Zombies Anyone?

For the last nine months I haven’t played that many games as I have had to devote more time to work and family issues. One of those family issues was my son, who just needed a bit more father time. My son likes games, but is mostly into computer and video games. I can get him to play a board game now and then. He has expressed some interest in miniatures, so I thought about what he’d like to play. He is a big fan of The Walking Dead, and we watch it every Sunday (during its oddly short seasons). So I asked him if he’d like to play a miniature game like The Walking Dead, and he expressed some interest.

That meant I had to get some zombies. I went to the newer local game store on Sunday morning. They had a box of Wargames Factory male zombies, but were out of the human male survivors. For $22 (really $19.80 as the store has a 10% refund policy after you make ten purchases) I thought I could not go wrong. When I brought the figures home and showed them to my son, he seemed interested (as much as a 14-year-old boy can allow himself to be interested in something). We decided we would make a few of them later in the day (my son had some homework to do and I’m sure he had to play a computer game for a few hours).

I wanted to see how the figures fit together so I made two of them. I have made some other 28mm plastics. My first try was Wargames Factory 28mm British figures for the Zulu Wars. Those were such horrible figures that I gave up after making one of them. I have also made and painted 11 Wargames Factory Romans, which worked well enough. I have also done a couple dozen Perry 28mm American Civil War Infantry. The Wargames Factory zombies fit together well enough. Then I decided to paint those two to see how they painted up. I had talked with my son about what kind of zombies he wanted in terms of flesh color. He decided on gray flesh like in The Walking Dead. In no time, I had the two zombies painted.

After dinner, my son and I put together four more zombies. My son has never made a model (unlike myself who made a lot of models from age 10 to about 14). He was a bit hesitant, but got the hang of the X-acto knife and the file pretty quickly. Very quickly we had four more zombies built. In the next day or so, we’ll put on the primer coat and then start painted them together. I showed him the two zombies I had painted and he was pleased with how they turned out. Overall, I think it was a good father-son activity. My son even said while making the zombies, “This is really fun.” I don’t think I’ve heard him say that in years. I think he wants to show his friends what we are doing as he pulled out his phone and took a picture of the two zombies I had already painted. One of the pictures, the second one, didn’t turn out very clear (maybe too much light), but the first one did (see below).

We’ll paint up the 30 zombies in the box and later we’ll get a box of the Wargames Factory male survivors. For buildings and vehicles, I plan to get a few of the cheaper O gauge buildings. We will use the Two Hour Wargames rules. Right now I have the All Things Zombie: Better Dead than Zed rules, but I might also pick up a copy of the updated zombie rules, All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out. Either way, we will adjust the rules to make them very The Walking Dead oriented as that is what my son things zombies should be like. What I like about the Two Hour Wargames rules is that my son and I can be on the same side rather than fighting each other. I envision our first game being with 2 or 3 humans per player and our 30 zombies.

And my first zombie (actually looks a bit better than the picture):

Zombie 2

The other zombie (far better than it looks in the picture):

Zombie 1


One Response to Zombies Anyone?

  1. Bill Owen says:

    It’s great that you two found common ground. But for me it would have to be true storge/filial love to watch a show (hard to do without a TV) or play a game on zombies. As gross as that is to me, I admit that WWII was so much worse and happened.

    My daughter and I played lots of board games. But she only helped me paint horses once. But then we had no incomplete game where we needed to create the pieces.

    I have occasionally wondered whether rich Brit aristocracy cared about their collections of toy soldiers as much as we average Joes do with that which we labored to marshal? And what does it say about me that I would spray paint troops now?!

    It has occurred to me that the near-term history we were raised with, WWII, was reinforced by how our dads were in the war. And so by comparison the Spanish-American War seemed “ancient”. And yet now WWII’s end is 69 years past & so further than the S-AW was when I was 10 in 1964. No wonder if young people think of it similarly as ancient history.

    OTOH we also were interested in ACW which was about a century past so not sure if my analysis is wholly relevant!

    Another thing that reinforced my WWII historical connection was how we watched Walter Chronkite’s Sunday afternoon show called Twentieth Century as a family. There was shared common reference that we vicariously touched our dads’experiences thru.

    My father never showed any interest in any games but a word game, Upwords. But my 9-year-older brother got me started in wargames but moved on immediately and I carried that interest far beyond his. He was more of a fan of APBA Baseball but having several Avalon Hill games was the norm for my cousins and I.

    Another change is from the ubiquity of plastic toy soldiers then, fast forwarded to now to when I get the feeling that they are less acceptable. But somehow Johnny must cater to his bloodthirsty instincts with: dinosaurs!

    I think my motivators for wargames was aspiring to a more grown-up pursuit (oh, how we wanted to grow up!) and the ability to actual use our models for something besides parade review. Plus hopelessly unfocused multi-era (single-entry biplanes to modern collections; *units* if identical models and common paint jobs came later) ruleset-less “wars” that would revolve around finding where in the neighborhood the enemy kid had placed his airfield and running through with a B58 Hustler and dropping a nuclear bomb on it! Not really good for multiple re-playings.

    Another huge change from then to now has been the D&D approach and it’s more cooperative and less competitive style. Even though it has a judge (and what a fantastically creative one in Bob Bledsaw) the way we played was more against the game system as he did not force the narrative or try to kill the players’ characters.


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