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Zombicide: Black Plague» Forums » Variants

Subject: ClarkGryphyn's House Rules rss

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Stephen Andrews
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I love this game, but after playing lots of the base version and then lots more of the Wulfsburg expansion, I began refining the rules to create what I believe is a better experience that flows more smoothly.

The first problem we usually run into is to be successful on a map, the beginning of a game always ends up being everyone holed up in a room searching furiously for gear while everything happens outside. If you are lucky and find good stuff, then you thrash the map. If you are unlucky, the game is over. A lot of this revolves around the need for Dragon Bile and a Torch to kill the impending doom of an abomination. I can’t take credit for the abomination rules, they are taken from hoodwink99’s thread here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1598212/my-house-rules-new-...

The second problem we have noticed after several games is the imbalance between ranged weapons and melee weapons, and with the expansion, the extreme imbalance between the new ranged/melee weapons (incredible) and the new magic spells (lackluster). Simply put, the way ranged is currently, there is no reason to use melee except as a last resort. I wanted to change that. Similarly, there isn't a good reason to use magic when ranged weapons do a much better job.
So, here are the rules I have come up with, and have playtested rather successfully so far. I'm sure there are further tweaks. Characters are assigned randomly at the start of the game. That just how I like it.

Part I: Smoothing out early game bog-down. These modifications are intended to make the early game move faster by preventing “hide in a room and hope we find dragon bile and a torch in time” syndrome. Now you can take on Abominations, but you’re going to have to work together, especially if they share zones with zombies. If you do have dragon fire available to you, it isn’t the end all killer it once was.

1) Abominations.

a) Abominations have HP based on character level. 4 HP at blue, 5 yellow, 6 orange, 7 red. All Abominations shrug off 1 point of damage from each attack, so a 2+ dmg weapon must be used to hurt them. Each point of dmg awards 1 xp. Dragon fire deals 3 damage (1 is blocked, the other two count). (More on dragon fire later.)

b) Troll Abomination recovers all HP if not killed in one turn. Troll Abomination also must be damaged by fire in some form to die.

c) At the start of the game, leave the abomination cards and the wolfbomination cards in the deck, as well as one additional abomination card...doesn't matter which one. Extra abominations only activate at yellow level. Shuffle an additional card in at orange level and at red level. In this manner, the number of abominations increases as well as their HP over time. (Feel free to ramp up the action by adding more cards if you wish.)

d) When any abomination card is drawn, role a die. 1 = std. abomination, 2= wolf 3= blob 4= minotaur 5= troll. If you roll something already on the board, it gets an extra activation.

2) Dragon Fire

a) Dragon fire causes 3 dmg, effectively killing anything that steps into it except abominations. I choose to leave it until the end of the next zombie phase, creating a barrier for actors and causing damage to anything that moves into it. Distribute XP however you wish to whoever is involved in the fire, i.e. if one person did it all, they get all the xp, but if two people did it, split it up however you want. (Dragon fire from the Chaos Longbow explodes in the zone for the same effect, but does not remain.)

b) Dragon bile can be placed in adjacent zones, and will both ignite at the same time.

Part II: Balancing ranged and melee combat. The way the game is laid out now, it is easier to kill zombies with ranged weapons than melee (4 to hit with short sword vs 3 for short bow), and ranged fighters effectively have more actions available to them since they don't have to move into the zone first to attack. Ranged fighters also have “plenty of arrows/bolts” available that increase their chances to hit. Melee fighting is inherently riskier since the warrior could be stuck in a zone they fail to clear, and they may also be threatened by zombies that get additional activations. There doesn’t seem to be a trade-off to make melee worth the risk, which slows the game down.

3) All bows 3+ now hit on 4+. All 4+ now hit on 5+. Bows are a weapon that take considerable skill to use effectively. For this reason certain characters add 1 to their die rolls, meaning they still can be killing machines with bows. Other characters may have more difficulty, a trade-off for staying out of the action.

4) Crossbows

a) Crossbows are easier to use without training, and thus their hit rolls stay the same. All crossbows require reloading except for the repeating crossbow, a trade-off for requiring less skill.

b) Vampiric Crossbow: Change to 2 dmg weapon, 3 dmg on a roll of 6.

