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Subject: Advanced Gameplay Review of Rise of the Zombies! - Where I reveal the dirty little secret of the game rss

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I got the game mainly for its infamous difficulty.

william4192 wrote:
The zombies do not stop coming, which is fine and fits the theme. The problem is the zombies do not progressively get harder. Instead, you can be stuck with the hardest zombies in the game at any time or at the same time. The game becomes nearly impossible. If you win, it is because the dice rolled in your favor. I do not feel any of your decisions would make you more likely to win (but perhaps they will make you more likely to lose).


ZombiEd wrote:
The first thing you should know is you will die and you will die often! In those 12 games, I have only succeeded in getting to the helicopter twice; one of those times, I didn’t survive the last batch of zombies. Several times, I died in the Safe House without ever getting a chance to move.


SoloBCD wrote:
I beat Rise of the Zombies for the first time yesterday.

I didn’t technically win. I re-rolled a series of four missed attacks at the end of the game as my Survivors tried to climb aboard the helicopter with zombies clinging to them. I said the game is realistically difficult, but it only makes sense that I would have a better chance at fending off zombies in the end than that pansy Scout.


Between the frustrated, hair-pulling gamers and the game developers who claim it’s been properly playtested, who to believe ? In this gameplay review, I will let you in on the dirty little secret about this game.

Victory condition

The (living) survivors must go through 6 location cards of their choice in a line from the safe house to the rescue helicopter. Along the way, they level up to face increasingly big zombie mobs appearing whenever they enter a new location.



Turn structure and the growing mob

The turn structure has big implications on the way you approach the game. It is probably one of the main reasons players get zombified so badly.

Player phase :

1. Discard cards
2. Refill hand
3. Play cards (players play simultaneously)

Zombie phase :

4. Zombies move toward nearest survivor
5. Zombies attack
6. 1 zombie spawns behind the rearmost survivor

Characters can only move once per turn, and so do the zombies. So one can see that survivors and zombies will progress in lockstep, and that the zombie mob after the survivors will be increasing.

That’s fine by me. One gameplay feature that put the game on my radar was the in-your-face zombies. My prior experience with another zombie game, Dawn of the Zeds (Second edition), though satisfying narrative-wise, had too many dull periods where zombies were scarce and sleepwalking at a comfortable distance from the city hall.

Others feel the mechanic of growing mobs is un-thematic.

william4192 wrote:
The game does get harder as it moves a long, but it is artificial. More zombies are added because it is the 5th location card you went to, not because X building is more dangerous.


Well, Eugene Porter from The Walking Dead has something to say about this.

Eugene Porter wrote:
That shot I just fired was heard in all directions for a long damn distance. Two miles ? Three ? Fuck if I know — but a long damn way. Let me tell you how the world works since you fuckers don’t seem to have been paying attention for the last goddamn year of hell on earth we’ve all been living. Every rotting dead-alive fuck who just heard that is going to get up and start following that sound. That sound means people — and people means meat.

Most of them can’t walk a straight line and are as dumb as a post — they’ll lose interest or walk off in the wrong direction. But sometimes… not every time… one will walk by another one — and that one will get up and follow. Then they’ll meet more and they’ll meet more and more and more and more. You see where I’m going ?


Running away ? No. Clean up, then move.

In this game, you don’t really run away from fights. You run into them. One reason is that the zombies move before attacking. The other reason is that moving into a new location immediately spawns zombies, which makes things worse. The player must ensure they have enough firepower before moving in.



Meet Franck.




The players try to run away from Franck at the Safe House, encountering a group of Responders. Franck just catches up to them and attacks.


The only case when the players are truly running away is when they start the turn one step ahead of the zombies.



The players moved from the Police Station to the Parking Lot. The zombies follow their trail to the Police Station.




At the end of the turn, a zombie spawns behind the survivors, increasing the size of the trailing mob. Here it is a Screamer. If the players don’t find a way to move to a new location every turn or fire at the chasing mob using a Ranged Weapon, they will have to confront the impressive-looking mob.




Zombies moving 2 locations per turn can catch up to the survivors and break the run-away pattern.


