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Co-op / Not so much game idea

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JamJam52
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Just had an idea for a co-op game, which turns into a vs game.

Current idea for theme; space zombies/aliens. Everyone is stuck on a ship and trying to work together to escape. If (probably more like when) a player dies they become zombie/alien and their aim changes to trying to turn the other players.

Anyone heard of a game like this? Or anything similar?

I was thinking it would be an almost desert island like puzzle set up where you're trying to fix systems with limited resources/moves and some kind of 'push your luck' mechanic where the more noise you make the more likley something bad will happen.

Any thoughts or ideas?!

Fri
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Betrayal at House on the Hill

Sounds fairly similar to Betrayal at House on the Hill

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/10547/betrayal-house-hill

JamJam52
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Thanks fri, I had heard about

Thanks fri, I had heard about that game but have not played it. Just had a quick look at the mechanics and review, seems quite divisive on whether people liked it or not! I will have to give it a go sometime.

questccg
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The Captain is Dead

Another game designed by J.T. Smith owner of "The Game Crafter" (TGC) is called "The Captain is Dead". Here is the link:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/the-captain-is-dead

It's not about "Zombies" but more about Aliens invading your starship after some kind of disaster and the "captain is dead".

Anyways it sounds VERY similar to your game idea with the exception of the missing "Zombies"...

I would check it out - I'm sure there are videos with preview of the game and how it plays.

Cheers!

Update: There is even a EXPANSION for the game too:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/the-captain-is-dead-adrift

I don't know how the two (2) games "merge/combine" but I think you need to buy the BASE game first and add the EXPANSION to it... So once you have beaten the "core" game, maybe then you can go for more challenge with the expansion. Keeps the replayability of the game very high...

JamJam52
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The Captain is dead sounds

The Captain is dead sounds amazing! Thanks, definitely need to try that game. Ok so how about a less specific question...anyone know any other games where you all start out on the same side and its possible to change to a different goal or against each other. Betrayal does have one player doing that but it sounds like its totally random as to who, I was thinking it would be more in reaction to the game.

AlexanderVanhulsel
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Potential obstacle

Hi!
Sounds like a very cool idea. I fooled around with a similar idea for a while, but ultimately abandoned it. I found it very difficult making sure players don't deliberately planning to die on an opportune moment in order to win the game as a zombie. You should make your game as such that players really have an incentive not to die at first. For example, I would love to sacrifice myself as a player in a small room to a horde of zombies, to be able to quickly eat all my friends afterwards :)

Betrayal: House on the hill solves this by having so many scenarios the players don't really know what will happen when. But that is a LOT of work :)

JamJam52
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Hi Alaxander, that's a very

Hi Alaxander, that's a very valid point! I was thinking about that but I don't like the idea of making it completely random. hmm something to noodle on.

Fri
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Thoughts on Betrayl

Since, I've played Betrayal probably a dozen times I'll share my thoughts. The nature of Betrayal can put the game in a lot of different states when the haunts begins. (The haunt is when one of the player becomes the bad-guy.) Some of these are imbalanced to one side or the other. There are also haunts in which your character can be killed basically at random. I find that these to be exception rather than the rule. But they are common enough that I have found gamers that that have played it two or three times and always run into these scenarios. IMO that you see a diversity in reviews.

FrankM
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Just a thought

I haven't played The Captain Is Dead, but one way to dis-incentivize a player trying to spring a Zombie Ambush is to significantly weaken the zombie's offensive abilities at first.

But only the offensive ability. You don't want to incentivize getting your friend killed just so you can immediately kill him or her a second time for the co-op win.

Actually, would the game end upon killing the player zombie, or just continue until the co-op team achieves a goal? On the flipside, it's plausible that more than one player character could turn zombie. Co-op goal for the zombies: convert all players.

questccg
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Good idea!

FrankM wrote:
I...but one way to dis-incentivize a player trying to spring a Zombie Ambush is to significantly weaken the zombie's offensive abilities at first.

Yeah like the Zombie is "recovering" from the wounds that killed him the first place. So his capability to ATTACK starts off at zero (0) and each turn goes up to a "maximum"...

