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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

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Tricky
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hello all,

I'm currently designing what should become the ultimate
Zombie-related boardgame. I know there are already some titles on the market but none realy seems to fully capture the specific feel of a zombie-movie: The nail-biting tension...the scary unsettling silences...the sudden bursts of graphic horror.
This game should become deeper than the seminal effort of Twilight Creation's Zombies, more action-packed than "Mall of Horror" en above all, scaries than the comical "Zombie Plague". It should be a dead-frightening moody, dark game that scares the hell out of the faint-hearted.

The working-title of the project is "Fear".
The game works with a modular tile-system not unlike Black Morn manor, depicting a house with garden were the last human survivors franticaly search for a laboratory hidden inside that might contain the anti-poison eliminating the plague.

Each character has it's own unique statistics:
A female nurse has weaker strenght but has the special ability to heal
wounded survivors. A cop has a lower chance to find items but can barricade doors so that zombies can't enter during a certain amount of rounds. You get the pricture...
It should force players to co-operate and make it a team-effort.

The tile containing the laboratory in the center only gets revealed when a certain number of tasks are done and a certain number of rounds has passed.

Since I am a grahic-designer I can handle most of the art myself.
Thought contributions are always welcome.
I have done a new version of the Leading Edge-boards for "Aliens", check the following links to see samples of my work:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/101474
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/102168
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/102172

but I still need other people to help me out with the following things:

- game-ideas about mechanics, general ideas, details
- people who are willing to provide some photo-material
of furniture, floortiles, photographed in birds-eye view

I know this could become a great project.
Twilight Creations Zombie-series is selling like hotcakes and given the fact it's such a mediocre effort it proves there is a market and major interest for quality horror-games. If you're a fan of the genre and think you can provide me with some original fresh ideas, self-made photo-material for the tiles (will be re-worked and partly overpainted in photoshop) or any other help, email me at:
david.ausloos@pandora.be

Let's put our forces together to make the Zombie-game that put all the others to shame. I know you are out there, fans of the genre.
If we work together as a joined force we can make a fantastic game.

All the best,

David

[Other copy of this thread in Production deleted, posting in only one place is better for conversation. --FastLearner

Julius
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

How will this game be different than the other zombie board games out there? It seems like it follows the same format as them: Move around on a gridded game board, look for everyday items to help you survive, and try not to let a zombie move into your space.

I wouldn't think Zombies is a mediocre effort, either. I rather enjoy that game, and it does capture that sinking feeling quite well.

soulbeach
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

I agree with Tricky about the twilight creation's game: i do not enjoy it so much. It's well made, nice graphics, lots of good ideas but the fun part is almost absent: waiting for the final tile to appear is not very exiting! I find it to be a looonng and slooooowww game. The worst part is the akward "re-spawn"...i mean you're dead...then you just come back to, again, wait for the heli tile to show up...

I'm certain there are better ways to convay the feeling of a Zombie ridden world!

I didn't try Mall of Horror but it does seem fun.

Having time on my hands...i would enjoy a joint effort :)

soul

Tricky
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Julius, seriously, I don't understand you concept of it being too similar to other zombie-games. Espcialy Twilight Creations-game.
What I tried to explain in my introduction is the fact my design will be far more detailed, full of little realistic concepts taken from zombie-movies. It will be far meaner and scarier, not the wimpy ressurection like in the Zombies-series but instant death creeping at every corner.
It will use an Action-point system that enables you to do a certain number of action tha need to be carefuly planned since there is a tight limit. Once bitten by a Zombie a time-turn-limit takes action in wich you only have a set timeframe to stop yourself from turning into a zombie creating a nail-biting tension troughout the game. The combat-system will be far more varies than any zombie-game currently on the market. It will feautere modifiers for eacht indiviual weapon, a limited number limited number of lifepoints that can be partly healed by co-operation with other characters, thus rendering teamwork essential, and rules for line-of-sight and grades in wounds rendering certain action impossible:
for example: a character with a wounded knee will see his movement restricted. A character with a wounded arm will aim less accurate.
It will try to realisticaly simulate reality without flooding players with over-complex rules.
Frankly, I don't think any zombie-game currently on the market does these things.

Krakit
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Sounds good to me.

Any idea how long each game of this will take to play? Will there be campaign possiblities?

