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The Shotgun Diaries $5.00 $2.99
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/18/2009 11:12:35

This exceptional game is very simple, very fast-paced, and brings something new to the zombie RPG genre.

It's 18 pages long, and the layout is simple - a handwriting font fills the page and grimy headings are bold.

Character creation is as simple as picking an archetype of a zombie apocalypse survivor (Sneaky, Fast, Strong, etc.)

The system is simple. You roll 6-sided dice in situations where there are zombies around in order to take risks and do something. One major omission in the game is that although the survivor archetypes say when they roll at least four dice for particular areas (guns, sneaking around, etc.), it doesn't say how much they roll normally, outside those areas. If you roll a 6, you get to say what happens. If you don't, the narrator does.

An innovative Fear mechanic replaces the dice you roll with "Fear Dice" - and if one of those is the 6 that you use for success, then you must run and hide, or otherwise save yourself, often at the expense of your friends.

There are mechanics to encourage sticking together and working together, as well as gathering and protecting supplies against the zombies. However, the most innovative mechanic of the game is the Zombie Clock. Every ten minutes of real time that goes by, the survivors' supply rating goes down by one, the zombie clock goes up by one and approximately a day passes in the game. The higher the number on the Zombie Clock, the more zombies the narrator can unleash on the characters. Zombie Clock points can also be used to introduce complications (the RV battlewagon is out of gas, the water in the faucets dries up, etc.) into the narrative.

This mechanic, the core of the game, provides a solid and visceral way for the players to realize just how bad things are getting, and how bad things are likely to get when the zombies finally do attack.

This is not a game for beginners. There is no guidance at all as to how to set scenes or who says what when. However, if you know what an RPG is, and you like the tension and suspense of zombie movies, you really owe it to yourself to read this excellent game.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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The Shotgun Diaries
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