Pinnacle of Zombie Games?

Blood Donor

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@Boltzmann, thanks for mentioning the children and elderly rules. Fantastic little details, hadn't even considered how integrating NPCs into such a game engine could be so fruitful. Going to check out the Chicago Skirmish rules. @Eilif? Any chance you could weigh in on this?
 
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Eilif

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Zombie games...
It's been a couple of years since we had our annual zombie game, I know we've used a simplified version of All Things Zombie (ATZ) by Two Hour Wargames, and Blasters and Bulkheads and Nuclear Renaissance with small additions for zombie movement to both of the later sets. I really don't recall much about how they funcitoned, but our games are generally aimed at being very streamlined and fast playing with a BIG board and LOTS of zombies and each player controlling 1 or two survivors. I think that Nuclear Renaissance might have been my favorite, but it's been a while. I did like the post-apoc games we did with that ruleset.

You can see all our reports which mention a bit about the rules we used here:
http://chicagoskirmishwargames.com/blog/?s=zombie

If, as the OP suggests smaller battles are desired, and you want a bit more detail, ATZ might be your best bet. It also has a system for campaigns I think. It wasn't my favorite ruleset, but as I stated above, our objectives were a bit different.

As for zombies figs, the Wargames Factory (now Warlord) male and female zombies were a great source for zombies but I'm not sure if they're as good a deal now with the warlord distributing them. The cheapest option is the soft plastic bags-o-zombies. They paint up all right but they're all the same pose. We used them the first year with ATZ, but eventually gave them away to another gamer and upgraded. I don't recall the name, but there's a company that sells metal zombies in bulk.
 
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KRVSH

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Just throwing this in quickly as the NPC thing wasn't so sure it seems: I want to make the zombies randomly spawned NPCs, so you you could even play this as one player scenarios if you wanted. I was thinking about doing a lot of stuff in random, as it's the apocalypse, right? So maybe even gangs start at complete random stats and values, but what I like is definatly if you get bit, you might be saved by amputation or turn into a zombie after xD6 turns or so. I thought about adding new gangers and I like the saving people aspect. So instead of adding too much of help to the board, it might be nice for campaigns to let you loot if you want, but let you roll on a table to add gangers as reward for lifesaving. This might also add a conflict as if there is no loot you could starve to death and if you don't save people your gang dies over time because those geeks are hungry, too.
 

Blood Donor

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Agreed. I think even careful wording on infected bites could suggest "a limb bandaged significantly with the flesh surrounding the bite removed" so that players didn't worry WYSIWYG with amputated limbs or such, but that in game penalties to movement or ability to use two arms would take care of that. And yes, D6 games of surviving before turning is a good thing. Fending off hunger/scavenging for supplies is great, to the point where in a zombie game "Scavenge" or "Loot" as a scenario should be the "Gang Fight" equivalent.

Zombie mechanics should be designed to make them so characterfully primal that they could easily be NPCs. Something like a character makes 1 unit of noise, and every character within x" of another adds their noise unit to the next plus 1. If there are no characters within a zombie's Initiative value in inches, they move towards the nosiest target. So like if you had two people moving around separately on the board but a group of 3 characters within x" of one another, they would make 4 noise. So the zombies would move towards the group. Guns and melee combat would create noise, maybe getting loot out of a bin would make noise, etc.
 
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Boltzmann

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thx a lot, I am glad you like them
people who depend on protection are a great tool to get the story running and people acting.
little kids are especially usefull in this, they can convince the most badass characters to protect them.
it's like:
step 1) make it clear that noise will attract the zombies (or any other monster/enemy that you like)
step 2) let them find kids and other people that need protection.
step 3) if the heroes deviate from your script then the kids start crying (noise is bad you remember?)
step 4) if the heroes chicken out or try to be ultrabad and abadon the children then kids will clamber to their legs and start crying with a high pitched voice.....
by now every would be villain among the heroes should have got the message.
This time it's about saving the innocent.:)
step 5) (optional) let some other zivilians help manage the kids, like the grandmas I mentioned above.
 
