What this blog is about...

Since first seeing the "Adventurer" miniatures from Hasslefree I set about writing a zombie game for them.

The main aim of the game is to be totally character based

The players controls a few survivors, they must find more survivors and get out of the town

the zombies are totally autonomous, they are controlled by dice rolls and random movement generators

the characters are only armed with the weapons physically modelled on them

the appearance of the characters has a major affect on how they react to situations

Please feel free to comment, critique and add to any and all of the posts on this blog, i'm looking for anyone with a fun outlook on a game to help me get the best out of some fantastic miniatures.

The rulebook will be a free download when it is finished.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

First proper playtest


I finally got to get my models onto a table and try out my rough ruleset.

My friend Paul was on hand to bat ideas around, and we set up a nice little scene to represent a small skirmish game.

A 2x4 board was set up with 3 buildings, some trees and hills. Your basic scenery types.

Remember these are just my early musings on the game, there is plenty of opportunity to overhaul the whole project, or re-write sections of it.

The base game system relies on you rolling under a required value with 2D6. Therefore low numbers are better for the player rolling.
Our first port of call was the character stats. This is an exceptionally simple system which allows you to work out how brave your character is by simply looking at the physical model.

Character stats are as follows

Age Range: Child (3), Teen (4), Adult (5)
Strength: Weak (0), Average (+1), Strong (+2)
Fitness: Slow (0), Average (+1), Fast (+2)
Weapons: Various (+1 per weapon to a maximum of +2)
Armour: None (0), Light (+1), Heavy (+2)

These factors have values which are added up to give a Base Bravery value. This tells you how much your character can do and how likely they are to do them successfully.

For example:
Kev on the right is an adult (5) of average strength (+1) he looks ex-military so he's probably pretty fit and fast moving (+2) he has 1 pistol (+1) and no armour (0)
this gives him a Base Bravery of 9, which is a very healthy rating, a 75% chance of passing any unmodified bravery tests.

Kitty on the left is either a Teen or a young adult, either way Teen seems the most fitting description (4) she is of average strength (+1) and average speed (+1) 2 pistols give her (+2) and no armour (0)
Giving her a Base Bravery of 8

The Turn Phase

The system is a slightly modified "I go, You go" which goes more like
"I go, my zombies chase me, You go, your zombies chase you"

I Go

The first thing you must do is choose a character and work out if they can see any zombies, if they can, they must immediately test for Bravery (working title "Startling Test")
You must roll under their unmodified Base Bravery. If passed they keep a Turn Bravery equal to their Base bravery. If failed they have a Turn Bravery equal to their Base Bravery - 1D6

Turn Bravery Points

Turn Bravery essentially tells you how much your character can do this turn, think of them as "action points" you spend them performing actions, and can save them to react to zombie actions. This is kept track of by leaving 2 D6 on your character's stat card, displaying the unspent points.


you may spend your points Moving, Attacking, Aiming, Searching, Pausing, and Shuffling

these can be performed in any order and may be repeated (apart from shuffling which may only be performed at the end of the turn)

For example:

Kev has passed his Startling Test giving him his full 9 Turn Bravery points to spend this turn. he spends 2 points moving, 2 points attacking, then a further 1 point moving before spending his last 4 points attacking.


Movement costs you 1 Turn Bravery point per 3" of movement. Movement is performed by pivoting first, then moving in a straight line up to 3". So if you want to move 6" and then spin around, you will have to: pivot if necessary, move 3", pivot if necessary, move 3", then pivot - costing 3 Turn Bravery points due to that last pivot. This mechanic is to make players think about movement, rather than just running and blindly firing behind them, they may need to conserve points to make more attacks etc.

There are maximum movements imposed depending on their fitness.

Slow characters may only spend 2 points on movement, Average may spend 3 points, and Fast may spend 4 points moving.

All difficult terrain (Forest areas, steps, ladders etc) cause movement to half to just 1.5" per point, remember each point of movement is treated indipendantly of other movement points, so you may move 3" up to the forest, then spend the next 2 points moving at 1.5" through it for example.


Attacking is divided into 2 types; Shooting and Combat

Attacking of either sort costs 2 Turn Bravery points per attack
The character may only use 1 weapon for each Turn Bravery point spent attacking, but may switch weapons for each point, or re-use the same weapon again if able.

Line of sight

Characters can see 180degrees to the front, Zombies can only see up to 12"


Shooting attacks are performed when a character uses a ranged weapon.

Ranged weapons have 3 stats; Effective Range (normally given as a minimum and maximum measurement - in the case of pistols just a maximum is given), and a Strength value.

Firstly your character must test to hit the zombie, this is done by measuring the distance from the character to the zombie, and seeing if it is within the effective range of the weapon.

If the target is within the effective range, add (+2) to the characters Age value. if the target is within 6" outside of the effective range (+1) instead, 6" beyond that add nothing to the Age value, outside of this limit halve the Age value (rounding up) and add nothing (this allows those all important "lucky shots" to be possible).