The safest strategy is to have the zombies taken care of at the current location, then move with enough left to clear the next zombie mob. This prevents the mob inflation phenomenon. The process of keeping the current number of zombies down to 1 at the same location is the leveling-up part of the game.

Level up, but do it fast

Leveling up by staying at the same location works because of step 6 of the turn structure : instead of X zombies spawned by a new location, you only get 1 new zombie per turn. The players can take advantage of the fact that this number does NOT scale to the number of players.



While leveling up, do you prefer to face this…




Or move forward and face that…?


Because of the practically guaranteed level-up strategy, the game would become too easy if there wasn’t any timer. The timer is the one balancing factor that ultimately keeps the player honest and the game fresh.

That was the dirty little secret. The game becomes actually dead easy if you can overcome the growing pains. When you get the level-up ball rollin’, you swim in experience points and can buy everything you want. There’s an equilibrium point where everything the players invest in can be consumed to kill every zombie, making enough XP to buy everything back.



The players should think of buying equipment at the end of the player turn. With the 3 XP, this player could buy the Beef Jerky and the Football Helmet now. If they don’t, then they will have to either discard them to make room for new items (step 1 of the turn structure) or draw less items (step 2), because of the hand size limit. This is easy to forget in the excitement.


The opportunities to level up will usually be there. Here’s a live demonstration.

Surviving a herd in the first turn (solo)

Is the game unfair when you draw the worst zombies right from the start ? To have an objective take on the matter, I set up consecutive solo games where I draw the formidable 12-hit point zombie herd as the first zombie card. To put that in context : players only get 1 free attack during their turn. In the solo game, that means 1 free hit attempt per turn with the cheerleader character. The only hope is to find enough hit opportunities from other sources.



Cards are multi-use. You can discard cards with a gun icon to get an additional attack. If the weapon has been equipped, you can also discard it to launch a final attack in order to inflict a guaranteed number of hits (here 3), hence the importance of drawing 0-cost weapons early.


I recorded how each set-up turned out. The results confirm my feelings about balance after more than 10 plays.

First try



My starting hand. I can equip the heavy pistol for 1 XP, thanks to the scavenge card.




The herd arrives. At the beginning of the next turn, I discard all cards except those with a gun icon and the Haymaker. It is important to cycle through your cards fast, and not hesitate to trash nice cards you cannot pay anyway.


I hit with the cheerleader’s base attack. I add a head shot for +1 hit, then discard the Propane Tank, the Sledge Hammer and the Lee-Anfield rifle for 3 more attempts (2 successes) that I drew at the beginning of the turn, for 4 hits total.



The Herd hits for 2, and Franck arrives. I draw back up to 6 cards (8 is the starting hand size, but I get to draw 2 less because of the wounds).


I attack Franck and miss. I discard First-Aid Kit and Distracted for the gun icons. I hit Franck twice, and the Herd once. I throw away the Heavy Pistol for 3 more hits on the Herd, down to 4 health. I use the Franck XP to buy Canteen and heal 1 wound.



I equip the Crossbow, which reads “if this is your only readied weapon, group zombies do not hit you,” so the Herd won’t hit this turn. Responders arrive.




My next draw.




I temporarily swith the Crossbow with the Pipe Wrench to increase hit odds, and play In the Zone for +1 on all my rolls.


Using the Whiskey, Rifle and the Molotov Cocktail as attacks, I roll 4 times on the Pipe Wrench table : roll 6 = 2 hits, roll 3 = 1 hit, roll 5 = 2 hits (thanks to In the Zone) = Herd dead, roll 2 = 1 hit on the Responders, then throw away the Pipe wrench to kill them. I then buy the rifle with the Responders XP. Area is clear.

Second try

Some may feel I had it easy with the Crossbow. So I’ll try once more.



Here’s my starting hand.




I equip the Crowbar and the Lawnmower Blade thanks to the Scavenge card. I will only keep cards with a gun icon. The Lawnmower Blade gives 1 free attack roll on its table. The Herd appears.


I play In the Zone. I roll 4 twice on Lawnmower Blade, that’s 2 hits, to which I add the 2 head shots. I discard 2 cards for their gun icon, for 1 more hit. The Herd hits back for 1. A Runner appears.



