Monday, 18 April 2011


Several new characters are about to make an appearance in the Lost in Necropolis storyline so let’s take a look at them. We’ll get to know them a little better if they survive a couple of games.

The leader of the band; a tough and ruthless man who is fully aware of the escalating situation and what steps will need to be taken to survive. At the same time he sees an opportunity to act without the constraints of the law and take his gang in the direction he's always wanted to go.

The oldest member of the gang; Skipper is the former leader but is now being forced out of position by the more aggessive Nazi.

A mechanic, and the gang member most up for Nazi's mysterious agenda.

Nazi's floozy, a fairly brainless, highly impressionable young woman who is enjoying the wild ride Nazi and the boys are taking her on. She's not a bad person but while nobody is telling her not to do something and it's fun then why not???

A nasty piece of work who cares little for anyone else unless they can give him what he wants: guitless pleasure and lots of it.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Rules for Vampires

Vampires cannot be killed by conventional weapons at all.
They may be killed with a wooden stake.
A wooden stake can be made by spending 4 actions in an appropriate location (such as a ruined building or wood)
When attacking vampires with a stake only 1 die is rolled on the Stake Effects column of the Vampire Damage table.
Weapons with Lethal Dice roll the normal number of dice on the Lethal Effects column of the Vampire Damage table. As the table shows, they can only be affected by Pushbacks and by losing actions.
For each action lost, place a marker next to the vampire. The vampire must “spend” actions to remove markers. In this way a vampire can be held in place, stunned by concentrated weapons fire, while characters flee or prepare to attack with a stake.

Vampire Damage

Stake Effects
Lethal Effects
Pushed Back
Pushed Back
Pushed Back/ Vampire Child Killed
Pushed Back/ Vampire Lady Killed
-1 Action
Vampire Lord Killed

The table below shows the Vampire movement and damage.

Vampire Lord
Dark Lady
Vampire Children
Teeth & Claws
Teeth & Claws
Teeth & Claws
4 Lethal 
3 Lethal 
2 Lethal 

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Review: Mansions of Madness Board Game

Mansions of Madness is a brand new board game from the creators of Arkham Horror. The question you might be asking is, why review it here?
Well I’ll tell you.
Not only is Mansions of Madness a great game in its own right (I’ve played it three times now) but it has two great benefits for players of Necropolis and people interested in designing their own similar game.
Mansions of Madness is about a group of 1920’s investigators exploring a variety of old manor houses replete with cultists, witches and a variety of monsters, all set within the mythos of HP Lovecraft. The game board comes in a variety of configurations – basically tiles representing rooms in the mansion are laid out as specified in the scenario booklet. The booklet tells the Keeper (gamemaster) what clues and items to place in which rooms for the investigators to find.

The investigators have a mission to complete and have to move through the house, battling monsters controlled by the Keeper, while trying to solve the mystery and maybe save the world.
Now the benefit to Necropolis (and other similar games) is severalfold, purely from the inspiration gained from some of the rather clever ideas they use in this game. In the spirit of the fact that every wargame, roleplaying game and boardgame of this nature is basically a rip-off of Dungeons and Dragons at some level, these ideas are available as “inspiration” for our own games.
Here’s a list of the juicy bits:
  • Characters entering a room can choose to Explore, revealing the exploration cards within one at a time. These are either weapons, equipment or clues
  • Locked doors require the player to solve actual puzzles before they can get into the room
  • The investigators aren’t told their mission right away (although the Keeper knows). They have to find it out by discovering clue cards during the mission
  • Certain random events occur with monsters suddenly appearing
  • The map is seeded with exploration cards
  • It’s possible to hide from monsters inside a trunk
  • The game is effectively timed (through the slow turning of event cards) with certain Events happening at planned points in the game
The other great thing about the game from my perspective is all the miniatures that come with it!

Now some of them are a bit weird – proportionally and scale speaking – but others are very nice and will certainly get painted up and appear in future Necropolis scenarios.
All in all, a very good game, for its own virtue and for the inspiration and miniatures it can bring to independent horror miniature gamers.

But how does it compare to Arkham Horror?

