David Lowry
United States
Antioch
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb



Review by Club Fantasci Reviewer Les Haskell

Publisher: LNL Publishing

Game Designer: Ed Teixeira

Artwork: Guillaume Ries, Lohran, Marc von Martial, Paul Kime

Players: 1 – 6

Ages: 12 to adult

Playing Time: 40 minutes

Game Mechanics: Chit-Pull System, Co-operative Play, Hex-and-Counter

Contents: Two doubled-sided mounted maps, 12 survivor cards, 90 double sided player and zombie counters, zombie and loot cards, players aid, rule book, dice

Suggested Retail Price: $59.99

Parental Advisory: Zombie Theme. Absolutely zero gore or violence.

Awards: 2010 Charles S. Roberts Best Science-Fiction or Fantasy Board War Game Nominee

I’m kind of on a quest. It’s not a quest to get rid of the One Trinket or to find the Holy Eating Utensil. This is a game-related quest and I’ve been on it for a number of years. I have been searching (well, maybe not “searching” per se – more like sorta looking around a bit) for the ultimate zombie-themed game. I have been a zombie fan ever since I saw the original “Dawn of the Dead” movie in the theater. Actually I’ve been a zombie fan since I read an apocalyptic science fiction book by Niven and Pournelle and had a dream about a caravan of Winebagos full of zombies. In the dream there were a bunch of us taking refuge at a fortified farm in the hills and the caravan of Winebagos drove up and all these zombies started attacking us and I had a machine-gun but it turned out to be a plastic toy and . . .

Sorry. Yeah, so I’m on this quest to find the best zombie board game. One with the tension and despair you get watching a zombie movie (or having weird dreams about zombies and their little dogs, too). I’ve played a few and they’ve wet my appetite for that kind of thing, but in one way or another they have all fallen short. Then I hear about this All Things Zombie game by Lock and Load Publishing, and how it’s based on a miniatures system. I’ve played some Napoleonics, Civil War, Ancients, WWI, and WWII miniatures games, and painted some minis and built a model of Pegasus Bridge for use with 28mm miniatures, but I am in no way a hard-core miniatures gamer. I’m more of a board gamer who is aware of how miniatures are played, so the idea of this All Things Zombie board game interested me a great deal. Besides, I already love some of Lock n Load’s games.

I picked up a copy of All Things Zombieat my FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store). It was a tad on the spendy side and the box isn’t all that big. When I opened the box I was generally pleased with what I found, though. There’s a full-color rulebook, 9 character sheets, two different decks of cards, 4 dice, some nicely made cardboard counters, and two 11×17 map boards. Being primarily a war gamer I immediate appreciated the counters: well made with thematic art, and not too hard to read the numbers (not too many numbers, either). The counters come in two sizes, 7/8″ for the zombies and survivors, and 5/8″ for status markers, gear and weapons. They are a bit larger than the usual war game counters in most games – that’s a good thing. I was a little disappointed that there are only two maps but they are two-sided. They are what is known in the war gaming world as “geomorphic”. In other words, they join at the long or short ends and all the map terrain lines up. I would actually have preferred 4 single-sided maps as that would have allowed for more variations.

“How does the game play?”, you ask. The rules aren’t too difficult and I didn’t find them to be too dry as I was reading them. They are a bit lengthy compared to many other games, but these have been made by a war game company. Granted, it’s a war game company that eschews thick and complicated rule books, but it is still a war game company. The Player Aid Card has the charts you need to play the game so you don’t have to open the rulebook every time you need to consult one. As I was figuring the game out I did have to keep opening the book to make sure I was getting things right, but it doesn’t take to long to get the hang of it.

Basically, in the game you will be controlling Survivors. There are two types of Survivors: Stars and Grunts. The Stars are your alter-ego in the game and have better stats than the Grunts. You might be controlling a Star and a couple of Grunts in a game. One of the features of this game is the “Reaction System”. Sometimes you have to roll on a Reaction Chart to see what your Grunts will do in certain situations. If they get charged, want to charge, see an enemy Survivor, or if they get shot at, you have to see what your Grunts’ reaction will be. Stars get to choose without rolling on the chart. Zombies are randomly generated at the beginning of every game and during the game possibly every time you fire a weapon. Every time you enter a building you draw a card to see how many Zombies are in there (anywhere from 0 to 6). You fight Zombies either with ranged weapons or in melee (hopefully with weapons, otherwise bare-handed). You can get surprised by the Zombies you find in buildings or you can surprise them. Once you have cleared a building of Zeds you can draw a card to see what kind of Loot you find – it could be weapons or gear. I have discovered that the game delivers a nice Zombie movie type of despair as there always seems to be too many Zombies, and they always move towards the closest survivor.