I draw back up to 7 cards (instead of 8, because of the wound). Not much attack here.


As I can’t get rid of the Herd right away, I need to take out the Runner to reduce the incoming damage. I miss twice with the Lawnmower Blade. I discard the Crowbar for 3 hits, 1 hit for the Herd (6 total now), and 2 for the Runner, for 1 XP. I decide to save the the Haymaker, and the Scavenge card for later, as I hope to combine it with the XP for another weapon. The Herd hits for 2. Responders show up.



I can now only draw back up to 5 cards. Not much there. Low health severely limits your options.


I decide to use the XP and Scavenge card to use the Six Pack of Beer (fitting for a cheerleader), allowing me to draw 6 cards. All my hopes hinge on this draw.



The Ambush card alone would save me. It is possibly the most powerful card in the game. For the sake of this demo, I decide to not use it. The important items here are the In the Zone card, the Haymaker and the two 0-cost weapons.


I play In the Zone. I decide to go for the Responders. I get 2 hits from the 2 free attacks with the Lawnmower Blade. I then manage a Head Shot with the Baseball Bat, and perform a Haymaker with the Machete, for 4 hits. The Responders are killed, giving me 2 XP. The Herd hits for 1.



During the Zombie Spawn phase, I draw 1 Howler, which in turns attracts Shamblers, the second hardest zombie card. Fortunately, I draw a Molotov Cocktail.


I buy the Molotov Cocktail with the 2 XP from the Responders. I use it to get rid of the Howler and the Shamblers.



The Herd hits for 2. I am down to 2 health. A Spitter arrives.


The Herd has 6 hits. I can buy the Rifle and discard it with the Lawnmower Blade for 6 guaranteed hits. So I eliminate the Spitter first using my free attack rolls. Then I discard my weapons to get rid of the Herd.

I get out of this in pretty bad shape, down to 2 health, but with 4 XP to spend.

Getting out of tough early situations is definitely possible. I managed once to get to the 5th location after killing 2 Herds. Of course, you need luck. But as the use of the Six-Pack of Beer demonstrates, with good card play there are good chances the players can make it very hard for the zombies to win.

At this point…

It feels now like I will win almost every time if you give me enough time to ponder my options. What makes the difference then is the timer. If you want to beat the game on the “insane” difficulty level, you’ll have to play with a sense of urgency. This changes the game completely. You won’t always take the most optimal decisions, opting instead for the ones you can make quick. At 2+ players, this is magnified because of the banter needed to win. You’ll try to move together into new locations, trade items, or assign zombies to the players in need of XP.



If the Athlete kills the Spitter first, he can buy the No Remorse card for an additional free attack per turn. The additional action can be put to use immediately to hit the Shamblers with the help of the cheerleader.


In the most desperate times, the timer will make you discard all your weapons instead of rolling dice, just to get it done as quick as possible. There’s good story-making potential when the last seconds are ticking.



With only a few minutes remaining, I was sprinting to the finish line. But, of all zombies, a… Runner spawned and caught up with my group to block access to the helicopter.


I lost precious seconds dispatching him with the baseball bat. Fortunately, I had made sure I had everything prepped for the last location.



The reception committee at the last location.




To greet this joyous band, I played In the Zone twice, in conjunction with Propane Tank and Molotov Cocktail… Talk about crime against Zombinity.


Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore wrote:
I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like… victory.


Because of the balance between leveling up and acting fast, Rise of the Zombies! is a unique take on the zombie genre that has earned its place on my shelves next to Dawn of the Zeds.

------

For other Advanced Gameplay Reviews, you can check out this geeklist : Advanced Gameplay Reviews
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Andy Kent
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Hi

Thanks for the interesting review, and your thoughts.

Speaking as one of the players who tears his hair out at the brutality, you clarified in your examples some rules that were unclear to me from the rulebook (and may be unclear to other players):

- a Final attack does not need a free attack or attack card
- a Final attack is not aimed at a specific zombie targets
- damage from a Final attacks can be spread across any zombies within range
- "One use" weapons are treated as Final attacks

This certainly makes things seem easier, so thanks for that.