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KRVSH

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I just had a swift look while taking a break from moulding and casting, but I recognize a movement here, which is great, so I will try to get back on this asap with completed thoughts. Until then:

are you talking about game turns or campaign turns?
I thought game turns having a single match in mind. For campaigns I'd say the toughness value could reflect the number of campaign turns to survive + the D6 game turns into the characters final match, so if the gang isn't careful enough, there's not only another zombie on the table, he might be standing next to a former friend. Another strategical gimmick is, if you send the infected ganger against the opponent and he dies without a headshot, he will always become a zombie. What brings me to another nerd bug me question: The ganger is infected. What if he bites rival survivors before he turns? I'd say there's 50% less of a chance the rival is infected, compared to be bitten by a zombie. :whistle:

Edit: I ment toughness, not strength. Makes more sense.

Edit 2: Always an option to factor in previous injuries/weaknesses with [toughness-D3].
 
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trollmeat

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I'm wondering about the combat mechanisms.

While a Bite is a Zombie's ultimate weapon, and nomming on a fresh victim their intention, their main attacks are their cold dead grasping hands.

Grabbing and grappling, with outstretched arms, so they can get their face holes close in for a taste, doesn't feel like it is adequately represented/shown in the Close Combat rules.

While I have spent an idle moment or two contemplating how to go about modifying combat to represent this, I think I'd like to see how other Z games tackle the issue...

...anyone want to throw up some summaries or post their ideas? :)
 
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KRVSH

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Good point. I don't know yet, since I haven't played any zombie games before myself. It should be a way to get hurt without infection though. I can imagine rolling a dice on a simple D6 injury table to find out what effect any zombie hit has. That could mean wounds with modifiers on characteristics or lethal wounds. If there's lethal wounds and the corpse ain't entirely eaten it's surely a new zombie. If it's an infectious bite, there should be the rescue possibility for some cases. Like if someone chops off the leg or arm the next game turn the victim can survive with disabilities. Sounds complicated, but I assume you would roll a die for any zombie attacking and if it's a success another D6 on what happens should be alright. The amputation move is probably covered by close combat weapon rules anyway and that could be spiced with a worst case roll killing the infected victim to immediatly transform it to a zombie.

Another fundamental idea: Giving the game a name. I like Nekromasse. Necromass is already taken by an app and a few bands, Nécromasse is too french for my taste, so I'd prefer the german word. Necromass is the mass of dead plant material, but can also include dead material of living organisms, depending on definition corpses as well.
 
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KRVSH

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Thing is, that Necro is pretty much as dead as you could wish for.

Just looked at the zombie rules in the Outlanders book. There's both, the infection table and a roll for serious injury. My idea may not be that complicated after all. Just a little different.
 
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Unslain

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Regarding combat mechanics.

I'm not able to check right now but I'm pretty sure that unarmed attacks in 2nd ed 40k were made at -1 Strength. So if that were applied to zombies and they were given Head Butt then the chance of a bite/wound rises dependent on how badly a fighter loses the close combat round.

Alternatively, a bite/infection could occur on a roll to wound of a six and when a fighter is taken out of action. All other attacks are with those filthy mitts of theirs.
 
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Boltzmann

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Another fundamental idea: Giving the game a name. I like Nekromasse. Necromass is already taken by an app and a few bands, Nécromasse is too french for my taste, so I'd prefer the german word. Necromass is the mass of dead plant material, but can also include dead material of living organisms, depending on definition corpses as well.
I love that name! Necromasse is great.
Never heard that before but it's perfect for zombies. It's clearly that what is left of Biomasse once life is gone from it.

(might steal that name for my next Zombie scenario)
 

KRVSH

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It's blowing my own horn, but I really think the Vehicle Rules I wrote up will be perfect for this. They are whittled down a bit to play faster and easier, so as not to convolute the rest of the game's learning curve. The link is in my signature. It accommodates any sort of build as well, so you won't be pigeon holed with vehicle options.
Had a first look and the rules cover at least most of my concerns.

Cover is not as necessary, but things like high ground become big. Maybe let zombies climb but at a penalty? Like at reduced rate, or a required I test if there are less than 3 (hypothetical number) in base contact with the edge of the higher ground? Maybe make difficult ground extra difficult for zombies, so that running around becomes the evasion tactic. As for extra rules beyond that though, you don't need to protect Heroes/Survivors as much as characters in Necromunda, so it just becomes blocking or leading zombies into a choke point you can escape from.
Something like that, yep. Zombies rarely just climb somewhere and catch up. They're also rather clumsy so something like mud would slow them down or even stop them and a slalom isn't exactly their sport. On the other hand they're dead, so once they start walking water f.e. would slow them down, but there's no reason they can't cross the pond on the ground.

