Zona Alfa: Crossing the Cordon!

“No one said anything about bears!”

Welcome to the Zone, Stalkers. Enjoy your stay. Your going to be here a while.

After several weeks of waiting for models, printing more models and terrain, and the little distraction that is Warhammer 40k 9th Edition, we actually started out campaign!

It was nothing too crazy, and actually was fairly uneventful. I went quite wide of the regular mission requirements, but as the author says to use the rules as a toolbox, I did so!

First, a little bit of a briefing. I do swear in here, and if you are not a fan of that, I apologize. I don’t use it outside of a narrative context when I blog, but I felt the need here!

The Crossing was easy. The Ukrainians must have been napping, as we have enountered no military patrols as of yet, since we slipped into the Zone. Stupid debils. We were near another group, and in fact, had went to the same bar the night before. Heavy Irish accents, and singing songs about rebellion. I remember watching the television as a kid, and hearing about the Irish Republican Army. Seeing these older, hardened men sing songs about fighting the British gave me pause. What were a bunch of Ex-IRA men doing all the way in the Ukraine?

We kept our distance, wary of these foreigners. We had heard from a drunk Cordon officer about an armed convoy carrying rare goods out of the Zone when it had gotten hit, and our route took us right past it. Unfortunately, the Irish had the same idea, as did a group of local trash. Fucking gopniks.

The map was a typical 4×4 square, with us starting in the corners. The Irish and my Zone Runners started Cordon side, making for the other table edge. The Bandit player had his jumpy thugs on a corner edge on the other side, and got to pick which one. Three regular hotspots, at low threat levels dotted the table, and one in the BTR, rated at the very highest threat.

The prize, if one was daring enough to risk it, was in the centre BTR.
My squad of Zone-Rats move to cover, wary of both the Bandits and the Irish on the other side.
The Irish (represented here with Bolt Action minis as Lucas works on getting his guys together) are hardened vets of the IRA, and are here to get rich. Or so they say…
The table layout; The Bandits started in the top left, as we figured they live in the Zone. They didn’t need to get off the table for the scenario.
The Gopniks fan out, eager for loot, but not eager to get shot or bunch up.

Everyone played this game far, far more cautiously then our trial, one-off games. Gear is expensive, med-kits are pricey, and reloads are not cheap. Lucas(playing the IRA vets), moved cautiously up his end, wary of eating fire from my side. Equally cautious, I leapfrogged up to the cover available…but my eye was on the prize.

Throwing a bolt, Lucas hits the helmets of a passing Ukrainian Army patrol! They take cover behind the sign….

We had decided upon some pre-game rules, and one was that since this is the Cordon, any ‘bandits’ rolled would actually be threat level 2, and represent the Ukrainian Military presence. Lucas got unlucky, and triggered four of them!

However, after surviving some incoming AK fire, he tossed a valuable Satchel Charge…

BOOM! Ah, a bullet may have your name on it, but a satchel charge is addressed to whom it may concern…

Lucas got lucky, and killed his problem squad of Cordon defense force in one go!

Meanwhile, on my end of the table, I also managed to roll for ‘bandits’, and four more Ukrainian troopers emerged from a bush. Bad place for a nap, suka! They made for cover, and I brought up my flamethrower…

“Dude, did someone just throw a friggin bolt at my head?”
Fire. It solves a great many things.

Leaving one Ukrainian trooper alive, he decided to take his chances with the actual Bandits.

“Man, it is not my day!”

The bandits made a cautious move into the building near the BTRs, and I shuffled up to attempt to secure both the leftmost salvage and the centre goodies.

“Wonder whats in here, too bad I forgot my can-opener, ha!”
“Uh oh!”

Nesting inside the hulk of the wrecked BTR were two grotesquely mutated bears! We had custom stated these, tough hide(armor) or simply immune to pain makes this beasts tough to down. But they only have a low combat ability: They have lost some speed and their claws are falling out.

My Shotgun-equipped Stalker managed to survive, and even kill, both bears! I rolled fantastically well! He certainly has a blessed life ahead of him if he keeps this up!

“I will give a Buckshot sandwich, you poor creature!”
Having killed one bear, and surviving a bandits attempt to intervene with an RPG, the Stalker kills the last bear!

Of course, after doing the hard-work, the bandits make their play! However, the Gopnik assigned to loot-stealing fails to open the door!

One of the Gopniks rushes forwards, and attempts to open the back hatch. Failing to do so, my Stalker clambers in the top hatch and secures….old military gear. Wherever the real treasure was, it is gone now…

Unfortunately, the BTR failed to pay off, even with the threat level 3 table, all that was secured was a fair amount of rubles, a scope, and a chest rig.

The Bandits had secured their loot, and now a stand-off threatened to ensue. We all had gotten decent loot, and with my Stalkers and the Irish needing to get off the far board edge, the Bandits formed up in such a way that I had to go through them…

But, the art of the good old bribe was in effect. One of my Stalkers waves the chest rig around in the air, and says “Stupid debils, let us through, and this is all yours. If not, we will fire and you get nothing but bullets!”

The Bandits accepted the trade, and no player vs player combat ensued…this time.

The Bandits, having been mauled by zombies, and now staring down the barrel of a flamethrower with shots left, accept my bribe. The game ends on a whimper, not a bang.

This first outing, with not fully painted forces or terrain, was more to finally get things going; no more waiting! We decided to paint as we go, and while the two other players must make their Cordon crossing, and also get an attempt at the loot, for now, the crews return to their new homes.

The Irish and my Stalkers retire to a rookie village, a safe location. Sharing a drink, they forget that tomorrow they may try to kill each other. For now, singing songs they don’t quite understand, my Stalkers celebrate life, and another day. The Irish ask a few questions…

Tell, me, ‘Comrades’, how does one get to the CNPP? We are in search of certain…things.

Ha! You silly Britisher, the Scorcher will get you first! No one gets past the Array with their mind intact. Those who survive get zombiefied…or worse.

You call me a Britisher one more time, Ruskie, and your going to have a fuckin problem. You got me? What in the fuck is a Scorcher?”

You people call it the Russian Woodpecker, but its known simply here as the Array. The Duga Array. The Soviets claim it was for nuclear weapon warning, but we know better. No one can get to Pripyat now. Its an invisible field, and no-one really wants to test it, you know what I mean.”

We’ve gotten past British blockades in the past, mate. This is just a more…esoteric version. Who do we talk to about a solution, instead of this commie quitter talk you lot keep jabbing on about?”

Your gonna want to talk to the Scientists. But they are a elusive bunch. A few are holed up in another village nearby. Check with them, you stupid Micks.”

Everyone playing is fairly excited now. It is hard to get momentum up when your not playing and a new edition of 40k rears its head. But it won’t take much for my to paint my squad, Kurt(the Bandit player) to paint up his, and for Lucas to get models he feels represents the IRA veterans he wants to play as. But we are now locked in; the shashlik is on the grill!

For myself, I have to knuckle down and get the MDF Russian village I got assembled. We all have to work on monsters! We have purchased Bunker 16 from Black-site Studios, and Kurt is printing it for our escapades underground. 3D printing has opened many doors for us!

But, that is all I have for today. I have some more Royalists, and a neat Armoured Car on the agenda, and will make a post shortly on that! As always, happy war-gaming, where-ever you are. And stay alert…for such is life in the Zone!

2 thoughts on “Zona Alfa: Crossing the Cordon!

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