I agree it is better to face a 1-card spawn that a multi-card infestation, however, in the games I have played and lost (which is 9 out of 10) the reason I lost is that the increasing number of zombies in each location eventually overwhelms the survivors. No matter how well you "level up" you will eventually face more attacks in a single zombie attack round than you can take.

My main complaint isn't that the game is too brutal (although it is) it is that your chance of surviving relies entirely on the shuffle of the zombie deck. Even if you manage to play only the benevolent locations (corner store, hospital, open field etc) sooner or later the zero cards (loner, crawler) and howlers will mean you face so many cards that even after you have killed some you will face 7, 8 or more zombie attacks - more than enough to kill or heavily injure you, especially with some "Fast" zombies, which attack you once as you enter the location then again in the zombie attack turn. Add to this the mechanic that reduces your card draw when you are wounded, and the games spiral into an inevitably swift failure. zombie

If you are lucky in the infestation draws you will survive the location - if not, it will kill you. It is all dependent on the zombie deck shuffle. The timer is the last of your problems - whereas in a game like this the difficulty should not be in surviving to the helicopter, but in getting there in time.

However, your post and advice has prompted me to get the game out again and give it one more go!

TDM
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Kuene
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This game is like the little sister of Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game with a clock an zombies.
I like it.
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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When you get in the swing of the game - you will find your success rate going up very fast.

Yesterday - with 4 survivors playing (2 newbies), 1 easy success at beginner level, 1 close success at regular level* and two losses (1 at each level - 1 due to clock, the other due to Zombies Again attacks).

* Because of the ease of success once some-one has the Scoped Rifle - we removed it from the game to increase the challenge.

A suggestion,
Before getting back into the game, leave the timer off and play with 2 Survivors, each step of the way looking at how best to use your action cards.
Once one or both have a rifle (or mercenary), use the Range 1 attacks to clear the spawn from behind you, to get XP (for skills/weapons/items), before you Advance into the next location with an infestation. If you are not ready to take on a new infestation with enough cards for the attacks likely to be needed (not forgetting any Final attacks), then don't advance yet!
If you don't have a range 1 weapon - do not be afraid to withdraw to melee the Spawn, best to clear your tail than move into a new location and be overwhelmed in the Zombie Move and Attack phase by the Spawn from behind.

As to card keeping - there are only a few cards that you should ever consider not discarding to get new ones:
Scoped Rifle
Slayer
In the Zone
Police Station

All 0 XP items should be readied immediately - you can still discard them for the attack symbol that turn or in latter turns..
Discarding 2 readied baseball bats and a hedger to make 3 scoped rifle attacks that Kill (individuals and groups) on a 7+ is worth more than their final attack value (usually whistle )





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the_demolished_man wrote:
I agree it is better to face a 1-card spawn that a multi-card infestation, however, in the games I have played and lost (which is 9 out of 10) the reason I lost is that the increasing number of zombies in each location eventually overwhelms the survivors. No matter how well you "level up" you will eventually face more attacks in a single zombie attack round than you can take.


To add to David’s excellent advice, make sure you are ready before you enter a new location. Stay put and level up for several turns if you need to (having a ranged weapon to shoot at the zombies behind helps). Have enough attack rolls and weapons readied, and try to include the Final Attack values when doing the math.

You can also rely on Sneaking and Binoculars to reduce Infestation.

There are key cards with massive destruction potential that you can target when cycling through the deck, such as Ambush, Molotov Cocktail, and Distracted (to kill a zombie Herd, you could just discard a Beef Jerky and a 1 XP weapon by using this card lol).

For the Fast zombies, there’s a very handy weapon that autoinflicts 1 hit before they attack, the Lawn Edger. Can be a life saver.

This game offers a lot of options to the player. You’ll play the game right when you begin to feel that your real enemy is the timer. Have fun!
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kuene wrote:
This game is like the little sister of Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game with a clock an zombies.
I like it.

