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Zombicide: Toxic City Mall» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Getting ready for the pilot game.. Aka. Preparing the sandbox rss

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Allan Jørgensen
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So today will be my first game of TCM and since I just got all my S2 stuff a couple of days ago, it is finally time to figure out how my sandcastle should look. In other words which mix of equipment, spawn cards, zombies will I be using and why.

In my gaming group we are only 4 guys playing most of the time. If you are new to Zombicide let me break the news. 4 player games in Zombicide S1 is extremely hard. Having to divide a lot of objective related experience points between few Survivors, results in a in a Danger Level going from blue to red way too fast for the few Survivors to be able to keep the zombies from getting Extra Activisions. Not all the time, but almost. However it's still a load of fun, but every now and then we would like to win or at least loose to something else than running out of zombie minis.

So my main goal, when preparing decks and minis is to be able to play and even win 4-player games.

For this and maybe future games I will be using:
- All zombies (S1+ abomination pledge, Tcm, P.o, kickstarter extras, 1 pack of angry zombies, 1 pack of toxic crowd, 1 pack of zombie dogs).

Expected result: Extra activisions due to running out of minis will happend no more.

However removing such a vital element from the game must require some compensation or I fear the game might get too easy and eventually boring.

Therefore I decided to add ALL Spawn Cards. From 1-150 (not sure they go up to 150). But instead of having one huge pile of Spawn Cards I will split the deck in two. One pile will be the effective spawning deck and the other will be put aside. Once the first deck runs out of cards I will reshuffle all the cards again and split the deck. This way I won't be able to know how many Extra Activison cards, Sewer Cards or Abominations I will run into duering the game.

Expected result: the loss of running out of mini panic is hopefully replaced by lots of: 'oh no! Please don't draw a (extra activision, sewercard, zombie dog or other unwelcome surprises)'.

EQUIPMENT CARDS

I will use the equipment cards from P.O + TCM.

for nostalgia reasons only, I will add a few S1 items:
1 x Hockey Mask
1 x Crowbar
2 x Machetes.

To add to the expected result above im also considering adding all Aaargh! Cards from S1 to the deck, but im not sure about that yet.

If this set-up actually works as I hope, I suspect it also might open up for using Zombivors. In my experience Survivors only turn Zombivors when the Survivors are drowning in extra activisions due to runing out of minis. By then the game is already lost and turning into a Zombivor only gives you one more round. In which you are usually locked in a zone with way to many zombies to kill. With this mix, people might get accidentially killed /turned early in the game before everything is going for the end.

Please let me know what you think. How you are doing it and why.
I will return with some updates once this has been tried out

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Peter Cooper
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I think one box of zombie dogz isn't enough.


Sounds like you're going to have a lot of fun, though.
 
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Rick S
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We have 4 players a lot and use 8 characters and add a spawn zone per TCM rules. I think this works well except when playing a 4 tile map where an extra spawn point is more powerful by putting too many zombies In the small area too fast, now we put a colored spawn zone activated by a colored objective or pre-designated threat level. And don't count on extra models taking away extra activations to make the game too much easier. The relentless horde bearing down on you in my opinion is just as dangerous as extra activations, especially in the orange/red levels where you are tooled up and the extra activations help draw the dead into your killing field.
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Allan Jørgensen
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The pilot game aftermath...

Just returned from my first ever TCM game. 4 guys playing. 1 Survivor per player. Scenario: M01: the big rubble.

Greasygeek wrote:
Expected result: Extra activisions due to running out of minis will happend no more.

However removing such a vital element from the game must require some compensation or I fear the game might get too easy and eventually boring.

Therefore I decided to add ALL Spawn Cards. From 1-150 (not sure they go up to 150). But instead of having one huge pile of Spawn Cards I will split the deck in two. One pile will be the effective spawning deck and the other will be put aside. Once the first deck runs out of cards I will reshuffle all the cards again and split the deck. This way I won't be able to know how many Extra Activison cards, Sewer Cards or Abominations I will run into duering the game.

Expected result: the loss of running out of mini panic is hopefully replaced by lots of: 'oh no! Please don't draw a (extra activision, sewercard, zombie dog or other unwelcome surprises)'.




So this is how it went down:

During the first turns everything was pretty quite. The few toxic walkers that was waiting inside he mall posed no real threat as ma's shotgun carried by Thaissa, cleared the halls. Eva took the remaining walkers with her pistol and managed to get her hands on dual SMGs soon after.
Seeing as a wide mix of toxics and berserker runners and walkers was slowly gathering outside our exit door, we took a fast descision and opened the door.
The plan was to open the door, shoot and back away so we would hopefully have the toxic runners close in on us while the berserker walker would no longer shield the toxic runner. Perfect plan poor executed. Dakota living up to the blond stereotype, went in and shot twice, thus missing her chance of backing away to avoid being eaten by toxic runners.