Aiming costs 2 points, but gives you a +1 modifier to your To Hit value

Hitting and Missing

In ZOMG, stray bullets can cause more harm than good, or wound nearby zombies you weren't even aiming at. If you roll a successful hit, proceed to wound the target.

if however you fail to hit, roll a D6. on a 1, 2 or 3 the bullet goes left, on a 4, 5 or 6 the bullet goes right. Place the miss template on the apropriate side of the model (for our games we placed the 40k flamer template to one side of the model about halfway, with the pointy end pointing towards the shooting character)

the closest model (to the shooter) under this template is now subject to a shooting attack (rolling to hit, then wound) if this target is missed, then the attack fails completely (the template is not used twice for the same bullet)

To Wound (shooting)

Firstly, the target suffers an instant kickback, this is represented by moving the zombie directly away from the shooter a number of inches equal to half the weapons strength. the zombie stops if they come into contact with some scenery, but can collect other models, moving them togther if they come into contact.

You need to roll under the weapon's Strength value to wound a zombie, if passed, the zombie is de-activated and placed facing away from the shooter. To kill the zombie outright, you need to roll under half of the weapons strength, remove the zombie model.

For Example:

Kitty lets rip with her two strength 8 pistols, her first attack targets an oncoming zombie leading a small horde. the zombie is within her pistols Effective range of 0" - 9", so she needs to roll under (Age 4, +2 for range = 6) to hit. She passes. The zombie is moved backwards 4", collecting two following zombies and moving them backwards. She also passes the Wound test with flying colours, rolling 4 which is half of the weapons strength, killing it outright.

This represents a player choosing the best shot, as even if she had missed, there was a second chance for the bullet to hit a nearby following zombie.


Combat weapons have 3 stats, Range (normally between Base to base and up to 3"), Ease of use, and a Strength modifier. They are also very likely to have special rules attached, due to the wide variety of combat weapons.

Once a character is within the range of his combat weapon, he may may make an attack with it.

Combat attacks do not need to test to hit zombies, they just need to test to see if they have any affect...

to work out the strength of the combat attack, Add the character's Age and Strength value, along with the weapon's strength modifier.

as with shooting, you need to roll under the strength to wound, if successful perform a knockback on the zombie (half the strength in inches directly backwards), de-activate the zombie and turn it to face away from the attacking character.

if you rolled under half the strength, the zombie is killed outright - after the effects of knockback have been applied.


Zombies are shadows of their former humanity, half blind, driven by hunger, with a basicbasically autonomous. They are generated by dividing the board into 2'x2' squares, marking the centre of these squares, and rolling 1D6 for each of these centre marks. this tells you how many zombies to place in each segment. Place each zombie 2D6" in the direction of a scatter dice (using the little arrow on the "hit" sides) from their corresponding segment centre facing in the same direction as the scatter dice.

for more intense games you could roll a D6 per 1' square instead

Zombie Activation

Zombies start the game unactivated. When a zombie is unactivated it wanders 1D6 in the direction of a scatter dice.

Zombies are activated once they either see a non zombie character (remember they can only see up to 12") or are alerted by noise.

Guns activate zombies within 18", and combat activates zombies within 12".

Activated Zombies

When a zombie is activated, they instantly spin to face what has activated them,

I havent quite worked out how multiple activations will work, (does the zombie blindly follow the last person to make a noise? or go after the closest person they can see.

unactivated zombies are moved after each player has either finished their turn (apart from characters which may have performed Pause actions)

Some Thoughts
The game seems complicated on paper, but visually it is extremely simple, your stat card will show you at a glance what you need to roll to do anything, which speeds the game up massively - a key aspect of this game needs to be speed of play, to allow large scale movements to occur (like searching a row of houses or clearing a shopping mall.

and an assortment of pictures below show our playtest session.

Weapon Effective Ranges, Paul and i discuss the way SMG's would differ to pistols etc

A few rough game turns provide us with many giggles, for example our special rule for the cricket bat meaning it sends zombies hurtling through the air
you can see the use of colour coded counters to represent who which players characters the zombies are following
my character, Kev, hides in the window of a building, but the constant gunfire only seems to draw in more zombies....

things get interesting as zombies close in, the ease of character death definately adds tension to the game.

I'm looking forward to doing some more playtesting, the game needs more character (much more), this could be achieved by the special rules I intend to add, allowing you to spice up your characters in a great many ways.

possibly the gaming system needs to be more complex to allow for such special rules to have any in game effect.

Another point of interest to address in the rules is the objectives

my original sketchy plans basically involved each player trying to build up a warband by searching houses, and escaping with them from a designated point. the players would then score points for their warbands collective abilities.
Paul however suggested a much better idea, why not score points by doing cool movie-esque things in the game, killing zombies in inventive ways. This adds a bit of flair to the game, but does suggest I need a much more detailed combat and shooting system to allow for more inventive kills. A task I am only too ready to get involved with.

Cheers for reading guys, and any and all comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

blog comments powered by Disqus