by Jonathan Leistiko
The dead rise to walk among and feed upon the living. However, they are not of one mind. The lords of the dead are bitter rivals. Tonight, in the sleepy town of Smallton, they will settle their grudges once and for all, pitting their shambling hordes against each other in a battle for dominance. Do you have what it takes to rend your opposition limb from limb and reign supreme over the ravenous undead mob? Find out in Zombie Wars!
Take over Smalltown. Annihilate your rivals. Eat brrrrains.
A Zombie Wars board
A color-coded Zombie Wars Horde Tracker and set of Zombie Horde pawns for each player
An Hourglass pawn
A bunch of tokens (50 + 3 per player) to represent Zombies and townspeople
A bunch of d6es (12 or more) to roll for combat between Zombies and townspeople
Some d8s, d10s, d12s and d20s to represent heroic townspeople
2d8 to select random spaces on the board.
Put the Zombie Wars board in the center of the table.
Put the Hourglass pawn on “start”.
Set aside a pool of 50 Townspeople tokens. Roll 2d8 and a d6, reading one d8 as an “X” coordinate, the other as a “Y” coordinate, on the game board. Put Townspeople tokens in that space equal to the d6 result. Repeat this process until your pool runs out of tokens.
Claim a Zombie Wars playsheet, the Zombie Horde pawns of the same color, and some d6es for yourself.
Put three Zombies in one or more Horde spaces on your playsheet. This is (or these are) your starting Horde(s). Roll 2d8 as X and Y coordinates for each Horde you control. Place that Horde’s pawn in the space indicated by your roll’s result.
At the start of the round, advance the Hourglass one step. If the Hourglass lands on the “end” space, the game ends.
Stand all Zombie Horde pawns on the board up.
Randomly pick a player to take the first turn.
During your turn you may take one of the following actions with any upright Zombie Horde pawn you control: Move, Attack, Split, Merge, Townie.
Move: Move this Horde to an adjacent square. Roll every Zombie Hero in your horde, plus one six-sided dice for every normal Zombie in your horde. If any Zombie is less than 4, set this Zombie Horde pawn on its side.
Attack: This horde can attack the townspeople, some zombies, all zombies, or all everything in its space. Declare what you’re attacking. Roll every Zombie Hero in your horde, plus one six-sided dice for every normal Zombie in your horde. If you’re attacking another Zombie horde, that horde’s controller does similarly. If you’re attacking townspeople, have someone roll any Heroes in the space, plus one six-sided die for each non-Hero Townie in the space.
|You’re a…||You rolled a…||against a…||and this happened!|
|Zombie||4+||Townie/Hero||Turn one Townie/Hero into a Zombie.|
|Zombie||5+||An enemy Zombie||Kill an enemy Zombie|
|Townie/Hero||6+||Zombie||Kill a Zombie|
When you turn a Townie or a Hero into a Zombie, the player to your right decides which townsperson you get control of. If you get a Hero, just add that Hero die to your Horde. It’s a Zombie Hero now.
If the Townies rolled one or more 1s and there are no Heroes among them, one of them becomes a Hero (remove it and replace it with a d8).
If a Non-Zombie Hero rolls a 1, it increases one die size; a d8 becomes a d10, a d10 becomes a d12, and a d12 becomes a d20. If a d20 Hero rolls a 1, remove all Zombies in the same space as the Hero and the d20 Hero.
If you have no more Zombies in the space (Zombie Heroes count as zombies), remove your Zombie Horde pawn from the board.
If you rolled one or more 1s, set this Zombie Horde pawn on its side.
Wow, that’s confusing. Let’s look at an example:
You have a horde of five Zombies in a space with two Townies, a d8 Hero, and my horde of three Zombies. You declare that you’re attacking everyone in the space. You’ll be rolling five d6 (one for every Zombie in your Horde). I’ll be rolling three d6 (one for each Zombie in my horde). Pat will roll two d6 (for the two Townies) and one d8 (the Hero).
You get: 4, 3, 3, 2, 2.
I get: 4, 3, 1
Pat’s Townies get: 4, 2
Pat’s Hero gets a 7
You didn’t roll any fives or better, so you don’t kill any of my Zombies. You did get one four, so you get to kill a Townie or Hero. You ask me (the player to your right) who you get, and I pick one of the Townies. Now you have six Zombies in your horde and there’s one fewer Townie in the space. You didn’t roll any ones, so you can keep your Zombie Horde pawn upright.
