Rebuild

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Rebuild is best described as a survival sim with sprinklings of defense and strategy themes. You won't be put in the thick of battle... instead you'll be managing the town, using your mouse to send survivors to do the dirty work. It's after the Zombipocalypse and you're in control of a small group of survivors trying to stay alive.

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Walkthrough Guide


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A few notes for harder difficulties.

a) scout early and fast
b) keep a low number of survivors so you dont need to feed so many. keep your number of squares low and limited to what you need
c) aggressively clean out the areas
d) take risks. lots of em. a single man 35% danger rate means 1/3 hes gonna die. it also means 2/3 he succeeds. its a pretty good chance he will die. but as leader its for the greater good :P if he manages to clear the square everyone will be better off. but if he fails, you have one less survivor thats all.
e) early game be careful with your leaders. late game.. all you need are soldiers.
f) research - recommend the food and zombie ones early on. the food ones increase the limit 50 per as well as removes the bad events related to the research (food going bad, crops fail), zombie killing ones make your SOLDIERS more effective at killing zombies (with the last few you can have 0 risk with 5 soldiers typically) but early game its well worth it to send in soldiers solo into areas that are up to 25% risk. (i send the rest of the civvies in up to 35%)
once you get electricity you get a little more happiness (and random events about lack of it disappear)
once you get radio randomly every x turns survivors will come.
g) happiness: keep people happy as long as you can. surprisingly, if you run out of food they will be unhappy. random event people usually lone gunmen will come by your place and if its too unhappy they wont join and well... its kinda important to have free extra soldiers.
h) keep your people BUSY. First thing you should do especially on higher difficulties is REMOVE your defenders because they are active units eating your food and until there are zombie hordes at your door you shouldn't need them.(refer to d)early on its about capturing as much useful land as you can hold, scouting and emptying out the area of survivors to use in these risky missions.
i) change your play style as you advance. especially with the zombie killing technologies, your soldiers are very very useful. early on you use them to clean out areas that have high risk solo, but as you run lower on survivors to recruit, send them out in larger groups (and hopefully you will have the techs to make it less risky). by maintaining a good sized soldier force, you can consistently clean out x tiles surrounding your fort which is really all you need to win.
j) find your win condition! your best chances are finding city hall, training how ever many leaders you need to draft the constitution to grab your win condition. empty out the graveyard/city hall FAST by sending in groups as large as you can afford (as in if you have 25 soldiers, you can reserve say 10 for cleaning squares around your fort, then send the 15 left to clean out the city hall as they will kill ALOT more zombies reducing the number of sends you will need) for the victory location conditions clean them out hard and fast (its better to spend 1 kill mission with 15 than to send 3 kill missions with 5. )

Just finished the game on 12x12 nightmare, a couple of hints:

  • If you leave plain survivors on guard duty, they will eventually become soldiers.

  • Your happiness and food are bound to reach zero no matter what you do, so they should be deprioritized your first few turns. (Avoid starvation for the most part, but don't avoid recruiting just because it will give you a negative foodincome.)

  • When you reclaim an area that has food, you will automatically scavenge some of that food (I do not think you will scavenge all of it, but enough that it might keep you from starving.)

  • As morale will be at the base bottom most of the game, getting bars and churches is a good idea.

  • Lastly, aim for reaching the edge of the map quickly, as this decreases your contact surface with zombies.

Here are some tips for getting REALLY high final scores. (I presently hold the #1 top score, btw)

  1. Even though a certain amount of soldiers can give 0% chance of failure, they can still only kill a certain amount of zombies. For example, if 5 soldiers can kill a max of 15 zombies, and going together they will have a 0% chance of not coming back. Early on in the game, it would be fine to just send those 5 soldiers. But, if you do that later on in the game, it would take around 16 days to kill every zombie in a block containing 120 zombies (assuming more zombies don't arrive on the block within those 16 days). Don't understand? Okay, so let's go back to where I said 5 soldiers could only kill 15 zombies. Just sending the least amount of soldiers needed to complete a mission with no chance of not coming back isn't necessarily a good thing, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing either. Regulating the amount of soldiers you send to a eliminate all the zombies inside is important to your survival. So send as many soldiers necessary to kill every zombie in a building in 2 days only if you need that certain building ASAP. But if you only need to expand you can divide the amount of soldiers to send.

  2. YOU ONLY NEED 1 HOSPITAL TO TAKE CARE OF ANY ILLNESS. This is very important as well. So if you have any extra hospitals you don't need turn them into churches. But I suggest having an extra hospital or two in case the initial one gets overrun in a zombie attack. I ESPECIALLY recommend doing this in the beginning of the game. This will also work with laboratories.

  3. HAVE YOUR BASE HAPPINESS OVER 100. This will add tons of points to your final score. Turning unneeded hospitals and labs into churches and bars will help in doing this.

  4. KEEP YOUR INITIAL LEADER ALIVE. Again, this will add points to your final score. Whenever you send him/her on a mission, make sure there is 0% chance of anyone not coming back. Also, have your security as high as possible in the beginning of the game. This will lower the chance that your leader will be killed early in the game. NOTE: there is still a chance that your leader will be killed in a failed defense even if you have hundreds of survivors, so keep that in mind.

  5. TAKE YOUR TIME. Do NOT cure zombieism early in the game. Do NOT expand too quickly. Do NOT settle down until you have 1. A SECURE hospital. 2. A defense that can take on 1500 zombies with 0% chance of the zombies breaking in. 3. A SECURE laboratory. 4. A good food income. 5. A good amount of zombies outside the fence (so you can keep on killing them). Do NOT settle down if you cured zombieism. Do NOT end your game unless you have completed all 4 "endings" (THIS ONE IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT).

  6. PLAY THE GAME ON A DIFFICULTY HIGHER THAN EASY. You want at least 100% of the points you earned. DO NOT DO IT ON "NIGHTMARE" (unless you are skilled enough).

  7. HAVE AT LEAST ONE LABORATORY AND 5 SCIENTISTS AT ALL TIMES. You can do whatever you want with the other labs or scientists, but keep these secure.

  8. and finally...

  9. RESEARCH ALMOST EVERYTHING ASAP. If you want to survive, this is one of the best things that will help you do so. Keep tip 2) and 7) in mind.

106 Comments

I really enjoyed this! Not sure why the ending I got stopped the Zombie horde, but good fun!

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ThenAgain Author Profile Page January 17, 2011 2:14 PM

Don't tell us which ending you got then :P
Possible endings I saw:

Drawing up a constitution, getting electricity up and running and maybe the evil graveyard, but I gave up clearing it of zombies after it didn't do anything after 4 goes.

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ThenAgain Author Profile Page January 17, 2011 2:17 PM

Um... swap

'electricity' for 'cure zombieism'. I remembered wrong.

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Anonymous January 17, 2011 2:22 PM

I got the perfect pattern to the endings:

First, I Cured zombieism. Second, I sealed the graveyard. Third I took city hall and made a consitution. Last, I conquered the board.

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It takes awhile to clear overrun and infested area, and it doesn't yield an ending. I guess it just lowerd the amount of zombies spawned.

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I enjoyed the game. I like turn based games where you can put some though into your actions and consider your options.

all endings I remember:

- create constitution at city hall, requires 5 leaders
- destroy evil portal at evil graveyard, requires 15 soldiers
- research 'zombieism' cure at research lab, requires 5 (or 10?) researchers and 3 research labs
- capture all city blocks

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Is it at all possible to save the game?
I'm deliberately not winning because I want to be able to see the

Constitution AND Evil Portal

endings.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 17, 2011 5:07 PM

You know, normaly I dislike the zombie genre, but I quite enjoyed this game!

Hmm if there is an evil portal, who would ever want to join its fort barricades around it, so its right within the fort?

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I captured all city blocks.
Hint for infested/overrun areas:

send soldiers so that you have a 0% risk. Then add a bunch more onto that. It's really the only way to kill them faster than they reappear, ESPECIALLY near the end.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 17, 2011 7:00 PM

Two suggestions:
* Why have to manually assign survivors to defend? Why not simply have any idle survivor defend? Additionally it would be nice if the % of being overrun would be displayed somewhere on the main screen.
* I'm not yet sure about the mechanics, but zombies pile up on the borders. So I guess one should aim for having a square or circle formed fort. No rectangle, or having "needles" out of it. If thats so it would be preferable if one could willingly give up fields to concentrate defense on a core.

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I liked the seriousness of the game. It wasn't "zombeeez! omglol!" or deary, end-of-the-world depression. The daily notes turn the game into a survival/civilization game instead of a shoot-fest.
The win messages reflect this.

WARNING! End-game text!

Dark Portal:

I saw things in there that man was not meant to see. Those hordes were zombies once, but twisted by the portal into monstrous mutations. Now that it's closed, they'll bother (city name) no more.

Constitution:

On (date you won in 2014) the (number of survivors) surviving citizens of (city name) drafted a constitution, declaring the city a safe haven for all who desire order in this world.
Thus dawned a new civilization...

Cure:

On (date you won in 2014) the (number of survivors) surviving citizens of (city name) discovered the cure for zombieism, ridding the world of the terrible plague which has transformed it.
Now we can truly rebuild...

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Definitely a fun game, and I liked the multiple endings. I played on Easy the first go, now I'm going to try normal.

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SkylerF: You can keep playing after you get an ending.

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I won on "normal" my first time around, captured all blocks. I've been trying on hard a few times, but I can't do it yet. I can't imagine what "harder" and "nightmare" will be like. I want to keep trying though.

When I loaded my completed city on normal difficulty to have another look, I noticed I only had 40 survivors at the end, but room for 250 or something. So here is the in-game tip you should pay attention to:
- survivors flee when you reclaim their block. So, before you reclaim, get your leaders to fetch the survivors.
- almost the same with food, except you still get 50% of the food that's on the block when you reclaim.

Also a tip from me, but it hasn't helped me to win on "hard" quite yet:

You need to be aggressive and clear out blocks with zombies surrounding your fort, because they are the blocks that can attack you. If there aren't any zombies in adjacent blocks, you won't be in any danger.

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Awesome Man January 17, 2011 9:03 PM

This game is really addicting. :)
I like how you can keep playing after you win so you can figure the other ways to win.

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cinder calhoun January 17, 2011 10:29 PM

I named my city Castlerock, and one day a survivor joined my city named "Stephen King" :D

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Hey, it saves your game automatically! You have to click the settings icon (gear + musical note) to find out.

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Got the Cure ending first time through. :D

159,000 on normal mode, I don't know if that's a lot or not though

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Katherine January 18, 2011 1:04 AM

Is there a way to save, or a mute button? I don't want to lose my game just because I have to go and do something else, but I don't want the background music going if I have to leave it open.

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Katherine January 18, 2011 1:09 AM

Found the mute button -_- can't believe I missed it.

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I really enjoyed this game, I found the 4 different endings. Does anyone know any other games like this?

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There is a mute button. It's in the upper-left of the screen. It appears to auto-save, yes.

DEFINITELY the best improvement that this game could make would be to automatically allocate unassigned people to defense. Maybe continue to allow you to allocate people to defense as well so that you don't find yourself accidentally allocating people to real actions beyond your "safe" defensive level.

Tip: Be aggressive about running kill-zombie missions to the areas around you. The way I started to lose my first game was to get into a cycle where I had to allocate more and more soldiers to defense, and so I had less and less ability to do anything proactive, and I lost momentum. If you're killing the zombies in the areas around you, you won't need to have many soldiers on defense, and you can expand.

Another tip: Scavengers have pretty limited utility by mid-game -- you should be getting net-positive on food with your farms (turn suburbs into farms aggressively, it's easy to get apartments for living space). Retrain scavengers into something useful. By end-game, I had a TON of soldiers, quite a large number of builders, about 10 scientists, and just a smattering of the other classes.

