Forlorn Hope: A Warhammer 40k Zombie Survival Game
What's All This Then?
Inspired by the Zombie 40k game run by MiniWarGaming, a few of us designed Forlorn Hope, a tabletop Zombie Survival game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Forlorn Hope is a modified version of Warhammer 40,000, wherein competing groups of survivors fend off waves of plague zombies while attempting to be the first group to reach a waiting escape vehicle. Of course, it isn't that easy, they also have to face the lord of the undead who's guarding their escape, and either defeat him or join his undead horde. Despite it's grimdark exterior, Forlorn Hope was designed to be a party game, with lots of tongue-in-cheek references to zombies in pop culture in the same vein as old-school 40k. It's not painstakingly well-balanced and will likely fall apart if played by That Guy, but if you don't mind kicking back and having fun with friends while blasting away the undead, it's a great time.
Although you could conceivably play with as many players as you want, the game was designed for four to five players. An average game should take between two to three hours.
What Does This Game Include?
Nemesis from Resident Evil
Where Can I Get It?
- The latest version (1.3) can be downloaded here
- Printable Survival Team datasheets
- Patch notes
- Previous versions (including the original 7th Edition rules) can be downloaded here
A More Detailed Summary
Forlorn Hope uses the same basic rules as standard Warhammer 40,000, but instead of an army, players design a group of survivors known as a Survival Team. A Survival Team can be composed of INFANTRY or BEAST models from any codex, though they must all have at least one Faction Keyword in common and follow other restrictions (e.g. they can't FLY). Once the players have decided which models they're bringing, and what weapons said models are armed with, the models are all combined into one unit. For the finishing touch, each player picks a Survival Ability from the book and gives it to one of their models to help give the squad more personality. After the players have their Survival Teams, they can design the battlefield as normal, making sure to place a TRANSPORT at the far end of it for one of them to escape on. They must then decide which Zombie Lord to place by the escape vehicle. While plenty of examples can be found in the book, players can also design their own Zombie Lord using a codex if they wish. Make sure not to pick someone too tough, because you have to kill them before you can board the escape vehicle.
Once everything's set up, the players deploy their Survival Teams, randomly drop some zombies on the map, and start their adventure. The Zombies themselves don't require a player to control them, they're designed to effectively play themselves. That being said, there are alternate rules for having them controlled by a GM if you wish. Every time a Survival Team kills a unit of zombies, they can roll on the Scavenged Equipment table to see what they loot from the rotting corpses. Survival Teams that get eaten can respawn on the following turn, though they have to deploy behind everyone else.
As the players approach the escape vehicle, they'll have to start worrying about the Zombie Lord. Unlike the regular Zombies, the Zombie Lord is controlled by whichever player is currently furthest from the escape vehicle, allowing them to destroy the people in front of them and catch up. Of course as soon as they're not in the back anymore, they may find themselves facing the Zombie Lord's wrath, so it's essential to find the right level of aggression. Too much and the Zombie Lord may wipe the floor with the other survivors, leaving him at full-strength when you face him. Too little, and the other survivors might kill him, leading to their victory.
The game also contains alternate rules, called Mutators, which can be employed to change the game experience.
- Cooperative Mode: The players work together instead of against each other, and the game doesn't end until everyone is on the escape vehicle or (un)dead. To compensate for the increased coordination among players, the game is made harder and respawns become limited in the latter stage of the game.
- Dead Men Walking: Every time a zombie kills a player's model, a duplicate of that model (with their statline, abilities, and wargear) joins the zombie's unit.
- Death Korps Zombies: Based on Nazi Zombies from Call of Duty. Zombies start out weaker then normal, but become stronger each time a new unit of them enter the battlefield.
- The Director: Rules for zombies to be player-controlled rather than dice-controlled.
- Every Man For Himself: Players have to follow Desperate Allies rules from 7th edition, meaning they'll want to give each other a wide berth.
- Four Weeks Later: Fight 28 Days Later zombies, which are faster and stronger, but easier to kill.
- Killing Floor: Based on Killing Floor (obviously). Players have fewer points to spend on their Survival Teams, but can buy equipment during the game by spending points they gain for killing zombies.
- Survival of the Fittest: Hardcore mode. No Survival Abilities, no Scavenged Equipment, and no respawns.
- Battlezone: Mortui Ambulantes: Simulates the conditions of a full-scale zombie apocalypse. Airborne diseases weaken your survivors, zombies become faster and more aggressive, and a mysterious entity might arrive and summon zombies every turn until you kill him. Suffice to say, this mutator makes the game substantially more difficult.