World settings in Rogue Trader – players having to be wary of each other as well of packs of wandering Ambulls and Cthellan Cudbears!

    A fantasy option is most welcome –

    “Watch out lads – this is troll country…”

    Zom-beast sounds fun – more reason to hunt down a citadel zombie dragon on ebay…

    Posted by Thantsants | October 22, 2010, 5:39 pm
    • Thanks! It’s one of those things that I didn’t include in the core rules, but have been dying to release. This is kind of an early look at some of the cool stuff you can do with ‘Ambient Elements’.

      Rogue Trader Death World settings? Good times! 🙂

      Oh, and your right…

      It works really well in non-horror elements, and you will definitely see this applied in various HAVOC settings and scenarios- Sci-Fi, Wild West, Martial Arts, etc.

      The Zom-Beast is fun! Don’t forget about the Zombie Wolfen from Rackham. Those models are perfect for this.

      Posted by voodooink | October 22, 2010, 9:25 pm
  2. Cool Idea. Thanks for a great little game design. I have only started playing. The rules and game design are excellent. Really enjoying it.

    I only wish there was a place to discuss the game. Is there a forum somewhere I could join?

    Anyway, thanks for the free content. Just wanted to say, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

    Posted by Peter Caron | October 27, 2010, 5:39 am
  3. Welcome Peter!

    Great to hear that you are enjoying the game and the content.

    Like Thantsants said, you could use it in non-horror elements as well.

    I really need to get a forum up soon. I’ll work on it!

    Keep checking back for more content. And if there is something your interested in seeing, then just ask and I’ll do what I can to accommodate.

    Posted by voodooink | October 27, 2010, 7:13 pm
  4. A forum would be great. I’ve tried starting topics about Havoc on other forums but there were no other players visiting the sight.

    Is there a “Designer’s Notes” section somewhere? I’d be curious about your design goals when approaching this miniatures game.

    BTW, I am planning a map based campaign and wll be using Havoc as the tactical portion of the game. Really looking forward to it.


    Posted by Peter | October 28, 2010, 4:51 am
  5. Pete

    I don’t have a ‘Designer’s Notes’ section… yet.

    If you have some specific questions, then feel free to ask and I can answer them in articles and/or compile them on a separate page if there is enough content.

    Keep me updated on the map campaign! Hopefully, I’ll have a forum up soon so you can talk about it there and show us some pictures.

    Posted by voodooink | October 29, 2010, 2:02 pm
    • I don’t have any specific questions. More interested in the “spirit” of the game. You see, I would like to emulate a few other unit types from my miniatures collection and would like a little guidance. Designer’s notes are a nice why to gauge that.

      For example… Pikemen. Spear men with immunity to impact? Would that work? Is it too powerful?

      Or Romans with Pila. Same as melee and shield but have a 10″ short ranged attack with damage similar to that of an Archer? Maybe give them Shield Wall instead of Full Defense.

      The reason why I bring this up is I would like to give each army in our upcoming campaign a little flavor of it’s own. Macedonian pikemen, Roman Infantry, etc… We won’t be doing this until we have a large number of games under our belt.

      Now, if you already have something like that in mind… 😛

      Posted by Pete | November 2, 2010, 3:08 pm
  6. I played this game for Halloween and had a blast.

    By the time the game was over we had gathered quite a crowd. The zombies ended up winning, but I only needed to get one more model off the table edge to win. 😦 Lot’s of fun.

    Thanks and keep the content coming!

    Posted by kingjr | November 2, 2010, 2:22 pm
  7. Pete,

    Macedonians and Romans? Hmmmm… keep checking back here over the next few days (or subscribe if you haven’t already) :-), and I’ll have some stuff for you and your group to put through the paces.

    Posted by voodooink | November 3, 2010, 7:07 pm
  8. That’s great. I’ve got two new recruits coming over tonight to play Havoc. Two others I introduced the game to have purchased a copy of the rules (great price btw).

    Once we have enough games under our belts, we will be playing a small map campaign. It will be based on concepts described in Tony Bath’s “Ancient Wargaming” book.

    I will blog about it or post in a forum and can include a link to it here if you wish.

    P.S. I have more unit ideas that are variations of things already covered in the rules. If you need more ideas let me know.

    Posted by Pete | November 5, 2010, 7:17 am
  9. A few questions from last night’s game:

    1) Does a glancing hit “stack” with damage reduction? 1/4 instead of 1/2 damage dice?

    2) Volley Fire: Do you roll to hit vs only the target model and apply result to all figs in base contact of target or do you roll separately for each?

    3) Volley Fire: we assumed you roll damage separately for each model hit by volley fire. Is that correct.

    Observation, if you don’t have a shield and are grouped together, you’re just asking to have the archers rain death on you. Our dual weapon models were annihilated by volley fire but my spear & shield troops were unhurt.

    Posted by Pete | November 6, 2010, 10:10 am
  10. 1) You played it correctly. If you swing your mace at a Juggernaut (has damage reduction) and ‘botch the shot’ (glancing blow), then you have VERY little chance of causing damage.

    But you do have a chance…
    Remember, the Juggernaut still has to make an armor roll and who knows what the result will be.

    2) You roll, both attack and damage, individually for each separate model.

    3) Correct!

    On your observation…
    What you say is true. One of the real tactical values of archers is the ability to keep the enemy out of formation with the threat of Volley Fire. This means that they will not be able to activate all of their models efficiently (many times they will have a number of models that are not activated at all).

    *Don’t forget that at least one friendly model has to have LOS to the initial target model for Volley Fire. This means that you can ‘hide’ Dual Wielders and Great Weapons in some formations will a little creative positioning.

    Shield Wall is great- isn’t it?! Don’t forget the entry on the bottom of page 120. You can easily simulate a Roman testudo formation in this manner, and ‘turtle’ across the battlefield. It should word great for your campaign.

    Posted by voodooink | November 6, 2010, 4:35 pm
  11. Thanks for the rules clarifications. Yes… the Shield Wall is most impressive. I must say, we are really having a grand time with your wonderful war game.

    We have introduced a new unit with each game we play, to give us time to digest the rules. We haven’t used artillery yet, nor *any* of the named units. Saving the best for last. We play again this Tuesday and I think it’s time to introduce named units.

    You’ve hinted that more is in development. Were you referring to Havoc? You don’t have to include details if they are still under wraps. Just curious if we’ll have another book to look for in the future.

    Posted by Pete | November 6, 2010, 7:19 pm
  12. I have a few projects in the works right now.

    As far as HAVOC goes, I actually have a lot of content that wasn’t included in the initial release, simply because I didn’t want to ‘overwhelm’ anyone.

    I want to see what people want from the game before I commit to a specific expansion. I guess that’s another good reason to get a forum up and running! 😉

    I have another system that will allow people to play games in Modern/Sci-Fi settings. I’ll talk more about this when I get the forum up and running.

    I’m working as a Co-Designer on a ‘non-miniature’ game as well.

    What sort of expansions would your gaming group be interested in?

    Posted by voodooink | November 6, 2010, 10:16 pm

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