One of the really great things about this game is the different ways that you can play it. It can be played cooperatively where everybody is working together against the zombies, or it can be played competitively where there are two or more survivor groups fighting each other (and the zombies, of course), or it can be played solitaire. The rulebook has 6 pre-made scenarios and rules for linking them together into a “Campaign Game” where you earn Glory Points during each game which can be spent on stuff to help you survive the next scenario. There are also some rules for a “Skirmish” game for when you just want to kill some zombies.

I have really enjoyed playing a number of scenarios solitaire already. It is definitely a great little game for that. I have some issues with it, though. The main thing is, who do I play this with? I know gamers (I guess you could call them Euro-gamers) who tend to like the descendants of games like Settlers of Catan, and I know war gamers. I’m not sure if the former group would like it because of how much like a war game it is and I’m not sure how much the war gamers will like it because it doesn’t portray a historical military action. I like it, so I’m pretty sure it will appeal to war gamers who want a game with zombies in it. Also, the scenarios felt incomplete somehow. The first scenario has two Survivors, and that worked well for me playing it solitaire, but a larger group might not like having to modify the scenario. I know that many gamers like to just sit down and play a game right out of the box. Tweaking scenarios is something that miniatures war game players do all the time, but many board war gamers prefer to play extensively play-tested and balanced scenarios just as they are written. This ambiguity continues through the Campaign Game and the Skirmish Game. If you take this game as more of a “game system” (like miniatures rules) and don’t mind tweaking or even making up your own scenarios, that shouldn’t be a problem. The last thing that bugged me (and this might just be a matter of taste) is I fel that the Zombies moved too fast. I’m kind of old school and I like the huge, slowly shambling zombie horde. This game has Zombies that move at different speeds and some of them are rather quick. While playing I oftentimes felt like I was in a race running laps around the map trying to stay away from zombies. Again, this can be remedied with tweaking if you are so inclined. The last solo game I played I had all the Zeds move one space at a time – and I still lost, but at least I had the time to try and find stuff in buildings before the horde was all over me.

So have I found the Ultimate Zombie Game? I have to say not quite. It’s one of the better ones so far, but I’m still on my quest. That’s not such a bad thing, though. I’ve heard people say that it is the journey that is important. I’ve really enjoyed this part of the quest, and I think I will try to get some of my war gaming buddies to try this out. It’s fun and atmospheric, and I’m not getting rid of it. This game has also made me want to check out the miniatures rules of the same name. I’ve actually purchased them and over 100 28mm zombie miniatures, along with a couple of boxes of Apocalypse Survivors, and when I get them all painted, I’m going to MAKE some people play it with me, so help me . . .

I am giving All Things Zombie 7 out of 10 stars!

This game is Club Fantasci Certified!





If you like what we bring you, please vote for us here: http://www.boardgamelinks.com/links/details/1420

Club Fantasci on Facebook: www.facebook.clubfantasci

Club Fantasci on Twitter: www.twitter.com/clubfantasci

Club Fantasci on Google+: Club Fantasci
21 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan
United States
flag msg tools
1 Player hardcore
badge
Lone Warrior
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think ATZ is a pretty decent game altogether. Like you I was slightly disappointed in the maps and the campaign. The maps should have been single sided. If cost or box space were an issue, use paper/cardstock maps. It seems like functionality was sacrificed for mounted maps. I love mounted maps but not when they reduce our options.

Sidenote about maps: This game really cries out for additional modularity or variability in regard to skirmish games. Whether multi-hex cardstock overlays or single hex terrain tiles I wish there was a way to easily modify terrain. I got bored by the maps all too quickly.

I was disappointed with the support given the campaign and skirmish scenarios. I was hoping a dynamic campaign like the sandbox campaigns of Space Infantry or the Leader Series. Instead it's an established, static campaign. Play scenarios 1-6 as described and then you're done.

I wish LnL had added more characters to the game. Like the maps, I get tired of the characters fairly quick. Only two Stars in the game. For the price, I feel like there is not much variability in character selection, which hurts both long term replayability for me as well as variance in skirmish games (homebrew campaings).

