Every year, our gaming group runs a big Christmas game. We have named the game the “Nigel Clarke Invitational Christmas Game” in honor of our friend Nigel Clarke, who moved home to England two years ago. This year, nine of us, including two of my children, participated in the game.
Merry Christmas Nigel!
This year, we decided to run a WW2 zombie game based in the Ardennes on Christmas eve, 1944. Here are the scenario details:
Ares Zombies: Death in the Snow
Christmas Eve, 1944. During the Battle of the Bulge, American troops of the 26th Infantry Division are driven out of Wisembach by a determined German assault. With Panzergrenadiers in hot pursuit, GI’s retreat into the dense Anlier Forest. As night falls and the blizzard grows, German and American forces seek shelter in the shattered village of Vieille, near an abandoned lunatic asylum. Neither force is prepared for the horror that awaits them!
The German force was made up of four three man sections and a short halftrack. The German troops were regulars with one section of SS veterans. They were pursuing three sections each with three American GI’s. Although the Americans had fled Wisembach with two halftracks, one was destroyed entering the town by a landmine, leaving only three soldiers alive near it. and the second had run out of gas in the center of the town. Although the center halftrack model was armed with a 50 cal machine gun, we had determined before the scenario that the gun was out of ammo .
We use the Ares Fantasy skirmish rules by MJ12 games, with the addition of noise and zombie spawning rules, and dirty tricks.
Early game-The German halftrack run down three zombies blocking their path tot he village. The machinegunner and a KAR98 rifle finish off the zombies after they’re knocked down and injured (shambler zombies have only two wounds, and are clumsy-they fall down when injured)
Meanwhile, the Americans in the village enter the buildings and start searching for shelter, fuel and ammo, and defensive positions.
The survivors of the landmined halftrack rush to enter the village and join their comrades. They end up in the red roofed mayor’s house
Things heat up quickly, as Germans move into a ruined bakery (red roof-left), and the halftrack and dismounted infantry section push into the center of the village. American defenders are buttoned up in the grey roofed Miller’s house (right) and the red roofed Mayor’s house (front). The American fuel-less and ammo-less halftrack is parked in the village center. Small arms fire begins.
A furious exchange of grenade volleys shatter the night, as American lob grenades at the German halftrack. The German section behind the halftrack is wounded by the shrapnel, and only the Halftrack machinegunner survives the volley. The halftrack also receives heavy damage, losing two of its three damage points and much of its mobility.
(Note the large stack of noise markers next to the German halftrack-noise counters are placed after gunfire, loud actions, and building searches. During the zombie activation phase, all zombies move and attack, then new zombies are spawned. A D12 is rolled for each noise counter, and a new zombie is placed 8.5″ in a random direction on a roll of 12. the rate of zombie spawning can vary based on the scenario. In urban battles or other scenarios where the area is infested with zombies, the zombies can spawn on 10-12, or even 9-12 rolls)
Unable to see effectively engage the American in the buildings, the dismounted German section takes shelter behind the abandoned halftrack (center). Their leader, Corporal Reinhardt, bravely takes over the driver’s position of the damaged halftrack, and puts the vehicle into full reverse to evade the American onslaught. Meanwhile, another wave of zombies enters the village (top)
A late arrival, Walt O’Hara (who details this game on his blog here) leads a section from an American headquarters platoon from the table edge. Best of all, they have a functioning vehicle with FUEL!!!!
Unfortunately for the HQ section, one of the German players discards an “Out of Gas” card, disabling the only usable American vehicle, and forcing them to move into the village on foot. On foot, they fight their way into the village past several wandering zombies. They eventually find shelter in one of the buildings in town.
As the grenade-apalooza plays out in the center of the village, the SS Panzergrenadier section displays uncharacteristically poor marksmanship. After firing an MG34 light machinegun, a KAR98, and an MP40 SMG at a pair of nearby zombies, they only manage to injure one of the zombies while making A LOT of noise (see the noise counters? The big ones count as 5 noise)
During the next turn, the SS troops shoot one of the zombies, while the SS Corporal finishes the other zombie off with a close combat attack.
After heroically defeating one zombie, the remaining ghouls overwhelm the wounded Private Herzmann.
While two sections of Germans hunker down in the second story of the ruined bakery to ride out the storm and fight off the remaining zombies, Corporal Reinhardt and Private Horsch, both wounded from the grenade battle and low on fuel and ammunition, flee in the badly damaged halftrack. A few miles from the village, the engine sputters its last, and the pack of pursuing zombie tear the wounded men to pieces.