Arkham Horror is a great game (if a little difficult for new people to pick up). I remember the first time my family and I played it was a disaster because it was so complicated (and we had friends round at the time). However we played it the following night without the friends, cracked the rules, and loved it so much we played it again a third night.

Well my wife and I have played Mansions of Madness three nights in a row too.
The rules in-game are simpler but it has quite a labour-intensive set-up period, more so than Arkham Horror, which was already pretty heavy. Once the game gets going it runs very smoothly. Now obviously in Arkham Horror, the designers were trying to develop a story-based investigation game but, in my opinion, didn’t quite make it. Having clue tokens to abstractly represent investigation and monsters represented by cardboard counters, it lost a lot of the mood of Call of Cthulhu that they were seeking. Though it’s still damn good!
Mansions of Madness doesn’t suffer from this. It plays in a very similar way to Necropolis in that it’s a visual and fairly realistic horror game. The investigation element feels natural and real. The monsters look good and play well – and aren’t abstract like in Arkham Horror.
It’ll be interesting to see what I think in a year or so. For now, I’m very impressed.
Two things I don’t like though:
  1. Mansions of Madness doesn’t last anywhere near as long as Arkham Horror. Although Arkham can drag a little bit sometimes, Mansions of Madness does seem over and done a little too quickly.
  2. In Mansions of Madness the investigators have to find clues before they can discover what their mission is (one of the more ingenious elements of the game), but if you keep your investigators together – as they advise you to do – and happen to go down the wrong hallway, there simply isn’t time to get back round the whole house to find the key you need before going right back to the other end to unlock the door necessary to find the vital clue. Invariably by that point, the time limit has been reached and the objective is revealed anyway.
Maybe with practice this will stop happening – we’ll see.
The puzzle solving that investigators are forced to do to open certain doors is a really clever idea and makes them think on an entirely different level, which must be quite refreshing (I haven’t played as investigators yet). But I wonder if it will get old relatively fast with regular play. Again, we’ll see.
Mansions of Madness is definitely an excellent game and I doff my hat to the designers.

Monday, 4 April 2011

ORIGIN OF EVIL: Scenario One – Occupation

It’s July in the year 1940 and two days have passed since the Nazis invaded the Channel Islands
With little to no resistance, but after a period of bombing, German troops have occupied Jersey and the other islands and are now working to establish a tight rein on the inhabitants so that the island can be used as a staging post in the war against Great Britain
However, unbeknownst to the Nazis, Jersey is not just home to innocent citizens. Dark forces exist here who do not take kindly to this invasion and are about to take steps to end it
Nazi Captain Johan Krieger is a nasty piece of work. He was disappointed that the people of Jersey surrendered without bloodshed and very much wants to kill someone. However he feels that he needs a good reason to justify cold-blooded murder. To this end, he has taken a squad of men with him into the village and plans to brutally beat up villagers one at a time, hoping to get them to fight back. If they do he will kill them
Meanwhile, Jacob Rainier, a darkly clad young man, is trying to make his way through the area while keeping hidden from the Nazi soldiers

A 4’ x 4’ board comprising a small town with a central square. Some of the buildings may be ruined
8 assorted generic villagers. They count as Normal Humans
Jacob Rainier: a mysterious individual very keen not to be caught by the Nazis
1 Nazi Officer: Johan Krieger and 4 Generic Nazi soldiers plus 4 German Sentries
All figures are armed as modelled
The villagers are deployed individually throughout the village with at least 12” between them. None may be deployed closer than 12” to the centre of the square
Although they are moved by the Protagonist player they may not move unless directed to by Nazi soldiers or if forced to by a roll on the table below under Special Rules
Jacob Rainier is deployed on the Stalking Board on one board edge and may move freely
The Nazis are deployed in the centre of the village. Krieger functions as an individual and the soldiers function in two clusters of two. The Sentries are deployed facing in any direction in the centre of each board quadrant and may not move unless they spot Jacob Rainieror if Krieger is in danger
Krieger wants to kill a villager or two. His objective is to either knock out, take to Devil’s Door or kill all of the villagers. He may only use his gun if in danger.
If his life is at risk his only priority is to flee off the board 
The Nazi soldiers have instructions to keep an eye out for anyone hiding.
If Jacob Rainier is discovered, the Nazis must knock him out or take him to Devil's Door and then move into base contact with him to take him captive
Jacob Rainier has the following priorities:
  1. Survive
  2. Leave the board by the opposite board edge from deployment
Krieger may not move more than 6” from the centre of the village square UNLESS his life is at risk
The German soldiers can force villagers to move with them by rolling a success with one dice. Multiple soldiers can roll a dice each. If a 1 is rolled then the villager will flee. The villager’s priority becomes leaving the board safely as quickly as possible
Krieger must beat each villager with one bash dice per attack. Each time a success on the attack is scored, the Protagonist player rolls 1d10, checking the result on the following table:
Die Roll
No effect
Villager flees as above
Villager attacks Krieger with 1 bash dice
Villager turns into a Werewolf and may act freely