Carl

Tricky
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

I'm currently in the brainstorming-phase.
I've only decided to start this project 5 days ago and I'm currently writing up ideas and mechanics. That's why I asked for some feedback/ideas from other fans of the genre. I think in working together the chances of a rich deep game can be more likely.

What game-length is concerned I'm heading topwards 90 minutes tops.
I want it to be a short tension-filled action-game where the sense of nearing doom is always present, rendered by the fact of a time-limit in wich goals should be reached. Thus avoiding the game to be overly long (like some session I remember with Twilight Creation's Zombies that seemed to loop endlessly).

Campaigns are possible. I want to make it as flexible as possible.
That's why I chose a modular board-system to make expansions possible in the future and broaden the game to new settings.
But my main concern for now is to make this modest setting (the house and surroundings) work as good as humanly possible.
The important element here is re-playability. Each game should be significaly different. I'm thinking of incorporating several scenarios. Even a team deathmatch-mode in wich you play as opposing teams, not as a cop-operative team.

Emphyrio
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

It seems to me that a good bit of the tension in zombie movies comes from the characters being killed off one by one and turning into zombies. Unfortunately, if you translate that to a board game, then those players are eliminated and have nothing to do for the rest of the game. You could have them control their character as a zombie (as in Maul of America), but unless they can win as a zombie, they may not play it "to the hilt". If they can win as a zombie, it seems like it would take some of the tension out of being a human. If you allow them to "respawn" as another human, it definitely reduces the tension.

I just thought of an alternative which might or might not work. Suppose there is not a one-to-one identification between players and human characters, but each player gets some number of action points each turn which they can use on behalf of any of the characters. As characters are killed off, the number of action points each player receives should be reduced, both as an incentive to try to keep characters alive and to avoid a "superhuman" situation when you're down to one or two characters.

I think this would increase the tactical options open to you -- do I spend actions to help a character search for the antidote or gain some other benefit, or do I try to get another character out of a dangerous situation, or do I use them to fight zombies?

Nestalawe
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Emphyrio wrote:

I just thought of an alternative which might or might not work. Suppose there is not a one-to-one identification between players and human characters, but each player gets some number of action points each turn which they can use on behalf of any of the characters. As characters are killed off, the number of action points each player receives should be reduced, both as an incentive to try to keep characters alive and to avoid a "superhuman" situation when you're down to one or two characters.

I think this could be a more interesting way of approaching it, having each player controlling all the characters. The next step will be to give each player some sort of role, or special action which only they can perform, so as to make each player different.

For example, in a game with 3 players, one player may have the 'Healer' role, meaning that they are the only player who is allowed to perform healing actions (as well as the normal generic actions such as move, fight etc). Another player could have the 'Mechanic' role which will allow characters to try and fix machines or twiddle with items etc. The third character could have the 'Bruiser' role, which lets him use a 'Mighty Fist' action.

At the start of the game each player either chooses, or is randomly given one or more of these roles. Each of the characters in the game can have different stats which also relate to these special actions. Thus Carl, the Hulking Hillbilly, will be quite good when performing the Mighty Fist action, but not so good when performing the Healing action, but it doesn't mean he can't try.

This way, it doesn't matter so much if a character dies, player-wise. It does mean that on their turn a player will act to try and keep their most effective character (it terms of the players role) alive, as they are best at using that character, but even if they die, they can still use the other characters. Some roles may work equally well with any character.

This takes the special abilities away from the characters somewhat, and combines it with the player's. It also creates a much more collaborative game and can provide some interesting strategies, i.e. if I have the Bruiser role, then on my turn the characters will be a bit stauncher at fighting, whereas characters can only get healed when its Susan's turn, as she has the Healer role. A lot more planning would need to be involved as well, which can be fun...

phpbbadmin
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

First a disclaimer: I've never played any zombie games. It's not that I don't want to but I've just never had the opportunity.

Second, I am a fan of the Zombie movie genre. I especially like the original 'Night of the Living Dead'. It still remains one of my favorite horror movies.

With that being said, I think you have a good idea for a game. I like the idea of once you're bitten, you slowly turn to a zombie. One word of warning, a player may go kamikaze once he gets bitten. By that I mean, once he's infected he may throw caution to the wind and just start attacking zombies recklessly. I think it's vital to have a way you can actually die. I.E. if you take enough damage, you're flat out killed and removed from the game. Does that make sense?

