Dead Weight: Parkour vs. Zombies - Alpha Prototype

It's been a long, long, long time since I've touched Dead Weight: Parkour vs. Zombies. Actually, it goes farther back than that old post. I first posted about Dead Weight back in 2006 on my old Luchacabra blog. Every October since then, I tell myself I'll put out some kind of playable iteration of the concept, whether that is a story game, board game, whatever. People still ask about the IP's status.

Well, by gum, I told myself on October 1 that this is going to be the year. Aaand of course October 30th came around again this year and I had a long, rambling document and a deck of custom cards quickly topping 150+!

Clearly, I just need a minimum viable product using the most basic of components possible. Thus, we have this bleeding alpha prototype I hastily wrote up in about an hour. It's a barebones roll-and-move press-your-luck set-collection game.

It's the zombie apocalypse. Parkour runners race through a ruined city trying to retrieve supplies for their home base. Carrying those precious supplies can end up slowing you down. And of course, those supplies only matter if you can make it back home. Did I mention the zombies?

Keep a supply of ZOMBIE tokens available.

Each player needs a d20 and a pawn representing their runner.

The group shares a single deck of regular playing cards, representing the supplies gathered along the way.

The group shares a single track with spaces numbered 0 through 50. Place your pawn on the 0 space. You can find a printable board below.


The game takes place over two phases, each broken up into several turns. In the first phase, the runners leave home to find supplies in the ruined city. In the second phase, the runners turn back and race home, trying to make it home first despite being weighed down by those very supplies.

Everyone takes turns simultaneously. On your turn, roll your die. You now have two choices.
  • You move your pawn forward that many spaces along the track.
  • Or you can roll again, which leads to two possible outcomes.
    • If your new result is equal or lower, a zombie is following you! You must move your pawn that many spaces. You also gain a ZOMBIE token. Your run is over.
    • If your new result higher, you move your pawn forward that many spaces instead... Or you can roll again, and again, and again, as long as your new result is higher.

When all players have completed their runs, check the current standings and follow these instructions.
  • If you are in the highest numbered space, draw three cards.
  • If you are in the lowest numbered space, draw one card.
  • If you are in between, draw two cards.
  • If you gained a zombie token this turn, draw no cards.

DEAD WEIGHT: Reduce your dice results by 1 for every CARD or ZOMBIE token in your possession. So, if you rolled a 15, but you're carrying three zombies and five cards, you would only move 7 spaces.

When a player reaches the 50 space, the first phase ends. Runners cannot move past space 50.

All rules are the same as the first phase except that you in each turn, you must now move your pawn backwards along the track, toward space 0.

When a player reaches the 0 space, the second phase ends.

Once the second phase is over, tally the score for your cards.
  • For any cards in a sequence, sum up the numbers on those cards and score that many points. Aces count as 1. Face cards count as 0, but may be used as wild cards to replace a missing number in a sequence.
  • For any cards of the same suit, sum the numbers on those cards and score that many points. Again, aces count as 1 and face cards count as 0.

Lastly, subtract a number of points from your score equal to your current position on the track.

For example, if you have  6♣  5  4♦  3♦  2  A, you would first score 21 points for the seven cards cards in a sequence. Then you would score another 14 points for the five cards that are all and 7 points for the two cards that are . You have a total of 42 points.

If you ended the game on space 17, you'd subtract that many points from your total score. Thus, you'd actually only end up with 25 points.

Consider each two-phase set as one "night" of running. You may play through several nights. At the beginning of each new night, reshuffle the deck and return the meeples to space 0. Tally the scores from each night for your final score.

The player with the most points wins! 

Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.