So you have awoken to a new day, the distant sounds of car alarms, gun fire and screams. “Oh Fiddle Sticks” you cry, as realise that those darn pesky Zombies have brought about an apocalypse and you had it in your diary for next week to tool up in case of such an eventuality! However you’re not going to give up easily, so out the door you step. Trusty frying pan in hand, hoping to meet some other survivors and find what you need to carry on in this new world.
Well that’s pretty much what has happened in Zombicide; you are part of a rag tag group of survivors looking for supplies and safety and if you get to meet out some vengeance on those darn pesky zombies. then all the better!
Working Together to Survive!
This is a solo or multiplayer co-operative boardgame, where you must work together if you ever hope to survive. The base game is meant to play up to 6 players but with the expansions you can play with any number of players.
Zombicide Board Game
Each game the players will select a mission from the selection in the rulebook or one of the many downloadable missions from the official web site. You will need to lay out the map tiles in accordance with the mission. As each base game comes with 9 double sided tiles there is a lot of variation.
Then you will take control of a number survivors based upon the number of players. Everyone receives a random basic item from the ineffectual frying pan to a fire axe or even a pistol. Then you are left to your own choices on how you approach each mission.
What Actually can You Do!
Ok so you got the freedom of the city, but what happens each turn and what can I actually do?
Play starts with the first player (very original I hear you say! Well this first play will change each turn meaning everyone will get a crack at going first) and you have 3 base actions that can be used to move, fight zombies, search or interact with objects. Apart from searching you can repeat the same action a multiple of times. Once every player has had their go, any zombies on the board get to have their action(s) before more spawn on to the board from set points.
Sounds simple….. So What’s so Big and Clever about This Game?
Well let’s go through a few key points.
Survivors can level up.
Each survivor has an experience track which will increase every time they kill a zombie or collect an objective token. As soon as the survivor moves up to the next level, indicated by a colour change in the track they gain a new skill. At the 3rd and 4th level the player can choose which skill the survivor gets from a list on the survivors card. But wait, before you go running off and killing all the zombies and making yourself a tank, leaving everyone else behind, there is a flip side to this when the zombies spawn.
Zombicide Board Game Level Up
At the end of every turn or when the survivors open the first door to a building, zombies will spawn.
This happens by drawing a card for each spawn point or each room in the building you have opened. The card will have 4 different danger levels on it, starting at blue going up to red. These levels match the colour levels of the survivors and this is where levelling up can come back and bite you on the arse, because the level you use when seeing how many zombies appear, is taken from the survivor with the highest level! So if just one survivor is in the Orange while everyone else is still in the blue that’s going to make it a lot more difficult.
If that wasn’t enough then you need to watch out. If you ever run out of models for the zombie type you are placing, then all zombies of that type get an immediate free turn! This has been the death of many a survivor in the games I’ve played.
Zombicide Board Game Spawn Cards
Did you say zombie types?
Yes there is more than one type of zombie to deal with! There are your every day common garden Walker, they are slow and easy to kill with only a single action a turn. Next you have the crazy Runners who are easy to kill, but are fast with 2 actions a turn (don’t end your turn on a space with these guys). Then you have Fatties who again are slow but are harder to kill. And finally (well for the base game) there are the Abominations; these beasts will require something special to get rid of!
Outside of the base game the expansions introduce new types of these base types as well as the super fast Zombie Dogs with 3 actions per turn! Prison Outbreak has brought Berserker Zombies which cannot be hurt by ranged weapons (and give the Abomination an extra action per turn). Toxic Mall introduces toxic zombies who spray toxic blood over any one who kills one in the same zone.
So if we are the survivors, who controls the horde?
The game does this well with a simple set of rules. If the zombies are in the same zone as a survivor, then they all attack at once (even if its 10 zombies to one already wounded survivor). Otherwise they will move towards the noisiest group of survivors they can see or the source of most noise, if they can’t see anyone. Noise is created by some weapons like guns, chainsaws or fire axes being used to open doors. In fact survivors can choose to make noise to draw off zombies from another group of survivors.
Zombicide Board Games Cards
Right then how do we stop the unending horde?
There are many weapons that can be found by search empty rooms. Each will have four basic stats; Range, Dice, Accuracy and Damage. The range determines which zones the weapon can be used in (a weapon with a maximum range of zero is a melee weapon). The dice indicates the number of dice you roll every time you attack with the weapon. The accuracy indicates the target value you need to score a hit on the zombies. The damage shows done when you hit but you should be aware this damage does not stack up. So 2 hits from a damage 1 weapon does not kill a Fatty which needs a hit from a damage 2 weapon. This is where I know some people have a little bugbear when comparing weapons. For example the baseball bat is better than a Katana but it is just a game and you have to just live with it.
