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"Night of the Shambling Dead"

A Game of the Zombie Apocalypse for 1 or more players by Matthew Hartley

night of the shambling dead advent 01
Artwork taken from the Criterion Edition of George A. Romero's Classic*

In this years Advent Calendar's exclusive free game players take on the role of a hardened band of survivors struggling to get by during the zombie apocalypse. Using a clever card draw mechanism combined with a narrative track detailing game play can you survice the night...

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It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder. A widespread investigation of funeral homes, morgues, and hospitals has concluded that the unburied dead have been returning to life and seeking human victims. It's hard for us here to be reporting this to you, but it does seem to be a fact.

- "Night of the Living Dead", 1968

The Game

The aim of this game is to simulate the experience of a small number of survivors during the opening night of a zombie apocalypse. You know the good part bit where they are all running around screaming a lot and learning about head shots.

Players must try to survive the night.

The game can be played with any number of players, each with duplicate copies of the equipment described below. There is no interaction between the players but it is always fun to see your friends get eaten.

One player will also need to fulfil the role of Narrator (see Game Play below).

Equipment

Each player needs 10 individual based figures, one of which is clearly marked as a Hero.

Each figure represents a desperate survivor (at least for now).

Each player also requires a board, sufficiently large for up to 30 figures to fit onto (a simple sheet of A4 paper will do). The board represents the current location of the group of survivors. It should have two zones of equal size (fold the paper in half…) , the first area is the Front Line – survivors here expect to be attacked (or attack) zombies. The second area is Support, survivors here can aid those on the Front Line but would hope to be defended from direct zombie attack.

Players are free to place their survivors as they wish between the two zones on their board, However they may not have more than 6 figures in the Front Line zone at any one time. The Support zone has unlimited capacity.

The Narrator will also need a number of zombie figures (no more than 10 per player) and a few spare survivors.

The game also requires a deck of playing cards with 1 joker, but no other court cards. A number of wound tokens are also required.

Each player needs 2 normal 6 sided dice.

Game Play

The game is played in a series of turns. Each turn represents roughly 1 hour of time and there are 10 turns in the game.

The events of each turn are derived from the Narration Track (see below). The Narrator player reads out the description of the appropriate turn, then deals cards and deploys forces as indicated. The Player(s) then respond to the forces facing him. If battle ensures this is resolved before moving on to the next turn on the Narration Track.

Battle

When the number of zombies facing a player have been determined (see Narration Track), appropriate figures are placed on the board of each player, in the zone indicated by the Narration Track.

If a player has no zombie figures facing him, he will not participate in combat this turn.

A player facing zombies must decide to either Stand and Receive their attack or to Counter-Charge. A Counter-Charge allows the player to shield his wounded from attacks, and to strike first in combat, but it carries the risk that the counter-chargers will rashly pursue into a hidden zombie menace!.

Zombies in the Support zone may not be Counter-Charged and survivors in that zone can only Stand and Receive the attack.

Assigning Figures to Battle

If a player chooses to Stand and Receive, then the Narrator places his figures one by one in base to base contact with the survivor figures in the same board zone. Each survivor must have at least one zombie assigned to them before additional zombies are assigned to any survivors.

If a player chooses to Counter-Charge, then the player places his figures in the Front Line zone one by one in base to base contact with the zombie figures in the same board zone. Again, all zombies must have one attacker, before survivors can double up on a zombie.

The counter-charging player many move up to all his figures into contact with enemy figures. However if he leaves any unwounded figures behind he must roll 2 dice. He may add 1 to the dice score if the Leader is present. If the score on the dice is 7 or less then 1d6 worth of additional unwounded troops (or as many unwounded figures are available, which ever is smaller) must join in the counter-charge.

Combat Phases

Once all figures have been assigned, combat commences.

There are 3 rounds of combat in each game turn.

The zombie player resolves combat first, unless the survivor player Counter-Charged in which case he resolves combat first. Combat is not simultaneous and wounds and kills sustained in one players part of a round effect the other player in the same round.

To resolve combat the attacking player adds up the combat strength of all figures in the same zone who are in face to face or corner to corner contact with an enemy figure, using the combat strength below.

 Unit Type   Unwounded   Wounded  
 Survivor  2   1  
 Survivor Hero   3   2 
 Zombie  1   1 

Additionally all unwounded survivors in the Support zone add 1 to the combat strength total of the Front Line. Survivors in the Front Line zone may not support survivors in the Support zone.

All Survivors in the Support zone have a combat strength of 1 each if attacked in that zone.

The attacking player roll 1 d6 and consults the Combat Results Table. The number given is the number of wounds engaged enemy figures must take.

No figure may take more than 2 wounds. If a figure takes two wounds he is removed from play.

Wounds can only be spread amongst figures who begin that round of combat in contact with the attacking players figures. The defending player may allocate the wounds / deaths amongst his figures, however if the dice rolled by the attacker was a 6 then any Hero present must take a wound.

When one player on a board has resolved all his combat rolls the other player on the same board makes his combat roll with any remaining figures.

After this combat is resolved a victorious figure many move to engage another enemy figure. If all the survivors in one zone are killed, the zombies move into the next zone. The survivors in that zone Stand and Receive that attack for the remaining rounds of combat that turn.

