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Tomatoes, killer or otherwise?

Three things came together to produce this scenario. One was seeing this video,

It shows an automaton made by Keith Newstead as a donations box for Occombe Farm in Devon, UK.

The second thing was a memory I have as a boy waiting to get my hair cut in the local barber’s shop. All the men were talking and they were discussing gardening and growing tomatoes. Anyway one chap commented his seedlings had just died on him and he couldn’t find any more. Up pipes another chap, “Oh, I’ve got plenty, you can have as many as your like for six pence apiece.”
So the deal was done. It was later the barber explained to those left in his shop that the chap making money from his tomato seedlings worked in the local sewage farm. You get a lot of tomato seedlings in sewage farms. Tomatoes are interesting in that they are meant to be eaten, the seeds pass right through you undamaged and when they leave, they take a good dollop of fertiliser with them. It’s an interesting evolutionary strategy.

Indeed back in 1999 the UK had a GM crops leak, when staff working for Zeneca Plant Science ate GM tomatoes and of course the seeds had ‘escaped to the wild.’

So then the third thing came along. Iliada Game Studio produced their water treatment set!

Think about it, pretty well every town and city will have something like this. You find them tucked away in the countryside as well, because the sewage has been piped well away from town. It’s an almost ubiquitous terrain piece.

So when the memories came flooding back, I decided there was a scenario here for Hell and Uncivil Disorder. So that’s what we’ve got.

I’ve set the scenario in 6mm for two reasons, one is that the water treatment works are in that scale, but also because people may not have the appropriate figures and in 6mm you can often get away with something ‘more generic’. Still with Hell and Uncivil Disorder you can fight it out in any scale you like. I’m sure Iliada Game Studio will be happy to cut you a treatment plant in 28mm or even 54mm.  

The Background

 ACME Plant Sciences has a problem. They have produced a tomato which synthesises a powerful narcotic, storing them in the leaves and stem rather than the fruit. All the company has to do is harvest the crop (without the actual tomatoes) and process this to extract and purify the drug for medicinal use. It’ll cut costs by an order of magnitude if not more, and experimental work shows that this new tomato will be easily modified to produce other drugs.

Unfortunately they have just realised that their staff have been eating the ripe tomatoes (on the grounds that it seemed such a waste just to bin them) and the company has just realised that ‘their’ tomato is out there in ‘the wild’ or at least in the municipal water treatment works.

Unfortunately their investigators have been clumsy and have alerted several other bodies to the problem.

The Protagonists.

ACME Plant Sciences

ACME Plant Sciences has organised a corporate security detail and a group of researchers to pick all the tomato seedlings at the treatment works.

Lab technicians

Ideally this would be a bunch in white coats. Unarmed, they arrive in a minibus and they count as thugs.

Lab technicians

  • Sullen.   Firepower 0, Morale 3, Survival 5
  • Truculent.  Firepower 2, Morale 5, Survival 4
  • Psychotic.  Firepower 0, Morale 6, Survival 3

Firepower is their willingness to pick tomato seedlings. If they’re sullen with firepower zero, they cower in cover. If they’re truculent with firepower 2 they pick seedlings. If they’re psychotic with firepower 2 they don’t pick seedlings because they’re too busy shouting insults and making rude gestures at anybody they regard as the opposition.

Corporate Security Detail

There are two bunches of these. They arrive in two trucks/minibuses, escorting the researchers. The plan is that they will secure the perimeter whilst the researchers do the picking. Because they are supposed to look vaguely non-threatening, they have carbines and similar which are almost concealed.

These count as riflemen

  • Sullen.   Firepower 4, Morale 5, Survival 7
  • Truculent.  Firepower 8, Morale 7, Survival 6
  • Psychotic.  Firepower 4, Morale 6, Survival 5

B.I.G. Group.

These are another plant sciences company, and the minute they heard about the leak, it struck them that this was the obvious chance to pick up some cheap technology.

They too have sent two bunches of corporate security and a bunch of white coated lab technicians to pick tomato seedlings.

They are the same as the Acme contingent. Including carbines.

Evil Eddy

A gangster and aspiring criminal crime lord, Evil Eddy heard the word ‘narcotics’ and immediately spotted an amazing commercial opportunity. Before his informant had finished telling him the news, Eddy had men into fast cars and was heading for the treatment plant. He only has two bunches, both gunmen. Eddy has no time for demarcation, if you cannot fire a carbine with one hand and pick tomato seedlings with the other, there’s no place for you in a cutting edge criminal organisation.

So two bunches of Gunman.