Hi

I agree. I do find it interesting, though, that RotZ was developed first. Warfighter has some system differences which I think eases the pressure:

- the number of hostiles in a location does not increase automatically as you approach the objective
- blocking happens in a location rather than by a hostile, and so can be avoided
- the "cover" mechanic means that being hit by a hostile is far less frequent
- everyone has two free actions (and therefore attacks)
- the NPS and Squad soldiers do not have hands of cards and so even when wounded retain their full attacks

I wonder if these changes are because of the tactical combat theme or because of feedback from RotZ players? If Warfighter had come out first would RotZ have the same system it does now?

Also, the military theme of Warfighter makes it clearer that it is a combat game - in my initial RotZ games I held on to useful item and weapon cards for future play (sneaking, shotgun), and therefore had fewer attacks. It took a while to realise that RotZ is a combat game and gameplay should emphasise attacks above all, and other cards should be discarded for attacks or recycled and used only if they come along when they are needed.

TDM
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My 2c... (AU )

I would hope that if ROTZ had come after Warfighter that it would have been the same as it is now!

My thinking is...
WF are trained professionals - hence the two actions and plenty of time for us arm chair warriors to plan our Soldiers actions.

ROTZ the players lack that training and so are only as "skilled" as we the players are and we are racing against the clock for our survival!

There are some features of ROTZ that I would love to see more of in WF.
not the zombies... zombie zombie zombie zombie zombie
but..

Fast Hostiles!
While in WW2 WF there is an Event, that might make it into SF WF, that allows a Hostile to attack immediately - having the initiative always with the Soldiers allows me about an 80 to 90% success rate, with only a 10-20% casualty rate. But then again there are some other potential Soldier killers... such as ambushers, minefields, mortar teams and tanks..
with a few more in the expansions... whistle

Nastier locations!
OK - some locations always reinforce (much like the Spawning in ROTZ), but most only reinforce sometimes if soldiers are present... the Good is that Hostiles can attack when they spawn (unlike ROTZ spawn), but the Player counters are many (Overwatch, Action Cards, Self Defence weapons, Triggered weapons). Only occasional do the Hostiles get to attack my soldiers and hence my success rates and low casualty rates. whistle
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Hi

OK, armed with a new determination, a clearer idea of the rules and some advice for tactics, I played again.

I randomly took the Cheerleader and the Yachtsman, and set off, using the advised "wait around and level up before moving into a new location" tactic. I also ignored the timer.

Everything went fine for the first few locations. I concentrated on the safer locations (hospital, open field, corner store) and resisted the urge to go charging in until I had levelled up and had some skills and good weapons. Picking off the spawning zombies behind me was easy as I readied a rifle early on, so I was racking up a handful of experience points each for later use. I even managed to kill a herd on a couple of occasions.

So things were looking good...

Then, the inevitable happened, as I fully expected it would. On location 6, the infestation was two loners, a crawler, a howler and 3 shamblers. The draw gave me no attack cards so I needed to discard most of my weapons for free attacks. A hulker spawned behind me. Next draw gave me no locations that weren't lethal and no ranged weapons I could ready so when the zombies attacked (joined by the hulker) they killed the yachtsman. The rest of the game consisted of the cheerleader sitting there for turn after turn drawing cards trying to find a location to run to, wounding a zombie or two (despite being a slayer with a machete) and being slowly wounded herself, drawing fewer cards each turn. Until she died.

This just reinforces for me what I said earlier. The random and constantly increasing zombie draws will eventually overwhelm you, the random action card draws that reduce as you get wounded will eventually betray you, as your options narrow and you lose the very abilities you need to get out of danger. If you are very lucky that won't happen until you are at the helicopter. But if you do make it out, it will be because of the way you shuffled the decks at the start.

No matter which way you paint it, the game is random and brutal, with a broken mechanic.

TDM
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the_demolished_man wrote:
On location 6, the infestation was two loners, a crawler, a howler and 3 shamblers. The draw gave me no attack cards so I needed to discard most of my weapons for free attacks.


I spot a problem here. Did you go in with no attack card and hope for a good draw, or did the roll fail you ? 3 shamblers is hard, but not insurmountable (the XPs for killing one are used to kill the others by buying more weapons and final attacks). I usually try to go in there with an insurance like Ambush, Molotov Cocktail, or even Barricade, in case it turns really bad.

I could probably help you better if you post your hand of cards before entering the location.

