About 10 years ago, Mark came up with a light tactical Ninja vs. Pirates game using an expanded Chinese checker board. While we had played Catan, Munchkin and Chess, this was our first foray into the world of board game playtesting. We launched it on The Game Crafter as a print-on-demand version, and found out that the Game Crafter staff liked to play it on their own time during their staff parties. So that was our first sign.

Working together and playtesting with lots of friends, we learned a lot and forged a really unique, asymmetric game. Today, Zerpang! has grown to include Zombies, Elves, Robots, Pirates, Aliens, Ninjas and Gunslingers, and is now on Kickstarter via The Game Crafter to fund a printing of the game with miniatures of each class.

About the Game

The game starts pretty simply. Everyone chooses a class and follows four basic phases (Entering from the home base, Moving across the board, Combat with any adjacent players, and Drawing Cards from the resource zones they occupy), enhancing them with cards from their hand. The fun part is using the special powers of whatever class you’ve selected to meet your own unique goal:

  • Combat goals: Aliens are trying to abduct one of every other player and Zombies are trying to spread infection rings to other players. Their skills shine in the combat phase.
  • Spacial goals: Pirates are trying to surround the Buried Treasure in the middle, Ninjas are trying to occupy the Great Houses around the perimeter, and Gunslingers are trying to make a line across the board. They can use special Pillage/Ninjitsu cards to help (although the Gunslinger thinks he’s playing rummy and can only play in straights, pairs, and three of a kind).
  • Weird goals: Robots are trying to upload their pieces in the center spot to the cloud mind, and Elves are trying to deplete the card deck as fast as possible.

It was a great exercise in making a mashup of different mechanics and goals work in harmony, which we’ve blogged about a little before, and we’re excited to get it out into the world!

This won’t be our first published game (or our first game with minis), but having a game that’s endured this long in our playtesters’ hearts and minds is a really exhilarating feeling. We knew we wanted more for it, but we also realized self-publishing and designing lots of games can be mutually exclusive things, so we’re very grateful we’re not going it alone.

Bonus: Miniatures for everyone!

Another exciting part about working with The Game Crafter is that if we meet our goal, we’re making the minis we use for this game available for everyone to use in their own games through their website. We know first-hand how cool it is to have unique looking pieces (though meeples and cubes have their charm), so you can grab a set of just the minis via the Kickstarter too! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Check out the Kickstarter here, and wish us luck!

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Christina Major

Artist/Designer at Whirling Derby

Christina does freelance graphic design for board game publishers with her husband Mark Major, is the wig-wearing half of Whirling Derby, and draws/authors a webcomic over at sombulus.com

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