Also, have you considered the time frame of the game? I.E. if the game took place over several days/nights then it might add some interesting aspects. If the players only had to hold off until morning, it might add some interesting tension. Then you could add a day phase where certain things could be done, like resting/healing, looking around for supplies, digging in, etc. (Even if it takes place over one day, a preceding day phase might be nice where players could search for supplies and dig in).

I think it might be an interesting mechanic whereby the number of zombies greatly gets larger and larger thereby adding to the tension and eventually making it impossible for players to survive past a certain point (if they hadn't already gotten the cure/antidote). This would especially be good if the game time took place over several days. I.E. each night a set number of zombies could 'spawn', with the number increasing each night, thereby making it harder and harder to survive each new night.

Just my thoughts. Interesting idea. Good luck with it.

-Darke

Nestalawe
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

One other note - you can't really get Healed from wound given by zombies, really. Once your'e bitten, or scratched, it's just a matter of time. Its not like zombies (classic zombies) carry or use weapons that would cause wounds that you can heal, so I agree with Darke, that there could be some mechanic to determine what happens to a character when they do get wounded - do they go beserk, do they sit down a just give up, or do they stick that gun to their own head...

soulbeach
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Interesting ideas guys! W

What could be cool for the amount of turns a player survives as a human once he has been bitten could be a hidden information mechanic: only the bitten player would know how much time he has left. A card with the amount of turns left for him to survive. The lenght would be random(many cards, one picked at random at the beginning of a game). The length of turns would mean a character's resilience to the zombie plague.

Even the tough guy could be weak to the plague.

soul

Nestalawe
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

soulbeach wrote:

What could be cool for the amount of turns a player survives as a human once he has been bitten could be a hidden information mechanic: only the bitten player would know how much time he has left. A card with the amount of turns left for him to survive. The lenght would be random(many cards, one picked at random at the beginning of a game). The length of turns would mean a character's resilience to the zombie plague.

Yup, that would be spunky, even with the players controlling all the characters, you would have to make decisions as to whether you would keep trying to use the character, or send them off on their own...

Also, you could have some sort of Freakout Factor, which would be partly determined by how far characters are from eachother. The further a character is from another character, the more likely the chance is that they will Freak Out and won't be able to be given orders. You could even have a character whose special ability, 'Staunchness' or 'Loner', negates this, and lets them cruise off on their own.

Or, you could also have a paranoid factor, where a character may believe another character has been bitten, and try to take them out.

Also, if players control their own characters and get wounded, the wound may or may not be infected. They keep this secret. If it is infected, they may or may not know how long they have left, but the other players definately wont know, and they will have some convincing to do...

soulbeach
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

I like the ideas you're offering Nestalawe, now we just need to find out HOW to implement those ideas:)

soul

Jpwoo
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

I think it is important that players control their own characters in the game. One of the tensions in a zombie movie is often when someone will selfishly do something to save themselves and screw his fellow survivors.

I would also suggest that players control more than one character. Possibly even a 'tribe' or family. A players goal would be two fold, help everyone survive, and make sure their own team survives.

Rather than square to square or hex to hex movement, I would suggest area based movement. Where each room is an area. This will speed the game up some by avoiding counting movement for players and zombies. Windows and doors can be baracaded, blocking movement from one area to the other. Additionally a player could stand in the doorway effectively barracading it.

As for player elimination I could see a system where early in the game Zombies spawn randomly outside the house. The number of zombies slowly grows over the course of the night. And though the number of zombies is greater the placement is still random. If a player gets eliminated they then gain the ability to spawn zombies in a more controled fasion. And their goal switches to killing everyone of course.

Since you are going for a 90 min playing time you are going to have to watch the complexity. Be ready to cut out lots of ideas, or move your playtime up.

Ska_baron
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Background:
(movies) - Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead (new)
(games) - Zombies Ate My Neighbor (c'mon it's so awesome!), Resident Evil (a lot of em), Zombies!!!, Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

Okay so now you know where I'm coming from! I LOVE zombies and the varied horror themes they accompany!