On a side note, it's not a matter of how one paints it, I objectively win this game handily. Don't lose hope, the victory will be all the sweeter (that's what hardships are for).
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Try again

With the Scout and a combat survivor such as the Biker, Athelete, Mercenary, Scoundrel or Historian.

All have intrinsic attacks - the Mercenaries has a range of 0+1, the historian has a re-roll and a sword that could do 2 damage. The biker is tough.

Of course the scout starting with 5 XP, means that on the 1st turn you look at both survivors hands to find the item/weapons that are best to spend those XP on.

If could be fun to play along here - post your card draws and we can all make suggestions, you pick what to do and roll the dice and so on. No timer but likely to be a lot of "interesting" suggestions!
 
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throughtheages56 wrote:
Did you go in with no attack card and hope for a good draw, or did the roll fail you ? 3 shamblers is hard, but not insurmountable (the XPs for killing one are used to kill the others by buying more weapons and final attacks).

Hi

Thanks for the reply.

I had in previous turns stayed put until I had accrued the right cards to move on, but with strong cards spawning behind me I was using up any good weapons and experience just staying still so I decided, despite being wounded, to move on.

I had gone into all of the other locations with mainly dodge cards and one or two gun icon cards so that I could attack if need be. My general approach was to ready as many weapons as possible to use for final attacks to leave room for dodge, head shot, look out, and haymaker cards in my hand so that I could survive any fast zombies but still attack. In this case the infestation was much higher than I expected due to the zero cards and howler, so I ended up using almost all of my readied weapons for final attacks - but they didn't do enough damage to clear the infestation or to allow me to ready any other weapons from the next draw. 3 shamblers is 18 points to clear - which would have overwhelmed anybody.

Sometimes you simply don't get dealt the cards you need to keep in reserve, or you have to cycle them for locations.

What killed me, though, was the slow grind of my cheerleader after the yachtsman died - unable to move on, she was whittled down bit by bit by the spawns behind her, each turn drawing fewer cards than the one before due to the wound/hand size mechanic.

TDM zombiezombie
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davidinsydney2 wrote:
Try again

With the Scout and a combat survivor such as the Biker, Athelete, Mercenary, Scoundrel or Historian.

All have intrinsic attacks - the Mercenaries has a range of 0+1, the historian has a re-roll and a sword that could do 2 damage. The biker is tough.

Of course the scout starting with 5 XP, means that on the 1st turn you look at both survivors hands to find the item/weapons that are best to spend those XP on.

If could be fun to play along here - post your card draws and we can all make suggestions, you pick what to do and roll the dice and so on. No timer but likely to be a lot of "interesting" suggestions!

Hi David

OK, that sound like fun.

I don't like choosing my survivors - I randomly deal three and then select two of those. I'll randomly take two of the people you suggest, and we'll see what happens.

TDM
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the_demolished_man wrote:
3 shamblers is 18 points to clear - which would have overwhelmed anybody.


In the 2nd playthrough, I survive a Herd + Runner, followed by Responders, with only the cheerleader, without the benefit of leveling up. 18 points is entirely possible to overcome.

You seem to be on the right track. What I would suggest is to always have an ace card, such as Distracted or Ambush. Also, obviously you need more attack rolls. Beast, No Remorse, Lawnmower Blade (comboes well with Slayer), etc, can provide them. When I get the ball rollin', I have more XP than I can spend, about 4-5 free attack rolls (playing with only one survivor) with good die roll modifiers (the Rifle is good for cheap), a big row of readied weapons, a hand size of more than 10 cards, in addition to gun icon cards and an ace card (usually Ambush).

Posting your play here would be nice !
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Hi all

So, here we go. I dealt myself the scout, mercenary and historian, so I have chosen to take the scout and historian.

My initial deal was:

Scout: sledgehammer, football helmet, sneaking, beef jerky, parking lot, downtown
Historian: sewers, private home, energy drink, city hall, barricade, in the zone

TURN 1

I discarded football helmet, beef jerky, downtown, sewers, private home, and barricade and re-dealt, so I now have:

Scout: sledgehammer, sneaking, parking lot, bowling ball, baseball bat, shotgun
Historian: energy drink, city hall, in the zone, head shot, crowbar, hockey stick

My thoughts are: ready all of the zero weapons and ready the sledgehammer or shotgun, and play the parking lot, relying on sneaking to give me an easy time. Although that seems premature. I have weapons but not skills or reaction cards. Should I wait to pick off spawns and get some skills? Only move when I have some dodge and look out cards? But I can wait and do that when I get to the parking lot, right?

