Players can take on the roles of Humans or Zombies in a desperate conflict to survive. The Humans goal is to try to survive in an area plagued by Zombies. The Zombies only have one goal, to eat some brains. The Humans must use their wits to survive, making sacrifices in order to live through the night. The Zombies must use their brute, unrelenting strength and teamwork to overpower the humans and eat some delicious brains.
What’s the twist? Well, to find out, you just have to play.
It’s an Action/Horror live action with a focus on role playing and strategy. The system was created to be easy to read and understand for new gamers, but still a fun challenge to more experienced players. The game is for a minimum of 10 players and has a length of about three hours. It’s intense, stimulating, and, most importantly, fun.
You were told it was going to be over in a matter of hours, but it’s been over a day and you’re still stuck in the Shelter.
It was a beautiful week in the big city where you work. The weather was seasonally pleasant, the people bustled back and forth between work and home, and everything was working just as it always has. Then, on Friday afternoon, loud sirens went off all around the city. On the TV and radio, there were news reports of a giant chemical spill on the highway. Apparently several trucks had flipped over and spilled an unidentified hazardous substance out onto the road. Due to the spill the air in the city has been deemed unsafe by the government.
You and your co-workers were shuttled to various locations to “Shelter in Place”. “Shelter In Place” is a term used to describe sealing yourself in an enclosed area to wait out an emergency. You have been given a radio and a first aid kit and told to wait in this location until the radio announces that the air is clean.
In the beginning of this crisis, the radio announced that this emergency would be over within 8 hours. However, it’s now been 24 hours and the radio has been repeating the same message, to remain calm and to stay indoors. All of you who have cell phones have run out of charge and the radio is the only method of contact with the outside world. You have already eaten the limited supply of granola bars and water that you were left with, and all of you have begun to feel hungry, restless and nervous about the continuing situation. It is now twilight and a new message is coming over the radio waves. . .
Shelter In Place is a game that’s about managing your own needs versus the needs of the community. In order to succeed, players must find a way to cooperate with each other, while the temptation to place individual needs higher than the needs of the group is high.
Zombies work best in a horde and humans can utilize their skills for defense. But there is always the temptation, in the heat of the moment, to place personal safety first. The question this game is asking is if you can think about your team before yourself, and can you trust your teammates to do the same?
Shelter In Place is now complete and in production with Galileo Games. Test plays of the game in 2008, 2009 and 2010 went very well, with changes being made during every test-play experience.
J.R. Blackwell is available to run Shelter In Place for groups and conventions.
The game is run by a Director who sets up the game, explains the rules, makes announcements, and hands out the characters. Players take on the roles of Human or Zombie characters, acting out these characters during the game.
Shelter in Place works on a time-based tension mechanic. This means that the points characters have are related to how much time has passed. Every game has three Acts. During Act I, individual humans have more points than Zombies. During Act II , individuals have an equal amount of points. During Act III, individual Zombies have more points than humans.
Human characters are pre-generated, and each of them have their own special skills. Zombies rely on teamwork to get to their goals. All the rules for playing Shelter in Place are on the character sheet, making the game easy for new gamers to learn and play. If a human character is eaten by Zombies – then they become a zombie!
Humans start the game inside of a Shelter, listening to a radio broadcast. The zombies start the game outside the Shelter. Humans can use barricades to help reinforce the Shelter, but to get those materials – they need to venture outside.
Characters enter a Conflict when they are tagged by a player on the opposite team. Players compare their numbers, and the character with the higher number wins. When Zombies win, they begin to eat the Human, and if the Human isn’t saved by their friends, the Human becomes a Zombie. In the case of a tie – a Human is bitten, and will turn into a Zombie unless they get medical attention.
Props play an important role in Shelter in Place. Characters can use props, like a shotgun or the first aid kit to help their chances of survival, but just like a real Zombie movie – making it to the end is a challenge. Props are represented by cards which are found in the book. Every prop card has the rules for how to use that prop on the card. Almost all the props start the game outside the Shelter.
To get the props, Humans must leave the safety of the Shelter and face the Zombie Horde.
CAN I PLAY?
If you would like J.R. Blackwell to run Shelter In Place for your role-playing group or convention, you can contact her at email@example.com to check for availability.
The game will be available from Galileo Games in November 2011.
REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
- Review: Peter Woodworth.com
- Final Girl Support Group: Shelter in Place: An Interview with J.R. Blackwell
- The Secret Lair: J.R. Blackwell’s Shelter in Place
- The Voice of the Revolution: July, 2011
- This Just In From GenCon: July, 2011
- Girls Rules: June, 2011
- The Voice of the Revolution: April, 2010
Interested in interviewing J.R. Blackwell for your podcast, article or publication? You can contact her at J.R. Blackwell at gmail dot com to arrange an interview.
Jason Morningstar created this video when he ran the game in Durham, NC in October 2011.