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Subject: Impossible! rss

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Joseph LaClair
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Wow! I was really looking forward to playing this, especially after all the good comments and session reports I read on here. But I'm here to tell you the game is broken and impossible to win.
I really like some of the questions put to the designer, for instance, "If you are on a Zombie entrance {or spawn spot} does that stop zombies from appearing there. Response! " That's a good question, although it has never happened to us, I suppose it can, we just try to stay away from them.
Has this guy played his own game? You have to start on the zombie entrance spaces and if you have 6 players there is no way you have moved everyone before zombies are spawned. Which means at least two or three of you are going to have to fight a zombie before you even get your first turn.
Every time a card spawns a zombie it actually spawns 9. There are 32 cards in the act one deck, of those, 20 have the spawn symbol so you will essentially be spawnning more than once every other turn. That is a potential 180 zombies. That's not counting the cards that also says put 10 around the borders, a zombie spawns at the barricade, a zombie appears beside you or the zombies that appear because of bad search rolls. There is actually a potential for more than 200 zombies in the first half of the game. In all there is a potential for more than 450 zombies during the course of the game. Tell me any one has survived till the dawn card. It' not possible.
Your only chance is to find the vehicle and get off the board and fast. But I submit to you that is an impossibility using the rules as they are. Unless you get extemely lucky and find a gun or chainsaw on every roll you stand no chance to kill the zombies. There are only 4 ammo cards in each act out of 32. That's a potential 24 bullets against a potential 200 + zombies. Usually it is not the same player who finds the gun that finds the ammo so you have to get together to exchange items. That takes a couple of turns and by the time you manage to hook up you are overrun with zombies. Even if you manage to eventually find a gun it is not unusual to literally be surounded by zombies, your lucky if you kill 6. If you hand to hand them you have to subtract from 1 to 32 from your d6 roll. Now 32 is a rarity but 4 is not and that essentially cancels out any weapon you might have, a few low rolls and you are in a world of hurt, if you get grabbed there is a good chance you'll lose that weapon to boot.
Sometimes you can get lucky enough to find a hammer, which also lets you build barricades but during our games the zombies usually end up in the rooms before you can get all the windows boarded up.
This game has a lot of potential, I love all the things you are able to do it's just you usually do not have time to do them before you are dead. With some tweaking, which I am planning to do, this could be a good game. As it is I find it just painful.
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Rob Robinson
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Quote:
Has this guy played his own game? You have to start on the zombie entrance spaces and if you have 6 players there is no way you have moved everyone before zombies are spawned. Which means at least two or three of you are going to have to fight a zombie before you even get your first turn.


You can move outside of your turn using a 'do it now' - rather than just sit there waiting for your turn to come around. This way you can move away from the spawn points before the zombies even appear: Rulebook Page 9.

Quote:
Tell me any one has survived till the dawn card. It' not possible. Your only chance is to find the vehicle and get off the board and fast.


Our group have survived at least a dozen times, but never by vehicle. Sometimes the entire group has survived. Teamwork.

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If you hand to hand them you have to subtract from 1 to 32 from your d6 roll. Now 32 is a rarity but 4 is not and that essentially cancels out any weapon you might have, a few low rolls and you are in a world of hurt


Don't forget to +1 if the power is on, +1 for any Human player(s) adjacent to the fight, combined with your weapon modifier. Also remember most of the weapons you find lying around can be thrown as well. Just don't stand there until the Zombies are upon you; keep out of reach. You can also build 1-2 small fires at the end of every turn. This usually keeps them at bay. Or try and make molotovs and throw them outside. These are pretty lethal.

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Sometimes you can get lucky enough to find a hammer, which also lets you build barricades but during our games the zombies usually end up in the rooms before you can get all the windows boarded up.


Yes try and find the rooms with any hammers ASAP.

If you find the Zeds are already inside by this point, then try boarding them in. Seeing as most areas of the building have more than one internal door to stop them - barricade, retreat, regroup. Or clear the area and re-barricade. Some of the containers allow a massive blast radius which (off the top of my head) kill a fair amount of Zombies in one go.
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Matthew LaClair
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Having been part of the session upon which this review was based, I can say that we did play the game slightly wrong, both in terms of strategy and rules. However, I have to agree with jphien's general point that this game as it exists now isn't very good.

