Here's another version of the rules that I alluded to earlier. I hope that this version will address the major problems people have raised with the previous versions:
- Having a handful of cards that you can't play because of their requirements
- Seeing all the cards time and time again in a game with few players
- A nonsensical order of card play (low, then high and then low, low, low)
The Science of the Zombie Apocalypse
3-10 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.
The game comprises of 120 cards, 19 each in the following 6 suits (treatments):
Plus six additional Repeated Experiments cards.
For each treatment there are the following cards:
- 1x -2 (Bad Science - flip 1-5)
- 3x -1 (Strong Rebuttal - flip 1/2)
- 5x 1 (Theoretical Framework)
- 4x 2 (Petri Dish Proof)
- 3x 3 (Works in Mice)
- 2x 4 (Works in Monkeys - requires 1/2/3)
- 1x 5 (Successful Human Trial - requires 3/4)
Aim of the Game
The aim of the game is to score high in the two most successful treatments and low in the least successful treatment.
Separate the cards into their three types: Groundwork, Trials and Prejudice. Shuffle each pile separately. Deal each player five of the Groundwork cards and two Prejudice cards. The remaining cards from those decks will not be needed and can be placed back in the box. Place the Trials cards to one side for now.
The game is played over 8 rounds. Each round the players secretly choose a card and place it face down in front of them. Once all players have chosen a card, the chosen cards are revealed and added face up to their player's collection.
Rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 are Research rounds. Rounds 4 and 7 are Conference rounds. In Research rounds the players can only play the Groundwork (or later, Trial) cards from their hands. In the Conference rounds the scientists get together to debate their progress. It’s your chance to debunk, rebut, lambast or otherwise rubbish your opponent’s support of ridiculous treatments. In the Conference rounds you can either play one of the Groundwork or Trial cards in your hand, or one of your two Prejudice cards. After the first Conference round, deal each player three of the Trial cards. The remaining Trial cards can be placed in the box, they will not be used this game.
If the card played has a requirement (Works in Monkeys requires 1, 2 or 3; Successful Human Trial requires 3 or 4), the card cannot be played unless any player has already played one of the required cards in the same treatment in a previous round. E.g. Jack can only play the Successful Human Trial (5, requires 3/4) for Stem Cells, because Jesse has played a Works in Mice (3) of Stem Cells in an earlier round.
If the card played was negative (Bad Science or Strong Rebuttal), choose a face up card played in an earlier round in any player's collection to target. It must be of the same treatment type and have a value within the range shown on the negative card played. Flip the target card face down - it will not count for scoring unless flipped back face up. E.g. Tiffany plays a Bad Science card in Crystals, and chooses to flip a Works in Monkeys in Crystals that Dave played in the last round.
The Repeated Experiment cards let a player repeat an experiment that has previously been discredited - they flip one of cards they have previously had to flip face down back face up - it will contribute to their score at the end of the game.
Once all of the cards played have been resolved, the players pass their remaining cards to the player on their left and receive the cards from the player on their right. Do not pass on your Prejudice cards, they remain with you.
Another round is now played as before with the cards they have just received. In the eighth round, each player chooses one of the three cards they have been given and discards the other two - they will play no part in the game. After the eighth round the game is scored.
Determine the two most successful treatments (these will score positive points) and the least successful treatment (this will score negative points). The most successful treatment is the one which has a Successful Human Trial (5). If there's a tie, then the treatment with the most Works in Monkeys (4) will break the tie. If still tied, then the treatment with the most Works in Mice (3) will break the tie, and so on. The least successful treatment is the one with the lowest high card, i.e. if Stem Cells has -1, -1, 1, 2 and 4 and Crystals has -1, 1, 1, 1, 1 and 3 then Crystals is less successful since 3 is lower than 4.
Each player adds the value of their cards in the highest two treatments together and then subtracts the value of their cards in the least successful treatment. Note that if you have played negative cards in the weakest treatment then they will score you positive points.
The player with the highest score wins and can boast, brag and crow about their scientific prowess, while ridiculing the pathetic attempts of their fellow scientists.
As before, here are the cards and rules in PDF form. This time I've added card back files to make it easy to separate the Groundwork, Trial and Prejudice cards, in addition to the front ones, again in A4 and A3. You'll only need the A3 ones (5 sheets) or A4 ones (14 sheets), not both.