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Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak» Forums » General

Subject: Help me get Prison Outbreak to the table... rss

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NH Farmdog
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I picked up Prison Outbreak as soon as it hit the shelf several months ago. I bought it because my wife and I played Zombicide with our cousin and LOVED it. However, we have found that Prison Outbreak takes WAY too long, and nearly every mission takes 6+ survivors. It's just not fun having to control a bunch of survivors. Not once have we done a mission in the quoted time. Most games we play fall well within the "quoted" times, so we're not just being dumb or AP.

Even with our gaming groups, no one wants to play it anymore because all the missions just take too bloody long, and no one wants to play with multiple survivors. Also, they gripe that setup time is way too long as well. For a "2H" mission, we are finding that it takes us 20 minutes to set it up, 3+h to play it, and another 20 minutes to resort and pickup. With 6 survivors, people tend to just get bored waiting for their turn since turns in this game can take some time.

I really do like this game and want to play it more, but it's impossible to get it to the table. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get it to the table more? I feel I've got the components sorted out nicely so that setup is about as short as it can be, so that's no longer an issue. Does anyone have any missions with fewer than 6 survivors, or missions that honestly take less than 1.5h?

I really want to play this more!

Thanks,
Farmer
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Danni Durante
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Ditto, what he said...
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Scott Hill
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Short answer: create your own scenarios!
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sacha cauvin
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I see what you mean but strangely my group only wants to play the prison now as the theme is strong.
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Danni Durante
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Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Short answer: create your own scenarios!


Great idea... But what about us dumb ones who can't figure out how to do that?..
whistle
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Josh
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tikitack wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Short answer: create your own scenarios!


Great idea... But what about us dumb ones who can't figure out how to do that?..
whistle


Throw some tiles on the table, put a few doors in, some objectives, and maybe an exit square. Problem solved. You now have a custom mission set up.
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Peter Cooper
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dopehatman wrote:

Throw some tiles on the table, put a few doors in, some objectives, and maybe an exit square. Problem solved. You now have a custom mission set up.


This. And if it's too easy, make it harder (with an extra spawn point or something) next time. If it's too easy... you know.

Something like 1 spawn point per 2 survivors. 4 tiles can be harder to beat than 9. Watch out where you put doors - you might find out what happens when doors lead on to spaces with manhole covers. But all these things are trial and error, and it's fun to give it a go.
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John
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I'm honestly not a huge fan of the prison tiles. They're wonderfully thematic, to be sure. The cramping, more complicated interactions, and, most importantly, the lack of any equivalent to the ever-threatening sewer tiles really make them less fun to play on.

Just try playing non-prison missions with Berserker zombies and some of the S2 equipment tossed in.

As always, if you're having playtime issues encourage everybody to plan their moves while the zombies and other survivors move. Zombicide missions can easily bog down if players debate every move, and the game's more fun when each survivor has a mind of their own, so to speak.
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Ancestral Hamster
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wpifarmer wrote:
Not once have we done a mission in the quoted time. Most games we play fall well within the "quoted" times, so we're not just being dumb or AP.

Even with our gaming groups, no one wants to play it anymore because all the missions just take too bloody long, and no one wants to play with multiple survivors. Also, they gripe that setup time is way too long as well. For a "2H" mission, we are finding that it takes us 20 minutes to set it up, 3+h to play it, and another 20 minutes to resort and pickup. With 6 survivors, people tend to just get bored waiting for their turn since turns in this game can take some time.

Hear hear! Like Farmer I bought Season 2 because I liked Season 1, and I don't even like the zombie genre. While I'm enjoying PO, it isn't as enjoyable as S1 for the reasons above. Yesterday we played M1 from PO which is supposed to be 2.5 hours, it took 5, and would have gone on longer if one of the players had not pointed out an "exploit" in the scenario conditions. There was some debate about using it, but it came down to no one wanted to play further. The fact that due to the new prison rules one can "game the system" does take some of fun out of the game.

