The world is plunging into disarray as a mysterious fog starts rolling in. This fog claims its victims by bringing their recent nightmares to life. You, the player, have been put in charge of a modified freight train, with your task being to travel across the land, finding survivors wherever you go, making sure they stay in order, building up defenses to combat any possible occurrences of fog activity based on reported nightmares, and in the end, making it to an alleged paradise somewhere in the East.
Compare The Final Station, which is also about managing a train during the apocalypse, though its real-time gameplay is quite different.
Fear Equation contains examples of:
- Armies Are Evil: The military on the road will attack you on sight unless playing as Diplomat that gain immunity from them.
- Cool Train: You spend the whole game in the front of one, and have the option of controlling it manually.
- Flare Gun: Sending up one of these signals potential survivors to your location. Since you start off with no passengers, sending up one of these should be the first thing any starting player should do.
- The Heretic: One way to lose passengers (as an unusual opposite to the consequence illustrated in the below La Résistance example) is to have a leader become devoted to your cause to the point of purging anyone who would seek to oppose your alleged ideologies. Given that a big part of the game is making it to the end with as many passengers as possible, this isn't exactly a good idea.
- La Résistance: This can happen if a leader passenger starts to disagree with too many of your decisions, resulting in an uprising of passengers making their way to the front of the train, ending the game.
- Monster Clown: The Carnival involves circus themed monsters attacking the train.
- Nightmare Sequence: Every now and then, sleeping triggers one of these, with the resulting toll on your passengers dependent on what defenses you've ordered them to build.
- Ominous Fog: And rightfully so, seeing as it can bring nightmares to life and seems genuinely intent on the demise of your passengers.
- Spiders Are Scary: One of the nightmare types is "Spiders".
- Turn-Based Strategy, Real Time Combat: Or specifically, the actions in the cabin are turn-based with a clock feature based around fast-forwarding to various degrees, while the scavenging sections are planned out beforehand, and are played out automatically in real-time.
- Undying Loyalty: Deconstructed Trope, one of the cautions in the game include preventing the loyalist faction from instigating a purge on those suspected to be traitorous.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The Shamblers are undead, which the nightmare involved a group of them walking pass the train.