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Subject: Zombicide REBALANCED rss

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Tomas Uhlir
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At first I must say that I like Zombicide quite a lot and it works most of the time. But since in our gaming group we are usualy used to play more complex games (and more in eurogames style) and at the same time I like designing my own games or modifiing the existing ones more to my liking I decided that I will do this Zombicide rebalance.

There are a few things that seams a bit weird and counterintuitive in Zombicide. Or other things that are not used to their full potential. Those are the things I would like to focus on:


1) Noise
Noise mechanism is a great idea and I think that it should have a larger impact in the game.

2) Reorganize / Trade
Items management isn't done well at all. According to the rules I can use my action to reorganise someone elses inventory and save him the action. Or you propably know the situation where there is one strong weapon traveling from one Surviver to the other every turn to get as many attacks from it as possible. I would like to remove the situations like this.

3) Searching
It seams weird to search in the same room over and over again. Not only from the realistic point of view but also from the gameplay perspective. It would be more interresting to motivate the Survivors to look for new locations for searching. It would bring more movement into the game.

4) Spliting zombies
"If there is more than one route of the same length, the Zombies split into groups. If necessary, add Zombies so that all new groups contain the same number of each Zombie type!" This is really weird and it happens quite often! At the same time it forces the Survivors to be carefull with positioning and noise, so it's not that bad. Unfortunately there are often places on most of the the maps where is nearly imposible to avoid the spliting...

5) Meaningfull decisions - Items
There is a lot of interesting decisions in Zombicide. But still in some areas the decisions are quite straightforward, especialy with the Items and Skills selection. There are simply better and worse weapons and when you get the better one you use it all the time. I would like the weapons to be more "situational", meaning in one situation it would be better to use"A" and in a different situation the "B" would be a better choice. Or you should be able to use Items in a (different) more meaningful ways and combinations...

6) faster ending
This one is more of my own preference. For me, the game of zombicide seams to be unnecesary long. Most of the time the end is already clear but there is still a lots of shifting back and forth before the game really ends.

7) More maneuvering
I would like to get into game more tactical maneuvering, greater focus on moving, positioning, noise management, line of sight...instead of the simple "kill everything in sight".
I enjoy the Skills like Slippery, Jump, Hit & Run. In the Quests I enjoy the situations where the Survivors split and have to coordinate their progress.

I will be adding the suggestions one by one once I get the time to write it here..
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Tomas Uhlir
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2) Reorganise / Trade

I will start with this one because the changes should be easily implemented. We simply use the following house rules for the Items manipulations:


At the cost of one Action, a Survivor can reorganize the cards in his inventory in any way he wishes.
The Survivor can simultaneously exchange any number of cards from a backpack of one other Survivor currently in the same Zone. (He can take cards from other Survivor's backpack and at the same time he can put some cards into it. He can't take Items from other Survivor's hands or put any into them.)

Every Item can be used by only one Survivor each round.
When you for example attack with a Great Sword, no other Survivor can attack with it this Round. But you can still give it to someone else so he can use it on the next Round.


Those house rules make it more difficult for the Survivors. Exchanging Items is more "costly" now. It also brings interesting decisions whether to have an Item (which I use very rarely) in hand or stored in a backpack where is more accessible for other Survivors.
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Adam Trezise
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A suggestion for increasing the impact of noise would be to put additional noise tokens down for louder actions.

For example, casting spells could potentially be louder than kicking down a door etc.
 
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Eric T
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We have tested some for the Noise drops and that heroes make -

One we have done is once zombies are on the board and you make / drop a noise token, we stop to give zombies that are within 3 spaces or 4 one free move towards that zone.

We've also tried to give all zombies one free move after noise is produced but sometimes zombies are so far it didn't feel right.

We also play as Thomas described for Reorganize and trade, one action to sort and trade.
 
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Tomas Uhlir
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1) Noise

Since you already started the "Noise" discussion, I add my point of view and suggestions:

As I stated before, I like the Noise mechanism and I don't want to change it. I just would like to incorporate "Noise" more into the game and give it more significance. Preferably not by adding new rules but more in the details provided with Items, Quests, Skills...

Noise Spawn Zones
Spawn on this Zone only on turns when there is at least one tile on the board with "X" or more Noise (including Survivors).
These are special Zones prescribed by the Quest. "X" is specified in the Quest description but usually it's 3-4. Three works the best in fact.

