Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Her Majesty's Name: Cornwall Black Guards vs Zombies

I got In Her Majesty's Name and the expansion Heroes, Villains and Fiends a few months ago, and finally have a table clear to set up a game. For the first game, I'm pitting a five man British Rifle squad against creatures from the Red Sect voodoo list in HVF..

The Duke of Cornwall's Own Black Guards (200 points):
  • Captain Carnelian Woolsey (Inspirational, Erudite Wit), 72pts
  • Sergeant Jones (Bayonet drill, "Royal Welsh"), 33
  • Lewes (Bayonet drill, "Royal Welsh", 1 explosive grenade) 30
  • Awbrey (Bayonet drill, "Royal Welsh", 1 explosive grenade) 30
  • Atkins (Bayonet drill, "Royal Welsh", Marksman, 1 explosive grenade) 35
The monsters (202 points)
  • tonton macoute with machete (46pts)
  • 12 zombies (13 each)
The monsters don't have a Leader character but a) this is a solo effort, so I'm not worried about it being competitive, and b) the Red Cult leader would be a voodoo bokor with mystic talents, and I didn't want to fool with that for the first game. I could have taken another, non-mystical Company but I had all these zombies here, ready to go...Given that the monsters outnumber the humans 13:5, I'll have three zombies move (but not fight) for each initiative tick.
The map is 24 x 26" with a street running east-west, three buildings and a couple of trees south of the street and three buildings north of it. The redcoats start in the southeast corner, in an alley between the edge of the map and a building; the monsters are scattered randomly. There is one civilian marker in each building; four are dummies, but two are real and the Brits want to find them before the zombies do. Monsters move towards non-monsters if they can see them, otherwise roll 1d6 for direction of movement and 1d6 for distance.

Turn 1: One zombie starts in line of sight of the Brits, so the Captain elects to keep his squad where it is and let that zombie come to them. Awbrey bayonets it and Woolsey sabers it, but the zombies doesn't fall; it scrabbles futilely at them. No other zombies are in line of sight. The rules have Movement Phase, then Shooting Phase, then Fighting Phase, so I'm carrying out all Movement before any Shooting--there's an example on page 13 which mentions shooting at figures who haven't moved yet, but that's deleted in the errata.

Turn 2: The three soldiers who aren't already in a fight move forward with bayonets ready. (I'd thought Atkins' Marksman talent would let him Shoot into a Fight without penalty but it turns out that effect comes from the Hunter talent--which is why Atkins advances with bayonet instead of hanging back to shoot). Three zombies come around the corner, two going for Lewes and one headed for Jones and Atkins. Across the street, a zombie tears into a Civilian--but it's dressmaker's dummy! The zed growls in frustration; the Brits sigh in relief. Atkins and Jones hit their zombie but it doesn't go down. Lewes sticks one of the two attacking him. Awbrey bayonets a brick wall and narrowly escapes breaking off his bayonet; Woolsey calmly slashes the zombie but it doesn't go down. (The zombies are mostly rolling 2's for their attacks and 8's for the Pluck rolls). It's helpful to have markers, either on the table or the roster sheet, to indicate which figures have already acted in each phase.

Turn 3: Woolsey wins initiative but all the soldiers are already in Fights. Atkins, planning to step back and then lob a grenade, attempts to disengage but fails. At the west end of the street, three zombies randomly move into line of sight to Lewes, so next turn they'll start moving toward him. There's a zombie in the building adjacent to the troops; its random movement brings it to a window beside Awbrey, and it reaches through to attack. In the Fighting phase, Lewes continues battling his two zombies. Jones finally lands a killing stroke on the one he and Atkins are facing, and the first zed falls. (Atkins started the Fight phase engaged but his only opponent expired before Atkins acted. He cannot throw a grenade or shoot because those are Shooting phase actions and this is the Fighting phase; consequently, Atkins doesn't get an action). The zombie in the window claws at Awbrey and knocks him down. Woolsey mutters "Buck up man, they're only ravenous undead who want to eat brains, you're in no real danger" and that's enough to get Awbrey back in the fight (he would have failed the Pluck roll if not for Woolsey's Inspirational talent). Wooley rolls a 10 to saber his zombie, who rolls a 10 Pluck roll to take it with a smile.

Turn 4: The three zeds at the end of the street lurch toward the soldiers. One of the zombies inside a house, moving randomly, gets close to a civilian--the suspense builds. The soldiers have their own problems, though. Atkins tosses a grenade behind the two zombies attacking Lewis but both shrug off the blast, and they pull down Lewis, who rolls a 1 for Pluck. First blood for the zeds. Woolsey sabers his zombie again, and it finally falls. Awbrey and his zombie flail ineffectually at each other through the window.