They should out number heroes, so straight shooting should not always be the solution. Requiring dramatic movement on the board should be the basis of a zombie game. If zombies must pursue the closest target, herding them around becomes the way to play. Would be a lot of fun, creates the risk/reward balance to drive play. So I think keeping zombies relatively easy to kill, easier to kill in combat, never pinning, maybe with a high Initiative for spotting distances, and lethal in large groups (maybe a custom combat score modifier to make taking on large groups suicidal... but sometimes plot driving and great for a campaign ;)). Heroes don't need to worry about pinning, but Overwatch and Hiding might become huge (Hiding especially).
There's just a thing with hiding and that's human smell. I'd use a blast marker or a CD on the head of each zombie to see if he can smell humans. He then will try to attack the closest target. Hiding isn't exactly what helps here. Let's assume the smartass wants to gut a zombie and cover himself then I'd say D6 each game turn, on a 1 the zombies can still smell, on a 6 he's infected.
But yes, there should be lots of zombies, spawned and respawned as well. Outnumbering is the problem here and also the sound. If you're running f.e. you create sound. If you're shooting you might even increase spawning. In the end all you do has to be a wise decision.

Weapons could just be copy and paste with renames. Autogun, Hunting Rifle, Stub Gun, Autopistol, Heavy Stubber, Grenades, and Melee weapons could be all you really need. Higher Strength weapons become redundant when the Toughness on zombies is so low. I think they should be like T2 with a 5+ Save against shooting, or maybe T1 with a 4+ Save, that would work well for making them killable hoard creatures that keep coming at you. Ammo should be very sparse in this sort of setting, so Ammo Roll values could be toyed with further.
I've spoken with my buddy about factions and we kind of agreed that a zombie apocalypse is too random to really make a difference. But you could get lucky and find a singled out special force who could become your heavy. Ammo will still be a huge problem. I think close combat is unavoidable in this environment.

Agreed. I think even careful wording on infected bites could suggest "a limb bandaged significantly with the flesh surrounding the bite removed" so that players didn't worry WYSIWYG with amputated limbs or such, but that in game penalties to movement or ability to use two arms would take care of that.
Why not? If you really need an arm to rescue an infant penalties will become important enough anyway.

Zombie mechanics should be designed to make them so characterfully primal that they could easily be NPCs. Something like a character makes 1 unit of noise, and every character within x" of another adds their noise unit to the next plus 1. If there are no characters within a zombie's Initiative value in inches, they move towards the nosiest target. So like if you had two people moving around separately on the board but a group of 3 characters within x" of one another, they would make 4 noise. So the zombies would move towards the group. Guns and melee combat would create noise, maybe getting loot out of a bin would make noise, etc.
I find it easier if zombies always move towards the nearest target, they just need to smell or hear it. You could argue though that if a zombie that didn't smell yet hears a shot, he might forget about the closer running. But that's complicated then.
 

Unslain

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To me, sniffing out a hidden survivor is already a part of Necromunda's existing hiding rules. Unless you're wanting predatory zombies, in which case making the range for testing to 3x Initiative -as with a bioscanner- might be the way to go.

How about noise counters to determine zombie movement direction?
  • Each action listed in the Raid scenario as potentially alerting sentries will earn a model one noise counter each time they commit one of those acts. Sustained Fire weapons produce one counter per shot, as does rapid fire. Noise counters stay in play until the Zombie Phase, when zombies without line of sight to a living model (this may need a range limit imposed) will move toward the largest concentration of noise counters. In the event of two or more groups of equal counters, zombies will move toward a point equidistant between these groups.
  • Each counter also translates into a zombie spawning on the nearest table edge and at least 6" from any living model, on a D6 roll of 1-3 (essentially stolen from the Dead of Winter board game by plaid hat games). These zombie models do not move in their movement phase (just a suggestion - might be too easy on the survivors).
  • Once both of the above steps have been resolved, remove all noise counters. Any noise counters gained after this step -due to overwatch fire, close combat etc.- remain and continue to stack with any others garnered until removed in the next Zombie Phase.

Depending on the number of player-controlled models in a game, survivors calling to each other could be added to the list of noise sources. For this I'd suggest using rules from Inquisitor as a guideline, such that a noise counter is only generated if a zombie is within a range of the calling model(s) equal to the distance between the conversing survivors. But in order for this to work there would have to be some kind of awareness system in order for survivors to have reasons to communicate.

