I have some weird ideas for wargames, and while most can be somewhat surreal at times, there are some that really stick in my head. A lot of these would be ideal games for conventions as they aren’t really ideas you’d use in a campaign over the course of a few sessions. These would prove to be a great laugh and fun games, and just maybe it might inspire someone to have a go…
First one of these I’d throw out there is Zombies on the buses. For those of you who are outside the UK, On the Buses was a popular comedy prog back in the 60’s & 70’s, featuring a randy bus driver (Stan Butler) and his pervy mate (Jack) who worked on the buses. They were always getting up to no good and stalked by their inspector (Blakey) in the hope he would catch them and they would get fired (His catchphrase was ” I hate you Butler!”) Supplemented by the additions of his Old mum, Stan’s thick as a plank sister, Olive, and her husband Arthur, the series ran for years on British TV for years and even had a trio of full length movies. Check out Youtube if your interest has piqued if that sound appealing, there are tons of episodes on there if you wanna have a watch, but I want to focus on exactly why I’d run a game or too in this TV miniverse…
Zombies are quite comedic as much as they are both tragic and horrific, in a wargaming situation I don’t think tragedy and fear even apply (like who is going to be scared of tiny little miniatures?) it’s not as if your watching a movie, or even an RPG, so the only aspect left is that of fun. Funny zombies, randy busmen, dolly birds and a disfunctional family must equal immense wargaming fun in my books! Still not convinced? Nope, I didn’t think for a minute you were! But I’m going to tell you how I’d do it anyway!
WHAT I’D NEED TO RUN IT:
As far as I can see, I’d need to gather the following stuff to get this sorted:
- A zombie ruleset
- A 15mm scaled double decker bus (Luxton and district of course!)
- 15mm zombie miniatures
- Miniatures of Stan, Jack, Blakey, Mrs Butler, Olive and Arthur and some suitable “dolly birds”
- Suitable town terrain
The rules aren’t important, you could use any zombie wargaming ruleset you like, my preference is USE ME ZOMBIE DAWN, but there are loads of decent ones out there.
Ok, this takes a little more consideration. Zombies are just the same as in any other zombie game, in terms of how they should be treated rule wise, we’ll talk about that in a bit. For me at least, I wouldn’t need to worry, I have shitloads of the little bleeders, well enough to scupper Stan and jacks plans. HO cheap figures make up the bulk of my horde and can be quickly painted and converted for the job, if your short of having epic zombie hordes.
Next up on the list would be proxies for the cast, Stan, Jack, Blakey, Mum, Olive, Arthur and some 70’s style buxom wenches. My thoughts would be that rather than the usual metal minis, More HO plastic railway figures might be more in order. Uniformed bus staff could be done easily by using railway staff, since at the 15mm or so scale, wouldn’t be much different in style, such as these:
I rather like the figure in this set with the overcoat, a quick repaint to black coat and a hitler tashe, and he’d make a good Blakey!
Mum, Olive and Arthur could be easily be found in the same way, all you need is an old lady, a balding man and an overweight bespectacled woman. Olive and Arthur could even be proxied using a 50’s -60’s style motor cyclist with a sidecar, maybe if both options were obtained, this might even be an objective in game. This set would suit, a quick touch up of adding a bald patch on the second figure in the line up would match close enough for arthur.
Olive and Arthur might have the opportunity to escape the hordes by getting to their bike and getting away…possibly!
Strangely, for the dollybirds (or 70’s carry on type un PC portrayals of women) I’m quite surprised at the options for these. Obviously they would suffice with the cheapo swimsuit models found in the bags of mixed passengers, but there are even more risque types out there, right up to XXX rated stuff (which would be well over the top) I’m pretty shocked that these actually exist! Why would you need these on your model railway? Sure, I get there will be some who want to get right into detail inside some buildings and such, but these? Model railway enthusiasts really do need to get out more!
Or a set of hookers, more useful for setting up urban rundown modern Grand Theft Auto type stuff, but model railways?
These seem more fitting, even so a couple of them are more on the porno side, which isn’t what we are looking for. Hell! I want on the Buses style, not Banging on the Buses!! This set entitled “Sexy ladies”
The only drawback with this method of proxies instead of figures, is that it’s rather expensive an option. With sets of these figures coming in at about £10+ each, I’d need to get at least 2-3 sets to get enough proxies. Quite an outlay for a fun one off game…
CATCHING THE BUS!
Another potential top spend might be a decent double decker bus in a suitable scale. From what I’ve noticed a lot are 1/87 in scale so not that far from 15mm (well 18mm-ish) The good thing is, I’d only need one for the game, but the good ones seem to be quite sought after and a tad costly, However it seems the bog standard two storey bus in a similar style to the ones in the programmes comes to under a tenner, so thats ok!
If you wargame a modern setting already (as I do) the scenery you have will do just fine, just keep out the ultra modern stuff to stay real to the original. Of course your going to need a load of cars to populate the roads and block access so the players just don’t fuck off the board within a turn or so, throw in a few trucks and the usual bits of debris of the urban board as normal and that should be it I reckon. If you don’t have the terrain, try using the many free paper models out there (Check out the links in the resources section of this site for many links to free urban buildings and roads, print, assemble and go!) Cars and trucks are easily sourced from toy cars and such quite cheap if your a skinflint like me! (check ebay, carboot/garage sales, charity/thrift shops etc)
IDEAS FOR THE GAME
I think my main idea for the aim of the game would be a combination of the following points:
- Stan, Jack and Blakey would get objectives for rescuing stranded dolly birds, Mum, Olive, Arthur from the zombie hordes around the board and eventually escaping on the bus.
- In addition, Olive and arthur might have to escape using their knackered old bike
- Zombies would need to be old style shamblers, not new hyper rager types (a la 28 days later/WWZ and so on)
- The Bus might need maintainance to get it started
- Zombies might get on board the bus, thus combat could ensue comedy style
- Blakey might start the game already as an undead, even a powerful one compared to the mindless masses (I ate you butler!!)
- Strangely, Stan’s usual bus route is the cemetary gates, so it makes sense that the game might start here…
TO SUM UP
Well, thats how I’d do it, the question is, will I do it? I really couldn’t tell you. If I ever get all the rest of the bits together I might eventually, you know how it is. Trouble is, there are just too many shiny things to collect! Even with my lead pile sky high, I think I’ll always find more and more metal and plastic goodies to fuel my miniature obsession!
I’ll leave you with an episode of the classic show to hopefully enjoy, and I’ll be back soon with some more miniature related ideas for games that nobody will probably ever get sorted!
See you on the buses….