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ZOMBIE WORLD Puts An Entire RPG Apocalypse In A Box

ZOMBIE WORLD Puts An Entire RPG Apocalypse In A Box

Each week here at Geek & Sundry we’re taking a look at new and upcoming exciting titles on Kickstarter! This week’s Kickstarter of the week is Zombie World, a boxed set RPG where players build their own enclave in a world overrun by the hungry dead. The Kickstarter has exceeded their $5,000 funding goal and is currently past $29K in funding as of this writing.

For many years, the boxed set was the gateway through which many gamers entered into the world of tabletop RPGs. A great boxed set contained all the things new players needed to get into the hobby like dice, rules, setting and maybe even a cool map or another artifact. Boxed sets are often a great gift to give someone looking to learn how to play these games—or a way for a gaming group to expand their horizons beyond their current game.

The Zombie World boxed set, currently on Kickstarter, offers a double-barreled blast of zombie drama for roleplayers both old and new. New gamers will find a game that’s easy to learn, set-up and play within an hour of opening the box. Experienced gamers will find an interesting evolution of Powered By The Apocalypse mechanics that deliver the tension that the genre thrives on. The ease of play and setup make this game an excellent choice for large groups that might have challenges playing other RPGs due to having so many members.

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Zombie World is entirely card based. Characters are created by players drawing three cards at the start of the game; one detailing their past before the zombies rose, one detailing their current role within the group of survivors to which they belong, and a trauma that reflects the terrible psychological damage the character suffered to survive this long. Characters start with their past and their trauma cards hidden. These cards give characters more moves to make but can only be revealed at the appropriate moment. The cards also help the group create their enclave by filling the details of where they are holed up, like a hospital or a prison. Players choose the advantages and disadvantages of their enclave and draw a variety of NPCs from a population deck.

Once the characters and the enclave are set, the GM draws a card from the Fate deck that acts as a prompt for the night’s stories, such as a dwindling food supply or evidence of hostile survivors sniffing around the area. Both player and enclave mats are covered in laminate to allow for quick writing with the right markers…and quick erasing if the story takes an unfortunate turn.

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Cards are also how players resolve the dangerous actions they take to keep going. The resolution deck is inspired by Powered by the Apocalypse games. Players draw a number of cards equal to the score they’re using and keep the best draw. The cards are split between hits and misses with a few hits that are either not as strong or require the expenditure of character resources to turn a miss into a hit. Fans of Powered by the Apocalypse games will see a lot of influence here, mirroring Magpie’s excellent work in other genres like Urban Shadows and Masks. The deck is skewed towards more misses than hits because, after all, this is a dark genre where the living rarely win. The scarier deck, however, is the Bite Deck. This deck represents the ongoing tension and push of the shambling horde. Players must draw from this deck whenever they go up against zombies and run the risk of causing vital equipment to fail or drawing more zombies to the area. The nastiest card in the deck is the Bite card; it signs the character’s death warrant, because sooner or later they will turn. As if that wasn’t tense enough, cards come out of the Bite Deck as they are drawn, making that fatal draw more likely until it happens, when the cards are all shuffled back together again.

All Kickstarter backers get access to a print and play file where they can immediately print out and play the game. There are two main levels to back; the basic game and the Full Enclave level which adds in several new cards to all the decks to expand character, enclave and NPC options. As the campaign shambles on, the higher level becomes more of a value as additional cards are unlocked to go into the Full Enclave level. Fans of zombie media, new roleplayers and horror aficionados should consider backing Zombie World before August 12th, when the game returns to the grave until its inevitable rise in retail.

What zombie game is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!

More Tabletop Game Goodness!

Images Credits: Magpie Games

Review prototype was provided by the designer

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He’s worked on dozens of different tabletop games ranging from Star Wars and Firefly to his own creations like CAMELOT Trigger. He can be hired as a professional Dungeon Master for in-person or remote games. His Twitter is here. You can watch him livestream RPGs here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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