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Subject: Looking for a good zombie game. rss

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Ryan Bull
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Here's my dilemma. I have quite a wide array of gaming genres in my collection, ranging from heavy euro's to American-themed games, but I don't have a decent zombie game (I don't believe Eldritch Horror counts).

I have been investigating numerous reviews, getting myself lost in an abundance of enjoyable videos, and I have almost come to the conclusion that there is no definitive, perfect zombie game out there. Perhaps perfection is objective, but I mean all the zombie games out there appear to be flawed in one way or another. I wonder why the genre is so hard to encapsulate in board game form? I digress.

To cut a long story short, I have narrowed my search down to four possible candidates to add to my collection:-

- Zombicide
- City of Horror
- Zombie Carnival
- Last Night on Earth

Carnival Zombie is the new kid on the block and has yet to be tested by the trials of time, though the recent 24-hour Dice Tower playthrough suggests it to be potentially a lot of fun, albeit less Romeroesque than some of the others (I'm a big Romero fan).

City of Horror seems to be a very interesting one; a dark horse in the running. I know Quinns from SU&SD loves it to bits, and it can be frequently seen in the background nestled securely in his collection in a lot of videos.

Last Night on Earth felt like it may be the one for me, if it wasn't for the atrocious art-direction featuring hammy actors in bad lighting. Apart from that it seems the one that most resembles the earlier Romero vibe of films such as Night of the Living Dead. My main gripe with this one is that I find the 'strategising zombie' mechanic to be slightly jarring thematically. Aren't zombies supposed to be stupid?

Zombicide looks like it could be good, dumb fun, which is fundamentally the appeal of all good zombie movies. I liked Left 4 Dead the video game and Zombicide looks to be in a similar vein. It also seems to pay homage to Dawn of the Dead quite a bit (e.g mowing down zombies in cars), which happens to be my favourite Romero film. I've heard the rules are somewhat wonky though, but if they are easily fixable this isn't a deal breaker for me.

So which one do you wonderful geeks think I should choose? I look forward what surely will be many more hours of cross-referencing and deliberating zombie
 
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Jason Hartloff
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Hi. Other then City of Horror, I own each of the others, and have played them all. My personal favorite is Last Night on Earth! I actually enjoy the artwork, personally, but part of that is getting to know each of them each year at Gen Con. It is cool to be playing a game at a con, sitting next to the the actually character you are playing with! lol

Carnival Zombie is good, but at least for us, was the most complicated by far... but, to be fair, we started it around 10 pm, and was trying to get done before the shop closed at midnight, so I will reserve judgement until we play again.

Zombicide I like.. but, I am not a fan of how combat works. I know some love it, but it just feels off to me.. a game with so many zombies needs more dice rolling! I have both seasons of it, and all the expansions, and like I said, it is fun, it is quiet epic in scale.. and there is something about having over 100 zombies on a board at a time all chasing you, but still.. just something missing for me.

Good luck on your decision.. all in all, I think you will be happy with whichever one you choose!
 
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Boss Beau Blasterfire
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It seems to get overlooked quite often when people mention zombie games, but you might want to check out Dawn of the Zeds (Second edition) if you are looking for a good solo zombie experience. The game does quite a good job of capturing the feel of the zombie theme.
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Michael Kefauver
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WEll, part of it is what are you looking for in a zombie game? The more 'popcorn' style of running through street with uzis and katanas, mowing through hundreds of zombies? The slow, creeping horror of the original Night of the Living Dead?

I can personally comment on...

City of Horror- Great multiplayer wheeling and dealing. Has a good under-siege feeling. On the downside, it feels a bit short. It's hard to quantify, but there's just not many turns, even if a lot happens in those turns and your resources run out quickly.

Last Night on Earth- My winner on this list, I own all of them minus the character pack 1 and the grave weapon zombies miniature pack. Great theme, great gameplay. The only bad thing here is that it's one vs many (which some people hate) and that it changes quite a bit depending on the expansions you have. The base game is a very different animal than Growing Hunger.

