Zombies care not for your mindless capitalism!
A board game where a zombie apocalypse overruns a traditional Monopoly game, saving it from traditional end-game tedium
Playable with a regular Monopoly set (though additional dice will help - a pair of D4, and an extra D6 (or more - can help with late-game group movement)
2-8 (or more?) players (optimal is probably around 4-6 players)
Where is the line between "house rules" of a game, and "new game" anyway?
- Play normal monopoly first time around the board.
- Outbreak! Become a zombie on snake eyes or go-to-jail, sharing a square with a zombie, or unimproved zombie "owned" property.
- Zombies roll 2D4 and move either direction, and destroy improvements to properties.
- Once zombies are well established, apocalypse! No more commerce. Humans now move by choose 2 from 3D6, and can travel in groups
- Win by:
- all humans simultaneously are on the same human-owned IMPROVED property
- all zombies, and be first zombie to 'jail' square.
note: This game is in slow development. The rules here are not yet perfected, and as-yet untested combination of proposed rules may be a far better game than what's already here, so please test the untested, and come up with new variants! Feedback welcome - either direct to me (find me on facebook - see links below), the Discussion tab to this page, or this page direct!)
The game is divided into three distinct stages. Capitalism, Outbreak and Apocalypse.
Stage One: Capitalism
This stage of the game is traditional capitalism microcosm (ie, Monopoly), with houserules. It is defined as all players being "human".
- Whilst player tactics may differ based on knowledge of the later stages of the game, the game *mechanism* is Monopoly. Common house rules (once around board before purchase, tax->free parking, and so on) are discouraged in favour of genuine Monopoly rules, and MonopoZombie houserules below)
- House construction no longer requires a single ownership of an entire colour group. However, the requirement that development must be even remains. Thus, the first owner of the first property can immediately build one house, even if the bank owns the rest. But they cannot build a second house till all other properties in the group are owned and have a house also.
Becoming a Zombie
- Each player cannot become a zombie on their first time around the board by any method in Capitalism or Outbreak stages of the game.
- After a players first time around the board (once they arrive or pass "Go"), they are susceptible to a number of zombie conversion methods. These are:
- Should a player roll a double-one for any reason (normal roll, escape from jail attempt, as instructed by card), then they are considered to be moving too slow, and are converted. For the purposes of human/zombie interactions, it is considered that they are human at the start of their movement, and arrive (two squares on) as a zombie).
- All methods that send a player to jail (Go To Jail square, card, or doubles thrice in a row) are instead interpreted as "Stay where you are (or take the third movement if a dice roll method) but become a zombie"
- "Get out of Jail Free" cards are instead interpreted as a one-time "infinite strength immunity to zombie conversion" card. This covers ALL zombie conversion methods at any point in the game.
The game enters "Stage Two: Outbreak" upon the first conversion.
Stage Two: Outbreak
This stage of the game diverges from traditional monopoly, with some players being zombies and playing by new rules, whilst humans still play at capitalism. It is defined as beginning with the first zombie conversion, and lasts while the majority of players are still human.
Human players continue playing the rules of Stage One: Capitalism (however their tactics are increasingly likely to be influenced by the oncoming apocalypse)
New ways to become a zombie
- Each zombie and each infection ground is counted as one 'zombie conversion point'. Each human and each improvement (including those on zombie owned lands) are considered a 'zombie immunity point'. If conversion points are equal or greater than immunity points on any given location, then conversion results.
- In practical terms, this means:
- Human landing on an unimproved zombie infection ground results in immediate conversion.
- Humans landing on an improved zombie infection ground is safe - unless there are equal or more zombies as there are houses.
- Two humans are safe together from the arrival of a zombie, or the turning of their location into an infection ground while they're there. However in outbreak stage, humans are still playing at selfish capitalism and one will move on to leave the other to be converted.
- In practical terms, this means:
- Conversion can occur by sharing the Chance/Chest/Go/JustVisiting/Tax non-property squares with a zombie. However, the 'Free Parking' square is an infinite-strength immunity to conversion square throughout the game.
