Monday, July 11, 2022

Water or Gas - what's your poison? First Post-Apoc AAR

    Tosh of the Bass Reeves examines the gas pump to figure out how to extract fuel with no power
Summer break from school is already half over, so I figured it was high time that I kick off my Post-Apocalyptic games that I've been planning. I have been painting miniatures and creating terrain and markers for awhile now. So, I invited the Sunday evening gaming group over yesterday to my place and set up our first scenario using Fistful of Lead Core Rules. We'd played the Western rules a couple times, but this would be our first game with these rules in a different period. Since it had been a couple months since our last game with these rules, I played it safe and kept the force size small at four miniatures per team.

    The stealthy, camo-clad Bucknuts stalk through the trees towards the water tower
The teams represent bands of human survivors after a recent nuclear apocalypse. As in Arnold Schwarzenegger "Terminator" movies, an artificial intelligence has taken over the war machines created by the nations of the earth and launched an extermination of mankind. In desperation to take down the machines, the nations of the earth resort to nuclear weapons. The resulting Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) does seem to cripple the A.I., and it is no longer able to coordinate its extermination efforts planet-wide. However, the local bots that survived are still on the rampage, and appear to be controlled by regional networks that are still a danger. Meanwhile, society breaks down as groups of humans scramble for control of scarce food, water, and other supplies. The players each control one of these groups.

    The Bass Reeves take up firing positions around the gas station to cover Tosh's attempt
This scenario begins as word spreads that someone has found a way to tap into a local water tower and pump out clean, fresh water. Rumor has it that also nearby is a gas station still has some fuel in its pumps. The survivors set out to secure these supplies for themselves. To Hell with the other groups -- they have lots too many of their friends and families to rival groups to have any sympathy for the other survivors! We had six players, so I started one in each of the four in the corners of the board and the other two in the centers of the long edges. The water tower and gas station were on the center line of the table, one on the more to the right and the other on the left.

    The Nightstalkers eschewed the loot and instead targeted members of the rival teams of survivors
Each group adopted different tactics. In one corner, the Nightstalkers made no real effort to push towards the gas station they could see ahead. Instead, they took up positions in the ruins of buildings and sniped away at the rival gangs. Players could earn "Renown Points" (victory points) by either obtaining water or gas or killing their rivals. Keith was playing the Nightstalkers, whose advanced armor and firepower resulted in killing the most enemy figures. He was even able to take down one of the Scout Bots that was drawn to the area by the gunfire. The arrival of bots is triggered by the number of player figures being killed. A Scout Bot arrives when combined table losses reach 10%, a Sentry Bot at 20%, and a Military Bot at 30%. If one bot is killed and the higher level one has not been triggered yet, a replacement of the lower type appears.

    A Scout Bot rolls onto the table edge, preparing to fire at two Followers of the Dark Prophet
The bots are actually controlled by the players. Whoever has suffered the most losses is given the first Scout Bot. Next most losses at the time gets control of the next bot to arrive, and so on. They arrive at any table edge, but will fire on the closest human (even if it is under that player's control, so they have to be careful). If a bot is downed, it becomes another source of potential Renown points. Figures can go up to it, and if they make a Hard Task roll, can remove useful hardware such as weapons, ammunition, or technical components. In our game, the last turn ended with a Sentry Bot gunning down one of the Bass Reeves. With that, the players agreed it was time to scram and their figures began to leave the field in droves.

    The truce at the water tower as the Followers of the Dark Prophet and Bucknuts agree to share
On the water tower side of the battlefield, though both the Bucknuts and the Followers of the Dark Prophet advanced towards it and took up positions in opposing woods, overlooking the tower. The Followers shouted a truce offer across to their rivals - one member of the party from each side be allowed to draw water without being shot at. Amazingly, the truce was adhered to by both sides! First, one of the Followers trotted forward, analyzed the apparatus that had been installed to tap into the water tower, and passed his task roll to figure it out. He filled up a container of water just as Jackie O from the Bucknuts jogged up. Watching how he did it, she also was able to draw water for her team.

    The Blood Brotherhood looks at the gas pump -- sooo close -- but watched over by two rival teams

The moment of calm was interrupted by gunfire, though. F Troop, whose members had recently made their way back from the wars to their home town, opened fire on the Followers of the Dark Prophet. Both sides blazed away at each other with the ex-military unit getting the worst end of it. Both of their leaders, Capt. Amos and Sgt. Seneca, fell to the return gunfire from the black-clad Followers. The remaining two members of F Troop retreated off the board, dragging with the them the unconscious bodies of their leaders.

    Finally, the Grandmaster of the Blood Brotherhood dashes forward to fill up his gas can
Meanwhile, at the gas pump, things were about to explode in gunfire. Both the Blood Brotherhood and The Bass Reeves had team members poised to dash out into the relative open of the pumps. Each had taken a casualty from the sniping of the Nightstalkers, but persevered to where they were in position. The Bass Reeves jumped first, with tech-savvy Tosh darting from behind the battered Coke machine and reaching the nearest pump. He also passed his Task roll, figuring out how to get gasoline from the pump in the absence of electrical power. He quickly filled his plastic container and dashed for safety.

    The Followers of the Dark Prophet at the edge of the woods overlooking the water tower
Peering from the ruins nearby, the Blood Brotherhood were perhaps shocked by the audacity of Tosh's move. They noted how he was able to milk the pump back to life and only opened fire only as he was dashing away. Perhaps they were worried a stray bullet might cause an inferno, but Tosh made it to cover safely. The crimson-robed Grandmaster of the order hissed to his men to provide covering fire and sprinted for the pumps. Mimicking Tosh's actions, he was also able to fill up the gas can he'd brought along. He was also equally fortunate in dashing back into the ruins for cover unscathed.

