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Subject: Zombies Left 4 Dead Variant rss

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Justin Bost
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This is my variant of Zombies!!! based on Valve's Left 4 Dead video game. This is my first draft of a work in progress so please leave me constructive criticism on anything you think I could change.

There are a couple of ideas behind my variant:

* Teamwork - Stick together and help each other out because all 4 survivors need to make it to the helipad to win.

* Fast paced - There is an infinite number of zombies, so it's a race against time. I've taken out the event cards and anything else I thought would bog down the action.

* Scrounging - No more health pick ups around the map or special weapon cards. Use what you have wisely.

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Here are some things I'm unsure about and if you have any ideas, please let me know:

*I can't find a good use for the event cards, so I just took them out. I feel the weapons cards are a waste of time. Holding onto those cards is a pain and is not worth the effort. Also a lot of cards dealt with screwing the other players over, which is not what this variant is about. Can anyone think of a good use for them or is it okay to leave them out?

*The zombie movement roll moves that many zombies that many spaces (except 6 which spawns a special zombie). Do you think that's too harsh? 5 zombies could move 5 spaces. On the other hand, 1 zombie might move 1 space.

*I've replaced all the life token pickups in the game with bullet tokens. At safe houses, survivors pick up health packs to use when they wish to restore up to 3 life points. My thinking is that as long as the survivors have ammo, they can stay alive by raising combat rolls, but I haven't tried this yet so I'm not sure if it will be ridiculously impossible or not.

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So here's my rule-set. It's a complete re-write of the existing rules.

ZOMBIES!!!

Left 4 Dead Variant
Compiled by Justin Bost
Based on several other variants,
the original Zombies!!! rules,
and the Valve's Left 4 Dead video game.

Object of the Game:
Reach the center square of the "Helipad" tile, kill the zombies there and help all survivors escape the advancing zombie horde. All survivors must make it to the center space to end the game. If all survivors are trapped, the game is lost.

Game Setup:
Remove the "Town Square" and "Helipad" cards from the map deck. Place the "Town Square" card in the center of the table with a pawn for each survivor on the center square. Shuffle the rest of the map deck and randomly place the "Helipad" in the bottom third of the deck.

The event deck will not be used.

Each survivor receives 5 life and 3 bullet tokens.

Look through some of your other games and rustle up tokens for 7 Health Packs, 5 Molotov Cocktails, and 3 Pipe Bombs. If you have tokens for 2 Shotguns, 2 Assault Rifles, and 2 Hunting Rifles, that would be super as well.

Turn Sequence Overview:
1. Draw a tile from the map deck and place it on the table.
2. Combat any zombies on your current spece.
3. Move up to the number of spaces indicated by your movement ability. You must stop and combat any zombies you encounter. You may continue your movement after defeating a zombie up to your movement total.
4. After moving, roll a six-sided die. You must move that number of zombies, that many spaces (unless if it's a six, see Zombie Movement section).
5. Play then proceeds clockwise around the table.

Placing Map Tiles:
For the first round of survivor turns (all turns until the first survivor's second turn), draw and place 2 map tiles, each.

Tiles may be rotated in any direction but must be placed so that all roads are connected. You may not block any road with the side of a building.

When played, map cards with "named" buildings (unless it is a safe house, in which case, please consult the Special Map Tiles section) immediately get the number of Zombie (Z) tokens indicated. Add the number of Bullet (B) and Life (L) tokens place that many Bullet tokens on the map card. Tokens and Zombies don't necessarily need to be placed inside the building, but don't make it too easy for yourselves!

When a map tile with an "unnamed" building is played, it comes into play with a number of zombies on it based on the number of points the road leaves the card.

It is possible to place map tiles in such a manner that no further tiles can be played. It is also possible to draw a map tile that can not be played. If either of these occur, draw until you have a usable map tile and shuffle the unusable ones back into the map deck.

Special Map Tiles:
Safe houses are map tiles that the zombies cannot enter and survivors can use to gear up. While in a safe house survivors can switch to any of the listed guns and pick up any of the listed items. Note: There is no limit on the amount of guns available to survivors (that is, any survivor can have any gun, even if another survivor chose it also), but the items are different. Survivors must divide the items among each other, because they will only get as many as are listed.

The following map tiles are safe houses, and the guns and items they contain:

Town Square - Shotguns, 2 Molotov Cocktails, 2 Health Packs.
Police Station - Shotguns, Assault Rifles, 1 Pipe Bombs, 1 Health Pack.
Hospital - Hunting Rifles, 3 Health Packs.
Army Surplus - Assault Rifles, 2 Pipe Bombs.
Gas Station - Hunting Rifles, 3 Molotov Cocktails, 1 Health Pack.

Survivor Movement Rules:
Movement amount is determined by the number of life tokens a survivor has +2. One move = one square.

No diagonal movement is allowed, but survivors may occupy the same space.

Survivors don't have to use all of their movement allowance and can stop at any time. Survivors may only move on to road or named building spaces.

Survivors can enter and exit named buildings any way that can be reached from the road (you don't necessarily need to use the doors).

Any zombies encountered while moving must be fought before movement continues.

If a survivor moves onto a space containing a life or bullet token and no zombie, the token is immediately added to their collection.

Combat Rules:
Any time you begin your turn on the same space as a zombie, or you land on a space occupied by a zombie during movement, combat ensues.