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Got

ALL the endings in one game, and three of them at once. Now the zombies are gone. like, stopped, cured, and, um, ...constitutionalized... gone.

Loved the game!
Just wish there were more.

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This game is an instant hit. It's like a Sim City--with zombies.

Anyway, I decided to play on normal. By the time I won I had 101 people, on day 86 or earlier. The way I won:

I finished electricity research toward the end and saw that I had another thing I could research--the cure for zombieism, so I started researching that. Four turns later, when I was 6 turns from finishing the research, I captured the evil graveyard and the city hall, and I discovered I could get endings those ways too. So I canceled my research and then restarted it, while also setting my soldiers on the graveyard and getting my leaders to start drafting a constitution, to try to get all three endings to fall on the same turn. I also thought that it was likely that the game would also end if I captured the entire city or if base happiness reached 100%, so I also tried to time those to happen ten turns later. I was already at about 40% base happiness and had only about 4 or 5 blocks left to capture, so I expect it would work.

I reached base happiness one turn early, because my townspeople randomly built a bar. Next turn the game told me it was over because I'd conquered the city. I opted to continue playing and found that the game also mentioned my research, the evil portal, and the constitution, but I wasn't sure there had even been endings created for those things.

I may end up playing it again on a harder difficulty

While playing there were some things I learned. Early on I found that I was losing too many people, and so I became much more careful about using my people. I kind of got too focused on defense though and fell into the same trap Epoch describes, where I put too many people on guard duty for a while. It's better to just utilize a forward defense instead. You will need some people to keep guarding your base, but ideally you should have a lot more people, soldiers and such, taking the fight to the zombies, so that when the zombies end up attacking your base they will already be reduced in number. But even so, try to keep your percentage for danger as low as possible, preferably in single-digits, by using more soldiers in your attacks. You can skimp a bit on your number of guards. Throughout most of the middle of the game my danger for my defense was around 10%, and that was fine--the only bad thing that happened was I once lost a single square to the zombies.

Other than that, the most important thing I can think of is to concentrated on building your base in the direction of farms nearby. Scavengers are pretty helpful early on. I started running low fairly early on--I even lost a man to starvation. Even by the middle of the game food still ought to be a pretty big problem. You probably shouldn't even bother with turning any of your squares into farms using builders. It takes way too many turns, so it's almost always better to just keep expanding your territory with the builders, instead of having them change anything into a farm (2 builders and 1 should be able to reclaim a territory in 2 turns). So try to get the farms as early as possible, and remember to do all the standard stuff, like getting more recruits and such. Victory shouldn't be too difficult, and chances are you can probably win while only losing three or four people the whole game, perhaps less if you want to be a bit slower about it.
Iconian

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I'm quite sure there is quite a big food bug in the game:
Max food storage is 50. Let's say you have 18 food in storage and lose 9 food per day. If you then scavenge 50 food, you don't end up with 50 food, but with something much lower. It seems the scavenged food is completely thrown away because it makes you go over the max. I'm not entirely sure, but there is something fishy going on.

Now two suggestions:
- have idle workers defend the fort automatically (has been suggested before and I completely agree). No need for any changes to guard duty.
- when zombies attack, it says "click any key to skip", also make mouse-clicks work. The game only needs mouse clicks, except here.

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Dr. Curiosity January 18, 2011 10:27 AM

Curses. If you get all four endings on the same day, you only get to see one of them.

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I finally managed to finish it completely on hard. One thing I did was to never have negative food production. Don't get more survivors than you can support from your own farms. So don't depend on scavenging. I'm sure it can be done with scavenging, but I failed many times trying.

Also something to take note to is the defense value for the police station:
+25 defense for police station (& fortified mall)
+15 defense for soldier
+5 defense for others.

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I just played normal and went for the first ending I could get, Constitution (I didn't have enough Labs). One thing that happened was IMMEDIATELY after I clicked to write a Constitution, the game dropped a zombie horde on the map next to me. Supposedly the zombies wanted to stop my Constitution. A horde came every day until I wrote the constitution.
I play somewhat aggressively. The problem is when I had a ton of soldiers, few builders (claiming spots took more time), few scavengers (food would be lost if I claimed, but that didn't matter much), and only 1 Leader (ensures that survivors join you).
At the end of the game I has claimed one half of the map. That drastically reduced the zombies' attack power.

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I have a few more things to say.

TSUKEN: I never noticed that my food storage maxed out at 50. However, through much of the game my food production was negative, and I only got by through scavenging, until I had enough farms. In perhaps the last dozen turns of the game my food production was positive and my my maximum food was claimed at 200 and later 250. However, the real amount I was able to store was 150, the exceptions being when I scavenged any food or something. In that case it went up by the amount scavenged for a turn. In effect my maximum food was 150, but that didn't really matter anymore, since by then I had a surplus of about 20 food a turn. If your food doesn't seem to go above 50, even with scavenging, it could be that your production is too far negative.

Now, about the zombie attacks. Early on it seemed like the attacks they made weren't very big, but neither were my forces. As the game progressed though I conquered more and more squares. But even though I conquered so many, zombie attacks still increased in strength. By the time the zombies had maybe 20 squares and I had probably 80, you would think that the rest would just be mopping up. Instead, toward the end I noticed that zombie spawning increased vastly. In the early part of the game I might clear the zombies from a tile. Once the zombies spawn there, the danger if I were to send a single soldier might be 5%. With the last few squares though, squares owned by zombies would often spawn a whole bunch of zombies in just a single turn. I might clear out a tile of all zombies, and if I didn't reclaim it then, the next turn it might have a hazardous level of zombies, or even infected, whereas before it would be safe-ish. It still was pretty easy to win even with that being the case, because my strength was greater than theirs and I was clearing out new squares. To put it simply, it seems the fewer the number of squares the zombies have, the higher the number of zombies spawned per tile is. It means that until you've completely beaten the game and pushed the zombies out of your town, you can never sit back and just watch the zombies try to get into you town. You couldn't stop at 80 tiles in your possession and 20 in theirs and just watch them try to get in, because eventually they would get in and overrun you, I believe. I don't know if that's to be explained by the

evil portal

or what, but even if it is I'm not sure I find it all that realistic.

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Wait, "The randomized map means you won't be playing the game twice"? So the randomization is a bad thing? I think you dropped the word 'same' from that sentence. Also, a missing 'have' in "You'll have to guards at defensive buildings, such as police stations, to ward them off."

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The spawning makes perfect sense. If you're only trying to control a 2x2 square, the zombies are going to be all over the countryside, i.e. diffuse. Once you start eating up 10x10 or 12x12 territory and serving up yummy brains all in one place, they're going to start gathering at your border. This game is not treating the "board" as the limit of the world. It's saying the world is all-zombie, and all you have is a fort.

Keep that in mind for the next zombie apocalypse.

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I didn't even know there were alternate endings, because I explored aggressively, found the evil graveyard immediately, and focused all of my attention on meeting the requirements. Only 47 people at the end, but I didn't need any more.

Great game! Definitely 5-stars.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 19, 2011 3:02 AM

@Iconian dont look for any sense or realism in a zombie game. zombies do not make sense! (except for the arms lobby)

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@Iconian:

If you haven't noticed, zombies tend to get attracted to places with food (human), light, or sound. Since your city is growing and the map is meant to be infinitely large (but limiting your city just so the game can actually end), zombie "reinforcements" are quite possible.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 19, 2011 3:57 AM

Nickyh, I haven't noticed anything about zombies, because they dont exist and never will be, sorry to break that news, so they behave just like the game mechanics tells them to do. Its obviously coded that way to keep being challenging while you grow.

The exact function how many zombies you attract is IMHO the key to winning the harder modes. I've not figured it out. Is it just a function of time, the number of squares you have, the number of squares you border with, the number of people you have? the number of food you have?

I'm not yet sure if its more effective to have a condense layout so you have less borders, or to have a stretched, so the constant amount zombies dependent on your size are better distributed.

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@Shudog and Nickyh:
I did consider earlier that maybe the huge number of zombies spawned in squares toward the end of the game is due to zombies being attracted toward your town--becoming aware of it over time and then heading there. I think there would be some number of zombies showing up, but I don't think it would be anywhere near as many. In the last few squares I conquered, the squares went straight from just having the zombies wiped clean, to "Infected." I'm not sure of the levels, but "Infected" is even more zombies than "Hazardous," though not as many as "Overrun." All of those zombies are concentrated on a single tile. So, if zombies really are showing up from all around the surrounding countryside, why is that they all end up arriving at just single square? Do they all flock together and concentrate their numbers there? Where are the borders for the town? I figure your borders ought to reach a point where you bump against the wilderness or undeveloped areas outside the city, after which further expansion is fairly pointless, since you won't be getting anymore buildings. But just as had been the case throughout the rest of the game up until then, even then you ought to need to defend your borders on all sides. The only way I can see such a large number of zombies spawning in single squares on the map is by them being teleported in by the evil gate, or being guided by some malevolent force to a single place where they concentrate themselves to attack you. Zombies showing up from the surrounding countryside, OTOH, would most likely result in a very uniform distribution (I can see an exception if there was some large city nearby or something that the zombies were arriving from). In any case, this aspect is certainly not explained by the game.

@fuzzyface:
A lot of games probably don't make much sense when you think about them some. Especially for someone who is probably not going to get much or any money from this game, I think this is a very good effort. Anyway, yes this is a zombie game, but the maker could have gone and created something with almost no realism at all. Instead they made a game that actually feels pretty realistic, apart from the zombies. When the game has already gone a fair way to be realistic and explain a fair amount of how the game works, I find it a little annoying and perplexing to see it basically change its mind. But even so I enjoyed Rebuild a lot, and I fully expect to play it more. 4/5.

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An amazing game that snugly fits a niche combining the depth and abstraction of a good board game and the streamlined mechanics of a well-thought-out casual game. I really dig the love for details and hard work that evidently went into it. And the functional fullscreen option is a nice extra. Kudos to the developer!

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Any other strategy advice for winning on hard? This is as frustrating a game I've seen in a while; I know I can win, but it keeps eluding me.

Also, the game says it was created by Sarah Northway. I've played hundreds, if not thousands, of online games and this is the first one I've seen made by a woman. This is a great game and I hope this means that more female gamers get into the production side of gaming.

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Yes, Sarah and her husband, Colin, are both game developers. :)

There are many female game developers we have featured reviews for over the years. Not as many as male developers, that's for sure, but Sarah is definitely not the first.

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A few notes for harder difficulties.

a) scout early and fast
b) keep a low number of survivors so you dont need to feed so many. keep your number of squares low and limited to what you need
c) aggressively clean out the areas
d) take risks. lots of em. a single man 35% danger rate means 1/3 hes gonna die. it also means 2/3 he succeeds. its a pretty good chance he will die. but as leader its for the greater good :P if he manages to clear the square everyone will be better off. but if he fails, you have one less survivor thats all.
e) early game be careful with your leaders. late game.. all you need are soldiers.
f) research - recommend the food and zombie ones early on. the food ones increase the limit 50 per as well as removes the bad events related to the research (food going bad, crops fail), zombie killing ones make your SOLDIERS more effective at killing zombies (with the last few you can have 0 risk with 5 soldiers typically) but early game its well worth it to send in soldiers solo into areas that are up to 25% risk. (i send the rest of the civvies in up to 35%)
once you get electricity you get a little more happiness (and random events about lack of it disappear)
once you get radio randomly every x turns survivors will come.
g) happiness: keep people happy as long as you can. surprisingly, if you run out of food they will be unhappy. random event people usually lone gunmen will come by your place and if its too unhappy they wont join and well... its kinda important to have free extra soldiers.
h) keep your people BUSY. First thing you should do especially on higher difficulties is REMOVE your defenders because they are active units eating your food and until there are zombie hordes at your door you shouldn't need them.(refer to d)early on its about capturing as much useful land as you can hold, scouting and emptying out the area of survivors to use in these risky missions.
i) change your play style as you advance. especially with the zombie killing technologies, your soldiers are very very useful. early on you use them to clean out areas that have high risk solo, but as you run lower on survivors to recruit, send them out in larger groups (and hopefully you will have the techs to make it less risky). by maintaining a good sized soldier force, you can consistently clean out x tiles surrounding your fort which is really all you need to win.
j) find your win condition! your best chances are finding city hall, training how ever many leaders you need to draft the constitution to grab your win condition. empty out the graveyard/city hall FAST by sending in groups as large as you can afford (as in if you have 25 soldiers, you can reserve say 10 for cleaning squares around your fort, then send the 15 left to clean out the city hall as they will kill ALOT more zombies reducing the number of sends you will need) for the victory location conditions clean them out hard and fast (its better to spend 1 kill mission with 15 than to send 3 kill missions with 5. )

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Just finished the game on 12x12 nightmare, a couple of hints:

  • If you leave plain survivors on guard duty, they will eventually become soldiers.

