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Z War One: Damnation» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Z War One - Not Just Another Zombie Game rss

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Kevin Shaud
United States
Landisville
Pennsylvania
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Received my Kickstarter pledge (well, most of it anyway) last week and got in my first play on Sunday.

According to the creators, this game is the World's first episodic, comic book miniature board game. You're probably thinking - huh? What that basically means is that you read a chapter from the comic book that comes with the game (think a SFW version of The Walking Dead; at least the first installment was pretty tame) and then the chapter culminates with your mission playing out on the game board (tiles in this case). The Season One six-issue campaign contains 26 chapters in total. With my pledge, I have so far received issues one and two, but I didn't look to see how many total chapters they comprise.

The game uses minis for the heroes and zombies. The minis are smaller and not quite up to CMON standards, but they're functional and look just fine. If I was going to compare this game to anything else that I have played, the natural comparison would be Zombicide. While there certainly are similarities between the two: zombies, objectives to find in buildings, and spawn points, that is probably about where the similarities end.

I found Z War One to be much more tactical; providing more options for character actions and definitely way more room for advancement through the campaign. On their turn, a hero normally has four action points (AP) to spend. They can spend those AP in a whole slew of different ways, all spelled out on the hero's dashboard. You can walk (move 1 space) for 1 AP, sprint (move up to 3 spaces) for 2 AP, quick fire a weapon for 1 AP, use aimed fire (add 2 to your roll) for 2 AP, etc. You can also move and quick fire or move and melee for one AP, which is nice when you need to reposition yourself slightly before or after an attack. One of the coolest actions in the game is alert. It costs 2 AP and must be done as a hero's last action. You place an alert token (yellow triangle) with the flat side toward your hero and the third point toward the area you're guarding. During the Infected's move phase, you can quick fire at any zombies who enter a space you're guarding. It's a really cool way to guard your back and gives you an opportunity to attack during the zombies' turn.

Another mechanic that I thought was really cool was how the zombies spawn. The mission sheet has details on spawns at the spawn points and room spawns. Basically, for the regular spawn, you roll a d8 (d8 are used for every roll in the game) to determine where the zombies spawn (which spawn point) and then another d8 for how many. The interesting thing is though, that there is also the possibility of a roamer spawning. When that happens, you spawn a single zombie in the space closest to a hero to which no hero has a line of sight. Because of this, you can't get lulled into a false sense of security because you're far away from a spawn point. A zombie could pop up right around the corner; very thematic and cool.

The cool thing about zombie movement is that they have a normal rate of movement and a charge rate. If they have line of sight to a hero or are within smell range, they will charge. With this being the case, you want to stay out of sight and you don't want to get too close because they can be on you in a hurry. When zombies move adjacent to you, they will try to grab you and if successful in taking you down, they'll try to bite. There are other zombie types in the game that act differently, but in the first scenario, you're only dealing with 'standard' zombies.

There are a whole bunch of other neat things built into the game and I found the rules to be very descriptive and clear. Any questions I had, I was able to quickly find the answer for in the rulebook.

Mission 1 is called Supply Run and has you raiding three different storerooms for supplies. You have to search the three storerooms and then make it back to the entrance/exit with all the heroes (you're supposed to play all four heroes even in a solo game and it's not difficult). A quick smash and grab mission; sounds simple right?

The three storerooms are located near the top of the map and of course you start and exit at the bottom. I decided to start out with everyone together and then split into two teams when we neared the top of the map. All was going fairly smoothly until Kat and Victor got charged by a group of zombies. They fought most of them off, but Kat was taken down and bitten. Sam starts the game with a Medkit and was able to cure her before the infection spread.

I had scavenged through two of the three storerooms with just one remaining when Cole was set upon by two zombies. He was taken down, but with the help of his armor he avoided any bites. We were able to check out the final storeroom, but the zombie horde was beginning to grow. Cole's well placed grenade killed three and knocked down the other of a group of four zombies. Kat had already made her escape with Victor and Cole close behind. Sam was the farthest from safety, but was able to use his stink tank to great effect to remain undetectable to the zombies.