Zombicide- I kickstarted it, I sold it. To be honest, it's too... Popcorn for me. The scenarioes, at least out of the box to begin with, were very unbalanced, with some being so easy that we killed less than a dozen zombies, and the rules were... funky. Not being able to shoot into a space with allies (even when a space is a city block's worth of street), damage not being cumulative (no amount of handgun bullets can kill a fatty, but a machete can drop it in one hit) and, despite having an interesting noise mechanic, the only thing that determined how many zombies spawned is an abstract 'level up' mechanic where more zombies showed up if you silently cleared a building with a baseball bat than if you ran, screaming through the streets firing two uzis guns-akimbo at the air.

And, if you're looking for a great zombie co-op at a winning price, check out the free, Print and Play, Dead of Night. Sadly it looks quite abandoned, but what does exist is amazing, even the first scenario has a good amount of replay, and the 3rd one offers even more. Probably closest to a Romero 'simulation' as I've seen.
 
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Dan Devine
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I own Last Night on Earth and Carnival Zombie, and have played Zombicide. Zombicide.. meh, don't like it.

The other two scratch completely different itches for me - Last Night on Earth is a good old-fashioned dice rolling bash fest.

Carnival Zombie has multiple mechanics going on.. the night phase, with diceless combat and a mechanic similar to Castle Panic, whereby the zombies just keep coming, and a fair amount of tactical decision making is required in order to best coordinate your attacks, lose the least barricades and clear a path for your escape.

The day section is a move/regenerate/search effort, and there are multiple end scenarios, all with their own appeal. I've yet to try the holy bomb/Leviathan ending, and have also yet to have Pantalion actually draw it during searches, so that's probably a good thing!

I've also yet to play it on anything other than easy, and even that is hard! It's been to the table a few times, and always been well-received, but the rulebook is a nightmare.. so you want to be well-prepared with test games under your belt, errata and answers to questions from the forums here before you run a game of it.

So.. based on my wall of text about Carnival Zombie, you can probably guess which one I enjoy the most!

EDIT - also, be sure to grab these great reference cards if you do pick up Carnival Zombie: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/102047/carnival-zombie-beg...
 
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Brian Rayburn
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Check out Zombie Plague

It's a free PnP, and the remake by Kwanchai looks awesome. All the files, including several expansions, are available on the game's page. Give it a shot, definitely worth the ink.

-Brian
 
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Michael F
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Last Night on Earth is also my favorite of the four you've mentioned. It definitely follows most closely to the "classic zombie" format of them being slow-moving but powerful. It's not an outstanding design by any means, but it can be really tense. It also tells a story as you play, which is a big plus for me. Try and pick up the Growing Hunger Expansion along with the base game if you can. It really helps the base game feel like a more complete experience.

+1 for Dawn of the Zeds. I picked this up the other day because I heard it was an excellent solo game, even though I'm not much of a zombie connoisseur. After digesting the rules, I'm really anxious to play it. Of all the zombie games I've played, this one is looking to be the most difficult and stressful of the bunch. The game is designed to feel like a slow-building siege on a central location, which goes along with your appreciation for Night of the Living Dead and other similar works.
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Paul Dodds
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Just to echo what Michael and Beau said: if you are looking for a great zombie game and are comfortable playing solitaire then Dawn of the Zeds is definitely the most enjoyable zombie themed game that I've played. For me it best captures the tension and the narrative from what I would expect in zombie game, more so than any of the other zombie games I've played.

I haven't played Carnival Zombie but of the rest of the list Last Night on Earth would also be my recommendation for the feel of the game and the enjoyable game play.
 
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James
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For me at least, Last Night on Earth: Timber Peak is the clear choice. The cheesy pictures you reference are absolutely part of the B movie tone of the game, so much so that it really feels like a movie in a box for our group. I am someone who often gets impatient with flavor text and I revert to the "just tell me what to roll" attitude too often in the heat of the game. LNoE never lets me do that. I always feel in the narrative and cringe, laugh, and cheer several times a game.