  • Your happiness and food are bound to reach zero no matter what you do, so they should be deprioritized your first few turns. (Avoid starvation for the most part, but don't avoid recruiting just because it will give you a negative foodincome.)

  • When you reclaim an area that has food, you will automatically scavenge some of that food (I do not think you will scavenge all of it, but enough that it might keep you from starving.)

  • As morale will be at the base bottom most of the game, getting bars and churches is a good idea.

  • Lastly, aim for reaching the edge of the map quickly, as this decreases your contact surface with zombies.

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@iconian - The zeds do indeed teleport. If you surround an area and kill all the zombies on it, some will respawn.

I really like this, as tough as it is. I find myself giving elaborate narratives to the events as they unfold. There are political intrigues, shattered loyalties, and even love affairs.

I think I tend to pick on things the more I like it, so here's my list of grievances with the game:

Outright bugs:

There's a huge bug in the save system. I switched between save games in the same session, and when I came back to a game all my units were stuck on phantom missions and couldn't be reassigned. Curiously, I could click "Assign All" and the defense jumps as if all are assigned, but they aren't highlighted and show as still on other missions. The one new recruit could be de/selected, but that was it. I tried ending a day twice to see if it would reset (or if they really were on missions), but no luck. I had to quit and open a new browser window, which made me lose another day (and all the missions that were in progress). Reported "Danger to Fort" after this was inconsistent as well. The duty assignment and full town info show the full defense, but the popup on the town name indicates nobody defending. Watch out for this one.

The max food bug, as noted above. It appears any food production/bonus is capped by the limit before the consumption is applied, making you lose food when you're at or near it. Example (this happened to me) : Say you have 50 food, 15 food production, and 16 people. Your production is lost, but you still consume 15; the next day you'll have 34 food. This would be acceptable on average if there were no other variables (next day you're back up to 50), but random food misfortunes make it a serious problem.

Missing progress indicators. Sometimes a square loses the clock stating the current project. If you click on it, the mission is still there, so this is just an interface problem. I think this shows up more commonly on longer projects.

Sometimes I think that people on guard duty are show up as "idle" in the pop-up at the top if you've switched them on and off of it in one day. Can't be certain of that, however. It may simply be "Assign All" issues related to the save bug.

There may be a bug with happiness. I was at 5%, got one negative effect and two identical positive effects, but ended up still at 5%. I'm not 100% positive since I couldn't double-check what it was before and I haven't seen it recur.

UI/mechanics gripes:

Lack of a proper save is pretty major. Sure it saves your session, but I see no way to copy them. I know some people prefer the "hardcore" style, but it really should be an option. Maybe it is and I missed it. (Of course, it should be bug-free as well).

To join the chorus, idle workers ought to automatically defend. As suggested above, a garrison duty list + automatic defense would be the best case. It's annoying having to go down and pull my builders on/off duty as needed.

I'd very much like to see an indicator of which areas are zombie-free so I know what's safe to reclaim/scavenge etc. Maybe outlined in green. Having all gradations show up in various colors would be really nice, but at least this one would be good.

Some way to get to where exactly a person is occupied would be useful. As of now, it only gives you the type of mission.

Some missions should not choose a default if there's no obvious one. The school in particular. I wanted to retrain someone but forgot to deselect my leader who'd been chosen by default. This is only a minor issue, since most other times it's clear what's happening.

Gameplay issues/suggestions (these have some actual spoilers) :

I think Happiness needs some tweaking. If you're hit by bad luck early on, your Happiness slips and (on Hard or higher) there's absolutely no way to fix it except pray for good luck. The problem is the luck doesn't really balance out - once it slips, you're more likely to be hit with more negative effects that only make it worse, and usually game-ending. This slippery slope mechanic isn't so bad in and of itself, it's just frustrating that it can happen so early on when the only action you can take (throw a party) isn't available.

Adding more gradations to the scale might be one fix - e.g. actually use 100 points, with minor impediments causing a smaller hit. Or have some other remedy for loss of morale other than random chance.

I'm not sure, but possibly low Happiness affects battle outcomes. I had four consecutive fort losses when I was at less than 20% defense risk, all when morale was nearly down to 0. I'm not sure if this is the case or I hit a 1000 to 1 jackpot. If it is, that just makes the downward spiral that much worse. (Possibly it's due to slacking off by those on guard.)

I also think Electricity should be a permanent boost. As it is, it takes too long to help out if your happiness is currently low. By the time it's researched, all it does is give you a small buffer. As it is now, that only helps if you need it for your ending.

I wouldn't mind seeing something to differentiate Malls a bit more - maybe have them give +50 defense. Or upgradeable to that. More upgradeable buildings would be an interesing addition, but not necessary. I actually like how simple it is now.

I don't like that people out on missions can be killed in a fort overrun. I know there are design choices at work here, but this one is a bit jarring.

This is in the line of iconian's thoughts on zombie growth. Somehow I'd like to have the zombie mobs feel more organic. Right now, it appears they just spawn from each and every square independently. There's no feeling of zombies moving around aside from the Hordes. On the human side, it doesn't feel as if your people are moving in and out of safer/dangerous areas. In particular, the risk of a mission seems to depend only on distance and the target square, whether there are none or a hundred zombies within several blocks of it. I know that'd be a significant change to the game, but I think it'd be for the better.

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Based on how the game behaves, when you end the turn, the food you gain through farming and scavenging are added, then your maximum cap is applied, which discards any food beyond your capacity, then your daily use is subtracted. It would make more sense to apply the cap after the daily use is subtracted, but that's how it's set up, judging by the reaction. That's why you'll never be at full food capacity.

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Anonymous January 21, 2011 5:18 AM

Would love to have a bar with more information about how many survivors and which type are doing what. Also, rather than list each survivor individually just have sometime like 10 X solider 4 X builder etc. By end game I had well over 50 soliders so when i wanted to find something else it became a bit of a pain.

Loved the game though.

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I like this game and I love how it doesn't force players to grind for the multiple endings.
I think the easiest goal is:

Make a constitution.

Also I note something with evil portal:

When you try to close it, it will keep spawning horde, like non stop. Still not the hardest goal though

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Here's a few hints on getting your city started:

*Initial moves*

* Pull the soldier off guard duty. You aren't being attacked, and except in rare cases your builder, scientist, or leader can hold down the fort the first night. After the first raid, it only gets easier so a single scientist should be all you need to hold it down the first couple of weeks.

* The first day, send several raids out. Go to safeish areas that can be scavenged for survivors, or reclaimed for housing/farmland. Scavengers and unskilled survivors should scout a few areas, especially in the region you want to expand into first. Send one survivor on your lowest risk mission to try to train them as a soldier.

* Scout only what you need until you get binoculars. I'm pretty sure you only get the binoc bonus when scouting, so the survivors missed early on won't reappear. Could be wrong on that. Also, binoculars should be somewhat low on the research priority list unlesss you really aren't finding survivors.

* Getting more people at the start is more important than having enough food for them all. You can probably handle a few occasional bouts of starvation, and the more workers you have the faster you can complete any task, including getting more food.

* If your happiness drops to 20% or lower within the first few weeks, you should probably give up (unless you're on Nightmare). Sure you might pull out of it, but most likely you're wasting your time (once the Hordes start growing, you'll be toast). Even 30% is tough to deal with, but I think you can weather that with a bit of luck and some improving developments.

*Expansion*

* Expand toward an edge as fast as practical. Don't expand in a circle, as that exposes you to a shorter Horde warning time on all sides. Getting to a corner is best; this reduces your line of exposure to the zombies. Once you've made it to one edge spread out to the corner.

* After you've cleared an adjacent area, it's completely safe as long as you're sending missions to it. It's better to clear it out first with soldiers, then scavenge/recruit. You won't need to escort them, and your soldiers can be out killing more zombies instead of playing babysitter.

* Additionally, don't let the zombies respawn in an area you want to take. If you don't have any builders/recruiters available for a day, use what I call "patrols". Send a non-builder unit to reclaim (this takes 4 days). Once the builders can be allocated, cancel the mission and put them on it. For the sake of realism, I send at least one soldier (that's also a good idea since if you don't cancel you won't risk any loss).

* Expansion priorities at the start should be : Farmland and housing first. Next, head for an extra defensive building (Police is best). Good to get if they're easy pickings are a Happiness booster, hospital, or lab (gas station if the nearest lab is far away). Getting a laboratory is mandatory once the basic expansion is underway, since you need >50 stored food for parties.

*Personnel*

Depending on what win you go for, it'll change, but as an mid-game population, I try for :
2-3 Leaders. One as a recruiter, the other to keep things going/throw parties. Plus a backup or one to give a higher party bonus.
3-5 Builders. You can't use more than two at a time to expand faster, and three can work on the upgrade projects. Extra ones are good to have if you've got more space you want to expand into. Builders can also work as scouts when idle.
1-2 Scavengers. You can't train to this specialty; it's a niche job but a useful one if you need it.
3-6 Scientists. How many you recruit varies a lot, and you can increase as research demands once you get a school. I think 8 or 9 is the most that can reduce project time, but that many is likely overkill.

Everyone else: Soldier. At any given time, at least half of your population should be soldiers.

* Never risk your only leader or builder. Lose the first, and you can't grow your force (even if you can get it, the radio isn't likely to replace enough of your forces). Lose your builders, and your growth slows to a crawl. Early on, this is fatal.

* You can't train new scavengers, and since they can clear out a block quickly, don't retrain them until your food production is way up. Even then, you may want to keep one around if things get dicey.

* Untrained survivors can learn skills by being sent on missions. Soldiering can be learned on guard duty or killing raids. Building can also be picked up on the job quickly. Leaders seem to be made only if there's just a mentor leader on the mission, and no escorting soldier. Haven't seen a Scientist or Scavenger get trained, but I rarely have the need to try it.

*Soldier management*

* Always use escorts on reclamation missions. Builders are too precious not to send one soldier out there with them. Normally, escorts are a bad idea (see notes on expansion), but it's okay to send an escort or risk the danger if you're desperate for food or people.

* As said by everyone else, take the fight to the zombies. A 20% or higher fort defense risk is acceptable if it's in the service of sending out more killing raids. Remember that the danger is only the risk if you're attacked, not the likelihood that you'll lose a battle that night. Often, at least early on, you can tell when the non-Horde zeds are massing for an attack. Also consider that most losses are not the end of your base once you're decently strong.

* On the other hand, keep zombie-killing missions to a low defense risk (less than 10%). Having a high base defense risk is perfectly fine, since you're unlikely to be attacked on any given night (often, early on at least, you can tell when it's coming). But losing soldiers is a happiness hit, plus a loss of valuable personnel that you can't take. This is actually good advice for the whole game, although once you've researched antivenom your battles will probably be nearly risk-free anyway.