As for getting it to the table more often ...

Suggestion 1: Get the S1 tiles, if not the entire S1 game. There are a lot of fan-made missions using those tiles. Many of them sound like they'd be fun. Also, with fewer choke points and more sewers, the game is tenser. (I'm planning to do this myself.)

Suggestion 2: Having kickstarted Season 2, I also got Toxic City Mall with PO. Toxic City Mall scenarios run perhaps 50% longer than their rating, but I've found them to be a lot of fun. So far, we have not found any exploits in the missions, so we've won legitimately. (This is another reason I want at least the S1 tiles, so we can play the TCM missions that require them.) At the very least, TCM + PO should be a better play experience than pure PO. Can't really help with the time factor though ...
 
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Jeffrey Nolin
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tikitack wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Short answer: create your own scenarios!

Great idea... But what about us dumb ones who can't figure out how to do that?.. whistle

Start by looking at the scenarios that you've played which took too long, then you take something out, like an objective that was difficult to achieve. Or design a new board that is similar, but smaller. Or give the survivors better starting equipment. Playing around with the stuff is what a sandbox game is about.
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NH Farmdog
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The getting a set of old tiles may be a decent idea to play the other scenarios from S1. Does the tile pack simply contain identical copies of what's in the original game?

I sent a similar email to Guillotine Games about the play length and that my group prefers to play with one character. Their suggestion was to have people play multiple characters... zombie

I'll try to invent some simple PO scenarios...

Ryan
Ancestral Hamster wrote:


As for getting it to the table more often ...

Suggestion 1: Get the S1 tiles, if not the entire S1 game. There are a lot of fan-made missions using those tiles. Many of them sound like they'd be fun. Also, with fewer choke points and more sewers, the game is tenser. (I'm planning to do this myself.)

Suggestion 2: Having kickstarted Season 2, I also got Toxic City Mall with PO. Toxic City Mall scenarios run perhaps 50% longer than their rating, but I've found them to be a lot of fun. So far, we have not found any exploits in the missions, so we've won legitimately. (This is another reason I want at least the S1 tiles, so we can play the TCM missions that require them.) At the very least, TCM + PO should be a better play experience than pure PO. Can't really help with the time factor though ...
 
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John
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Really stress the need for everybody to have their move ready when it comes to their turn, and for every individual to decide their moves without input from other players.

This approach both avoids the "play by committee" problem inherent to Zombicide as well as drastically speeding up playtime. If you're running a mission with 6 players you need to make sure that everybody's taking action on their own initiative rather than discussing every move with other players.

The game's a lot more fun when every survivor acts according to the whim of their player, not the group, as you get a much better feeling of trying to hold together a ragged band of survivors in the face of a zombie outbreak. More mistakes will be made, and that's fun.
 
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Scott Hill
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longagoigo wrote:
tikitack wrote:
Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Short answer: create your own scenarios!

Great idea... But what about us dumb ones who can't figure out how to do that?.. whistle

Start by looking at the scenarios that you've played which took too long, then you take something out, like an objective that was difficult to achieve. Or design a new board that is similar, but smaller. Or give the survivors better starting equipment. Playing around with the stuff is what a sandbox game is about.
This.

The very first Scenario I designed was a reworking of Y-Zone, that I call Y-Not-Zone.

I asked myself the question "how would I improve this design?" and went from there.

It really gets you to think about the elements of a scenario, and how they affect how it plays - in my case I was trying to counter the 'Wanda strategy' for that scenario, but you'll need to be asking yourself "what is it about these scenarios that cause them to take so long?"

However...

TheTuninator wrote:
Really stress the need for everybody to have their move ready when it comes to their turn, and for every individual to decide their moves without input from other players.
Also this.

If the problem is that the players spend too long discussing and debating every turn then the problem is not the scenarios, but rather it is the players.

