Gaming the Zombie Apocalypse
3 Oct 2019: Well...that did not go as planned...so much for our monthly meeting being full of competition, camaraderie, and comedy. This was damn near tragic!
Who would have ever envisioned the Zombie Apocalypse starting right outside the doors of Tea & Victory? Seriously, this was bad karma for the lot of us.
And after all that work we did getting ready for a night of fun-filled entertainment, we suddenly realize that all the weapons we thought we had, BUT FAILED TO BRING WITH US, were useless...
October's gaming night merged The Walking Dead: All Out War with some role-playing aspects...and we were quite literally playing OURSELVES! Our Game Master, Joe Leonard, took the wargamer's WYSIWYG to a new level...What we had with us at the start of the game, on our persons, was what we started with. Joe had previously used this system successfully to train emergency managers in Galveston County, with the emphasis on planning and preparedness. This was no different for us this evening.
There was no stated object...but it was quickly obvious to all of us: SURVIVE. That was the one simple goal. But how to do that. There were the five of us...plus ten non-player characters inside Tea & Victory with us.
A Harris County bus transporting prisoners was involved in a major vehicle accident with a mail truck and a panel truck. When the "survivors" emerged from the bus, everyone nearby was happy...right up to the point where they started to eat their rescuers. Four prisoners burst into Tea & Victory, two with weapons. As I said above, "bad karma."
Rob immediately bolted for the door, followed by Barry and Joe. They saw a nearby car and hoped to gain access to it and get out before they became the next menu items. Andy and Steve were left to organize the folks inside Tea & Victory, and figure out what to do next. Andy tried calling 9-1-1, but the line was busy (never a good sign). He quickly reminded everyone this was a restaurant, meaning that there were knives in the back, and that we should all arm ourselves. Andy and Steve assessed the folks they had with them and considered options. The two armed prisoners were only interested in their own safety, and left the building, never to be seen again.
What followed was Rob, Joe, and Barry finding their way into the car where they found some useful items and then realized that their noise making had attracted some Walkers. Demonstrating unheard of nimbleness for men of their age, they bravely exited the vehicle and divided up. Rob eventually gained access to the small BBQ restaurant, where he fought off two Walkers before deciding to exit the building. Joe battled a couple Walkers while searching crates in front of the building before joining back up with Barry. Barry went dumpster diving, looking for resources, finding a Walker inside one, before deciding to try to break into a mobile home without success. Joe joined Barry with his newly found crowbar, but he too could not gain access to what turned out to be a mobile methlab...They eventually joined Rob, found an Army recruiting jeep with the keys in it, and bolted off north where they found a police escort.
Steve and Andy divided the Tea & Victory survivors into two groups, with a prisoner in each. Andy, decisive as ever, determined that two young ladies, no doubt wearing red shirts, would be useless, and bravely left them behind. The two groups would exit Tea & Victory, and make their way to the house across the street.
Seeing some Walkers approaching, the survivors fanned out, only to be surprised a moment later when three Walkers' heads exploded. They were equally surprised when they continued their advance towards the house, only to see three bullets hit the ground in front of them. A few more steps and a few more bullets convinced the survivors to head to the nearby bike shop.
Andy's team led the way, with Steve providing back-up. Unfortunately, the Walker infestation arrived first. This cost Andy's team a survivor, and meant that Steve's team had to join the bloody melee. After clearing the store of about a dozen Walkers, all the survivors were now armed with a variety of hand weapons as well as some first aid kits.
Quickly conferring, Andy and Steve decided that the next-door Kings Biergarten might have more survivors and some weapons. It's a bar...this is Texas...we have open carry...just perhaps we'll find real weapons.
Well, our brave survivors blundered into another nest of Walkers, but this time they held their own, advancing slowly and clearing out the place, one section at a time. Another survivor from Tea & Victory fell, but eventually the thirty or so walkers were cleared and searched. No guns, but a few knives and other hand weapons, 9mm shells (wonder where that handgun went?), some bandages, a pitchfork (don't ask), and the usual prescription drugs were found.
Steve and Andy planned their next move, which consisted of moving along the road to find a working vehicle to get the survivors out. Figuring the accident site might be a place to start, the survivors darted across the road.
Although some of the Walkers had cleared out, a few remained. One of the first Walkers taken down by Andy himself was a former police officer, who just happened to have a 9mm Baretta as his side arm. The bus was on it's side, the car was too small, but the panel truck with it's dented front left fender seemed to fit the bill.
As the survivors loaded up, in the distance, cries for "Help, wait for us!"
Steve spotted the two young ladies that Andy had left behind in Tea & Victory, running towards the truck...a mob of walkers on their tail.
Quickly backing the truck up, they recovered two panicking red-shirts and darted back up the road to a more secure spot guarded by two law enforcement officers. Here, Andy, Steve and their survivors were reunited with Rob, Barry, and Joe.
Time to plan our next move...
The game combined aspects of "The Walking Dead: All Out War" with some role playing game mechanics in a manner that enabled the players to think their way thru specific, challenging developments. The "What you see on yourself is what you got" surprised them initially, but they quickly adapted to their current plight, rapidly arming themselves with kitchen knives and other hand weapons. As defined in the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program, this was a "Discussion-Based Exercise," known as a "Game." Not much of a surprise there. Although probably the least used of the seven exercise types, this methodology has been effectively used by our nation's emergency managers to foster decision making and preparedness. In the case of our players, they certainly rose to these challenges, surviving to "survive another day."
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