* Until you've got base defense well under control, make sure all your soldiers are back for the Horde fight. This means no missions sent out less than 3 days before the attack (so that you can put them back on guard). Pay attention to where the Horde is, too, since if it enters a double square that shaves a day off its time.

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I enjoyed this game. Yesterday I beat it again, once again on Normal, but this time with a 12x12. Before that I tried to play on Hard two times (before anyone had really posted some of their techniques). I got tired of constant deaths and running out of food and morale though. I figured it could probably be done. But the truth is, I'm not sure it's really worth it.

I really like Normal difficulty. It's a nice, fun game. You can beat it in just a few hours. But with Hard, it's like the game just goes out of its way to punish you for just about anything you do. I went through about 30 turns being pretty careful, but morale dropped to about 10% (I at least had a couple morale buildings), and soon the riots began and everyone pretty much stopped working, which resulted in more people dying, several buildings lost, more deaths, and me quitting.

So yeah, I believe that you beat it on 12x12 Nightmare, pacifist. But personally, I don't think it's worth it enough for me, or most people, to try. If the game had much better tools for dealing with trouble, and some tweaks were made to a few aspects of the game engine, I'd probably be more than happy to slog it out on Hard. But to me, too many aspects of the gameplay are just too poor to make Hard worth it.

Normal gives a nice, enjoyably challenging game that I think most 4X fans can appreciate. I think if Sarah Northway makes another game like this or updates it, she should probably make some changes to the game universe and give the player a lot more tools for dealing with that universe for anyone who wants to try their hand at Hard. But I'm not really worried about Hard. As I said, 4/5, and two big thumbs up for Normal mode. :J
Iconian

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@Iconian
LOL, I think you're still thinking of it in game terms instead of the sim-world terms. And you have a rather narrow idea of zombie lore, which includes varying degrees of intelligence. (Some of which is covered in the lovely narrative text, which is worth the read.) And you don't understand real-life natural swarms and/or Brownian motion. If you equipped a bug with only one sensory quality, such as smelling living human flesh, you'd be covered in bugs in three minutes, and it would most certainly not be inexplicable or random.

I will say, though, that it is possible to watch different groups of zombies move across the board from day to day. They are *not* just plopping onto the board out of nowhere.

Part of the problem is one can rarely just sit back and scout several squares, so your field of vision is limited. It's very easy to anticipate when a square will be overrun. Likewise, even "cleared" squares are called Safe-ish, which means there are always extant zombies -- just not enough to overcome a rebuilding party. And if you need to research technology to find hiding humans AND there is always talk of traveling parties, that means there is always the possibility that those survivors will be infected, thus continually spawning more zombies. I fail to see how this is illogical.

I love playing the game on Hard, and I only lose when I don't keep an eye on my goals. Your strategy as you describe it is clearly not working, so maybe you should try a different strategy? It's not "punishing" you. You have to weigh different priorities on a real-time basis, which is the point of the game. And life! For instance, if you keep running out of food, then maybe you should make a concerted effort to secure food for several moves before you recruit anyone else? You can mouse-over the top of the menu (each of the 3 categories) as well as click on them for a helpful summary.

It's an excellent game. Yes, you can lose it; that's 'cause it's a game and not a crackerjack prize.

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For you (addicted) roleplayers out there:

My favorite thing to do is go to the End Game screen, write down the VIP of the game (right column), and use that name in my next city. The cycle continues!

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OK so I've beaten this game on Nightmare difficulty about five times now. The method below isn't necessarily the best available, but it's basically foolproof once you understand the game mechanics:

There are four victory conditions. In order of ascending difficulty, they are:

  • Curing Zombieism (requires 50% happiness, 5 scientists, 3 labs, and all techs researched)

  • Drafting a Constitution (requires 50% happiness, 5 leaders, City Hall, a lab, a school, and a hospital)

  • Clearing the Evil Graveyard (requires 15 soldiers, the Evil Graveyard, and 5 police stations/fortified malls)

  • Conquering Every Square on the Map

At this level of difficulty, I find it's way easier to Cure Zombieism than it is to Draft a Constitution. To survive at Nightmare, you're going to have to research almost all the techs available no matter what you do, so you might as well conserve resources. This is especially true on a 12x12 map, where you'd otherwise have to battle your way to the map's edge.

Before you play:
The first thing you should do is go into the control panel and turn on Fullscreen mode. The expanded field of view makes the game WAY easier. Also be sure to turn on Harsh Language. You're killing zombies here, not some namby-pamby crap.

Early game:
As other commenters have pointed out, you should immediately clear out your extra soldier from the police station on day 1. Use the first turn to recruit two people from the surrounding squares, scavenge for food, and expand aggressively into the nearest housing square (suburb, apartment, or trailer park.) Any additional unused survivors should scout. Leave your scientist behind to guard the fort. Again, this should all be done on the first turn.

The most critical limiting resources in the early game are housing and people. You've absolutely got to get your population up to around 20 or better before the hordes show up. Focus on scouting, recruiting and housing, and worry about food later. Always be sure to attach an armed escort to your leader; you can't afford to lose him at this point. If the map permits, you want your early expansion queue to look more or less like this:

Housing/Housing/Farm/Police Station/Hospital/Farm/Lab

Supplement your food supplies with aggressive scavenging and scouting. You want to be sending out the maximum level of scouts, scavengers and recruiters every turn, while still capturing strategic resources. Scout where there are likely to be people: suburbs, farms, apartments, trailers and ESPECIALLY churches. Don't bother with parks or graveyards.

Don't be afraid to send a couple of untrained survivors to capture a square; you'll lose one most likely, but you've got to keep securing more housing. And you want to have your population constantly bumping against the limit of your housing stock.

I should also mention that at this level of difficulty the Hospital is very important; without it your people will drop like flies.

Try to keep your base defense between 10-20%; higher is too risky, lower is too conservative.

Mid game:
After about turn 25-30, the game will start throwing a horde at you every five turns or so. You can track the status of the horde by looking for the red exclamation point on the map (again, fullscreen is critical) or by hovering over the city name. Don't be afraid to build as it approaches, but make sure to retrench the turn before it hits. You want every soldier you have inside the fort when the horde arrives. With practice, you'll learn to get the timing right.

Continue to expand, but with more of an emphasis on strategic resources like police stations, malls, labs, bars and churches. Backfill with farms as needed, but you always need your population to go ahead of your food supply. You'll need a school too, although this can come later.

You're aiming for:

  • 40-50 housing units (suburbs and trailer parks are worth 6, apartments 8)

  • 5-8 farming squares (make a beeline for the big ones)

  • 4 to 6 police stations or fortified malls (remember police stations are much cheaper)

  • exactly 3 labs, exactly one school, exactly one hospital, and

  • exactly 4 total bars and churches (for a base happiness of 20%.)


Soldiers and builders are the key to this part of the game. Grab territory aggressively between hordes and MAKE SURE to use two and only two builders when expanding; time is of the essence.

Obviously you need a lot of soldiers, but builders are also really critical here; if a resource is distant or unattainable, consider converting a gas station or warehouse into what you need. Use 3 builders to make it quick.

In the meantime, try to build your population to over 40 with aggressive scouting and recruiting. Again, time your missions between the waves of hordes, and always attach a soldier to escort your leaders, who you can't afford to lose. If you have a school, use it to research soldiers and builders exclusively. You are looking for about 20-30 soldiers, at least 6 builders, 2-3 leaders, 2-3 scavengers, and 2-3 scientists, with noobs rounding out rest.

A lot of the time, your people are going to be starving and unhappy. There's really not much you can do about this; that's why they call it 'Nightmare.' Supplement your continuous population losses with continuous, aggressive scouting, scavenging and recruiting. As mentioned before, it's worth attaching an armed escort for the riskier scavenging and recruiting missions.

Meanwhile, you'll have begun building the tech tree. In order, research: Zombie Vitals, Binoculars, Stealth, Antivenom. Antivenom provides a critical defensive bonus you'll need to get early, and it should be prioritized. Once you get it, secure a second lab and research the remaining tech trees in parallel. Don't worry if you only have one scientist; while they are needed to satisfy the victory condition, they are otherwise the most useless unit in the game. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT RESEARCH ELECTRICITY UNTIL THE VERY END (see below.)

End Game:
With luck, by turn 50 or so you've got between 40-50 survivors, you're close to maxing out the tech tree, and you've reached a sort of stalemate situation with the zombies. (In fact, it's possible to win the game on nightmare with as few as 25 survivors.)

With 4 churches or bars, you've brought your base happiness to 20%, though likely not much higher. Now, here's the trick: Research electricity last (in parallel with Fertilizer, if you want to save time.) As you approach the finish, furlough some builders or other survivors and turn them into scientists at the school. Turn everyone else into soldiers.

Once you complete Electricity, you'll be given a ONE TIME bonus of 30% to happiness, boosting you to 50%, but this might last as little as a single turn. You immediately want to capitalize on this by researching the cure that same turn, so make sure you have 3 labs and 5 scientists handy. To research the cure, you do not need to keep happiness above 50% for ten consecutive turns, only the turn you start the research. Make sure to use your best protected lab; i.e. the centrally located one you are least likely to lose in the event of a defeat. (This trick also works for the City Hall victory.)

Put everyone else on garrison and cancel any other missions. The game will send hordes and hordes of zombies at you. All you'll have time to do now is bunker down and shoot. You will probably lose survivors, happiness and squares, but it doesn't matter as long as you keep that central lab. Wait ten turns, and watch the end screen.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 22, 2011 7:13 AM

I looked into the source :-) The amount of zombies spawned per day is only a function of time maxing at day 75. So there is no point in keeping being small. The amount of zombies spawned is constant despite how much space is left, so the less squares are left the more will be spawned per square.

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Anonymous January 22, 2011 9:01 AM

After I had been informed that one of my soldiers had lost an eye clearing zombies, the survivor list changed her name to "Lieutenant Cyclops." XD

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Anonymous January 22, 2011 9:24 AM

Tip:

Keep your fort as square as possible as you expand. The perimeter of a square is always less than the perimeter of a rectangle of equal area. This will minimize the number of squares you can be attacked from.

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After many tries I finally won a "harder" 10x10. Knowing some forumulars/dependencies helps :) For most points I agree with xenapan but on some I differ.

* The amount of zombies coming to your gates is soley a matter of time otherwise constatn. Keeping small doesnt help, keeping a circle form or something with a large border doesnt make much difference. You just have to have enough soldiers to be able to face the zed stream depending in number of days into the game.
* You most important resource are thus soldiers (survivors). Get as many as possible as fast as possible. But you have to be able to feed them through farms. And don't be afraight to use them. 10-20% risk is fine. Especially in the early to mid game you can always have more survivors by recruiting.
* Thus focus on reclaiming aparments and farms.
* Along with the other tips, be agressive, keep clearing the areas around you even if you dont plan to claim these right now. you should have at least 2-3 squads always on the go only at home when the zombie horde is at the doors. 20% risk to loose a fort fight is okay as well. use the soldiers to attack instead.
* scavanging is close to useless. maybee on the very first week, one or two scavanges can be ok to get through a food shortage otherwise its a waste of ressources. 20 food for 2-3 people usy 2 days is so bad. you need farms to feed your people. Best use your scavangers as scouts, after you scouted either retrain the in school or if you havent got one use them as soldiers until they the join the zed.
* Keep 1-2 leaders safe so you can keep recruiting.
* There is no advantage to have more than hospital! One is a nice security, but dont focus too hard on it.
* Happiness will go down to zero. Your people will have to deal with it. Early to midgame you dont have enough food for parties, and if you have you should recruit more people instead. So dont waste much effort on churches and bars. One bar is okay to make that bad events go away, anything more only if you cant get more houses/farms or survivors to use them for.
* Similar for Labroratory, one is all you need until you shoot for the cure in the end game.
* A 12x12 area is in my opinion easier than a 10x10, since the amount of zombies spawning is a constant function of time, so a larger aera will distribute them better and you have more to recruit from.
* Only after you scouted and recruited everybody there is treat your people more carefully, and go for 1-5% missions instead (you should have some zombiekilling science). On "harder" I had only 2 lone gun man joing for 50 days, altough hapiness was close to 100% all the time. (BTW: Why are there no gun woman? hidden sexism once again in a game?)
* After you recruited everyone, there is no reason to have more than 2 leaders for parties, except for the constition train additional 3.
* If you shoot for multiple endings, every goal has an advantage to the furhter gameplay if continuing. Getting the cure will zombies stop spawning! Except of the hordes, these will stop after destroying the portal. Making a constitution I believe will fix your happiness to 100%
* The portal ending is thus the most difficult, since you have 15 soldiers bound by the quest, constant horde attacks and you should keep cleaning up squares. If going for multiple endings, the science/cure goal is likely the first you should do, since once no more zombies except hordes will spawn makes taking the rest of the map easy.
* After that the zombies are cured, killed, constutionalized and driven out of the city.

