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Subject: Mad Zeppelin: A brief review rss

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Paul Shabatowski
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For the first time in my postings I have a review of a game that did not appeal to me too much.

I picked up Mad Zeppelin because I was intrigued by the amusing concept but also by the Steam Punk theme of the artwork. I continue to look at the character cards and marvel at the detail of the artwork.The characters look very creepy and the entire game has a very dark mood around it.

The object of the game is to be the first player to dispose of the agreed upon point value of cargo from a mettalic zeppelin controled by the king. Each turn the players are asked to play two characters.The controlling player discards one character (in a six player game), then proceeds to deal one character card randomly to each player. The controlling player then looks at the remaining cards, selects a second character then hands the remainder to the next player. The last player hands the remaining card to the controlling player who gets to look at it and add to the discard pile.

Coloured dice are then rolled. A black face means that this die is dead and a white face can be selected as any colour. The colours allow characters of the matching colour to dump cargo otherwise they cannot.

It costs gold to dispose of cargo. Each player starts with one gold. On the player turn, one selects one of the two characters and plays him/her face up. Every character has an ability which usually defends or attacks another player or alters the dice colours. Next,the player may dump a cargo if the colour of the dice corresponds to the colour on the top of the character cards.The next part of the player turn is that the player may "search" by drawing one cargo card and drawing one gold. More powerful character cards prevent the search ability.

Cargo has four levels. First level through third level are cargos with ascending values of victory points. Fourth level cargos have special abilities which usually increase gold collection or augment point values. Each level of cargo also has a gold cost associated with dumping it overboard.

In review I feel that this game requires far too much reliance on knowing the powers of the other characters. One would need to play the game multiple times to be able to remember all of the abilities. Furthermore, the colour of blue and green is hard to distinguish in even strong lighting. I suspect that another reprint of the game will correct the colour issues. In addition, their is only 3 summary cards which describe the character abilities so each player must look at all three to decide upon some of the tactical choices.

Another thing that I find disappointing is that I find that there is a limited amount of tension to the game. It seemed more tedious to select characters than really deciding how to play one character against another.


I can see that there is an amount of strategy in having complimentary character cards and I can also see that there is careful thought required to determine the sequence in which the character cards are played. I am not really sure whom I could suggest this game to. It plays in about one hour. I am tempted to say that it appeals to most card gamers but I find it really difficult to pinpoint this one.

While six player games are often sought with my games group I cannot foresee this game being played more than a few times a year. I do not wish to cast poor opinion on AEG because they are a fine company. I like to have the smaller box games tucked away in my tickle trunk when I travel so that I have good offerings.


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tom moughan
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You mentioned appeal - It would likely appeal to someone who enjoys Citadels.

I can't pinpoint what isn't right about this game either. The production values, theme, and role selection mode should make this game a real winner but in the end, it doesn't feel right when played. It screams for a variant to tighten it up, maybe in the role selection. Getting randomly dealt a role the first go around then the random roll of the dice makes it a bit chaotic. Perhaps a role selection akin to the 2-3 player rules of citadels (take one, discard one, pass the cards) may work. There also seems to be way too many roles in play which adds to downtime between players.

I wanted to love this game but it left me a bit cold in the end in the games we played with 2 and 4 players. It will hit the table a few more times I'm sure but I question its lasting power in its current state.

I enjoy AEG games too! : (

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Matt Hulgan
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lengthtoavoid wrote:
You mentioned appeal - It would likely appeal to someone who enjoys Citadels.


For me it might be my love of Citadels that makes me hate this game. I didn't need Mad Zeppelin to be better than Citadels, just decently different. It's like the designer loved Citadels and wanted to do his own take on it, yet in trying to make it his own lost most of what made Citadels great.

For me Citadels is 99% about doublethink and choosing the right character at the right time. Do you get the obvious character that will benefit you now but risk getting assassinated or robbed? Do you take the character that the leader would most like to choose? Coupled with the player order it's an incredibly tight system.

Mad Zeppelin has too many characters and randomness to the character selection process to be able to make really educated guesses on who your opponents chose and how to deal with their selections.

Using specific but unmemorable names for the characters in MZ is another problem. People need to reffer to the character sheets to try to figure out who they should target. What was their color again? It doesn't say on the character roster cards.

I also think the giant character cards are a mistake. They are unwieldy and unsleeveable so if even one gets creased the deductive aspects go out the window.

I was super-excited for it because it combined role selection with a cool theme in a somewhat new way. Unfortunately it flopped massively.

I really feel like there's a good game that can emerge from this with some 2.0 rules. I hope Fantasy Flight will give this game another coat of polish when they reprint it and I hope they'll publish a strategic variant. I'd gladly give it another shot then.



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tom moughan
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Mad Zeppelin » Forums » Reviews
Re: Mad Zeppelin: A brief review
matthulgan wrote:
lengthtoavoid wrote:
You mentioned appeal - It would likely appeal to someone who enjoys Citadels.


For me it might be my love of Citadels that makes me hate this game. I didn't need Mad Zeppelin to be better than Citadels, just decently different. It's like the designer loved Citadels and wanted to do his own take on it, yet in trying to make it his own lost most of what made Citadels great.

For me Citadels is 99% about doublethink and choosing the right character at the right time. Do you get the obvious character that will benefit you now but risk getting assassinated or robbed? Do you take the character that the leader would most like to choose? Coupled with the player order it's an incredibly tight system.

Mad Zeppelin has too many characters and randomness to the character selection process to be able to make really educated guesses on who your opponents chose and how to deal with their selections.

Using specific but unmemorable names for the characters in MZ is another problem. People need to reffer to the character sheets to try to figure out who they should target. What was their color again? It doesn't say on the character roster cards.

I also think the giant character cards are a mistake. They are unwieldy and unsleeveable so if even one gets creased the deductive aspects go out the window.

I was super-excited for it because it combined role selection with a cool theme in a somewhat new way. Unfortunately it flopped massively.

I really feel like there's a good game that can emerge from this with some 2.0 rules. I hope Fantasy Flight will give this game another coat of polish when they reprint it and I hope they'll publish a strategic variant. I'd gladly give it another shot then.


Agree 100% with all your points. Color not on the reference sheet was big...and too many roles made it hard for group think. Exactamundo.

Does FFG really intend on a reprint? I know they own some of these titles.

The rulebook needs to address the myriad of rules questions posed by people here in the forums for the game, including the fact that you can play multiple crate cards if you can per turn.
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Jonathan Keith
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My group discussed and tried numerous house rules to try to make this game better, and everything we tried just made it more similar to Citadels...
 
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