Ludum Dare 31 — December 5th-8th, 2014 — Theme: Entire Game on One Screen

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Zombie City

by Samm - Jam Entry

A Unity game that plays like a board game. The player controls four heroes searching an infested city for the items necessary to stop the pandemic. Features randomly generated cities, a dice rolling combat system, and event cards to make the game play slightly differently each time. The rules are available on the main menu, and press 'm' at any time to toggle the music.

Two of us worked together on this, and it was our first game jam. We figured a board game was a good analog for a game that has one screen, so we took out some graph paper and brainstormed up a simple game, adding a few things that wouldn't be as practical in a real board game. There are definitely some balance issues and a few rules tweaks necessary, but personally I'm just happy everything works. There was a totally reasonable amount of coffee and a fair amount of cider involved. We would love to read your feedback!

Downloads and Links




TKF15H says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 3:36am

I really liked this game! I haven't seen anything like it, it was fun, and the photos on the cards were great. Only 2 suggestions: the music gets annoying after a while (especially because the looping isn't seamless) and the random zombies popping up out of no-where kinda kills any strategy.

Dungeo says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 4:01am

I'm the other guy on the team that made this.

Thanks for the feedback! The music was put in about two hours before the competition ended, and a Mute button was on the list of things that didn't make the deadline. That, and balancing the cards so that things like "zombies popping up out of no-where" are far less frustrating. Believe me, we noticed that too :)

Once the dust from the competition settles, I'll probably crack the game back open and take a stab at balancing it.

Samm says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 5:27am

Yeah, thanks for the feedback. Like dungeo said, we were going to have a more subtle song for the game, but didn't get around to it. Also balance (and a few small rule changes) are the number one thing we identified as necessary to make it more fun and replayable.

Bachyard says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 5:39am

Cool entry! I dig the idea and I like how all of the systems in place come together to create the experience.

Crushenator says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 5:43am

Nice. took me a second to figure it out and then I started to really get into it. I'm actually going to favorite this in my inspiration folder.

Dec 9, 2014 @ 5:47am

I enjoyed this a lot, a fun strategic game where the (slightly ridiculous) amount of zombies made it feel like a zombie apocalypse.

Divitos says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 5:49am

This is amazing!
You better be making a full version!

goodbadokay says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 5:50am

Very nice game
Feels nice and solid

Germanunkol says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:43am

Great idea, but can you add a Linux version for download? The Unity Web-Player isn't available for Linux atm...

Alendro says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:44am

Great game! The attacking reminds me of axis and allies.

Samm says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:47am

@Germanunkol, we'll get a Linux version up soon!

Geti says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 7:00am

Really enjoyable stuff, guys - the balance issues are real and there are some typos in there ("stabby" should have 2 "B"s ;) ) but its a fun concept - could definitely be done as an actual board game as well, with some rules for generating the city out of tiles!

stalker1586 says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 7:03am

Wow! Real board game. I will save it, when next time I feel lonely I'll play this game. I'm gonna cry and play...

GAFBlizzard says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 7:14am

A mute button would be nice for the music. The mechanics are very impressive though -- all the turn-based stuff works smoothly. It was pretty easy which was a nice thing for me. I am not great at stressful games. :P

Wampus says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 7:54am

Works well. This sort of thing could develop into a much bigger game. The random cards were interesting, though I wish I could collect play my own cards sometimes. Still, great for a LD game. Thanks.

Dungeo says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 8:09am

Thanks for all the great feedback everyone! I patched the game to resolve two small issues. "Stabby" is now correctly spelled, and pressing M will mute/unmute the game music.

I'll have a Linux build available shortly; however, neither of us have Linux machines at our disposal so it will be a largely experimental build. Please let us know if you come across any issues and we'll do our best to resolve them.

Thanks again for playing :)

hoqjed says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 8:19pm

This is surprisingly ambitious for a first time jam, great job guys! I liked the board game style approach, since it has a strategic feel because of the turn based nature. Of course, with the limited time it is apparent that not enough time was left at the end to balance the game properly.

I found that most of my characters would completely destroy most zombies without a scratch. Though I did end up with one character who was knocked down to 5 or so might which grew tense near the end trying to "protect" him by navigating away from zombies to the helipad.