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JIGuest, square or not the number of zombies approaching you is pretty equal.

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@Shudog
I'm not sure how much purpose there is in addressing each of the points you bring up, but I'll at least address some of them.

First, I'm wondering what you mean by "I think you're still thinking of it in game terms instead of the sim-world terms." I'm wondering if you might be misinterpreting something I said. Either that or I'm misinterpreting you.

As far as the movement of the zombies, I've repeatedly come upon a situation where I reclaimed all of the eight squares closest to a single square, but not that square itself. The square was completely enclosed, so no new zombies should have been able to reach it simply by walking there--in fact, it was my hope that the zombies would naturally die off from starvation or something such--and yet their numbers in that square still continued to go up. Neither Brownian motion nor very great intelligence on part of the zombies can explain that. Whether the zombies are being teleported in, digging up through the ground, or have sprouted wings and started flying, I don't know. At any rate, they're being spawned by the game in the square. I don't know if sometimes (other than hordes) the zombies might move from one square to another, but very much of the time they *are* "just plopping onto the board out of nowhere." As it is, it doesn't feel too realistic to me, and considering the lack of an explanation in the game, I'm guessing it's more of an oversight on the programmer's part than a deliberate decision.

Now, as far as Hard goes, I have very little doubt that if I put enough effort into it I could beat it--could probably beat it on Nightmare too, especially considering everything people have written about it since. But the fact is, the game engine is not good enough for me to really enjoy doing so very much. I found myself repeatedly comparing Rebuild to The Last Stand games, and Rebuild falls short of it and other 4X's in many ways. For instance, one of the major disappointments I found with Rebuild is that time passes much too quickly. Fully clearing a square of zombies, then fully recruiting the people on that square, and then fully scavenging all the food from it, and then fully reclaiming it using two builders and a soldier takes all of eight days. Now, if each square in the game is actually supposed to represent a whole city block, it might be a bit more believable. But as the game is, something seems very off about it. If I'm just looting a single house and the lot it's on then it ought to take much less time. And recruiting is probably the worst part. Honestly, in almost all cases I think it would take a matter of minutes or seconds to gain a recruit from a building. Scavenging the material might take a few hours, and building a fence around it might take a day, depending on the exact size of the buildings, etc. But recruiting people? It shouldn't take very much at all. I'm also very disappointed by the fact that sending out parties to scout, scavenge, kill zombies, etc, act as though they're basically teleported to the location in question. The number of zombies in between you and the target make no difference. The fact is, your parties of people don't actually *move* like they would in most games. Compare to most RTS's and 4X games out there.

If Rebuild were more realistic, you'd send out a group of soldiers or whatever to a location. On arrival they'd start shooting the zombies there. This would instantly alert basically any human in the vicinity, unless they happen to be deaf or something. If those humans had weapons they might come out and start helping your soldiers kill the zombies. If not, they'd just wait until your team finished the slaughter, and then come out of hiding and join your people, in almost all cases. Gaining recruits should *rarely* require a recruiting mission. Sure, there might be some stubborn, timid, or stupid people that would need to be convinced by a leader to join you, but most of the time you'd probably get most of the people from a given location just by sending a small squad through. There shouldn't be such a heavy focus on specialized missions--"Kill Zombies," "Scavenge," or "Recruit." Missions ought to have a lot more options and flexibility.

Anyway, my point is that it's little problems like this, combined with the much higher difficulty on Hard and above, that give me no desire to make any attempts at beating Hard or above as the game is. If the game had better tools and a better engine for addressing things like this, I think I could probably overlook the greater difficulties in Hard and above.

So was my strategy lacking in my first attempts on Hard? Yes. But it's not worth it for me, or most people, to beat it on Hard, even with a better strategy. The fact is, if I have to accept morale regularly hovering around 0-15% with the frequent desertions that accompany it, negative food production with regular starvation, and treating almost all my people as almost completely expendable, so that I frequently use single non-soldiers to clear squares of zombies, even though the chance of them dying is 10 or 20 or 35% or more, then I darn well want to have a much better game engine to do it with. Simply put, I don't feel Hard warrants me playing it with the game engine being as currently implemented.

Normal is perfectly fine to deal with, and so I'm perfectly fine with giving the game a high score. But I don't feel Hard is good enough to warrant a play through. And most people probably won't either.
Iconian

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 22, 2011 3:42 PM

Iconian, there is NOTHING realistic about zombies, think of it as game mechanics and try enjoying these, personally I really zombie-themes, yet I still enjoyed this game mechanics, might have blue squares vs. yellow circles as well.

You do not need to scavange a square, just kill/recruit/claim. Or recruit/kill/claim, or often enough just recruit or only kill without claiming, claim only if it helps you in increasing your numbers.

Recruiting is considered as taken time, since other survivors distrust you, and considering the mechanics that survives seem to survive endlessy in their hideouts in infested areas but might soon die when they join you, this distrust is understandable.

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@fuzzyface
Whether zombies are realistic or not bears absolutely no weight regarding the realism of the rest of the game, and I will show you why right now.

Let us simply and up and replace all the zombies in Rebuild with rabid dogs! As a matter of fact, this would be an *extremely* simple matter. All you'd need are a few changes to the graphics and dialogue, and the game would completely transform into a tale about how the world has been overrun by rabid dogs. Just read the first two opening paragraphs and replace "the undead" with "diseased dogs," and "zombies" with "rabid dogs," and the game still remains quite strongly in the realm of reality, in spite such a seemingly important change.

It is interesting to see how over the years so many games--even many games with extremely strong fantasy elements--have decided to go for a path of increasing realism, instead of less. My favorite example is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Here is a game that strives for very great realism compared to a lot of games out there--even though it has magic, vampires, minotaurs, elves, and on and on. And yet for some reason the creators tried to make it more realistic, even alongside such things. They have armor and shields, swords and bows and arrows, cities filled with people you can talk to and interact with, and on and on and on.

As is the case with so many games, Oblivion has striven for a great degree of realism to go hand-in-hand with its realistic aspects, and to a fair extent Rebuild has done the same, featuring a fairly believable setting, objectives, and so on. I am not saying that Rebuild is a bad game because it is not more realistic, but I am saying that if it were more realistic, and if it properly tempered its realism with the appropriate tools, techniques, and ideas, then it would be a much more fun game. It ought to have far more flexibility regarding its search parties, something much closer to what The Last Stand, where a group of survivors could go to a building and recruit other survivors, kill some zombies, and scavenge some supplies in a single trip. This would have made Rebuild much more fun, not less, and it would have made it much more realistic as well--because once again, if you were to simply replace the zombie epidemic with an epidemic of rabid dogs.

As to recruiting survivors, there is quite a simple and realistic change that could be made to the game that would make it more realistic and improve the game. I have also never seen any survivors you have not yet recruited killed by zombies. This ought to be possible, and happen pretty frequently. Certainly that would make the game much more realistic, and would make your city into much more of a safe bastion. And as a result, as a I said before, recruiting ought to be a much more simple matter--in most cases, people ought to be recruited very easily by a group of soldiers or whatever who are there with fairly generic orders. (Maybe each time you send out a group of people through the city you could have check boxes you could click that would give them different orders--don't scavenge any food, don't recruit any survivors, don't kill any zombies, or focus on killing zombies, focus on scavenging, focus on recruiting, etc.)

You are trying to defend broken game mechanics, but you are failing and will continue fail if you continue to try, because you are as the man who has built his house on a sandy foundation. That foundation cannot support Hard mode, but I will defend it for Normal mode because it was well done considering the game engine, and especially if you consider that this game is free. But beyond that, it is pointless to defend the game's engine, because it could be a lot better if a few notable changes were made.

I am curious though as to why you have such a strong need to support a decrease in realism in games. Does it have something to do with you doing your best to run away from reality, to worlds that bear as little resemblance to the real one? Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Anyway, I congratulate you for winning Rebuild on Harder. It shows that you are a good strategist. Maybe you should sink your teeth into something with a bit more meat, like Conqueror! or Warlight, or even Stars! I'm sorry to say I've yet to find a 4X game as good and realistic as I'd like, but some come very close. If you don't like zombies much anyway, one of these alternatives might be more to your taste.
Iconian

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@Iconian

I said quite clearly that PEOPLE are able to go in and out of the squares. PEOPLE get bitten BY ZOMBIES and this INCREASES the number of zombies in a square. Even if it is enclosed. There is plenty of in-game evidence for this. Likewise, if you have a diffused population of zombies in a 12x12 square, and you start eating up that territory, guess what? They will gather around the border of your territory.

You are constantly saying there are all these conditions "stopping" you from winning, and yet all of us beating it on harder levels are encountering these same conditions... and yet we manage to beat them. This is by definition not a game mechanics problem. You have come into a strategy game not expecting to use any strategy, and then complaining to everyone that it has not been made easy enough for you. Okay -- we're having fun. And we're challenging ourselves.

I have no idea why you keep comparing this game to scenarios that have nothing to do with zombies. This game hits all of the repeated themes from zombie movies, books, and other games. For instance, if you are a group of survivors who's hidden long enough from EVERYONE, i.e. other people and zombies, you are going to hesitate to join a group who may not give you a better chance of survival. Why should I join this band of crazies with guns versus this other band of crazies with guns, if I've held out this long?

Thanks for the condescending tone, too. It's quite helpful to the foundation of your opinion.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 23, 2011 6:23 PM

if anyone cares about how the game does it in fact.
) moving of zombies. Moves move to your fort, unless they are in a graveyard, dump, mall or policestation. A mall can thus be a good temp. shield if you do not touch it.
) it determines the amount of new zombies to be spawned (unless you discovered the cure), this is a complicated function without various jumps, but the only inputs are day and difficulty level.
) these zombies are distributed over the empty squares by random.

About the discussion, I'd differ between "broken game mechanics" and "broken logic". A game can have broken logic and still be a well on the go in its game mechanics. Almost all games have some broken realism logic when you think of it. The whole consept of "levels" and "lives" is some strange thing.

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Re: the question of how new zombies appear in isolated blocks: they rise from the dead! At the start of the game there are hundreds of corpses in every block in the city. Over time, they will gradually turn into zombies. The only way to stop this happening is to kill any active zombies, then burn all the corpses while claiming the territory.

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@fuzzyface
I didn't pay a ton of attention to whether zombies move, but I suspect you may be right about them staying in certain locations. It's also interesting what you say about zombie spawn rates. Again, I didn't pay close attention. But at the end of my second game, on Normal 12x12, I had captured all but a single square around day 80. I hung around at that point and waited for the constitution to get drafted and the evil graveyard to get cleared, and during that time I noticed that 45 zombies spawned on that single square every day. That might help with anyone interested in getting a more accurate view of zombie spawns.

