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Zombies vs Cheerleaders» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Horrible theme or horribly fun? rss

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Luk
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I admit, I bought Zombies vs Cheerleaders at Spiel with no high expactations. The theme sounds fun, but lots of other games (Lunch Money, Pimp, Lap Dance, to name a few) are very poor games and once the fun of the theme and tabletalk was gone, the (re)playability was completely gone. Nonetheless, I decided to take the risk, also since it was in a nice promotional bundle (with Takenoko Chibis and Raptor), so I had this game almost for free.

The rules are short and easy to understand. The booklet itself is very clear, the reference sheets a little bit less (but hey, it's only a reference, isn't it?).

Zombies vs Cheerleaders has three difficulties. A Friendly Slaughter (ca. 15 min for beginners (i.e. easy for the cheerleaders), with 4 cheerleaders facing 4x6 zombies), The Student Council (25 min, intermeditate, additional cards marked with V), with 5 cheerleaders facing 5x6 zombies and The Prom (35 min, expert, additional cards marked with VI), with all 6 cheerleader facing 6x6 zombies.

Game Setup
Depending on the difficulty (and time) you want to play, the cheerleaders player takes 4-5-6 cheerleaders, and the double amount (8-10-12) barricades. The barricades are placed randomly in a row of 4-5-6 stacks of 2 (intact, side up), the cheerleaders are placed in a row behind the barricades, chosen by the cheerleaders player.
The zombie player takes the 6 zombie bosses and 18-24-30 zombies and forms a grid of 4x6, 5x6 or 6x6 zombies, face down, leaving one empty row between the barricades and the zombie horde. He can freely choose the setup of the zombie horde, which takes an additional setup time of course. However, so far I played with a random setup (just laying out the zombies face down), which was a complete disaster (for the zombies) once, but sometimes turned out to be a very tough horde.

Zombies
All zombies have strength (blood stain), stamina (brains) and a special ability. The football player (1-1) runs towards the barricades/cheerleaders (as a free move) once it is revealed, the baseball player (1-1) can attack the barricades from a distance (ranged attack), the teacher (2/1-0) has an initial strength of 2 which is reduced to 1 after a first hit (although its stamina is 0), the nerds (1-1) can climb the barricades, the lunch lady (3-1) has a very powerful attack of 3 but self-destroys in the attack and the bass drum player (1-0) is the loser of all zombies, providing the cheerleaders player with 2 additional action points when eliminated.
All bosses have 2 strength and 2 stamina and once they are killed provide a special action to the cheerleaders player. The boss of all bosses, the prom queen, is invincible (stamina infinity) but its stamina drops to 1 as soon as all "normal" bosses are eliminated.

Cheerleaders
All cheerleaders have an energy pool (represented by blue tokens) and a specific weapon. To use her weapon, a cheerleader discards an energy token. When suffering a hit from a zombie, a cheerleader also removes energy tokens corresponding to the attack strength. Hence, a cheerleader without energy cannot attack. Moreover, when a cheerleader has to remove an energy token when she is out of energy she is knocked-out. A knocked-out cheerleader is still in play (can be moved, but cannot attack or suffer attacks). Once a zombie "moves on a cheerleader", the cheerleader is bitten and the cheerleaders have lost the game.

To eliminate a zombie, the cheerleader's attack strength needs to be higher than the zombie's stamina. So equal or less is a miss!

Gloria (3 energy) throws molotov cocktails, instanly eliminating the aimed zombie (represented by the skull), giving additional damage to all (horizontally/vertically) adjacent zombies (strength equal to the eliminated zombies strength). So you beter throw them on bosses and (undamaged) teachers.
Pam (4 energy) has a flaming hairspray with an initial strength of 3 and burns all zombies in a column, starting with the zombie closest to her. The attack continues, but its strength is reduced by the stamina of the zombie eliminated. So you beter start burning a teacher (stamina 0), so the strength of the flame is not reduced.
Clover (1 energy) has a slingshot (strength 2) and although she has only one energy, she is the only cheerleader who can reload her shot (i.e. gain 1 enery when out of energy). So you better take care not losing Clover.
Vanessa (5 energy) throws razor-blade frisbees, instantly eliminating the aimed zombie (represented by the skull).
Sandy (6 energy, The Prom only) throws acid-filled test tubes of strength 2. She can also sacrifice herself (knocking herself out, even without energy) to eliminate the zombie just in front of her.
Samantha (7 energy, Student Council and The Prom) has no attack powers, but with 7 energy she can suffer (hence tank) some attacks.

Important: cheerleaders can only attack zombies in the column in front of them.

Game Play
The zombies start the game and the zombie player can spend 3 action points each turn. An action point can be used to move a whole zombie row or a zombie column (keeping empty spaces), to attack with a zombie (baseball players have ranged attack to hit the barricades) or to use a special action from a barricade card (i.e. as soon as a barricade suffers a hit, it is flipped to the "damaged" side, as soon as it suffers a second hit, the zombie player gains the barricade card, so he can use the special action at will in one of his next turns (to the cost of one action point)).

Important: a zombie cannot attack and move in the same turn; also a zombie cannot attack twice in the same turn, but zombies can move several times in the same turn.

Important: all zombies start the game face-down. The zombie player however can flip zombie cards at will (and at no additonal cost) during the game to use their special powers. As soon as a zombie card is revealed, it remains face-up for the remainder of the game. Revealing a zombie will mostly happen when it attacks or is attacked, but also when climbing the barricades (nerds) or in the rush for the barricades/cheerleaders (football player).

The cheerleader player at his turn also has 3 action points to spend. He can swap positions of 2 cheerleaders, he can move (partly or entirely) a pile of barricades, he can use the attack of a cheerleader (by removing 1 energy token, attacks only in the column facing the cheerleader), reload Clover's slingshot, sacrifice Sandy or play a special action from a boss card (i.e. as soon as a zombie boss is eliminated, the cheerleaders player gains the boss card, so he can use the special action at will in one of his next turns (to the cost of one action point)).

