ZORP (Zombie Oblivion Response Pack)

Carl Sommer: Game Designer

Project Highlights

ZORP is the first board game released by Wonky Rhino Games. It's a fast-paced strategic-movement game that's simple enough up-front to appeal to traditional board gamers. ZORP was featured at two conventions and received largely favorable reviews from professional critics and general players alike.

Links and Reviews

Wonky Rhino Games Logo-Carl Sommer: Game Designer ZORP on Kickstarter Logo-Carl Sommer: Game Designer ZORP on Board Game Geek Logo-Carl Sommer: Game Designer
Wonky Rhino Games on Facebook Logo-Carl Sommer: Game Designer Wonky Rhino Games on Twitter Logo-Carl Sommer: Game Designer Wonky Rhino Games on Instagram Logo-Carl Sommer: Game Designer

Carl Sommer: Game Designer

"ZORP isn’t a dungeon crawl, but for players looking for a shorter game to scratch that itch, this one hits right on the mark."

- Chris Hecox

Carl Sommer: Game Designer

"My enjoyment of ZORP has only increased the more I’ve played it."

- Preston Burt

Carl Sommer: Game Designer

"If you’re looking for a fun and unique kind of board game, then ZORP is worth checking out on Kickstarter."

- Cheryl Gress

Design Goals

Carl Sommer: Game Designer

I wanted players to feel the rush of shooting their way out of hordes of zombies combined with the satisfaction of increasingly complex movement/attack strategy. In other words, Left for Dead meets chess.

I also wanted the game to be have a low barrier to entry and be relatively quick for a strategy-driven game. Ultimately, I wanted ZORP to appeal as a gateway game for traditional board-gamers beginning to try out modern hobby games.


Carl Sommer: Game Designer

Miraculously, the weapon specs and character movement patterns didn't change significantly throughout the design process.

I was also able to decide the appropriate number of tiles on the board early on, as well as a strong system for randomly generating the starting locations for weapon and event tiles.

By the time the game was finished, nearly every play tester was able to pick up the game and learn the rules quickly and accurately. Additionally, players would regularly express their satisfaction with strategically maneuvering and blasting their way out of tight spots in the game.


Carl Sommer: Game Designer

Initially the goal was to kill all the zombies or all the humans. This lasted too long to appeal to casual/new gamers, so the game was changed to a nine-turn effort to collect a cure.

The game was not originally designed with either human or zombie events. Both were eventually added to create more hectic and unexpected scenarios. This was another effort to appeal to newer gamers, as well as to increase the replay value of the game.

The biggest design challenges stemmed from balancing the number of zombies to be spawned each turn as well as balancing the placement for recommended weapon and event tiles. This image shows how I would use sticky notes to test the recommended starting locations for weapons and events in 2, 3 and four player games.

Project Details

Tools: Paper Prototypes, Photoshop, Illustrator, Excel, OpenOffice.

Team: Carl Sommer.

My Role: All roles.

Home       Wonky Rhino Games       Back to Top