ZORP (Zombie Oblivion Response Pack)
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.
"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
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.
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.
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.