Combat is resolved by rolling 2 six-sided dice. If the result of the red die (survivor die) is higher than the result of the blue die (zombie die), the zombie is killed and put back in the supply pile. If the result of the red die is lower than the result of the blue die, you must either forfeit a life token or spend enought bullet tokens to raise the red die result enough to tie the blue die.

Combat continues until the survivor wins or runs out of life tokens. A survivor can never voluntarily leave combat.

If a survivor is using the shotgun, add +2 to the result of the red die (survivor die) in a combat roll.

If a survivor is using the assault rifle, he/she may reroll the one or both of the dice in a combat roll up to one time per combat roll. For example, the survivor rolls for combat, the red die comes up lower than the blue die and the survivor decides to reroll the red die. The red die, again, comes up lower than the blue die. This signals the end of this combat roll, because the survivor has already rerolled once. The survivor now resolves the rest of this combat roll as normal.

If a survivor is using the hunting rifle, he/she may attack a zombie up to 2 spaces away.

When a survivor runs out of life tokens, he/she is trapped. Movement stops and his pawn is moved to any space inside an already revealed safe house of his/her choice. The trapped survivor must wait until a living survivor comes to that space and rescues him.

At any time a survivor could make a legal move, that survivor may use one of their items.

A Health Pack restores 3 life tokens (but a player may not have more than 5 total life tokens).

A Molotov Cocktail can be thrown up to 4 spaces away. All zombies on that space and the 8 surrounding spaces are engulfed in flame, killed and returned to the supply pile. All survivors on that space and the 8 surrounding spaces, lose 1 life token.

A Pipe Bomb can be thrown up to 4 spaces away. All zombies on that space and the 8 surrounding spaces, and the 16 spaces surrounding the first 8 (still with me?) are lured to the sound, killed, and returned to the supply pile. Any survivors on the space the Pipe Bomb landed, lose one life token.

Zombie Movement Rules:
At the end of a turn, a six-sided die is rolled and that number of zombies is moved that many spaces (unless it's a 6), if possible. Zombies must also be moved toward the player who's turn it is. In some instances, the zombie you chose to move, may not be able to legally move any closer to your pawn. In this case, move the zombie as close as possible.

If a 6 is rolled for zombie movement. Reroll to find out what special zombie comes out. See Special Zombies section.

Zombies may not be moved diagonally.

Each space may have only one zombie on it at a time, ever.

Spaces containing a zombie may also contain a life or bullet token but, if the zombie moves, the token does not.

Special Zombies:
The following rolls correspond to the following special zombies:
1 - Witch
2 - Hunter
3 - Hunter
4 - Boomer
5 - Smoker
6 - Tank

Witch - Place a marker on the space the current survivor is on. All survivors have one round (the end of this survivor's next turn) to get off this space and 8 surrounding spaces. For the rest of the game, if any zombies are combated, any explosives detonated, or any survivors step on any of these 9 spaces, the player that alerted the witch (did one of those things), stops moving and his pawn is moved to any space inside an already revealed safe house of his/her choice. The trapped survivor must wait until a living survivor comes to that space and rescues him.

Hunter - The current player is knocked down and another survivor must get to this space before the player can move again.

Boomer - Count the number of zombies on the 8 spaces surrounding the current survivor. The number is doubled and the zombies are placed on legal spaces as close to that survivor as possible.

Smoker - Find the zombie nearest to current survivor. That survivor is pulled 6 spaces in the direction of the nearest zombie.

Tank - Movement stops for the current survivor and his pawn is moved to any space inside an already revealed safe house of his/her choice. The trapped survivor must wait until a living survivor comes to that space and rescues him.

Additional Rules and Clarifications:
When the "Helipad" tile is turned up, survivors may place it wherever they chose (but it is ultimately the decision of the player who drew it).

Each space may contain a zombie and a life token or a bullet token - never all three.

No player may have more than 5 life tokens at one time.

Survivors may have as many bullet tokens as they can collect.

If a tile is drawn that cannot be legally played, or if it keeps the city from expanding any further, draw until you have a usable map tile and shuffle the unusable ones back into the map deck.
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John O'Haver
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Here is my contribution. I always thought Zombies!!! could be a better game than it is and a decent solitaire game so I've tinkering with it for some time. I've never finished with it because thinking about it when there are just too many real working games to play eats my brains. But here are a couple ideas I liked.

I borrowed this idea from the old SPI Dawn of the Dead game in which every Zombie counter has an unknown combat value. To implement this with the Zombies minis I used white glue to glue a Pirates of the Spanish Main coin to each Zombies base. (see below) The strength distribution is the same for each gender. 7 Ones, 13 Twos, 13 Threes, 11 Fours, 4 Fives and 2 Sixes. Roughly the same distribution as taking the Zombie strengths from Dawn of Dead, dividing by two and rounding up.



I came up with this combat mechanism, too.

Close Combat: In same space combat a player's combat strength is his Health plus 1 d6 plus any die roll modifiers for weapon cards, etc.

The Zombies combat strength is it's Zombie value plus 1 d6.

After seeing the result, the player may spend a life to re-roll his die or spend bullets to raise his total that exceed the Zombie total.

Ranged Combat:
If a player has at least one bullet counter he may attack a Zombie in an adjacent space by paying one bullet before revealing the Zombie Value and rolling 1 d6. If the number rolled is greater than the base Zombie value, the Zombie dies.

If the number is less than or equal to the Zombie Value, the player may spend as many additional Bullet counters as he needs to raise the die roll to exceed the Zombie value or do nothing without additional penalty.