When the Survivors try to avoid this spawning, there can be only two of them on one tile and at the same time they can't produce any Noise token on that tile. When they try to crush through the door, they often have to retreat from the tile in front of the door. With only two Noise "restriction" it's quite challenging to deal with Zombie splitting. To avoid it, there can be only one tile with 2 Noise and the rest of the tiles should have only 1 Noise.

Noise Abomination
Special Abomination (We usually use Abominarat figure.) has that many activations as is the biggest amount of Noise on a single tile.

With this fellow the Survivors should try to keep the Noise level down. But they can even use it in their own advantage in case they would like to lure this Abomination away.

Incorporating into Items and Skills
I am working on a new Item deck right now. So there should be room for some "Noise" changes. But instead of just producing Noise for using the cards, I would like to use the Noise in some more interesting ways.

A few examples:
- Plate Armor - When you use it, your figure is considered as 2 Noise tokens instead of one.
- Some Item, which works only as long as you don't produce any Noise.
- Companion (a Dog for example), who can produce Noise and therefore lure the Zombies away.
- Silent (Skill) - The Survivor is not considered a Noise.

Incorporating into Quests
The Quests itself can give the Noise a great significance. A few ideas:

- There can be some events that happen when there is a specified amount of Noise on one tile or in some area.
- The Noise tokens can be accumulated and at one time something happens according to the accumulated amount.
- The Survivors try to rescue some innocent villagers who wait somewhere on the other end of the board. But there's a catch, they also produce Noise. So the Survivors have to produce a greater Noise to lure the Zombies away from them.
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daniel bullen
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NOISE

If you want Noise to be more of a factor, how about this:

At the end of each round, instead of removing all Noise tokens, you only remove 1 token from each zone.

The effect would be that a zone where a lot of noise was made (multiple door bashings, magic events etc) remains more attractive to zombies.

It would also provide a strong incentive for PCs to get away from there quickly, while it continues to draw zombies until the noise effect fades or a new noise gets their attention.
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Tomas Uhlir
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d3nial wrote:
NOISE
At the end of each round, instead of removing all Noise tokens, you only remove 1 token from each zone.


Great idea. I really like this one.
Most of my ideas forces the Survivors to make less Noise. But this one could be used the other way.

Still it needs some testing. I am a bit afraid whether it's not too strong. This way you can make some really big noise (6 tokens with two heroes) and then run away and you have got rid of the Zombies for some 2-3 turns.

Btw, what happens when the biggest Noise is on an empty tile and the Zombies arrive there? Do they just stop on the tile? Or do they continue to the second biggest Noise? This situation can happen even without your rule.
 
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Tomas Uhlir
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3) Searching

I would like to give the Survivors some motivation to search in a different places and I would do it in the following way:

Rarity
Each Item now has a Rarity. This number tells you how common the Item is and what could be the probability of it appearing in the game.

When you open a new building, you Spawn Zombies as usually and on top of that you put one Search Counter face up in every room.
Searching in a room depends on the Search Counter:

Search Counter face up

- Draw 2 Item cards and take the more rare of them. (Discard the other one.)
- Turn the Search Counter face down.

Search Counter face down

- Draw 2 Item cards and take the less rare of them. (Discard the other one.)
- Remove the Search Counter.

without a Search Counter

- Draw 3 Item cards and take the least rare of them.

This way the Survivors go for every room that hasn't been searched yet because they have the best chance of finding the rare and strong items there. On the other hand, searching in a room without a Search Counter probably wouldn't give you much and it's quite risky. (Aaahh!! card should have a low Rarity)

I am working on a new deck of Item cards right now to add the Rarity on every card. When I am already changing the cards, I would like to rework the deck completely (changing the stats and effects, adding new types of cards...), so it takes some time.
 
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Tomas Uhlir
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5) Items

I understand that the designers of Zombicide wanted to simplify the game for the a wider audience. So the Items are quite straightforward and very similar. (The Spells are just loud Ranged attacks for example...)

"Dual weapons" rule is a bit strange (used probably for it's simplicity). But it's not even used much. Usually you use two Short Swords together at some point, sometimes two Hammers and rarely different weapons (Since there are mostly only 2 of them in the whole deck.).