Anyway, I guess you could say it's broken logic leading to broken game mechanics. Or maybe just an oversight on the developer's part, or a lack of time. I have to say I think you're dead on about the logic in a lot of games. I've thought over the years about a lot of different gaming conventions that probably could be handled in better, more realistic manners, and yet for whatever reason--because they're CONVENTIONS I guess--they stay the same. One forum I was recently on for an FPS mod was pretty strongly opposed to the idea of implementing much more realistic ablative armor. I guess that's life. But I don't blame people too much. When a convention is so well established and accepted, when it's already been programmed that way and people just want to get the game done with already, I'm not surprised that they're really not too interested in changing it.

@Ed Burst
I suppose that could be what Sarah Northway was going for, but once again, I just don't like it. To me, it feels a whole lot more like on oversight on her part in programming. For one thing, you have to consider that Rebuild is supposed to be taking place about a year after the zombie invasion began. You're telling me that the corpses have sat around for a year without being zombies? Or that they all just happened to die off recently enough that they hadn't become zombies yet? To me it doesn't seem likely. It's much more likely to me that Sarah Northway didn't think about it too much, one way or another.

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@Shudog
I can find where you previously said,
"I will say, though, that it is possible to watch different groups of zombies move across the board from day to day. They are *not* just plopping onto the board out of nowhere."

I'm not finding anywhere about how you said, "I said quite clearly that PEOPLE are able to go in and out of the squares." Maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

Anyway, I know that zombies are just spawned into squares, even when those locations are totally cut off from other zombies--meaning they can't move into those squares from elsewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if there's movement too though, in addition to the spawning.

But you're telling me that a square that's totally enclosed by your walls, but that you have not claimed, is spawning zombies because more people in that square are still getting bitten?

OK. I give you that there's a slight possibility of that happening. I mean, certainly it doesn't seem likely. According to the storyline, it's already been about a year since the zombie plague began. Most of the city is already overwhelmed. The individual squares in the city don't seem that big to me. At the most each only holds four people and maybe 48 food, with most holding much less, or even none in many cases. My guess is that one square is probably supposed to be about the size of a single lot, and it might take nine or sixteen squares to equal an entire city block.

At any rate, I very greatly doubt that there would really be enough unzombiefied people left in a square that's completely cut off from the other zombie squares to keep its population growing even after you repeatedly clear it of zombies. It just seems really unlikely to me. Those zombies have to come from somewhere, just as a fire needs fuel to continue burning. And after a year, I really doubt there'd be that much fuel left--except for the people inside your walls, or maybe the people that you can recruit--except we've already established that they CAN'T be zombiefied. So, it could be that I'm overlooking something here. But as it is, I honestly can't see how the fire continues to burn.

Anyway, as I'm pretty certain I said before, I'm sure I could win Hard--possibly even Nightmare--if I utilized different techniques. But I don't like the game mechanics enough to do that. The way the game works really isn't as realistic as it ought to be, and isn't as intuitive as it ought to be. I honestly loathe the idea of treating just about everyone following me as being so expendable as is apparently required on the harder difficulties. Are risks necessary? I believe they are, and ought to be taken at times. But I like to mitigate risk as much as possible. I like to be smart, and to me being smart does not mean playing with people's lives like they have no value.

In fact, now that I think of it, it reminds me a lot of the United States' present economic situation. Here have been these companies going psycho with people's money and taking on way too much risk, and now we're all paying for it. That's not the way I think financial institutions ought to be run. And I don't like the idea of playing with people's lives like they are so worthless, either. My opinion is, I really don't like it when a situation is artificially created in which players (of games or the stock market) are unrealistically rewarded and incentivized for taking such unnecessary and unintelligent risks, and money or lives are rather carelessly tossed down the drain. I would much rather see patience, hard work, and caution incentivized instead.

So, could I play on Hard mode or higher and do well? Once again, I'm pretty darn certain I could. But I don't want to. I don't think it's worth it. I want to minimize my risk. And the idea of using burning through recruits to pay for the ones that were recklessly allowed to die just makes me cringe, the same way that this country investing even more money into a broken system makes me cringe.

If you like Hard mode, go ahead and keep playing it. I'm not gonna. I just really hope that if you do play it, you don't apply the same sort of strategy to your monetary investments. Because if you do, I think that at some point you're going to pay the price.

Anyway, I could say more, but I really don't feel like it, and I think I've said enough already. If you feel differently post some more and perhaps we'll continue talking.
Iconian

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page January 25, 2011 6:46 AM

If I would have done the game, I'd make it a wasteland around the city you cannot secure and have new zombies arrive on the edges of the wasteland instead of popping up on unsecured areas.

I also go along the line, it would be nice, if game designers put more thought into the logic of their game world. Like so many occasions you have a redicolous feature of "cash" where in the game world you are no entity that has "cash" - Rebuild is good in that it doesnt have something like that.

But ditching a game mechanic, just because you consider it too "unrealistic", thats bad. Do you ditch chess as well, cause its so unrealistic a sole King could ever destroy a marvoulous structure like a Tower? Or that a Tower moves? Or that the horse cannot go straight? I understand people ditching chess because they consider it boring, or dont like losing all the time against someone better, etc. But to ditch it, because it "unrealistic" is rediolous.

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@iconian - I've pulled this quote out to highlight two things :

The way the game works really isn't as realistic as it ought to be, and isn't as intuitive as it ought to be. I honestly loathe the idea of treating just about everyone following me as being so expendable as is apparently required on the harder difficulties.

The first sentence is, I think, the main point here.

Contrary to what you've argued above, I'd say that the more realistic the game, the better the fantasy gameworld is. If it really seems to me like I'm sending people around risking their lives to reclaim the city and fight off the zombies, then I'll get more into the game. If instead it feels like I'm pushing numbers around on a spreadsheet, it's taking me "out of the game" and I'm just manipulating the mechanics. While that can be entertaining (figuring out how a system works), it's better - for me, at least - if I feel I'm exploring those things on the level of the game.

It somehow becomes even worse when a lot of things are immersive except for one glaring thing. The glaring thing here is the territory. For the most part, since zombies spawn randomly everywhere but in the end move toward you, there is no sense of meaningful territory. Instead it's just whether you can get the people and resources. With little exception, territory is relegated to resource acquisition. This is what's counter-intuitive. Most games you'd expect something meaningful to occur as you gain or lose ground, or clear/open different sections.

It can also be immersion-breaking if it becomes too tedious or difficult to play how you want to. Playing on Hard I'm confident I can beat it 8 of 10 games while still enjoying the details. One game I had a Lord and Lady show up on the same day. I decided they'd avoid ever doing any work, and instead throw parties all the time (to the annoyance of the population). On higher levels, I'd have to spend more time exploiting the game mechanics to achieve that kind of win rate, and wouldn't be having fun. Of course on any level I'm doing that simply because that's how the game works, and no interesting game is going to allow for perfectly free gameplay, but hopefully there's a good balance.

Another example along those lines : After playing a few times, I find that the guard duty problem isn't so severe if you're already doing well. But for those first games, in which the player is often in a hopeless position without realizing it, it starts to become a source of frustration.

The difficulty gradations seem to be a bit uneven here. Going from Normal to Hard, everything is much worse. Going from Hard to Harder isn't nearly as much of a jump. Nightmare is about the same amount of a step up. That is what I'd consider something of a flaw, if only a minor one.

One thing of note, though: Hard appears to have been tweaked so you start with 100 food storage, making it far easier. I don't know if that's a reaction or a corrected oversight.

Geting back to your second sentence, try looking at my hints posted above for getting started. I play a very low-risk to people style. The last three games (on Hard) I have never sent any mission with a risk higher than 12%, and that happened only three times. I played through 3 endings plus all zombies eliminated and only lost 13 people each time, mostly due to illness/random accidents. My base risk occasionally went much higher (~ 50%) but as you must know the actual risk of loss is far lower even in that case since they don't attack every night. It may be possible to play your style on Hard. Higher/Nightmare difficulty, I'm not so sure.

I feel I'm harping too much on the negatives, without pointing out the positives : There's clearly a love for both great games and all the zombie/horror movies. You can see the influences of Will Wright and Sid Meier here. Despite the flaws an awful lot of work was put into this and a lot of it is done right. The game was simply good enough that we hoped for it to be better.

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@fuzzyface
Yeah, I have a pretty strong dislike for all the ton of games out there that love to use cash when they ought to be using something else. I've mostly noticed it with fairly short browser games. A lot of RTS's I've played thankfully use other resources instead, like the AOE series, Total Annihilation, and others. I like it when I find a browser game like Via Sol 2 or Lunar Colony, for instance, that has several different types of resources. I've thought about it over time, and cash is a pretty flexible tool for different games to use, but some of the intricacies are lost when you just pool everything under "cash," or even "resources."

@

Anyway, I was actually just thinking about chess yesterday, in regard to realism. The level of abstraction is quite high, but when I have played it I usually do find myself enjoying it (though I've never had the desire or the patience to really get into it and become a real expert). I think the reason games like chess and go have hung on so long is the strategic depth. Would it be more fun though to play something with more realism? Maybe, if the realism is handled carefully. I think too much realism can break a game if it doesn't focus on the fun too.

I suppose the way I see it is that if a game is done well, then added realism will bring out a whole lot new strategies and possibilities. In thinking about it now, I tend to guess that a whole lot of wargames and 4x's really have their roots in chess, checkers, etc, and games in recent years especially are focusing on particular aspects that games like chess oversimplify. I almost feel that the answer is some sort of extremely realistic, extremely polished game that gives the player the ability to do tons of different things. But I don't think we'll see anything much like that unless companies start focusing a whole lot more on AI and reducing micromanagement.

@Kangra
"If it really seems to me like I'm sending people around risking their lives to reclaim the city and fight off the zombies, then I'll get more into the game."

Ah, but wouldn't it be better to do so by giving the player more of a visceral feel for the action? I'm just saying that I'd like to see games like this perhaps give you multiple viewpoints and such. I think it would be cool to for instance combine this game with some of the top-down shooters out there. You could walk around your territory and take a look at your defenses and the zombies over the fences and stuff. You could inspect the people with you and try to gauge each individual's level of skill, equipment, and other things, something like in an RPG, as well as how well fed they are, whether they have an injury that might keep them from using a weapon or making it away from a fight, and other stuff. I guess I'd really like to see more games that are a lot more focused on the gameplay and the people, so you can get a grittier hands-on feel to what's going on. I do like the game telling me that there's a 25% or 20% or 15% chance of someone dying or whatever, but I'd prefer such things to be more based on observing conditions around you, and thus more based on skill than luck.

If these games would do that sort of thing, I think we could see a lot more what you're talking about in-game. You could talk to people, and learn about the sort of stuff you mentioned, like political intrigues--or maybe certain characters would have personalities such that they are extremely unwilling to doing any fighting, but they're very happy to throw parties all the time, like your Lord and Lady you mentioned.

As far as territory goes, I did notice that a few times when zombie hordes succeeded in overrunning my fort, I lost squares close to where the horde attacked, but I still think it falls a bit short. By and large, it really doesn't matter where the zombies attack from. They're still going to be hitting all your combined forces at once, including all the combined defense of your buildings, even if those buildings are deep in your territory.

As for your people not automatically being assigned to guard duty if they're not on a mission, I actually never had a problem with it, but I think it's because I'm quite meticulous in micromanagement for most turn-based games and made sure everyone not doing something else was always assigned as a guard. I can certainly see though where it could be a problem. I think it ought to be changed.

Anyway, the honest truth is, playing on Hard for even a little bit just started to make my stomach lurch. I had someone die within just a few days of starting--from starving to death in front of my eyes, or whatever language the game used to so eloquently and brutally put it.

