An online game inspired by classic films like Night of the Living Dead, and other similar games like The Kingdom of Loathing.

To steal from the website, Urban Dead is a browser-based, grid-mapped multi-player game where you play the survivor or victim of a zombie outbreak in a quarantined city centre. It's basically a graphically sparse, semi-turn based strategy game. It's a great game to play at work on a cell phone. You don't really need to sit down and play it too much. Just open up a browser, make a couple moves, and let it sit again for a while.

The SettingUrban Dead takes place in the fictional city of Malton. Malton is a ten by ten grid of suburbs, and each suburb is made of a ten by ten grid of blocks. That's 10,000 blocks, unless I can't multiply. Each block can contain various structures, including buildings, junkyards, wastelands, and roads. Malton is besieged by undead, the power is out, and you're trapped inside.

The Community
Urban Dead has an unofficial forum, and the community uses it both to discuss the game and to plan strategies. Obviously the second option is pretty useless, as posting your meeting points on an internet forum puts it right there for all those non-RP types to just search for your plans. There's a self-styled "Council of Leaders" on the human side that's basically ineffective, and much infighting and general lack of strategy exists on the human side. The undead actually seem more organized. While many complain about the state of affairs here, I think it's making the game play exactly like it should. The humans are besieged from all sides and panicked, desperately trying to hold what they see as safe havens. The zombies sense the large human gathering, and show up en-masse to take them down. The zombies have no fear of death, and are a slow-moving, relentless wave set on destroying all humans. The message boards aren't actually terribly active though, as a relatively small percentage of players actually participate there. There's enough activity here to keep things interesting, if you're into that sort of thing.

Player Characters
Player characters come in three flavors: Military, Science, and Civilian. Choosing a category determines how much XP it takes to get a skill in your skill branch, and how much it takes to get a skill outside your skill branch.

Military characters can be Soldiers, Medics, or Scouts. Soliders get a gun, ammo, and training to use them. Medics get a First Aid Kit, First Aid Training, and a pistol. Scouts get a flare gun, and can move more easily between buildings than others. Military characters buy Military skills for 75 XP each, but science skills cost 150 XP.

Science characters can be Doctors or Necrotech Lab Assistants. Doctors start with First Aid Training and two First Aid Kits. Necrotech Lab Assistants get the ability to see special Necrotech buildings, and a DNA extractor to tag and report zombies. Scientists can buy Science skills for 75 XP, but Combat skills cost them 150 XP.

Civilian characters can start as Cops, Firefighters, or Consumers. Cops start out with A pistol, firearms training, and a flak jacket. Firefighters get an axe and training for it. Consumers get very little to start out with, but they are good at scavenging supplies from malls. Civilians buy their own skills for 100 XP, and other branches for 100 XP.

You can also choose to start as a zombie, if you prefer. Zombies can only get zombie skills, and they cost 100 XP each. Some human skills carry over, such as bodybuilding, which increases maximum health. Zombies are slow though.

The Interface
Your view looks something like this:

||  |  |  ||INFO:               |
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|----------|ACTIONS:            |
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The 3x3 grid on the left is your view of the neighborhood. The CHARACTER section gives you basic information about your character, such as AP available, XP available, and remaining HP. The INFO section lists basic information about the block you're currently on. ACTIONS is a contextual section that lists all available actions. Don't jump out of windows unless you want to be a zombie. INVENTORY is a list of all the items you've manage to scrounge up so far.

Playing the game
When you first create a character, you'll be placed in a random suburb or one of your choice, whichever you prefer. You start out with 50 AP. Every action you take costs one AP, whether it's moving, attacking, going inside a building, or talking. Zombies take 2 AP to move one block. Yes, you can use all of your AP in about 10 minutes. The low neccesary play-time is a plus for me.

The main goal if you're human is survival. If your a zombie, you want to kill humans, and convert them to your "cause." Whether there are any long-term goals is yet to be seen. New features are added all the time, and I doubt that all the currently available features have been publicly announced yet.

This game can be frustrating at first; you'll walk outside expecting to slay some undead, only to wind up wasting most of your ap, getting stuck outside or in an unsecured building, and poof, you're a zombie.

The most important thing to do is conserve AP. Always make sure you can duck into a building with at least secured doors, and preferably a barricade as well. I like to keep a reserve of at least 15 AP so I can get the hell out of dodge if I need to.

Second, don't worry about killing anyone, at least not right away. The game is designed to make it hard to kill someone in one day, so you don't have to be constantly logged in. Besides, you get XP for any damage you do, not for each kill. Be happy with wasting 10 AP for 3 XP. More efficiently, search out hospitals, and dump AP into finding medkits. Then, when you come upon a zombie infestation, run around and heal survivors. That's 5 XP per heal! (Note that you won't be able to see how many HP someone has until you get the diagnosis skill. Until then, either ask inside buildings, or try randomly. Generally if there is a large zombie presence on a square, it's a good bet that any people there will need healing.) Much more efficient than trying to kill zombies. Once you get some levels under your belt, and a few skills, you may be able to start really zombie hunting. You certainly don't have to go that route right away though. It's entirely possible to level up wihtout ever killing a zombie (though eventually you'll run out of stuff to buy and might as well start getting those combat skills). I'd recommend branching out at least a little bit though. You can never be too prepared.

Finally, stay away from people. Yeah, sometimes you'll be running low on AP and just need to duck into the nearest fire station or police dept. These aren't terrible places to be -- guns and ammo can be found, along with other useful goods. There are usually people around to protect you. Unfortanetly, just like in the movies, zombie tend to draw towards large clusters of life. I don't trust people anyway, and try to stay as independant as possible. If you have to hole up while low on AP, these are a pretty good choice, since there are others around to help out. However, as long as you have enough AP to run, stick to yourself if you can. You never know when someone's going to go crazy and start killing their own. Besides, zombies are slow.