The other day I was playing a tabletop game with my son. It was Zombies!!! If you haven’t played it, it’s a tile based tabletop game where you play as a human trying to escape a city filled with zombies. The world starts as 9×9 gridded square. Each turn a new tile is played growing the city larger and larger all the while filling it with zombies. In this game you would rather feed your friend to the zombies to get away then help him out of a jam. So, yes, it’s hyper competitive. The game has its downs though. The only way to win is by either capture 25 zombies, or escaping on the helicopter (last tile in the deck). You can slow your opponents down by dropping zombies on them. As the game progresses, the mechanics break down and the game becomes how fast can you send players back to start. The game has a ton of potential. So we decided to change up some mechanics to see if we could turn this into a multiplayer cooperative game (a kin to Pandemic). What better way to start working on a zombie game than brainstorming!
So, my son just turned 10. He’s excited (really excited) about Fortnite and YouTube and Twitch! So, I brought up tabletop games. Why not make a game? So, I showed him different type of games. He already knew about card games, and I’ve been showing him other board games like Ticket to Ride First Journey, Pandemic, Life on the Farm, and Monopoly of course! He hasn’t played a tile based game so I thought Zombies!!! would be a great gateway into thinking outside the box (or board) and into a more open format game. So, as we quickly became board with this game in its current condition, we asked ourselves.. How could we make this fun? Connor was the first to answer with “Why aren’t we working together to escape?” which is a great idea! It’s the zombie apocalypse! When have we ever seen a zombie apocalypse that doesn’t have a band of humans (good or bad) working together for survival? Seems like a great idea! Added it to the list. We went down different ideas and talked about how that would affect the game and if it would make it too difficult or not fun. We added them to the list and came up with a bunch of ideas. Here’s some general ideas of where this brainstorming led:
- Players work together to escape or capture enough zombies
- Different decks to search from
- Change the layout of the tiles
- Some sort of inventory system
- Some better weapons system where they aren’t one-time use
Connor seems very excited to continue the next session that he’s keeping a journal of ideas to share next time! I’ll keep updating this series as we progress in our game! This activity was definitely more fun than I expected and am looking forward to regular “game dev” nights and hopefully a better game to play and share with friends!