Thursday, September 20, 2012

Zombicide Review: Part Two

Having broken down the box last week I figured this week I'd look at how the game plays.

I've played a few games, mostly running a few people through the tutorial mission, but also getting the first two missions done as well, and I gotta say this is pretty fun. The rules are easy to follow, the conflicts are few, and I only really had to dive into the rule book for clarification once. I imagine this will be different when you get a little further down the mission track, but for now everything was pretty easy.

The key to Zombicide seems to be co-operation. If you're a lose cannon and like to charge ahead, you will die alone and possibly screw over the group. Which brings up my next point, things can change quickly, very, very quickly. Especially when the danger level changes rapidly. The danger level basically states what spawns every zombie turn. Blue: Meh. Yellow: Be alert. Orange: Holy crap. Red: OMFG! Run you dumbass run. You need to keep moving  pausing only long enough to thin down big groups of bad-guys, especially at the higher color levels, stopping can leave you swarmed pretty quick. So let's see how the first mission panned out shall we...

Mission one
Mission one had the survivors starting in the center, our safehouse. We needed to clear each of the objectives, and high-tail it to the exit (Bottom left, my skills with a camera cannot be beat) after we'd found some food, water and more food. Overall this didn't seem to tricky, or so I thought. Starting in a locked room of course means that the first turn is basically a search for a door opening weapon, which is of course where things went wrong...
Zombie in the Safe Room!
I managed to get a chainsaw for Josh on the first search, but rather than bust out and charge with that and Phil's pistol I figured I'd search again and gear up a little. The third card we turned over, not even having left the SAFEROOM was, of course, the "Aaaah!" card. Meaning there was a zombie in the room with us. Fantastic start. Phil, having already action-ed, couldn't do anything, and no one else had a weapon to fight back except Josh. This meant that we had to absorb a wound before even stepping outside! So Doug took a hit, Zombies Spawned, and then Josh mowed the Z down with his trusty chainsaw before deciding to get the frak outta dodge and open a door.

Ned, clearing objectives and getting the precious food and water...
Then things were pretty quiet, zombies spawned in ones or not at all, and the group having geared up a little had no problems with them. Doug got a rifle, and got some pay-back keeping the streets clear and allowing us to get objectives with ease. Ned and Josh cleared the top of the board of objectives, and while doing so picked up the three food item objectives. In clearing the objectives Ned also went up a danger level. That's where things got interesting...

Four?! Oh crap, I'm next to a spawn point!
We moved down to the next objective and spawn card was for four walkers on each spawn point. Eep! I was pretty close to a spawn point, and the others were blocking me from freedom. Time to step up. Ned and Doug, working together took down four closest to them pretty easily, and Phil having gotten a Molotov went to town...

So with that minor danger averted the group was a little spread out. Phil and Ned took up station near the spawn point that was in the way of leaving the board, determined to keep it clear. Josh and Doug cleared another Objective and then started to head  for the last one. There was a LOT of zombie activity on the top of the board, but they moved pretty slow, so everything was  looking OK...

BAM! Flipped the next spawn card and there it was An abomination heading towards Doug, and Fatties (+ two walkers) spawning on the other points, including the one blocking the Exit board. At this time we realised our biggest mistake... We couldn't kill the Abomination. Those suckers are tough, and we had no weapons capable of taking him down. Hell, we only had one weapon which could take down a Fattie! Josh's Chainsaw. Realising this Doug made a tactical withdrawal (running like frak) towards the others... I wish I had saved that Molotov now...

When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die...
Phil and Ned, knowing their weapons were useless on the Fattie took down his two walkers, and then stayed put, knowing the Fattie would enter their Zone, but not be able to attack just yet. There was still one more objective to clear and Josh had the only way to either open doors AND kill the Fattie. Stupid mistake that. Having entered the yellow danger level Josh had another Action point to spend, so he headed straight for the Fattie, and revved up his chainsaw. It was time to gamble... If he could take him down next player turn (Safe-ish bet) there wouldn't be a need to shoot with survivors in the zone (Ouchies!).

The plan worked. Josh mowed down the Fattie, opened the door and stepped closer to the objective. Doug joined Phil protecting the street and they took some shots at walkers getting a little closer than liked. Ned, carrying the victory conditions, decided to make a break for it, and got clear.

"I am so out of here"
This basically ended the game. Josh cleared the last objective and Ned walked off the exit zone.  The survivors win! However there were still three survivors on the board. Could we get them all off? Short answer, no. But it was fun trying! ^_^

Despite having read all of the Walking Dead comics, Phil was torn to pieces...
Being one survivor down makes the game pretty tough, your options change, and running seems like a much better idea if you can. I managed to get Josh through the bottleneck thanks to his slippery talent. Phil took down three Zombies, letting Doug get past, but trapping himself there. as he ran out of Actions, and then there was four zombies Spawning on top of him. He missed twice with his pistol, took down two others, but was finally brought down... Fighting to the very end!


There are a few things we will do differently when we play this again, search lots more and make sure all survivors can open doors and get some big weapons for more dangerous foes being crucial. Everything worked, but there was quite a bit of luck in the win, having some redundancies will be important. At the end of the day this was a lot of fun. It captures the run and fight aspect of the horde of the living dead really well, and if you stay still for to long you will be trapped, especially when you hit higher danger levels. I'm very eager to play the next few missions.

Review Bottom Line: Love it. Fun game. Fast paced. Balanced Rules. With all the additions coming out you will not be disappointed with it. Really good if you want to have fun with friends in a non-combative atmosphere!

Next time I'll briefly discuss all the extras, and the online stuff Guillotine Games have made available... Bye bye!

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