5) All melee weapons 4+ now hit on 3+. All 5+ become 4+. 3+ does not change. Melee weapons should be easy to kill zombies with, since you are getting close to the danger. This change reflects that. UPDATE: After testing this out over several games and also taking a very close look at the dice rolling hit probabilities I decided this makes melee much too powerful. Putting melee back to stock balances very well with the reduced power of bows.

6) Shields, when used in conjunction with armor, allow rerolls of hits, instead of a complete reroll. Shields significantly reduce melee damage delivery, and should come with a significant increase in survivability as a result.

7) Food/water items no longer give XP, instead they are healing potions. Use 1 action to consume the item, healing 1 wound.

Part III: Magic Balancing. With the new weapons added in the Wulfsburg expansion, melee and ranged got a lot of new toys. There are some new magic spells, but I’ve found them lacking. Rather than simply trying to balance damage or hit dice, I thought it added more to the game to give magic spells additional utility instead.

8) Fireball spell can now ignite dragon bile.

9) Death Strike and Disintegrate now become more surgical, able to be cast without hurting allies in the same zone.

10) Chain lighting: if 6 is rolled, kill an additional zombie. If no zombies remain in the zone, take one from an adjacent zone. Follow targeting priority.

Part IV: Difficulty Increases. If you find the game too easy, perhaps because you are all veteran players, there are some things you can do to adjust the difficulty, either at the start of the game, or on the fly:

11) Whenever an abomination card comes up, all abominations get an extra action before you roll the die to determine the particular abomination.

12) Add more abomination cards into the zombie deck.

13) When necromancer cards pop up, the necromancer moves as usual, but also spawns additional zombies at its spawn.

14) Wolvz that are adjacent to dragon fire upon activation move through it and still have an attack action available on the other side before they burn to ash.

15) Dragon fire vanishes immediately after ignition, allowing zombies to move through the zone upon activation without harm. Or,

16) Zombies do not move into fire, but treat it as a barrier not to be crossed.

**Updated Melee rule - Melee was too powerful, returned to stock.
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M H
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A+ Abom rules. Sounds super epic cool

I do want to mention that magic is balanced around enchantments as well I believe. Magic is designed to be less combat efficient due to their increased utility over ranged weapons. If you balance it for more combat effectiveness, just be congnicent that you don't make it too good at combat.
 
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Stephen Andrews
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Yeah, I didn't discuss enchantments, but that is another reason why I made the changes I did to magic, to boost its utility without trying to boost its base damage potential.
 
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Jeffrey Nolin
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I don't believe we have ever holed up in a room searching furiously, so we don't have any need for rules to discourage that approach. Take the fight to the enemy!
 
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Flo Heisenbrain
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Do you play with multiple necromancers?
If yes, i'm wondering why there is no rule fixing the Dark Ritual

But nice rulings so far
I'm not sure whether to use these, because all the Weapon stat changings seem difficult to handle when playing with new players.
 
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Stephen Andrews
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I have only briefly experimented with multiple necromancers, so I don't have a final ruling on the dark ritual, but from reading other posts about it I have an idea how my friends and I would lean.

I would not allow necromancers to spawn on top of another necromancer, simply because it isn't fun to have a game instantly end on a random card draw. Instead, I would spawn the necromancer at the next spawn zone that isn't at the same location and draw a replacement spawn card for the previous zone.

As a fan of steadily increasing difficulty, I believe I would set a limit of one necromancer while in blue, two in yellow, etc. and see how that played out.

As far as new players go, I actually tried my rule mods with a mix of new and old players about a week ago and it went rather well. I explained ahead of time what changes I was making and why, and I don't think we had any problems. During that game is actually when we discussed possible balance changes to magic because everything else seemed to be playing quite well.
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Alexander
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I was also thinking about giving abominations hit points. it is kind of disappointing, when they can be killed with one blow. keeping track of hit points on abominations shouldn't be too fiddly either, since there aren't many of them and they are unique.

I don't like changing stats on cards though. it would require me to design and print out new ones, which I don't have the time and resources for.
 