The "strategic zombie" comment you made doesn't really reflect how the game plays. The zombie player doesn't really represent the zombies or even a "Zombie Master." The zombie player represents that contrived, doomy, bad luck which always seems to beset the heroes in these types of movies. Need that gun in that shed? The door is locked! Two teenagers who need to be listening to hear the groans of approaching zombies? They unfortunately get distracted by having a moment together alone. It works even better than it sounds and the "muhaha" moments for the Zombie player are many and entertaining.

I've recommended you go with the reboot, "Timber Peak." It already has one expansion based on it, Last Night on Earth: Blood in the Forest. It also has a more clearly expressed rule system and tighter mechanics and card decks overall.

Have fun!zombie
 
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Ryan Bull
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NYColts18 wrote:
My personal favorite is Last Night on Earth! I actually enjoy the artwork, personally, but part of that is getting to know each of them each year at Gen Con. It is cool to be playing a game at a con, sitting next to the the actually character you are playing with! lol


That's cool that you met the actors, must have really added to the atmosphere!

Nessmk2 wrote:
WEll, part of it is what are you looking for in a zombie game? The more 'popcorn' style of running through street with uzis and katanas, mowing through hundreds of zombies? The slow, creeping horror of the original Night of the Living Dead?


My favourite zombie flick is Dawn of the Dead, so a bit of both I suppose. Or either, if it's good.

Nessmk2 wrote:

Last Night on Earth- My winner on this list, I own all of them minus the character pack 1 and the grave weapon zombies miniature pack. Great theme, great gameplay.


I'm surprised by the amount of LNoE recommendations. I was almost ready to discount it from my options but you've made me think twice about it. The Table Top playthough I did find entertaining, though I'm still not enamored with the strategic zombie style mechanic.

Nessmk2 wrote:

And, if you're looking for a great zombie co-op at a winning price, check out the free, Print and Play, Dead of Night.


Thanks, I'll look in to that.

bbblasterfire wrote:
It seems to get overlooked quite often when people mention zombie games, but you might want to check out Dawn of the Zeds (Second edition) if you are looking for a good solo zombie experience.


I had overlooked this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Initially I wanted more of a multiplayer game, but this one looks mighty interesting.

BetaQuasi wrote:

So.. based on my wall of text about Carnival Zombie, you can probably guess which one I enjoy the most!

EDIT - also, be sure to grab these great reference cards if you do pick up Carnival Zombie: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/102047/carnival-zombie-beg...


Cheers for that! Carnival Zombie is still very much on my radar

scarecrowking wrote:
Check out Zombie Plague

It's a free PnP, and the remake by Kwanchai looks awesome. All the files, including several expansions, are available on the game's page.


Will take a look, thanks.

Kyuss wrote:
Just to echo what Michael and Beau said: if you are looking for a great zombie game and are comfortable playing solitaire then Dawn of the Zeds is definitely the most enjoyable zombie themed game that I've played.


I don't yet have a strictly solitaire game in my collection, so I might consider picking this one up in addition to another at some point.

Brother Jim wrote:
For me at least, Last Night on Earth: Timber Peak is the clear choice...I always feel in the narrative and cringe, laugh, and cheer several times a game.


A good sense of narrative is extremely important to me so this actually sounds like my cup of tea. I'm still not mad keen on the art direction though. I like horror movies, don't get me wrong, but to me the pictures just seem like a bunch of actors posing for a photo shoot and I find it jarring. I guess it's just personal taste and who knows, perhaps I'll get used to it if I decide to go with this one.

Brother Jim wrote:

I've recommended you go with the reboot, "Timber Peak." It already has one expansion based on it, Last Night on Earth: Blood in the Forest. It also has a more clearly expressed rule system and tighter mechanics and card decks overall.


For some reason I assumed that Timber Peak was just an expansion for LNoE so thanks for bringing it to my attention.



 
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Ryan Bull
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After careful consideration I've decided to bite the bullet and go with Last Night on Earth. Thanks to all who helped me make the decision, I can finally fill that zombie-reserved spot in my game collection.
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Joel H
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For a game with zombies as a feature, but not the main focus, check out the upcoming Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game by Plaid Hat Games.
 
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