Zombicide

2012-12-08T16:37:28.99-07:00

This past spring and summer I went a bit Kickstarter crazy and as fall and winter have rolled around the benefits of these early investments have started to come in. One of the first things I supported was Zombicide by Cool Mini or Not, and after a few play throughs I think I can give some honest thoughts on it.

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As an early supporter and since I got the "Abomination" level of support I got a few extras when my version of Zombicide arrived in the mail. Three extra player figures and their play cards, a set of glowing dice, a set of black dice, some extra zombie turn cards an extra Abomination and an extra tray of zombies.

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If you are just going to pick this up in a store, this is what you are looking for. Some really great box art and printing went into it and the quality of the printing really makes it stand out.

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My only complaint is that the corners are a bit weak on the lid. As you can see in this picture they flair out just a bit because of how the box is constructed and I already have one that is being held together with black duct tape, however this may be a feature as it does add a certain post-apocalyptic flair to the box once it is repaired.

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Inside you will find this! Trays of minis standard dice, player cards, zombie cards, equipment cards, game tiles, tokens, and of course the rulebook.

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The extra figures for backers came in their own separate boxes to be integrated into the game after you got it all open.

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The standard dice set that come with the game are these nice red dice with white pips.

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The special black dice you can get come with red bullet hole shaped pips with a Molotov representing 6 and a zombie head for the 1.

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The glow in the dark dice are similar, but with that weird semi-translucent plastic and red pips. I have not tested how well they glow as its kind of hard to play board games in the dark.

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Being a product created by miniature company Cool Mini or Not and game designers as Guillotine Games their are lots of good quality cast plastic figures, and even variations on common figure groups. This is a standard zombie, the "Walker".

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This is also a standard zombie.

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This? Standard zombie.

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Yes. Standard zombie.

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This…. is a "Runner" and it is very good at messing up your survivors plans… especially the "survive" part of them. Where the "Walker" is slow and mostly dangerous in mass, "Runners" are dangerous because they can move further and attack more, and due to how the rules work, they are harder to kill because you have to kill all the walkers in the area first.

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This is the "Boomer" er… I mean "Fatty" yeah, because this isn't Left 4 Dead the board game (Yes it is). He usually shows up with two walkers because he clearly knows where to get food. This is the first zombie unit that you need upgraded weapons to kill, Walkers and Runners can both be killed with your base starting equipment, but a fatty is just too absorbent for the regular bash, slash, and bullet, you are going to need shotguns or Australian sized cutlery to bring him down.

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Last of the zombies is the Abomination, he is known to lift bro, so you need some heavy duty hardware to bring him down, or a Molotov cocktail, Molotovs solve most problems but they are hard to come by just searching around.

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Then we have our heroes, here are the six standard and the three optional that came at my backer level. There are other optional figures but I can't find where you can get them now that the kickstarted is over. Hmmmm.

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There is Ned who is your standard conspiracy theorist who just happened to be totally ready for this from the begining.

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Doug the Salaryman, who just happened to have his trusty Uzi's with him when his coworkers turned into the undead.

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Wanda the waitress, who knew that she would someday need that chainsaw she kept behind the counter in case of unruly customers.

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Josh the Thug, who I guess is street wise or something.

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Goth Amy, who immediately left Hot Topic and ran into the "Emerald Dragon" vaguely asian decoration and weapon store next door when the mall was overrun.

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And Rick from The Walking Dead, er… I mean Phil the Cop. Yeah… thats the ticket.

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Then there are the promotional survivors. Sheldon.. sorry "Dave" who has a penchant for the burning of things.

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Danny Trejo as himself.

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And Die Hard 6 wherein Hans Gruber creates the zombie apocalypse to disguise his real motive and crime, sneaking into The Hobbit without paying.

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Each character has a matching character card, which also has a blank on the back if you want to create your own character following some simple rules.

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You level up by killing zombies at a 1 to 1 ratio with the danger level of the game going up as your characters become stronger.

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The game tiles are all numbered (The street number corresponds to the number for the tile) and double sided. Depending on your scenario they fit together to form a "level" that you need to clear either by simply surviving or completing some other objectives and not dying.

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I really love the art on these tiles as they do a great job of setting the scene and telling little mini stories. They are just the right amount of gross.

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There are also several scenario tokens used to mark things on the map and facilitate gameplay. Zombie spawn points, doors, cars, objective points, exit marker, sound markers, the "who's turn" token, and chosen skill tokens.

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And yes, you can in fact get into the cars which can be both looted and driven around the game board.

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The printing on the tokens reminds me a lot of how Fantasy Flight prints things which is good because those tokens do a pretty good job of staying bound and not peeling apart.

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Finally we have the equipment, wound, and zombie turn cards. Weapons have a noted range, number of dice (chance to hit), hit rate (what you need to role to count as a hit) and damage. They also can be loud or silent when being used, and some weapons allow you to open doors, which can also be loud (chainsaw) or quiet (crowbar). Zombie turn cards are color coded to what the current danger level is and some have added surprises, such as also spawning zombies from sewers grates the players may be standing on.

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These are printed on mini-cards which are becoming pretty popular as of late and I wish would go away because they are impossible for me to shuffle with my giant meat fists. Make sure you always play the game with someone with tiny hands that can handle shuffling these.

Ok so my thoughts on the game. BUY IT. It's really great. After one play through the rules are easily picked up and sessions are right at the quoted 30min to an hour. I think my favorite aspect of the game is that you start off feeling pretty safe, but then just one misstep, just one errant waitress deciding to run out ahead of the group, and suddenly everybody is dropping like flies. Every game really is a different experience because of the randomized elements and different moving pieces and you will most likely lose more often then win starting out, but it just makes you want to play more.

If you want some quick tips on how to survive starting out so that your players don't lose to terribly the first time you play I have provided some.

1. Don't split up.
If you have one person that isn't within a standard move action of everyone else, they become a liability to themselves and those that stayed in the group. 2. Have a melee specialist.
One of the aspects of the game is that when you fire bullets, they tend to find other survivors first before finding the zombies. If you find your group suddenly surrounded by zombies everyone with guns has to spend and action switching to melee so they don't shoot up their team mates. But if you have someone with dual weapons that can clean up those zombies that have closed the gap, you are going to find yourself in a much better position since those with ranged weapons can concentrate on clearing the next wave and stop you from getting overwhelmed next turn. 3. Have a long distance specialist.
Runners pose a threat long before they reach you, try to get someone in the group that can pick off zombies a few tiles away so that you keep your immediate threat area clear and help stop groups from forming. 4. ALWAYS TAKE SLIPPERY AS A SKILL. Just do it. 5. Don't split up.

Well that is about it for Zombicide. After playing it a few times with different groups I am really sold on the game and I am looking forward to the other Cool Mini Or Not Kickstarter I supported Sedition Wars, which is like Zombicide in space with lasers.



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