A player's movement allowance is 2x his health.
It costs 1 movement point to enter a road space, two to enter a building or move from one building interior space to another building interior space.

A player does not have to stop upon entering a Zombie occupied space. A player may move into a Zombie occupied space at the normal movement cost of 1 or 2 movement points and may exit that space by paying the normal cost of entry plus the zombie value of the Zombie unit in the space the player is leaving.

A player has a health of 5 so his movement allowance is 10. He spends 1 movement point to enter a space with a Zombie unit. He reveals the Zombie strength to be a SIX. The player has no ammo or cards that give him a +Combat Die Roll modifier. He'd rather not fight so he spends 6 movement points to evade the Zombies in the space and 1 more to enter the empty space on the other side. He now has 2 movement points left and may move two more empty roads spaces or possibly pay both to enter a building space.


Good luck fixing this game. Many have tried but few have brains left afterward.
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Justin Bost
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Those are cool ideas! The only reason I think they might not work in my game is because I've taken out a lot of what I thought was useless in the original Zombies, and because I did that, players will do a lot more fighting. If I use such an in depth fighting system, players may get frustrated with fights. What do you think?

I definitely like the idea of rolling a die for zombie combat strength, though. Makes it much more unpredictable, which is fun!

I've also updated the original post with more clarifications and fixed some errors. Once I get some feedback on what you folks like and don't like, I'll make a final copy of these rules with pretty pictures and upload it to the files section!
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Justin Bost
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So I played this for the first time and I think you're totally right, scribidinus. I need some sort of varying combat. The game is STILL BORING! And I only played with 2 people and it was way too easy...

So I may work in your ideas for combat. My friend pointed out that I need to have the survivors complete some sort of task to keep things interesting also. Any ideas, anyone?
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Ideas? Yeah, I have some ideas but like Scribidinus implied, it ain't going to be easy to make a good, working version that captures the theme and feel well. And since you asked so nicely, I think it might be more worthwhile to share such ideas 'til we come up with one.

Teamwork

Let me start out by saying I love the idea of co-operative play. First, it does keep more in line with the zombie-outbreak stories. Secondly, it doesn't promote ruined friendships. Third, it allows including more survivors than players, if desired. I think it adds a great element (and more of that feeling in the movies where the one guy and maybe a follower or two have that "every man for himself" attitude) if somewhere before the game ends, one survivor turns traitor (like that Camelot game and kind of like the one about the Betrayal in the House on the Hill).

Close-Combat

I also like the idea that two dice are rolled for combat, but not really just reduce it to "if zombie rolls higher, zombie wins and if survivor rolls higher, survivor wins" because that's no different than half a chance either way, which is what "survivor wins on 4-6" does anyways. Most of the time someone (important) is bit in a zombie flick, they defeat the zombie so they can wallow in their plight of losing to infection later. I like the idea that in close-combat you roll two dice: the red for the warm blood (survivor) and the blue (for the cold corpse). If the survivor rolls a 3, he may choose to shove the zombie 1 space away, in any direction (ending the fight). If the survivor rolls a 4-6, the zombie is defeated. If the zombie rolls a 4-6, the survivor loses one heart token! Otherwise, the fight continues. In that case, the survivor can spend another "movement" to fight again. If the survivor has no more movement allowance or chooses not to, the survivor and zombie are locked in a struggle until next turn.

Note that you can shove a zombie to end the struggle but otherwise, there is no way to break a fight unless the survivor, zombie, or both are defeated. Also, I've a different use for bullet tokens, so no spending them to raise your roll!

Mob Rules and The Lunge

Okay, zombies aren't duelists that spar nicely with a single combatant. No, zombies thrive in their numbers. So why adhere to the one-zombie-per-space rule? I don't like that a wide-open road leaves no wiggle room. So, suggest we say zombies are on one side or the other of the road--divide them at the yellow line. You can spend 1 move to cross the street. (You may wish to waive the movement cost to cross the street.) If you are on the opposite side of the street, you can move past the zombie without a fight--almost! In the case of entering the same space as a zombie, but on the opposite side of the street, roll a die. On a "1", the zombie lunges to the survivor. Crossroads have no yellow lines and are generally more open, meaning you are exposed. You can simply choose to avoid fighting the zombie, but if you roll a "1" or "2", it lunges at you. In either case, this results in close-combat. Of course if there are two zombies in the same space, you cannot shoulder past them at all. While there may be two zombies in any space within a building, you cannot shoulder past due to close walls and furniture. When fighting two zombies in the same space in close-combat, you suffer a -2 penalty.

Ranged Combat

I think you have a great idea for using a variety of weapons. Honestly, I can't imagine why all firearms wouldn't allow for ranged combat. If a survivor is in the same space as the target zombie, apply -1 to the survivor's attack. Here's how I see it:

Weapon .../Range/Ammo/Attracts Zombies/If Hit/Other
9mm .........../..02 / 12 /No attraction/roll on chart/May fire twice per action
Magnum ...../..02 /.. 6 /All in 4 spaces/kills 1 zombie
Shotgun ..... /..01 /.. 4 /All in 6 spaces/kills all zombies in space
Assault Rifle/..04 /.. 8 /All in 4 spaces/roll on chart
Sniper Rifle /..05 /.. 2 /No attraction/roll on chart/Requires +1 action to aim
Range: You need to be able to shoot the zombie in a straight line. This line may be diagonal, but you cannot target a space more than 3 away around a corner (in the woods tiles from Z4: The End this limit only applies if firing around a hill or building). Count the spaces to the target, divide by range increment for the weapon used, round up. This is the penalty to the shot.
Ammo: When you load a weapon, take bullet tokens equal to the weapon's Ammo rating. This is the payload of a clip. If your bullets run out, you have to reload a clip, if carried, or resort to hand-to-hand. I don't know a good rule for reloading. Maybe it just takes 2 movement allowance to reload a weapon? Use a penny to represent each clip carried.
Attracts Zombies: Every time the weapon is fired, zombies in the area defined are moved 1 space toward the survivor making the noise. The 9mm and Sniper Rifles are silenced.
If Hit: This is the result of a successful attack.
Other: Normally, firing at range requires 1 action. The 9mm can be double-tapped by firing twice for one action. The Sniper Rifle takes 2 actions to use.

