Steve Hickey

The Zombie Plan

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

In The Zombie Plan, you play normal people dealing with a zombie attack. After the first turn, the group will have found shelter from the zombies – and one of you will be dead.

Death means you keep playing – only now you’re a zombie and your goal is to turn everyone else into zombies while the survivors try to kill you.

It’s based on the Romero rules of zombies: If you die (in any way), you’ll turn into a zombie. If you’re bitten, you’ll turn into one. If you’re bitten and die, you’ll turn into one that much faster. Your characters don’t know any of this at the start of the game.

All you need to decide before the game starts is whether the zombies are fast or slow.

The game’s set wherever you’re playing the game – and whatever you can see around you right now is allowed to be described as being in the game.

Your character has the same first name as you. Your character’s occupation is something that you have done at some point in your life. Aside from that, your character doesn’t need to have any similarities to you at all. You don’t need to tell any of the other players this information until it comes up in the game.

With rules for betrayal, solo heroics, and player vs. player conflict, The Zombie Plan is a 3 page RPG designed to played wherever you are with just the coins in your pockets.

Describing what happens

The game?s set wherever we?re playing the game – and whatever you can see around you right now is allowed to be described as being in the game. Choose the player to start describing things.

Women go before men, characters with more Life goes before ones with less. If there?s a tie, the younger person goes first. Starting player, take hold of that “Ball”. You explain why your character is here, describe the arrival of the first zombie(s) and describes how you react to that. Then flip all of your Life coins, and pass the Ball (and the turn) to the person on your left.

NB: For this first phase, every time the Ball passes hands, the person who was just speaking flips all their Life coins.

Next player, describe how your character reacts to the situation and then pass their turn to the person on your left – unless… … Other players, at any time you can point your finger at the talking player, and take the Ball (and the right to speak) from them. Just remember that everyone has to have a turn in this first phase before you can have a second go.

Once everyone?s flipped all their coins, look at who has Heads on the coin with the highest value. They become the first zombie. If there?s a tie, only the tying players keep narrating (and flipping their coins at the end of their narration) until one player is left.

NB: All that coin flipping was just for this set-up phase. You won?t need to do that again as you keep on describing stuff.

“Let it ride”: The key to this is that everyone?s got to abide by the stuff people have previously described. If the place you?re sheltering in has been completely cleared of zombies, for instance, then no-one should narrate a zombie ‘just happening’ to pop up to bite someone inside the shelter. What?s done is done.

Dirty Virgins

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

A large town in the middle ages. The Dragon will destroy it unless he is given a virgin sacrifice.

You’re one of the town’s Virgins.

The Dragon is coming tomorrow morning.

The object of the game: get enough mud on your reputation to avoid being killed.

Designers notes

I wasn?t going to enter this month?s Ronnies, but then ? 3 hours before the deadline ?some time freed up. The rough draft of this game was written in 43 minutes.

I wanted something with the spirit of a German boardgame, where the abilities you needed to use in the first phase actually starts to hinder you (or become meaningless) in the endgame. I guess play testing will show me if I succeeded.

This game was written for the November Ronnies 25 and uses the keywords ‘ mud ‘ and ‘Dragon’.

Left Coast

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

In Left Coast, you play semi-famous science fiction authors living in late 196Os California. The game’s inspired by the lives of people like Philip K. Dick and L. Ron Hubbard.

As an author, you try to balance writing with dealing with your everyday lives and problems (marriage, children, rent) and the struggle to not go nuts under the strain of your immense creativity.

And your situation is complicated by the fact that one of your friends is writing a novel about you, … and either their plot is bleeding over into your real life or you are slowly becoming aware you might be a fictional character. As a game of Left Coast plays out, you will gradually become enmeshed in an web of weird and unnatural forces – forces who have a plan designed to upset your already-unstable life.

Left Coast is a game for 2-4 players that involves some co-GMing. It’s designed to promote a relaxed exploration of character and setting, with the occasional pretentious flash of meta-narratives, post-modernism, and nuttiness.

Play is divided into chapters or short stories, and every author sets a goal that they’re trying to achieve during that chapter. You can probably play a self-contained short story of Left Coast in about 2 hours, with the option to continue the game for longer (probably between 3 to 6 sessions).

I Love to Hate to Love

Monday, September 12th, 2005

“I Love to Hate to Love” actually turned out a lot funnier than I thought it would.

When Ron gave out his keywords for the Ronnies, ‘Hatred’ & ‘Girlfriend’ immediately struck me. I wanted a game where the Boyfriend had been totally damaged by the break-up and was giving an insanely biased account of events – while the Girlfriend was way more reasonable and laid back. But as the game developed – it’s got a resolution system based on Snap! – the victory conditions have turned out to be a bit of black comedy in themselves.

Anyway, hope you enjoy. I think the game’s summed up by a bit of graffiti on page 4:

Please come back. I’m sorry. It’s not my fault …

… It’s your fault.

All Growed Up

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

All Growed Up is a game about teenagers in suburbia – how they hate their lives, how they cope and what happens to them after they grow up. There are 2 ways to win – either by strategising the number of dice in your 3 pools (Rebellion, Suburbia and Self-Hatred) or by winning a group vote as having created the most hateful character.

Teenagers growing up in suburbia. Teenagers who hate their surroundings and their lives. In this game, they have 3 ways to express that hatred: by rebelling, by pretending it doesn?t exist, or by turning it on themselves.

Your job as a player is to try and keep the three in balance ? and to share your personal experiences with the other players.

The stories you?ll be telling in All Growed Up go from when a group of friends in a suburb all turn 13 till the end of their 19th year. Basically, from entering high school to moving out from under your parents? control and starting to figure out life on your own.