If you use a melee weapon you can hit any target you want which is great but when you shoot at range there is an order to which you must assign hits. Now most of the time in the fast flow of the game this is not a problem, but there are times when I find this rule frustrating and it does not always make sense. Let me give you an example; in a zone in front of my survivor is a walker, a fatty and 4 runners. My survivor has only managed to get weapons with a damage output of 1. I desperately want to knock off the runners before their next action phase as they will kill me. So say I’m able to roll 4 dice to attack and I score 3 hits. The first will kill a runner and then as the fatty comes before the runners in the order to be hit, the next two hits are absorbed by the fatty. No matter now how many shots I take at this group I can’t hurt the runners because all the hits must be assigned to the fatty before the runners. This is a rare case but it does happen and can be frustrating and it is my one and only real gripe about the game.
Zomicide Board Game Box
So that’s the basics of how you play, but what do you get from what box?
Let’s start with the original Zombicide game.
You get 71 Miniatures: 6 Survivors, 40 Walkers, 8 Fatties, 16 Runners and 1 Abomination. There are 9 double sided game boards, dice, a ton of counters and a tower of cards (including 42 zombie cards and 62 Equipment cards). It is a big box stuffed full of goodies and will keep you going for quite some time.
Zombicide Prison Outbreak Board Game
Now let’s look at Prison Outbreak. First you must remember that this is a self contained game in its own right. You do not need the original Zombiecide to play this, but after your first game I would be surprised if you didn’t want to get it as well, as everything is fully compatible.
You get 90 Miniatures: 6 Survivors, 6 Zombivor (I’ll explain these in a minute), 30 Walkers, 6 Fatties, 12 Runners, 1 Abomination, 16 Berserker Walkers, 4 Berserker Fatties, 8 Berserker Runners and 1 Berserker Abomination. (all of these are different sculpts than those used in the first Zombicide). 9 double sided game boards with a prison theme on them. Again dice, a ton of counters including new tiles to change the board with observation towers or rotating security door and a larger tower of cards (including 42 Zombie cards and 83 Equipment Cards). So this is a the same size box, but stuffed with even more stuff.
So what are these 6 Zombivors? Well they add the option for the game to be played in resurrection mode, so when a survivor receives 2 wounds that would normally kill them they can return in the next turn as Zombivor..They are somehow fighting against the zombie virus and keeping their own free will. You flip their card and get new abilities, they are a little slower but more deadly at the same time (they can now take 5 wounds before being stopped).
Zombicide Toxic City Mall Board Game Expansion
And in the Expansion …You Will Find!
Okay that’s the two base games what about Toxic Mall. This is the first main expansion for both the base games; you must have at least one of them to use this expansion and both if you want to get the most out of it.
You get 43 miniatures; 4 new Survivors and the matching 4 Zombivors. The 6 Zombivors for the original Zombicide Survivors, 16 Toxic Walkers, 4 Toxic Fatties, 8 Toxic Runners and 1 Toxic Abominations. 4 Double sided Mall themed game boards, a special first player token (thanks to the supporters of the second season Kickstarter). More tokens and cards (including 12 Zombie Cards and 28 Equipment Cards). Half the missions found in this expansion require the game boards from Zombicide the other half need the boards from Prison Outbreak.
Final Words …….It’s a Promise
If you are still reading this then you must have gathered by now that I really like this game and with more mini expansions coming out. like Zombie Dogs, this game shows no sign of stopping. So I would start tooling up now but where to start. If you read this and you already play plenty of board games then ump in with Prison Outbreak because you get going and ram up the difficulty to your level really quickly. If you have never played a game like this before but you want to give it a go then start with the original game, as there are less extra bits to add in like different types of zombies and Zombivors. But I’m sure once you have started to play it you will want to get everything!
We had 2 games of 8 players down at Solent Wargamers the other month, each with a range of players from never seeing the game to experts. Everyone loved it and everyone picked up the game so well we will be repeating this event again (though we may need a third set next time, with the number of people who want to play it).
by Paul Gothard 11/12/2013
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By Day - Director of online Games and Toy Store Gamesquest. By Night - Father to two girls and husband to one wife! Board Gamer, Blogger and general dogsbody!