Quarantine 37 First Impressions: Zombies, Bugs & Solo Play | Stargrave

September 14, 2021 by brennon

Quarantine 37 is the first big expansion for Stargrave by Joseph A. McCullough and will be arriving on tabletops on 16th September 2021. Packed with Plague Zombies, Bugs and rules for Solo Play, it's a great option for those wanting to get more from their Sci-Fi skirmish games.

Quarantine 37 Cover - Stargrave

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So, with the new book coming out this week we thought it would be great to give you some first impressions of the book and what's included within it. Hopefully, it will get you excited to dive in and give this a go with a Stargrave crew of your own.

Hastian's Plague - Infections & Paranoia

At the core of the new book is a new set of rules which govern three campaigns (two competitive and one solo) for introducing not only Plague Zombies into your games but also Bugs! Hastian's Plague, in the world of Stargrave, is one of the most infectious diseases out there and it can run rampant through a crew if you're not careful.

Hastians Plague Art - Stargrave

Well, it turns out through the three campaigns in this book, you end up opening up doors that should have remained firmly closed! When engaging Plague Zombies during your games you will need to be aware of infections. Whenever you take damage from a plagued individual there is a chance that you're going to become infected by their rotten claws, teeth and blood.

Once you've been infected your crew members (in classic Sci-Fi horror movie style) keep it hidden until the next game. At this point, you reveal that one of your crew is infected and your opponent can (once a game) call for a Will Roll to be made. If you fail, the disease has taken hold and your crew member writhes on the floor before turning into a Plague Zombies!

This of course means that infections can spread once more and it might end up biting (hah) your opponent in the arse! Of course, this might not seem "fair" to some people for a crew member to be turned into a Plague Zombie but this is yet another of the elements that reinforce the narrative storytelling elements of Stargrave.

You'll also find optional rules for reanimated corpses too. Just because you plugged that guy in the chest with a laser gun doesn't mean he isn't going to get up and start wandering the facility again!

Don't worry, there is a way of helping out a crew that loses members to infection. You get a bundle of experience and your cap is lifted too. This means that there will be a way for you to pack your crew full of willing vict...err, I mean allies in future games.

"There's Something In The Dark..."

As well as Hastian's Plague, you will also find rules for Bugs in your games of Stargrave. Bringing to mind movies like Aliens and such, Bugs are cunning and tactical unlike the shambling forms of the Plague Zombies.

Alien Bug Art - Stargrave

To add a sense of dread to your encounters with Bugs you replace the miniatures on the map with Pings. When asked to do so, Pings are placed on the map and move around just like other foes. However, when they come into line of sight of a crew member you roll on the table to find out what it could be.

Did the blip just turn out to be nothing; a rodent running through a pipe? Was it actually three Warrior Bugs that let out an ear-piercing scream and charge towards you with maws open!

Both of the campaigns presented in Quarantine 37 give you a storyline to follow where you face down Plague Zombies and Bugs. I wish your crews luck!

New Foes, New Crew

With new enemies for you to face, it makes sense that you'd also have new Captains and Crew to bring to the fore. There are two new Backgrounds for you to choose from with the Aristocrat and the Hunter being introduced into the mix alongside a range of Powers which are applicable to them.

Hunter Art - Stargrave

New Soldiers also find their way into the mix with a couple of thematic options, especially if you like hunting creatures like Bugs. My favourite however has to be the introduction of the Ravaged. The Ravaged represent those who contracted Hastian's Plague but were able to ride out the illness and avoid turning into a terrible undead fiend.

The Ravaged may be ruined shells of their former selves but they still want to find a place within society. They aren't great soldiers or crewmen, at least compared to the existing roster of options, but they come cheap and are grateful for the work.

Whilst they might not be the best tactical choice, I like the narrative you get when looking at the Ravaged. Imagine a Captain who feels sorry for these poor wretches and so has brought many of them onto his crew? I think it would be an interesting hobby project if nothing else!

Scenarios & Solo Play

As mentioned above, Quarantine 37 comes with three new campaigns for you to play through. Much like the campaigns presented in Oathmark, these could be played out separately or as part of an expanded campaign with your group.

Captain Art - Stargrave

Each of the campaigns, The Shuffling Dead and Strike From The Shadows, are broken down into four scenarios which are all linked together as part of a running narrative. Tips and hints have also been added into the mix by McCullough for how this might work with just two players or as multiplayer affairs, as well as steps that you might want to take after you've played them both.

Quarantine 37 also includes ways to build a crew and play games solo. The "rules" take up two pages which is pretty great and beyond that things should be fairly intuitive. You also get another four scenarios to play out by yourself which start off with just some of your crew before slowly introducing you to more and more models (and therefore more complexity).

The addition of solo rules has become more and more of a thing over the last year or so. So, it's great to see the extra effort has been put into Quarantine 37 and Stargrave, in general, to offer this option to players. It also means that it is a lot easier to play games as you only need yourself to have fun!

It should also be noted that this opens the door to cooperative play too (as they mention in the book) and there shouldn't be much needed to tweak things to suit you and a friend. You could control two crews or just one and share the burden of command.

A Good First Expansion?

As well as the scenarios, new rules and more within Quarantine 37, you'll also find a full Bestiary for all of the new foes you're going to be facing and a list of new technology that you can use in-game. With new tech and such, it's well worth looking at the Mules and Q-Bots that are included earlier in the book too. Robots that can carry all your loot are often handy.

Plague Zombie Art - Stargrave

Whilst there are plenty of gubbins, guts, nuts and bolts for you to tinker within in Quarantine 37, it all feels like a nice extension of what already exists in Stargrave. This is a natural next step and it's always fun adding zombies and big nasty space bugs into the mix, right?

I really like this approach of adding new rules and options and then tying them into a group of campaigns and scenarios. Stargrave (and Frostgrave) are inherently storytelling experiences and I like that both the core rules and expansions books are reinforcing that. This is a toolkit with plenty of nice options for players to have fun with.

The real question is, Plague Zombies or Bugs? Which would you love to add to your games of Stargrave first?

"The Ravaged represent those who contracted Hastian's Plague but were able to ride out the illness and avoid turning into a terrible undead fiend..."

"Stargrave (and Frostgrave) are inherently storytelling experiences and I like that both the core rules and expansions books are reinforcing that..."

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