First of all, the rulebook is horrible. For instance, when you find a gun, is it loaded or empty? I've gone over the entire rulebook several times and can't find an answer. It says in Scenario #1 that if a character starts the game with a gun it's empty, but does that apply for other scenarios as well? Why isn't this in the rules anywhere? And how many bullets do you get when you draw an ammo card? The gard says you get ammo "by g". What the $&%^ is that supposed to mean? Those are just a couple of the many loopholes found in the rules, some have been addressed by the designer, others haven't. Maybe if he'd focused more on writing a coherent set of rules than trying to shove as many Shaun of the Dead references into the "survival guide" as possible, this'd be a bit more playable.

The real problem is that the rules just can't handle the open-endedness on offer. Moving the zombies is a pain as has been mentioned several times. If you're playing competitively as it would seem you're supposed to do, the movement of every single zed matters. It's minor thing, but it's a lot of counting and it bogs the game down. The ability to take actions out of turn is cool, but it can seriously break down the flow of the game as the turn sequence becomes pretty much irrelevant. Toward the end of our session, one member of our group said "There's no game here!", and I couldn't have said it better myself.

That's too bad, too, because there is the potential for a good, maybe even great game in DoN. It captures the feel of B-grade zombie flicks better than any game I've seen, including the hugely over-rated Last Night on Earth. Maybe if the publishing deal hadn't fallen through, we'd have a leaner, tighter game and a real contender for "best zombie game EVAR". As it is, this one's more trouble than it's worth.
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Rob Robinson
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For instance, when you find a gun, is it loaded or empty? I've gone over the entire rulebook several times and can't find an answer. It says in Scenario #1 that if a character starts the game with a gun it's empty, but does that apply for other scenarios as well?


Page 4 of the rulebook: Use a pen or pencil to mark energy (6) and ammo (0).

Other Scenarios tell you whether or not you carry any ammo over.

The section in Scenario 2 Setting Up The Board says "if You get a firearm you get 6 ammo". Whereas scenario 3 says "they may keep only one item of equipment and any ammo they had... If you get a firearm you get 6 ammo.

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And how many bullets do you get when you draw an ammo card? The gard says you get ammo "by g". What the $&%^ is that supposed to mean?


The Card reads, 'Increase your ammo score by 6'. It's a number 6 not a letter G.



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Thibault Bloch
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Actually, as Rob points it out, the rulebook contains answers for almost any questions. It is very cleverly written (and with a good sense of humor imho), and it manages to put a large number of rules in very few words and in a very readable fashion. However, every line, every word has its importance, so it's very easy to overlook a rule. You simply have to trust Simon - the designer - and be confident that you can find your answer in the rulebook. Then search again and voilĂ .

I hope the comprehensive FAQ I compiled (currently pending moderation) will show up soon in the files list. It would have answered all your questions and helped you with your first game, and I think it is easier to refer to it while playing rather than to the rulebook for the reason mentionned above. It is divided into sections covering the various situations that may occur.

And keep in mind that the more people playing, the deadlier the zombies (they move much more often, hence the numerous risky fights). Rush for the house !

On a side note, even though the game allows you to play competively, I am not sure it is meant to be played that way.
1. the PvP system is not really appropriate (you might check the suggestion I submitted in the 'Variants' section regarding PvP)
2. As you noticed, the game is hard if you play against each other. Try some teamwork and the game will feel much more consistent. At the end of the game however, it might become every man for himself, so watch your mates.


Regards,
Thibault
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Matthew LaClair
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I guess not seeing the 6 on the cards was my own stupidity, but it sure does look like a G. And yes, if you read absolutely every sentence in the rules, you should be able to "fill in the blanks", it still isn't definitive on many things.

Above all else a good rulebook should be easily referenced, I shouldn't have to go back and scan over the entire thing in order to find a certain rule. It should also be organized well. The DoN rulebook is neither of those things. The space that was wasted with phony contact numbers and useless flavor text should have been used for some examples of play or some kind of player aid. I'm all for funny or atmospheric rulebooks (like Blood Bowl), but not at the expense of its primary function.