If there is no effect, Krieger must continue to beat the villager until they are knocked out, are reduced to Devil’s Door or they respond in one of the ways listed on the table
If they flee or attack back, Krieger or his men may kill them freely. If they turn into a Werewolf then Krieger must flee while his men fight the beast

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Horror Book Review: World War Z

World War Z by Max Brooks is simply one of the best books I’ve ever read.
And it’s about zombies!

The book is set after a worldwide zombie apocalypse and is written as though it were non-fiction. It consists of dozens of interviews with survivors of the zombie plague: people from all walks of life and from all over the world.
Each interview is a few pages long, making it a nice relaxing read with short bite-sized chunks. As the book progresses a picture is formed of the outbreak, its spread and the impact it has on global civilisation. We see how ordinary people survive and how the military and government try to counter the zombie threat, both short and long term.
The book is very well researched and it’s quite incredible how the author captures the detail of each of the myriad locations and protagonists. For the zombiephile it really gets into the nitty gritty of what living with a zombie apocalypse long-term would entail.
On top of this, I have to say, the book is extremely poignant and moving at times. The people, as much as the zombies, are the main focus, and I’d recommend it to anyone.
You can read an excerpt of the book here.

And amazingly, there's going to be a film!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Gaining Experience: Learn Fast or Die

Necropolis provides a tough environment in which to survive. Characters either get killed or learn very quickly how better to keep living.

To reflect this, characters gain skills depending on how many games they have survived. A character will receive a skill after surviving their 1st game, their 3rd game and every three games after that.
For example: Jack has survived two games. After surviving the first he gained a skill. He didn’t get one after his second but will get one after his third.
He won’t get any skills for the two games following that but will get one for the game after that and every third game from then on.
Available Skills
The following skills are available.
Skills may only be taken once apart from Hardened which may be taken a maximum of twice.
It may seem illogical for characters to spontaneously learn certain skills (such as pilot). This can be justified in various ways, such as that they knew all along "but hadn't mentioned it," or perhaps they've reached a point of desperation where they're willing to try anything and have a natural knack for it. Or perhaps they've found a text book in an abandoned building and are very quick learners!

3 extra Okay Injury Slots
Character can run 1 colour faster (may receive multiple times to GREEN max)
Character may be deployed anywhere on the board out of sight of an enemy and more than GREEN from any objective
Opponents must subtract 1 Dice from all attacks if the character's last action was to run
Opponents must subtract 1 Dice from all close combat attacks
Character adds 1 Bash Dice to all attacks made from base contact
First Aid  
Character may add +2 to assisted Heal Rolls rather than +1 and may add +1 to their own Heal Rolls
If attempting a technical action then one less success is required. One action is still required as a minimum
Quick Load
Character does not need to spend an action to reload
Expert Driver
Character always rolls one extra Control Dice when driving
Character is able to pilot aircraft
Rapid Fire
Can shoot 3 times if using 2 actions
Halves Spotting distance

 For example: In Lost in the Wilderness, both Jack and Jensen are now eligible for a skill.
Jack takes Hardened… and so does Jensen.
Making characters more survivable, Hardened is a good choice as a first skill for all characters.