    Jeremiah and Sarge of the Bass Reeves are surprised by a Sentry Bot while looting the Scout Bot

Tosh wasn't so lucky, though. A long range burst of automatic weapons fire from the Nightstalkers brought him down. The Bass Reeves leader, Big Bass, darted over, tossing the unconscious Tosh (and the gas can) over his shoulder and scurried offtable. This was about the time that the Scout Bot arrived. It fired a burst at the Nightstalkers, whose return fire must have hit a critical component. The Scout Bot crashed into a wall and fell over, its sole wheel spinning. One of things we were worried about with Fistful of Lead rules was whether the 3 Wounds each figure can take would even come into play. Or would most of the casualties come from "Out of Action" rolls on the Wounding chart that players roll on after scoring a hit? In our first Western game, this was certainly the case. In this game, of the five characters and one bot taken out of action, five of the six were knocked out by a d10 roll of 8-10 on the Wounding Chart. There were many others that were hit with Shock Markers or Wounded by shooting, so the percentage of kill shots was definitely less than our Western game. Still, it is something to keep an eye on and perhaps tweak.

    F Troop before the game - players chose which four characters to take on the mission

I informed the players that the downed Scout Bot was another way to earn Renown points. The Bass Reeves jumped at the chance. Two of their members closed in on the wreckage. Just as they bent over the the armored scout, looking how to pry it open or remove components, the sound of mechanical gears and the metallic stamp of feet grew louder from around the corner. They turned and saw the gleaming bronze surface of a Sentry Bot, its machine gun swiveling towards them. Sarge grabbed a panel that had been jarred loose by gunfire and tore it free as he darted through the ruins towards the table edge. Jeremiah struggled to pull free one of the scout's guns, but was too slow. A long burst of machine gun fire sliced into him from the Sentry Bot. Jeremiah slumped senselessly onto the surface of the Scout Bot.

    The Blood Brotherhood, a cult whose members have sworn to protect each other and the Order
At this point, more and more characters began running for the table edge. The machines had arrived and it was best to flee to fight -- or scramble amidst the ruins for supplies -- another day. Seeing the Followers of the Dark Prophet fading back into the trees, Brutus of the Bucknuts lumbered forward with his water container. Jackie O had to call out instructions on how to operate the apparatus, as he was fumbling amidst the levers and wheels with no success. He finally figured it out, just as another Scout Bot rolled onto the table. Luckily for him, it pursued the fleeing Followers of the Dark Prophet. Brutus finished filling his container and ran for the table edge where his teammates were waiting for him, gesturing frantically.

    "All right, I can take three of you with me..." Bucknuts: "Take me, Coach Coop!"

I came up with a rough system to award Renown Points to the teams. Using this, the Blood Brotherhood were the winners, getting two cans of gas and killing two rival team members for 7 Renown points. Well, their characters killed one and the Sentry Bot they controlled gunned down another. I am awarding full points to the players controlling the bots to ensure they act with appropriate, Terminator-like bloodthirstiness! Close behind were the murderous Nightstalkers and stealthy Bucknuts with 6 points apiece. Both the Followers of the Dark Prophet and the Bass Reeves earned 5, while F Troop escaped with a single Renown point for exiting the table with 50% of their number alive. I hope to allow players to adjust their characters using the Renown Points, acquiring new skills or similar experience.

    The Nightstalkers weren't there for gas or water -- they were there to hunt their rivals!

There is also a table in Fistful of Lead (and the Post-Apocalyptic supplement Wasteland Warriors) to roll on to see what happens to the characters who were wounded or knocked out of action. I forgot to keep track of the wounded, so they will all get a free pass on this game. However, here were the results of the out of action rolls:

  • F Troop, Capt. Amos: "It's Not So Bad" (miss next game)
  • F Troop, Sgt. Seneca: "It's Not So Bad" (miss next game)
  • Blood Brotherhood, Brother Fortitude: "It's Not So Bad" (miss next game)
  • Bass Reeves, Tosh: "It's Not So Bad" (miss next game)
  • Bass Reeves, Jeremiah: "Shot Full of Holes" (miss next game and suffer a Negative Trait as permanent damage).


I felt the game flowed well. We had a couple times when players forgot they had a certain value card and didn't activate when they were supposed to, but we kept needling each other and everyone stayed focused. I think the mix of objectives and "go kill the enemy" was good, so I will likely try to replicate that. I think I will also add in some "payback" Renown points, where you get a bonus point for taking out an enemy figure whose team took out one of yours last game!

Hopefully, the players will be eager to get together again soon for some revenge and to try another game soon!


  1. The table looks great and I like the scenario. Will F Troop be out for revenge?

  2. They should be out for revenge! Allen is instructed every Sunday evening as he leaves for gaming, "Don't kill your brother!" Yet, his Followers of the Dark Prophet gunned down poor F Troop mercilessly. Tsk, tsk!

  3. This looks like loads of fun! I'm building up different "teams" from Battle Valor minis as well. Did you feel the basic Fistful of Lead rules met your needs just as effectively as the Wasteland Heroes rules would have?

  4. Honestly, the Core Rules are enough. I did use a few things from Wasteland Warriors, such as the Traits for wandering monsters or my Bots. I used the idea of Renown Points also for improvements of teams over the course of the campaign.