This was our (aka. Dakota's) biggest mistake.
Since the mission required everyone to escape alive, we quickly decided to use the ressurection mode and give Dakota a second chance as a Zombivor!
But by then it was to late..
Because the plan botched we had to fall back and while still being unable to exit the mall, we went into the yellow danger level as dogs, berserkers and toxics swarmed upon us.. To make it short.. We did get out of the mall but basically died on the door step. Mission about 20% done..

So what about the minis and deck mixes?

First of all having so many different kinds of zombies is GREAT FUN!!!
It changes the game tremendiously, requiring new tactics for movement. Making mistakes in such a game however will punish you hard.
The mission was supposed to be easy, which we never got to feel, but on the other hand Dakota kinda ruined our biggest chance to get on with it, so maybe the mission wouldn't have felt so hard, if we had been a bit more lucky with our spawns and stopped Dakota before she went solo..

Will keep testing the mix for another game or two before deciding for sure.
WhatI did resolve was:
1. Just because running out of minis isn't an issue anymore, there is plenty of 'oh no, please don't draw a (insert random nasty zombietype)'. Did not miss the extra activision panic as I feared we might.
2. Using only 4 Survivors is still extremely hard. We simply just needed more guys with guns and blades..

Will follow up on this after the next game in a couple of days..
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Nigel Swan
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Played a game with 6 characters and all the extras. Great fun and all survived in the big W. Used Rosie with the flamethrower. Happy says.
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Allan Jørgensen
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Greasygeek wrote:
Will follow up on this after the next game in a couple of days..


With the savage defeat from yesterday, I had my second try at the Toxic City Mall combined with everything except the equipment cards from S1. Actually as detailed above, a few cards from S1 is includedin my mix, for nostalgia reasons only. Back on topic.

Todays mission

M02: Death Row

Having learned from the mistakes of yesterdays humiliation, todays game had two friends each playing two Survivors for a total of six including myself.

Seeing as my main reason for using a gazillion zombies was to open up for four Survivor games, I gotta admit that bringing along two extra weapon wielding maniacs, was a very welcome addition. In other words, Zombicide S2 4-Survivor games (at least with my mix) is more impossible to win than ever before. Maybe when S3 is released will GG look into it, but I serously doubt that Prison Break will be any different although I have yet to try it. Feel free to argue here but this is my conclussion.
Wanna play zombicide and have fun. Use 4 Survivors.
Wanna play Zombicide, have fun and maybe win the game? Use 6+ Survivors.


But what about the rest?

Another thing we learned from yesterday, was that like for most S1 missions the first first order of the day is grinding for weapons. We were in no hurry to open the door into the 6B/4M alley since running out of minis weren't an issue. So we took a good time seaching and gearing up.
By the time we went on, a huge pile of everything undead had gathered in that alley, while we had Grindlock with a riotshield, gas mask and a chainsaw, Ned armed with two sawed off, Elsa with the Assault Rifle and Cardboard Tube with katana and wakizaki. Raoul had a shotgun and two hatchets while Lea found the Concrete Saw. Ideal as the mission was to destroy a toxic abomination locked in a room.
As the game went on, moving through the narrow paths proved difficult but not impossible. A few times we had to bet on not drawing extra activision cards, when things got a little hairy, but we still managed to make it into the diner on tile 6B, unharmed, before it got really messy..
Stuck in the diner, at Orange Danger Level with a huge pile of zombies waiting on the other side of the door and a a lotof toxics closing in from the other side we decided to make a go for it.
It was getting late anyway so now was the time for some death or glory.
Instead of grinding a while more to find the bottle we needed to make a molotov, as originally planned, we blew the door open and jumped in to the fray chainsaw first.
The new plan would be as follow.
Hack, slash and pass the chainsaw/gas mask around. Hopefully we will remove the dead guys totally. At the end of the day, Lea, Cardboard Tube, Elsa and Grindlock, would use Slippery and break-in to make it into the mall, while Ned and Raoul was up for some last-stand-martyr heroism.
Well it went more or less as planned except that Elsa got eaten by Runners due to an Extra Activision, before she was able to join the team for the final hunt.

Remember that we do not use the standard rules for Zombivors. To explain short, in our House Rule, when someone gets infected after two wounds, that Survivor will turn on his friends within a short while, so keeping him too close is very dangerous

Elsa however still being able to help with vital free door opening joined the winning side inside the mall while Raoul and Ned was being slowly eaten, while fighting to stay alive for as long as possible.
Before anyone got to turn, Lea put the Concrete saw to the brain of the foul Toxic giant thus winning the game.

