As I said in the rules section of Zmergency I find the quickplay rules boring since all zombies spawn when the player wants them, and there is no feeling of Zmergency! This can also be used (especially the stealth mechanics for normal games)
Anyways I feel a few (simple?) rules could be applied to make it more interesting (It's applicable to get to the chopper scenario, but obviously its not limited to that, any evacuating and hold the fort scenarios seems approriate). It introduce a stealth game play. (note that I went for a more complicated sound mechanism and it can be simplified)
1d6 + number player zombies enter every turn in the starting point (for evacuation scenario like Zmergency getto the chopper) or edge for other scenarios (could be on every edge tiles, split equally) after the first (or second) turn.
Zombies do not move automatically towards you (unlike quick play rule) (Still use the 4 tile LOS rule). But they are attracted to noise and will move towards the noisiest area, represented by a dice (*ammo dies are good for that if you have extra)) until they spot a survivor. Every noise is rated by a number, representing its reach (in tiles, not spaces). Each noise fades over the distance, subtracting one per tile traveled. Zombies goes toward the loudest sound they can hear, if equal they split, with the larger fraction going to the closest (so a lone zombie go to the nearest sound).
(A simpler version is zombies moves towards the biggest sound period, dividing if sound are equals)
What make noise:
10- any explosive (here a Z red die should be placed or any other token should be at the location of the explosion for that turn.
1d6- firearms and powered melee weapon (except crossbow: it is silent!) When rolling attacks note the highest ammo roll, that is the number of noise you make (put that die near your squad). (yeah a use for the bullets on these die!)
2- Non powered attacks (melee, crossbow, etc)
1- Movement: could have a special brains check to try to move silently (but makes more rolls).
1d6+N- Being noisy on purpose: one can goad zombies as an action: Roll a die: + number of survivor in squad, add the number to the die (limit 6).
+N- For the die lover: Being noisy by accident: player rolls N dice at the end of the combat turn: Sum of survivor in squad minus brains (minimum of 1). For each one you get +1 noise (so 2 (1): N = 2). (not sure about this one as it introduce more die rolls..)
Here are more scenario specific things
[5- (Vehicular movement (for completeness on future expansions..))]
4 to 1- Boombox or car radio (player sets the volume) (item or scenario specific: as an action spending one scrap one can turn on a radio of a car (on tiles) or place a boom box (new accessory in the armory)could be used in normal game as a fortification type as well), every turn roll a die, on a 1 battery dies, can be restarted with scraps) item can be destroyed: every zombie on or adjacent to radio rolls an attack die, on a Z item destroyed) police car sirens could be a 6 noise, could have car alarms as well, start on zombie contact, really how much complex you want to be.)
3- generators (could be more scenario specific): Any generator (fuel symbol) can be switched on to attract zombies (similar to zombies heading straight to bunker). Place a noise counter on the generator, every turn roll ammo: on click out of fuel for the game (cant recharge gas powered weapons there as well!) Zombies "attack" the generator following this rule: roll one die for each zombie on or adjacent to the generator, on a double Z one zombie gets caught in the generator belt (or get electrified) and shot down the generator (can be restarted spending one scrap and a successful brain check). (-1 zombie)
These numbers are not added except the +N (if moved and attack its 2 not 3)
Now the important point is the ordering: for each tile containing zombies you look at the nearest noises (in tiles, not squares, no need to be too complex)), if one tile away there is a 2 noise (1 noise heard), but 2 tile away there is 4 noise(4-2: 2 noise heard) the zombies will head to the 4 noise. Now if instead we have a survivor in same tile as 3 zombies that moved to hide from its view: (1 noise-0 tile: 1 noise) versus a rolled 5 on fireshots 4 tiles away (5-4=1): 1 zombie go off to the tile while the 2 others go near the hidden squad).
The rules for zombie splitting are the same as LOS rules, simplifying to tiles instead of spaces (can be split 3 or 4 way if need be).
Zombies would move off a generator only if they heard a 4 sound or greater from a tile adjacent to them. (this could lead to sniping off zombies who are too dumb to retaliate, but they are zombies and the generators can shutdown with 2 different mechanism).
Boombox/car radio / car alarm /sirens these would fit well in full game as well, to lure off zombie in the beginning of the combat phase.
Potentially 2 squads could lure the zombies on 2 opposite sides of the map and control the horde, or just ignore the zombies while they are going to the generator: but this will only give a reprieve because of the final rule:
Once out of zombies to place, apply the bunker overrun rules: zombies get +2 movement and goes to the nearest survivors-> This change doesn't go away until there is enough zombie for a full spawn (for players sakes no zombies are added if the number of zombie spawned is higher then the number of zombies available).
Now the only issues I see aside from the overhead:
-firearms being less useful (attracts zombies and run out of ammo..)
-Zombie spawn rate. I think the noise system (with maybe a few tweaks) is good, but the spawning of zombies have to be at the right spot, so players are not too fast overwhelmed.
-Spawn location (more scenario specific)
Another rule for the obstacle/barricade/doors (especially if used in a full game:
-obstacles are removed once a zombie trips on them (and give no XP).
-barricade/door: being more flimsy even a single Z can break them in 2 turns (instead of the normal 1 turn for a double Z). This makes sense especially if you have zombies spawning all around the map (more singles).
Well if you read through all this hope it was enjoyable!
First trial of the stealth rule
We tried the variant 2 player, (get the chopper scenario) we decided the spawn of zombie to be 1d6 every turn, and that zombies not hearing you still move toward you, but with 1 movement. We applied the noise move to one tile more so if you move 1 tile away from a zombie it will move toward you. (if you attack melee would be 2 tiles etc).
The main gripe from the other player was the complexity of the noise rule and under that the best way to do the scenario was just run away and not fight the zombies. (exploring in a line is of course the best bet to get as far as the zombies as possible.)
After a few turns the reception was full of zombies and we had zombies near us to deal with, it ended pretty fast as we could not manage the normal spawned zombies (basically we had to leave good defensible area too near the reception to avoid attracting all zombies there.
We found the staircase to the helipad but it had too many zombies so we could not set a defensible position and got chewed alive.
The spawning we found too violent, we would lower it to 1 Z per player per turn (putting doors at the entrance in the scenario would offer 2 turn delay before zombie start pouring in. Also the sound rule could be played without, as having it there would put less pressure in this particular scenario (I still like it though.. but can't please everyone).
We will go back to playing full games as my partner enjoy it more that way.
Shawn Hayden (GBG)
I think there is some definite potential with all this and I remember during the initial campaign some others suggested noise rules in the GBG forums. Maybe GBG will work on some noise mechanics for a future expansion as I think it could definitely add some more flavor to the game.