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Radioactive Press: The Horror

The Horror

The concept is simple: the bare bone essentials of a zombie game - get past them by any means possible to reach safety. Designed to be run simply with the minimum of equipment, all you really need is a few D10s, a tape measure and some counters or figures to be monsters and evaders. The opposition need not be 'zombies' of course, the nature of the horror you are trying to survive is up to you (or, if you like it visual, up to whatever you can find for monster counters or figures!).

Each 'survivor' - you can play on your own or have several players - needs basic stats to show how fast he moves, how much damage he can take, and so on. You also have 50 points to buy weapons from a list, as well as other equipment that may aid in your escape.

Next, you need to determine the lay of the land over which you will make your bid for freedom. Several ideas are presented, with hints on how to accomplish them - some folks will be happy drawing outlines of buildings or fences, others may prefer the greater visual effect of models.

Game set up, the escape is on. Naturally, the core victory condition is 'Survival,' i.e. reaching the far side of the playing area still alive, but you can add others such as body count of horrors terminated on your way, or the accomplishment of other tasks before you go (simulated by having to visit checkpoints en route). It is a turn-based game, with the two sides - horrors and survivors - each moving through a series of phases in their turn. The phases include movement, combat and (for horrors) spawning. Survivors have to overcome their understandable fear each turn as well. The final part of the rules suggests some additional nasty effects that the horrors might have.

Overall, it is a neat survival combat game with layers of complexity, capable of being played as a full-blown tabletop production with models and scenery but working equally well if you merely sketch things out. From set-up to end it could occupy your evening, so it's not one to break out while you await the rest of your gaming group - but it could be used to effect as the climax to a horror role-playing game as an alternative to your game's combat system.

Return to The Horror page.

Reviewed: 25 January 2009