I do think that sometimes sacrifices are necessary. Yeah, I suppose that if you really were in this sort of situation--if we were to substitute zombies with rabid dogs for instance--some people would end up starving to death. But I'll be damned if I wouldn't take every possible step to try and prevent something like that from occurring. Because of that, as you put it, the game just doesn't really have the level of immersion I want. When I play something like this, I want to feel as though I'm really there, really directing these people and trying to help everyone survive. But particularly when I played Hard, it just felt like it wasn't really me. These people are apparently going to die and starve to death, no matter what I do. Sometimes that's how life is. But if it were life, I'd take a lot more steps to prevent people from dying than the Rebuild engine lets you do. I mean, come on, starving to death before my eyes? Just the thought of seeing such a thing makes me so angry that I'm pretty sure that I could do SOMETHING to at least TRY and prevent it. Hard mode makes me feel too powerless, because I don't think there are enough options, not enough ways to mitigate risk, and the passage of time is unrealistically rapid. When the gameplay is like that, it goes from feeling pretty enjoyable and entertaining, to feel a lot more like torture--almost like the game is thumbing its nose at you and saying, "Ha, they're going to die and I'm not even going to give you the chance to TRY and save them!" In a life and death situation I'd try a hell of a lot more than this game allows me to. I actually expect that if it was a single level in a larger game, I'd probably hunker down and beat it. But as it is it doesn't feel like it's worth it, and just thinking about it makes me too sick to want to try to it anymore.

But as you said, I think we have talked too much about the negatives for this game. I really did enjoy it. There are lots of interesting random tidbits thrown in, little things that can happen along your journey to make it more enjoyable. Once again I have to say it reminds me of Sim City 2000 in that way. It was cool to gain access to the statue, the mayor's manor, and other stuff as the game went along. It was also pretty cool to see the disasters randomly occur now and then. I think it was a very good idea for Sarah Northway to incorporate the story's dialogue and narrative into all those reports as you go along. And as fuzzyface pointed out, I think she has to be praised for not taking the lazy way out and just going for "cash" as the universal modicum for doing everything. It actually takes time to reclaim territory, build defenses, scavenge, recruit people, and kill zombies. Too much time, I think, but at least everything doesn't happen instantly, like in countless other games out there.

Plus, the visuals for the game are pretty nice to look at. At a glance it looks quite a bit like Sim City 2000 (Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri too, but it's been a lot longer since I played it at all). The music is good, and there are enough different pieces included that it doesn't get too old too quickly. I was able to play the game for, I don't know, maybe 8 or 10 hours total and not get very bored of the music. The game actually feels like quite a bit of a homage to Sim City for several of these reasons. Though, maybe not quite as replayable. Cities in Sim City took on a lot more character as you built them. I did some roleplaying in the most recent city I worked on, putting up signs and naming some areas. That's not something you can do in this.

But hey, Sim City doesn't have zombies. And I wonder what Sarah Northway could do if she had their budget and a team the size of the one that made Sim City . . .

So good luck to Sarah in her future games. I hope to see more of them. Maybe she'll even come back to Rebuild and update it some.
Iconian

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woopstash Author Profile Page January 26, 2011 7:24 PM

Waaaaaaay too much bickering about the realism of this game. It's awesome and let's just leave it at that. I just beat it on nightmare. If you wanna know how to beat it on this level, its quite simple. Never scavenge for food. Try get one of every building quickly and get as many ppl on your base asap.

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If anyone makes it down to this point past the thesis above this...two tips to make playing easier.

1) Play in full screen. The viewable area of the map is actually larger than the hosting webpage allows.

2) You can interact with the map while the "news" is open. So you can click on the police station while the news is open and ungarrison, and you can also click on the highlighted square when you find out all of the zombies have been killed, for example.

I love this game. If I had to choose one game to play while hiding out from zombies in a mall for the rest of my life, this game would be it.

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I love this game, but it's probably good jig gave it an orange rating: even in the not harsh mode, my guys said they found some

porno mags

on one of my scavenging trips. These kind of things don't bother me, but they might someone else, like parents looking for good games for their kids.

Anyway, judging by some of these comments, it looks like some people are taking this game dead serious. O_o (lol, very sorry for the horrible pun) I thought it was a very, very fun game, but to write like 6 paragraphs arguing over how realistic and whatnot it is? No, thank you. :)

So, yah, I've so far only played it on easy (cause I suck at these of games and I know it), and that was just pretty awesome. Great game, great idea, thank you so, so much for it!

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For whatever reason, the amount of ammo does not seems to be a problem for a game "somewhat" based on ammunition...

So either we are getting into a "Pirates of Caribbean" situation where anything crazy like forks and spoons and paperclips are shot to zombies by the soldiers.
or
Air is enough to kill a number of zombies.
or
bullets fall from the sky as gift.

... yeah

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Here are some tips for getting REALLY high final scores. (I presently hold the #1 top score, btw)

  1. Even though a certain amount of soldiers can give 0% chance of failure, they can still only kill a certain amount of zombies. For example, if 5 soldiers can kill a max of 15 zombies, and going together they will have a 0% chance of not coming back. Early on in the game, it would be fine to just send those 5 soldiers. But, if you do that later on in the game, it would take around 16 days to kill every zombie in a block containing 120 zombies (assuming more zombies don't arrive on the block within those 16 days). Don't understand? Okay, so let's go back to where I said 5 soldiers could only kill 15 zombies. Just sending the least amount of soldiers needed to complete a mission with no chance of not coming back isn't necessarily a good thing, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing either. Regulating the amount of soldiers you send to a eliminate all the zombies inside is important to your survival. So send as many soldiers necessary to kill every zombie in a building in 2 days only if you need that certain building ASAP. But if you only need to expand you can divide the amount of soldiers to send.

  2. YOU ONLY NEED 1 HOSPITAL TO TAKE CARE OF ANY ILLNESS. This is very important as well. So if you have any extra hospitals you don't need turn them into churches. But I suggest having an extra hospital or two in case the initial one gets overrun in a zombie attack. I ESPECIALLY recommend doing this in the beginning of the game. This will also work with laboratories.

  3. HAVE YOUR BASE HAPPINESS OVER 100. This will add tons of points to your final score. Turning unneeded hospitals and labs into churches and bars will help in doing this.

  4. KEEP YOUR INITIAL LEADER ALIVE. Again, this will add points to your final score. Whenever you send him/her on a mission, make sure there is 0% chance of anyone not coming back. Also, have your security as high as possible in the beginning of the game. This will lower the chance that your leader will be killed early in the game. NOTE: there is still a chance that your leader will be killed in a failed defense even if you have hundreds of survivors, so keep that in mind.

  5. TAKE YOUR TIME. Do NOT cure zombieism early in the game. Do NOT expand too quickly. Do NOT settle down until you have 1. A SECURE hospital. 2. A defense that can take on 1500 zombies with 0% chance of the zombies breaking in. 3. A SECURE laboratory. 4. A good food income. 5. A good amount of zombies outside the fence (so you can keep on killing them). Do NOT settle down if you cured zombieism. Do NOT end your game unless you have completed all 4 "endings" (THIS ONE IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT).

  6. PLAY THE GAME ON A DIFFICULTY HIGHER THAN EASY. You want at least 100% of the points you earned. DO NOT DO IT ON "NIGHTMARE" (unless you are skilled enough).

  7. HAVE AT LEAST ONE LABORATORY AND 5 SCIENTISTS AT ALL TIMES. You can do whatever you want with the other labs or scientists, but keep these secure.

  8. and finally...

  9. RESEARCH ALMOST EVERYTHING ASAP. If you want to survive, this is one of the best things that will help you do so. Keep tip 2) and 7) in mind.

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I forget something.... a suggestion:
What about libraries? They can be used for scientists to unlock new things for research, or a substitute for school and churches...

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After MILLIONS of tries (literally, I started at December 2008) , I completed "Nightmare" mode. It was literally a Nightmare. I bet my survivors were so scared that they didn't shiver at all, they were too scared to do that. I won by sealing the portal, I won earlier than my expected win at 200 days. I wasn't able to get a screenshot, sadly, because I was too happy dancing to CaramellDansen. Forgive me humanity.

Anyway, as they all are saying, soldiers are EXTREMELY important at endgame. Send as many soldiers as possible, get all labs and cure zombieism if you wish to find the easy way out.

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Jagdish Chanda February 17, 2011 5:52 AM

That was a really fun game! I like the randomness of it, though sometimes it's annoying when someone dies from a 3% chance. At first I was disappointed with the graphics, but they are actually pretty cool, they look almost handrawn. It's really hard at some of the higher difficultys, but I had no problem beating it on easy. Great game, and I haven't seen any glitches.

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I beat every ending on normal in about a day (my first time) and kept playing. Now I have a totaly safe city, free of zombies. And the only action I still get is that f*cking "Last Judgement" biker gang.

My key to victory: Train soldiers!!!! TRAIN EVERY UNTRAINED SURVIVOR TO BE A SOLDIER! Then just recruit scientist/builder etc.

I had about 60 soldiers, and the other like 35 people were everyone else :P

Also, I haven't tried this yet, but if you change your original leader to a soldier, can he/she still lead, and slay zombehs?

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It's a lil' bit funny Iconian that you say that the game lacks realism on some points, and that the developer hasn't thought about other points while you're also not doing it yourself. When there's no explanation for an in-game event, just think about it. You said you couldn't understand how zombies kept rising. Like you said, maybe people died recently. When the zombie plague came in the game, it wasn't like ''BAM! All these people suddenly turned into zombies'', zombies infected other people, and the cycle goes on. It takes too much time to scavenge resources, convince people to join you? Maybe travel time has been added to that. The survivors tries to take the best (safest and/or shortest) path to reach the destination. You try to avoid shooting zombies on their way, since it could attract a nearby crowd. It seems ''logic''. I'm no expert to zombie scenarios, and sure there are some flaws (d'you know something flawless?) but I think that with imagination, we can give an answer to almost everything.

You compare that game with Oblivion. Why not compare every flash games with Blizzard, Electronic arts, Ubisoft (etc.) games then?

''Does it have something to do with you doing your best to run away from reality''

Instead of ''attacking'' someone's arguments, you directly ''attacked'' the person with an insult. (Call it an ''observation'', there's an insult hidden behind these words, it's just not clearly formulated as any other word.) Way to go.
___________________________________________________

For Command&Conquer fans, I got a question:

A young leader recently joined my town. His name is Kane, and he whispers things about ''tiberium'' every night. Is he dangerous ? What should I do ?

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if you want to have it so you can last whithout farms just play it on arcade pre hacks its quicker

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I figured some people might be interested to know what your builders can turn your city blocks into.

For the most part, useful city blocks have two choices that you can transfer between. The useless blocks will upgrade to a specific pair.

Farm - Suburb
Upgrade from Parking Lot, Park, Rubble
A Trailer Park is functionally the same as a Suburb

Apartment - School
Upgrade from Office, Motel

Church - Hospital
Upgrade from McNoodles, Warehouse

Bar - Laboratory
Upgrade from 8/12, Xxor

Nothing upgrades into a Police Station

The Cemetery cannot upgrade into anything useful.

Building defenses at an All-Mart or Mall makes them a functional Police Station

You cannot do anything to a Big Farm, City Hall, or Evil Graveyard

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mew4ever23 March 2, 2011 9:17 PM

Nice game. Here's the order I got the endings in:

1: Zombieism cure
2: Portal Sealed
3: Constitution Drafted
4: Board Conquered

@Someone (asking about kane) You laugh at the Command and conquer reference and keep going.