Sam exited the map and the mission was successful. This mission had some tense moments, but wasn't overly difficult. I have a feeling that they take it easy on you in the introductory mission as there were no additional events or effects that occurred during the game.

At the end of the mission, each hero receives a number of XP detailed on the mission's page along with XP for any loot they collected. You can spend earned XPs on perks that improve your character. There are four classes of perks (agility, melee, ballistic, and survival) and each hero is rated either green, yellow, or red for each class. It costs more for a hero to buy a perk in a class where their rating is red than if their rating is green. There are probably around 60 different perks between the four classes.

This was by no means a short game (probably 2.5 hours total), but being my first play of the game, I was double checking to make sure I got everything right. Bottom line, if you like a game like Zombicide, but want more tactical depth and a cool campaign, check out this game. I don't know that it's available for retail sale yet, but should be soon.

Here are some pictures from the game. I apologize for the glare; I was playing in our sunroom.

Heroes Ready to Go:


Kat ready to rock with her twin .44 Magnums


Things begin to get a little dicey - haha dicey get it? Victor on alert; unfortunately the zombies are coming from the other direction while Cole comes through one of the searched storerooms. Sam is stuck in the upper right corner of the map with a sea of undead between himself and safety. Kat has already left the map.


Close up of Sam's dashboard showing the stink tank card. Also note his perk ratings: green for agility and survival, red for ballistic and melee. After all, he's a doctor not a...never mind.


Sam exits the map with a parade of walking corpses following.
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Jerry Tresman
United Kingdom
Christchurch
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Great review and I am looking forward to mine arriving hopefully this week.

For plastic minis ,I would suggest priming the minis ,even if you do not want to do a full paint job on them.

Wash in soapy water to remove any of the shiny finsih left from the easy remove chemical used during the mold process, then rinse and dry (paper towel , actually on sturdy minis I use a salad spinner with a gentle spin action).

Then use a light acrylic primer - I use grey but if you aren't going to paint them fully be creative. Follow primer instructions and a light touch. When dry , I would also recommend a light coloured wash with a cheap paintbrush ( basically small amount of paint and a lot of water/thiner) liberally brush this over the models and leave to dry. If over the primer then go for a contrasting wash - they come in various flesh, mud, black etc. shades.

Then you will see the detail come out. You will really be surprised.

The Plastic and obviously the metal versions were designed with finish in mind. This contrasts CMON type which are really designed as board game mini's.


Perhaps dicesports or others can post comparisons of Resin vs Metal painted Z-War one minis.




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Jake Rose
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Starman54 wrote:

The Plastic and obviously the metal versions were designed with finish in mind. This contrasts CMON type which are really designed as board game mini's.


Perhaps dicesports or others can post comparisons of Resin vs Metal painted Z-War one minis.






I have the metal minis. I have to admit, many of the sculpts are just poor by today's standards, and scaling between figures seems a bit off. They are not horrible, but they are not all that good either. Yes, they will look better painted (most figures do look better if competently painted). I have figures from many companies and many periods/genres, and these just look amateurish compared to many I own.
 
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Judy Krauss
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I believe the non-metal choice for the figures was actually resin. Will this make a difference in your advice, Jerry?

(I have the metal figures, but I don't plan to paint them.)
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James Taylor
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Great review there Kevin - thanks!
Remember as cool as "Alert" may be - using it sparingly will save precious ammo!
Good luck on mission 2 - things will indeed start getting tougher!

As for the minis - yes its resin or metal for the material choice. But I cant personally give any advice on painting, I'm the mechanics guy of the group, I used to paint my Heroquest skeletons with tipp-ex (white out) :p

Tayz (Dice sports)
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Jerry Tresman
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Jude wrote:
I believe the non-metal choice for the figures was actually resin. Will this make a difference in your advice, Jerry?

(I have the metal figures, but I don't plan to paint them.)


I have games with plastic figures and haven't painted them but I would for quality sculpts like these.

For metal they just look wrong unpainted. I was going for resin until I saw the metal figures at UK Gamesexpo.

I switched to metal (thanks Rob) and yes the advice is the same Judy.

With metal you can use enamel paints but I stuck with acrylic. I need to add detail to mine , painted Friday , but they are serviceable .
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