Chart Location Effect
... 1 Leg Shot Zombie falls down.
... 2 Body Hit Leave bullet token next to zombie. See below.
... 3 Body Hit Leave bullet token next to zombie. See below.
... 4 Arm Shot Zombie drops any item/weapon held.
... 5 Body Hit Leave bullet token next to zombie. See below.
... 6 Head Hit You gotta' shoot the brain! Zombie is destroyed.

A Leg Shot causes no real threat to the zombie, but it falls down (knock it on its side) and cannot fight until it gets up (takes 1 zombie movement). Additional Leg Shots have no further effect.
Body Hits tell you to leave the bullet token by the zombie to track how many hits you sink. 1st hit stuns zombie (cannot move once). 2nd hit causes -2 to all its attacks and zombie cannot lunge until player's next turn. 3rd hit destroys zombie.
An Arm Shot causes zombie to drop any item or weapon it holds, if any. There is no further harm to the zombie and Arm Shots are typically negligible. However, if the zombie drops a Molotov Cocktail or Pipe Bomb/Grenade, roll a die. It explodes immediately at the zombie's feet on a "1" or "2". If it doesn't detonate, it may be collected, like a token.
Any Head Hit destroys the zombie.

Thrown Items

To keep in step with the ranged combat rules, you should be allowed to throw a Molotov Cocktail or Pipe Bomb/Grenade with a range increment of 02. A roll of "4" or more is needed to hit the target space. If missed, roll a die and count the spaces from the survivor in the throw's intended direction. That is how far from the survivor the item travels. If the item hits a wall (any non-passable edge), it bounces back toward the survivor until the rolled number of spaces has been traveled (even landing behind the thrower!). Wherever it lands, it detonates.

Molotov Cocktails burn all zombies in the target space and all eight adjacent spaces. Pipe Bombs/Grenades engulf the same nine spaces and the sixteen adjacent to them as well. I'd like to say the zombies burnt by Molotovs are destroyed at the start of the player's next turn, meanwhile they cause an extra half-heart damage to any survivor that comes in contact with them (to make use of the half-hearts from Z4: The End) but that might be more troublesome than it is worth. A Pipe Bomb/Grenade simply destroys any zombie hit by them. Survivors caught in any blast lose one heart.

Actions

I'm fine using the random die roll for movement in the dice-driven, slapstick Zombies!!! game, but it is irritating at times. For this depth of play, I indeed think 2 actions per heart is good. Here's a list of what each action can consist of:

Move 1 space
Load 1 clip (takes 2 actions)
Fire a ranged weapon
Make a close-combat attack (first attack is free when moving into zombie space or beginning turn)

And some full-turn activities may include something longer like:

Securing a new safe house (first safe house should be secure automatically; additional safe houses locations should be cleared of zombies and secured by barring windows and doors before they can be used as safe houses)
Searching a safe house (to collect a new weapon, clips, Med Kit, other item)
Reviving a fallen survivor (in a safe house only)

Defeat!

How do you feel about the idea that instead of automatically zapping to a safe house if your survivor is defeated, the survivor falls down and can crawl 1 space to the nearest safe house per turn (and that's it) unless another survivor helps him (the old shoulder-me-do)? Once safely in the safe house, the healthy survivor can revive the other.

Traitor

I'm not too sure what the spark of this element ought to be. I'm not even sure if it fits the overall vision of the co-operative game. But usually in a survivor horror story, there is a guy or two with ideas that differ from the group. ("Listening to this guy is going to get us killed!" "You go back out there for him and you're not getting back in here." "The mall is where we're hiding. Get lost!") I know there is a lot to say for a game where everyone wins or everyone loses, but I also know that there isn't a great feeling when it comes to beating an AI or set of rules--especially when it comes to bragging rights. At some point 2/3 into the game, 1/4 or 2/6 survivors should turn rouge and try to make a go of it on their own. I think it important that the traitor(s) be the minority because otherwise there will be no teamwork early on. ("I'm not helping anyone if the odds are I'm helping the person that is going to turn on me later.") I'm also not sure what should determine who the traitor is, I just know that it shouldn't be pre-determined (as in Paranioa) but be decided during play (like the Betrayal game).

Of course, the traitor needs an easier set of rules to follow since he doesn't have as many friends to help him (if he even has any!). To this end, if a traitor is defeated, they should respawn immediately at the nearest safe house, next turn. (You ever notice that the dick is always around later, even though you were sure he was finished when you saw him last and he was overwhelmed by the swarm of zombies? Somehow that self-preservation keeps him going). Also, his gung-ho attitude (and no need to clear the way for other people) allows him to rush past zombies without any chance of a lunge. He still can't shoulder past two zombies in the same space, however. Finally, he doesn't care about innocents (see below).

