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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 33 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Yikes! Zombies!  (Read 4027 times)
lumpley
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« on: March 13, 2008, 10:48:37 AM »

We played Eero's zombie game, whose official English title I can't remember. I'm going to call it Yikes! Zombies! even though I'm absolutely certain that's incorrect.

Emily led us in the game. It was her, me, Meg, Julia. We set it in a hospital (I work in a hospital, and Julia's in non-hospital health care), on the night when there was an accident involving two buses full of Japanese high school goth kid tourists.

It was zany. My character was Matt, a resident in the emergency room, on hour 30 of a 36-hour shift, with a speed habit and lots of satanic tattoos (his nickname was "resident evil"). Julia's character was the surgeon on call (and, coincidentally, a terrorist). The game made a fun understory for lots of health care jokes between Julia and me. Here's my favorite:

Me: I say 'nurse, clean up in aisle two.' She punches me in the throat.

Here's my second-favorite:

Me: <pantomiming scrubbing my hands>
Julia: Your ring?
Me: <taking off my ring, wondering what to do with it, popping it into my mouth>
Me: <finishing scrubbing, putting on gloves, taking my ring out of my mouth and putting it in my pocket>

Ha ha! Attendings, residents and nurses! THAT's comedy.

My guy survived. Meg's died first, then Em's, then Julia's. There was one moment I found scary - when Meg's character got it, in fact, in the darkened hospital cafeteria - and the rest was just fun and funny.

-Vincent
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2008, 12:31:06 PM »

Hi Vincent,

What did your zombies look like? How did your group's successive revelations about the zombies influence the fun and vice-versa?

I've had quite some comedy with this game, usually it has to do with "desecrating" stuff everybody knows (last time we made a complete mess of my home town's administrative service for all things vehicle-related, another time it was a famous Parisian cathedral). As if the zombie appearance meant that all the norms of society suddenly ceased to exist and that we had clearance to bash any authority figure. I'm wondering if this is relevant in your hospital humour as well.
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Regards,
Christoph
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2008, 04:53:57 PM »

The game's going to be called Zombies at the Door! in English as well as Finnish, I guess. I haven't managed a better name, yet. Yikes! Zombies! has charm, but it's too comedic - while the game seems to drive people to comedy for some reason, that's not the sole indented purpose.

Did you get to interact with the mechanical stuff? Specifically, did the game feature sacrifice? Ties with the dice? Interesting maneuvers with dice loans and allying? Did anybody skip their turn to frame? When characters died, did the players of the dead characters side with the zombies or the living people? How long did the game last?
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lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2008, 04:27:52 AM »

In order: No sacrifices. Yes ties. The allying was straightforward, I didn't know about loans. Nobody skipped their turn, but I'll tell you about framing. The zombies. Around two hours.

About framing: with just a couple of exceptions, we played in one long single shot. The camera took turns following us, like. The order was Em, Julia, me, Meg. So the camera starts on Em's character. Her character and Meg's are talking, they draw mine in, we roll dice, Julia's character comes in at the end of it. It's Julia's turn, so the camera follows her character away from that conversation. Her character and mine get in a fight, we roll dice, and then it's my turn next, so the camera follows my character away from the fight. I go try to get Emily's character to calm everybody down, everybody including Meg's character who's there freaking out. We roll dice, and they keep freaking out, and since it's Meg's turn next the camera follows HER freaking-out character away. Like passing a baton, and the baton was our attention.

There were a couple of cut-scenes when the camera had to jump to keep turn order, but mostly nobody framed scenes. I'd love to see a movie shot that way. It'd be stylish and fun. I should go watch Rope again.

-Vincent
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2008, 05:27:46 AM »

Christoph, hospital humor is hard to explain. It's a distinct genre, very gallows. It's not that the zombies opened it up for us, it's that it's already suited to zombies. It's more like, playing the game gave me a captive audience, so I let loose.

Julia's character: Do you ... do you really worship Satan?
My character: Ironically. Does that count?

By the time the zombies were all over the place, they looked like teenage high-fashion Japanese goth kids, only more smudged. The zombie thing started with one guy in the morgue, we never knew why.

-Vincent
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Parthenia
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2008, 09:34:44 AM »

Ah, but Vincent, your character survived the zombies, but got into a car with the rest of Dr. Mahmoud's terrorist cell. Off to the next soft target St. Mary's!

I loved the pre-game prep. Trying to figure out the right setting was fun. Usually I like making up characters more, but setting felt more important than the characters. Populating the setting was simple once we knew where we were. Our "character sheets" were scrap bits of paper with our names and a couple of details. And our character allying was straight-forward, even with the tenuous alliance between the terrorist attending dr. and the resident.

I really liked this game, and I hope we play it again soon. I'd like to know more about dice loans and dead characters choosing sides.

Julia
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2008, 01:47:54 PM »

The dice loaning rule is pretty simple: you can either have your character ally with another character in an argument, in which case they share the fate of their partisans (that is, move on the game board), or your character can keep out of it and you can loan your die to another player to roll in the conflict. The former implies that your character commits to acting in the fiction and allows him to move on the board, while the latter is just a way for your the player to vote for your preferred outcome in a conflict. An allying player also gets to roll their own die and thus might get to narrate, while a loaned die gives the narration to the player who rolled it.

When a player's character is dead or has escaped from the story, the player continues play with the exact same privileges he used to have. Or rather, a subset of those privileges: he still frames scenes, plays NPCs and can still loan out his die to others. He can even ally and get to roll himself, provided that there are some NPCs around for him to advocate. The only mechanical difference is that players may run conflicts against the zombies when a characterless player is the active player: any character in the scene may then get entangled with the zombies, and the player may call for a conflict without human opposition. The active player then rolls for the zombies and others ally or loan their dice to whichever side they want (it's not unheard of for "badguy" characters to side with zombies). The zombie marker does not move on the board because of these "against the zombies" conflicts, so it's just a way to move on the board without necessarily endangering other PCs. (Normal arguments always have a victim in the form of an endangered PC, after all.)
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Emily Care
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 09:12:20 AM »

When a player's character is dead or has escaped from the story, the player continues play with the exact same privileges he used to have. Or rather, a subset of those privileges: he still frames scenes, plays NPCs and can still loan out his die to others.... The zombie marker does not move on the board because of these "against the zombies" conflicts, so it's just a way to move on the board without necessarily endangering other PCs. (Normal arguments always have a victim in the form of an endangered PC, after all.)


Wow! I didn't know about this whole aspect of the game. It changes the end game completely.  You shift from having to fight eachother to being able to unite against the zombies and perhaps all escape. Makes those first losses really matter. 

I love this game. It's absolutely one of my favorite that came out last year and is my standard go-to game when I want to run a pick-up game.  And the adaptation I ran using the mechanics for a scenario in the Iraq war was chilling and moving.  We shall play more, I am sure.

best,
Emily
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2008, 01:11:46 AM »

Remember that you can also loan your dice to the zombies or ally with them. The zombies won't move anyway, but I guess you will.

Picture it, three characters down, only two remaining and one of them tries to be a hero. In a fit of nihilism the two other NPC players loan their dice to the zombies. The smartest thing to for the other living character is to abandon his friend and ally with the zombies for teh win!

IMO the endgame is all about how interresting / sympathetic the characters are, because you need the other players help to stay in the game, so to speak. Many times, I've even played a complete arsehole of a character, but others have sacrificed / sided with me, because the movie needs a villain. The same goes for the leading male and female roles. :)
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Olli Kantola
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