Turn 5: Most of the zombies, attracted by the noise, begin to shamble toward the soldiers. Awbrey disengages, leaving the zombie in the window mindlessly clawing at nothing (the zombie took his movement before Awbrey did). The Captain moved to avenge Lewis. In the Shooting phase, Awbrey lobbed his grenade behind the Fighting zombies, killing one. Atkins leveled his rifle at a zed in the street, a dozen yards away; the creature staggered under the heavy round but kept coming. In melee, Woolsey knocked down the the zed which had bitten Lewis, and Jones followed up with the bayonet, but the zombie refused to die.

Turn 6: Only two zombies are moving randomly now; the remainder are fixed on the soldiers, although only one closes to melee range. The tonton macoute finally comes into line of sight, and Atkins draws a bead on it, but the bullet misfires. Woolsey dispatches the zed he'd knocked down last turn, while Awbrey's lunge finishes the one Atkins shot.

Turn 7: The soldiers are in a three man line, with the left flank protected by a wall and the right anchored by their Captain; they stay in place. Atkins retrieves the last squad's grenade from Lewis' body. Only two zombies make it into contact, but three more and the tonton macoute are right behind them. There's a scream in the distance as a zombie stumbles across Miss Heather Hansen and devours her, but the squad's after action report will omit that detail. In the Shooting phase, Atkins lights the grenade and tosses it; the blast shakes three zombies (nullifying their Numb "disregard the first hit" protection) but the tonton macoute easily ignores it. In the melee, Jones finishes off one zombie, bringing the squad's total to six.

Turn 8: Captain Woolsey decides to engage the ogre, but then has second thoughts and stays where he is. They seem fated to meet, however, so when  the tonton macoute advances on him, he stands firm (Pluck roll 10). Atkins (another Pluck roll 10) moves up to his officer's side and growls a challenge to the ogre "Come and have a go, then, if you think you're hard enough!" Two more zombies move to attack, with another unable to shuffle into line because of the building protecting the soldiers' left. The melee resolves as four one-on-one duels. Woolsey's flashing saber finishes one zombie (thanks to the -1 Pluck penalty that a saber inflicts); beside him, Jones trips and falls on his face (would have failed his Pluck roll except for being Royal Welsh and having an Inspirational leader).

Turn 9: Jones can't find his feet and remains Knocked Down; the zombie who couldn't get into contact last turn moves into the line and faces Woolsey. All the Brits are engaged so there's no Shooting. Awbrey finishes his zombie, and Woolsey's stroke staggers his (removing the Numb protection). The ogre nearly breaks its machete but Atkins' counter merely angers it. Jones's zombie barely manages to land a blow, and it does no harm.

Turn 10:  Jones stands as Awbrey moves to assist him--Awbrey would have done better to help Atkins with the ogre, but there was no route to get there unless Atkins disengaged, which would bring another chance for the tonton macoute's Terrifying talent to affect him. Captain Woolsey and Sergeant Jones dispatch their zombies; the ogre and Atkins trade heavy blows but both remain on their feet.

Turn 11: Jones and Woolsey turn to assist Atkins. Awbrey hangs back, unwilling to get within reach of the monster. He raises his rifle, then decides that it would be inadvisable to shoot into a scrum that includes his commanding officer and his sergeant. Atkins is distracted by the arrival of his reinforcements and the tonton macoute hammers him flat. As the beast throws back its head to roar in triumph, the captain lunges and slits it from guggle to zatch!

Turn 12 and following: With all immediate foes dispatched and a moment to breathe, the soldiers check their fallen. Atkins and Lewes are hors de combat, but both should recover; Awbrey guards them while Woolsey and Jones explore the buildings. Only two zombies remain on the board, one of them in the building with the late Miss Hansen and the other trotting up and down an alley, and they are easily dispatched. The sergeant discovers Miss Harriet Tynsley hiding in a wardrobe and the troops escort her to safety.

A very successful operation. The riflemen had the advantages of a good position with one flank protected, and an enemy who came at them in uncoordinated waves. On the other hand, that position meant they had no line of fire; the only zombie to fall to gunfire, without getting into melee, was the very last one. And I'm thinking that I need to add a Field Surgeon to the TO next time the Black Guards deploy.


  1. Generally it is advisable to have at least one figure in each company with the leadership Talent, usually at +2. This gives an advantage when rolling for the initiative, which can be critical.

  2. I'm looking forwards to seeing how you paint the new unarmoured Napier figure as Sir Carnelian Woolsey :)