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Project: Dead End part 6 - Print and Play!

Project: Dead End is a development blog where I am chronicling the process of game design from initial concept through publication. To start at the beginning, click here: Part 1

The time has finally arrived for me to share this game with you. After my last post, the game has gone through a few revisions. I meant to post something after the first revision, but I really didn't want to keep writing more and more about the various little changes I was making. The difference between version 3 and version 3.2 were very slight with almost no play changes taking place, and only a few minor wording changes on cards. The game was still very fun, but needed to be even leaner and more tense. So, I skipped posting about 3.2 and here we have arrived at 4.0!

This being officially the fourth iteration of the game, there have been some small changes that add up to be dramatic game play differences. For one, I cut Noisy Neighbor altogether. I heard too many times that players didn't like the card but felt that there needed to be a tense moment when they fire a gun... because that's what happens in the movies. Everyone knows that loud noises attract zombies. So, one of the playtesters offered up a simple solution: put the drawback on the guns themselves. Brilliant!

That simple change offered up a few more streamlining options and let me work on the Event cards a bit. Beyond the way guns work, and some numbers changing, the game has remained fairly stable from version three until now. I'm very satisfied with the underlying system, now it's just a matter of tuning everything up and playing with new cards and abilities.

So, I present you with version 4:

# Icon? Zombies Name Text
6 No 1 Pistol GUN
Once per turn FLIP: 1
SUCCESS: Lose 1 zombie.
FAIL: Gain 1 zombie and discard Pistol.
4 No 2 Shotgun GUN
Once per turn FLIP: 1
SUCCESS: Lose 2 zombies.
FAIL: Gain 1 zombie and discard Pistol.
4 No 2 Axe Lose one Zombie.
3 No 3 Molotov Cocktail FLIP: 4
1-3 SUCCESS: Lose 1 zombie for each success.
4 SUCCESS: Lose all zombies.
You die.
4 No 2 Shh... FLIP: 1
SUCCESS: Move 2 zombies from your house to any opponent(s).
FAIL: Gain 1 zombie.
6 No 3 Barricade 1 Barricade: +2 defense
2 Barricades: +5 defense
3 Barricades: +9 defense
2 No 2 Steady Aim All shots fired this turn automatically succeed. Do not flip any cards.
3 No None Here they come! PLAY IMMEDIATELY
Each opponent gains 2 zombies.
2 No None What Was That? PLAY IMMEDIATELY
Each opponent loses 1 zombie.
You lose 2 zombies.
6 Yes 1 Strong Zombie When you play Strong Zombie FLIP: 1.
SUCCESS: Discard one Barricade on the target opponent's house.
2 Yes 1 Wandering Zombie At the end of your turn, move Wandering Zombie to any opponent.
2 Yes 1 Tough Zombie When you play Tough Zombie you may discard one GUN from the target opponent's house.
10 Yes 2 Zombie

Removal has gotten a bit more potent, so the zombies were adjusted slightly to compensate. I want the players to be forced to deal with zombies and as the game currently sits, it's entirely possible that players turtle up and never play zombies on each other prolonging the game for a very long time. Maybe even indefinitely. So, the zombie cards have got nastier and nastier. The players are constantly facing the impending doom of a zombie apocalypse.

Now, as I promised, I'm including a playtest version of the game with this post. Obviously this is Print and Play, so anyone that wants to give it a shot is welcome to try it out. All you'll need is a few sheets of paper or card stock to print the cards on, counters to represent zombies, and a few distinguishable counters to represent Wandering Zombies.

All I ask for anyone that is interested in playtesting is please tell me how it goes! I'm not great at writing rules. I always feel like I am either over explaining or not explaining enough. I feel it is the weakest part of my designs. Even though Scallywags did not change much from the initial playtest, the rules went through near ten revisions before I was happy. Keep that in mind when reading this set! This is the very first draft and will likely need a significant number of changes before they can teach the game properly. If you have questions before, during, or after a test, the fastest way to reach me is email or Twitter. If that doesn't work for you, feel free to post a question to the BoardGameGeek link or my Google + post.

Currently we are just testing the balance of the cards. I don't have any major revisions in mind. I would like to test the game with more than 5 and it may be necessary to modify the base defense of the house based on the number of players. I would like for the last living player to have a chance at survival and if there are 3 to 6 players ganging up, that seems unlikely. I would also like to hear any ideas that you may have for new cards or different effects. I want to keep the game fairly light, but I'm always open to suggestions.

Get the files here: Dead End Print and Play Files

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On to Part 7 >>

- March 16, 2012