Well I’m having fun… and re-rolling Zombicide and Dead of Winter.
And I’m actually agreeing with one of the writers on the comments, Dead of Winter would not work easily mainly because of the way narrative mechanics are intertwined… maybe if you remove the crossroads cards and the hidden objectives, maybe… but in this case I’m siding with trying to answer Wednesday’s Question using Zombicide Black Plague.
Note this is my opinion and I’ll openly admit that… I’d love people’s opinions on this.
So can you make a Thriller out of Black Plague? Actually maybe… lets look at one mechanic; the Zombie Cards and Search Cards… well OK, 2.
When you search a room (once per round), you get 1 item immediately when inside, no questions asked (unless it’s one of the rare zombie cards); they always are better weapons and more options for players. Zombies appear regularly when everyone ends your turn and are drawn from a pool of zombie cards and also appear when an area is made available to move through.
Now let’s try and make a change; instead of when the place opens up, what if every time you searched, you risk a group of zombies busting in and entering the room you are in? Say the search card has a risk value and if you fail to beat that you had to draw a zombie card as they bust in through open doors and windows. It means that a Search action becomes more of a risk and would change the way you operate as now having to deal with a group of zombies in the room becomes a problem.
Even if you do succeed, your general risk of more zombies arriving increases as you have to be aware that the longer you stay the more likely zombies will close in.
Also, make the number of searches limited, you can only find so much in one room after all and it makes each search critical.
Now let’s talk enemy movement; zombies in Black Plague move towards the nearest visible area followed by the area with the most sound followed by the nearest area with the most sound; you can predict exactly how the enemies will move and even manipulate the noise to move them where you want to; the predictability of movement is key to making Zombicide:Black Plague fun.
Now another idea, this is only for special infected zombies though such as faster zombies, fatter zombies or even the abominations. What if they were less predictable? What if, instead of moving towards sound purely they moved with purpose randomly looking around (die roll) and when they reach a turning point, the direction is decided randomly. Now if there’s enough sound in a particular area they will close the distance FAST until they reach that area so that they are intelligent or they see a human player they will charge to the last known position and follow them into the last known room.
By giving the Special zombies a limited random AI, they can make that die roll tense when the Zombie is in line of sight but fortunately looking the other way until they give that random glance behind?
Finally I’d think more about more abominations and special infected, not more models but more types; there are already 4 different types of Abominations and each operates slightly differently.
Obviously you’d only play with a set number (say 1 abomination and 3 Specials) but the combinations of these zombies would create a different style of play each time meaning you can’t get used to the way they interact with each other.
Tension and thrills come with risk. All three ideas generally increase the risk of things going south (beyond the normal die rolling at least), combine that with a more finite pool of resources, you could, on the surface make Black Plague more like a thriller.
I may stick with Zombicide actually, there’s stuff that I want to explore and this game may be a jumping off point.