Necromancer Shovelfight! Best fun you'll ever have with 40 whacks!

edited December 2009 in Actual Play
Awhile back I played Jackson Tegu's boardgame Necromancer Shovelfight! with my wife and some friends. It is totally rad and you should all play it. Last time I saw him Jackson had told me there were revised rules on the internet, but i couldn't find them (HINT HINT, Tegu!). We played with the print copy I had and it went just fine.

Me being me, I tried my best to whip up a fluency model for the game, which in this case just means I wrote out index cards of all the game's interactions for handy reference. I also did a thing with the dice: instead of a 6-sider I used a Fudge die, since the outcomes for rolling the 6er always go in thirds. this enabled me to pust put +, blank or - on the cue cards instead of writing a range of numbers. Hate me if you will, Fudge-haters!

I took this neat picture of the game components, including all the reference cards that my daughter didn't eat:


So you lay out a deck of cards to create the graveyard in hexmap form. You've each got a Wizard (those are the big octagon-y symbols) and you can run around hitting each other with your shovels, or digging up graves. When you dig up a grave, turn the card over; you've got to get one Fresh Grave (Red card) and one old Grave (Black card) to make a Zombie (those are the little square symbols). When you dig up a face card, there's also a special effect, like explosions, earth walls, or Zombies switching sides. Oh, and there's giant worms tunneling below the graves, so on their phase every turn you roll to see which graves collapse, leaving an ever-shrinking and treacherous battlefield. Last necromancer standing wins!

It was a ton of fun and played pretty intuitively. We did screw up one thing (or rather I screwed it up in teaching the rules), and for awhile we were giving ALL the Wizards a turn, then all the Zombies a turn, then Worms a turn. When the Worms go after EVERY player's turn things really heat up! There's a lot of risk-taking choices related to where to stand on ground that might crumble and avoiding the movement range of your opponent's Zombies. There are fun strategies like using the card that makes graves fill in to flip over a special power card to dig up again. It's a lot like the classic game "Memory" in that regard; it pays to take note of what cards are where. But there's risk there too, because you may not be able to reach your goal before someone else does, or get cut off by Zombies. Your own Zombies are even a hazard, 'cuz while you control their movement, they'll still hit you if they move into your space!

Oh, and it has character sheets! You have to make a suitable Wizard Name, naturally, and you record your hitpoints and what Zombie parts you've got. We had Pensith Flambisheen (Flower Symbol), Cumulus Nimbicus (Cloud Symbol), Lunacus Muslamar (Moon Symbol)--that's yours truly--and Zanaduff (Lightning Symbol). It's a really fun touch for the game.

Jackson, you've got a fun, zippy, diverting game here! Thank you! I'd love (HIIIIIIIINT!) to see the new version.



  • I haven't played it yet (it's been in my backpack to whip out at a moment's notice since I got it, though), but I, too, would love to see what Tegu changed about the rules.
  • edited December 2009
    Yeah, jackson implied that v. 5.1 (the version I and Christian have) is horribly broken and would lead to no fun without the revisions. That wasn't the case, but I'm dying to know what the difference is!

    (by the way I found my pic and edited it in!)
  • I want to play this! How can the rules not be available? Everything's available online! TORRENT PLZ
  • It has a webpage, but there's no downloadables as far as I can see. I'm hoping this thread lures Jackson out of hiding to show us the goods!
  • Verily. Jackson, please? I'll write play reports and take it on a walk every day and teach it to sit and stay! Can I take it home?
  • I got a chance to play Necromancer Shovelfight (version 6.4) with Jackson and Kaleigh, while he was in town last week.
    It's really fun.

    This is a brag post.
  • Is there any possibility to actually get to play this? From the little I could understand of the game from just this post, it looks like quite alot of fun :)
  • "Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi!"

    Looks like i have some posting to do.

    reasons the old version isn't ideal: takes a bit too long, play is divided into three specific acts (based on accumulated power level of characters), some of the card powerz are kinda off mechanic-wise (like, one requires the use of a particular prop: a "pen", which not every playgroup will have access to.)

    um, "soon?" i'll do it soon. i'm visiting my mom, and so not only don't have access to my sweet, sweet programz of design (tuxpaint, openoffice) but am a little pre-occupied with hanging with the fam.
    sweet pic, though, and thanks for the big ups!

    & great idea with the fudge dice. i use a d3, myself... bet you wouldn't have guessed that, with the design of the game and all.

    making another pretty Necro Shove is on the Resolution List, but i can get it to you all before then.

    Ah, what the hell. Give me half an hour.

    ps Oh! Joel! you even played it with the casino cards! aren't they great? i love those flavor ridges indentations.
  • Posted By: jackson teguplay is divided into three specific acts (based on accumulated power level of characters)
    You mean there are different strategies that emerge based on how much power you've accumulated? Or something? I'm not sure i get you here.
    Posted By: jackson teguJoel! you even played it with the casino cards! aren't they great?
    Yeah, since you gave me that deck complimentary with Smoke Dream i figured maybe they could just be my "Jackson Tegu Game Cards. And yes, with my fumbling sausage fingers I can use all the help gripping card edges that I can get!
  • takin' me longer than half an hour grumble grumble...

    um, i meant that there are three "acts" which emerge in my play of 5.1~
    1. hang back, try and dig stuff up
    2. hang back, throw zombies at each other
    3. awe hell, these zombies are flimsy and this place is going to the worms, lets take each others' heads off with shovels.

    6.4 seeks to rectify this by giving us a smaller area and more zombies more rapidly more often.

    and i'm totally typing it up right now! i liked your... what did you call it? fluency model, with the as-yet-unconsumed cards for ease of reference. yeah, teaching games is fascinating.
  • Well, that took three hours.
    I'm gonna correct my grammar in the morning, then post it to the website.

    Happy new year, Necromancers!
  • I Present With Great Pomp The New Albeit Less Well Laid Out Edition Of Necromancer Shovelfight!

    game pdf

    generic game tokens

    very sparse website

    Since it hasn't been explicitly stated, this is a Board Game and not an elegant, succinct story game which leaves the player with the sensation of being both crushed and uplifted, both touched and taken from.
    more info
  • edited January 2010
    Yay, I have a game edition dedicated to me! I'll put it on my shelf next to my "Sea Dracula Housewarming Edition"!

    How's THAT for a brag post, McDalno???!
    Posted By: jackson tegumore info
    God, THANK YOU, Jackson. It's about time someone cut through all the definition wars bullshit and defined these so-called "board games" people keep talking about. And it doesn't even come from the root word "bored." Fascinating!

  • This story of heroism, hope, change, and game design should be forever remembered in song.
  • "That which he thought was half an hour of toil
    would take him nine-and-a-half hours more..."

    brave, brave sir robin tegu.

    the nice and also annoying thing about iterative pdf releasing is that i can obsess about wording and inclusions as much as i please and there's no cut-off point, no point at which i say "well, nothing i can do to change that."


    new version is called 6.4+,
    the link above now directs there as well.
    there are a few wording clarifications, a couple more suggestions, and how to build the deck is gloriously clearer than it was before i changed it from being kind of redundant and, if not that, redundant. Or at least needlessly backwards. Reductionist. Whatever.
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