- You can still be converted by a double-one to or from Free Parking. Just not by sharing a it with a zombie.
How to be a zombie
Players who are zombies continue to take their turn in the same position as before. However, they operate under new movement principles to reflect their shambling/mindless nature.
- Instead of 2D6 dice, zombies move according to 2D4 dice. (if no D4 are available, D6 can be used, re-roll any result of 5 or 6)
- Zombies may move in either direction around the board. (Player rolls dice, then chooses from two potential target locations)
- Zombies check chance/chest cards, but ignore them. (Players may taunt human players with the results)
- Zombies do not follow any "teleport" movement instructions (go to nearest railway, jail, etc)
- Zombies do not get another go on a double dice roll.
- Zombies care not for your mindless capitalism, and do not participate in any normal commerce. Players should return their money to the bank upon conversion.
- If a zombie lands on an unowned property, it immediately goes to auction amongst the human players.
- Properties owned by a human prior to conversion now become zombie infection grounds. Mortgage status is ignored.
Property demolition by zombies
Houses are demolished by the conflict of zombies at human-owned-houses, or of humans at houses in infection grounds.
- A zombie arriving on an a vacant improved human-owned property can demolish one house upon arrival.
- If there is a human at the property, then the house remains safe till it is vacant. If another human arrives before the first leaves, then the zombie will move on and never demolish.
- Zombies do not demolish houses on infection grounds
- A human arriving at a house on an infection ground may shelter at the house safely, but the house will be demolished when the last human abandons (flee!) it.
- If the human is converted to a zombie by being overrun by other zombies on that location, then the house is demolished as part of the convertion
The game enters Stage Three: Apocalypse when zombies are considered established. Outbreak mode always lasts a minimum of one round. It THEN ends when:
- For 2 and 3 player games, outbreak lasts till the first of
- A second zombie conversion
- All humans have completed a circuit around the board back past their individual 'start of outbreak' positions
- For 4+ players, when the count of zombies is one conversion away from equal to or outnumbering human players.
- ie, the second zombie in a 4 or 5 player game. The third zombie in 6 or 7 player games, a fourth zombie in 8 or 9 player games, etc.
- If a threshold conversion occurs during the "one round minimum time", then the Apocalypse will occur at the end of the round.
Stage Three: Apocalypse
At this stage of the game, capitalism has failed to protect against zombies, the economy collapses and the last vestiges of Monopoly rules are swept clear. All remaining humans now move to survival mode.
- All commerce and economic-based activity halts. All money goes back to the bank - it's closed down.
- No more building of properties. No more demolishing for monopoly-rule reasons - demolitions are now zombie-based reasons only.
- We keep track of property ownership for zombie-infection ground tracking. Mortgage status is irrelevant.
- Zombies continue as before
- Humans now move in survival mode
- Any humans that have not yet made it once-around the board, are susceptible to conversion.
How to survive as a human
- Humans now move with increased agility and tactics. This is achieved by allowing movement in either direction, and by rolling 3D6 and choosing two. This means each human has up to 6 possible target locations to choose from.
- If a double is chosen, then roll-again can optionally be taken. There are no longer any penalties for repeated double-based roll-agains.
- If a double-1 is an option, the player is in a position to choose to self-infect.
- Humans no longer follow any monopoly based 'teleport' rules either.
- Humans can now group up and move together. This is beneficial for the following reasons
- Moving simultaneous makes individuals less vulnerable to zombies.
- Easier to meet the human winning conditions.
- A group is formed (or grown) when multiple humans are on the same square by normal movement mechanisms. The earlier member(s) of the group 'delay' their turn till the normally-scheduled turn of the most recently joined group member, and then all members of the group roll 3D6 and trade the resulting dice in an attempt to equalise each members movement, and so be able to move as a group. It's also permissible to trade dice so to maximise the chance of each group member making it to a different safe-house, noting that this action splits up the group.