Special actions
Cheerleaders
The special actions for the cheerleaders (gained for elimination of the bosses) allow to reorganize barricades and cheerleaders at once, to give 1 cheerleader an energy token, to look at 5 face-down zombies, to push back 3 times (row/column, in any combination), to repair the barricades for 3 repair points, to increase the strength of a cheerleader attack by 1.

Zombies
The special actions for the zombies (gained for destroying the barricades) allow to perform a ranged attack by a baseball player of strength 2 (normal 1), to move a zombie column as close as possible to the cheerleader, to hide all zombies in a column (except damaged teachers) and reorganize them at will, to move a column 2 spaces forward, to add 1 zombie in 3 different columns (according to the rules "behind the last zombie" - but there is a question here on BGG whether it is allowed or not to put it in an empty column at 1 space from the barricades (as in the game setup) - I always played it as the rules state: behind the last zombie, so no zombie, no extra zombies), to add 4 zombies in 1 column (behind the last zombie) and to add to Prom Queen to the game.

End of the Game
The cheerleades win when all zombies are eliminated. The zombies win when 1 cheerleader is lost, meaning a zombie is moved on top of a knocked-out cheerleader.

My thoughts
Zombies vs Cheerleaders is a nice little game. The theme fits the game very well and the completely asymettric player powers work wonderfully well together. The cheerleaders start with very few hope, and facing the vast zombie horde in the beginning looks rather desperate, but a well-aimed molotov cocktail or hairspray can completly turn the tide. But also that works both ways: a desperate molotov cocktail attack on the bass drum is not only a wasted attack, but also a wasted energy point and you will definitely need them all.
Do not underestimate the power of all cheerleaders, even Samantha the bodyguard, although she seems useless at first sight, is crucial. To win the game, all zombies or cheerleaders need to work together. Storming blindly and brainless (as "real" zombies would do) the barricades will not work and is only speeding to your doom. Randomly attacking zombies (maybe except from Clover's slingshot) is a complete waste of ammo and energy (unless you are extremely lucky eliminating some bosses).
Combining zombie powers or cheerleader powers is essential. As a result, players will grow in the game. Were my first games of "friendly slaughter" always a very close win for the cheerleaders (some already KO, all out of energy and the last zombie killed with a slingshot), other (later) games (student council and prom) showed nice combo's at both sides. Indeed, the game has a learning curve, not that long, not very steep, but a learning curve nonetheless. Together with the completely asymmetric setup and player powers, the game has a very high replayability, short explanation of the rules and short playing time. The small size of the box (and if you consider only the cards and the tokens it's even less) fits easily in your luggage. So for me, the only drawback is the artwork, you love it or hate it. I hate it... but the game is just too much fun. Definitely an 8, can be a 9 (I'll reconsider this after 10 or 20 plays).
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Fabien Conus
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Great and detailed review ! Thanks a lot !
 
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Martin Smith
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Nice review, thanks. Where can this be purchased from?
 
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Fabien Conus
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smithnewz wrote:

Nice review, thanks. Where can this be purchased from?
It should arrive in your FLGS, but when will depend on the distributor.

In the meantime, it is available on Matagot's online store:

http://www.matagot.com/spip?page=boutique&lang=en
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Martin Smith
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FabienC wrote:
smithnewz wrote:

Nice review, thanks. Where can this be purchased from?
It should arrive in your FLGS, but when will depend on the distributor.

In the meantime, it is available on Matagot's online store:

http://www.matagot.com/spip?page=boutique&lang=en
Thanks. When I'd looked there just before, that game (and Raptor) didn't seem to be available for purchase.

Although their stated postage cost to my part of the world is prohibitive for a game of that size, so I guess I'll have to wait for others with better international rates to stock or preorder it (as I did for Raptor).

 
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Fabien Conus
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The game will be available in stores in France on November 13th. Including stores that ship outside of France and to the UK.
 
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Martin Smith
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FabienC wrote:
The game will be available in stores in France on November 13th. Including stores that ship outside of France and to the UK.
Is the French language one also the English language one? Or is there a separate English language edition?
 
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Luk
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smithnewz wrote:

FabienC wrote:
The game will be available in stores in France on November 13th. Including stores that ship outside of France and to the UK.
Is the French language one also the English language one? Or is there a separate English language edition?
The only language-dependent stuff in the box are the rules and the reference sheets. So yes, there is a differnce between French and English versions. Rules (and probably reference sheets) can easily be found on BGG or the Matagot website.
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Fabien Conus
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As Luk said the cards themselves are language independent. However, the rules and player aids are different.

The rules will definitely be available on Matagot's website (and most likely here on BGG as well).
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Martin Smith
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Quote:
The only language-dependent stuff in the box are the rules and the reference sheets. So yes, there is a differnce between French and English versions. Rules (and probably reference sheets) can easily be found on BGG or the Matagot website.
Quote:
As Luk said the cards themselves are language independent. However, the rules and player aids are different.

The rules will definitely be available on Matagot's website (and most likely here on BGG as well).
Thanks very much for the replies. So there is a retail English language edition? Or will be? Or only a French edition but you can download the English rules and aid?

 
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Luk
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I've bought an English copy at Spiel, so there definitely is or will be an English one for retail.
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Fabien Conus
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smithnewz wrote:

Thanks very much for the replies. So there is a retail English language edition? Or will be? Or only a French edition but you can download the English rules and aid?

There is an english edition! Now, I don't know when this will be available in your country as it depends on the local distributor.
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FYI: I've finally found the time to take and upload some pictures.
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