One of my favourite blogs is Play This Thing, which covers independent video games (and sometimes boardgames). Due to time constraints, I don’t play many games nowadays, and my long exposure to the field has inoculated me against the rehashes that mainstream gaming favours; indie games are short, dense and take frequently gaming in innovative new directions. Recently featured was the free flash game Rebuild, a mix of a turn-based Sim City and a zombie game – I tried it and was hooked, playing until early in the morning.
You start off with a band of survivals controlling a small fenced compound comprising half a dozen buildings – the rest of the city is infested by zombies. You have to train your people as leaders (attracting new survivors), scientists (researching technology), scavengers (collecting food), builders (constructing and reclaiming buildings), and soldiers (protecting your base and clearing zombie-infested buildings), and slowly expand your slice of civilisation, managing housing, populating, morale, defence, and your specialisations. There are four ways to win the game: reclaiming the entire map, destroying the zombie portal, drafting a new constitution, and researching a cure.
The mechanics of the game are very simple: percentage chances of success and number of days (turns) until a task is completed are all presented cleanly on a clear if rough interface. Despite this, Rebuild is surprisingly personal: all your people have names, and anytime something happens (a task is completed or a random event occurs), a flavourful report appears, written as if by one of the named survivors.
I recommend trying out Rebuild, it’s a fun resource-management game with a cool theme. It’s amazing what people put together for free in flash nowadays.