Sunday, 24 December 2017

ATZ – Reaction Tests Made Easy

Perhaps the biggest thing to get your head around when first playing Two Hour Wargames games, such as All Things Zombie, are the reaction tests.
And I must admit when I first starting playing ATZ the reaction tests and knowing when to use them was pretty confusing. But after I’d been playing for a while I started to see a pattern and it became easy peasy.
You see I’m not exactly the worlds smartest man but I am good at breaking things down and thinking about ways to make life simpler, easier, faster.
So I figured I’d write a short post to explain how I remember it.
Firstly, when Ed describes the turn sequence in the introduction to the rules he talks a fair bit about how these rules are different to a traditional IGO UGO rules because he’s invented the THW Reaction System. And whilst that’s all good and correct, the description is, for the new player, in my opinion, a little daunting.
The reality is that it isn’t that hard folks, you’ve just got to think about things a little differently.
So let’s address that in two parts shall we, the activation system and the reaction system.
Activation System
The activation system, whilst innovative in its mechanic, isn’t super different in the outcomes generated to other games which have a system which randomises who goes next if you get to go at all. Possibly the best analogy here is the card based activation system used by many systems including, for example, Too Fat Lardies.
The main difference is, again in my opinion, that the Two Hour Wargame system is simpler.  By just by using a couple of die and the Rep of the main protagonists rather than a series of different cards it’s pretty easy to work out who has activated first and who hasn’t activated.
Ok, ok DEW you’ve just handled the easy stuff so far. How about the reaction tests? They’re the difficult ones to get your head around. Righteo let’s handle them next.
Reaction Tests
They are not really that difficult. If you just think about all the different things that can happen to you in a combat situation and how you’d REACT to them then you’ve pretty much mastered the concept.
With the exception of the In Sight and Recover from Knock Down tests, the majority of the others are morale tests of one type or another. And so really the biggest difference is that you take them straight away rather than taking them at the end of the turn, like you would in 40k.
Even the In Sight test is mostly about is working how who shots first and the Recover from Knock Down is really just about working out if you are heavily or lightly wounded when you’ve been hurt.
For example:
1.     Come around a corner and run into and enemy. Don’t sit there wondering who should shoot first. Take the In Sight reaction test.
2.    Get shot at. What do you do, well you take a Received Fire reaction test.
3.    See one of your mates get shot up or stabbed. Yeah that’s not good is it. Do you man up or chicken out. Find out by taking a Man Down reaction test.
4.    You get shot but aren’t killed. Are you heavily wounded or is it just a scratch? Find out by taking a Recover from Knock Down reaction.
5.    Previously chickened out by having effectively failed a prior morale test. Have you recovered your nerve yet? Take a Recover From Duck Back reaction test.
6.    Never seen a zombie before and suddenly one just lunges at you, take a Zed Or No Zed reaction test to find out how you handle the situation.
7.    Seeing the undead feasting on a dude for the first time. Yup that’s a little unsettling isn’t it. Take a See The Feast reaction test to see if you just freeze or if you’re a man of action.
Because All Things Zombie makes you take these tests at the time that they happen, the game is more dynamic and you have less control than in a standard IGO UGO.
And I think, that is part of the beauty of the system.


  1. Very nicely explained Tim, and I totally agree that the "Reaction System" IS the gem in the crown for THW rules - even the PEF (Possible Enemy Force) mechanic is effectively an extension of the Reaction System, and adds to the game's dynamic, keeping you on your toes, and enhancing the games AI for solo or co-operative play!
    Merry Christmas my friend, and if you've been as 'good' as your blog posts, I'm sure Santa will have some goodies in his sack for you tonight! :-)

    1. Hahaha 'good', yes. Thanks and merry Christmas to you too Greg. It's been a great year. It's been great watching your posts too. Great inspiration. Next year should be another cracker too mate.

  2. A very clear and concise explanation on how activation and reaction tests work in the THW games. They are certainly one of the things I love about ATZ.

    I wish you all the very best for Christmas. I have certainly enjoyed reading your blogs this year and participating in your Pathfinder campaign was a real treat for me.

    1. Hi Bryan. Yeah thanks mate. Merry Christmas to you and your mum. Hope you get lots of good pressies.

      Sorry I couldn't keep the old Pathfinder campaign going. I think I learnt a lesson in biting off more than I could chew. Which, by the way, doesn't seem to be an issue for a zombie.

  3. Very well explained, but you omitted the "Charge into Melee" test, which I loved in ATZ, leaving you less control over your party (other than 'yourself'. In the latest incarnation of ATZ (FFO) you can never really 'fail' a "Charge into Melee" test, your cahps will always end in melee no matter what the odds! - Bit strange imo.

    1. Hi Joe. Yes perhaps you are right. I always look at the charge into melee test as more an active thing, like moving or shooting, rather than a reactive thing but I can definitely see what you are saying.

      I must admit when FFO first came out I was super confused between the two editions. There were a fair few changes, most of which I agreed with but not necessarily all.

      But fast forward a few years and they are all resolved in my head and I'm pretty happy to just focus on the one set.

      Have a merry Christmas Joe. Been great reading your blog during the year mate.

  4. Merry Christmas Sir. I enjoyed reading your blog. I find it exciting and interesting to read. Take care and don't over

    1. Thanks Gary. I hope you had a good Christmas and new year too mate

  5. Nicely done. I have a questions, can you email me? Thanks,