Zona Alfa is a strategic, quick-play skirmish where your crew, be they mercenaries, bandits, or military, must explore and fight to survive in a post-apocalyptic future. Taking cues from the classic Stugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, Garland’s Annihilation, and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series, your objective is to secure artifacts hidden inside the Exclusion Zone. Fighting off rival stalker crews, bandits, mutants and the dangers of the zone itself makes this easier said than done! The rules are by Patrick Todoroff and published by Osprey Wargames.
Last year, a mate requested some 15mm terrain to fit into that universe. While these kits are still under development, you can preview some of what’s to come in this blog post. With value in mind, these kits will be flexible, and suitable for cold war games, such as Team Yankee.
Stalkers observe a snork, zombie and bloodsucker on the prowl.
What's the game like?
Picking up a copy of the rule book, you’ll find Zona Alfa easy to learn and quickly play with your miniatures for skirmish matches. Our local gaming group usually play 28mm wargames, so in February I whipped up some MDF signs for us to use for Zona Alfa. The game was quick to pick up with the rulebook and the terrain setup really put us into the post-apocalyptic environment of Chernobyl and Pripyat where the game is located.
I had my first game with my brother recently, after a friend gave us a quick rundown. He had tried it the week before and enjoyed the game but noted that it seems better for narrative campaigns than pick-up games (why are we even fighting here?).
Painted stalkers so far - a mix of Infinity, Delta One Zero and STLs
My crew of stalkers managed to nab the objective in the second example mission in the rulebook - Walk in the Chernya Woods. A couple of my crew were shot and wounded by my brother’s thugs for an amazing…$400. Yay. So yeah, I’m inclined to agree with my mate that a campaign is the way to play. There are different ways you could set up the campaign objectives, such as saving up 10,000 Zone Scripts to fund your crews retirement. I look forward to fitting in some more games after this terrain launch is done.
The game mechanics themselves use alternate activation. Cover is cumulative, so the more terrain pieces between your Stalker and the NPC bloodsucker, the harder it is to hit. It uses D10 dice, which I’m a big fan of over D6. Love that granularity! But don’t worry, the game as mentioned before is really simple and quick to pick up. If you’re interested in more info check out the author’s blog.
Zona Alfa Terrain Design
Inspiration came from the photographs in Darmon Richter’s Chernobyl: A Stalkers Guide, recounting experiences as a tour guide in the Zone. I came across the Chernobyl city welcome sign - Not as sleek and modernist as the famous Pripyat sign you have probably seen before, but still very Soviet and graphic.
I also saw a lesser-known Pripyat sign (at least in the tabletop wargaming world) - located in a secondary route to the city, graffitied in the Ukrainian flag colours.
Ukraine FundraiserDue to the invasion of Ukraine, 100% of the profits from the Zona Alfa - Chernobyl / Pripyat City Sign Terrain will be donated to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal (approx $18 a kit). The Red Cross is a non-denominational organisation providing international support, with proceeds to go to providing shelter and humanitarian aid to those displaced through giving food, water, and medical support. There are currently severe shortages of water and destroyed pipelines that provide for over 1 million people.
You can read more below.
Please note kits will be shipped from the 23rd of March.
Other AccessoriesThe Zona Alfa Collection features some new kits, tokens and a bundle to help you get started if you want to try out the game.