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Subject: Early Design Question: Zombie Theme? rss

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Daniel Brown
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I am in the very early stages of designing my first game. I am working on a strategy game about Zombie survival. I really feel that I need a strong theme to drive the mechanics and play of the game. I have gone with a spin on zombie survival. Basically you are a leader of a survival team. Your character has certain traits. You draw several members of your team and as you play add to this team. Different members will have different small abilities. There will also be items you can find in the game map that will aid the fighting of zombies.

Players begin on the border of the map and the goal is to reach the center, or safe zone. It becomes more and more difficult and as you approach. Scoring is done a combination of things. Number of team members, completion of an antidote, number of kills etc. creating a number of ways to win.

My question is this: Is the zombie theme overkilled? Is there still a legitimate interest in that theme or should I think about a new theme? What do you all think? I would enjoy any feedback you have and or opening further dialogue about this idea!

Thanks!

-Dan
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Kai Bettzieche
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Why Zombies?

(And, yes, they are overdone ..)

If you pit the humans versus, say, Velociraptors, you would have pretty much the same set up, Hunted versus Hunters, but a not so much used theme ..



Kind regards,
Kai
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Michael J
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I thought the zombie theme was overkilled years ago. But people still seem to love it and buy the games. So you might be ok. Especially if you have new ideas or new mechanics to add to the genre.
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Jeff Saxton
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After all, gas can is my middle name. Eh, not really.
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Zombies are dead, dead, dead. Besides being overdone, they are silly to boot. They aren't eternal, within a few weeks they'd have rotted and you could start rebuilding civilization.
 
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Jerbear
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No enough Zombies!

Edit! - That is funny. I meant NOT ENOUGH ZOMBIES!!! There may be a lot of zombie games, but there aren't enough GOOD zombie games.

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Daniel Brown
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My wife had to do a board game design back in college for an art class. We recently dug the game out and tried to play it. Thats when I decided to take over and basically redesign the entire thing. It had a zombie theme from years ago and I sort of just let that inspire alot of the mechanics of the game.

Because of the theme really inspiring alot, I'm hesitant to change the theme entirely. But I suppose I need to get the game to a place where it can be play tested to determine if I even have something fun or new before I too seriously consider the theme.

thanks for your input!
 
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Kirk K

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Any popular theme can be considered "overdone". You know what theme is overdone, in my opinion? Trains. Enough trains already.

That said, I'm sure a zombie theme will get a lot of eye rolls and "Great, another zombie game" comments, but if it's a good game, people will play it. If the zombie theme meshes with your mechanics better than anything else you can come up with, stick with it.
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John "Omega" Williams
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What about some other monster than zombies?

Robots? Spiders? Skeletons? Weasels?

The main problem is that the market is absolutely oversaturated with zombie games and its going to make potential customers pass on a buy no matter the games quality. Others will never even give it a second glance as they are just that tired of the theme.

And even if your game is great the zombie theme can and will cause it to be lost in the morass of average to poor games.
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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If you are going to do a zombie game, be aware of a few things:

There are a lot of zombie games out there, so standing out is harder.
A good number of potential buyers may pass because they don't like zombies (based on the fact that it's the #1 'do not want' in the Secret Santa Print and Play wishlists.)

I won't say 'don't do zombies', because that would be silly. If do go with zombies, make the mechanics fit the theme so tightly it couldn't possibly work with anything else. Go big or go home.
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Daniel Brown
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Thanks for the input guys! It really is helpful. I'm thinking I could get a little more creative with the theme and go a different direction.

I am just wanting to get through the process once as this is my first game design. Definitely have other ideas I am more excited about.
 
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Sylvio Z
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schattentanz wrote:
Why Zombies?

(And, yes, they are overdone ..)

If you pit the humans versus, say, Velociraptors, you would have pretty much the same set up, Hunted versus Hunters, but a not so much used theme ..



Kind regards,
Kai


Yes, and i would say more, Velociraptors should be the new zombies.