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tigrita Author Profile Page March 6, 2011 4:03 AM

Wow. This game is evil. I really liked this game, and played many rounds, and some of them were very frustrating. But the game just destroyed my entire town. I'd noticed in other rounds that the danger percentage means absolutely nothing (I've lost squares and multiple survivors on 4% danger from the first invasion, and had the fort hold at 85% close to the end of the game), but this one takes the cake. I played for over 3 hours, had most of the city blocks, lots of food, all the research except cure zombieism, and 50+ survivors. Then they threw hoard after hoard after hoard at me (I wasn't even doing one of the endings), and I eventually didn't have enough people to defend against them. I'd already recruited everyone in the town, and gotten all the defense buildings, so all I had to hope for was the random survivors that show up at your town. They eventually sent me one when I was down to about 8 survivors, but then the next "random" invasion killed the rest of them anyway.

Just commenting because I'm a little speechless here. The fact that something in the programming decided I literally couldn't win after I was already most of the way there impresses me. Time for me to stop playing this one for good, I think.

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Best random names ever? I got Sarah Kerrigan and Ashley Williams

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TheWesson Author Profile Page March 9, 2011 11:19 AM


To tigrita:
You did not need to lose that one.

You should be always be able to win with 50 survivors, lots of food, and antivenom. What you must do is to constantly send 3 or 4 soldiers at each bordering zombie square. Squares with missions on them do not breed more zombies (there may be rare exceptions ...) So reduce the number of bordering squares to the minimum (take all remaining squares within "your territory") and then continually send soldiers against all the borders (bringing them back to defense on horde night or as necessary.) You should have enough soldiers with school and recruiting ... and after antivenom, risk of 3 soldiers or more is very low.

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@TheWesson: I'd been using that strategy, but then they started sending pretty much nightly invasions and hoardes (and like I said, I hadn't even started one of the endings to trigger the constant hoardes), so I had to keep pretty much everyone at the base. And since each hoarde tends to be bigger than the last, the 5th or 6th one eventually broke through my defenses, because I simply didn't have enough people to overpower it. Each loss was taking at least 6 people and multiple squares, and since there was no one left in the game to recruit, I couldn't recover from it.

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TheWesson Author Profile Page March 14, 2011 1:00 PM

@tigrita:

I have just never had an experience like that. I've even won on 10x10 "Harder" with only 36 guys (after A.V. of course.)

but I have to add that the game can decide to cut your feet off pretty arbitrarily, and I guess that's your point.

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I want an Android version of this game -- tried running the flash game and it's unplayable unless you're a fanatic...

bet it would sell

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This game is amazing! it's similar to that Class3Outbreak game (I'm in their forums) I think with a little time, there may even be a sequel :D

[WARNING: You may not use profanity in your comments here at JIG, your comment has been edited. This is your only warning. Next time your account will be deactivated. -Jay]

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plethora1 Author Profile Page March 23, 2011 5:04 PM

Addicted to this game, love it. I do have a question... How does one End Game manually? After winning all goals, if I go back into the game, I can't see how to End Game again...just Quit, which takes me back to Start. It would be nice to be able to do this in order to re-submit the score (which did not "take" because of the game host server issue, I guess. Anyone know?
Posted by: plethora1 Author Profile Page | March 23, 2011 4:59 PM

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Chelseaaa March 23, 2011 9:35 PM

I got several endings and now I'm at a standstil. Someone help please! The endings I got are:

Curing zombiefication, destroying the evil graveyard, drafting a Constitution, and reclaiming the ENTIRE map (which took forever!!) Now that I've done all that the game isn't giving me the option to do ANY more research with my scientists despite the many labs I have. Does anyone know what I should do next?

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plethora1 Author Profile Page March 23, 2011 11:05 PM

Chelseaaa:

I've played this game a few dozen times on other sites, and twice on this one. There are 4 goals (although an apparent glitch has a double for curing zombieism). On this site, the game doesn't show your scores and tallies if you click end game, and doesn't put you back in the game if there are more goals to gain. I had to go back to start and re-enter. Try it on another site, and that may make sense! There were other differences too detailed to go into here. Hope this helps.

[Thanks for pointing that out! I didn't realize there was a newer version available. I've just updated the game hosted here, so it should now behave the same as you've seen elsewhere. -Jay]

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plethora1 Author Profile Page March 25, 2011 8:14 PM

Thanks for updating, Jay.I didn't realize I had been playing a newer version, as I have only been playing the game for a couple of weeks. Today, it is not recognizing my log in and is supplying one of the generic names. Oh well, always something to deal with! Thanks for a great site!

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I won cure, portal, and constitution in 1 game.
MVP- Brock Clark

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A question and some tips

Question: does anyone know how the different endings affect the game if you keep playing? For instance, does drafting a (you-know-what-spoiler) actually do anything -- does it generate more survivors or anything?

Tips: I'm usually able to beat nightmare 12x12 without much trouble, as long as I get a good start (i.e., I don't lose my leader early on, and I'm able to reclaim at least one extra farm and at least one extra housing square in the first ten days or so). Here are some tips. Some of them may seem counter-intuitive - but don't knock em till you've tried em!

-Until you have more than one leader, protect your leader as much as possible. Don't use her to scout, and only recruit if the danger is 0%.

-Like a lot of people have said, don't bother scavenging. Let the people starve. If you use your scavengers for scouting, protecting the fort, and reclaiming, you'll free up more people to reclaim other squares. With this strategy, you have to be aggressive about reclaiming farms (and turning parking lots and parks into farms).

-As soon as you get a school, start converting all your white shirts and scavengers to soldiers and builders (about half and half).

-Ignore squares that aren't directly touching your fort. Don't even scout them.

-Kill all the zombies in the square before you recruit survivors from it -- afterwards, you can send leaders in at 0% danger.

-Unless there's a zombie horde the next day, or unless you can't think of anything* to do with your extra survivors, keep the fort at 50% danger. (50%?! Yes, 50%.) I'm pretty sure this is the secret to my success. You'll see the wisdom in it the first time your fort gets overrun and (on the same turn) you've reclaimed four squares, built defenses, recruited five survivors, and built two bars. (* A caveat: I'll put extra survivors on guard duty before I use them to convert squares to bars, churches, etc. But building defenses and farms takes priority to guard duty, after I've got the fort at 50%.)

-It's true that keeping your fort square has certain advantages. But I find it much more effective to go after useful buildings, no matter what sort of contorted shape your fort ends up with. (Though if you have extra soldiers, after you attack all the useful squares and get your fort to 50%, kill zombies in useless squares, even if you're not planning to reclaim them.)

-Get one hospital and one lab early on. This takes priority over schools, churches, and bars. And once you get a lab, research non-stop.

-Don't (ever!) take missions with higher than 7% danger.

Other than that, just let your survivors do what they do best. Kill zombies, recruit, and reclaim.

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I am so bored with zombies that playing most zombie games make me feel as lifeless as a zombie myself... and I like this game.

It helps, of course, that the game doesn't make you do the fighting yourself (with the inevitable fiddly controls and clone stamps of badly drawn corpses), it tones down the macho survivalist fantasy aspect, and sticks the obligatory whinging dialogue in between-mission reports.

Just a few suggestions:

1. Electricity should have more of a purpose. I understand its value in providing the one-time happiness booster which you'll need to start researching the zombie cure on harder levels, but it should make at least some processes easier.

2. Maybe the length of mission time should not only vary on what kind of mission it is, but also on what type of space you're sending the mission to? Like, converting suburbs to a farm might take longer than converting a parking lot, or maybe vice versa or something.

3. Yeah, having non-assigned survivors automatically guarding the fort would make things a lot easier.

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stefans669 April 16, 2011 8:39 PM

How can i check my score? i won the game in all 4 ways but I can't see the score.Can someone help?

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Does anyone finish the HARDER DIFFICULTY ?
I tried the normal and I finished it easily but I tried the harder I can't survive for even 30days.

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I play and finish Harder all the time. Like any of the higher levels, your first moves will probably dictate the rest of your game.
A) Manage your time wisely, e.g. don't tie up soldiers on building if there's a horde coming.
B) Plan which way to go. The farther you scout, the more of the board you can see, and if you see the tip of a mall or a slice of a laboratory, then don't waste time on directions with lower-priority resources.

Just balance out as best you can:

1. Security (people left in fort, malls/police)
2. Food (only scavenge if they're starving, it wastes time and soldiers)
3. Housing-to-Recruit ratio

Morale can be put off, but not for long. A Hospital needs to be captured within those first 20-30 days, and a lab wouldn't hurt.

The better security you have, the fewer people you can leave at the HQ. This is a huge help when you're juggling missions all over.

If you want to get past the first 30 days (and on Harder this will probably win the game for you), above all, you must not lose squares. Particularly important squares. Always leave enough people in the fort to hold it down. Particularly in the first 20 days, that can be as few as 1, so Harder is not terribly impossible.

MOUSE-OVER THE TOP ICONS. You will get all the stats you need, and overviews on the map, besides. That will immediately tell you what's running low or what will be running low, which is how you figure your priorities for each game.

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Hi,

Great advise, thanks. But what should I do now? I took your advise on trying for a high score, and this is where i'm at...

I'm on a 10x10 nightmare board. I've got most the map reclaimed. Only one corner of the board (about 23 squares) are free. 8 squares are directly touching my fort. My total defense is 88 survivors (about 1523 defense if all protecting the fort). The hoard arrives every 4 or 5 days, 500-600 danger at most. I have no problem protecting.

I have NOT cured Zombieism, NOR have I destroyed the portal. But I've done everything else.

I'm just in repeat mode right now. Clear the 8 touching squares from zombies, defend from the hoard, clear the 8 touching squares from zombies, defend from the hoard... etc.

Is there anything else I can do or do I just repeat until i get board?

Thanks!
Andrew....

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Tip for Nightmare mode:All soilders kill 3 zombies!And To destory a Overunned sqaure!You have to send 25 soilders to kill them all!Note:there is 75 zombies in overunned sqaure.

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Good comment.

In Nightmare mode: It take 5 solders to clear a Troubled square and 7 to clear a Hazardous square.

Not sure about Infested...

Still not sure how to score higher than 600,000 points in a game.

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Very enjoyable and addictive game. I've been playing on and off since it was posted, though I haven't managed to beat Nightmare yet.

Something weird happened today though. I was playing 12x12 Hard and got five endings: my scientists cured zombieism twice and both times counted as separate endings. Apparently, I had two labs working on this concurrently, with the second lab having started a few days after the first one. IIRC I had a total of 5 labs cleared at the time.

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so is there a way to train people to be scouts? or do you have to send one of your other types of people to go?

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One day to go for Best Of voting, so I'm gonna stump for Rebuild! Don't forget how many hours you put into it. Great replay value even after all this time.

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Bug report... I'm playing on the site, with Firefox and updated Flash at the same settings. My forts are mysteriously disappearing between browser restarts. I have a program that sorts and protects flash cookies, and I have the files as usual, they just went from thousands in filesize to 216 each (empty slots). It *is* recognizing my user name, so it's defn mine. Granted, I've been having some flash problems, but if it's on my end then the files should've been corrupted, not deleted/reset. A bit heartbroken! I had a really great fort going. Surprising too because the save points are between days.

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It must be something on your end, either with your program that manages local Flash storage files, or something else.

I just loaded the game in Firefox, clicked play, and it showed me my previous saved game from a couple months ago that I could continue with, along with 2 other empty slots.

I was even able to open the same saved game in Chrome, then I played a couple more days. I then closed both browsers. Launched Firefox again, and my saved game from Chrome was there and it loaded fine.

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I restarted the whole computer, and I've still got the same problem... but I looked at the flash cookies a little more carefully, and I think my fort is *there*. It just doesn't register when I load the game, just the default new fort and 2 empty slots. And it's still loading my default user name.

I just thought you should know, 'cause this is totally new for me. If I had accidentally clicked delete, that'd be one thing, but there's something odder going on. Well, thanks for checking anyway.

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