Posted on Saturday, October 27, 2012 by Games_and_Sports
In this time period of black cats and witch's brew, one often desires to put regular role playing games aside and play a Halloween or horror themed one shot game instead. But what game genre should we look at this year in honor of Halloween?
We can fight madness as investigators in Call of Cthulu or we can be vampires stalking the city nights in Vampire the Requiem. Better yet, we can be children fighting against the horrors of our nightmares in Little Fears. No, this year in honor of AMC's third season of The Walking Dead , the game theme of choice is Zombies.
Currently one the of the more popular zombie apocalypse games is "All Flesh Must Be Eaten", a survival horror game. This genre of game sets the players in a world where they have to survive against overwhelming odds in a post apocatalyptic setting over run by zombies eager to eat their brains.
The main book comes with a variety of campaign settings so that the world can be customized to fit the needs of the game. It uses a skill based system that involves rolling a d10 and in most cases adding a skill value and an attribute value to get a number that is then modified by outside influences with a result that is hopefully higher than the difficulty of the action the player was trying to perform. This system is known as the Unisystem game rules and is fairly simple and straightforward to run.
As far as fluff goes the book is an excellent resource; for example in the game master section it gives 11 detailed scenarios behind the existence of zombies in the world. The book also has a plethora of information on building the zombies, giving the game master a lot of options to customize the world to fit his fiendish vision.
The Santa Clara Library District offers several resources to help with your upcoming Zombie apocalypse needs. For inspiration, there are several fun classic DVDs that can be watched to prepare.
If you prefer the classics, the original Night of the Living Dead is an excellent example of a one shot game where the players are stuck inside a building while trying to ward off incessant zombie attacks.
For something more heroic and action oriented, try any of the Resident Evil series where the players fight zombies with an arsenal of weapons and almost superhuman capabilities.
The Fog is a great example of a more horror based zombie game. The intelligence and purposefulness of the zombies, highlighted by John Carpenter's score, make the concealing nature of the fog even more suspensful.
For a grittier, modern take on zombies, you can use the environment of AMC's The Walking Dead . The storyline revolves around a group of survivors set in a modern post-zombie apocalyptic world who try to make their way to safety through hordes of walking dead and other survivors. This is a great example of a campaign based in a world dominated with zombies rather than a quick one-shot game. The zombies are merely the background setting while the plot really revolves around the characters and the dehumanization that survival has caused them to experience.
Zombieland is a wonderful less than serious approach to a role-playing game where the dead are a constant threat, anything can happen, and how the world may change after zombie infestations.
Other zombie DVDs that deserve mention are:
If you're looking for written inspiration for a zombie game, the two books that immediately pop to my mind are the Zombie Survival Guide and The Zombie Autopsies.
The Zombie Survival Guide gives tips and tricks to surviving the zombie outbreak. The guide gives survival tips on how to make your living areas as zombie proof as possible, how to move as safely as possible through areas infested with zombies, and tips on how to avoid drawing the ire of a mob of zombies. The guide is an excellent resource, for players and game masters alike, when planning for a zombie game.
The Zombie Autopsies focuses more on the anatomy and physiology of the zombie in an attempt to find a cure. It's a wonderful resource for game masters when designing their world and zombies. (The Zombie Autopsies also give great guidelines for how to determine whether or not a cure or antedote can be found.) It's also an amazing play aid for players when looking for detail information information about outbreaks, including pictures.
Of course, there are other zombie books that can be accessed for inspiration. The Walking Dead , The Zombie Handbook , and Zombies , just to name a few. All of these titles give both the player and game master plenty of material for their up-coming zombie apocalypse.