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M H
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One idea for the necromancer cabal I haven't tried yet (sorry I have a lot of ideas I haven't been able to try yet) is instead of losing the game if two necromancers activate together, you instead immediately draw a spawn card on that zone and the necromancers move or attack as normal. Any card spawning would skip the zombie activation phase that turn.
 
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Shane
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These rules are all great and I look forward to trying some out.

I've been pondering including one torch among starting equipment, and/or not discarding the torch when used to create dragon fire. Any thoughts on that?
 
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Stephen Andrews
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In my play testing, since torches are no longer required to defeat an abomination they tend to stick around a lot longer. I personally would still discard it when igniting dragon fire, but if you really wanted to hold onto it, force that character to take 1 or 2 damage for being too close to the dragon fire when it went off.

As far as starting equipment goes, I wouldn't do that either. It is really fun when you find a torch, don't take that away from yourself. Again, using these rules finding torches and dragon bile is still a great thing, but not having them is no longer forcing an eventual loss.
 
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Eric Christensen
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I've actually had two recent games where there were no Super Strength characters and we had an early pair of abominations and we were doing the whole search the building and lead around the abominations, trying to get some bile and a torch. We ended up working it out, but it was a bit tedious and slowed the flow down. We've been using random characters in our playthroughs lately and we've really enjoy the randomness that it brings, but there are a lot of rules that make the randomness tricky, especially when you want to play with all the Abominations and Necromancers.

I really like the sound of these rules. I like to hear that others notice the lack of balance in weapons and the flow issues at times. Yes, you can pick characters to mitigate a lot of the issues that pop up, but I want the game to be as good as possible no matter what field of Survivors is out on the board. I will be giving these rules a shot in the very near future. Thanks for posting them.
 
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Eduardo Ortiz
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Just wanted to say that I've been using some of these rules and really like them. I can give more specific feedback later. Props to you for trying to make this game better! I'm sure that if we keep this up we'll be able to come up with a set of variant rules that many of us can agree on and make a really great version of Z:BP. Here's to hoping! =P
 
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Tomas Uhlir
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I am working on a Zombicide Rebalance and it seams that we got to some simillar conclusions. I am revorking the whole Item deck and I would like to try to weaken the Ranged weapons and strenghten the Melee among other thinks...
Have you tried those changes already? How it went?

Check the Thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1660496/zombicide-rebalanced
 
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Gilberto Guillen
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Love all the ideas

I had one not tested yet, about necromancers

If you want to add more Necros

1. you don't lose the game if 3 or more necromancers leave the board
2. If a necromancer leaves the board, All standars zombies (no Abominations except for Queen Medea and To-Me-Cu-pa) will become more stronger, they will get the necromancer power, etc:

For Example if Grimm leaves the board all zombies can move 2 zones per activation now instead of 1, runners 3 and wolves 4.

If Ostokar Leaves the board if there is another zombie type in the same zone they get and extra activation, example, 3 Walkers and 2 Runners in the same zone means both gets an extra activation, if there is only Walkers, they don't get and extra activation

If blackhearth leaves the board all zombies requires a minimum of 2 damage to be killed, Fatties are not affected by this.

If Evil Troy leaves the board all zombies requires a Damage 3 to be killed, if not send them to the closest spawn zone

If To-Me-Cu-pa Leaves the board all abominations comes into play with a standard abomination, if this can't happen all regular abominations gets an extra activation

If Queen Medea Leaves the board an abomination of any type cannot be attacked if there are other zombies in the same zone

This giving more importance to Necros and reflect their powers into the board

Still need to play test du pp
 
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Carmen Cerra
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Good ideas all;
Just to mention one of the great strengths of melee: You can buck priority and choose your target (p. 33 of the rulebook.)
Great for slipping in and taking out necromancers.
 
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Stephen Andrews
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I have been so busy with work I haven't gotten to play this game in a while. But, after quite a few games with weaker ranged and stronger melee, and taking a close look at the melee dice percentages under my adjustment, I realized melee was now much too strong.

The last few games I was able to play I left melee stock, left crossbows stock (they are penalized by the reloading enough already), and just weakened bows. This balanced VERY well.
 
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