Zombie Movement

I think zombies should move 2 spaces at a time toward survivors, instead of 1. This should help off-set the emphasis on ranged combat. It also makes the zombies more of a threat than sitting ducks awaiting a bullet to the head. Zombies left in the distance tend to be ignored. I don't know if this helps, but maybe roll both dice to determine how many zombies move? I liked the idea of an occasional "special zombie". If using two dice, you might want to spawn a special zombie when rolling doubles instead of on a "6". I wouldn't get crazy about what a special zombie is or can do. Perhaps a special zombie should simply have a firearm or grenade?

Rescue Mission

It was said that to keep this co-op play interesting, the players need some task for their survivors. Here's one: Any safe house (maybe?) should have a couple innocent people holed up (in the closet, attic, basement, wherever). When the survivors enter the area, the innocents spawn. The innocents cannot fight--at all--and need to be led to the chopper to evacute. Innocents are safe in any secured safe house. They will move with survivors or stay put as the survivors command. If a zombie should ever come within 2 spaces of an innocent, the innocent will move 3 spaces toward the nearest safe house, per turn, until they reach it. Starting immediately, and every turn along the way, their screams will attract all zombies within 6 spaces, like a gunshot. (The useless guy is always the most problematic.) Innocents can be led to the chopper and evacuated individually. The survivors may need to go back out and round up more innocents before their foray is complete.

Greed Mission

It wouldn't be too fair if things were way too easy for the traitors. They always have their own agenda and it is rarely just to get away. They need to get away with the big stash of money, the zombie juice formula, the anti-virus, their ill son, the super hot chick, or whatever fits your story. The last safe house (even if not placed yet) holds the object of their intention. The traitor must reach the last safe house, secure it (if not already secure) and spend one turn collecting their heart's desire. Then, it is just a matter of reaching the chopper first! In this way, if the survivors still need to explore more of the city to find the remaining innocents, they aren't far behind the traitors and both sides have a chance to win!

Well, anyways, these are my ideas. I know they aren't written in a great rules-format. I also know that they aren't quite so quick and dirty. But if Zombies!!! was one thing, it was quick and dirty. Those of us that want to modify the Hell out of it want more depth in our zombie games.
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Justin Bost
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A lot of great ideas!! After I played, I realized that I needed to make the game MUCH harder, because all the survivors were working together now, instead of trying to screw each other.

The traitor idea is a really good one! Perhaps being killed in close combat with a zombie could result in a die roll, and if a 1 is rolled, that survivor controls the infected (causing the zombies to get one extra turn of movement, encouraging players to keep other players alive). Or if a survivor is downed 3 times, they control the infected.

I'm undecided about the lunging of zombies and being able to move past them. I think that's an excellent system and IF we implement moving past zombies, that's exactly the way it should be done, but would being able to maneuver through the horde make things easier for the survivors? We'll have to try and see!

Excellent idea for ranged weapons! Especially zombies moving closer to people firing! It's downright brutal and I love it! I do think that the assault rifle and sniper rifle should fire one space less. I found that I overpowered my weapons and my survivors weren't being overrun nearly as frequently as I would have hoped, but then again the zombie attraction may turn the tables on that one. While playing last time, my friend had a great idea about zombies rushing players who make unsuccessful ranged attacks. He pointed out that if you fail a ranged attack, there was no rule stating that you couldn't just continue firing until the zombie was dead. Also your idea for 3 body shots to kill a zombie is a very good one. We'll use that!

Decreasing the range of the thrown items is a must also. My thrown items were WAY overpowered, partly because there was no reason to use them at any other point than the helipad (which clears it instantly). Here's an idea about thrown items: A molotov will target one zombie and if successful, will light that zombie on fire. Rolling a die will determine how the zombie will flail and light other zombies on fire (haven't worked out a great system for that yet, but I can come up with something). And then I think the pipe bomb should do what the molotov originally did, because the surround 8 and then 16 spaces is a little too much damage (especially if more than one zombie can occupy a space).

Actions are a great idea too. It will prevent survivors from endlessly unloading on zombies in a single turn. The securing of safe houses is also a very clever idea! Anything to make it tougher for the survivors! One thing about safe houses, while we're on the subject... When I played (and I understand this is completely random) 3 of my 4 other safe houses were among the last 4 cards in the map tile deck... So by the time the helipad was out, I only had 1 additional safe house on the map! This also made me realize how easy the game was going for the survivors, because we were doing just fine without the safe houses. I want it to be more of a struggle!

As for downed survivors crawling to safety... I think I prefer that when they're defeated, the survivors feel like they should have done more to help out and prepare an unhealthy survivor for an attack. I think having other survivors tied up with the duty of rescuing one another, gives the zombies a better chance to close in, thus urging players to really work together and help out the weakest link. Players will be forced to make tough decisions based on the declining health of the their teammates and the scant resources. "I don't WANT to use my only health pack on you, but if you die, we're going to have to backtrack through an approaching horde of flesh eating abominations!"

Good ideas on zombie movement also. 2 dice moving that many zombies 2 spaces should be sufficient! Also, my rules for a special zombie worked out really well (probably my best improvement). They don't spawn a physical character that needs to be moved, they simply affect the survivor that caused it in a tricky way. And spawning them on a doubles roll works well!