FIRST I think it's important to define your zombies. What I mean by this is do you want them to be slow moving brain eaters or super psycho fast killers? It seems like you want the zombies to come from a disease (so a cure can be found and players have a defined purpose) and in a house which gives me a distict Resident Evil feel for the whole endevor. GREAT! (and please correct any assumptions I make about what you want this to look like)

SECOND, as others have mentioned, I think the timeframe is very important as to the story arc of your game. IMHO I'd maybe want something along the lines of 2 days with a day and a night phase each with different options for each phase, but who knows. This will give the game the right tone of urgency. Do you want this to be the whole film of a zombie movie, or just one intense scene?

THIRD, It's probably because I just got it new and played it, but I would HIGHLY recommend researching/playing Betrayal at the House on the Hill. I just got it and played 2 scenarios (despite bashing on the Geek) and ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY love it! In the game you search the house which is made up of modular rooms with different event, item or omen cards to go with it. As Jpwoo menioned above, movement is cleanly taken care of by moving between rooms rather than squares/hexes which keeps the cool complicated details in the game by abstracting that part out a bit - definitely cool!

You MIGHT even want to use some ideas from BatHotH - like maybe it's somewhat scenario driven (BatHotH comes as 50 different scenarios/games in one) and sometimes the zombies are slow moving people who actually came from graves (like Night of the Living Dead) and the object is to survive until the military gets there AND another scenario is more like Resident Evil where players have enough time to solve a mystery and find out how to stop things themselves.

Also! I really like the ideas mentioned in this thread thus far about action points and secret infections...so classic. =)

As an unabashed zombie enthusiast please feel free to PM me on here and pick my brains about anything in particular (especially in relation to Betrayal as I really feel like that might have some aspects that you're trying to achieve...that, and I KNOW Betrayal's mechanics can be executed 100 times better than they sadly were...) Anyway, those are my ideas/visions/interpretations. Feel free to take what you like and leave what you dont - that's what BGDF is aaaaaall about! And a hearty welcome to you as well!

Tricky
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Interesting ideas guys...intersting.
Indeed, the way I wanted it to work is that each player controls 1 character with specific statistics, rendering it a must to work together as a team and have everybody alive at the end of the game.
Players being killed trigger several issues: the players lose
a certain number of victory points: there is for example a little girl in the game that is very vurnarable but is (beacause of her height) not visible for the zombies as long as she is not directly next to a square horizontaly or verticaly from a zombie, so she can perform certain tasks with fewer risk. In the end, keeping her alive earns the surivivors extra points.

The fact is, there are several (like in german-style games) ways to earn victory points. Succesfuly completing a certain task like making radio-contact with an ESWAT team from withing the radio-room, reaching the laboratory for the antidote, but also the sum of all the VP's attached to the objects gathered in the inventory: every object has a certain "value".
It is also possible (enhancing the interaction of the game) to trade objects between players. Somebody wounded can for example trade a weapon with a hefty amount of VP's attached to it for a lower value health kid.
He heals his wounds but also loses as a penalty some of his Vp's.

I also am thinking about incorporating a "traitor" mechanism:
Everybody picks a card from a pile that might or might not contain
a traitor-task. This could render tension-filled situations during the last moments of the game were somebody grabs the antidode and locks the exits with a key-card so that some characters are trapped in an area flooding with the undead. It might also render some paranoia, wich is often present in zombie-movies.
I love the idea of once someone's bitten only the character knows the time-frame in wich he will turn into a zombie.
Making it less predictable for the others how this person will react in certain situations.

The game triggers a time-limit at the end, when a character
enters the radio-room and contacts the ESWAT-team that will send a rescue-heli in front of the house.
And here comes the big issue: there are only 3 seats in the heli.
Getting the little girl into the heli is a main concern since it will
add some valuable VP's to the final score. With only 2 seats left after that
it will be a race against time to get to the heli wich will noly stay in front of the house before it takes off and leaves the others behind confronted with inevitable death.

