Matakishi's Tea House

A simple little site...

by Silent Invader

Part One: The Plan

Zombie Plague is quick, fun and versatile. It lends itself to roleplay and solo play, simply have the zombies do what zombies do - rush
towards any human activity. The rules are easily modified to suit the sort of game you might want; eg fast zombies, etc. You can play on the downloadable boards, on your own board, on a grid system with 3D buildings, or (with a tinker to the rules) on a diorama-standard table.

Zombie Plague was a fun intro to what I wanted from a zombie game but after playing it a few times I realised that it wouldnít have the unpredictability and speed that I wanted from a bigger game.  This is no reflection on ZP (as a print-n-play itís great!) but I wrote my own interpretation that is less old-fashioned slow zombie and is (I think) closer to a composite of the faster I AM LEGEND - 28 DAYS scenarios and styles.

As regards the survivors, I kept the basic 4AP allocation.  However, I did make the game more akin to a role-play by giving characters special skills that are detailed on the card that is held by the player controlling him/her.  For example, the character might be stronger and so kills more easily with a clubbing or slashing weapon - it is easy to manage as each characterís rules are printed on their card.  Some can drive, some canít, some are first-aiders, others arenít, etc.  Also, each character ALWAYS has a basic weapon that fits their skil lset/experience - these include clubs, knives and pistols, and though pistols give range they can jam. There are also rules for passing stuff etc that consume action points. The foregoing makes the game sound weighted in favour of the survivors but, because of changes to the zombies rules, it isnít.

As regards the zombies, they have 2AP unless they hear or see human activity, or they see other zombies running, in which case their AP increases to (and stays at for as long as is logically possible) 4AP with them being drawn towards the action.  This puts the humans at a disadvantage as they tend to have to do stuff as well as move (which consumes APs), whereas the zombies with the same AP allowance just want to move (then feed).  Also, we don't bring one zombie onto the board at a time - rather, we throw a die for the number that come on so whole packs can arrive at once, and sometimes we throw a die for where they will come on, which can turn the game on its head.  Like in ZP, dead zombies are removed from the table and added to the pool waiting to come on.

We soon learned that to have any chance of success the survivors need to keep a low profile - it becomes a finely balanced game, needing to search (if that is the objective) as widely and as quickly as possible without being seen or heard (ie, by opening fire).  For best results the survivors also need to think ahead and work as a team. 

The basic personal weapon gives the survivors a chance while more effective weapons etc can be found while searching.  And if you have a character who is a shootist then you want to get the sniper rifle you just found to him, then get him into the right position to use it etc.  There's a lot more thinking on the feet required than in ZP.

Our rules have worked through a couple of drafts already and include things like vehicle movement.  They are awaiting the latest bunch of drafting changes while stuff I have yet to include ranges from hiding, interaction with non-zombified animals (e.g., wild and domesticated dogs) and petrol bombs.

As regards figures, we have up to 10 survivors, 40 male zombies, 10 female (no effective difference, just for the look) and some animals.  The zombies (technically, in this game they are living infected, rather than living dead) are mostly modifications of WGF horde and conversions of Dr Who minifigs.  The human figures need a lot more work as they are self-sculpted but this was necessary as they are mostly representations of the players, which makes the game a bit more personal.  All of the figures are works in progress so I canít share any images of our game as presently we are playing with a lot of paperclip puppets!

I want a lightweight, compact and transportable tabletop system for playing our game which has been inspired by Zombie Plague.  Some scaled 3D realism required but not to the same level as for my WW2 set up (which is neither lightweight, compact nor transportable!!). Some of the players are less wargamers, more boardgamers so a marked grid avoids the need for measuring distances etc thereby speeding things up a tad.

I have opted for 'concrete' coloured self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles with a 1" grid drawn using a sharpie permanent marker. The tile surface is a tad shiny and the grid lines are a bit too obvious so I'm going to tone them down with some acrylic washes.  I've opted for a tongue and groove system for joining the buildings together - the wall pieces are cut from artist watercolour board and are either 3" by 1.5" or 6" by 1.5" - my plan is to stiffen the edges with a flood of superglue then smear on some cheap epoxy for texture, then paint (probably concrete-ish as our game is in an urban environment).

Pairs of tiles have been stuck to a backing cloth which stops everything sliding about on the table, as can be seen on the two tiles at the back of the next image.  Everything packs flat.

Search points will look much like this example borrowed from my WW2 stash - being 'stuff' mounted on 2 penny pieces. Trees and hedges from my WW2 game are also compatible and I'll probably make some flocked tiles for grassy areas.

I am trying to do this as inexpensively as possible - otherwise it'll just get out of control....  I expect the finished board and buildings to cost less than £15.

Next: The Buildings.

You can download a 120k pdf of the rules Silent Invader uses for his zombie games here:

You can download the Zombie Plague rules from Fortress Figures.