Ranged weapons (and Spells) are often much more efficient (and safe) than melee. Short Sword (4+) x Short Bow (3+) seams to be a bit weird. You can see the effect when comparing the experience gained between a character with Sword and a one with a Bow. You'll see that the one with a Bow is often progressing much faster. (Maybe it comes from the original Zombicide, because there it makes more sense. A Gun would be stronger then a knife for sure...)

So what I would like to change:


Remove the "Dual Weapons"

Still I would like to have the option to use two weapons together or to use them two-handed.
So now I have weapons that gives you some bonus when you use them together with another weapon, weapons that can be used either one-handed or two-handed with some bonus and usual two-handed weapons.
I have also reworked the Shield that is now even more interesting option for your second hand.



"Weaker" and more specialized Ranged weapons

I have weakened the Ranged weapons in general. I also distinguish between Bows and Crossbows. The Bows have more rolls but they are not that precise. The Crossbows have few (mostly one) rolls but can be really precise. They also take some time to reload.
Since the ranged weapons have now a very few rolls, I changed also the Arrows and Bolts. They now give you +1 die instead of a reroll.
So with the right combination the ranged weapons can be still very deadly.



"Stronger" and more versatile Spells

When you play a Spell, you take a Mana Counter. When you already have it, you take a Wound instead. You discard the Mana Counter at the start of the Survivor's turn.

Spells are no longer "Dual", but instead when you play a Spell and you have another one in the other hand, you can use its Supporting Bonus.


This way you mostly play only one Spell each turn, but the Spells are generally a bit stronger and give you definitely more options how to combine them to get the effect you need at that point.

So for an example, when you have Mana Blast in one hand and a Lightning Bolt in the other, you can play them in two different ways. You can play it either as a "Precise" Mana Blast (1 roll, 4+, you can ignore priority) or a "Mana" Lightning Bolt (1 roll, 4+, on up to three tiles in a straight line, you don't take the Mana Counter so you can play it any number of times without taking Wounds).

New types of Items

I would like to see in a game thinks like potions, companions, artifacts, new effects and abilities and other interesting stuff...
Btw, Stun works like this: When you stun an opponent you lay down his miniature and he have to spend his next action to stand up before he can do anything else. Also the laying opponent doesn't cost you an extra action to leave the tile.
So with a club, when you roll 3 or 4, you stun your opponent and if you roll 5 or 6 you do him also one wound. It's an interesting way how to deal with the Fatties. You can't kill them but you can stun them and escape or at least keep them harmless for one round.



"Richer" Items

I would like to have Items with more options what to do with them, Items with a drawback or a condition to use it, Items with the effects that can be used in many possible ways...

For example Food: You can have different types of it. Each of it could give you 1 EXP plus some other small benefit (specific extra action, heal 1 wound, +1 die or +1 to die roll, ...)


I have a few other ideas in my head, but I have to think them out at first. If you have a suggestion what else would you like to see in a game, please share.

Be aware that the used images are not mine. I took them from all over the internet and used them only for illustration purposes. If there is someone with the artistic skills willing to make some graphics, it would be wonderful. Otherwise I am not sure I would be able to share the cards with you.
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Joel Carr
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I thought about adding X item cards to each room... and then that is it for searching that location. Item/room and item distribution(rarity/type) can be set as desired.
 
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Mike
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uhlik wrote:
d3nial wrote:
NOISE
At the end of each round, instead of removing all Noise tokens, you only remove 1 token from each zone.


Great idea. I really like this one.
Most of my ideas forces the Survivors to make less Noise. But this one could be used the other way.

Still it needs some testing. I am a bit afraid whether it's not too strong. This way you can make some really big noise (6 tokens with two heroes) and then run away and you have got rid of the Zombies for some 2-3 turns.

Btw, what happens when the biggest Noise is on an empty tile and the Zombies arrive there? Do they just stop on the tile? Or do they continue to the second biggest Noise? This situation can happen even without your rule.


So the players could lead the zombies around at a safe distance away. Making the game too easy. If you did this 1 noise per zone removal you'd have to make it scenario specific or put a penalty like the zombies get to the new zone and stay there, if there's a new zone with noise equal to or greater than the zone they are in, split the zombies, and by that I mean place double the number of current zombies and half of them go to the new source of noise. ?
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Tomas Uhlir
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B Wumpus wrote:
I thought about adding X item cards to each room... and then that is it for searching that location. Item/room and item distribution(rarity/type) can be set as desired.


