Here’s what I have been baking for the last year

Have you ever played board/party games such as Mafia/Werewolf? Or Battlestar Galactica? Have you played and liked especially the traitor aspect of these games?

If you answered yes for both, then you might wanna read further. If you wanna hear know more about traitor mechanism and cooperative card game then read further.

Introduction
I’ve been working somewhat under the radar for well over a year now. I’ve been doing a card game, not a video game, but a card game. I have kept the possibility of offering also downloadable version, but my first priority has been to create a game that can be played on your kitchen table, with real friends.

Not on your computer, with virtual buddies.

And I now can say that the game is in such shape, that I’m willing to share some more information about it. After 3 very big revisions, I’ve now get all bits and pieces of the game together, and it plays good. I’m proud of the stuff I’ve done.

So, let’s get into the the (zombie) meat of the game: traitor mechanism

Crappy “hd quality” ipod touch camera pic – yes, I’m hunting a better device – but perhaps you’ll see something in that picture

The Infected card game is a game for 1-4 players, and in case there’s 2 or more players, a traitor mechanism is used. Traitor in this game is of course the infected. The chap who got bitten, brain melting, but who is not quite a zombie yet. Only slowly transforming into one, while sabotaging the human players.

And this happens secretly.

For example, in a 3 player game, each player receives a blood sample card which determines whether the player is carrying a nasty zombie virus or if he is clean. During the game, the humans try make a successful escape and figure out who the infected is. It’s not going to be easy.

And while the game is going, the infected tries to sabotage the game.

The meat of the game is to have healthy amount of suspicion, paranoia and backstabbing. All that good game can offer.

Here’ll be zombies

I hate my ipod touch camera. Don’t ever think it’s any good.

In the game, there will be zombie threats that players need to handle. Mechanicswise, it is relatively simple: draw new zombie cards until you draw a smaller valued card than the previous one. Between card drawing, players get to do actions.

It’s pretty simple, but there’s plenty of things to do, and good amount of decisions to be made. All action happens simultaneously, so game scales well whether there’s 1 or 4 players.

And then there’s the items

Apple should have sticker “VHS quality” near the “take HD pics” in their ads

The game has plenty of items. Chainsaws, molotov cocktails, crowbars, revolvers, shotguns… you name it. And plenty is getting used. During threats, player decide to play number of item cards and try to reach equal or greater sum than the zombie threat cards. Each item can be equipped, and then players have access to the item specialties. Different items work better in different situations. For example, Flashlight does not give much bonuses, but is good against several different threat cards. Chainsaw is powerful against threats, but can also be used to receive more item cards for the whole group.

Then there’s also few more things
There’s 7 different characters, with different specialties. There’s also “major threats” which will affect the difficulty. There’s some additional variants, such as “total co-op” mode where there’s no traitor at all. There’s advanced game variant which makes the game slightly more difficult to play (for humans), for groups that have beaten the basic game.

Design philosophy
I’ve strived to have as simple rules as possible (and turn summary – which is practically major part of the game – can fit to about one page of rules), and I’ve tried to keep the mechanism simple. The rules are easy to remember, and since cards provide different choises, there’s stuff to consider. For example, item cards can be played in a threat, they can be discarded to take other actions, they can be equipped, or used as a buffer against threats in case you need to discard them.

I’ve also tried to provide meaningful tactics for the traitor. Here’s some strategies:

  • He can secretly lose a challenge (there’s no need to show cards) which prevents gaining more cards
  • He can hog certain rare cards (such as “vest”) and prevent others from getting enough resources for successful escape
  • When it’s his turn to lead, he can select nasty zombie encounter and secretly discard the easy encounter

And some more. There’s several different ways to sabotage… but of course if he sabotages too much others might get too suspicious and get rid of him.

When it’s available?
When it’s shiny and polished.

I’ve gone through 3 major revisions. The first version was way too luck based, where traitor could affect nothing. Second was not much better. It wasn’t until the third big revision that really nailed it all. The 3rd generation is the one that I’ve been working on for some time now, adding things here and there. Testing. Adding more things. And testing some more.

3rd version also got totally new graphics (from “realistic blood” to “cartoony”), which makes the game so much more fun to playtest.

The co-op version works great, and scales well. I need to get healthy amount of traitor mode testing done, and then we’ll see. The game is currently – as I see it – in “polish shiny” phase. I will playtest, playtest, playtest it, and make some minor tweaks here and there. Maybe I change number of item cards, or change some zombie encounter, or tweak character special abilities a bit. It’s mainly testing & balancing now.

I’m right now freezing features and “new items”, and those go into my “ideas for expansions” list.

So…. when it’s available?
When I consider game done, it’s my plan to do the following steps:

  • Get the game to a publisher (I’m putting my full effort to get z-man games interested)
  • Possibly do a small pre-order based self-print for those interested (since Z-Man way will take quite a bit before there’s even glimpse of hope seeing the game published)

This will take time for sure. My goal is to nail the game – finish it – “in the nearly future”*, and then it totally depends on the publishing process. This is my first physical card game, so I’m almost complete n00b when it comes to that.

We’ll see. Meanwhile, check Infected card game website – there’s links to rulebook, and other stuff is going to appear there too at some point*

*valve time

Psst… if you are interested in ordering the game…
…I don’t mind if you mention that in a comment to this blog post.

2 thoughts on “Here’s what I have been baking for the last year

  1. lemmy101

    damn that sounds awesome! Def interested in getting this. Love mafia type games (and zombies obviously). :)

    Reply

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