What do you guys think?

TDM

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You seem to have enough to move pretty safely. The only issue is that you don't have the ranged weapon to shoot at the zombies that will spawn behind (might become a problem if you can't play locations regularly). To be super safe you could stay put.

I would give the baseball bat to the Historian (as the scout can pay for the shotgun).
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Andy Kent
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HI

OK, so the scout plays the parking lot and moves in, using sneaking to reduce the infestation to 1. He draws a head shot as he enters. The infestation is a runner. The historian plays city hall to follow into the parking lot and draws in the zone.

The scout shoots the runner but misses on a 1 and has to reload. The historian attacks with the baseball bat and hits, using a head shot to kill the runner for 1 experience. There are no further cards to ready so the survivor turn ends.

There are no zombies to move or attack, but a herd spawns in the safe house...

At the end of turn 1 I have:

Scout (hockey stick, shotgun, 1 experience): sledgehammer, head shot, bowling ball, energy drink
Historian (crowbar, baseball bat, 1 experience): in the zone, in the zone

So a herd on my tail, and a decision about what to keep and what to discard next turn. I'm thinking I need to discard as many as possible to get something to either fight the herd or get a new location to keep running. I could use final attacks for the shotgun, crowbar and so on but it seems a waste - I would kill the herd but be back at square one with no weapons, although with the 3 experience the scout could ready the sledgehammer... Is the energy drink worth keeping to get 4 more cards after redrawing next turn?

TDM

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Top priority is the herd, I think. If you run away, the mob will just build up. This early, the 3 XP are worth stalling a bit. I would discard bowling ball, 1 x In the Zone (one is enough to guarantee hit with baseball bat), and maybe Energy drink (your choice -- keeping it around may save you). If you do keep Energy drink, ready it now (but don’t use it now) to free a card slot.

Next turn, I would just go back to the Safe House and clean things up.
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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I agree - you need to kill the Herd,

I would have traded the energy drink to the Historian and have her ready it before the Zombie turn, but too late now.

I would still keep it and keep the 2 in the zones (the historians katana can do 2 wounds on the 7+), discard all else and draw cards.

The plan would be to retreat to the safe house and kill the Herd.
I would only be tempted to play another location if I had a pair of killer hands.
 
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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Assuming you are both back in the safe house with the Herd, decide if your cards are good enough to kill the herd, if not drink the energy drink for 4 more cards.
With the shotgun ready each scout attack should be able to do 1 or 2 wounds, each Historian attack with the +2 in the zones will do 1 or 2 with 1 re-roll. You have 2 free attacks and will probably need 6 weapon symbol attacks. If needed I would use the baseball bat weapon symbol for another shotgun attack rather than for its final.
 
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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If only one survivor draws a follow card - so only that one can retreat to attack the Herd. The non moving survivor can give the mover any item cards with a weapon symbol, or if the mover has ambush all non essential item cards. This early in the game the mover will not likely be killed by a herd (Again attacks can be unlucky) before the other survivor could draw next turn a following card.

But that is unlikely to happen, since both survivors have 1 XP either could ready the energy drink and discard for a probable following card.
 
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Andy Kent
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Hi

Well, that was exciting!

TURN 2

Too late to ready the energy drink, I discard the headshot and the bowling ball and keep everything else. After the draw I have:

Scout: Sledgehammer, energy drink, hospital, lee enfield rifle, crossbow, second energy drink
Historian: in the zone, in the zone, canteen, headshot, police station, binoculars

Not enough follow cards (and I want to keep the hospital as my next location) so instead of playing it and running from the herd I give an energy drink to the historian and both survivors drink, giving:

Scout: Sledgehammer, hospital, lee enfield rifle, crossbow, scavenge, beef jerky, scavenge, playground
Historian: in the zone, in the zone, canteen, headshot, police station, binoculars, first aid kit, graveyard, in the zone, high school

Historian gives the scout the first aid kit, which he uses to move back to the safe house. the historian uses the graveyard to follow.