Two minor niggles that can be modified fairly easily by houserules: 1) the effective range of the pistol is too far. It should be range 1 with the scale of the map. 2) Only one survivor per hex. This should not be present, given the size of the hexes. Above all else, this just seems like a lazy rule to me that should have been altered during design.

This game screams for some kind of random event mechanism. ATZ has minor role play elements present and survivors searching zombie infested buildings; give me some kind of random events to go along with the loot deck and zombie deck. Chit pull, die roll, card draw, you name it. Just pick one and give us something. LnL did it with Nuklear Winter '68.

You basically described me in your review. I'm a board gamer who wants relatively play tested scenarios and I want variation and dynamism built into the game (read especially the campaign). I don't want to have to create it all myself. Most of my problems with this game could be fixed if I invested some time and created random events (especially fleshed out the survivor encounter element) and my own dynamic campaign system. I just don't want to go to all that work for something I feel should have been incorporated into the game.

To be fair to LnL and ATZ, I think this game is actually a pretty fine game if you're not looking for the dynamism out of the box I'm speaking of. Perhaps my problems are not with the game itself but that I had different expectations. If you want to play a canned scenario or two out of the box and blow some zombies away then the game should work just fine and be quite enjoyable. I do really like the art and the quality of the components (except the cards are thin and pointy). I think LnL did get a lot of the game mechanisms right, such as combat, the reaction system, etc.

I should probably write my own review instead of hijacking yours.

Nice review Les, by way of David.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Allen
United States
Madison
Alabama
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Once again another well written review. Thanks for these David! Sorry that I tend to disagree with a lot of them. I just looked up and saw your name after I wrote all this and was like "oops - Kotzen again ... he's going to think I stalk his reviews or something."

Anyway ... I did not like this game. I am not a miniatures/ruler gamer or a war-gamer. I am strictly Ameritrash boardgame/cardgamer.

This felt like playing a war-game, the way the map worked out and the outdoor hex based movement/scale and shooting rules and so forth. I felt like I literally could have substituted zombies for tanks and heroes for snipers and whatever, etc. etc.

I also found some of the rules very obtuse and clunky. I can't remember them exactly now, its been probably 2 years since I tried it, but I remember something about the rules for shooting vs. short/range hand-to-hand combat and counter attacks and so forth being needlessly complicated or un-intuitive.

I didn't totally hate the game, but it felt like "Assault on Bagdhad - Zombie Style" with some rules issues, so it really was not for me.

Give me LNOE or Zombicide any day over this.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Lowry
United States
Antioch
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ryan,

Thanks! This review was actually written for my site by Les Haskell. I forgot to put that in there as it was originally in the title.

I have played this a few times and I agree with you. It's a good game, but it wasn't screaming "Must Play" to me.

You should write a review :-)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Lowry
United States
Antioch
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ian,

Lol! I have never felt that way but thanks for reading the reviews no matter what you feel about the game!

My new reviewer Les Haskell actually wrote this one. I forgot to credit him in my rush to get it posted.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review! I'm the designated (by LNLP) ATZ answer guy, so wont give fawning praise or a Fanboy counter-review. But, I would clarify a couple of things.

ATZ (the title and the game) derives from Ed Teixeira's innovative miniatures game. At the heart of his miniatures game is the Action/Reaction system. That's a pretty big deal in his rules. His rules have many more Reaction Tables than the boardgames. It is a smaller scale, with more activities available to survivors.

Mark Walker translated the miniatures game into a board game, with Ed's guidance and input. As such, the board game is streamlined, with a good deal of design interpretations. It's better to see it as a board game that uses the core elements of the miniatures game, than a miniatures game turned into board game.

It does have sandbox elements. As a miniature gamer and board gamer, it's natural for me to tinker with and create scenarios (and rules). I never really thought that others might not enjoy that aspect of gaming. LNOE and Zombiecide are scenario driven, so the idea is not novel. There are a few more scenarios for ATZ in LNLP's Line of Fire magazine, I've contributed a few myself.

For anyone so inclined, it's pretty easy to do. Take a Star or two, and a few Grunts, and come up with a zombie episode. One of mine has four survivors out of gas in a bad place, trying to get to and from a gas station with a can of Premium.

Again, nice review.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Lowry
United States
Antioch
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mark,

Thanks for the clarifications :-)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Azerty Qwerty
Belgium
flag msg tools
I was on a similar (rather obsessive) hunt to find a great zombie game, that really captures the despair that should come with it.

