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Zombie Survival/Betting Game

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deFunkt29's picture
Joined: 01/04/2011

I have a new idea for a game I've been tinkering with. Recently I was playing some poker with friends, and having a good time. I really enjoy the betting aspect of the game, but I like games that have more of a storytelling aspect, so I tried out a couple of ideas in my head for different betting ideas with games. This is my favorite of the bunch, a zombie survival game with betting aspects.

In it's current form, each player plays as a group of survivors in a zombie Apocalypse setting, and the zombies themselves are just played in an AI way. Each player has chips, they represent survivors. Each chip has a human face on one side, and a zombie face on the other. During each players turn, they can play a number of chips in one of three "potential" categories; Scavange: Putting chips here increase your chance of finding item cards, Rescue: Putting chips here increase your chance of gaining more chips, and Defense: Putting chips here decreases your chance of being destroyed by zombies this turn. The player that gets the highest score in each category wins the highest bonus, and possibly even the only bonus.

During each turn players will distribute there chips to different categories, taking turns "betting" in almost a poker like feel. Now I have two options for "betting" at the moment. I'd like to be able to have all the players be able to keep there current chip positions secret, but I don't know how this would work, possibly writing down how many chips they'd like to place. Another option would be that players show which chips are going in which categories, but they play face down item cards in categories that can increase success chance. Players can do a combination of placing cards and chips down in certain categories to try to bluff which ones they would prefer, possibly in a chance to get a higher score in a different category. For example, a player plays 4 chips in the scavenge category and only 1 chip and one face down card in the defense category. Players may think he is going weak, thus trying to out do him in defense, but they won't know if the player played a rather weak card, such as a light baricade, or a flamethrower that can have the 1 chip defend itself well enough! Players could also play some small item combos, like using a gun with extra ammo, using a toolbox with a barricade, or using wood with a flamethrower.

At the end of the betting rounds, night will fall and a zombie attack will occur. Players may find that small groups of survivor chips (1 or 2) will get destroyed easily. Once a chip gets taken over, flip it over and add it to the zombie pool. I think zombie attacks will be fairly luck based, possibly rolling a dice to see how many of the total zombies attack this turn. As well, zombies will increase they're chip amounts over time, so there isn't really a hope to the players destroying them outright. Each player will be attacked by the same amount of zombies each turn.

I hope this kind of makes sense! All of these are fairly new formed ideas so I appreciate any feedback, things you think would be cool in the game, or systems that would work better. Thanks!

dameonunleashed's picture
Joined: 09/07/2011
I like it...

I really like the central concept of a betting game with a card enhancement. This game could be to liar's dice what Nightmare Chess was to, well, chess.

I totally get that there should be some sort of indicator as to how many survivors you are committing to a particular action. You only have so many people and never enough to do everything 100% every night. My sticking point is the form those take. Do you need poker chips? nearly any token would do; glass beads, coins, etc.. I see your idea about the chips being zombies on one side and survivors on the other, but there are other (not necessarily better) ways of accomplishing that. If the "bank" of tokens always represents the zombies, and the tokens in front of players is always survivors, then the different icons on the chips becomes redundant. You could put something in the rules about how resolving combat requires stacking the zombie chips and the survivor chips side by side, and the bigger stack wins? That or something similar would make the poker chip part of the game mechanics.

Having a set number of zombies attack lessens the tension somewhat. The survivors know how many zombies to expect, which doesn't really gel with the fear of the unknown that zombies bring with them. Maybe keep the dice rolling, but adjust it in a way that randomizes how many zombies attack.

If you want to incorporate a cooperative+competitive aspect, one way of doing this would be to dedicate 2 central zones of play that represent rescue and scavenge, and a zone in front of each player for defense. Each player adds their chips to the central zones (each one would need their tokens to be colored i guess) and plays their face down cards. Then night falls and the zombies come out. A dice roll would indicate how many zombies attacked the rescue and scavenge pool, removing those tokens from that zone. The defense pool could help in some way to mitigate those totals. The dice could indicate how many survivors are lost that night. The ones left go back to their safe zone (the players) and they gather their winnings for the night; Item cards, more survivors, etc. The cooperative aspect would be in the total number of survivors in the pool; the more tokens in any single pool increases the chances of them all getting through the night. A player could play nice to help everyone survive and profit, or play dirty and cast few/no tokens in one pool and watch his opponents get torn apart. A card could even let you pull back some/all of your tokens from a single pool, betraying the other players, who thought they were safe due to the high population of the pool.

