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Subject: amount of cards in equipment deck - how to build a good deck ? rss

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Stanislaw Lipa
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hi zombiciders

recently i've watched some video from dice tower where Sam mention that is really annoying when abomination came up on board and you have to search thru deck to find a molotov, which is sad when you have something like 150 cards in deck.

i've got Zombicide season 1, tcm, po, an, rm, vip1, dogs, zombie dogs, and lost zombivors AND a good amount of duplicates of cards (spawn & equipment)

so my question is: how to build a good, moderatly balanced equipment deck ? maybe there is somewhere some advice but i didn't find it. i'm asking because it's really easy to add few more molotovs, but when i run thru cards and see that some weapons have 2 cards other have 3 cards, i was wondering, how to build a better, more balanced deck, and not only for better chance fo find a molotov, in overall.
 
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Stephan Beal
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stasiekl wrote:
so my question is: how to build a good, moderatly balanced equipment deck ?


Generally speaking, you take the decks as-is from the box, shuffle them, and lay them on the table. That said...

If you like, remove all of the food cards - in missions which aren't specifically about collecting food, they're just a waste of precious action points. Remove any items from the search deck which are "starting items", e.g. frying pans, a couple of fire axes, and all of the billy clubs (from season 2). i put all such items in their own "starting items" deck, and use them only for doling out starting equipment.

One of the expansions (AN or TCM, IIRC) has a pistol/ammo combo which can kill the S1/S2/TCM Abominations (but not the S3 one). One of those expansions also includes a Flame Thrower, which works like a Molotov. Also, S2 has a melee weapon (Cement (Concrete?) Saw, IIRC) which does 3 damage. If you're missing Season 2, feel free to proxy that (unique) item with one of the food cards.

If Abominations are a problem for your play style, don't use them - replace them with Fatties. Alternately, replace Blue-level (and possibly Yellow-level) Abominations with Fatties.

Abominations aren't generally a real threat (except for the Season 3 one), especially if you have a character with the Shove skill, but they can drastically change the flow of the game as the characters spend so many actions trying to navigate around/away from them. That's admittedly really annoying at times.
 
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So, firstly, the answer to this question is ALWAYS going to be subjective, but there are a few things I consider when building an equipment deck.

NOTE: I have a similar set of resources as you describe.

Next, Wall of Text Warning...

Deck Size -

Look at the CRBs for each of the big boxes you have, these list the number of equipment cards that come standard for that game.

S1 = 62
S2 = 83
S3 = 86

Additionally, the medium box sets,

TCM = 56
AN = 27

Deck Distribution -

Now for the most part, the medium expansions focus on new weapons, and upgraded "Starting items" like gear. Whereas, the core boxes offer more of the general assortment of things from Ahhh cards, to food, water, gas, bottles, and crafted items (Molotovs, Nailbats, etc).

There are also quite a few items that have two, three, or even four copies of something. i.e. 4 Kukuris, Claw Hammers, Sawed offs, and so on.

So, keeping all of this in mind, I take out all of the "Crafted" items and set them aside.

Molotovs, Nailbats, Sniper Rifles, etc.

Next I sort the remaining cards by type:

Starting Gear - Anything that is listed in the Set Up section of your source boxes.

Pimp/ Ultra red - Self explanatory, but this could include anything you feel is particularly op.

Objectives/ Other - Ahhh, Food, Water, Energy Drinks, cookies, whatever. I typically include ~ 6 Ahhh cards in a Search Deck.

Dual Wield Weapons - Any weapon with the dual wield symbol, not already sorted elsewhere.

-------------

Once I've done this, I can decide how strong, how random, and how large or small I want my deck to be for a given group of players.

Note, I have more or less fine-tuned my deck at this point, so this process is more of where I'd start from if a new Core box came out (S4?).

Clearly I don't want an equipment deck of 314+ cards, so I find a target number to build my deck to. I think anywhere from 70 to 80 is reasonable.

I don't want it full of starting gear, so I keep that deck separate and only use it when setting up a game.

I don't like having crafted items in my deck, so I keep all of the final cards out (Molotovs, etc.), so that when the crafting materials are found, they can be exchanged for the completed item.

I also only put as many possible combinations of materials in as I would want final cards. e.g. I like having a possible 3-4 Molotovs available, so 3-4 gas cans and 3-4 broken bottles would go in my search deck. Compared to say, Nail bats or Sniper Rifles, of which I only want 1 of each. So, 1 Nails card and 1 Scope card, however, I might include two bats, but only one could be "Upgraded" to Nailbat.

Next, with as many cards as I have available for deck building, I want to avoid a ton of duplicate items. So my rule of thumb is, if it can be dual-wielded, I'll include two copies of the card, if not than I'll only put one of the item in the search deck, regardless of how many I have available. Between removing duplicates and starting weapons, I can quickly strip down the eventual deck size.

When it comes to things like food and water (and similar), I treat all food items as equal (including the cards with game effects like cookies), and aim for ~ 6 total food cards. So if I'm including 2 Cookies cards, I might only put two Bags of Rice and two Canned Food cards in the Search Deck. Same with Potables, but I keep them down to 3-4 total, so 2 Water and 2 Energy Drinks, for example.

--------------

So that's a long-winded, but fairly straightforward peek into "My Process" for Search Deck building.

I keep all of the starting gear aside.

I keep all of the "Crafted" items aside. And also only include enough of the crafting materials in the Search Deck, needed to build the number of the item I want in game (usually one).

I keep all the OP stuff aside. And only include it in scenarios where special searches are possible. (Like Pimp Mobiles or similar). If that includes something special, like a flamethrower, I might put an extra gas can in the Search Deck--but I might not.

I remove duplicates of any items not designated as Dual Wield. This includes things like Flashlights by the way. For Dual Wield weapons, I only include two copies of the card.

And Finally, I typically keep around 6 total Ahhh cards. Though I'll go up to 10 without blinking.

I'm not really sure what the exact count of the cards currently in my Search Deck is, but since going through this process I have not felt the need to rebuild it for every game.

So, play around with different builds and see what feels right. Keep the Deck similar in size to what you'd get in a core game box. And, chat with your players, see what is most fun for the group. Some folks may want a ton of starter gear in the deck, some may want to see a little of everything, others may want a giant deck that includes every card in the game.

Success to you and your players in figuring out what works best and is most fun--just know that you can always change things up in the future if you don't nail it the first time around.



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William Hoyt
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I agree the variety of options listed above.

We mix and mach some things into the basic decks for each Season. We usually have ultra-reds available.

Also we treat food optional as experience pts. like cookies (in missions where they aren't the objective).

~Will
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Stephen Johnson
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Great write up and it sounds like a great way to do items.

Thanks for sharing
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Stanislaw Lipa
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Thank You for awesome advice
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