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Figuring out a new approach on few vs many (survivors vs zombies, etc.)

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Joined: 02/25/2013

I was thinking about zombie games the other day. Don't run away yet, as this idea would work with other backgrounds. The majority of these games tend to run into the problem of survivors killing one, MAYBE two zombies a turn while the zombies slowly shamble in. So it's a pretty dry back and forth. I wanted to come up with a simple mechanic to remedy this, and eventually turn that into a game (tentatively named Cornered). I could use some help brainstorming the approach though!

For a general background I think I'd use fictional Haitian Voodoo Zombies instead of the more traditional disease / infection type. This would also allow for some neat Voodoo ideas in the game. But the idea of few vs many idea could be extended to whatever genre people want. You could do Space Marines vs Orks. Superheroes vs Thugs, Spartans vs Persians, British vs Zulus, Starship Troopers vs Bugs, etc.

The idea is the Many dictate the flow of the turn. They move and attack like you'd expect. Probably 4 stats for each Many: Move, Attack, Defense, Life.

The Few use Character Dice, which are just D6s, to track their available actions AND their health. They'd have probably 8 to start. At any point while the Many are acting, the Few can interrupt by spending Character Dice. Almost like Command Points in Space Hulk (if anyone is familiar). For example a Zombie (Many) comes barging through a door using his move. Inside a Survivor (Few) interrupts by spending 3 Character Dice to attack. Then they might spend a further 1 Character Dice to move back.
The idea is a paperless system, so each character is basically tracked by a Chessex cube of dice representing their Character Dice

I see a couple of rules around Character Dice to give nice, flexible options.
1. Roll 1D6
2. Use a set result of 3
3. Add +1 to your result
4. Add +2 to friends result

So for example if a Survivor wanted to shoot they could spend 3 Character Dice to roll 2D6 and use a set result of 3. Then they could spend a further 1 Character Dice to add +1 to their set result of 3. Or they could just do a quick snap shot with 1 Character Dice and roll 1D6. Make sense?

For Few vs Many I see combat being pretty simple. Every result greater than or equal to the target's Defense is a Hit. If the number of Hits is greater than or equal to the target's Life, the target is dead. Otherwise the target is just knocked down and misses the rest of the turn. There is no tracking or reducing of Life, it's more like a threshold that has to be exceeded each time to kill the target.
Many vs Few would be similar, except they roll a set number of D6s based on their Attack, and don't do any fancy modifying. Instead of having a Life threshold the Few reduce their TOTAL Character Dice by the number of Hits. So if a Zombie (3 Attack) wanted to bite a Survivor (4 Defense) he'd roll 3D6, getting a 2, 4, 5, which is 2 Hits. The Survivor's total Character Dice drops from 8 to 6. When the total reaches 0 the Survivor would be dead.

Similarly for moving the Few could spend Character Dice in the exact same way, except they'd convert the results to inches instead. So they might play it safe and spend 2 Character Dice to get two set results of 3, for a total of 6, which would allow them to move 6". Or they could try to run and spend 4 Character Dice to roll 4D6 and go up to the number of inches that's the total of the dice.

Character Dice would also use a Critical and Fumble system. Rolling a natural 6 means you get to spend an extra 1 Character Dice for that resolution. Similarly rolling a natural 1 means you have to remove 1 Character Dice. So if you were attacking with 3 Character Dice, rolling 3D6, and got a 2, 4, 6, you'd get to use 1 extra Character Dice from the Critical. That extra could be spent to roll, or boost your result of 2 by +1 to 3. Similarly if the roll of 6 had been a 1 they'd have to remove a result (probably the 2) and would just end up with a result of 4.

I like the idea of using Character Dice both as action points and health. I also like the idea of interrupts so that characters can down multiple zombies each turn if they play well.

That's pretty much the core of it. Do people think that kind of system would be cool?

Some other ideas:
- The Many could have prefixes to modify their stats. So you could have a Fast Decomposing Zombie that has +1 Move but -1 Defense.
- No weapon ranges, and melee and shooting are handled the same (just by spending Character Dice).
- If one of the Few cannot see one of the Many they must spend double the Character Dice to achieve any action (representing not being jacked up on adrenaline when you can't see a Zombie).
- Scenarios and objectives would push for movement. Maybe escaping the table after killing a certain number of zombies.
- Keeping with the "Voodoo" idea (or "Reinforcements" if using a different genre) the Many player would get a set number of Voodoo Points per turn that they could spend to bring reinforcements on. Basically having a never ending wave.
- Playable solo because the Many could be randomized in their stats (so maybe a Strong Armored Zombie shambles onto the board) and basically just move towards the Survivors.
- Also could be playable with each player controlling a single model of the Few, and no one playing the Many (so more like a cooperative game).
- Items would give temporary bonuses. So maybe a Stimpak gives temporary +2 Character Dice that go away at the end of the turn.

I've attached an early document I wrote up this morning. I obviously need more formatting and to trim down some of the verbosity, but it might help clarify the idea I'm going for.
- Guns would probably be exactly the same, since their use is dependent on how the Few spend their Character Dice. At most I'd see special effects depending on what gun you have (a rifle might pierce, a shotgun might have a small blast, etc.).

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