3 infected (to most known as Zombivors)
3 unharmed (due to a discarded Night Stick)
Orange Danger Level

Conclussion
Zombicide as I played S1 is no more. The game have changed and yet it remains familiar. Im unsure as too if my mix of cards and minis have made the game easier or harder or if the diffrent options have tipped the balance so much to each side that it somehow remains balanced. I can help but wonder how it would have played out had we not found the Concrete Saw. During the mission we spawned and killed no less than 4 maybe 5 different Abominations. At one time we had 3 at the table in the same time. Without the saw we would have lost for sure..



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Scott Hill
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Greasygeek wrote:
Seeing as my main reason for using a gazillion zombies was to open up for four Survivor games, I gotta admit that bringing along two extra weapon wielding maniacs, was a very welcome addition. In other words, Zombicide S2 4-Survivor games (at least with my mix) is more impossible to win than ever before. Maybe when S3 is released will GG look into it, but I serously doubt that Prison Break will be any different although I have yet to try it. Feel free to argue here but this is my conclussion.
Wanna play zombicide and have fun. Use 4 Survivors.
Wanna play Zombicide, have fun and maybe win the game? Use 6+ Survivors.


Absolutely!

This is something that some have mentioned when people talk about getting more zombies to make the game 'easier' in the past.

It doesn't make the game easier it just delays the inevitable.

Having tons of zombies will mitigate the extra activations, but what kills the party is not being able to kill the zombies fast enough.

And, playing with 4 Survivors instead of 6, just makes killing the zombies fast enough MUCH harder!

Fewer Survivors means each one progresses on the XP chart more quickly, and so you get to the higher spawn levels sooner.

I played a 4 Survivor TCM game yesterday (play testing a Kyoko scenario I'm working on), and we took a Companion Dog each - they make up for the lack of two Survivors a little, but not as much as I thought they would (I previously reckoned 2 Companions = 1 Survivor, now I think it's closer to 4 (or perhaps 3) Companions = 1 Survivor!)
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Allan Jørgensen
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I do believe your right Scott.
However I must admit I think im starting to prefer the game with a huge pile of undead minis. One thing we were able to do that always use to be at great risk, was outsmart the zombies. It would be something like waiting for them to enter a building we was holding up in, just to escape out the back door. We have used this tactics many times before but way to often it showed out to be s bad idea since we had to leave a lot of zombies out of reach, thus getting closer to Extra Activisions due to running out of minis.
This time around that tactic actually made sense thematically and strategic and I liked that alot. Gave a sort of a new dimension to the game.

For now I think mixing everything in the pile works great. Zombie dogs will really have you scratching your head whenever they show up and your stuck in a square up to your ears in zombies. Then just one dog spawning close by will have you reconsider the gameplan, and it's really fun.

Zombicide season 2 has got way more extreme than S1. We drew random Survivors and still ended up with 4 slippery characters. Geting wounds will happend more often now, but with medics, nighsticks and riotshields around, it's not the end of the game.

To be continued.
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Allan Jørgensen
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In case anyone should be reading this still. Here is my latest experience using a huge amount og zombies.

By now I have played about five games of tcm and p.o with different groups of friends. All of the games included:
1 box zombie dogs
1 box of toxic crowds
1 box of angry crowd
All extras from this and the S1 Kickstarter
All zombies from the Tcm, the S1 and the P.O boxes.
All spawn cards.

The conclussion so far:
Ok I must admit I think the game becomes a bit too easy. The idea was for the many extra eactivision and sewer cards to replace the fear of running out of minis, but whenever we use all of the Spawn cards we experience two things happening, which is slightly annoying. 1. Shufflin the deck become very complicated.
2. Since there are no extra activision cards for toxics, beserkers or zombie dogs, the extra activisions very rarely pose any threat or panic.
So in our lattest adjustment we decided to customise the spawn deck. The new improved spawn deck have only been used once, but it was a succes.
Basically what we did was remove about 50 cards and made sure that the remaining cards, included a lot of normal zombies, some toxics, beserkers and dogs. To spice things up it was important that the deck also included all extra activisions and sewer cards. Guess time will tell on this one.

Some other stuff we discovered when playing P.o using Tcm as the main expansion:

- Companion dogs are AWESOME! Amed with a katana, a wakizaki, a gasmask and any dog is the ultimate weapon of melee destruction.

- Abominations will appear way more often than earlier. At one game we had five abominations at onetime.

- Zombie dogs are pure evil. Do not make mistakes around them. Cause It will cost the life of a Survivor almost every time.. Good fun.

- I do hope we will see some toxic and beserker extra activision cards in some future expansions. It would make a great addition.

- I also hope we will see some nasty super zombie at some time. I mean a fella so scary that he will turn out to be everything the abomination was suppose to be but really is not.


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Yoki Erdtman
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Allan, just give Berserkers and Toxic Extra Activations along with the regular zombies. That's what we do and it works just fine.
 
