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Friday, 20 July 2012

2013: Designing the Game, Update 2

Howdy all,

Progress is going well, and I hope to release the first draft rules tonight. This set will only cover Character Generation, Movement and Combat – the base mechanics before I start adding the detail.

Here is another preview shot of 'Jackson Street'. The Terrace houses have had a small revamp, due to a basic mistake I made in design. I measured room width, then decided to make the walls thicker, and forgot to extend the room width. The result wasn’t apparent on the rooms, but it left the corridors at 2' wide!

A 'back alley' has also been added, and the yards reduced in size. This reduction was simply to help printing. I want everything to stay on one sheet for the moment. Later I will extend the yards back to length. Work still needs to be done on the interiors of the houses, but as this is mainly cosmetic I want to concentrate on rules for now.

On a side note, I am printing on normal paper here and tends to warp and move a fair bit. I have ordered some 2mm clear perspex sheet to lay over the top, this should help keep everything flat and in place.

So, onto rules. The first draft I will release soon for play-testing will cover the basics of Character Generation, Movement and Combat. I have been testing the game with 6 characters making the group of Survivors. Here is a nice shot of my little example team, they are hand picked not rolled (the game uses a random generation system) as I needed to test some special rules regarding children and Elderly characters.

Six seems be a nice round number for characters. Combat is still very risky, but the group can separate into 2 groups of 3, and still do OK. I have found reducing to 3 groups of 2 very dangerous with my example team. Having one child and one old person means combat with them is near to none existent, they tend to die if attacked and not helped! Poor souls.

At the moment the game uses 3 types of move, called 'Sneak', 'Standard' and 'Sprint'. There are a few restriction and differences between characters based mainly on age. Children for example tend to make far better sneaks, and Elderly have no Sprint value.

Movement tends to effect what else a character can do that turn, as well as how the NPC 'Diseased' (like Zombies) react to them. Sprinting characters tend not to be able to do much else except run hell for leather to avoid danger, while sneak allows a character to move past the Diseased without attracting attention (subject to Field of View, and LOS).

Children with extended Sneak moves tend to avoid a lot of danger. This is something I might need to look at once Loot (items found in the game) and Objectives come in to play. There is a possibility of children being used as 'goffers' sneaking past everything to collect items, while Adults hide at the back. Child exploitation in the post apoc world? Or broken game mechanic?


Here I wanted to keep the mechanics simple, but effective. I wanted to create the feel of a fight, and the danger of a survivor dying, rather than a zombie splatter fest. Closer to a '28 Days' feel rather than 'Resident Evil'.

Characters have one stat that effects all combat (later this stat will be modified by items), and combat has a winner/loser or in the case of a tie, combat continues the following turn.

Losing a round of combat means the character is 'knocked to the ground', where upon losing another round of combat, will be despatched as a casualty. Here I wanted to give Survivors a chance to save each other, and also a chance to get the hell out of Dodge if they are attacked. The model on the ground must spend its next turn rising to its feet. This gives the victor the opportunity to run away, or to stay and try and kill their assailant.

This also gives a fraction of hope to a child in combat with a Diseased. There is a chance the child survivor rolls high enough on the dice (and their opponent low enough) that the child can make a hasty escape.

The danger and unpredictability of combat is further enhanced by the Diseased, who tend to roll random dice in combat and have no base combat stat. I don’t want combat to become predictable, with a good combat character battling their way through everything the apocalypse sends at them. Likewise I wanted to represent the Diseased as pure random, some are ferocious, fresh and strong, some are slow and almost dead. Some have missing limbs, while some even have basic grasp of weapons.

By giving them random attacks, including each turn (they roll fresh dice each turn), this allows even the most timid and frail looking Diseased to suddenly attack like a lion.

With that being said, here is my example team in real trouble!

Thanks for your time. Hopefully the next post will be real soon, and feature the first of the rules for play-testing! I will also include the basic Jackson Street maps for you to print off and use


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