Thanks for all your great ideas! I'm going to make these changes and improvements when I have the time (tomorrow morning probably).
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Justin Bost
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This is the second time I'm typing this because I have a habit of getting the end of a post, and then clicking one of the 10 bajillion links on the page and erasing my whole post...

I think differing traitor scenarios is a great idea. It will keep the game very interesting for the survivors and will also prevent them from preparing for one particular outcome.

*The traitor works for an organization that intentionally spread the virus as a test for a biological weapon. He must kill the other survivors or be the first one to the helipad in order to keep it a secret.

*The survivors find an anti-virus and decide to get it out of the city for mass production (serving the greater good). The traitor, though, only cares about saving his loved ones and has to steal the anti-virus from the survivors.
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Dennison Milenkaya
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I'm so glad to see you like my suggestions! Here's one, for long posts, use Notepad or Word and Copy/Paste so you don't have to re-type upon any misclick or disconnect.

Special Zombies

Aha, I didn't understand about the special zombies. I just re-read and yeah, it just puts an effect into play instead of a special zombie character. That's a fine idea. That could easily be expanded. Roll doubles, some (random) sh-- happens. That should help keep things from being too normal, also. How about some more:

Security Breach! Fill a secured Safe House with 1 zombie per space. Loses Safe House status until re-secured.

You Dropped It! Innocent, greed object, anti-virus lost! Go find it again.

It's Like That Movie! Draw one of a dozen cards (Bad Sense Of Direction, Butterfingers, Claustrophobia, Fear x2, Hysterical Paralysis, I Don't Think They're Dead, Just When You Thought..., Slight Miscalculation, We're Screwed!, Your Shoe's Untied, and Zombie Master) and apply the effects as if the active player (or nearest location) were the target.

Mob Rules and The Lunge

The idea of shouldering past zombies and the Lunge is to allow you to conserve your supplies, at a risk, and to put some dead flesh between you and your opponent (in some cases) or catch up quicker to your friends. If you are doing the Rescue Mission, the innocents won't go near the zombies, so you'll still have to clear the way. Since this is largely co-operative, it is unlikely that four or more survivors will shoulder past any single zombie anyway, so I don't see it as making things easier. More likely, you are just leaving bad things behind you to close in during gunfire or zombie movement. Try it. It may seem clunky at first, but you may like it.

Ranged Combat

As for the Assault Rifle and Sniper Rifle, well, I admit that I play-tested NONE of it, but I figured that since both required a hit location, unlikely instant kills, the range wasn't too powerful of an advantage. The Assault Rifle attracts zombies, so you'd better be distant from them as they'll just keep coming at you even as you successfully shoot them! The Sniper Rifle, being silenced, doesn't attract zombies, but takes two actions to use and has to be reloaded frequently. You may have an easier time with this weapon, but it'll be very slow-going. Since this becomes a race for the survivors to win before the traitor(s), that could make the weapon totally unattractive. Again, completely untested, so let me know what you think.

Also note that I made up the ranges to function differently than what you had. Since it takes an action ("movement" point) to fire, your friend's point about repeatedly firing at range isn't exactly valid here, even without having the zombie close in on a failed shot. Normal zombie movement will eventually catch up with you. The stronger weapons also attract zombies, so that idea applies even on a successful shot! Finally, I'd like to point out that I intended the guns to be fired from any range. The range increments listed just apply a -1 to hit for every threshold. That means that an Assault Rifle can be fired at a zombie 7 spaces away at -2 to hit!! (Almost certainly a waste of ammo, since you'd need a "6" to even have a chance to take the zombie down.) I know that the normal weapon cards (Chainsaw, Fire Axe, and Hey Look ... A Shotgun, to name a few) aren't being used, but this makes it so that if a survivor did get a bonus to hit, they weren't always guarenteed a hit. And standing too close to the horde is dangerous in its own right!

The first paragraph on Ranged Combat from my earlier post is a little confusing, I think. It should read: "If another survivor is in the same space as the target zombie, apply -1 to this survivor's attack." If you are in the same space as a zombie, you are in Close-Combat

Thrown Items

I think you are absolutely right about the thrown items. Just a quickie before I go into it: If a grenade clears the chopper zone too easily, why didn't you just rule that detonating an explosive on that tile destroys the chopper? Anyways, a flailing effect for a Molotov is actually quite interesting. But I'd only apply it to a living target. Zombies shouldn't flail about like headless chickens. They should just keep coming, and burning, until they turn to ash and bone. I think you are absolutely right about reducing the blast radius as you suggest. Especially if you are going to take my point on allowing two zombies per space.

...

By large, I'm really glad that you seem so thrilled with my suggestions. By the way, I was heavily inspired by your original post. It really got me thinking about how what I've been working on can come together. Kudos.

As for going along fine without the additional Safe Houses, this is why I suggest you have the Rescue Mission be to gather innocents (or something) from the Safe Houses. It should keep the game from being too short and requires that the survivors fully explore the city. Other than that, different missions (and different traitor scenarios) can involve something that requires the right amount of exploration and difficulty that you desire.

Definitely there should be differing traitor scenarios. In any given game, you can have the traitor and his goal determined differently. It should fit with the survivor's mission.

I love the idea of having a downed survivor's player control the infected. It'll give the zombies some brains, hehe.

