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Subject: Not so good, but I love it anyway! rss

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Danny Stevens
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Games: Design 'em, rewrite 'em, play 'em!
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I purchased Zombies!!! and didn't like its rules, just its components, so I rewrote the game and published Zombies!!! A Second Slice here at the geek, which was more fun but didn't completely fix the game. Zombicide has some problems too, so let me talk about them first.

Rule presentation / ease of use

Its all a little higledy piggledy - some rules are easy to miss. Some rules require a few goes of re-reading to get right, mostly because of poor wording. Some cards are difficult to read and have important rules on them that are easy to miss, like the manhole zombie cards. And what does it mean if you play one while spawning zombies in a room? I assume that zombies still jump out of manholes as normal. Its unclear if bringing the scope and rifle together makes them into a single card for inventory purposes. We just house rule that that is the case.

All this could have been cleaned up by a bit of rules play testing so its very naughty.

Consistency / gaminess

You have to break down a door to escape your home? You have to have door breaking equipment or you are just stuck?
Zombies spawn twins when they could go in different directions? (It would have been easy to have ruled that the odd zombie makes a dice decision)
Player experience causes more zombies to spawn even in closed buildings?
Only weapons with certain strength can kill some zombie types, massed firepower wont do it.
The abomination zombie is hard to kill but otherwise is just a walker, which is a bit dull.
Targeting priority with ranged weapons and cars entering spaces has it that fellow survivors always get hit first, no matter how many zombies are crowding in. Its weird, but its also important for play balance so mechanics triumph over theme engagement.
It would be nice to have a medical thing somewhere to help wounded characters with.
The "noise" thing should be fun but it is hard to make use of, especially because players cannot be stealthy, they are always noise markers themselves.

Replayability

Character differentiation and balance is not as good as it could have been. The potential is there but they are not really mechanically distinct, and yet some are much better than others in most situations.
City tiles have a lot of mechanical duplicates even if differing art work, reducing the situations that can be envisaged, making lots of possible layouts the same as each other.

Scale-ability

The scenarios are not subtly graded to get harder and harder, they are just all over the place.
All scenarios seem to work best with 6 survivors, regardless of how many players you may have, so just give some players extra survivors.

So what's good about this game?

The figurines are cool.

But you know what is really good? Playing the game! Its fun.

Characters get to do daring things and make amazing rescue moves or sacrifice themselves for the greater good. The game is wild and horrible when you don't know what your doing. Once you know that you should have both a melee weapon and a ranged weapon, that you need to search for things as often as possible early in a scenario and don't open doors till its useful or everyone is well buffed, and recognise you need to share stuff among the survivors, then it becomes a nail biting action adventure. There is a fair bit of tension during game play and you can feel very excited if you win a scenario.

Would I make changes?

Yes. This game seems rushed and should have its rules and presentation tightened up, but that is not as important as the following suggestions:

* Where zombies have a choice of which way to go then split the group and have the 1 odd zombie go by dice decision instead of splitting to a duplicate.

* Have the abomination able to get a bonus bite action if it is in a space with survivors. So that's either move and bite or 2 bites.

* Allow characters to spend their whole turn being quiet. They get a "silent" marker that eliminates that particular survivor from the noise calculation. This means if all characters in a space are silent and no zombie can see them then the zombies won't move toward them. If there is no one to move toward then the zombies just stand still.

* Phil has gun training, he should be able to shoot at zombies in the same space as survivors and only hit a survivor if the attack on the zombie is a miss. Allow anyone to do the same if there are at least four times as many zombies as survivors in a space.

* Have at least 1 first aid kit that can be used once to heal a character wound before being discarded. It would be interesting to have multiple but also make taking a first aid kit off the board an objective.

* Have at least two more different tile configuration in the starting set. And include some spawn markers that only activate when the scenario reaches certain colour levels.

* Always have 6 survivors in play.

* Rearrange the scenarios to give more graded difficulty. This could be done by having experienced players replay them a few times and measure game length, survivor mortality rates and win/lose ratios.

