For a long time I've been thinking about running a sandbox-y zombies game. And for a long time I've just been making notes in various places, scraps of paper, little journals - even the odd page of a Moleskine.
And then I thought, why not share some of that thinking here? See if other people can spot good ideas or spot obvious drawbacks. There are two main game systems that have influenced my thinking so far, Apocalypse World and Dogs in the Vineyard. If you've read this blog before then you'll know that AW is the game that got me into RPGs and Dogs is the first game that I've GMed for a campaign. So maybe it's natural that they're the ones which are leading me in terms of system.
I started making notes earlier this year convinced that AW was the way forward for a zombie game. Archetypes abound in zombie fiction, and so the playbook style characters for a zombie game would work quite well. Couple that with what I still think of as the best dice mechanic in a game, and a system of experience that creates cinematic, larger-than-life characters (without feeling like they are overpowered superheroes), and there starts to feel like the bare bones of a zombie game.
More recently, having GMed Dogs, I'm more inclined to go with that as the basis for a zombie apocalypse game. The main reason being a game mood one: in Dogs it is not the place for the GM to pass judgement on whatever the PCs do, only to respond in-game. The Dogs are the Law, in a world filled with sinners and demons, what they say goes. It struck me that in a post-apocalypse filled with the undead hungry for the living, there are going to be difficult decisions everywhere. And there is going to be no-one to judge those decisions, save for how others respond. So the mood of Dogs might be relevant - in which case the game mechanics might also be relevant... (if mechanics and mood have any connection at all; I don't know if they do, I don't know if they don't)
Anyway. I'll spew out thoughts about this over the next few weeks and see if any of it starts to make sense. I know that there are other people who have hacked AW and Dogs for zombies games, and I'll link to those or interesting bits in future posts too. And I know of All Flesh Must Be Eaten! but haven't been able to find a copy in the past; plus I think I'm more interested in something with a The Walking Dead vibe rather than out-and-out archetypes or cliches, which is what leads me more to Dogs than Apocalypse World I suppose.
Anyway (take two). Thoughts? Suggestions?