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Zombie Fort! (school project)

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skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012

So I'm in school for video game design and I have to take a board game class.
I suck at making/playing board games, and the only ones I've played are like...monopoly, sorry, and candy land.
So when we got a new assignment for whatever game we wanted to make, my husband and I thought "zombies".

So my idea is this.
There are zombies, you must kill them. You are in a house and you must clear out the rooms, gather resources and barricade the house to make it safe.
You can be bit and only have so many turns left before you turn into a zombie, or people can choose to kill you or heal you (someone pitched that idea to me from left for dead, i've never played it so i didn't know zombie virus could be cured)
It's cooperative, so everyone is on the same team.

I was thinking of a grid you could move around on the board (which would look like a house layout I guess)and maybe people could choose their own weapon and even find ammo in rooms after clearing zombies (like looting) but I'm not sure how that would work and how to make mechanics that my teacher will like (he's been real critical of my projects ever since he found out I'm not good at board games.).

I'm not sure how viable the game even is, since my experience with board games is so limited, but I like zombie games so I thought it might be easier?
Is this a terrible idea?

Zodiak Team
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Joined: 09/09/2012
sounds a lot like Zombicide

sounds a lot like Zombicide which isn't a bad thing because it sounds like your playing on a much smaller scale. I think through a well designed board, dice battles, simple miniatures, and 3 different decks (1 for investigation, 1 for events, 1 for characters) you can make this game pretty interesting and exciting to play. I have a similar idea on the back burner while I work on my game but I'm glad to share some ideas to help you with your project as I'm sure everyone else on this forum is.

You should think about:
Size of the board
Number of players
cooperative or competitive gameplay

and come up with a rough idea of how the rules would work and how players could achieve victory.

Dralius
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Zombie games are very popular right now.

Zombie games are very popular right now.

These are from 2012 alone and there are many from past years and to come in the future.

http://tinyurl.com/9wqwhst

So it’s not a question of whether the theme is good but how are you going to make it fun.

One thing about Zombies is they never seem to stop coming. There is always another one around the corner so you can use that natural tension by keeping the players at a state where they feel like they could lose at any moment. To do this you need to come up with a simple way to have the game get harder the better the players do and maybe easier when they are failing miserably. A scale that adjust how many zombies to add each turn would do, you just need to have a way to determine when it goes up and down.

Oh another thing, the zombies must kill some people during the game to help with the tension. You might want to have each player play more than one character to accomplish this without easily eliminating players from the game altogether or at least not right away. And you know what happens when you get bit by a zombie, yep you become a zombie. When a zombie kills someone you should add them to the zombie horde.

I hope that gives you a starting point.
Good luck

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
It will definitely be a

It will definitely be a cooperative game. And I was hoping to have players be eliminated by becoming zombies (or being offed by other players because they were bit) but the class said that would be "not cool" cause if they got bit they wouldn't get to play anymore (my teacher is huge on that too, he thinks if you lose you should be allowed to still play otherwise the game isn't that good).

I considered having more zombies show up as you barricade more entries, like the windows and doors, and maybe barricades would have "hp" so people would have to keep using resources (so there's probably be a resource deck) to keep the barricades strong.

I plan to have the game end when you barricade the whole house but maybe I should make them face one last horde of zombies before ending the game?

And if another player becomes a zombie, should I give them more control over how they move as a zombie so it's more fun for them to go after players? (maybe giving them a higher difficulty to kill too)
And as far as shooting goes, I was thinking of using bullet cards and dice rolls to see if it hits the zombie or not (and maybe zombies would have a difficulty number on their card so you'd have to roll that number or higher to hit them in the head?).

I'd love some ideas, I really want this game to do well, maybe I could even keep it to play with my room mates! :D

voodoodog
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Joined: 07/02/2012
Zombie Miniatures

The Game Crafter just began offering Zombie Miniatures that may be useful in your game: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts/zombie-shambler
I saw the original post on this forum a week or so back. After watching Night of the Living Dead on halloween, got me thinking about a zombie game that could utilize these figures, but I'm wondering if the world really needs "another" zombie game right now :)

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
Those look awesome! My

Those look awesome!
My teacher showed us that site and I was thinking of using them to make the final project, it'd be way cheaper than making it all myself.