Conclusion
Good game with some annoying production flaws. Well worth it if you like the theme or just like good, tense co-op play.
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William Hoyt
United States
East Liverpool
Ohio
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Danny from Tower wrote:



Rule presentation / ease of use

Its all a little higledy piggledy - some rules are easy to miss. Some rules require a few goes of re-reading to get right, mostly because of poor wording. Some cards are difficult to read and have important rules on them that are easy to miss, like the manhole zombie cards. And what does it mean if you play one while spawning zombies in a room? I assume that zombies still jump out of manholes as normal. Its unclear if bringing the scope and rifle together makes them into a single card for inventory purposes. We just house rule that that is the case.

Yeah, manholes would spawn on tiles that contain survivors, even if spawned in rooms.

Yes, the Rifle and Scope combine and use only one inventory slot. You are playing that right.

Nice little review and thoughts you wrote up here! The game is a wonderful sandbox game made for easy rule adjustments, changes and re-writes!

One thing we've done is allow "food items" to be used as 1xp like some of the later expansions use of "cookies", that way, on missions where they aren't part of the goal, they are usable.

Another is allowing a car to be "potentially" siphoned for gas to fill a gas can on a die roll of 4+ if failed, anyone may use another action for one more chance on a 5+. If successful grab a can of gas item card. Either successful or unsuccessful the Car is now unusable for the rest of the game.

In later rules expansions/season they now allow storing items in cars. We use that rule in any game now.

Cheers,
Will




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Philip Lodge
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The first edition of the rules were much worse. Aparently it's due to translation being originally a French game, so i've heard.

In some rules it confuses loads due to the inclusion of words in 1 place and not another.

+1 free search action... Just don't use the word extra in the explanation, lol. I understand it's there as you get +1 extra action, which can be used only for a search but in English, the way they worded it needed more clarification. How about, the survivor has the 1 search action per turn for free.

Players Phase Section... Each survivor can execute 3 actions, then the next 2 pages has all the actions you can pick, obviously this implies each of these actions cost 1 action. BUT. Reorganize Inventory, the only action to specifically say in it's opening words, at the cost of 1 action... This then confuses people to whether certain other actions like getting in and out, take or activating an object actually cost an action.
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Eric
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Yes, the Manhole cards should have a bright orange/red/other color border to make them more noticeable.

The Zombicide APP is awesome. Saves table space.
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Philip Lodge
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for the things you'd change, some of those have changed.

For splits we go with the holder of the skull, first player decides. We only don't do splits on extra activations, which they changed in expansions anyways. Remember LOS ends at the next room so splits are quite rare, they'd go to most noise. The theme behind the splits is quite good when imagined and adds that extra thing to beware of.

Quite, exists now in the form of Ninja skill. We've added Hide, 1A, negates LOS from Zombies in adjacent rooms, must be last action.

Creating skills for your home brew characters can be half the fun.

We give Starts with pistol skill - Ignore targeting priority when using the pistol in the same zone. This makes Phil reaching red still a bonus and works perfect thematicly staying true to original rules. Other House rules I've seen break the sniper skill.

6 survivors you say, they've changed how many cards you'd draw etc to reference how many survivors in 1 of the expansions.

I really want to see them release blank equipment cards so we can easily create our own. First Aid is on our list too. I'll likely try printing some as there's many we want, including negative ones like NOISE! Could easily ruin your plans.

Quote:
Once you know that you should have both a melee weapon and a ranged weapon, that you need to search for things as often as possible early in a scenario and don't open doors till its useful or everyone is well buffed, and recognise you need to share stuff among the survivors, then it becomes a nail biting action adventure. There is a fair bit of tension during game play and you can feel very excited if you win a scenario.
All the things that you'd need to know and figure out early to survive say the real thing, should it happen.

Quote:
The game is wild and horrible when you don't know what your doing.

Exactly, lol!

I'm currently writing my Cheat Sheet & House Rules. I'll share once finished. Serious fixes for the car included.
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