We’ve come so far since last “game dev” session! We have an actual rules book! This came about after sifting through notes we had taken in the previous sessions while play testing and meeting conflicting information. It was time to consolidate and create one rules set to rule them all! The rule book isn’t entirely complete, but it will serve as the golden standard going forward. If a rule changes, it changes in the rule book. If an idea occurs, it’s tested before being added to the rule book.
Things are a’ Changin’
We ended up changing the actions on a turn. Now, instead of placing a tile, drawing back up to 3 cards, moving, fighting, moving zombies, then discarding players still place a tile but then choose whether to move, search, trade, or use an item outside of combat. The rest of the turn is just zombie movement. We tried this new turn order and it worked! Sort of…
We had already decided that players started with only 3 heart tokens. This proved devastatingly hard and we generally didn’t survive the first zombie encounter. Adding the three bullet tokens back didn’t seem to increase the odds past 2 encounters. So, you get to draw 2 cards from the item deck to start as well. This seems to be a great balance as you are essentially meeting up with another player at the start of it all with whatever you managed to grab on the way out the door.
We did clean up the combat rules to indicate that using a Weapon requires a bullet token. Without a weapon, or bullet tokens for the weapon, you instead must make a combat roll under the original rules. We also established basic zombie movement rules: the closest zombie to a player moves towards that player. In the event of a tie, the player chooses which one moves. This prevents the players from just making zombies move away from them or the area they want to go to.
We also implemented a limited inventory and item sharing. Players can now hold up to 3 items at a time whether or not they are broken. A player may discard an item at the end of their turn or when they pick up a 4th item. We also implemented sharing. This still has some kinks to work out as the time it takes for sharing may outweigh the benefits.
When will it end?
We did find out that members of your team will eventually lose all their heart tokens. We discussed then decided to test that when this happens the player becomes a member of the zombie team which gains full control over the zombie hoard surrounding their former partners. This means that zombies move according to the zombie team discretion instead of only moving the closes zombie to a player towards that player. This lets the zombie team become strategic in isolating players from their group.
This, of course, eliminates the win condition of collecting 25 zombies per player. We’re not sure if this is a good idea or not, but I think with a few more play tests and a bit more tweaking it can be a beneficial mechanic for interesting play.
On that note…
We did come up with some new ideas like additional armor, weapons, and items. Barricades and backpacks were some specifics. Barricades would block a street or building entrance so zombies (and players) couldn’t pass. Backpacks would add 1 armor token and 3 inventory spaces as long as it wasn’t broken. When it breaks, you have to discard down to 3 items. We will most likely change the tiles to be more advantageous to the new mechanics and play styles we are introducing. Ideas like parking lots, shortcuts, and alleys all came up. A difficulty system based on starting heart tokens was also discussed. Who knows? Maybe next session will see some of these fleshed out.