What're you looking at!
My wife and I have played several games of Zombie Corps(e) with the base game, but after reading about playing it on its own, I thought we'd give it a try. We found that using it with the base game we often didn't get to fully explore the base, and that was no fun.
There are only 15 tiles in this expansion, and only four of them have life or bullet tokens, so we knew that this would be a very lean, mean game. We threw in half of the Zombies 3.5 deck because that really enhanced playing the Zombies 3 expansion so we thought we would give it a try again.
For this game we decided to put the helicopter on the bottom of the pile. The Mess Hall came up fairly quickly, so I wanted to get in there to get its two life tokens; however, a zombie blocking the entrance just would not die, and I took a pounding from him. Meanwhile my wife headed for the armory to scoop up the six bullets there.
By the time I cleaned out the Mess Hall, all I had was one life token, and shortly afterwards, I died. Meanwhile, my wife fought her way to the Motorpool, but the cost was heavy, and she too died. So we were both back at the gates.
Then the Uberzombies appeared. In playing with the base pack, these ubercool zombies sometimes played little role, but in this expansion only game, they were right in the way of the helipad when it appeared.
When the helipad appeared, I played "I See the Helicopter," and gained an extra movement point. Penny was a little behind me, so she headed to the Motor Pool, hoping to drive down the path I was clearing. She had bad luck with rolls, just as I did at the beginning of the game.
Finally, I made it to the barracks, which was the last tile before the helipad. I fought my way in, got the goodies, and played the "Machete" card for one more on my combat roll.
Then I rolled two ones in a row! Finally, I did make it to the helipad and won.
This time we decided to shuffle in the helipad in the bottom five tiles. The Barracks came up immediately (we always put a four-way intersection after the gate to avoid a dead-end). This game the tiles with goodies came up in the beginning, and Penny headed for the armory.
I headed for the motor pool. My wife then played the "Dynamite" card and cleared out a few zombies in the armory. I headed imeediately there in my jeep, hoping for some easy pickings, but only managed to grab one bullet, before my wife had her turn and cleaned it out.
I drew the helipad with four tiles left to go and Penny placed it. She then drew the Top Secret Lab and put it away from the Helipad so it wouldn't interefere for her bid for freedom.
She headed for the helipad, and used dynamite successfully twice! Meanwhile, I was killed.
That's when I realized a big mistake: I had much earlier thrown out the "Break Through" card. Had I kept it, I could have attempted to make a break through such that I could have gone from the Gate immediately to the tile right before the helipad.
Due to her judicious use of dynamite, Penny only had one zombie between her and freedom, and won.
Playing this expansion by itself is very good. It is a very lean quick game. At first I thought that with the absence of goodies, you would have to die at least once to get to the helipad, but my wife made it in the second game without dying, with the help of a card.
But the cards with this expansion are very good: rocket launcher, mine field, etc. I think playing with the base game you don't get a clear idea of how many cool cards there are. When you add in half of the 3.5 deck, very interesting things can happen.
I think that playing the expansion solves alot of the complaints people have made (although I really have not had any serious complaints about the games):
a) With the expansion only, it is pretty much strictly a race for the helipad. I like the 25 zombie rule and it is essential to balance the main game, but for those who don't like it, it doesn't appear to figure into the expansion only as there are only 15 tiles.
b) Fast. With only 15 tiles the helipad is out in no time, even if it is on the bottom, and the game takes less than 30 minutes.
c) Screw Factor. In a game this lean and fast, the screw factor isn't so detrimental. If you do get killed (I always consider this as turning tail and recuperating before getting back in the fight rather than being killed), you are very much in the game because you are still close to the helipad, and losing half your zombies doesn't really matter.
d) Theme. With the expansion only, the game is more like the last twenty minutes of a zombie movie, rather than the full length feature. After all, that is the part you wait for in the movie, so there's nothing wrong with re-enacting that part only in the game.
e) Dice Rolls. We both had some bad streaks with the dice for movement. Playing with ht ebase game this can be very annoying, as you look at the many tiles looming between you and your destination. With only fifteen tiles out, this is not nearly as annoying, as you are usually not more than 4 or 5 tiles from where you are going.
The expansion only game doesn't replace the full game, but I highly recommend it when you need that zombie fix. It is especially good, as already mentioned for 2-4 players. I know that there are a lot of people who struggled to like this game and remained unsatisfied. I think if you are one of them, you should try playing an expansion only game.