Historian plays three in the zone cards for +3 to attack rolls and attacks the herd with her katana (free attack, head shot, sledgehammer, crossbow and police station) doing a total of 7 wounds. The scout uses his shotgun (free attack and 2 scavenge cards) to do 2 hits then a reload, doing 3 wounds in all. In desperation the scout uses his hockey stick final attack (2 wounds) to kill the herd, and takes the 3 experience, using it immediately to ready the lee enfield rifle.

Outside the safe house a loner spawns.

Situation at the end of turn 2:

Scout (lee enfield rifle, shotgun): beef jerky, playground, hospital
Historian (crowbar, baseball bat): canteen, binoculars, high school

So, next turn I plan to discard all but the 3 locations so that I can use the playground and high school to get back to the now-empty parking lot, and then use the rifle to kill the loner, ready to move in turn 4 to the hospital. Make sense?

TDM
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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Makes sense! meeple

It is a safe plan - and doesn't run the risk that your draw might not be a follow card for each survivor.

My suggestion..
Discard and draw,
Ready all free cards
Kill the loaner with free attacks (and card attacks if needs be)
Advance (follow cards)
Zombies spawn


ps.
The Zombie Shuffle (two steps forward, one step back whistle):
Grab your survivors by the hand and..
Place a Location and infest zombie
shoot and follow ninja
Spawn behind zombie
shoot and withdraw ninja
Spawn behind zombie
shoot and advance ninja
Repeat from the start! robot

and you are doing the Zombie Shuffle.. shake
Otherwise known as the Zombie Lurch.. or Zombie cha cha... or Zombie Conga... or...
zombie ninja zombie ninja zombie ninja zombie ninja zombie ninja zombie ninja zombie ninja zombie ninja zombie ninja

 
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I would have kept the scout XP and waited for an Action Advantage card such as No Remorse, Beast, Backpack. The rifle is not that big an upgrade over the Shotgun, especially if you level up at the safe house (which negates its only real advantage, namely range). I see that you’re opting to go forward and snipe from the front, but I’d stay a bit at the safe house to level up to see if I can get those permanent additional attack rolls.
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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Staying in the Safe House to gear up is an option.

The disadvantage is the Fast Zombies.. zombie

Since they attack immediately when they Spawn, they can cause some damage which takes time and resources to overcome.

However if they spawn behind you - you can kill them with Range 1-2 weapons and not run that risk, hence the value of the Rifle and/or Mercenary and above all else the Scoped Rifle.

The other issue I have with staying in the Safe House - is psychological - I tend to develop a fortress mentality sauron that makes it harder to advance - if I just stay one more turn I'll be so better equipped etc, and sometimes means I don't advance early enough to beat the clock or while trying to beat the clock I have to choose difficult locations.

My solution to my psychology arrrh is the Zombie Shuffle -
It is an responsive advance, that balances both attack and defence and - it also usually allows you to go through the action card deck twice by the game end which gives you the best chance of getting the best action cards and especially the best locations*.

*I am a happy survivor if I can get the Police Station in location 2 or 3, as that really speeds up the weapon collection early.

One thing I am very happy with ROTZ is that you can have different play styles that can work!

 
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David in Sydney (now in Coffs)
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the_demolished_man wrote:


Historian plays three in the zone cards for +3 to attack rolls and attacks the herd with her katana (free attack, head shot, sledgehammer, crossbow and police station) doing a total of 7 wounds.


You were robbed! arrrh
5 attacks with +3 (ie 7+ = 2 wounds p=50%) plus a re-roll, would on average do 1.5 wounds per attack with a re-roll = ~8.25 wounds

and
Shotgun needing to be reloaded... cry

But now you have the Lee Enfield as well!!!!

If I had to make the choose between the two to Final, I would Final the Shotgun in preference to the Lee Enfield.
Because - until you have other range 1-2 weapons the .303 with bayonet is more versatile.. arrrh
and the Shotgun does more on Final - IIRC...

 
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