Monday, January 9, 2012

Design blogging: The Zombie Game

All right! We're back in action in 2012! Okay, enough of that, tonight we're going to be live-blogging our design meeting on one of our games, currently titled "The Zombie Game". Whatever merits we may have as game designers, coming up with good titles is not one of them. The idea for this game came about after watching the movie "Zombieland", and a discussion about why military forces always seem to be unprepared for zombies.

The premise of the game is such: zombies have overrun China, and the other powers of the world are attempting to end the threat before it becomes uncontainable. Why China? Mainly the large population to be zombified and government censorship to prevent the news from getting out. The playable nations are the U.S., India, Russia, and the Arab League, a loose and probably unfeasible coalition of Muslim nations. We originally included the European Union but discarded it as they don't have much viable territory on our game map, plus their military response would be pretty anemic anyway. (Havoc Jack adds there's some doubt it will exist by the time the game is published.)

Gameplay is similar to the Axis and Allies model, with specialized rules for the expansion of zombies and event cards which do things like add random zombie outbreaks around the world.

With the basic explanations out of the way, let's talk about the changes that are being made after our few initial rounds of playtesting, with random excerpts whenever.

First things first: we got rid of the U.N., or at least the game version. As its purpose was more or less similar to the actual U.N. (i.e. condemn Israel and the U.S. and give diplomatic cover to random dictators) it was an unnecessary mechanic and the only reason we could find for keeping it in was to continue to make fun of them. Since we don't need the game to do that it went.

We also removed the oil purchase mechanic we borrowed from the game Powergrid, which mirrors a basic supply and demand function, raising the price as barrels are purchased from the market. While it is admittedly an awesome mechanic, it adds unnecessary complication to the game. With any luck we can get it back in the game later on.

...insert distraction by Youtube here.

Okay, back. Decided to test out various battle scenes. After about 50 test battles against five zombies, it was determined that three tanks are the minimum necessary to have a decent chance of winning a battle. Two infantry and two tanks both only managed to win one battle out of 10, three infantry managed two of 10, and the three tanks won nine of 10.

Last but not least we worked up some notes for national abilities, although these mostly haven't changed much. Still happy with the Arab League having martyrs, although it could be likely to get us in trouble with someone. Being able to take out zombies without fear of losing troops to make more zombies is quite useful, IMO.

No comments:

Post a Comment