Background Zombies (Alt Rules)
June 30th, 2013
Experienced players know that the flow of Pittsburgh 68 can change in a heartbeat: the turn of one card can trigger an avalanche of zombies and immediately ruin the Survivors’ best laid plans. Then there are those odd games where the Zombie Master just can’t get their footing. What’s a ZM to do?
As per the rules for the Opening Scene of Reel 1, any zombie that appears in the first three cards automatically “stumbles” into the Zombie Master’s hand as lone zombies. This is not done for the start of the subsequent reels: Reels 2 through 4 have no Opening Scene stumble. However, if there are no in-play zombies at the start of a subsequent reel, the ZM can try to introduce some Background Zombies to get things started.
To do so, the ZM starts the reel as normal, shuffling the Dead Pile and dealing the requisite number of cards for the reel. The ZM then secretly draws a number of cards from the Dead Pile. The number of cards drawn is equal to the current reel number (two cards for Reel 2, three cards for Reel 3, and four cards for Reel 4). Just as the rules for the Opening Scene, any zombie that is drawn is immediately placed as a lone zombie. Non-zombie cards are returned to the Dead Pile.
At the start of a reel, there can be no zombies in any Zombie Player’s hand.
After the shuffling and counting of the Reel Pile, the ZM draws a number of cards equal to the reel number from the Dead Pile. Two cards for Reel 2, three cards for Reel 3, and four cards for Reel 4.
Any zombies that are drawn may be placed in the ZM’s hand. All other cards are ignored and returned to the Dead Pile.
Drawn zombies cannot be used to create throngs, and must be placed as lone zombies in the ZM’s hand. The exception to this is Reel 4 if all four cards are zombies. The fourth card can be placed to create a throng or given to another Zombie Player’s hand.
The reel then begins as normal.
An advantage of the ZM secretly previewing the bonus cards is that they will get a sense of what cards are NOT in the Reel Pile. While drawing zero zombies is a bummer, the knowledge that The Cellar or Killing Machine won’t be coming into play can be very gratifying…
As with all other Alt Rules, at the start of the game, players should be told which Alt Rules are in play. For Background Zombies, wily Survivors can strategically thwart the ZM’s bonus by leaving a zombie in play.
But who really wants to leave one of those things around… Always leads to trouble… Remember Bub?