Yeah, it could work as well. But I wanted something easy and elegant to implement (without many tokens or cards laying on the board).

It may be even simulated with my Rarity suggestion. There can be some "Empty Room" cards with the lowest Rarity, meaning you can't search in that room any more. You would draw this card eventually (quite quickly in case you draw 3 cards per Search)...
 
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Tomas Uhlir
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1) Noise + 6) Faster ending + 7) More maneuvering

Instead of changing the rules, the best way how to achieve those objectives is to design specific Quests that support them.

Burn that Troll!
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1660430/custom-quest-burn-tr...

Is there a Cure?
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1669180/custom-quest-there-c...




I designed those two Quests to get the most out of the Noise mechanics and to incorporate more maneuvering. They should be shorter than official Quests too.

Each of them explores the Noise mechanics from a different angle. In "Burn that Troll!" you try to stay quiet (2 Noise per tile at most) while in "Is there a Cure?" you have to produce a lot of Noise at the right time and in a right place.

Both of them require a precise timing and positioning and they behave more like a puzzle than an usual Quest.

Feel free to try them.
 
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Christophe Muller de Schongor
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IMHO, and only:
I like the change of rule if they are either put as a quest special rule, or some twists put on a card (like the noisy armour)
I strongly disagree with any houseruling which want to overrule existant rules, even more when it tries to rpg the game. "simulationism" I call it, and I don't like it.
 
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Tomas Uhlir
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XofMdS wrote:
IMHO, and only:
I like the change of rule if they are either put as a quest special rule, or some twists put on a card (like the noisy armour)
I strongly disagree with any houseruling which want to overrule existant rules, even more when it tries to rpg the game. "simulationism" I call it, and I don't like it.

I agree completely. The less, the rules the better. The only exception are the cards. "Rules" presented in a way of a text on cards are more acceptable.

The changes that I propose are not because of "simultanism" reasons but to enrich the gameplay, make it more balanced and bring more interesting decisions to the game.

The biggest change would be the new item deck for sure. I am still not sure about some of the concepts so that's why I posted them here. Still, making a completely new deck is a great opportunity to balance some old cards as well.

What concepts you don't like exactly?

"Rarity" is propably the biggest change and a main reason for a whole new item deck.

Balancing and changing the old weapons is only a metter of changing the card texts.

Dismissing the Dual Weapons is a big change as well and to be honest I am not sure about this one. I just don't like this mechanism from the original rules because it has quite a small impact for what it is and therefore I see it unnecessary.
Instead, I would like to offer more possibilities for combinig weapons and more ways how to use them (one or two handed for example).

"Supporting Spells effects" is an attempt to distinguish them from the Ranged Weapons, to make them unique in some way.
 
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Christophe Muller de Schongor
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Changing the cards, no matter the amount of change, is way out of (my) line.
"You" have to work Inside the existing boundaries. Or it is a whole new game, and there must be another one around that suits such needs.

In fact, all ideas of yours are good (rarities, etc), but they are not implemented in the game in the first place.

The only attempt that was made (Modern) was a campaign mode giving "points" to every item, in order to know if you might keep it from one game to another.
That being said, this game doesn't support well any realistic campaign, because the whole mechanism devellop into the slow growing of zombie pressure against the slow level-up of your team.
Starting either upper bring everything down.

Long story short: you're in for much much work, if you finish it someday. Good luck!
(Reminds me of The Nightmare project, who grew so big it never saw daylight)
 
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Nick
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I like some of the ideas, but adding complexity to this game would be a no go for me, even if that would make it better. The noise system for exemple. But implementing these changes into a custom quest was a very smart move.

That said, the part about the revamped item deck (+ the rarity system as an optional rule) is very interesting, and the few items you showed in this thread, especially the spells (love the art choice), look very promising.
Have you managed to make some progress on this part?
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Jan Frey
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Keep it up!
I completely agree with your initial analysis and I do really like your ideas so far. For me, games like zombicide are one big sandbox - so I totally agree with the urge to change/mod the game to your liking. And if these changes help to make a good game even better, there is no rule or core mechanic that must not be touched.