Stormyknight1976
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Joined: 04/08/2012
Zombie game

First thing is that your teacher should have been more considerate than putting a student down from not playing more board games than he or she has. Anywho... First thing came to mind was Beach head from the arcade game and from the movie Night of the Living Dead. Go for it. Sounds interesting.

Stormyknight1976
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Joined: 04/08/2012
The style of the board.

Instead of replicating the house of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Consider a Ranch house on a farm. Its appearence will be large, enjoyable to run and blockade the windows, doors and garage door. Have and attic and basement areas for last resorts when the main floor of the home has been over taken by the undead.

Tob
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Joined: 09/13/2012
Candy Land?

How can you suck at Candy Land? It's completely random with no strategy involved at all.

Regardless, if your goal is to please your teacher, your best bet is to research what mechanics etc your teacher likes and then use those mechs etc exclusively in an effort to pander to his ego.

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
Now If I did that and people

Now If I did that and people had to go to the attic/basement as last resort... would they be able to take it back or would that mean they all lose?
I'm still considering multiple floors, but it's not out of the question, I just don't know how games with multiple boards work.
I do like the idea of having a larger outside area, like you say.

Maybe zombies would come in waves like every 3-5 rounds so they might have an opportunity to gather supplies and such?

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
Lol right? nah it was mostly

Lol right? nah it was mostly referring to monopoly and nay board game that doesn't rely on random dice rolls. :P

I want to prove to my teacher I can make a cool game, My husband helped with the initial idea, so now I want to make it a game I would even want to play. Might was well use his approval as a motivator.

voodoodog
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Joined: 07/02/2012
Creepy Farmhouse

I like the idea of a rundown rural farmhouse. Those places are always creepy! Maybe even work in a separate barn structure that could be a source of tools, supplies and weapons, ie. hammers, nails, shotguns, ammo, pitchforks, shovels, axes, firewood, hay and kerosene, food, etc. to restock and fortify the main house. It would need to be revisited often, risking zombie attacks and ambushes, as players could only carry so much at once and could only venture outside in pairs. In Night of the Living Dead, the main objective was to get the gasoline for the car and get the hell outta' dodge, so perhaps fit that into the scenario, maybe as a final goal to win the game. Just tossing a few ideas onto the pile...

Stormyknight1976
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Joined: 04/08/2012
Multiple levels and expanding area.

Players can return to main floor during waves of zombie attack. I like the idea that Voodoodog has. The rural creepy barn. Add that in. Makes the game intense. Players are running low on resources. So they comprimise on who stays and who fetches the new gear and food. Maybe a c/b radio can be used to call in support? Maybe some one in the game knows of a safer place to go for the players can go to after this board game? Like an expansion game? But sorry getting carried away with other ideas. Chuckles.

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
I should probably throw it

I should probably throw it out there that the game should play in roughly a half hour. But a tool shed would be perfect for throwing lots of useful supplies. Maybe you need a key or something to open it? I'm not sure how much is too much.

But that's also a good idea, thinking of a safer place to go to. Maybe have a clue card that players find? I can see this being interesting, like objects can be interacted with so people will go through things to find something useful.

RAVaught
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Joined: 11/07/2012
Couple of things

First, it is cool do see another game design student on here. Nice to know that the number of people trying to get some formal education on the subject is increasing. It means we are gaining some credibility as a discipline.

Second, your teacher sounds like a bit of a prat. Personally, ignore him so that you can make a good game. If he were any kind of teacher his comments and criticisms would be more objective and less ego driven. If you try and pander to him you are going to end up making a crap game.