I think aside from the balance issues though, I had an issue with how information was displayed after you end a turn. I enjoyed the card drawing aspect, but if you split up characters and sent each of them into a building... it wasn't very clear which cards were being drawn for which buildings. So that left me with quite a lot of detachment towards the 4 characters, as it hindered my ability to recognize when their stats were being changed. Since a lot can happen in between turns, figuring out the best ways to display information to users is really important. (but I definitely understand that the time limit cut into a lot of the time you guys could have used to polish that).

This other thing goes back to what I just mentioned, but I apparently picked up all the vaccines without realizing it in the game. Having a vaccine count or something would have been nice in case someone misses information somehow. So yeah, I ended up exploring every single building/park/graveyard on the map haha. Then returning everyone to the helipad to be surprised that I must have not noticed picking up 3 of the 4 vaccines.

Finally, I noticed a bug near the end where if you selected one character, and then selected a different one... you could move your currently selected character to the other character's potential movement squares. Which means you could essentially move a character with 1 speed to tiles they shouldn't have been able to reach.

I'm sorry if all my criticisms give the impression I didn't enjoy the game, I did like it quite a bit! I think you guys did a really fantastic job considering how much you managed to pack into the game in such a limited time frame. The fact I could write up so much about the game (and still not even mention certain mechanics) goes to show that it has a lot of potential depth.

- Dylan Gallardo

LethalyGuy says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 1:29am

Wow, that's a very interesting game you've got right there. Actually had a lot of fun with this game, and played it to the end even though I was only going to take a brief look. The mechanics of the game are very solid. Obviously deserves 5 stars.

aidinviper says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 3:30pm

nice job

Yarek says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 6:05pm

This game is great! I love board games and this looks really interesting. Good job :)

Samm says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 6:41am

Thanks for all the positive feedback and criticism! I had no real idea what to expect and was a little worried, but these responses are very encouraging.

OttersDen says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 9:26am

That was pretty good! keep working on this post-LD! It'd be fun to play with friends.

allurious says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 9:38am

Really cool concept. Really like the photos on the cards and the combat system. With some balancing this could be really cool!

Frenchie says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 9:43am

Great job! I really enjoyed playing it. I know you didn't have time to make a full game but you have the grounds for something solid here!

OFF says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 11:12am

Good board game, it's fun to be able to work alone but it lack of clear GUI with information, or even simplest game objective to make the game faster and shorter.
Maybe having some sound effects could make this a better board game on videogame (like heartstone).
I'm not sure that the rules are perfectly balanced, i feel too strong but that was fun to play with.
A box version maybe ;)

thopis says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 10:37pm

Really nice!

reveriejake says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 12:17pm

Very cool!

Arowx says ...
Dec 14, 2014 @ 1:48pm

Nice work.

Further improvements and you will have a great little game here.

Maybe if the zombies were hiding in the houses as well. The players could have range attacks and specialist weapons abilities. Or usable items as cards.

Variety of Zombies.

Clearer objective to win.

Have fun making this great!

MaesK says ...
Dec 14, 2014 @ 2:15pm

Great game! Specially being your first jam. Reminds me of Zombies board game. At first it was easy, but some accidents happened to everyone, and speed and might went to 1 real fast :(

erik says ...
Dec 15, 2014 @ 2:01am

Very nice. Players seem pretty unstoppable when they stick together. Also, maybe a bug; I won a game, and when I played a second time, none of the collectable items seemed to be available anywhere.

Dungeo says ...
Dec 15, 2014 @ 6:17am

Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

As has been brought up quite a few times, the lack of visual indicators on which characters are being effected by which cards is definitely an issue. Similarly, it's an issue that there is no indication on how many items are left to be found and what buildings could they be found in. Since fixing those would be outside the scope of a "typo bug" which we are allowed to fix after submitting the game, I can't in good conscience implement that change until the judging is over. That being said, I completely agree with the feedback on those issues. Thanks for pointing it out :)

The there was a "typo bug" with the items not spawning after you beat the game once. I fixed that issue and deployed the change. Happy zombie hunting everyone!

Piscythe says ...
Dec 25, 2014 @ 4:57am

This was really interesting. As far as LD strategy game implementations go, this was pretty solid, aside from, as others have mentioned, a lack of feedback about which player picked which cards. The random speed debuffs were really annoying - I found myself with two characters that could be anywhere they wanted and two that couldn't do anything because they were moving 1 space per turn. Still, it did a really good job of feeling like a zombie apocalypse, with the swarms growing overwhelming over time.

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