March 29

All Flesh Must Be Eaten

A quick disclaimer before I write this review.  A long time ago I used to be a play-tester for Eden studios but that was for the Conspiracy X game line and not AFMBE.
Since I’m going to be running All Flesh Must Be Eaten I thought I’d do a quick review of the core book.  I have three different editions of the book; two printed and a pdf version of the revised edition.  This review is therefore of the revised edition.

What grabbed me about the whole game was the ability to not just do a Romero style zombie game; of which you can find an example in the books Deadworlds chapter; but the whole tool-kit approach.  The game gives you the tools and you can craft your own tailor made zombie apocalypse.

The game uses the Unisystem mechanic and requires nothing more than an ordinary d10 to resolve actions.  At the simplest level this involves rolling stat + skill + 1d0 and try to get higher than 9.  It is an easy system and the genius lurks in the design of it.  Take combat for example; if you wanted to fire a pistol then rolling your characters skill and dexterity seems a logical combination.  What if you wanted to aim?  Some games just give you a flat value to add to your next attack, AFMBE allows you to roll perception and handgun skill with each success level adding +1 to your next attack roll.

This makes it easy to add to the Roll20 virtual table-top as you can easily script macros to take advantage of the flexibility of the system.

The game also contains several example player characters in the archetypes section.  These can be used as is, as a inspiration  for an new character or as an NPC.   I do like this approach as it can get you into a game quickly and with a little difficulty.

Finally the revised edition has rules for using it with a very popular d20 based gaming system.

In conclusion, if you want a tool-kit to create your own zombie apocalypse then this game does take some beating.  If I had one complaint to raise it would be the lack of bookmarking in the pdf but I think this is a small price to pay for such a fun game.

There is a free introductory adventure complete with characters and this can be downloaded from Eden’s website, by following this hyperlink:

March 27

Dealing with the apocalypse

I’ve always looked at a zombie apocalypse game and wondered what is the best way to play it.  Do you do it as though the zombies don’t exist in modern cinema and the players are reacting to the threats anew or do you embrace the genre and say the films have been made?

Since session two of the campaign has come to a close and after a player specifically asked me the question I decided to go with the latter option; George made his movies so the head is a suspected weak point for them.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t going to be surprises for the party as having everything like the movies can become predictable.

With one of the group seizing the initiative the party has made inroads into obtaining supplies and gear for the long haul.   Which I think is a good thing as what I have to unleash is a sandbox environment with its own strengths and weaknesses.  As an aside, I do like the sandbox style of play but you do need a spine to hang it off.  I understand that some sandbox computer games can leave the players wondering what to do as there can be too many choices or too much freedom.

So the party has left the woodland camp and is off in search of a nearby roadside diner.