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John "Omega" Williams
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Sylvioze wrote:

Yes, and i would say more, Velociraptors should be the new zombies.



Velociweasels! wow
 
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Bill Cook
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Zombie games are "overdone" because people keep buying lots and lots of zombie games.

Design the game you want to make. Design the game you want to play. If you exclude zombies because you think the market won't like it (or include them just because you think the market will like it) you won't make the best game you can.
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Bill Cook
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Mack_me_Bucko wrote:
Zombies are dead, dead, dead.


Technically, shouldn't that be "undead"?
 
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If you, or anyone else, makes a zombie game I will definitely check it out. I like zombies and I DON'T think they have been overdone. I also don't get on websites and DEMAND that the world stop making games of themes that I don't like or think are overdone. Instead I think, to each their own, and move on.

But since we are on the subject of crying and whining and pissing in our beers, the two themes that I think are overdone are World War 2 and Star Wars. I will guarantee you that for every zombie game out there I can find 10-20 World War 2 games. But just because I'm not interested in them doesn't mean I'm going to DEMAND that people stop making them like I have seen over the years when it comes to zombie games or "generic fantasy" games.

Make the game you want to make and if it's good, zombies and all, I'll check it out.
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Dustin Culbertson
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I don’t think a theme can be “overdone”. Trading in the Mediterranean, High Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Zombies, Vikings... Themes are used over and over again because people enjoy them. And if a game evokes a feeling through a great combo of theme and mechanics then it deserves to be made, no matter what the theme is.
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Daniel Brown
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You all have me thinking on new themes! Maybe zombies aren't necessary, and not just because you advised against it.

Maybe, rabies infected wildlife. So instead of fighting hoardes of zombies, herds of different wildlife, a pack of bunnies or deer! That could be fun!
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George Campbell
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Could always do a "fresh" version of zombies... moldy food. The spores are spreading!

Rabies is also an interesting take on it, but violence against animals (even rabies-infected ones that will certainly die of the disease) may be a hard sell for some folks.

Violence against bread, however...
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Bill Cook
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I repeat my suggestion that you should build the game you want and not worry about other people. That said...

I'd much rather play a game about killing zombiees than about killing bunnies.
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Kirk K

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DanielBrown wrote:

You all have me thinking on new themes! Maybe zombies aren't necessary, and not just because you advised against it.

Maybe, rabies infected wildlife. So instead of fighting hoardes of zombies, herds of different wildlife, a pack of bunnies or deer! That could be fun!


No matter what you named that game, people would just call it "Zombie Bunnies".
 
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Dustin Culbertson
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EMBison wrote:
I’d much rather play a game about killing zombiees than about killing bunnies.

Killing zombie bunnies!?!? Where do I sign?
 
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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I don't think zombie animals have been done before, or at least not very often. That's certainly a more interesting twist than just straight ol' boring raaa-brainzz-shuffling-undead-humans.

I wonder, what would zombie bunnies hunger for...?
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Dustin Culbertson
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Fire_Forever wrote:
I don't think zombie animals have been done before, or at least not very often. That's certainly a more interesting twist than just straight ol' boring raaa-brainzz-shuffling-undead-humans.

I wonder, what would zombie bunnies hunger for...?

Carrot Brains!

You play a rag-tag group of surviving carrots holding off the zombie bunny apocalypse...
 
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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DanielBrown wrote:
Players begin on the border of the map and the goal is to reach the center, or safe zone. It becomes more and more difficult and as you approach.


Thematically, why is the safe zone next to the most dangerous part of the map?
 
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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Santiago wrote:
DanielBrown wrote:
Players begin on the border of the map and the goal is to reach the center, or safe zone. It becomes more and more difficult and as you approach.


Thematically, why is the safe zone next to the most dangerous part of the map?


Presumably because the survivors are gathered in a fortified location, and that's attracting a horde of walking dead, if we go by the standard zombie tropes.
 
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