  • Sullen.   Firepower 3, Morale 4, Survival 6
  • Truculent.  Firepower 5, Morale 6, Survival 5
  • Psychotic.  Firepower 4, Morale 5, Survival 4

Mad Dog Jackson

A veteran from some conflict that we weren’t involved in, honest, and didn’t get much news coverage, Mad Dog moved into narcotics. He recruits his followers from the veterans of similar wars, and out of habit, they continue to carry proper full power military rifles.

His men count as riflemen but he only has one bunch with infantry long firearms.

He has another bunch of pickers who work on his various ‘plantations’. These are also armed with carbines. When truculent they can either fire or pick but not both.


  • Sullen.   Firepower 4, Morale 5, Survival 7
  • Truculent.  Firepower 8, Morale 7, Survival 6
  • Psychotic.  Firepower 4, Morale 6, Survival 5


•  Sullen.   Firepower 0, Morale 3, Survival 5

•  Truculent.  Firepower 2, Morale 5, Survival 4

•  Psychotic.  Firepower 0, Morale 6, Survival 3


Citizens Advocating Legal Medication is a lobby group which has campaigned for the legalising of currently illegal drugs. Their leader, and demagogue, Tarquin Cholmondeley has sprung into action and is whipping up the masses on social media. He arrives with mob containing a dozen bunches of rioters. Every move toss a coin, on heads, more rioters arrive at a randomly chosen table edge to join him. Then roll a d20, this is the number of bases this new mob has. His aim is to take control of the treatment plant and pick the tomatoes, thus they can be released properly into the wild for the benefit of everybody.


One of the leading environmental organisations, Greenwash is utterly opposed to genetic modification. So their leader, and demagogue, Stephanie Stitchwort is whipping up the masses on social media.

She arrives with mob containing a dozen bunches of rioters. Every move toss a coin, tails (so she can share the same coin toss as Tarquin) and more rioters arrive at a randomly chosen table edge to join her. Then roll a d20, this is the number of bases this mob has. Her aim is to take control of the treatment plant and destroy all the tomatoes, thus saving the world.

The Proper Authorities.

The police are monitoring the situation. Their first thought, which was to just call in the military to ‘assist the civil power,’ had to be put on hold when the various peaceful unarmed protestors (rioting mob) appeared. They have finally decided to wait for the media footage and just arrest people later.

The Media

Nobody can call in support, but there will be media. A media team will appear at randomly chosen base edge on move 2 and will try to interview the nearest bunch to them. From then on their movements will be determined by the media rules.

If they get bored and leave or get shot up, then another media team will appear at random. Indeed whilst there’s only one media team on the table, toss a coin and a second team will appear on heads.

The Terrain

Place the water treatment plant in the middle of the table. Ideally it’ll have a fence around it with only one gate but I think you can assume every bunch has wire cutters.

The treatment plant can be surrounded by abandoned factories, goods yards, fields and hedges, indeed pretty much anything you want other than domestic housing. Put on plenty of terrain.

Playing the game.

Obviously you can hand out one of the protagonists to each player, and have them all arrive at random (but not too close) on the base edges. ACME arrive on move 1, all the others on move 3.

Alternatively it should be possible to play it solo. Whilst Hell and Uncivil Disorder doesn’t formally have solo rules, command and control break down reasonably quickly anyway. When you’re not entirely sure what your own forces are going to do, it seems a bit precious to worry that you might be controlling the opposition in your favour.

But there are a couple of rules of thumb that you can follow.

Firstly, a protagonist will move, if possible, towards the treatment plant. If morale or weight of fire causes them to halt, they’ll halt, but once they can advance, they will.

Secondly some participants are not over fond of other participants. 

  • So B.I,G. and ACME will tend to regard driving off the other as a priority.
  • Similarly Evil Eddie and Mad Dog Jackson both despise each other and the chance to take the other one out will be seized enthusiastically.
  • Similarly Stephanie Stitchwort and Tarquin Cholmondeley regard each other as ‘sell outs’ and will lead their mob to attack the other party.

Picking the Tomatoes

Mentally divide the treatment plant into sectors. About ten seems right. When figures move into that sector, roll a 2d6. That’s how many moves it will take one figure to pick all the plants. So obviously more figures can do it more quickly, but not if they’re engaged in a firefight or cowering in what passes for soft warm cover


Depending on who you are you win by either

  • Getting your pickers, with the plants, off the table (So you can hijack other pickers and steal their plants.)


  • Destroying the plants and making sure none get off the table.


In case you don’t know them, Hell and Uncivil Disorder are available from Wargame Vault as a pdf

And from Amazon in paperback or on Kindle


4 thoughts on “Tomatoes, killer or otherwise?

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