Third, if a player is 'bit' by a zombie, there is no reason to eject them from the game even if you turn them into a zombie. Just create mechanics for the game that govern how a Zombie character plays. Considering that they would still be relatively 'fresh meat', they wouldn't suffer too much in terms of movement speed or attack penalties. Maybe give them a slight boost to defense/health because they can't feel pain to compensate for any penalties. Let them turn on the other players and try to kill/bite them. :P

Maybe if their mind hasn't turned completely to goo you can have rules that allow them to go after whatever it is that the player is after. Or let them unlock doors so other zombies can get in after the living players or something. There are a lot of interesting mechanics to explore in that regards.

And last, if your focus is on video game design, then you NEED to get good at board games. Paper prototyping is a major tool in the video game designers tool kit. If you can make your paper prototype fun then there is almost no point in making a video game out of it. Board games are mechanics in the raw. Learn to love them and play them often. They are also really excellent for watching the social interaction of the players that are playtesting your games. This will give you some hints as to what types of social interactions to make available in the digital version if you decide to pursue it.

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
your last point

I'm starting to realize this (needing to play more board games) as the term goes on, I need to invest more (time) in board games and try them out. The great thing is after testing my classmates games I'm starting to realize the kinds things I like about board games, which is cool cause I don't know many beyond games like "pictionary" and "monopoly".

I do plan on letting zombified characters serve a purpose, as either harder zombies or, like you said, letting them sabotage the other players plans. (Ooooo kind of like that one zombie movie where the zombies were trying to be normal (and later the zombies get a hold of weapons and figure out how to shoot things) they could have a level of control). And maybe other players could use this to their advantage so they don't have to open doors themselves and off their freshly turned team-mate at the right opportunity.

voodoodog
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Joined: 07/02/2012
Some new zombie games to take a look at:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/neverpeakgames/we-are-dead-zombie-ma...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/angryduckgames/zombies-101-a-board-a...

I know that there are a lot more out there, perhaps some of the guys here have a few suggestions, just to see other zombie game mechanics or inspiration.

Stormyknight1976
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Joined: 04/08/2012
Twilight Creations TM presents

ZOMBIES!!!. 6 Players have to fight their way out of the city and get to the helicopter as fast as they can. I have played this game three times since I have had it since 2002. Its a nice decent zombie game.

ofercohn
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Joined: 07/25/2011
bluffing elements

seems like you could use some bluffing elements to spice things up a little- i was thinking of a weerewolf kind of game, in line with the "cop" extension to "cash and guns" and "the resistance" (if this is foreign to you you should look up these games in "board game geek". the main idea is this- let's say there are 5 players, one of which is a zombie. each turn several people are selected, and a result of "yes" or no" is drawn- stating whether there is or isn't a zombie amongst those chosen. through multiple turns the players need to deduce who the zombie is.
zombies are a little different than spies or werewolves- they're supposed to be mindless monsters who don't plot, so this kind of mechanism might not be thematically appropriate. in any case i would think that if you do go for a bluffing game you could do away with the board altogether- making it a card game with a cool theme- if you're looking to wow your teacher this might be the way to go- there have been a zillion games made about characters creeping around haunted mansions, i can't think of one zombie game that is solely card-based

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
That's true, I wonder if he'd

That's true, I wonder if he'd let me switch. The game had to be pitched in front of the class last week, so what I've been telling you guys is what the class is expecting.

voodoodog
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Joined: 07/02/2012
Lots to consider...

There are a lot of good ideas here, enough I would think to put together a decent prototype for your Instructor and your class. Biggest problem I see is getting done by Monday, when you say you have to present your project. That's 2 days! Just 48 hours! You had better go stock up on Red Bull, get a pot of coffee brewing and order a few pizzas. It's gonna be a long weekend and you've got your work cut out for you.
Good Luck!

skittlesloli
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Joined: 11/08/2012
Nah just a prototype, The

Nah just a prototype, The final project is due two weeks from then, so it's just play testing for now.
I have a topic in the mechanics forum to try and iron some of those out but I think my first post left more to be desired, so I"m going to write up some of my own mechanics and see if those look good to people.

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