Also, if the game wasn't ultimately supposed to be competitive, there'd be no point to running away while your mate gets eaten by zombies, attacking him, or even keeping track of victory points. It also would take away probably the coolest aspect of the game, the gradual breakdown of your alliance as the night draws on. I love the ideas behind the game, and I could even put up with the excessive fiddliness of DoN if it didn't feel so half-finished and poorly-playtested.
 
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Thibault Bloch
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mattlaclair wrote:
I guess not seeing the 6 on the cards was my own stupidity, but it sure does look like a G. And yes, if you read absolutely every sentence in the rules, you should be able to "fill in the blanks", it still isn't definitive on many things.
Above all else a good rulebook should be easily referenced, I shouldn't have to go back and scan over the entire thing in order to find a certain rule. It should also be organized well.


I definitely agree with you. But still I can't help myself finding the rulebook brilliant. A refreshing change, and at least it does not assume we're stupid. I wouldn't change anything, honestly. Simply holding it urges me to play a zombie game ! I like the fluff like the emergency phone number, etc. Of course an example of play would help, but it would detract from the theme. I find this rulebook much more readable and enjoyable than most of the rulebooks that came with recent theme-heavy games (Battlelore, Descent, Arkham Horror, Last Night on Earth, ...). And yes, I also find it much more easy to use. Much shorter, no 3 pages long examples showing you the most basic thing with just a hint on the most complex ones, clear ruling, no useless lines or reminders. Every word is meaningful here (appart from the obvious flavoring).
Last but not least, take a bunch of gamers new to the game, read them the rulebook:
1. They won't get bored before the end, because a. it is very short -
b. everything is informative - c. it is funny
2. They will instantly be dragged into the theme. No abstraction in the rulebook, direct immersion.


mattlaclair wrote:
Also, if the game wasn't ultimately supposed to be competitive, there'd be no point to running away while your mate gets eaten by zombies, attacking him, or even keeping track of victory points. It also would take away probably the coolest aspect of the game, the gradual breakdown of your alliance as the night draws on.


I think this gradual breakdown is precisely what the game system helps you do: as you noticed, there is no interest in playing competitively at the beginning, because the zombies would get a significant avantage and you wouldn't get enough time to plan tactics or strategies. But when the game evolves, you then have a chance to stand out, get some victory points, etc. Which can mean betrayal, occasionnal backstabbing, temporary alliances.
Moreover, in my point of view the interest of the game is the ability to survive until dawn against an insanely growing horde of zombies. If that means sacrificing your buddies, so be it.
I think it succeeds very nicely, contrary to Last Night on Earth for example which does not feel like a zombie invasion thing.
Even though DoN has points-based objectives, it shouldn't be seen as a eurogame with victory points to collect. If I remember well, the designer envision it as a crossover between a miniature game and a light rpg, which is close enough to my feeling. Much freedom, much simplicity, so close to its theme with real gameplay mechanics (instead of bizarre rules or cards or exceptions made because of a theme). Much of the mechanics are brilliant (how the searches are handled, combat, actions/free actions system...).

All in all, I like it, you don't. To everyone his tastes, but I'd appreciate discussing your points further because I don't really get them.

Regards,
Thibault
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Aaron Gelb
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The genius of the game lays in the rules allowing open-endedness.

Sure, some things take a double read (not often) or common sense, and yes, the 6 does look like a "G", but the rules are clever and well written IMO.

The game is meant to be cooperative, but competitive like the way Gimli and the Elf were competitive in Lord of the Rings...both fighting on the same side but one-upping each other by trying to kill more Orcs than the other! The goal is to survive. But the person that kills the most or does the most should be acknowledged, as he might be in real life. Everyone who survives wins. Its a team game!

I have so much fun finding bullets and trying to get to my buddy to let him load up his gun!

And if your friend is being a jerk or a coward, knock him on his head and take his stuff!

But heres the key...Simon wanted the game to be very hard...like would be surviving a real Zombie attack! Not enough bullets, household items as weapons, and the real desperate feeling of "we're not gonna make it!"

We survive about half the time we play.

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