As John says, try to keep such discussion to a minimum and have each player play their Survivors the way they want to, rather than the way the group wants to.
 
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Ancestral Hamster
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wpifarmer wrote:
The getting a set of old tiles may be a decent idea to play the other scenarios from S1. Does the tile pack simply contain identical copies of what's in the original game?
Yes.
wpifarmer wrote:
I sent a similar email to Guillotine Games about the play length and that my group prefers to play with one character. Their suggestion was to have people play multiple characters... zombie
Well, that wasn't very helpful.

http://zombicide.com/en/free-missions is the link for the additional Missions. Apparently it has been updated since I last visited as it is split into S1, TCM, and S2. There was a fan-made two Survivor scenario for S1. That should be quick. One I did download was c23: Day Zero. The time is 150 minutes. As I don't have S1 tiles yet, I have not played it, so I cannot confirm if that time estimate is correct.

 
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NH Farmdog
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I thought about this some more. I came to the realization that I am a board game player, not a designer. I don't feel like I should have to redesign most of the game to get it to the table for < 6 players and < 3 hours.

Given the price of admission for this box of components (beautiful ones too), I'm becoming more and more disappointed with the "game" that was supposed to be included. I did order the S1 tiles. But now that I clicked submit on my order, I feel quite a bit of buyers remorse. Making the game playable to the advertised player count and times shouldn't take more money.

Thanks for the help and sorry that I just came to these conclusions. I'm going to try again when I get the tiles, but I really am starting to feel like I wasted quite a bit of good money. It's a shame, because I had so much fun playing it before I bought Prison Outbreak.

Farmer

Scorpion0x17 wrote:


The very first Scenario I designed was a reworking of Y-Zone, that I call Y-Not-Zone.

I asked myself the question "how would I improve this design?" and went from there.

It really gets you to think about the elements of a scenario, and how they affect how it plays - in my case I was trying to counter the 'Wanda strategy' for that scenario, but you'll need to be asking yourself "what is it about these scenarios that cause them to take so long?"

However...

TheTuninator wrote:
Really stress the need for everybody to have their move ready when it comes to their turn, and for every individual to decide their moves without input from other players.
Also this.

If the problem is that the players spend too long discussing and debating every turn then the problem is not the scenarios, but rather it is the players.

As John says, try to keep such discussion to a minimum and have each player play their Survivors the way they want to, rather than the way the group wants to.
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Dan Sulin
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I don't have Prison Outbreak yet(its coming any day) but my suggestion fro setup is one I throw out with any board game. Two pieces of advice

1) Organization. Buy a box of sandwhich bags and sort all the pieces out. Its amazing how much faster it is to setup a game when you have all the pieces separated.

2) Planning. Pick a scenario in advance and set it up ahead of time.

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John
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I'm very sorry to hear that your group hasn't been enjoying the game, but I play with 5-6 players frequently, and even on large Prison Outbreak missions we typically don't run near three hours. Redesigning the missions shouldn't be necessary if you can get your group to play efficiently. I don't disagree that the PO missions are overcomplicated-I tend to avoid them myself-but if you are having issues with your group to the point where people are bored waiting for their turns, it sounds like you have some players prone to agonizing over every aspect of their moves instead of taking action. My group's fairly experienced and we can get through a player's turn in as low as 30 seconds or less sometimes because we try to figure out our moves before our turn rolls around.

Unfortunately, there's no real solution for the need for more survivors, which seems to be the larger problem facing gaming with your family. Most missions become difficult with 4 survivors and nigh-impossible with 3, let alone 2, as you have so much less firepower and ability to absorb losses. Zombivors will help, but given the basic nature of the game your options will be very limited if you want to play with a small group and control only one character each. My best advice for playing with 2 or 3 characters is to replace your first few losses with new survivors; 4 should be manageable if difficult, but 2 or 3 survivors is simply too few. The game's just not set up for it.
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Curtis Delaney
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I sympathize with you here, as the time issue is typically the barrier for my groups. We can usually pull together six with no difficulty, but when a 2 hour time estimate for a mission turns into 5 hours, people start getting tired.

