Germy's Combat Zone Chronicle (part 1)

Welcome to part 1 of my Combat Zone project. I wanted to start a gaming project where I stood a good chance of learning the rules, paint the miniatures, make the scenery and get a game in. All within a matter of weeks rather than months or even years! I have far too many unfinished projects at the moment and the whole thing was killing any enthusiasm for the hobby. To help it along I'm going to set myself a deadline of playing the game down my club on the 14th August (this year!) and I'm also going to document everything. So here goes ...

Why Combat Zone?

There are a number of sci-fi games on the market, there are some free ones as well. Some are good, some are not so good. But I knew of Combat Zone from being a regular customer of Em4 Miniatures. Everytime I visited their online store I kept seeing it advertised. So I did a bit of research and found the Combat Zone Chronicles page and discovered a couple of people who had played the game on various hobby forums. This gave me enough info to decide to make a project out of it. I also needed a game that could be easily transported and didn't take up much space. The rules themselves can be bought in a number of packages. The Combat Ready version comes with the rule books, dice and two sets of ready painted miniatures. The Combat Zone boxed set comes with some unpainted plastic troopers, gangers and robots instead of the pre-painted miniatures. However despite these sets being good value for money I just went for the rules. The rules set (including templates) cost me £7.00.

One of the main aspects to this project was to do it on the cheap. I'm a bit skint at the moment and just don't have the money to buy lots of nicely painted scenery and anyway like most gamers I have a horde of odds and ends sitting around gathering dust (clearly I had some money in the distant past!) So I decided I would do a lot of the work myself. I started to gather up all of the items I thought I would need. For the scenery I choose to build it all using the left over bits of my Yoga foam block (long story see here) and to mount it all on old CD's. The other materials I already owned, gaming mat, glue gun, paints, flock etc. Although again to keep it cheap the first thing I bought after the rules were some tester paint pots from Homebase. Knowing I would have a lot of scenery to paint I didn't want to use my more expensive Coat d'arms paints. The tester pots in Homebase were £1.50 each for 75ml compared to £1.70 per 18ml Coat d'arms pot. Once I had gathered up all of the bits I would need I turned to what figures to use for the game.

The Miniatures

Em4 Miniatures sell a number of the old Grenadier figures along with some cheap plastic troopers. They also sell some nice sets of pre-painted miniatures. Again to keep the cost down I went for the plastic troopers. I already had a number of alien looking miniatures to go against the troopers so splashed out and bought a basic set of plastic troopers, the heavy weapons and command conversion kit. The latter two being metal parts to add to the plastic troopers (I'll do a proper review of the miniatures in the future). This would give me potentially 15 troopers which would be more than enough for the game.

The alien miiatures I already had were from the Heroscape game. I've never played Heroscape but a few years ago Argos (store name in the UK) sold off the Heroscape basic set for a quarter of its normal retail value. So at the time I bought five sets! Originally I wanted them for the hex terrain but never got round to using it (remember those projects I spoke of). A lot of the Heroscape miniatures aren't that well sculpted (or painted) but I quite liked these aliens. They are called the Marro and you got five in each set. So I ended up with 25 of them. So they would also save me some cash. Of course I'm going to re-paint and base them. I might even try a few conversions.

Making terrain for the game was probably going to be the most time consuming. Combat Zone struck me as the sort of game they would work better with lots of terrain. But as previously mentioned I needed something easily transported and stored. So I decided on building ruins and sticking them to old CD's. I'd probably have to build some other types of obstacles to make sure the battlefield was suitably dressed. So task number one was to build the scenery, you can see how I did that here.