Zombies, Probably: A Storytelling Game of Moral Equivocation and Terrible Self-Awarness

For 4 players and up. Takes about 20 minutes. Adults only.

You’re all in a room and it’s the first quiet beat of the zombie film. Outside, there are Zombies, Probably, but inside there are people revealing their true selves. Everyone writes down on a scrap of paper a character concept in a few words. An adjective, a role in society, a bit of background. Like “pro athlete turned corporate shill” or “business man who destroyed his marriage getting to the top”. On another piece of paper, everyone writes a terrible sin. Something on the surface unforgivable, that would get you a million hate-tweets. Maybe you killed somebody or ran the KKK or forced your wife to have an abortion or fought for ISIS or turned your tenants out on the street or ratted out your friend for being gay or stole your baby or ate a guy in the Andes once. You might want to talk about limits before starting this game.

Put all the slips in two piles, one for characters, one for sins. Shuffle them. Everyone draws one from each pile, picking again if they get their own. Choose a starting player.

In turn, each player reads out who they are. Then they hand their sin to the player on their right, who in character announces the sin. eg

Player 1: “I’m Bob Wattley, I run a furniture store and like I say on my ads, my prices are so low, it’s crazy”

Player 2: “I remember you, Bob. I remember when that girl showed up on the news saying she was your lovechild and then the case magically went away when she turned up dead.”

The player then has two minutes (or one minute, if you want a shorter game) to explain themselves, as to why they committed the sin, why it wasn’t their fault, and why they deserve forgiveness. Basically, you have to equivocate your way out of damnation.

Once every player has been accused and defended themselves, players vote for who deserves to die. Write the name of the character on a piece of paper and put it in a third pile. You cannot vote for yourself. Then the danger outsideĀ breaks in and the results happen. Take time before the vote to apportion blame and judge others harshly, especially if they are trying to judge you. Don’t let it go on too long though – five minutes at the most. The zombies (or whatever) won’t wait. Gut reactions happen.

Shuffle then reveal the votes one by one.

If nobody thought you should die, despite your sin, you are the Innocent, and you win! You make it through the film.

If half or more of the group thought you should die (round up), then you realize you are scum and hold the fort so others can live. You are Redeemed Through Sacrifice, and win!

Otherwise, the persons with the most votes dies, and then the next most, and so on, in sequential order of who got the most votes, until one person remains (plus any Innocents). In turn, narrate how horribly you are torn apart by zombies. Make it gruesome because the people with less votes than you sentenced you to death for being immoral, and their penalty is to see how much of a judgemental asshole they are. All of these people lose, just in different ways. Even the survivor(s) recoil in horror at the choices they made.

Ties are broken by the person nearest the door. Round down where not otherwise specified.

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