A simple tweak could be just remove 1 or more spawn points if you are having balance issues with a smaller group.

Toxic City mall introduced rules to accommodate MORE than 6 players by adding spawn points, so I don't see why this couldn't be applied in the inverse for smaller groups.Just do your best to choose a spawn point that will have the foreseeable least amount of impact on the design of the mission.

Or, you could try activating certain spawn point only every other turn or something like that.

Best wishes to you, however you decide to proceed.
 
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T W
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I also have this issue (scenarios too long and requiring too many survivors). We don't play more than once a month, so designing my own or tweaking existing missions doesn't make much sense for me.

I would love to see some scenarios designed for shorter / smaller scale settings. I know about the http://zombicide-scenarios.com/ website, but are there other sources of free missions?

For those of you who do design missions, please consider building this type of thing!
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tim thorson
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I also agree with most of the statements here. It is my wife and my favorite game. But it seems they just went over the top with length and complexity in season two. Hopefully season three won't be like that.
 
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Manny M
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Having just played the game again from a lengthy hiatus, I'm still finding game length to be an issue. It's a damn shame because my group loves this game and it's what got us into the BG scene to begin with.

I do like the suggestions of tweaking the scenario to reduce the risk of constantly being swarmed and that taking time... One thing I do find is the analysis paralysis can easily rear its ugly head in this one, but we've played it enough to keep that to a minimum.

I do wonder how the game testers came to the conclusions on times for their scenarios though. One would assume multiple play throughs before committing to a time on each, but it also begs the question "how do you play this well"... Is a good strategy burning your first few turns just searching like mad until you're equipped enough to blast through anything that comes your way?
 
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Peter Cooper
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MannyM wrote:
Having just played the game again from a lengthy hiatus, I'm still finding game length to be an issue.


There are some shorter scenarios out there, but the longer ones are more fun. Unfortunately, most of my favourite games are long. I like Zombicide, the completely combined version of DC Superheroes Deck Building, Firefly, and none of them will take less than 2 hours.
 
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Yusuf Sharif
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Hello everyone, I really liked what the author wrote and most of the reply from the community, and I need some help from you guys with more knowledge in the game. here's the problem , we are a group of 6 people always play the game together thing is the 2.5 hours games takes us +6 hours, once a mission took us 8 hours then we didn't play for 2 months because of frustration, thing is we own OP+TCM so we combined the cards, mostly we encounter an abomination or 2 that we cant handle, also note we play it super safe early to span 'blue' level zombies from all switches whenever we can , but still the game is not as easy as it seems "we cant play by our own mind and selfish nature", we do play it like "community play" or something mentioned in which we plan everything with everyone which takes a lot of time of course, but usually the game is not so forgiving and one mistake means a survivor will die and drop 2 items(sometimes more ) and sometimes we cant rescue him/her without more sacrifices with leads to the inevitable( less firepower->more zombies-> can't move/ search-> eventually death). I really liked the game and we want to continue it at least the main missions as they are supposed to be designed for general players"casuals", any tips would be appreciated. note : we don't intend to change the rules of the game or starting items/spawns to make it easier. another note : we all play games both video games and board games, so the things we are dealing with are well known to us, as the game is similar to tactics RPGs or so and we play some of them , so why are we so bad at it, and need all that time and effort to try and win a mission and sometimes we lose...

sorry long post but I am frustrated after 6 hours of play and we need to repeat the level we lost >
 
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Teskal Flink
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I had no problem with the time, but didn't played the big ones, yet.

We have also no problems with playing 2-3 survivors/player. But every player use only one survivor and all get a turn till the the first start with the 2nd and later after all played the 2nd survivor, the 3rd survivors starts. So nobody need to wait long.

 
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