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Zombies!!!» Forums » Variants

Subject: Movement and Combat Variant: Lord Dicely's Gambit rss

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Howard Burdett
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I recently posted an article examining some of the many variant rules used with Zombies!!!. That article is much too long to post here, and I imagine most BGG veterans will already have their own thoughts about variants (it's at http://lorddicely.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/zombies-part-second... in case any newcomers are curious). The one part that might be of interest here, however, is my own variant, as below.

Instead of rolling for movement, choose the number of spaces you would like to move (from zero to six). Then take a combat die according to the movement chosen:

5-6 movement: 4-sided die

3-4 movement: 6-sided (i.e. standard) die

1-2 movement: 8-sided die

0 movement: 10-sided die

Treat your movement points exactly the same as if you had just rolled them on a die - any cards or other effects that might adjust your movement adjust this number. The player may choose not to use their full entitlement in exactly the same way they would have if they had rolled that number for movement. The combat die remains the same once selected for the player's turn, irrespective of any changes to movement allowance. If the player must reroll their movement, they use a standard six-sided die and use that new movement (this does not affect their combat die). When in combat, a roll of 4 or more wins, irrespective of which die is used.

(If playing with Guts rules, lose one Guts token if you roll a 1 in combat, and gain one if you roll the maximum possible on the combat die).

I recommend that the game phase order be changed so that the phase before movement where a player must fight a zombie on their square be removed, and the player simply fight that zombie at the beginning of their movement, after selecting movement and combat die. Alternatively, the player must use the combat die they used on the previous turn to fight a zombie on their square at the beginning of their current turn - this option adds to the bookkeeping, however.

This variant is clearly more complex than most individual variant rules, and requires a range of dice rather than just a standard d6. However, in my opinion, it is worth the complexity as it achieves several improvements in one fell swoop. For one thing, players have the option to reliably move quickly (particularly in "safe" areas), solving slow movement issues while removing luck as regards movement. Luck still plays a factor in combat (the game wouldn't be much fun if it didn't), but the player may now make actual strategic, risk-management decisions at the beginning of their turn. Poor combat rolls can be mitigated by taking a few turns of low movement and relatively safe combat. The use of fixed bonuses (from bullets, items, and other cards) creates an interesting probabilistic interaction with varying dice, as a +1 has more relative effect on a d4 than a d8. Thus, overall, this variant adds strategy, hastens movement, and reduces luck, all without too badly compromising the simple fun of the game.

Standard-die only variant: If you only have a six-sided die, then choose movement and then use the six-sided die for combat (as in standard Zombies!!!), deducting 1 to all combat rolls if you selected 5 or 6 movement, adding 1 if you selected 1 or 2 movement, and adding 2 if you selected zero movement. This option isn't as much fun, and the probability interactions aren't as interesting, but it removes the need for multiple dice.
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Rob Michel
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Quick question: do you have any advice on how to incorporate this variant with the vehicle rules found in some of the expansions?

BTW, I played this in my solo game and it felt like I had much more control with my over-all strategy since the movement to combat ratio balances out nicely as opposed to using the role and move mechanic which makes it harder to avoid zombies when needed. I would recommend more people try these rules even if they have to go out and buy the dice to do it.
 
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Howard Burdett
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Many thanks for your recommendation. As to your question - I would say that, if it's a vehicle that adds movement points (such as, I recall the skateboard) then the golden rule follows: treat the movement you chose as if you had rolled it on the die (taking the relevant combat die), then modify according to any cards played etc. If it's a vehicle that moves in some other way (either a fixed movement number, or any non-numerical method of moving), then I would default to the game's basic d6 combat (which is, after all, what it is balanced for).

Now a question from me to you - how exactly do you play it solo with these rules? I designed this variant following classical Art of War principles, providing those who are behind a way to play in a high-risk/high-reward fashion to give them a chance of catching up, while allowing those who are ahead to play in a more conservative way to preserve their lead. Without the pressure of other players, I don't see why you wouldn't move 1 space every turn. Which solo variant are you using to provide the necessary pressure?
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