I'm a little reluctant to drop the grid since it will be an important factor in combat and movement. A wounded character that has a wounded knee moves slower and can spend less Action Points for his movement on the grid, rendering it vital to avoid any attacks and if not, to search for a healing-method. This healing can be both executed by the nurse-character
(if still alive) or the obtaining of a first aid-kit-card during the searching of a room.
The grid is also important to determine the range attached to certain weapons like a shotgun (wich shoots further) or the flamethrower that temporarily creates a pool of fire for 2 turns blocking the incoming zombies. Also a line-of-sight-rule lets certain elements in rooms block fire or attacks, making it viral were a character takes cover/positions himself before proceeding attack.

In fact, my main concern for the game is to avoid trivial aspects. Every decission needs to be vital. The postion of your characters, how he spends his Action points, wich objects he carries in his inventory (they have a certain value in use and victory-points but also because of their weight limit movement).
Without making the game Avalon Hill-style complex (remember Gunslinger?) everything must feel realistic and logical.

To all that have already contributed ideas I would say: keep them coming.
I take notes of all your feedback and will use alot of it in the rules-set.
Especialy the issue concerning elimination and the motivation to keep yourself alive is very important for this game so any ideas making this
solid will be greatly appreciated.

Tricky
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

And before I forget: I would love to hear some suggestions for a title...
I though "Fear" was effective being short, a powerful word and summerising the essence of the mood of the game, but I'm sure some of you have some great alternatives.
So, feel free to post some.

Jpwoo
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Have you considered putting in multiple end game conditions?

These could range from Calling SWAT, to locking yourselves in the vault with the antidote, to escaping to the rusty pickup truck with fuel, to surviving X number of turns until the army rolls through.

Have you considered a time frame for the game yet? If each turn is 30 seconds, you are going to get movement and such, but actions like barracading or using a med kit would take several turns to complete. An hour of game time woudl be 120 turns.

If each turn is 30 minutes, then having rules for movement about the house become silly. While searchign a room or nailing up boards become more feasable. As does having a day and night phase.

This goes along with the way you want the grid and counting range and such. While I think these thigns work well in a Mariens Vs Aliens game (which you seem to have worked on) They are somewhat less effective in a game where players are holed up in a house.

To me the tension of a zombie movie comes from people trying to fortify against the coming terror. Can they barracade enough? Can they find enough food/ammo/weapons before their defenses give way?

This doesn't feel like a game of frenetic running around and fighting. Rather I could see a longer turn. Where caracters do more general things. So instead of walking over to a dresser and searching it. (for 6 AP lets say 4 ap to walk and 2 ap to search.)The player would spend an action to search 'the bedroom' for just 1 AP. A particular character might have 2-4 AP per turn. And a menu of actions they can take.

Discord
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Just because I like coming up with (hopefully) original titles, might I suggest:

Dread.

Optionally, capitalize except for the "r'...i.e. DrEAD. Though I'd recommend the original version, as that does look a little like Dr Ead.

"Fear of Flesh" was my first idea, but it's fairly overused already.

Discord

Tricky
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Interesting ideas JPwoo...
Would be smart to keep the zombie-invasion low during the first turns so that the first part of the game is a franticaly running-around-trying-to-turn-the-house-in-a-barricaded-fortress-phase.
The Action-points solidly spend on movement and sealing windows.
This should also genreate the feeling of inveitable doom bursting in within a set timeframe.

I think the game can be as fast or slow depending on the Ap's that characters can spend. In that sense 4 would be far too low since
movement would be too much zombie-like ;)
I was thinking about 8 in total of wich a set maximium can be used for movement dat becomes modified after each wound in the leg-department.
All quite logical realy...

The day and night-idea might be interesting too.
The nearing night could render more zombies bursting in than the normal number for each round. My idea is that each round the result of a D20
will tell you were a next zombie will arrive location-wise
, thus making it impossible to predict were a sudden burst of terror will happen.
Much like the spawning in "Aliens" in fact.
I quite like that mechanic and it makes for a very "positively chaotic" game.

Multiple end-conditions....why didn't i came up with that one before :)
This might work and make the game better in the re-playbility-departement. there could be several: making radio-contact with the eswat-team could earn you a certain ammount of vp's, evacuating to the heli outside with the small girl, getting hold of the antidode, sealing of a certain number of rooms effectively...the possibilities are endless and should make for a totaly unique game eacht time.

But apart from that I want to keep the setting rather small, hence the house. The travelling from one room to another on the other side should be do-able in a turn or 4, this should realy be a playtesting-aspect that can be easely adjusted with fiddling with the AP's for movement.
I don't want to make the characters travel too fast because that would seriously take away the tension of discovering new rooms.

