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Zombology Rules

The Zombie Plague is decimating humanity. In a last-ditch attempt to save the species, the governments of the world have turned to you and your peers: ‘scientists’ who believe that Healing Crystals or Magnets can cure anything.

You’ve only got 8 rounds to work out which cures might work and collaboratively build enough evidence to cure the plague - but watch out, only those who’ve backed the right cure will win the Nobel Prize, the others are prepared to take the whole human race down to stop you shaming them.

You can read the rules below or download them as a PDF for printing (two sides of A4 paper).

Contents

The game contains:
78 Therapy cards - 13 each of 6 suits (therapies):

The six different therapies
Each suit has the same 13 cards:
The cards in each therapy
In addition, there are:
The remaining cards

plus 8 round marker cards.

Aim of the Game

The aim of the game is to cure the Zombie Plague and for you to be influential in the cure. At the end of the game, if at least one therapy has generated a cure, all players who scored at least 7 points in one of the cured therapies jointly win the game. If no therapy has led to a cure, all players lose - despite your best efforts, humanity was wiped out. You’ll need to work together to cure the disease while trying to stop rival therapies in their tracks.

Setup

If playing with 5 or 6 players, first remove all cards of one therapy suit. If playing with 3 or 4 players, remove all cards of two suits. Place the Guru cards of the remaining therapies in a central area within reach of all players and separate the remaining therapy cards by their reverse designs: Epidemic and Apocalypse. Shuffle each pile separately. Stack the round marker cards in order, with Round 1 on top.

Finally, each player is dealt 3 Epidemic cards and – if playing with 3, 4 or 5 players – some Apocalypse cards:
    3 players: 3 Epidemics + 3 Apocalypses
    4 players: 3 Epidemics + 1 Apocalypse
    5 players: 3 Epidemics + 1 Apocalypse

Play

The game is played over up to 8 rounds. In each round, the following steps are performed:

  1. Use Guru’s Insight
  2. Choose a card to play this round
  3. Resolve played cards
  4. Check for victory or start a new round

At the end of a round, if the game has not been won or lost, players pass the cards in their hand to the player on their left. They then draw a card from the Apocalypse deck to add to their new hand.

Guru cards

Gurus are claimed either from the central area or from another player, by playing a Pay Rise. Owning a Guru brings two abilities that you can use every round that you have it:

  • Intuition allows you (and only you) to skip a requirement when playing Therapy cards (see Resolve Therapy cards).
  • Insight allows you to draw a failed Therapy card into your hand for a second attempt to play it (see Use Guru’s Insight).

1. Use Guru’s Insight

If you have a Guru card in your collection, you may swap a Therapy card from your hand for a failed Therapy card of your Guru’s suit from the central area. You cannot, however, pick up a card that has just been placed in the central area by another player as part of a swap this round.

2. Choose a card to play this round

Secretly choose a card from your hand and place it face down in front of you.

3. Resolve played cards

Once all players have chosen a card, the cards are resolved in the following order: Overruns, Pay Rises, Army Perimeters and then Therapy cards. If two or more players play the same card, they are resolved in numerical order with the lowest card resolving first, i.e. 1/3 resolves before 2/3 then 3/3.

Resolve Overruns

If you chose an Overrun card, reveal it now. All Overruns are then resolved in ascending order. Overrun cards allow you to target any card played this turn by another player. That card is immediately discarded (returned to the game box) and will play no further part in the game. If multiple Overruns are chosen, an earlier Overrun may discard a later Overrun, cancelling its effect before it resolves. After resolving the Overrun, discard it. Note: Army Perimeters can block an Overrun as described in Resolve Army Perimeters.

Resolve Pay Rise cards

If you chose a Pay Rise card, reveal it now. All Pay Rises are then resolved in ascending order. A Pay Rise allows you to claim the Guru of your choice (see Guru cards) from either the central area or another player’s collection and add it to your collection. If multiple Pay Rises are chosen, a later Pay Rise may claim a Guru that has already been claimed by an earlier Pay Rise. After resolving each Pay Rise, discard it.

Resolve Army Perimeters

If you chose an Army Perimeter card, reveal it now and add it to your collection. You may then choose to discard it in a future round to counter an Overrun card played against you. If you do so, the Overrun is discarded with no effect.

Resolve Therapy cards

If you chose a Therapy card, reveal it now. All Therapy cards are then resolved in ascending value order:

Therapy Prerequisites

All Therapy cards except the Theoretical Framework (value 1) require a card in the same suit with a value greater than or equal to its own minus 1 to be present in any player’s collection at the point when they resolve. You can choose cards prospectively, hoping that another player will play your card’s prerequisite in the same round.

Example first round
  1. Both of these successfully resolve as they have no prerequisites
  2. This successfully resolves as Konrad has just successfully played its prerequisite
  3. This fails, the 2 of Healing Crystals is not in any player’s collection - place it in the central area

Cards played in previous rounds do not have their prerequisites checked again - they are only checked in the round they were played.
Having a Guru card in your collection lets you (and you alone) use the Intuition ability to play a Therapy card as if its prerequisite value was one lower.

Example later round
  1. Derek plays a Pay Rise and claims the Healing Crystals Guru
  2. Both the 2s successfully resolve as corresponding 1s are in other players’ collections
  3. The 4 succeeds, because there are 2s in other players’ collections and Konrad has the Guru, allowing him to skip the 3

4. Check for victory or start a new round

When all of the cards played this round have resolved, the round is complete. If any player has a Cured! card in their collection, the game ends immediately (see Victory… or maybe not). If no Cured! cards have been successfully played by the end of round 8, all players lose and humanity is wiped out.

If the game hasn’t ended yet, each player passes the remaining cards in their hand to the player on their left and draws one more card from the Apocalypse deck to add to their new hand. Remove the current round marker card from the top of the stack to reveal the marker for next round. Another round is then played as before with the new cards.

Victory… or maybe not

For each of the cured therapies, sum the face values of the cards in your collection for that therapy. If any of those scores is 7 or more, you are a winner and a saviour of all mankind. If all of your scores in the cured therapies are 6 or less, you are ridiculed as a crackpot for the rest of your days; that’s right, you’ve lost.

Healing Crystals Magnets Winner?
Konrad 2 + 6 = 8 1 + 4 = 5 Yes
Tiffany 3 = 3 2 + 3 + 6 = 11 Yes
Dave 2 + 1 = 3 2 + 4 = 6 No
Derek 3 = 3 0 No

Acknowledgements

Thanks to everyone who helped playtest or gave feedback on the game. I would especially like to thank: Konrad Anft, Tiffany Ralph, Dave Jakowsyzyn, Derek Hohls, Jesse Hinkle, Newcastle Playtest, Enrique Blasco, Steve Anderson, Sam Hogarth, Wilka Hudson, Dave Jackson, Dave Miller, Ian Morns, Mal Ross and Paul and Lisa Willcox.

Featuring icons adapted from www.game-icons.net and the Redneck Zombies font by Josh Wilhelm from lifewithouttaffy.com

Copyright © Jackson Pope 2017