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Subject: Carnival zombie review (after one play) rss

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Dan Perrault

Greendale
Wisconsin
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First off the rule book is a below average. One paragraph is in italian but it is easy enough to look it up online to find the information. The translation is rough. I wonder if there is something lost in translation with the idea of cave and ditch. Maybe cave and ditch are more thematic that area and zone, but the words may throw some off. I found is confusing in how the zombies move in to attack the characters. It helps to look at the action sequence and go in order (move, spawn, attack are done a little counter intuitively)

Quality

The art cool. The cardboard is a little thinner that fantasy flight games but it is ok. the board is busy and others said it looked blurry (the city part in the night phase) It is well laid out and has most of the important ideas in icons on the board.

Comparisons and discusion

It is a lot like castle panic. The cubes are zombies and you are in the middle trying to not get overrun and you are killing them and trying to keep them away. Thematically and mechanically kind like castle panic. Castle panic is easier to play and quicker, better with kids. The differences are important though. Carnival zombie has terrain modifications based on where you stand as a hero (called fortifications), you need to cover all 4 sides of attack and you have 6 characters (regardless of number of players you use all 6) these aspects give many strategic choices. Should I let the zombies get close in one of the ditches and rely on my melee attack. Or let them bunch up so I can use one of the characters that have burst. The special abilities of each character are unique and helpful and need to be used with care. That being said the characters are certainly not equal and depending on your play style you may enjoy one more than others. Another difference between castle panic is the daytime. In carnival zombie the daytime hours are your chance to build up and heal you character. It is filled with interesting choice. The equipment is very helpful but you don't know if you are going to succeed in finding any or what you will get. After every night phase we needed to rest and there was never enough time to get fully rested and get some equipment.

The gameplay is where this really shines. I played with 2 others and the tension was there for all of us. Every night we felt impending doom and thought we would not survive. Each night we barely got out alive. Choosing which boss to kill and when mattered a lot. We thought it would be impossible to kill the big gray boss (I forgot his name) but figured out we could team up our melee attacks to dispose of him. Big feeling of reward and you get an in game reward when you kill a boss (2 health or equipment draw) We played on the medium (yellow) difficulty and won.

I have only played the boat ending and that was quick and not very climactic and too easy. I think the other endings are harder. The boat ending (at least the way I read it) you place characters and there get to look at the cards and move boat toward an exit (north south etc) The zombies spawn in and do stuff like destroy parts of you boat and give you wounds but you don't really fight them. Next round you can move your guys around and repeat process. Plays like a light abstract game with just a couple of decision points.

Conclusion

Its a thrilling game. Would play great solo or with a group. Each players turn moves quick. I like the idea (optional rule) in the book where during the night you can't have big conversations, just quick phrase like cover the south side. It is thematic and helps with the alpha player issue. If you like castle panic but what more depth you will like it. Just prepare to read and re-read the rules, scratch head search the geek and reread rules and then just guess.



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TJ
United States
Burbank
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If it helps at all, it looks like they just uploaded a corrected rulebook this week that addresses some of the Italian that slipped in to the English version.
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chris leko
United States
Brooksville
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What's so great about it?
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I agree the rules are a bit subpar, but I give most of my problems to translation issues (it's pretty clear it wasn't done by someone fluent in english). I gave them a pass because the game is really engaging. I agree about the thinness of the board, but I also agree that the game play is phenomenal and engaging.

It also plays very well solo! I'm a bit interested in how they built the alpha player into the game (player who is positioned 1 gets the final say in everything).
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Dan Perrault

Greendale
Wisconsin
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Come on come on come on come on TOUCH ME BABE can't you see that I am not afraid
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We didn't really play that way. Just decided our moves together. I guess if your group is unruly it specifies the guy who gets the last say.
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