After their successful recovery of the defector in Newport, the heroes return to General Sullivan. Sullivan has orders from General Washington to capture Newport from the British, but the courier information brought by the heroes indicates that storms at sea have delayed the French forces intended to support this assault. Worse, many of Sullivan's militia forces have completed their enlistments and headed for home, leaving him with 10,000 troops to face an entrenched British force of 6000 with naval support.
The absence of the French leads to some friction between Godot and the Continental Officers, and one, Lieutenant Edmund Bourne, attempts to provoke Godot into a duel. Godot uses his mind control to erase Bourne's memory of the most recent provocation and implant a memory of a convincing argument that the French are great allies, and the matter drops.
Sullivan decides to withdraw from Aquidneck Island, but deserters from his force betray his intentions to the British, who stage a surprise attack supported by three Greycoats. Two they have encountered before - Sergeant Daniel Dean, who wields a lightning sword with unbelievable speed; and Private Edward Roper, a survivor of the Battle of Salem. Intelligence reports help the Legion identify the third, Private David Longtooth, called the invulnerable man. Sullivan orders the Legion to engage the Greycoats while he manages a fighting retreat from the British.
The Greycoats, acting with surprise, quickly choose their targets. Dean attacks Francis, badly injuring him with two quick strikes of his lightning sword, while Longtooth engages Jacoby and Roper attempts to use mind control on Suzanna. While Roper's first attempt fails, the second succeeds, and Suzanna shifts into bear form and attacks the nearby continental troops. Meanwhile, Jacoby disengages from Longtooth and attacks Dean, deploying his newly-enlarged claws to vicious effect, and Godot uses confusion to break Roper's concentration and free Suzanna. Suzanna, still in bear form, viciously mauls Roper, while Jacoby and Godot finish off Dean.
In the larger battle, the colonists are somewhat demoralized by Francis's fall and Suzanna's attack, but manage to hold the British off long enough to organize a retreat. The Legion follows, hoping that the damage sustained by the British will be enough to keep them penned up in Newport.
If you ever wanted a game where your pink meeple, armed with a crowbar and an assault rifle, could ride a motorcycle through the walls of a shopping mall killing zombies... then your name is probably Scott Almes, designer of Tiny Epic Zombies by Gamelyn Games. Tiny Epic Zombies is a 1-5 player game that takes about 30-45 minutes, mostly depending on how proficient you are with the setup. The premise is simple - you are survivors of the zombie apocalypse in a shopping mall, trying to achieve specific objectives before being overrun.
I'm a long-time fan of the Tiny Epic series of games - each of them comes in a small box with great components and each has its own distinct style of gameplay, from worker placement to 4X to head-to-head combat. The complexity of the games varies quite a bit, and I'd probably put Tiny Epic Zombies somewhere in the middle - it will take most gamers a few plays to get the hang of it.
The game has five different play modes. In addition to a solo version, there are two basic variables - cooperative or competitive play for the humans, and whether or not the zombies are controlled by a player. The main difference between competitive and co-op is whether each player is trying to achieve objectives independently or whether the players are working together to complete them. Adding a zombie player makes the game significantly more difficult for the humans - not only are the zombies attacking more strategically, but they can deploy special powers when one of the humans is "overrun", meaning a zombie is placed into the same room of the mall with a human.
Human players are managing three resources - individual health and ammunition, and a barricade at the center of the mall that must stand to protect non-player survivors - if it falls and all the survivors die, the zombies win.
Each turn consists of a human turn and a zombie turn. On the human turn, the player must move his or her meeple three times. Each time the player moves, she can kill one zombie, and can also potentially interact with items or rooms in the various stores of the mall. One constraint, however, is that most interactions require that the three rooms of the store be completely clear of zombies, which can be a tall order.
Once the human has finished his turn, he flips over a "Search" card indicating what he found on his travels. This card is placed in the same store as the meeple, and has a color code indicating which stores the zombies are invading. In some cases, these cards are useful equipment; in others, they are nasty surprises like explosions or extra zombies. The zombie player now deals the human a new card from her hand, and then places zombies based on the color coding of the search card, at a rate of one zombie per room of the store. If zombies reach the center courtyard, they damage the barricade. Play then moves to the next player. Once the zombie player has no more Search cards, the humans each get one more turn and then the game ends in victory for the zombie player - unless the humans can complete their objectives.
There's a certain Pandemic-like vibe to the game, with players needing to decide whether to fight zombies to protect the barricades (and each other) or to pursue objectives such as guiding army units into the mall or discovering the cause of the zombie outbreak. The time pressure of the supply deck is also a very real constraint on the game, both forcing hard choices on the players and ensuring that the game does not drag on forever.
My main critique of Tiny Epic Zombies is that the flow of the game takes a little while to master. Inserting the zombie turn after each human turn can be hard to remember even with a zombie player, let alone without. With practice, though, I can see this game becoming a lot of fun. Replayability is great because of the changing layout possibilities of the mall and the different objectives available. If you like fighting zombies, I'd give this game a go.
It's senior year for the investigators, and a quiet first few weeks of term end when a former classmate of Ryo's, Veronica Nails, approaches him with a problem. Veronica tells Ryo that she accidentally spilled some black, oily substance on herself in her professor's chemistry lab, and that since then, she's been feeling a little headachy and detached. She doesn't want to tell her professor, Dr. Ramirez, because he docks a full letter grade for any preventable lab accident. Knowing that Ryo and his friends have a reputation for digging up useful information, Veronica asks him to find out what the substance was and whether she should be worried.