Finally I found what I was looking for with Zpocalypse.
Have a look for reviews on it, you won't regret!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
gary rembo
United Kingdom
brighton
Alaska
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Agree.
While not being the most outright fun once you have the second edition rule set this is a pretty good overall zombie experience.
Would prefer to lose the humour and the naff survivor cards.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Truesdell
United States
Uniontown
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just got the game and played it a little bit solitaire.
I think I have the same issues mentioned above.

No player stacking? I am usually a fan of no stacking but considering the scale I observe from the maps, seems off. easy fix

Zombies are really fast. I have watched the various zombie movies and when I see fast ones, I really don't see how anyone on land can survive especially if more shooting brings more zombies. WW Z showed it well by having the survivors on ships. Not a fan unless this was a military squad shooter game which it isn't so I plan on changing that.

I do like the tables related to how people react in various situations. Civilians are not going to go around and charge into combat like a military trained soldier will (and they will not want to do it unless they have to). Read about the militia vs the Continental Army in the revolutionary war. I would even expand it to testing before allowing a player to even move closer to a zombie let alone next to one.

I like the shooting attracting zombies, that's a great way to do it.

Still thinking about dealing with the ammo, looks good so far.

Still thinking about the weapons too, they need tweaked a bit I think, not much.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For a little background and some conversation...

Mark Walker answered elsewhere that allowing survivors to stack created deathstars and clumps of zombies and played heck with the Action/Reaction effects. Proceed a your own risk.

It pains me to admit this, but the movies and TV just don't make slow zombies anymore. Fast zombies are not just a fashion choice, they change the entire tenor of a zombie apocalypse. It's like the difference in warfare between flintlocks and assault rifles. Apparently, it's really difficult to put the fast zombie genie back into the bottle. In any case, slow zombies here kinda turn the game into a shooting gallery. Proceed at your own risk.

Charging zombies requires a reaction test. Only the Stars can do it reliably. And, only a fool charges a pack of zombies.

My only quibble with weapons is the shotgun. But, then I think about trying to charge an enemy survivor with a shotgun, and suddenly it seems overpowered.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Gray
United States
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The original ATZ featured slow zombies. Frankly Walker screwed up a lot of the port to the board game. The good news is a redesign will be coming from LnL straight from the ATZ designer which will incorporate a lot that was left out or muddled by Walker. Good times are ahead!

ctcharger wrote:
Just got the game and played it a little bit solitaire.
I think I have the same issues mentioned above.

No player stacking? I am usually a fan of no stacking but considering the scale I observe from the maps, seems off. easy fix

Zombies are really fast. I have watched the various zombie movies and when I see fast ones, I really don't see how anyone on land can survive especially if more shooting brings more zombies. WW Z showed it well by having the survivors on ships. Not a fan unless this was a military squad shooter game which it isn't so I plan on changing that.

I do like the tables related to how people react in various situations. Civilians are not going to go around and charge into combat like a military trained soldier will (and they will not want to do it unless they have to). Read about the militia vs the Continental Army in the revolutionary war. I would even expand it to testing before allowing a player to even move closer to a zombie let alone next to one.

I like the shooting attracting zombies, that's a great way to do it.

Still thinking about dealing with the ammo, looks good so far.

Still thinking about the weapons too, they need tweaked a bit I think, not much.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Truesdell
United States
Uniontown
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ZombieMark wrote:
For a little background and some conversation...

It pains me to admit this, but the movies and TV just don't make slow zombies anymore.


TV series Walking Dead

Slow or fast zombies? (walkers I mean , sorry...)

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The (not always) Walking Dead vary from milling about to moving briskly. I guess The Trotting Dead was already taken.

All Things Zombie celebrates zombie diversity. And hookers and bank robbers and broken down drunken sailors. The town's not called Last Chance for nothing. Cause, everyone deserves a last chance.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Truesdell
United States
Uniontown
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
True Morgan said as much in the first episode. They don't seem like much but when they get all riled up in a large group, you watch your ***.

I am playing around with having them move each turn but 2 mp slower. Almost the same speed.

I like the idea of them being faster if there are more zombies around them.

That could be fun.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Davis
msg tools
designer
Please check out: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/243443/shza-super-hexago...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Gray
United States
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rickytattoo wrote:


Why?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.