Then again, maybe survivors in charge of infants/young have to pass a Ld test at the start of each turn in order to keep them quiet...
 

KRVSH

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To me, sniffing out a hidden survivor is already a part of Necromunda's existing hiding rules. Unless you're wanting predatory zombies, in which case making the range for testing to 3x Initiative -as with a bioscanner- might be the way to go.
I was lifiting this from the Walking Dead game, there they have something like a CD for smelling range and no roll if it works or not (I think). Having this makes checking quite fast. If you'd compare it to the show, there they hide under cars for example and the walkers pass by, so if you mean it like that it might be a combination of smell and vision for an instant attack and a D6 roll if hidden.

How about noise counters to determine zombie movement direction?
  • Each action listed in the Raid scenario as potentially alerting sentries will earn a model one noise counter each time they commit one of those acts. Sustained Fire weapons produce one counter per shot, as does rapid fire. Noise counters stay in play until the Zombie Phase, when zombies without line of sight to a living model (this may need a range limit imposed) will move toward the largest concentration of noise counters. In the event of two or more groups of equal counters, zombies will move toward a point equidistant between these groups.
  • Each counter also translates into a zombie spawning on the nearest table edge and at least 6" from any living model, on a D6 roll of 1-3 (essentially stolen from the Dead of Winter board game by plaid hat games). These zombie models do not move in their movement phase (just a suggestion - might be too easy on the survivors).
  • Once both of the above steps have been resolved, remove all noise counters. Any noise counters gained after this step -due to overwatch fire, close combat etc.- remain and continue to stack with any others garnered until removed in the next Zombie Phase.
I think counters are the only option to keep track of the noise created, yeah. In Outlanders it says zombies move 2D6 inches, what I like, but what will have to be tested in play, because of the potential mass of zombies on the table. If not attracted by anything using the scatter die for movement direction is something I prefer over having players decide, because these are NPCs. This could also apply in a "noise draw" to decide the target and rolling the movement distance still makes it as random as zombies are, but could also be modified by having a target, because of the sempiternal hunger. Maybe it would even be better to have zombies moving 1D6 inches in general and 2D6 inches when attracted by targets. What I really don't know is, if it subserves the game more to have zombies moving towards the closest target or a concentration of noise. Maybe this has to be decided testing both. Maybe it is additionally in question, if targeting can be locked or will be decided each turn.

Depending on the number of player-controlled models in a game, survivors calling to each other could be added to the list of noise sources. For this I'd suggest using rules from Inquisitor as a guideline, such that a noise counter is only generated if a zombie is within a range of the calling model(s) equal to the distance between the conversing survivors. But in order for this to work there would have to be some kind of awareness system in order for survivors to have reasons to communicate.

Then again, maybe survivors in charge of infants/young have to pass a Ld test at the start of each turn in order to keep them quiet...
I think there are enough chances of tripping in a conflict of two gangs that calling can be ignored. They probably just use sign language. Maybe this could even be factored in by always attacking the nearest target within the smell marker to keep gameplay simple. Once there's a horde of 50 zombies lurking you don't want to test each individual sense and imperception.
Testing on single infants appears a lot easier to me and should be incorporated into rescue mechanics.
 

ThreeDice

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I would say if you're thinking of Zombicide, go for a later edition than first; There are a lot of things unbalanced in the first game which make it a lot less fun to play. With the expansions and further games, much more is added, and the loot and gear matches the difficulty of facing the hordes.

Personally, one of the best zombie rulesets I've seen is All Things Zombie, though I have an older version. You might want to try of Fear and Faith by Ganesha Games. Both systems have been extensively reviewed online. Also, if you go to a blog called 'vampifansworldoftheundead', he and other bloggers he's linked to have done batreps of their games, quite often adding how they roll to aid new players or get clarifications themselves.
 
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Boltzmann

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Then again, maybe survivors in charge of infants/young have to pass a Ld test at the start of each turn in order to keep them quiet...
The rules as I used them meant that the survivors had to rescue the kids to keep them quiet. it worked really well.
make it clear that kids autospot survivors as soon as survivors discover them.
I used the rule that kids kept quiet as long as they could see the hero working on the rescue, so staying where you are or coming slowly closer while fighting zombies was ok but going away or leaving the kids field of vision was not.
For a game like you discuss here it may be better to simply set a turn timer, newly discovered kids will keep quiet for a turn or two, followed by one or two turns of quiet whimpering which then turns into a siren and the kid jumps up and tries to run to the hero that discovered it.