Example:

If the survivors are seeking the anti-virus to save the world, the traitor is trying to get it to sell on the black market. The survivors win if they can get the anti-virus and their whole team to the chopper. The traitor wins if he can get the anti-virus and himself to the chopper first, with no other survivors on the tile. The traitor can attack any survivor (no shoving!) following normal combat rules (but Leg Shots and Arm Shots leave the token by the victim, too). The survivors can only attack the traitor if they witness him attacking one of them first. The anti-virus is in a briefcase that begins on the fountain of Town Square. All survivors begin on the chopper. The traitor is the first survivor to reach Town Square.

... And the new stuff ...

Got Guts?

Z5: School's Out has some nifty Guts tokens. If you don't have them, you can use beads or whatever. Begin the game with 5 Guts per survivor. Instead of number of actions equal to twice Hearts, your actions per turn is equal to the Hearts + Guts you have.

If you have no secured Safe Houses, you lose 1 Guts. This means that at the start of the game, you should have 4 Guts until you find and secure your first Safe House. It goes away again if your Safe House is breached and you have no other secured Safe Houses.

If your survivor is more than 5 spaces from any teammate, you lose 1 Guts. It is replenished when you are within range again. Traitors ignore this rule.

If your survivor/traitor is within 2 spaces of six zombies, you lose 1 Guts. It is replenished when the area is cleared again.

You lose 1 Guts everytime a teammate is killed. It is replenished when the teammate is revived. Traitors are not immune to this rule, but it only applies to them if there is more than one traitor.

You lose 1 Guts everytime you are killed. It cannot be replenished.

At 5+ Guts: You get +1 to all combat!
At 2 Guts: You are at -1 to all combat!
At 1 Guts: You are at (the same) -1 to all combat and you cannot attempt to shoulder past zombies!
At 0 Guts: You are at (the same) -1 to all combat! You may not move toward any zombie! (This may paralysis you, if you are surrounded!)

Everyone Has A Talent

The black guy is courageous and starts with 1 extra Guts

The brown guy is a sharp-shooter and can modify rolls on the combat chart by +1 or -1.

The green guy is a cop and has +1 to fire a 9mm or Shotgun.

The red guy is a doctor and can restore full health to a survivor (target should end up with 5 Hearts) with a Med Kit or replenish 1 Heart without a Med Kit. All other survivors can replenish 2 Hearts with a Med Kit only.

The purple guy is athletic and can shove a zombie even if his close-combat roll fails.

The yellow guy knows kung fu and has +1 to fight in close-combat.

If you have the extra six Shotgun Guys from Z4: The End, you can make more talents.

Carrying A Load (hehehe)

I don't want to muddle with encumbrance issues in this simple game any more than the next guy, but I'm sure there has to be some kind of carrying capacity. If you can just search endlessly for weapons, Med Kits, and clips in a Safe House, the going is not going to get rough. You'll be off to a dull start as players just spend entire turns searching, then simplicity from that point on as they mow down the zombies with endless munitions and heal up without end. At least if they have to go back for more supplies, you break the early ennui and the way back to the Safe House can be comprimised.

It may not be realistic (but we already have zombies!) but I recommend allowing any combination of four things:

* A weapon
* A thrown item
* A Med Kit
* two full clips of ammo
* Any special item (like a briefcase)
* Assisted moving (like helping a comrade to a Safe House or escorting an innocent)

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Justin Bost
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So many good ideas!! And by the way...there should be a guy who knows kung fu in EVERY GAME EVER!!! Ha ha! Zombies! Puerto Rico! Apples to Apples! "Didn't pick my card? Whatev' I know kung fu!" Ha!

Anyway, "Security Breach" is a fantastic idea! Also, including certain cards would be a great way to make it harder for the survivors. Maybe they draw one at the beginning of each turn that they roll below a 4 or something? I don't know, we'll work something out.

I like the idea of deducting from rolls that are ranged. Very clever! If you've ever played Doom: The Boardgame, they have a pretty rockin' system for ranged firing, I think. Pretty similar to what you've got going on.

The guts idea is very cool too! Anything to encourage the survivors to stick together is good in my book!

And your ideas about special abilities to different pieces will add a lot of flavor for role players.

Lastly, a load limit is definitely the way to go. This will promote a feeling of scrounging for supplies and using your resources carefully.

...

I've been really busy lately, and haven't had time to get back to this but it sounds like we've got most of it pretty worked out. I'll start working on a revised rules sheet as soon as I get some free time and then we can get this party started! Woot!

As always, thanks for your outstanding ideas! Check back soon for some rules and please feel free to upload any changes or even your own rule set!
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Justin Bost
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In case anyone is eagerly awaiting this, I'm in the process of compiling the rules. It's taking longer than I expected and I've been pretty busy lately. No fear, though! I haven't forgotten!
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Zombies: Survival!!!
I have posted the complete rules for my version of this joint project. I felt it should be placed in a new topic, because it isn't the same as the Original Poster here and I didn't want to distract from his vision. You may follow this link: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/2951689#2951689 to find Zombies: Survival!!! If you already discovered it here, please notice some changes were made.

Notably, I removed the Traitor. If a Traitor fits a particular scenario, there is no reason it cannot be written into the scenario. However, it isn't right for every game and didn't fit with the core rules since it only affected whatever scenario was played.
Talents were added. As I presented above, but left out of my first draft. After play-testing several times and realizing the difficulty level was too high, Talents were added to help give the survivors a chance.
I originally meant to allow each survivor to begin with one Item, but didn't include that in the rules. Again, play-tests proved too challenging and I've determined that it was only fair to start everyone with two Items. This has been incorporated.
A small number of clarifications were added. Hopefully I kept any rules from being ambiguous.
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Justin Bost
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Apologies again for the continued delay. I'm doing field research for this project, playing different games and trying to figure out what works and what sucks! Stay tuned...
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Vince Lupo
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I like the simplicity of the original Zombie rules and wouldn't want to add overly complex stuff to it. I might try the rules I just wrote below for Zombie Coop, left 4 dead style. By overly complex, I mean avoiding adding too many new elements, dice charts, etc...


