Oct 31, 2013

The History of Zombiepocalypse - Zombie Next

After ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE's first uneventful introduction, little changed. Although now the rules had finally been codified, it was still a game that was only of interest to my friends and myself. The rules themselves weren't too impressive either, and despite my attempts to simply the system still included many of the arcane complexities of the Dungeons and Dragons rules.

Largely for the challenge, I took it upon myself to re-write the game rule entirely and two years later I introduced ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE 3rd Edition. This version did away with almost all of the trappings of the D&D legacy, and used only the common six-sided die instead of the multitude of dice (four-sided, eight-sided, twenty-side, etc.) used in other games. The core ideas of the game remained the same - fast-paced combat, high-mortality rates for characters, and so forth - but the rules had been further streamlined to aid the envisioned style of game-play. ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE was now not only a game, it was now its own game, unique unto itself.

Nonetheless, although I published the updated rules to the Internet, I still had no expectations that it would be of any real interest to anyone except for my friends and myself.

And then something unusual happened. Other people started to play the game! It wasn't just my small band of merry role-players.

The first was a GM who had read my post on Usenet. He had introduced the game to his own group, and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. He offered some constructive criticism and suggested areas of improvement; I don't know if he ever returned to the game but I hope he did. Later that year, I introduced ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE to some co-workers (most of whom were new to table-top roleplaying entirely). Not only was the game a success, but one of the players then took the game and introduced it to his own roleplaying buddies. And everyone who played agreed that - while the system still had its rough edges - the game and setting were fun to play and had potential to be a great game.

Which finally takes us to the present. Although the response was admittedly small, it was enough to jar me into action. Bolstered by the favorable reactions, I decided to continue to work on the rules, tweaking and polishing the game into something I could be proud of. I fiddled with the rules, and finally made all the changes public with this website earlier this month. I don't expect that my little game will ever reach any sort of real popularity, but I do intend to keep working on it until it is a fun, stand-alone product that any interested tabletop role-players or zombie-aficionados can use to have a quick and fun adventure.

So that's the story of ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE and how it came to be; from a griping discussion about the stupidity of horror-movie protagonists to its own little corner of the table-top role-playing genre. Its history inspired the direction and goals of its development. And who knows what the future holds for the game.

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