The tiles of the house will be randomly placed on the table face-down so that nobody knows wich room will be were, except for the laboratory wich should be in the middle of the table and can only be revealed at the end of the game when a number of turns or a tast is completed.
Only the main entrance of the house is visable at the start of the game and the rooms at the edges of the house including windows are marked with an icon so that during the setup thay are effectively placed at the outside borders.

OutsideLime
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

One convention of the zombie movie is that in the beginning of the movie, a single zombie usually provides a significant challenge for the humans, whereas by the end of the movie they're usually happily blowing away dozens of them at a time. Try to keep that in mind... in the early game, players should have access to less effective weapons, and struggle to defeat fewer enemies.

As the horde grows, so should the players' ability to dispatch them. (A possible way to implement this is to make the powerful weapons limited in ammunition, but equally effective against groups of enemies as with single ones. Since there are fewer enemies in the early stages of the game, the desired flow creates itself. Imagine: I have shotgun with 2 rounds, and a machete. The shotgun can take out 3 zombies at once from a distance, while the machete is difficult to kill a zombie with and means that I have to get close to it, which is dangerous. I'm facing a single zombie early in the game. Wanna bet I save the ammo and try the machete method. even though it's the more difficult way?)

Quote:
a D20 will tell you where a next zombie will arrive location-wise, thus making it impossible to predict were a sudden burst of terror will happen. Much like the spawning in "Aliens" in fact. I quite like that mechanic and it makes for a very "positively chaotic" game.

...this seems like it would be too chaotic and unpredictable for my tastes... how could I possibly cover all 20 entrance points at once? If you use, say 2d10, then you get 19 possible entry points, with a likelihood that they'll appear in some places rather than others.

2 - 1% chance
3 - 2% chance
4 - 3% chance
5 - 4% chance
6 - 5% chance
7 - 6% chance
8 - 7% chance
9 - 8% chance
10 - 9% chance
11 - 10% chance
12 - 9% chance
13 - 8% chance
14 - 7% chance
15 - 6% chance
16 - 5% chance
17 - 4% chance
18 - 3% chance
19 - 2% chance
20 - 1% chance

Make your front and back doors the high-concentration entry points, and scale them outward from there, down to the less likely areas. This will still provide you with a nice unpredictable influx of zombies, but will allow:

a) your players to have at least SOME chance of setting themselves up to defend properly

b) you, as the designer, to channel the game more effectively. Want tension? Put the best weapons stashes and first-aid kits farthest away from the most-likely entry points. Stuff like that.

~Josh

PS - Great thread. Very inspiring. Now I've got zombie games on the brain.

soulbeach
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

And on the Windows /Doors tokens, have 1 side with window intact, the other wit either: the window broken through or baricaded. this way, set- up is done, it's easier to quickly take a look aroun and notice what has been baricaded, what is broken(some windows could even start broken, some doors locked or unlocked, with the flip side as open or broken, probably 2 tokens to have a bit of everything available).

Zombies could start to arrive slowly: 1-2 at a time, then these numbers would grow as they sense the flesh and see other Zomby buddies rush toward the seemingly empty house. Every Turn, you could add 1 extra Zombie, bringing the urgency to get "stuff" done before the hordes can no longuer be contained.

For the title, how about:

-the Dark
-the Hordes
-Legion
-Voracious
-Subsistence
-Corporeus(fleshly, in latin)
-Viscera(flesh, bowels, again in latin)
-The Hunger, or Hunger
-The crave
-Ravenous

or mixes:

-The voracious Legions
-Hunger: voracious(a subtitle for an expension)

soul

cze_026
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Interesting problem

I started following this over at BGG, and it sparked my interest. I have been toying with the idea of a horror themed game for some time, but seem to hit the same roadblock.

IMO, the problem arises, in what the motivation is cinematically, and what will actually work in a boardgame mechanic. How do you create the atmosphere of tension and irrational fear, within the confines of a boardgame. What makes Zombies!!! and to some extent Maul of America work is that while the basic scenario is satisfactory, it can be long, but it gets you through the mechanics. Continued play can have the endgame goals changed, allowing for very individual game play. The downside is that play is still more action and/or more strategy oriented, and not so much horror.