Weapons:
I think I would put the weapon cards aside and when you are in a named building with zombies, once a turn you could "search" for the item by rolling a die. If you roll 4-6 you get the weapon card from the weapon deck. If you fail the search, a zombie from the same building is moved to your space and you have to fight him.

If you are in a named building with no zombies, you can get the named weapon without having to search.


Perhaps using a weapon should cause all zombies on the same, and adjacent (orthongonal and diagonal) map tiles to move 1 space closer to you.


Also, named buildings let you barricade the door (only if no zombies are inside) and this stops zombies from entering. You might do this to stall for a turn or two until one of your buddies can clear the way for you outside and/or until you've collected everything in the building.

Also, zombies can move diagonal now too.


Other positive event cards are not used. The negative event cards might be used by the zombies.


Combat


I like the original combat system. Except the following:
weapons allow firing from a distance of 1 or 2 spaces diagonal or orthogonal or combination of the two. But each distance decreases from your roll by 1. 4-6 as normal is a kill. 1-3 means nothing. Because zombies would move towards you every time you shot, it'd be risky to keep doing it.


"Death"
A player who runs out of life falls down and must be rescued. You must get to his space and get him to stand up. Until he is rescued, he gets to crawl only 1 space and zombies still head towards him as usual (explained in zombie movement). He can crawl away from a space even when there's a zombie with him. He can't combat anything while down/crawling.

To get him to stand up, you must move to his square, kill zombies on his square until there are none on his square (if you're shooting weapons then more zombies might move onto you). Once there are no zombies on his square and you're there with him, he stands up and gets 2 life tokens (maybe only 1. might need playtesting).


You may give other players bullet tokens and/or weapons when you're on the same space. So once he's standing you might give him some items.

If all players in the game are down, then the game is lost. Goal is still to make it to the helipad.


Zombie movement phase
As you walk around you make noise on your turn. So the zombies on the same or adjacent map tiles (diagonal and orthogonal) move 1 space closer to you.

Zombies move diagonal now too.



zombie events
Perhaps the event card deck or (more likely) a new deck of events can affect you on your turn. Just before the player moves an event could be drawn from the deck and it would affect you as written. The events should probably be all negative and if so, perhaps a die should be rolled to see whether or not an event is even drawn for you this turn. You could even have a system so that the odds of a bad event happening increase over time. On the first player turn you'd roll two dice and if a 12 is rolled, then an event occurs. On the next player turn it'd be an 11 or 12 that would draw an event. So, player a would start a turn, roll less than 12, finish his turn and then player b would start a turn and have to roll less than 11. You could use some system to track this. Once you do roll this unfortunate result, the count would start back at 12 again.


conclusion

So, at this point, with zombies moving towards you more frequently and more of them, I think the game is harder, even in coop. I still have a feeling like weapons are too rare, bullets are too uncommon and possibly health too. Maybe it's assumed that all players start with a pistol that lets them shoot from a distance (causing noise and moving them closer)? And when you fight a zombie on the same square it's assumed you're using a knife (this way you don't cause as much noise) unless you choose to use a named special weapon. Other issues, the fire axe is not a distance weapon and I just thought of it. Perhaps the only real issue with my version is no weapon system. So, that's the only thing left to tweak. But for now, I gotta go.


btw,
I disagree with rolling a die for the zombie and a die for the player, because you could end up rolling a 1 for the player and a 6 for the zombie. That's definitely different than needing 3 bullets to kill a zombie.
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Dave
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what i do with the event deck is separate "good" cards and "bad" cards and have 2 individual decks and run the exploring kind of like the dnd adv. system ...if you dont explore you get a bad card and play it immediately on yourself or put it in play for everyone else to get screwed too depending lol..if you do you find a good card and keep it (max 3 in hand)...so far its been a blast but its still in testing (btw lots of the cards i use i slightly interpret them differently for example target player is you on bad cards) ...but yea its been the hardest with more players.. solo is oddly easier but adjustments will be made ...hope ya can use something from it ^_^
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Timothy Montgomery

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This is about your ideas on the "special abilities" for each pawn in the game. I have all 12 SGG pawns and thought of abilities for each one.

Blue: Cop: +1 for Pistols and Shotguns.
Red: Medic: Same rules for healing, but also get a medpack at the hospital automatically.
Yellow: The kung fu abilities are fine as is.
Black: if players don't have guts, substitute extra health or ammo, otherwise its perfectly fine.
Orange: College student: this player gets a +1 movement and an extra heart from the beginning.
L.Green: Athlete: gets a +2 to movement and attack, but also starts with half ammo.
D.green: Soldier: has a better range of attack, and can retreat to the zombies 2 expansion or the army surplus for an action.
Brown: sharpshot rules are good as is.
Purple: rules here are fine as well.
L.blue:helicopter pilot: if this player gets to the helipad and clears it out, players automatically win.
White:merchant: starts with an extra weapon besides the rifle.
Grey: Carrier: when attacking zombies, the player has a resistance against zombies so the zombie roll has a -1 to it.
So there you have it. Feel free to tweak these rules.zombie

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