An alternative is to keep all three zones open to attack, and have the defense pool represent the players home base. How many survivors will you leave back to make sure the others have a safe zone to come back to? It's a bigger gamble this way to send out your survivors, as each one sent out means one less to defend the base. Some item cards could be base only, like non-portable offensive and defensive items. You could incorporate a rule that covers what happens if the base is overrun, maybe they lose half their pool of survivors. A dreidel rule incorporated into a zombie survival game is funny, but appropriate.

Face down cards could adjust how many of your survivors are lost/gained by the attack, or could throw another's players under the bus, as it were. They don't necessarily need to outrun the zombies, just the other players.

The Loneliest Banana
Joined: 09/06/2011
To keep secret who

To keep secret who distributed what, you could make the chips like cards: one face side, one blank side. Then there are at least two options:

Some of the chips are "good", the rest are decoys. When a player puts, say, five chips into survival, no one else knows if they really put 1 chip and four decoys there, 4 chips and 1 decoy, all decoys, etc. Only "good" chips count.

Each face side indicates which pool it goes into. When a player sets five chips, no one knows if they set 3 survival chips and 2 rescue chips, or four defense and one survival, etc.

To have the zombies grow in number, simply remove some chips from the pool and add that many to the zombie count, instead of flipping the chips to a zombie side. You can track the number of zombies with a pile of counters, or by the position of a counter on a track.

If you can create a semi-competitive atmosphere, where you don't know who's an ally and who's an enemy, this game sounds really exciting.

deFunkt29's picture
Joined: 01/04/2011
The way the chips were

The way the chips were flipped wasn't so much a way to recognize whether a chip was on the human or zombie side, it was more just a cool aesthetic idea. The chips that were flipped were still going to be moved to the center, I just thought it would be a cool way to add the theme to the betting idea while still connecting it to traditional betting mechanics.

I as well as thinking that there would have to be some sort of randomness with the zombie attacks. Possibly before they attack they draw a card, which will tell how many zombies are attacking (or possibly what percentage of the current zombie population is attacking tonight). As well the cards could say some other cool situations. Perhaps some night a giant tough zombie attacks, that can break down fortifications better, perhaps a pack of zombie dogs attack with the horde, and it increases there numbers additionally, etc.

I really enjoy the co-operative ideas! I think it would not only be more realistic, it would also add some great dimension to the betting process. It'd be fun putting on your best poker face, helping out your opponent by playing 3 item cards to where the most defense is needed, only to have those 3 cards be something absolutely useless. I like your first idea more myself, with the 2 zones open to attack, and the defense zone simply aiding those two, but I do like the idea of the defense zone actually being attacked as well. Perhaps I will need some additional card types to have all these mechanics work (ie. not just item cards, possibly some action cards as well, like ones that allow you to remove chips from a zone before the zombie attack starts). Thanks for all the great ideas!

I don't really know if I like the decoy idea, but it would be great if I wasn't using cards. I think the cards will be the primary source of hidden betting. The idea of making a stack of chips, with only the top on showing an actual survivor and the rest being blank appeals to me though... I have a feeling you'd make quite a few enemies with that little tactic though!

Another really cool idea with the different sided chips. Perhaps every player that you leave in your pile is on defense, but the chips you play out can either be towards scavenge or rescue, depending on what side they are facing. I also like the idea that you have to show what at least one of your survivors are doing (the one on top of the stack). Perhaps stacks would be limited to 5 or something, showing that the more surivivors you send out, the harder it is to keep there actions secret.

Thanks for the awesome ideas you guys! You've given me a lot to think about.

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