That also allows you to introduce "Instant" cards which can LATER affect a Zombies "offensive capabilities" such as a -1 Holy Water or -2 Sacred Crucifix, etc.

FrankM
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Affecting the zombies

questccg wrote:
That also allows you to introduce "Instant" cards which can LATER affect a Zombies "offensive capabilities" such as a -1 Holy Water or -2 Sacred Crucifix, etc.

Zombies, not vampires :)

questccg
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Hmm... Gotcha

Doesn't that sh!t work against the undead too??? Otherwise something more like "Broken Arm", "Severed Leg", etc... Which could also dramatically affect a ZOMBIE'S capability to "attack"... LOL Hehehe.

FrankM
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Depends on the type of undead

questccg wrote:
Doesn't that sh!t work against the undead too??? Otherwise something more like "Broken Arm", "Severed Leg", etc... Which could also dramatically affect a ZOMBIE'S capability to "attack"... LOL Hehehe.

If these were zombies raised by a lich or a necromancer, sure holy stuff would help. But most modern zombie movies (of which I have watched precisely zero) have some kind of science-y origin such as a virus or alien parasite.

The nice thing about science-y zombies is they can have whatever bizarre weakness you want them to. Hell, it could even be randomly drawn each game to force players to learn their traits. One game they are repelled by high-pitched sound, in another they get paralyzed by mild shocks, in a third they tend to lose limbs easily, etc.

Corsaire
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Dark Moon

Dark Moon https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/111124/dark-moon doesn't have board movement, but has the same story construct. It is an isolated space location with systems failing and hidden infected betrayers trying to undermine the system.

It would be interesting to see that theme played as more of a tense romp.

Fri
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How to make human not want to become zombies/Other THoughts

To make players not want to become zombies you can carefully manipulate the power levels of each group throughout the game. The easiest to conceptualize this is as a graph. The x axis would represent time and the y axis represents power. The zombies power would start as a bell curve shape that levels into a flat line at what would be the apex of the bell. The humans power would be a two lines. The first human power line would start at the lower left corner of the graph, but slightly above the zombie power line (time=0, power=1) and goes towards what would be the apex of the bell curve. The second one would be the same as the zombies. The area before the intersection of the power lines would cover like 50-80% of length of the graph. This power level scheme or something similar should act to discourage players from purposely becoming zombies.

In fact, this power level scheme is intended to have several effects on game play. For the first 50-80% of the humans can defeat the zombie faction. The idea is that during the this time no-one will want to switch to the losing side. Of course you can't make it too easy either or players will get bored. You can also give them other things to do during this time. (Like gather items or fortify a base) Hopefully after this stage players will continue to want to be on the team. The stage when the zombie power is the same the human power would be the time where humans can potentially be changed into to zombies. This stage of the game would hopefully be really tense and the outcome is unknown. The zombie's power level may also have to go a little higher that the humans for a while so that they can make up for the imbalance in the first stage of the game. These effects based on this power level scheme should help you make the game you want.

To discourage players from becoming zombies you could have players have interesting abilities and/or items that they do not get to use if they are zombies. (We will say that zombies don't have enough dexterity to use fire arms)

Also to discourage players from becoming zombies you could some how make it risky to do so. Not really sure what the best way to do this is. The first thought is that players would loose a turn for zombifaction to take place and the humans could potentially win during that time. However, that would make for really lousy game play. Maybe that player would receive double damage on their next turn. Maybe they have all of the detriments of zombies and humans on their next turn. You could ask for additional suggestions as well.

Other thoughts:

If you want more zombicide and less story you can just give the humans abilities, items, fortifications and perhaps even a base and have them start killing zombies immediately. This would essentially skip to the humans and zombies have the same power stage.

At the start of the game zombies are NPCs. If someone get turns into zombie that means that zombies are doing fairly well. The zombified human player is probably a better strategos than a NPC, so now the zombies are at even more of an advantage. I sure you already have a plan to mitigate this.

