I'm sure you've all heard that before. Except this time, I *think* it actually is different...at least from what I could tell from browsing boardgamegeek for hours.
So here's the story: A few months ago, I was at the Fire & Ice convention in Manitowoc, WI. A friend was running a session of The Downfall of Pompeii, and I happened to walk by. For some reason I had zombies on my brain (no pun intended...well, sort of), and I thought, "How cool would Downfall be if it were re-themed and developed into a zombie game"? From there, ideas started to flow. Now, I'll freely admit that you might recognize mechanics from other games...they happen to be games I like, and I've drawn ideas from them to fit my vision.
Tentatively titled "Zombiepocalypse: NYC", my game is about citizens surviving a zombie plague outbreak on Manhattan Island. I'll spare you all the backstory for now, because I'm mainly looking for feedback on the idea. After searching and reading about all the zombie games on BGG, it seemed like most/all of them were about *fighting* the zombies. I don't know about you, but if there is a zombie apocalypse, I'm getting the hell out of dodge and living to fight another day.
So here's the basics: The map of Manhattan Island is divided into districts (Financial District, Soho, Upper East Side, Central Park, Harlem, etc.), which are further broken down into sections.
The first phase of the game consists of players placing "citizens" onto Manhattan Island. They have a hand of 3 cards, and play 1 per turn, drawing back up to 3 afterward. This represents the citizens of NYC going about their daily business in Manhattan. The hand of cards gives the players some strategic options, as you will notice when I discuss the second phase. Amongst the draw deck of the citizen cards are 3 "zombie infection" cards. Each time one of these comes up, 2 zombies are placed on the board in random spots. This represents the spread of the infection as discussed in the backstory. (Which I'll post in a reply). Once the third zombie infection card is drawn, the round finishes and then the second phase begins.
The second phase consists of players turning over "movement/zombie proliferation" cards, and attempting to save as many of their citizens as possible. The cards are kept face down (a stack of 5 per player to start), and players have the option of turning over up to 3 cards, one at a time, on their turns. These are numbered 1 through 4 (with varying distribution) and the total is how many spaces the player may move his citizens. For example, if a total of 5 is revealed, that player may move any number of citizens up to a total of 5 spaces (1 citizen 5 spaces, or 1 three and another 2, etc.). The object is to get the citizens to the escape routes (Holland Tunnel, Queensboro Bridge, Brooklyn/Manhattan Bridges, etc.) Once a player finishes his movement, he replenishes his deck based on how many cards he played. Played 3? Replenish zero. Played 2, replenish 1, and so on, up to replenishing 3 cards and taking no movement. The player then places 2 zombies on the board, in a space containing a zombie or adjacent to any space containing a zombie.
Shuffled in with the movement cards are "zombie proliferation" cards. When one appears, the turn pauses, and any space with a zombie in it gets another zombie, and 2 additional random spaces gain a zombie.
At any time during the game (except when resolving movement), if the number of citizens in a space is outnumbered by zombies, those citizens are considered "dead", as in the zombies got themselves some dinner.
Overall, the playtests have gone very well...the zombies proliferate slowly at first, then faster and faster as the game plays, which adds some tension. Player placing zombies tends toward some "screw your neighbor", but not overly so...there is safety in numbers, as in not being outnumbered by zombies.
So, thoughts on my concept? I'd love to hear your input, and add it to the feedback that I've already received. I feel like with some more fleshing out, and a ton more play-testing, I have a pretty solid idea.
Thanks for reading so much if you made it this far!
Oh yeah. The winning player is the one who "rescues" the most citizens by moving them to the escape routes, of which there are 6 on the board.
Sounds neat - I look forward to hearing about the things that players can do in phase 1.
I take it that immediately playing the zombie cards when you draw them is mandatory?
Thank you. Phase 1 is basically placement of the citizens on Manhattan Island. Play a card, place citizens, draw a card. The deck as constructed is 98 cards. Set up: Shuffle all citizen cards. Deal each player 3. Count 15, place them face down. Shuffle 15 more, with 1 zombie infection card added. Place face down on other stack. Shuffle remainder with other 2 zombie infection cards, place down on stack. Thus, only 83 cards maximum will get used, unless the 16th card from the bottom is a zombie infection, in which case, 2 more are drawn for zombie placement.
When playing a card, place 2 citizens in that section. Sections have a maximum of 3 citizens (during phase one only), so if both can't be placed, one or both must be placed adjacently (this can help or hinder depending on proximity to the escape routes). If in replenishing your hand, a zombie infection card comes up, the next 2 cards from the draw pile are turned over, and 1 zombie is placed in each section. (You'll get how this coincides with the theme when I post the background story). Once all 3 zombie infection cards come up and are resolved, phase 2 starts.
I'll post the background shortly. I'd love to hear some more thoughts/input!
So, here's the backstory for my game. Comments appreciated.
Manhattan Island, New York, fall of 2027. The United States is again embroiled in a war on foreign soil, but life goes on as normal in one of the most densely populated areas of the U.S. Citizens arrive in New York City to begin their days – going to work in the financial district, walking through Central Park, dining in Little Italy, and shopping in Soho.
As the citizens go about their days, they have no idea what is to come. The U.S. government has had scientists hard at work developing a biological weapon for use in the war. The scientific team has finally developed the weapon, and is ready to present it to government and military personnel…but something has gone horribly wrong. During transport, the weapon was accidentally and irrevocably unleashed, infecting the scientists as well as nearby citizens. Severe mutations have occurred, and now a new breed of citizen walks the street, hungering only for the flesh and blood of humans…