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Subject: More intresting scavenging phase rss

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Thibaud Dejardin
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Here you will find a variant of the rules.
Why a variant so soon?

Well, when i first read Zpocalypse description, i was excited, i thought it has everything to make it a complete blast. The "RPG" and the "no so cooperative" aspects of the game are something you don't find together easily in zombies games.

I bought the game and played it a few rows (before Kickstarter people got theirs, i know that's evil...). I was really disappointed by the scavenging phase. I found it totally unintresting and unbalanced, as you have really no impact on this phase. Draw a card, throw 1-3 dice and draw cards if you "passed" or "failed". In my opinion, even encounters you find in a game like "Arkham" are more immersive, just because you chose your location, knowing vaguely the risks or the places. Even if it's fondamentally the same (draw a card, pass a skill check), you have the feeling you have more control over the events. Thus it feels more "real".
The other big issue was the "searching part": why the hell do you have to search supplies during the night, while fighting against zombies? That has no sense at all! And having to "kite" the last zombie was both ridicule and anticlimatic.

Ok, so i used my braaaaaiiiiiin to find a way to change thoses things a bit in an easy way (rules are complex enought!).

GAME:

Scavenging phase:

1°) Have you heard about a good location to get stuff?
-Each player draw a scavenge card, and take a tile. Each player reads his own card, secretly. Then first player place his tile (he earns a star if nearest from bunker). Next player place a token of the first player's colour on this tile: it's the scavenge point.
-Second player place his tile, et cetera desunt.

2°) Time to go scavenging! Yeah baby. But... maybe i talked too much about the stuff i hope i'll find on that place... i hope no one will get it before me. Nah, we're good friends after all... are we?
Play this phase as a combat phase: you can move and you can search.
First player is determined by vote. When a player reaches any scavenge token, he takes and resolves the card of the player which token he is on. (looks like this sentence isn't correct, sorry i'm french. Please read the example, it's clearer). Place zombies on the table, next to the tile where you scavenged. The phase is over for that player (place it inside the bunker, ready to eat).
A player may chose to NOT scavenge. The card doent's have any effect, except she will generate the zombies as normal (as if test was failed).

Special: during first day, when you draw a token generating zombies, don't place any on the board (as you don't know their strength). place them next to the tile instead. They'll come for you during the night!
Other days: play as normal with the last night speed.

--> Exemple: green player decides to spend time searching food on a tile. Yellow player has a really crappy scavenge card, so he decides to head right to the green token. He reaches it: he takes the green player's scavenge card, he pass the check and loot his stuff. Now, green player will only be allowded to get the crappy yellow scavenge card.

Feed and fortify:
No change except:
Walls: The zombies consider it as impossible to pass through. They'll find another way (the shortest) to the bunker.
CAUTION: If one or more zombies have no possible path to reach the bunker, they become enraged: they ignore all walls, destroying them when they pass through. Remember your goal is to kill all those zombies, not to burry yourself under trash.

Something is happening:
Place normally all the new zombies. Place also the zombies next to the tiles, from the scavenging phase (smart check and search tokens).

Many players option (smaller map): Place only one tile (near the bunker). Place once the number of zombies indicated on the card on that tile. Then, the remaining zombies (to match with the number of player) are placed equally on all tiles with already 1+ zombie on it.

Phase 4: Combat
You can't search during the night: you don't see anything and the zombies want your brain!
This phase has no other change. It ends as soon as the last zombie dies.
You can destroy your own fortifications if needed, using one action.

Then dawn comes, and you'll find some nice place to scavenge (or run to steal your friend's place!).
->Start scavenge phase immediately (no need to go back to the bunker. It will make you think about your placement during the night and the place where you put your tile).


==>So, what does it change?

-More gear to face the first night: easier experience, and less random linked to the initial drawing.
-But more zombies the first night, balancing things.
-More interactions between the players, more personal choice and "risk management": what are everyone's intentions? Will i go searching for some food, even if it's opposite to my good scavenging place? Maybe blue player has a better card than mine?
-More "competition" oriented
-Few to no balance change during the 2+ night.
-More attracting building mechanism (needs more playtest): more control over the horde.

I tested it myself and found the game to be harder. Not that any of the changes make things harder, but as you feel more in competition (and paranoïac about your friends' intentions), things tend to get worse...

i'm open to any comment or suggestion. Thank you for reading.
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JR Wr
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Sounds interesting.
Ill have to try this out.

One question.
You have it so that during the scavenge phase squads are moving around on the board to search the tiles search spots, and to also collect the scavenge card from a token correct?

So are you having it that the tile search spots can still be used up?
If so, then I can see this being ok.

But, that said, one thing Ill probably do different is use the full number of tiles from Somethings happening.
Granted Ive only played 2-3 player games, but ive not needed the space.

And this is turn will provide more search options for the next day.

You say it made it harder.
How so? You are gaining more materials for barricades, more weapons, more food, etc.
Is it balanced by the zombies that may come in from the tile searches?

Perhaps have it that any tile searched also generates zombies during the somethings happening phase?
 
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Thibaud Dejardin
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Thanks for reading and commenting.

To answer: yes, the search spots are used during the scavenge phase, not during combat one. Remember, however, that once you reach your scavenge spot, no more searching until next day (you go back to the bunker with the token, of course). You have a crucial choice to make: you go for some searches, hoping the other players won't take your scavenge token. Or you head right to your token because it will grant you everything you need, but then you leave the search spots to the other players.
In my opinion, this mechanism, even if making things a little easier, have mainly as effect to partially negate the "draw-luck" factor. Even with a bad draw, you can manage a bit your luck, with some lies and bluff skill. And if you have a good draw, you have to choose between greed and security.

About difficulty:
If everyone plays completely cooperative, yes, it's gonna be a little easier the first day, but not that much.
Note that the first night, you won't have that much more stuff, as you only have 2 team members until you take your scavenge token, thus only 8 spaces to carry things, counting what you'll get during the scavenge...
And it will mean more zombies during the night. Not only for you, but for everyone. I don't think you'll make friends if you search every spot available!

The other days, well it doesn't change anything from the "kite last zombie" mechanism, it only make it less artificial: you kill all the zombies, then you search everything that could give you ressources while you're on the field.
The only difference is that you'll have one more spot to search. That's why you could prefer only one more zone instead of 2-4.

If your gaming group is playing a little competitive (as this game should be played, in my opinion, it is intended as a cooperative/backstabbing game), then things usually get harder because you won't collect as much as usual (except last player, but not always if he's wounded or can't carry more), because you'll fear someone could take your spot.

if you have an occasion to try this kind of variant, feedback would be welcome!
 
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