No More Room in Hell

Morning to you all out there in internet land.  Today I’m giving my thoughts on a game that I picked up the rules for last month.  I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks, but you know what life is like.  The game is called No More Room in Hell and is a table top zombie apocalypse game.  This should not be confused with a recently developing mod for Half Life 2 that has the same name.

The game itself is a skirmish game (well sort of).  I’m not usually the fan of skirmish games I prefer larger scale, full army sized battles (hence the 10,000pts Tyranid army).  Each player has control of around 4-6 survivors that are trying to stay alive in a world full of brain-eating zombies.  You will also need about a 50 zombies – hence the ‘sort of’.  So why do I like the look of this game?  Well to be honest I’m just a fan of the whole zombie apocalypse genre.  I like many of the movies such as 28 Days Later and Zombieland and I’m a really big fan of the Left 4 Dead series of computer games (yes I’m one of those sad people who manged to get the 53,595 kills to get the Zombie Genocidest achievement – how did I ever get a girlfriend?).  So when I heard about NMRIH I picked up a copy of the game and have been slowly working towards getting the models and scenery together to start playing.  So this is a rules review, not a games review, I’ll let you know how it plays very soon.

The concept is very simple, as is the core mechanics of the game.  Each player has one or more groups of survivors and they have to work together to achieve the objective, such as boarding up all the windows or doors, reaching an escape vehicle etc.  There is however nothing stopping you from attacking survivors from other teams.  Your survivors have 4 attributes – Guns, Fists, Guts and Survive, essentially how good at shooting, melee, how brave they are and how many wounds they can take before the die.  You make up your own characters to form your survivors.  There are three types of survivors; Shot Callers, who are the real heroes of the game, Back Ups, who are reliable in a fight, and Sheeple who are there to protect your heroes by getting eaten.  Each has a different points allowance to make up your Guns, Fists and Guts scores (Survive is predetermined by the type of survivor).  Next comes survival skills which is a list of abilities that your survivors possess, such as Guns Akimbo (duel wealding weapons), Outdoorsman (ignore difficult terrain), and Badass Zombie Slayer (extra point of Survive).  There are also drawbacks such as Fat Bastard and Yellow Bellied Coward which reduce the points cost of the model and allow you to buy more survival skills.  The final layer of character construction is the weapons, I mean gear.  You have a nice choice of generic weapons such as pistols, rifles, flamethrowers and of course chainsaws, plus other gear like body armour, torches and first aid kits.

The game works on the alternating activation principle that starts with the winner of an initiative roll.  You can then move, shoot and/or fight a melee with one of your groups of survivors.  Then play passes to the next person and so on.  The whole system is based on the D10, and to be successful in all most anything you do, you have a score to get equal to or lower than on a single D10.  For example if you have a Guns score of 7 you need 7 or less to hit your target.  All weapons have an AP (attack person) and an AZ (attack zombie) score.  The idea being that zombies can only be killed by taking out what’s left of their brain, whilst a person can be killed in oh so many ways.

The zombies are the more traditional shambling, brain-dead variety rather than the rage infected sort seen in recent films such as I Am Legend and 28 Days Later, and of course the Left 4 Dead games.  There is however the option to have these types of zombies instead.  The zombies are not normally player controlled, though again this can be an option.  They roll for initiative as well, but will always go either first or last.  They automatically form up into groups (hordes) if they get close enough to each other.  For movement they automatically move towards the nearest survivor, thus making your survivors’ movement/position critical in the game.

The game also includes various tables for Fear reactions, what you find when walking into closed rooms, and more campaign based things such as the hunger effects and what happens to your survivors if they’ve been bitten.  There are also examples of scenarios and campaigns for you to play.

So what do I think?  Well if you hadn’t already guessed I am slightly biased towards NMRIH.  I like the genre, the simplicity of the rules and the customisation of survivors.  I also like the way the zombies work without a player, so if you’re really sad and lonely you could play my yourself.  It’s also allowed me to indulge my creative side as I’ve started making some basic buildings to use for the game.  That and I felt like a big kid again

What don’t I like?  Maybe I’m just thick but the odd rule could perhaps do with a bit more explaining or examples.  I would like to have seen some more survival gear options (light laser sites for the guns) but you could always house rule those.  My last down point is more to do with aesthetics.  I know that sticking to black and white reduces printing costs, but the rulebook is very, very grey.

All in all I’m looking forward to taking my zombiemania to the tabletop.