Alternatively, you have a role-playing option, with minitures. I have toyed with this idea myself, being both a old hand at rpgs, and a long time table top minitures wargamer. But this doesn't seem to be the path you wish this game to follow. I would be willing to discuss this further with you, and possibly we could help each other out with our respective projects. Brainstorming is always a good thing!

Andrew

TheReluctantGeneral
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Re: Interesting problem

Quote:
IMO, the problem arises, in what the motivation is cinematically, and what will actually work in a boardgame mechanic. How do you create the atmosphere of tension and irrational fear, within the confines of a boardgame ... The downside is that play is still more action and/or more strategy oriented, and not so much horror.

Very good question. I think that to create real tension and fear (as opposed to facilitating the players in 'imaginining the feeling of tnesion and fear) in the zombie game will take one or both of:

(1) Hidden movement. Say for example one player controls some humans, and the other player controls monsters. The monsters player can move his pieces secretly, thus the human player is constantly guessing where the next baddie will pop up from. With only one player engaing in hidden movement, the implementation should be easier than with a full double blind system.

(2) Vulnerable/Secret Victory conditions. One or both players have reduced visibility of where they and/or their opponent is on the VP track, and/or reduced visibility of likely changes to the VP situation in the near future. This will create significant uncertainty that will create tension, as long as the player suffering from said uncertainty is given means to periodically access this hidden information.

Combining 1 and 2, say we have a monsters player who can secretly move his pieces, but with a VP situation visible to both players, and a humans player whose VP track/objectives are hidden from the monsters player (with periodic chances for the monsters player to access the human VP track).

If you could invest suitable mechanics to implement this and get the balance of hidden and open info right, and prevent cheating then I think you've got a real nailbiter.

Jpwoo
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

I like Voracious, thats a cool name.

Beside the Zombies outside, as the players explore in the inside certain tiles should have Zombies spawn in them.

If you are sold on the Grid based move/range etc you should at least consider switching to the roleplaying game/descent model. Where you have a movement allocation. And essentially two actions per turn.(or two half actions in rpg terms)

Movement up to your MOV score is an action. Attacking is an action. Doing something like barracading is an action. Searching a resource locker is an action. You can choose to double up if you want, so you could double move. double attack etc...

This mechanic is almost cliche'd but it works very well.

Tricky
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Eeeh....yeah....
Have you actualy read my initial post about the game working with Action points that can be used for movement and attack?
In that sense the game is more of an rpg (especialy with eacht chracter having his own abilities and statistics).

I'm afraid I find your comments about the inability to create a sense of fear in a boardgame rather pessimistic Cze_026...
You state that zombies!! succeeds in being an effective game....
Seriously, I keep being suprised that people think of it so highly.
For me it's a game almost devoid of any tension (instant ressurection of a killled character doesn't quite render nail-biting situations).
It's also simplistic, doomed with a very mediocre uninteresting combat-system and devoid of any strategic possibilities except rush for the heli.
If there is one thing I will be surely try to avoid is this game being as dumb as Zombies!!

I think if you have read my previous posts that the game-system boasts alreay a fair ammount of tension-builders:

- The fact you never know where exactly a zombie will burst into the house
- The fact you are not sure who to thrust since the possibility of a traitor amongst the team is there (see the traitor-card-mechanic)
- The dangerous task of sending out the little girl into zombie-flooded rooms with the risk of being spotted and zombified
- The time-limit in wich the heli has to be reached before take-off and the fact it only has 3 seats for the survivors, turning the last part of the game in a frantic race against the clock.

The list of elements evoking a sense of tension and fear is long.
The possibilities are endless.
Ever played Fury of Dracula? People having experienced this old GW-classic should be hard-pressed to state boardgames can't umulate horror-movies.