Ryo takes Veronica to meet the rest of the team, and they check her out both psychically and with their ghost-hunting gear. Seeing no signs of any sort of supernatural activity, they determine to break into the lab and see if they can figure out what the substance was. Troy makes short work of the lock at the chemistry building door, but he's brought up short by a complex keypad lock at the lab itself. Examining the lock and applying his Google-fu, Troy determines that the keypad is a Department of Homeland Security device connected to an alarm system. With a great deal of effort and some improvisation with his smartphone battery, Troy manages to access the lab.
Once inside, the team quickly finds the waste container, as well as a large number of other sample containers marked only with DHS number codes. Careful search of the lab reveals no information about the substance, so Ryo takes a stab at analyzing it using the lab equipment. Despite his limited skills at chemistry, he manages to determine that the substance is likely toxic if ingested, and also that it breaks down on exposure to UV light. The heroes attempt to clean up the lab and then lock it down for the night.
The next day, CP proposes an elaborate bluff - they will obtain some motor oil and ink and mix them to produce a vial of "substance", and then confront the professor about it. CP, Troy, Marco and Ryo go to Dr. Ramirez's office hours and say that they are investigating rumors that students have been breaking into Ramirez's lab and stealing materials to make LSD. Despite CP's persuasive skills, Ramirez will not disclose the nature of his work, so CP pulls out the vial and asks him about the substance. Ramirez then accuses the four of breaking into his lab and pulls his cell phone to call security, but CP knocks it out of his hand. The professor goes for his desk phone and CP threatens him with the motor oil vial, but the professor is undeterred and security arrives to take all four students into custody.
While the campus authorities interrogate the four unlucky seniors, Mariana follows Ramirez to his lab and enters, attempting to flirt with him to discover any information she can. Unfortunately, the information is not forthcoming, although Ramirez does encourage her idea about changing majors to chemistry.
CP, Troy, Marco and Ryo all stick to their story about the confrontation with Ramirez being a prank that went wrong; they are all released but put on probation. Any other disciplinary violations will result in expulsion from ETU.
At this point, Veronica texts Ryo and asks him to come to her dorm. The group heads over, to discover that Veronica has blacked out her room. She says that she has become highly sensitive to light and that the irises of her eyes have turned black. The heroes check their occult references, and still come up dry. As a result, they conclude that this phenomenon is probably the result of the substance, and Ryo suggests that she try UV therapy at a local tanning salon. This succeeds, and Veronica is cured.
The Legion returns from France to Rhode Island, where Major General John Sullivan is preparing to assault the British stronghold of Newport. Sullivan is awaiting a covert message from the French which should be smuggled in via Newport, but the courier, Reuben Sacker has disappeared. He was scheduled to arrive in Newport two days ago aboard the merchant sloop Aunt Bess. General Sullivan asks Godot, Francis, and Jacoby to infiltrate Newport and find the message and the messenger; he holds Suzanna in reserve in case the British make an assault on his fortifications.
Francis and Jacoby's skill with small boats allows them to reach the island of Aquidneck unobserved, and the trio sneaks into town, dodging redcoats and inquiring about Sacker. An hour or so on the streets leads them to the White Horse Tavern, and some ale bought for local fishermen reveals that Sacker was seen leaving the tavern with a non-descript but well-dressed man. Without much more to go on, the heroes find lodgings in an inn in the more prosperous part of Newport.
As Francis enjoys a breakfast of oatmeal, an attractive woman approaches him and subtly questions him about his allegiances. She hints that she has information about Sacker, and Francis opts to bring Godot and Jacoby into the conversation. When Jacoby identifies himself as "The Boston Lobsterman", she recognizes them as Legionnaires and draws a map for them on the table in spilled ale. The map indicates a house that the woman, Damaris, indicates would be wise for them to visit. Godot mindwipes Damaris, leaving her with the impression that she gave them the information without identifying themselves.
After dark, the Legion continues their successful and stealthy transit through Newport, arriving at what appears to be an abandoned house on the outskirts of the town. They find the door unlocked, but when they enter, they hear the sound of a pistol being cocked and a voice asking them how they convinced Damaris to give up his location. The man identifies himself as Barnabas Mabbet, and says he has Sacker tied up in the cellar. Mabbet says he is an Order operative who wants to defect. He offers up Sacker and his message as well as his own knowledge of Order workings if the group will protect him. Just as Godot agrees, a twig snaps outside, and an unseen force attempts to take control of Francis's mind.
Order henchmen crash through the windows to engage the heroes, although one is quickly put down by Jacoby's claws. Francis is controlled by an unknown superhuman outside and opens the door for him, but then manages to shake off the control before he can attack one of his comrades. A melee ensues, with the henchmen firing pistols and Jacoby engaging the enemy super. The superhuman's powers prove inadequate to damage Jacoby, but one of the henchmen shoots and badly injures Mabbet. The super flees, as do the three surviving henchmen, and Francis is able to patch up Mabbet enough for them to make their escape.
Mabbet proves a useful source of information, identifying several superhumans in the employ of the Order, including at least one that they heroes have yet to encounter.
More Malifaux goodness this Friday with the LaCroix crew, featuring heavy hitters Ophelia and Francois LaCroix (plus gremlin mooning).