Zombie, Zomba ! Raid is Dead !

Interview « Zombicide RPG »: Francesco Nepitello

10/01/2018: As requested, I send you the questions. Please understand we are a community about the actual games of Zombicide, all three branches (including the upcoming futuristic one), and only a few of us has an roleplaying (rpg) background and/or an actual rpg interest.

One of our design goals is to make people like you discover the fun of playing roleplaying games!

The answers are given by me also on behalf of my codesigner Marco Maggi.

Please take into consideration that the game is still in development, and thus that things may change.

Nonetheless, the news of a Zombicide: rpg in the classic (modern) setting is huge. I also send all my congratulations to you and your partner/team about this!!

Many thanks! We’re thrilled to be involved in this ride.

1/ A classic of ours: your personnal pop culture absolute reference ? And the one specific to zombie universes (if different)?

At least half of our gaming career is tied to the works of JRR Tolkien: so, my main reference is The Lord of the Rings without a doubt. I encountered zombies with Night of the Living Dead by George Romero, but now I just love Zombieland…

2/ What kind of games do you like? Do you play Zombicide (the boardgame), and – If yes – which one(s)?

We play both Zombicide modern and Black Plague (with expansions). We have yet to play Green Horde.

3/ A bit more about yourself, in a few words; and how you ended working in the rpg world, and then with the Zombicide franchise?

Our first published game was a roleplaying game, Lex Arcana, a design that coincidentally is being redeveloped for an English language edition. But our most important rpg design is The One Ring, the Lord of the Rings roleplaying game, currently published by Cubicle 7. It was the success of The One Ring, and that of several other boardgames that me and Marco designed, that got the attention of David Preti, creative director for CMON.

4/ What does it mean to be a game designer, and more specifically for an rpg?

Bright side: you do what you love. Negative side: playing a game will always feel like work! 😀

Jokes aside, I love designing roleplaying games because they are the best kind of thematic game there is. Every rule must serve the theme of the game, and favour immersion. This requires to study a theme in depth, to find what elements are most important to convey the mood.

5/ How would you describe a typical work day for you? A typical week?

During school year, I wake up to bring my daughter to school. After that, it’s either one hour at the gym or straight to work. Then I work for about eight hours, trying to focus on at least two different gaming projects in the same day. During summer, the only difference is that I don’t bring my daughter to school, and going to the gym is way harder… (too hot!).

6/ What was the starting point of the Zombicide rpg?

Zombicide the boardgame, of course. We studied the theme of the game and its gameplay, trying to summarize what made the optimal Zombicide experience from the perspective of a player.

7/ Will we have to be lawful good, or chaotic evil?

This will be up to you! But be careful, because tensions in a group of Survivors with different views can turn you into Zombie food very fast…

8/ What sort of dice will be used? Also, the news article spoke of special dice. What about them? Will they be 6-faced? What sort of material will be used?

In our current iteration of the rules the players will be able to use the same special dice used for Zombicide the boardgame (those with Molotovs and Zombieheads in place of the 6s and 1s), employing a very flexible game system that we are sure will be easily picked up by new players and surprise veteran roleplayers too. The characteristics of the special dice are secret, as we’re still developing their mechanics. Suffice to say that one set is used exclusively by the gamemaster (the Zombidice), while other special dice are used in connection with special abilities, superior gear, etc.

9/ How different will the boardgame be from the rpg? Will they interact?

ZRPG is a separate game from the boardgame. This said, we will explore possibilities of interaction between the two game lines when the various production possibilities will be discussed with CMON.

10/ Could we use some material from the boardgame (mini, stats, skills, equipment, tiles, etc), or vice-versa?

ZRPG is a roleplaying game, so it can be played just with paper, pencils and dice, but one of the features of our design is that if you have a nice collection of Zombicide boardgame materials (and you surely do) you will put them to very good use with the rpg… 😉

11/ Will there be room for custom creations?

Roleplaying games are all about custom creations… so, definitely yes!

12/ Did you kept the not-so-serious tone from the classic (modern) Zombicide?

Another solid yes. The world of ZRPG is our world, gone cannibalistic, undead-crazy, and you must be a little crazy to be a successful Survivor in such a world!

13/ What are the main differences between Zombicide and other zombie-themed RPGs (Z-Corps, Friday Night’s Zombi, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Zombies, etc)?

We think that Zombicide adds its own, unique and zany twist to the Zombie theme, and we are really pushing to preserve that in our design.

14/ Will there be a bit of background explanation? Will there be Zombivors?

Sorry, you’re now touching a classified subject… you’ll need a higher clearance to get an answer. Please try again in a couple of months… 🙂

15/ Where are Crazy Ned’s keys?

You will be able to help him to find them when your Survivors will meet him in the game…

16/ What kind of survivor would you be?

Character creation in ZRPG allows you to play a Survivor from the boardgame, one modeled after an existing Survivor, or your own customized creation. If you choose the latter, the rules will enable you to create a Survivor that fits perfectly the world of Zombicide.

Thank you for your time (and your work!)

Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm!
Could we settle for the answers I got you (…).
Thank you for your understanding! We have a Kickstarter going on right now for another game (Lex Arcana), and getting together stuff for Zombicide rpg to show some stuff to the company in November!


We started working with the graphics guys at CMON and things are moving along.

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