Some thing that you may consider is that the humans could be waiting on a rescue party. As the rescue part gets closer they can also start killing zombies that they encounter. ( My original thoughts on this were that zombie power should be a bell curve. This would be a way to implement that) If the rescue party reaching the base would be the end of the game.

You could also build a game out of being the rescuers.

Also thought you could have a dose of an antidote that you could turn player back into a human. If you really like this idea the humans could alternatively use the dose of antidote to change a random zombie back to human and they would gain a companion that would grant the group some type of bonus. (This could work as a expansion or stretch goal also.) (It could also help with a single player mode.)

JamJam52
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Wow loads of great ideas!!

Wow loads of great ideas!! :)

Just looked into dark moon, seems really cool (hope my local cafe has it!)

I've been thinking about it a bit more, It's possibly going away from a co-op feel too much from the original idea but In order to stop players 'losing' intentionally in order to move to the 'winning' side perhaps the game isn't won (or lost) due to what team 'wins' thats just how the game ends. Thoughts?

JamJam52
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new thoughts

Ok so I've been thinking about this zombie co-op which turns into vs game idea and I had a thought. I'm thinking it will be a kind of a deck builder but instead of building a deck you draw randomly from you build a hand you can use in different ways (I have an idea of how that might work).

So as a disincentive players from loosing to swap sides when you become infected you lose the hand you have built and gain some simple 'zombie' moves. This way tho some people might still intentionally lose you will lose cards you have built up during the game. Thoughts?

Corsaire
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Sounds tricky, becase you

Sounds tricky, becase you don't want to devalue the converted player's game experience.

As a hand builder, you could test for conversion when a player resets their hand. Then a player could be infected and have a personal mini game of trying to fluff their hand which could tip other players. Maybe they get a standard zombie hand on reset, but can retain one card from their original set. That would make a push pull where pre-infection everyone is competing for the stronger cards, but there is also an interest in fluffing the deck too?

JamJam52
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That is a good point, I do

That is a good point, I do want players to not want to get infected but I still want them to have a good time! I did have some ideas on this, let m know what you think:

I was thinking that the infected players play mechanics would be different, i have an idea for a 'push your luck' system to program the 'zombie' moves, so while the game is playing their moves are triggered (various different things can happen; extra moves, spawning ect) if a player becomes a zombie whenever the zombie moves are triggered instead of the zombies simply moving closer to the active player, or spawning randomly the infected player/s can move them with intent and specify spawning points, on top of this they would have some cards they can play instead of the revealed zombie move. I haven't figured out how they would gain more.

As an aside thematically the zombie/aliens are going to have a hive mind so even if the infected players token dies they are still playing as the remaining zombies.

Fri
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Thoughts

If you wanted to go with zombies loose most of their items as Corsaire suggested, you could introduce a stat that is the number of items a character can carry (@Anyone feel free to provide a succinct name for this stat). This stat would be one for zombies.

An alternative point of view is that zombies get to keep there cards but had limited ability to play them. I came up couple possible ways to implement this. One way to do this is to have each card would require action points to play. Zombies would only get a limited number of action points. Another way would be to split the card horizontally. One half would be what a human can do with a thing and the other would be what a zombie could do. (Example rifle; Humans:do X damage to a zombie. Zombies:use as club +1 to Melee attack). If these ideas are not very useful for any reason feel free to disregard them. (I worry that the first one is not worth its complexity and the second one there are not enough items that zombies could use uniquely.)

Good idea about the hive mind.

FrankM
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Simple uses

Items could simply have multiple uses on them, each with some set of requirements. For example (imagining stats running from 1 to 10)...

Laser Rifle
Shoot (STR 2+, DEX 4+): Does 6+DEX/2 damage up to range 8
Bludgeon (STR 5+): Does 1+STR melee damage
Start fire (DEX 2+): Spawn a fire token in any adjacent space
Salvage (INT 3+): Discard Laser Rifle and gain 1 Battery

You nudge the zombies into different choices by affecting their stats. Voice activated tech can make a choice uniquely available to humans, and immunity to radiation (or whatever) can make a choice uniquely available to zombies.

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