I didn’t get any fives or better, so I don’t get to kill any of your Zombies. I rolled a four, but I don’t get to kill a Townie because I was resisting your Zombie attack; I wasn’t attacking the Townies. I rolled a one, but I don’t have to set my pawn on its side because it’s not my turn.
Pat’s non-Hero Townies didn’t get the sixes they needed to kill a Zombie (Yes, you count both rolls, even though you turned one into a Zombie. All of these rolls are resolved simultaneously.). Pat’s Hero rolled a seven, and kills one of your Zombies. You’re back down to five Zombies again.
At the end of this action, you still have five Zombies, I have three Zombies, and there’s one Townie and one eight-sided Hero in the space. Your pawn is still upright, so you could take another action with it.
Split: Move some of the Zombies from this Zombie Horde onto a different Horde space on your playsheet. Put the pawn for that space’s Horde in the same space as this Horde’s pawn. Set the larger Horde’s pawn on its side. If both hordes are the same size, set one of the pawns on its side.
Merge: Move some or all of the Zombies from this Zombie Horde onto the Horde space for another one of your Zombie Hordes in this space. If you move all of your Zombies from this Horde onto the other horde’s space, remove this Horde’s pawn from the board. Set the larger Horde’s pawn on its side. If both hordes are the same size, set one of the pawns on its side.
Townie: Set one of your Horde pawns on its side. You may do one of the following:
When you’ve taken all the actions you want to (or can), play passes to your left.
When all players have taken a turn, the player with the fewest Zombies gets a free Townie action, the round ends, and a new round starts.
The game ends if the timer pawn enters the “end” space or if all pieces on the board are controlled by only one player.
If all pawns on the board are yours, you win a total victory.
If you’re the only player with Zombie Horde pawns on the board, you win.
If you’re the player with the most Zombies on the board and there are fewer townspeople than Zombies, you win a conditional victory.
If there are more townspeople on the board than Zombies, everyone loses.
Advanced Zombie Wars – The game described above is the “basic” version of the game. To play “Advanced” Zombie Wars, include the following rules:
Deadlines – Before you place your Horde pawn at the start of the game, roll a d10 to see what kind of zombie breed you are:
1) Fast: You only stop moving if you roll less than 3 with any zombie in your horde.
2) Resilient: Add a Zombie to one of your Hordes at the end of each turn.
3) Bloodthirsty: When attacking, you may remove a Zombie from your attacking Horde to re-roll any 1s you just rolled.
4) Stealthy: If you have fewer Zombies in your Horde than an attacking opponent, you can force the attacking opponent to not attack you.
5) Vicious: Your Zombies kill other Zombies on a 4+.
6) Virulent: Your Zombies “convert” other Zombies to your side on combat rolls of 6 (and only 6, not 6+).
7) Lucky: You get 7 Luck tokens at the start of the game. You can spend a Luck token to force any die to be re-rolled.
8) Noxious: At the end of your turn, roll every die that isn’t controlled by you that’s in a space with one of your Horde pawns. Remove any die that rolls a 1 from play.
9) Infiltrator: You choose who gets to take the free Townie action at the end of each round.
10) Psychic: You choose who goes first at the start of each round.
Super Cop – The game starts with a d12 “super cop” in play. He obeys all normal Townie rules.
A Time For Heroes – Instead of dying when defeated in combat, replace a Hero with a die one size smaller. If the Hero turns into a d6, it is no longer a Hero.
I was reading the “Board Game Designer’s Forum“http://www.bgdf.com/ on October 29th, 2006 when I came across a thread by jpaterson about a Zombie Dice game he’s working on. The idea inspired me, so before looking at his rule set, I wrote the first draft of this game up.
My goal was to make a lightweight, quick-playing, tactical, PVP war game that uses lots and lots of dice. I think this game meets those goals. I’m particularly proud of how the game balances group size with ability to continue taking actions. I also like the versatility of the last free Townie action of each round (using it to feed your own horde, or using it to beat on another player’s horde).
Thanks to Frank, Mike, Glenn, JP, and Kathy for play testing. Thanks to jpaterson for the idea.