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Allan Jørgensen
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Well we thought about that but I kinda like the idea that all types of zombies each has nasty side effects and being the only zombies to have E.As make them just as scary as their angry and toxic friends.

My biggest problem at the moment is about Ultra Red Weapons as it seem that my games has become too easy whenever one or two of these are used to purge the dead. However I am starting to get the feeling that having this experience is shared by others who do not use a huge amount of zombies. If this is true it makes me glad to know that it is not neseceraly because of my zombie horde that we suffer from this.

I heard a lot of good suggestions as too how this problem can be dealt with, but is seeking other sollutions. I am at the moment, however, working on a campaign - testing and writing a lot of new scenarios and I am really twisting my head to come up with mission plots were being a lean, mean ultrared killing machine, alone won't win the game.
There's so many options with all the awesome new stuff, reinventing deadlines must be possible.

EDIT: hehe looking back through this thread it's funny how I keep changing my mind. I guess experience has made my smarter, or more confused depending on who you ask
 
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amanwing
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I own all season 1 and 2 + 31 extra zombis and two zombi dog packs. I never run out of zombis. I combined everything. The game is a little bit too easy now.
I use about 120 cards in the deck and mostly its between halfway and two thirds down in a 2 hour game.
I don't use zombivors and included the complete item decks from all seasons. At start i give out nightsticks but I kept the pans in the deck. Together with the food it makes for some useless draws. The item deck is still good enough but this makes the game a little harder. I am thinking about removing the 5 exp from ultrared weapons since this gives the survivors a too easy option to jump into the yellow or orange level when they need to and someone else is already in there.

I just ordered the new expansion sets ,angry zombis, walk of the dead 1+2 and the toxic set.
I break down my whole deck in 12 card packs. I used a guide in the forums here but I don't remember where to find it.
This is what my complete deck looks right now:
4 easy packs
1 advanced pack
1 toxic pack
1 berserker pack
2 extra activation, sewer packs
1 dog pack

The new expansions cards for angry and berserker come with higher density of them. The walk of the dead deck 2 will contain extra 3 activations and 3 sewer cards and 6 higher density of zombi spawns.

When the new expansions arrive i will change it to:
1 easy packs
1 advanced pack
1 the 12 walk of the dead 2 cards (3 sewer, 3 extra activations +6 big spawns)
1 toxic pack + the 6 extra toxic cards
1 berserker pack + 6 extra berserker cards
2 extra activation, sewer packs
2 dog pack
Maybe I will add the 12 cards of the walk of the dead 1 deck or add one more easy pack. Maybe I will just include 1,5 dog packs

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Allan Jørgensen
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Latest update.

Ultra Red remain the issue, however we did some new deck customization to increase the difficulty.

The Spawning deck we use now is 50 cards consisting of:


Zombicide S1 : 31-36 + 37-40 = 12
Walk of the Dead 1: 43-46 = 4
Zombie dogs. : 61-66 = 6
Toxic City Mall : 70-72 = 3
Prison O (berserk): 82-84 = 3
Prison O (normal) : 115-120 = 6
Walk of the Dead 2: 127-132 = 6
Toxic crowd : 133-138 = 6
Angry Zombies. : 139-144 = 6

The deck is built from the hardest parts of each zombicide deck availeable. All Extra Activisions and (almost) all Sewers are included too. There is a majority of normal zombies and a total of 6 abominations (3 toxics/ berserkers in yellow, orange and red).

After playing 6 games with this set up we ran into another issue. While playing at the yellow, orange or red danger level is lots of fun, blue has become slow and boring. The main reason is that all the sewers and Extra Activision Cards often spawns zero zombies and since we have a pretty small deck, we see these cards quite a lot.
So this is the plan for the next game.

When in blue we will use this deck of 40 Spawn Cards :


Spawn Deck for Blue Danger Level: 40
Zombicide S1 : 25-30 + 41-42 = 8
Walk of the Dead 1 : 47-50 = 4
Zombie dogs. : 55-60 = 6
Toxic City Mall : 73-77 = 5
Prison O (berserk) : 85-89 = 5
Prison O (normal) : 97-102 + 109-114 = 12

The idea is to use this deck only as long as all Survivors remain at the Blue Danger Level. It includes the remaining 2 Sewer Cards, a majority of normal zombies and one normal abomination. Can't wait to find out if this will work out as hoped.

In addition we will also try a new Ultra Red House Rule.
At the Red Danger Level Extra Activisions will affect all zombie types. Hopefully This will turn Ultra Red really nasty Again.
 
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Allan Jørgensen
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Yokiboy wrote:
Allan, just give Berserkers and Toxic Extra Activations along with the regular zombies. That's what we do and it works just fine.


We actually do this now and a very sucessfull houserule it has been so far.

Once a Survivor enters the Red Danger Level, Extra Activision Spawn Cards affect all zombie types..

Scary stuff I must say.
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