UKGE Best RPG: Zombie World
Our next submission to the awards is Zombie World, from Magpie Games
This one drew interest just from the way in which it was presented. Most RPGs have a book with all the rules in it and how to use those rules. This came with a book, but also several dry wipe boards and two decks of cards.
As it suggests on the box, it’s set in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, undefined as to which one, there are no indications for the world as it is, only that things have gone wrong and what you have is a community of survivors, very much in the vein of The Walking Dead.
When reading through the rules, it’s clear that the game was intended as a one off for the most part. It might be possible to run a campaign using it, but there are no rules included in how to progress the character in any way, because the important part of this game is the enclave in which the characters all live.
This drew a lot of interest, as it shifts the dynamic of the game from personal play to group play in a way that many games don’t have. If one of the characters is killed, it doesn’t end play for that player, but it reduces the number of people in the enclave, and after a while, it becomes impossible to keep an enclave going and that’s when the game ends.
There are two enclaves provided in the basic set, with several more available to buy as expansions, these include more equipment items, more characters to play with, and more difficulties to face. As a one off game, it works fine, clearly inspired by the shows such as The Walking Dead, there’s an understanding that the greatest danger isn’t always from the undead, but from the other living characters.
It took a little getting used to the various decks that are setup to play, but the game runs well, keeps going at a good pace, and accounts for all possibilities. It works very well for a one shot game, but doesn’t have massive variety, so the chance of forming up a campaign without getting the other expansions is limited, and with no way to improve the characters between sessions, it’ll be a matter of time before all the characters are gone and the game ends.
While that sounds like a grim and inevitable end, much in the manner of Mork Borg, what makes the difference here is that while the end may be coming to everyone, what you build while you’re still alive may carry on after you’re dead, and that is the message of hope that every apocalypse needs.
We’ll be interested to see where this goes in the future.