If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably played a few board games using House Rules without even realising that these little tweaks were not part of the original rules.
A good example of this is Monopoly.
You might be surprised to know that the official rules for Monopoly don’t mention anything about hurling a tiny pewter car at your brother’s head because you had just landed on Park Lane and subsequently owed the smirking bastard approximately a gazillion pounds for a single night’s stay in his luxury hotel. But in our games, this was a rule we ended up using all too frequently.
The smug git.
House rules are essentially fan-fiction for board games; allowing players to adapt the original rules to better suit their play style. They might make the game faster; more involving; perk up a slow part of the game or end the game abruptly with a surprise trip to the emergency room to have a metal playing piece removed from a nasal cavity.
Thankfully Zombicide: Black Plague is not Monopoly and has never ended with a playing piece being stuck in an orifice (Not at our house anyway; what you get up to in your own games, is none of our business),
The problem with Zombicide: Black Plague however is that it gets harder the more expansions you add to your collection; so if you are lucky enough to have backed the original Kickstarter, and also foolish enough to feverishly add all the extra stretch goals into the game at once, you are likely to need a few House Rules to make the game a little bit more forgiving.
With that in mind, here are a few House Rules that we sometimes (but certainly not always) use in our gaming sessions.
Magical Dragon Fire: Normally Dragon Fire is created when a Flaming Torch and a vial of Dragon Bile are combined to immolate a single square. A popular house rule forgoes the need for the Torch and substitutes it with the casting of the Fireball or Inferno spell. If you ask me, this makes the game a little bit too easy; we tend to not to play the game with this house rule. Admittedly, we also tend to die a lot; so maybe we should use this rule more often.
Pile-Up: In vast numbers, Zombies can break through nearly anything in their way. Do you remember that scene from Mission Zompossible¹ where all the zombies climbed up that big wall? Well it’s like that. Each Zombie pushing against an obstacle counts toward a total Pile-Up Score needed to break the obstacle down. A Walker counts one point for the determination of the Pile-Up Score, a Runner or a Fatty counts as two points and an Abomination counts as three points. The Zombies need four points to break through a door or destroy a barricade.
Infrequent Abominations: For those people who want to add all the different types of Abomination into the game, but do not feel up to putting all the special Abomination cards in the deck, it is suggested that you leave the normal abomination spawn cards in the Zombie card pile, but have a separate pile of special Abomination cards. Then when a Abomination card is drawn, a dice is rolled depending on the current threat level.
Blue: Special abomination spawns on a d6 roll of a 6.
Yellow: Special abomination spawns on a d6 roll of a 5-6.
Orange: Special abomination spawns on a d6 roll of a 4-6.
Red: Special abomination spawns on a d6 roll of a 3-6.
Then, when the roll of the dice calls for a Special Abomination, draw from the Special Abomination pack.
Zombie Revenge: When a survivor stops being a survivor and starts being whatever the opposite of a survivor is; the rules state that you discard the equipment cards they have collected. A common house rule is placing the equipment cards of the dead character in the square they died in.
These people have obviously never seen a Zombie movie! Remove the coloured miniature base from the dead survivor and place it on either a Walker or (if you have the models) a Dead-Eye Walker. What you do from there is up to you; but we usually give that zombie two activations, two wounds and all of the equipment of the character at his disposal. If the players manage to the dead Survivor, the body can be looted for any equipment their former companion had on him.
Wizard Needs Food Badly: Food items can instead be used to heal for various amounts. This makes no sense; apples do not cure zombie bites. But what the heck, if you keep dying and need the healing to make the game fun, who am I to argue?
¹ – I believe it might have been released under World War Z.