I do know the problem of scope - the need to balance increases exponential with the number of changes. And I had more than one mod-project "fail" because I wanted too much. Having said that - I think you are still on the right track:

My thoughts on your work so far.

1.) Silence: Great! We had so many different ideas so far (increasing danger-level, zombies only move if loud enough, etc.). But none of them were ever really that good & and simple to implement. I would love to see this approach more often in quests to come.

2.) Trading: I only really NEED the 2nd rule - but this is a must.

3.) Searching: As you said, it should be changed. If you play with more cautious players, it can kill your game, if part of your group just wouldn´t leave the first house before they found their "Greathammer Of Total Annihilation". However, I would love to come up with a rule that wouldn´t make all existing cards obsolete.
We do two things: first, we split the equipment deck into "normal" and "good stuff" (mostly wulfsburg stuff). The scenario determins which is found where (an easy fix is to allow a "good find" with every objective). Secondly, we increase the search-cost (actions) each time a room is searched.

4.) I am not too emotional about it, either way.

5.) The direction is absolutely right: more rewarding close combat, nerfing bow/crossbow just a little, more versatile magic effects. If you continue your fantastic work on the alternate cardset, please let me know!!! Until then we might need an easy adjustment of rules which points in the right direction...

6. and 7.) Should be a result of the above...

Keep up the great work - is much appreciated!



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Tomas Uhlir
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Hi Jan,

I have an almost whole new item deck prototype already. But I still have to distribute the rarity numbers and I am not satisfied with a few other things as well...

If you would like to have a look, HERE is the current version.

But to be honest I don't have much time for Zombicide at the moment. I work on two other boardgames right now. One of them has been designed for 2017 9-Card Nanogame PnP Design Contest and is now ready for playtesting. It's called FIRST SNOW if you would be interested.

But I would like to come back to Zombicide eventually. If you would have any comments to the cards or any other ideas please let me know.
 
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Dave Greene

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I really like what you are doing. I have already borrowed some of the concepts that you have created in making my own deck. One example is the bolts and arrows that you created. I have put these into my own deck (taking out one of the Plenty of arrows and bolts for both) and I changed their slotting so they must be used in the body slot. It's a trade off that you can get that extra die but you have to use the slot to do so.

I also slotted in the hammer, bastard sword (calling it and Elvin Longsword - I made it where you only need 1 hand but can do the substitution for 2 damage), short sword, long bow and short bow.

I am more of a minimalist when it comes to the weapons and I think I am aligned with what you are doing. I'm not as big on the magic weapons that do massive damage. It seems in our games, once one person finds those, it eventually becomes a race to get to the appropriate level to use them and then one or two players end up running the board. In the olde days pre Wulfsburg the game seemed much more reliant on cooperative player strategy to win as you didn't have the end all weapons. Your approach seems to go back to this concept for me.

When you get time, keep it up!
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Tomas Uhlir
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Thanks Dave,

you have some really nice ideas out there. I like the use of the body slot for some other stuff (especially arrows and bolts). I should incorporate it more into the new item deck.

I don't really like the Wulfsburg direction and we usually play without the magic stuff. If you prefer it this way definitely try those two Quests and let me know how it went.

Burn that Troll!
Is there a Cure?
 
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Maik Gödecke
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Wow, you are having lots of great ideas.

But one which is totally outstanding for me is the new item deck.
I would love to see it completed. It enriches the game in a pretty nice
way. I especially love what you did with the spells. It is pretty clever
and nonetheless easy system which makes them feel different to the other weapons. Also putting in something like wielding a weapon with 2 hands is a great idea.

I hope you find some time to finalize this project of yours because I would be pretty happy to use these great and clever ideas of yours.
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daniel bullen
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CMON should take note of this.

An "Advanced Zombiecide" expansion, primarily focused on the item deck would be excellent. This would allow them to largely maintain the core rules, but provide many overrides, exceptions & enhancements.
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Daniel Palma
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Hey I was wondering if you were ever able to complete this reimagining of zombicide. I think a lot of your ideas are really great.
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Tomas Uhlir
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bulletdan wrote:
Hey I was wondering if you were ever able to complete this reimagining of zombicide. I think a lot of your ideas are really great.

Thanks. Too many other board game projects, I guess...

But at least I would like to wait for the new Season 2 to come out to be sure I don't work on something duplicit or useless.

Feel free to use any of the ideas at the meantime.
 
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