Once three rounds of combat have been resolved, any zombie figures remaining on a board zone which still contains survivor figures are remain on the board until the next turn (they are assume to have been temporarily held at bay).

If survivor player Counter-charged he must now roll 2 dice. He may add 1 to the dice score if the Hero is present with the counter-chargers. If he scores 7 or more, his remaining survivors remain in the Front Line zone If he rolls less than 7, he must roll a further dice. That number of figures, the survivor player chooses which ones from those involved in the counter-charge only, pursue the enemy off the board in a wild charge. These figures are automatically lost.

Counter-charge wild charge rolls are required even if all the enemy figures on the board were destroyed in combat.

Reinforcements

At certain turns of the game survivor players may receive reinforcements in the form of new survivors

When indicated on the Narration Track, deal a card to each player. If the card is a Heart, the player receives new fresh survivors up to the value of the card. A player may never have more than 10 figures in the Front Line zone.

If a 10 of Hearts is drawn a new Hero figure may be added to the group.

Reorder the Survivors

At the end of each turn survivor players with a Hero may rearrange their figures between zones. Normally this will be done to ensure the Front Line has sufficient healthy figures in it and/or wounded figures are moved to the support zone.

A survivor player whose Hero is dead cannot reorder hissurvivors and figures must stay where they are.

Sudden Death Loss

If at the end of a combat round there are zombie figures on a board with no survivor figures then the zombies have won.

The Joker

If the Joker card is drawn all cards are collected together and reshuffled. This includes cards already drawn that turn. Replacement cards are then dealt from the new deck.

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Night of The Shambling Dead Narrative Track

1. A Gauntlet of Zombies

The night begins with a mad dash by the survivors through a horde of zombies towards a (hopefully) defendable shelter

Roll on the CRT with a strength of 10.

The survivor player chooses who is wounded and killed.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

2. Zombie Assault

Draw one card for each survivor player. The value of the card is the number of zombies he must face on his board’s Front Line zone.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

3. Dissention in the Ranks

Spooked by the attack some of the survivors wish to break out and seek a better shelter.

Draw one card for each survivor player. If the card is black, roll a dice, half its value (rounded down). The value is the number of survivors who flee into the night….you hear their screams in the night. The player may choose which survivors flee.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

4. Saviours

Another group of survivors make their way towards the shelter…pursued by zombies!

Draw one card for each survivor player. The value of the card is the number of zombies he must face on his board’s Front Line zone.

Each Survivor player receives a Replacement card.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

5. The Enemy Within

Draw one card for each wounded Survivor. If that card is black that figure turns into a zombie and fights the other survivors in that zone. The Survivors attacked in this way can only Stand and Receive the attack, whichever zone they are in.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

6. Surprise Zombie Assault

Draw one card for each Survivor player. The value of the card is the number of zombies he must face on his board’s Support zone.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

7. Down In Flames

Desperate survivors drive their pickup into the shelter!

Each Survivor player receives a Replacement card.

The pickup explodes! Burning zombies break in!

Draw one card for each survivor player. The value of the card is the number of zombies he must face on his board’s Front Line zone.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

8. A Gauntlet of Fire

Fleeing the burning ruins of the shelter, the survivors make for alternative cover.

Roll on the CRT with a attack strength of 10

The Survivor player chooses who is wounded and killed.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

9. The Final Assault

A fresh zombie horde gathers for a final attempt

Draw two cards for each survivor player. The value of the card is the number of zombies he must face on his board’s Front Line zone.

Survivor players may reorder their survivors at the end of this turn.

10. A Brave New Dawn

Dawn breaks! The National Guard drive in!

Draw one card for each wounded Survivor. If that card is black that figure turns into a zombie and fights the other survivors in that zone. The Survivors attacked in this way can only Stand and Receive the attack, whichever zone they are in.

If any survivors turn into zombies, draw a card for each remaining survivor. If the card is black, that figure is shot dead by the National Guard!

Once this turn has been completed the game ends.

Combat Results Table

   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20+ 
 1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   1   1   1   1   2   3   4   5   5
 2   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   1   1   1   2   2   3   4   5   5  6
 3   0   0   0   0   0   0  1   1   1   1   1   2   2   3   3   4   5   5   6   6 
 4   0   0   0   0   1   1   2   2   2   2   2   3   3   4   4   5   5   6   6   7 
 5   0   0   1   1    2   2   3   3   3   3   3   3    4   5   5   6   6   6   7   7 
 6   1   1   2   2   3   3   3   3   4   4   4   4   5   5   6   6   6   7   7   8 

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Designer's Note

Repeat players should feel free to add or alter the events on the Narration Track, including randomising the events perhaps by making a deck of event cards and drawing one for each turn.

Following Craig's suggested theme for this years calendar, In Memoriam 2018,  this game is in memory of actor Scott Wilson died on 6 October aged 76 following a battle with leukaemia. He portrayed Hershel Greene in The Walking Dead. It is also a belated goodbye to George A. Romero, the father of modern zombie movies, who died in 16 July 2017.

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Webmaster's Notes

An Orcs in the Webbe Original! This scenario was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 1st December 2018 as part of it's 2018 Advent Calendar.

* Note that the artwork has been used without permission and will be removed if requested by the copyright holder.

You can see all the previous stand alone games that have been written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe by clicking on the   maroon tag   just below and to the left.

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