- If trade negotiations fails to allocate dice, then the original roller of each dice controls it for their own use.
- A player may only remain part of a group for a maximum of three turns, after which point they must take their normal turn again. In groups of 2 or 3, this means the dissolving of the group. Four or more humans can theoretically achieve a longer group life with a rotation of members.
- After leaving a group, a player must have two normal independent turns before they can join a group again. Note: players may still aim to land on the same locations - useful for protecting buildings and winning, but must do so with individual dice rolls and turns.
- Simultaneous movement is achieved by the humans already on the newly-shared-location delaying their turn till the normal turn of the most recent arrival. If a new human joins an existing group with no obvious way of delaying turns to synchronise (eg: the turn order is: member-who-is-delaying, newly-arrived-human, member-who-group-takes-their-turn-on, then the two group members can elect to have a once-only zero-movement turn so to bring the new member into sync. Note that this does consume one of the three moves allowable as a team, and can only be done once per additional member to a team.
Never steal turns from the future
Humans win when all remaining humans are on an improved human-owned property, with no zombies also on that location. Humans thus win as a team. (the last human can win solo). Note that humans do not need to be moving as a group to win - they can arrive on the location independently. However, group movement makes it easier.
Zombies can only win when ALL players are zombies, at which point the winning zombie is the first onto the "just visiting/jail" square. Zombies cannot win as a team. Should multiple zombies be already on 'just visiting' when the last human is turned, then the winning zombie is the one who was most recently human (they're least decayed = strongest). Possible alternatives: the one who has been zombie longest. Or the one who was first on Just Visiting, or the one who most recently arrived at Just Visiting?! Note that due to the possibility of group suicide-to-zombie, there may be multiple players who have become zombies simultaneously!)
This section is for elements of the game which are either unnecessary for enjoyable basic gameplay, or unlikely to occur at all, and so explained here seperate to keep the main rules simple.
Only valid in Outbreak mode: Players may pre-pay for a bodyguard. $100/bodyguard/round. Each bodyguard acts as an extra human for the purposes of counting human/zombie interactions. Bodyguard(s) can only be purchased on a players roll, and remain active with the player (protecting them from zombie arrivals) till the players next roll. If they choose to continue with bodyguard (pay again), there is no break in guarding.
Bankruptcy / Homelessness
Effects all areas of the game. A player who becomes bankrupt (by normal monopoly means) in Capitalism/Outbreak stages, remains in the game and now plays as follows:
- They travel at the speed of 1D6 and still adhere to clockwise motion.
- They can never be turned zombie through the "moving too slow" (double-one) logic, with rationale being that homelessness lends a skill at being relatively invisible - and thus they can dodge zombies on their own moves.
- They no longer take their turn in the normal play order, instead:
- If they land on an unowned property, it immediately goes to auction
- If they land on an owned property, they do not pay rent. Instead, they squat there till the owner of that property has their next move, at which point, prior to the owners roll, the homeless squatter takes their turn, repeating as required till they have found a property owned by another, or a non-property square).
- If they are on a non-property square, they remain there and their next turn occurs only after another player lands on that square, or moves past them.
- They check Chance/Chest cards as per normal, and honour them as far as is possible. Funds gained from this and also passing Go can rescue them from bankruptcy, at which point they resume normal 2D6 play in their original play position, pay rent as normal, etc. However, once a player is homeless once, it's likely they'll be homeless again soon.
- Outbreak/Apocalypse stages: Any player who has been homeless (regardless of current status) gains the ability squat in a zombie-owned house without causing that house to be demolished when they leave. This leads to a bonus winning condition where if the last human has was-homeless skills, they can win by landing on any remaining house (by definition owned by a zombie) so long as no zombie is also on that property.
- Apocalypse stage: Any humans that were homeless at the time of the apocalypse now move by choosing one of 2D6 (still immune to double-one method), but permanently regain "two from 3D6" movement as soon as they join a group. (after which point they are susceptible to a double-one conversion again). They retain their "last human, but homeless" winning condition option.
