I took the first version of Zombology to the Newcastle Playtest session on Tuesday night. We played with these rules (note, draft quality!):
The Science of the Zombie Apocalypse3-10 players, 20 mins
It finally happened. The Zombie Plague has arrived, decimating entire continents and turning the masses into drooling, stumbling, brain-munching hordes. You're not that bothered though, you live and work in a high security government facility, and for you the plague is an opportunity. It's your chance to finally prove that you're a world-class genius in the field of curing diseases, not like that chump Dr. Gimlet at the CDC, what a tool! Seriously, the guy's an absolute fool, as if DNA retroviruses are a credible cure for anything.
You've got a few weeks to come up with a cure before you run out of the test subjects needed to show that your cure is the best. Choose a method or a few different ones and then quickly gather the evidence you need to prove your genius.
ContentsThe game comprises of 120 cards, 10 each in the following 12 types:
1) DNA Retroviruses
2) Stem cells
3) Herbal extracts
5) Snake venom
7) Vegan Diet
For each type there are cards numbered: -5 (forged results - flip 1-10), -3 (bad science - flip 1-5), -1 (strong rebuttal - flip 1-3), 1 (theoretical description), 2 (computer model), 3 (petri dish proof), 4 (works on mice), 5 (works on monkeys), 7 (successful small trial), 10 (successful large trial).
Aim of the GameThe aim of the game is to score high in the three most successful treatments and low in the two least successful ones.
SetupShuffle the cards and deal ten to each player, place the rest back in the box they will not be needed this game.
PlayThe game is played over 8 rounds. Each round the players secretly choose a card and play it face down in front of them. Once all players have chosen a card, the chosen cards are revealed and added to the players' collections.
If the card played was negative, chose a face up card in play of the same type belonging to another player, it must have a value within the range shown on the negative card. Flip this card face down - it will not contribute to the total when determining the highest and lowest scoring types, but will contribute to that player's score.
The players pass their remaining cards to the player on their left and receive the cards from the player on their right. Another round is now played as before. Once eight rounds have been played, the remaining cards are discarded and the game is scored.
ScoringWork out the total score for each type of cards across all players - do not include the values of any face down cards. The three types with the highest and two types with the lowest totals will score, the cards for the rest can be discarded.
Flip any face down cards back face up. Each player earns positive points equal to the total of their cards in the highest types and negative points equal to their totals in the lowest types. Add the positive and negative points together to get a final score. Highest score wins.
The feedback I received was mainly to do with too many suits and too complicated scoring. We played another game with five suits removed, but what I really need to do is make more cards rather than just remove some, so that there are still enough cards to play with 10 players.
What I'm thinking is that I'll cut it down to six suits (DNA Retroviruses, Stem cells, Herbal extracts, Vegan Diet, Crystals and Surgery) and up the number of cards to 20 per suit. To make the counting easier I'm using a smaller range of numbers:
- 2x -2 Forged Results (flip 1-4)
- 3x -1 Bad science (flip 1-2)
- 5x 1 Theoretical framework
- 4x 2 Petri dish proof
- 3x 3 Works in mice
- 2x 4 Works in Monkeys
- 1x 5 Successful human trial
I'm still not sure how to simplify the scoring while keeping the concept of getting points for backing the most successful treatments. I think I'll cut out the negative points for the least successful treatments and just score the two most successful ones. I need to think on it more. Any ideas?