@KRVSH : I belive somewhere up there you asked for a method to randomize a large number of events on the tabletop. I remember this method from an old GW Scenario:
use a deck of regular cards to randomize encounters, of course you can also print your own set of cards with custom text und use those.
make a list of "items" you want to feature and by what card it will be represented. by item I do mean for example: zivilians to protect, friends that help, zombies to kill and some loot to find.
like all the spades and clubs are zombies, number cards represent single zombies kings and queens represent groups.
and all the hearts are zivilians to rescue
and all the diamonds are goodies, low numbers are single frag grenades or pistols, a high number might give you a bolter or plasma pistol and a king or queen gives you another fighter.

now mix all those cards and do 12 stacks of 4 cards distribute those stacks on your tabletop 1 per squarefoot. assuming a 4'x4' table that leaves you with 4 squarefeet to use as starting points, or escape points.
you can even do simple rules to ballance the stacks a bit like first put a single zombie in each stack then randomly distribute the rest of the cards.


about moving masses of NPC Zombies:
reduce the dice when they are not important, there is no need to roll for all the Zs.
ok, if they are close to survivors we want the detail of rolling every dice but far away we want easy play.
(I'll assume Zs moving 2d6 for my example please adjust numbers as needed)
Zs 12" or closer to a survivor roll 2d6
Zs 20" or closer to a survivor roll 3.5"+d6
Zs farther away simply move 7"
try to move Zs that are more than 12" away as groups only rolling once per group
Zombies tend to form groups, it should be enough if 1 zombie spots a survivor to get the whole group moving.
any Z that does not see (or smell or hear) a live target but sees a group of running Z will assume they see a live target and try to join them.
 

Blood Donor

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Blood Donor said:
Agreed. I think even careful wording on infected bites could suggest "a limb bandaged significantly with the flesh surrounding the bite removed" so that players didn't worry WYSIWYG with amputated limbs or such, but that in game penalties to movement or ability to use two arms would take care of that.



Why not? If you really need an arm to rescue an infant penalties will become important enough anyway.
I think we are actually in agreement. In game penalties are a great way to deal with this, but specific wording to the injury treatment could keep players from arguing WYSIWYG about amputating limbs on miniatures.


For smell-spotting, I just think zombies should have a high Initiative value to represent their keen senses for spotting distances. As for 2D6" movement distance, I would recommend against this actually. In Outlanders, it is for the D6 zombies that accompany Scavvies around. If you start rolling 2D6 for a whole hoard of zombies - I'm thinking 25 to 50 - it is going to break the game. I think they should move 4, 5, or 6" with no charge modifier (I give the three numbers because playtesting would need to sort out if 4" is not enough, or if 6" is too much).

Here is my thoughts on a profile:

M: 5 (no charge/run doubled value)
WS: 2 + Bonus modifier
BS: N/A
S: 3
T: 1
W: 1
I: 9
A: 2
Ld: N/A

Special: +4 Save against shooting, 2 attacks means they roll two dice total (not 2 +1 for no Basic/Special/Heavy weapon), for every zombie in combat with a character, each of their WS values is increased by the number of zombies (ie get swarmed by 4 of them and they are all rolling with a WS of 6)

@ThreeDice, All Things Zombie is what @Eilif says they have used in those Chicago Skirmish Games posts referenced previously in this thread, I think a lot could be sampled from that. My absolute bias is that by using the Necro stat lines and base game mechanics, the easier to play Nekromasse (using it cause its a badass name ;)) will turn over players who can recognize the base game of Necromunda. And so that it gets two birds stoned with having zombie rules for Necromunda.
 
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Azzabat

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Twilight creations do some blank cards for their Zombies!!! Game which can be bought, or copied

http://www.twilightcreationsinc.com/en/boardgames/zombies/cardtemplates.html

If you want a custom deck made, I've used a company called Make Playing Cards

http://www.makeplayingcards.com/

They're based in the U.S. And Hong Kong but it was extremely easy to get stuff to the Uk. I can recommend them whole heartedly.

@KRVSH mentioned Mantic's Wlaking Dead - All out War (http://www.manticgames.com/mantic-shop/the-walking-dead/product/the-walking-dead-all-out-war-miniatures-game-core-set.html). I managed to see a copy of this today and it has a lot of the ideas your after. I've ordered a copy from my FLGS when it comes out (hopefully) next month.
 
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