Note: as of writing, Homelessness has been part of the rules for a few games, but has never actually occured
Hospitals / Cure
Is the zombie virus curable? This game says yes!
Hotels are considered 'hospitals' in this game. They retain the same build/demolition/rent characteristics as per Monopoly hotels in Capitalism/Outbreak stages, but can cure zombies in Outbreak/Apocalypse stages.
In the Outbreak stage, a zombie landing on a hospital is immediately cured. However, any properties previously owned by that player remain infection grounds, and the player instead is immediately in 'homeless' mode.
In the Apocalypse stage, a zombie can only be cured at a hospital with a human present (order of human+zombie arrival at the hospital is irrelevant). The cured zombie again gains 'homeless' status, with the skills and restrictions that entails. However, unless the humans that cured them are a group on the verge of breaking up, the cured can join the group and immediately regain full movement options.
Note: At time of writing, hospital/cure rule has not been playtested. It has not even been in the rules of a played game to influence tactics!
Further gameplay ideas
These are ideas that have come about from after-testing discussions and document writing, but not yet considered good enough to warrant inclusion to the main rules. Most promising ideas first.
- Zombies must choose direction BEFORE rolling dice. This would increase their apparent mindlessness and slow their ability to tactically target human-owned improvements for demolishing.
- Roll for zombie conversion
- Modify the conversion rules so each conversion opportunity is played as a dice roll. Each human/bodyguard/property earns the defence on D6. Each zombie/infection ground earns the attack a D6. Each side rolls, largest wins. re-roll ties.
- note: new battle between all humans and zombies occur on any *arrival* to a property, but not on departures. (humans sneak out, zombies mindlessly shamble away)
- I don't think this should include snakeeye/jail conversions. (they are already governed by chance)
- Should stations/utilities by default provide safe shelter? (ie: as infrastructure they have an implied (non-demolishable?) house)
- What about non-property locations? Free Parking is already a guaranteed infinite-immunity square, whilst GoToJail is an infinite-infection square.
- What about Go/Chance/Chest/Just Visiting Jail/tax?
- This Fan made alternate board looks insane, but might be fun/insane for a longer/more populated game?
- Some further rule tweaking may be required for this board!
- 2018 Jun 16 - Playtest with 5. Outbreak was one turn long and prompted the rule tweak to set 'all players get one turn minimum on outbreak stage', and to clarify that in apocalypse mode, even not-once-around-the-board players were now susceptible. Bodyguard rule wasn't played. Idea for Hospital/cure was suggested and developed since. Discovered three-player group sync issues. Discovered 'two-zombies on jail simultaneously for winning' dilemma.
- 2018 Jun early - Playtest with 3. A human won by already being on their own property when the second-last human was converted
- 2018 May 27 - "board games and other fun stuff" group playtested with 4 people. Tweaked threshold for outbreak mode (guarantee a period of outbreak before apocalypse), and playtested human group movement rules to great success. (solved the 'when does the group move' issue, and limit on group lifetime was suggested). Bodyguard rule not played.
- 2018 Feb 10 - Playtest with 3 people. Alter threshold for apocalypse mode (zombie count set at half total players, rounding down - so we had no outbreak mode. Capitalism direct to apocalypse), and played with new house building rules. A success (and possibly the first time a human has won?)
- 2017 Nov 25 - Novemberfest game with... 7 people? Generally enjoyed. Speculation about altering house building rules, and roll for zombie conversions - https://www.facebook.com/nemothorx/posts/10156002726323216
- 2016 Dec 25 - Second round of play testing
- 2016 Aug 23 - First play testing (3 person group) - https://www.facebook.com/nemothorx/posts/10154489150088216
- 2014 Jul 02 - Initial writeup - https://www.facebook.com/nemothorx/posts/10152542793653216
- Let the record show that the very first roll in the very first playtest was a double-1 and so the game inventor became a zombie. (and so the second game introduced the "once around before zombie possible" rule)
Monopocalypse - The Zombie War