CODCon is a small con held at the College of Dupage in the suburbs of Chicago. I went there to run Outlive Outdead, not as a playtest, but just to enjoy the game we’ve been working so hard to publish–and enjoy I did.
There were only four players this time but that turned out fine. It played just as well with 4 as with 6 or 7 players. At first, they all played nice together: They protected each other from zombies, trust was not an issue, and they even spent Plot points to improve each other’s die rolls.
Then things got tough, and just like the zombie movies I designed this game to emulate, the humans turned on each other.
There’s a scene in the introductory adventure where (shocker) players are beset by a horde of zombies. The humans argued over which way to go, refused to cooperate, and split. Of course, this was a bad idea. One group got swarmed and were facing death. What did the other pair do? Spend points to hurt the first pair. Meanwhile, I’m spending points to make things even worse, and the first pair got chewed on really good.
Meanwhile, the second pair had their own problems as they slogged through a muddy field with zombies closing in on three sides. They tried moving quickly but the players from the first pair kept spending points to make them slip in the mud. They escaped but just barely and with plenty of wounds.
Later, the two surviving humans are trying to escape from a mall by getting to the roof and rappelling off the side. One rolled a break while making her Flee check, which means she went temporarily insane. She reach the ground and, rather than wait for her friend, ran screaming into the night. Meanwhile, her friend tried to get down the rope too fast and fell to his death.
This is exactly what I wanted to happen! Players turned on each other, not because they’re jerks, but because it was fun to watch plans go FUBAR. Everyone enjoyed finding ways of screwing over other players, and thankfully everyone was mature enough to laugh at what happened and look for revenge. This game is working out quite nicely–in an evil sort of way.