Introduction: Zombie Apocalypse - a Simple Board Game

This is a very old two player strategy game known variously as Hare and Hounds, the French Military Game and several other names and brought slap bang up to date with a theme which relates to the ever-present fear of the ZA.

I first came across hare and hounds when reading through Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column in an old copy of Scientific American. If you play it you'll find there's a lot more strategy to the game than first meets the eye - rules of play in the next step. And you never know, come the Apocalypse it may even save your life!

This game could be played on a board drawn on a piece of paper and four counters, but I've got a 3D printer so I thought I'd make a more tactile version. Another factor was I'd vaguely promised a young friend some sort of 3D printed present. I thought this take on the game would be perfect as she's keen on Zombicide.

Step 1: How to Play Zombie Apocalypse

The starting position is shown in the picture above.

The object of the game for the Human is to escape to the far end of the board.
The aim for the Zombies is to surround the human so he/she can't move.

The Zombies move first and can only move one space forwards (including diagonally) or sideways along the pathways - never backwards. Only one zombie moves per turn.

The Human can move one space in any direction along the paths.

If a set of moves is continually repeated the Zombies tire and the Human escapes.

If you want to try the game against a computer first, play an on-line version at Mazeworks (Accept the Java security warning if it appears.)

Alternatively, you could use the middle of the board for simple 3x3 noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe) type games, or how about making a lot of the game-pieces and leaving them placed where people will find them, just as a bit of random fun.

Step 2: Tools and Construction

If you've got a 3D printer or know someone who can print these off for you, you're well away. Another option would be to send the .STL files above to a printing house to be made. You'd need to specify how many copies you wanted of the pieces as the STL is just for the one of each.

The pieces are not a 2 colour print. They are printed with holes and a short piece of filament is glued in for the eyes. The white I used contrasts well with the dark zombies. I used blue filament for the human's eyes. The coil is 1.75mm filament (either PLA or ABS) which many 3D printers use. 3mm (the other common diameter) is too large to use with this size playing piece.

The yellow sheet is thin foam to give the base some grip. You could equally well use felt; not essential but it makes for a better finish. The contact adhesive is to attach this to the base of the board.

Cutters are needed to cut the filament; Flat sided are best to give a flat surface to the eyes. The cyanoacrylate (superglue) is to hold the filament in the eye-holes.

I didn't have a 1.75mm drill (does anyone?) and 2mm enlarged the eye holes too much. After a search, I found the ideal tool to clear the holes was the long threaded bolt on the compasses shown. Failing that, look for something similar.

Step 3: Finishing Off

Once you've printed off the board, a few humans and a good selection of zombies a little more work is required. Use a contact or spray adhesive to glue the foam sheet to the base of the board and carefully trim off the excess using scissors and a sharp craft knife. This will give it a grippier base and make it look more finished.  Alternatively you could use four stick-on rubber feet.

Unless you've got a very high quality printer, the eye-holes will be slightly under or over size - more likely under. To allow the 1.75mm filament to fit through I found the perfect tool is the screw-thread of a pair of school compasses. Take out or fully retract the pointy bit first or you're asking for a flesh wound!

Adjust the compasses to minimum radius and then screw the playing piece eye all the way onto the thread, right up to the endstop. Keep going for another ten turns or so to strip the thread you've made, then unscrew. Cut a piece of filament to the right size and use the cyanoacrylate to glue it in place.

Step 4: Bonus - Keep Those Zombies in Check

Here's a little hexagonal box to keep those zombies out of trouble when you're not using them.  It can house 14 of the little blighters.
The box took less than 5 minutes to design using DesignSpark Mechanical - A FREE 3D CAD package.   As with any complex software there is a learning curve, but of the ones I've used this is my favourite and very powerful once you get familiar with it.  There is also a fully-featured PCB design package to complement it.

Step 5: The End Bit

I've played this game with a few people and it's definitely more engaging than playing on a flat board with simple counters and most people seem to find my plastic representation of the mouldering, brain-dead, flesh eating monstrosities rather cute.

There are other simple games which could be played in the centre 3x3 board. Noughts and crosses is the obvious one, and it's variations such as 3 men's morris, achi, tapatan, tant-fant etc (all very similar, with different cultural origins). Hexapawn is a trivial game, again from Mathematical Games.

With a bit of thought, possibly some of these could be adapted.

I'm trying to think of another game to use all eleven spaces, but so far have had no luck. Anyone else want to try?

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