Anyway, I will not give up on this project since I firmly believe that there is a severe lack of effective horror-games and I firmly believe it can be done. The fact that Twilight creations mediocre horrorgames are selling like hotcakes makes me believe there is a great demand for quality horror-games. All I can say for now is that I will do everything to fill this gap.

snak_attack
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

I think creating a positive (enjoyable) anxiety in players of a board game is a good goal, but creating other emotional states (fear included) seems like an extremely difficult proposition for a board game. Even computer games, which are far more immersive, are only rarely able to really affect me. You have some good ideas, and I never want to naysay anyone's ambitions, but I think you might be setting your self up for discouragement. I guess as long as you worry about making an enjoyable game first, and specific emotional states second, you're on the right track

Jpwoo
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

Quote:
Anyway, I will not give up on this project since I firmly believe that there is a severe lack of effective horror-games and I firmly believe it can be done.

As I am relatively new here I am probably out of place in saying this. But I think you are misreading or overeacting to certain extent.

You are at the point in your game where you should be most open to new ideas, and this place is bristling with them.

Critisism of your game should be taken as constructive critisism, and analyzed rather than attacked.

You seem upset that Zombies!! is a popular board game. It has great success because it has lots of plastic zombies, a relatively low cost point, and stupid easy rules. Remember that the more complexity you put into your rules the smaller your audience becomes.

DSfan
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

I am so glad that this thread came up because I just started a zombie game of my own. This thread is swarming with ideas and I plan to use a few on my own game. Brilliant!

Justin

TheReluctantGeneral
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ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

DSfan wrote:
I am so glad that this thread came up because I just started a zombie game of my own. This thread is swarming with ideas and I plan to use a few on my own game. Brilliant!

Justin

WARNING:

The previously tranquil BGDF has been invaded by Mutant Zombie Boardgame Designers From Hell!. Normal citizens are becoming infected at an alarming rate. We can only wonder which poor sod will come staggering out of the darkness next...

Administrators - call the SWAT team!

Discord
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Joined: 12/31/1969
ZOMBIE Boardgame project HELP wanted!!!

A few ideas...

1. Civilians/Helpless Bystanders.

As well as the players, there are a large number of neutral units. Civilians follow simple movement rules, and should be slower than Zombies. A handful of Zombies start in a circle around the board. There should be enough that the players might contain a few "breakouts", but would be virtually impossible to stop the Zombie populace from increasing overall.

There could be some action-related interaction as well. Example: Shouting "This Way!" costs 2 Action Points and moves all Civilians (in range)1 square closer to the player. You could also use them as diversions/body shields in desperation...i.e. Zombies might move D6 squares towards the closest living unit.

Essentially this reduces the need for extra zombies to appear during the game, and gives the players something to do besides searching & completing mission objectives. Also, if you barricade certain rooms, then you're pretty much sacrificing any civilians outside your defences. There might also be a Victory Point for each civilian alive at the end of the game.

2. Wound cards.

Whenever a player gets damaged by a Zombie, they get a Wound card, facedown. For each wound card, you lose ONE action point. 5-6 wounds cards = dead.

At the beginning of each players turn, they rotate their wound cards 90 degrees. When a card returns to its original position(giving them 3 turns after wounding, as they wouldn't get wounded in their own turn), the wound card gets turned face up.

Face up cards will either be "Uninfected" or "Infected". If Infected, the character is replaced with a zombie and the player now controls or helps control the Zombies. If a Basic Wound, it continues to restrict Action Points, but may be healed by a First Aid Kit or a Doctor character.

The ratio of Uninfected/Infected cards should be chancy enough that a player won't start gunning down his teammates to gain the edge before he becomes a zombie. Also, if it's possible to be wounded from a non-zombie source, (i.e. standing behind a zombie that another player has shot at), then you'd search the Wound cards for X Uninfected cards, then reshuffle the Wound cards. So the more uninfected wounds the players have, the greater chance of getting an infected one.

3. Multiple Levels

This would be a bitch to implement without a really large board, but essentially adds different floors. So you get stairs, possibly a laundry chute for a hasty escape(maybe child character only), etc.

Perhaps the basement is pitch black, and you need to find a flashlight to search in it. You can run down there in an emergency, but Zombies might get + to their movement in darkness. Of course, if you find a flashlight and a fuse, you might be able to repair the mains switch down there, turning all the lights on the house on(giving zombies a -1 to their movement, buying you a little extra time). (assuming the outside is twilight and the rest of the house is normally "dim"...i.e. no modifier)

Sometimes, the flashlight will randomize IN the basement, so you'll have certain "impossible" objectives at the beginning of the game, but you won't know what they are until mid/late game.

Discord

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