Friday, June 22, 2012

I Don't Get This Whole Zombie Gaming Thing

Could someone please explain for me the appeal of zombie gaming, other than "because it's fun"? I've really been having a hard time understanding why it is so popular, with many gamers devoted to the subject. There are miniature games, board games, card games, and I think even a zombie dice game. How much strategy and tactics are involved in a zombie miniature game, especially for those playing zombies? All I can see is "mindlessly shuffle towards enemy" as the main strategy. Am I alone in my confusion? Please use the comments section to educate those ignorant of zombies like myself!


  1. Good zombie games (like All Things Zombie) have pretty high degree of randomness to them, so you can watch with dread as the slowly shuffling zombies close the gap while your own alter-ego stands stock still.

    There's also a bit of the "Alamo" quality to them, because you're having to be careful not to expend resources, etc. before you're overwhelmed by a more populous opponent.

  2. As for playing zombies, often the zombies are controlled by the rules set, or a GM, not the player. If you are playing the zombie side, the pleasure can come from having an endlessly growing horde to swamp the few survivors. "Quantity has a quality all its own."

    The best part of zombie gaming as survivors is the realization that your biggest enemies AREN'T the zombies, it's other survivors -- people just as desperate as you are for limited resources in an increasingly hostile environment. Great stories get crafted on the tabletop from that kind of conflict.

    And zombies remain popular because, I think, they allow us to taunt our fear of death.

  3. Maybe there was only so much people could do with Vampires-they had a couple strong decades, and after all that well-dressed cooler-than-you style people wanted the polar opposite: rotting walking corpses.

    but seriously,

    alien invasion was popular during the cold war because it tapped into people's fear of communism, zombies being so popular, I think must indicate a lot of people fear the complete collapse of civilization.

  4. I sure can't. I'm with you on this so-called Zombie craze. Best, Dean

  5. Its also mentioned above is that a lot of the rules ATZ and NMRIH are solo affairs so people who don't get chance to go to clubs or have friends nearby to game with can play a few games (myself included) my Zed project has been going for 12month now on a slow burn. Plus Zombies are cool

  6. I never thought about the resource management aspect before! That's an interesting angle. I didn't think about the solo aspect either. This makes a bit more sense now. See, I've learned something in my old age! LoL! Still, I'm not sure I could stomach painting some of the zombie models I've seen that look more like fresh roadkill. I guess I'm more into the old B&W Universal Studios type of G-rated monsters. :-)

  7. I do play Zed games (ATZ primarily, but some others) and I am a 100% solo player. I agree with the road kill aspect, and paint my Zeds with minimal gore - more like "newly dead" than "half eaten."

    If you are at all inclined to game the period, you might want to first go to the library / used book store and check out some of the zombie lit that is available. A great deal of it is game-able on a skirmish level, and you may be surprised at the different wrinkles out there. I don't like all of it, just as I have my preferences in fantasy gaming, historical gaming, etc. I would recommend the following as first reads because I think they are good reads, interesting twists, and broken up into series of short stories, rather than trying to read a "War & Peace" Zed book.

    1. World War Z
    2. The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology [Paperback]
    3. Zombies: The Recent Dead

    If you want to tackle complete stories rather than short stories, I was really taken with the works of Joe McKinney. He has three books, related but not sequels per se:
    Dead City
    Flesh Eaters
    Apocalypse of the Dead



  8. In several Zombie games some of them are really-really fast, or have other attributes that make them 'dangerous' to 'breathers'. It was tough wading through the hordes of undead with just a few weapons and unreliable allies. I kept hearing "Stayin' Alive"...


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