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Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Either we screwed up, or this is a horrible game. rss

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Mike Kozlowski
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Over New Year's, I played with a group of friends, and we really wanted to like the game, but we pretty much all reluctantly agreed that it was completely broken and horrifically unbalanced as written: the zombies just win every single game, period. But apparently this isn't the general experience, so either lots of people are crazy or we missed something.

We're playing the basic game rules with the Die Zombies Die scenario. The humans have never even lasted more than eight rounds, and that was in a futile "just run away every time a zombie is near" strategy that would have led to the humans losing in the end if they had managed to survive.

The things that make it seem unbalanced are:

1. The zombie player gets four cards, every time. Compared to the humans who start with zero and have to laboriously scrounge for them over time. The effect here is that pretty much none of the actual rules ever end up applying to the zombie player, so any alleged balance goes out the window. Which leads to all the next problems.

2. You're never safe from attack, ever. Sure, zombies can only move one space... except that at least one zombie is shambling every turn, so even if you're 3-4 spaces away from a zombie, you're vulnerable. A wounded player can't hide, and it's very difficult to search without fear of attack.

3. The odds of melee combat wounding humans are just absolutely huge. The manual says that fending off a zombie is easy, but that's only if the zombies don't have cards, which they do. So you roll, and the human wins more often than not. Then the zombie player puts down a card that lets him roll two more dice, and now he has an extra dice plus the tie advantage, and he's in a highly dominant position.

4. Ties going to zombies make a sizable fraction of combats frustratingly insane. The zombie player rolls a six. You can roll three dice, maybe, but it doesn't matter, because you could roll triple sixes, but you still lose. Worse yet, you roll a six and the zombie rolls a four. Then they pull out that extra two dice card, and one of 'em comes up sixes. There's a 50% change of a six with three dice! That's a 50/50 chance of the zombie automatically winning. And if there's no sixes, there's a 60% chance of the zombie having a five, which means that 80% of the time, if you're lucky, you have a 1/3 chance of winning by rolling a six.

4a. And if you do win a combat, you don't win. Even if the zombie didn't roll a six somehow, and you managed to, well, la-di-da. Unless you got the 1/36 chance of a double six (and the zombie had the 1/2 chance of not having a six with the three dice that they'll nearly always use if you actually do roll sixes), you still didn't do any damage. It's basically impossible to kill a zombie unless you get a weapon, which leads us to...

5. It's very difficult to get hero cards, and the ones you get are worthless half the time. Since combat equals a wound almost every time, you can only search if there's no zombie within a square of you, which means you need to move to a building tile that's two squares away from a zombie to prep for searching next round (EDIT: actually three squares, because you can't take a zombie attack after the search, either). If you're lucky, you'll be able to do this successfully (with high dice rolls and concentrated zombie placement) once every 2-3 turns. Then odds are that they're going to shamble into you anyway, but maybe once every 4-5 turns you get lucky and there's no zombie about to kill you if you don't move, so you can search. And what do you find? A card that lets you shuffle the discards back into the deck. Which'd be great, if there were any discards, or if the odds of 2-3 cards going back into a 40 card deck really mattered, or if the discards were any good in the first place. So there's a third of the game time squandered away trying just to stay alive long enough to get a weapon, and you've got squat to show for it.

Upshot of this is that no matter what the humans do, they die. A lot. And quickly. And the more they try to fight, the more they die. If the scenario were for the humans to try to survive until daybreak, it could ALMOST be balanced; but since it demands that humans actively engage zombies, it just feels totally unwinnable.

(And yes, there are powers and cards that can counteract this stuff. The problem is that the powers you have aren't always the ones you need -- great that Billy can beat ties, but you're not Billy; or great that Sally can force them to re-roll the zombie dice, but you're not Sally -- and that cards are nearly impossible to get. The one time we did manage to get a meat cleaver by pure luck we pretty much doubled our zombie kill total compared to the other games, before losing in six turns when two of the other players got killed.)

Either we missed something big -- which I doubt, because we all kept double-checking the rules and even looked at internet FAQs, because it seemed so hideously broken and unfair -- or this game (at least in the basic scenario) is just unfun and unwinnable for the humans, and therefore unfun for the zombie players whom everyone will be irritated with.
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Dude, the humans are supposed to die. We played a very very close game the other day, with the humans inches away from winning (I won't say more, as I don't want to ruin the tension of the amazing upcoming session report Merric will write) but the game was incredibly fun, light-hearted and full of camp zombie moments.

LNoE is not Puerto Rico. It is a fun romp, which the humans should have the fight for their life on their hands - in the true horror movie vein. I haven't played the 'first' scenario yet, but this certainly isn't Doom:the Boardgame where the humans don't even have a chance in a 4 player game.

"Broken and unfair"? Personally I think it's equally fun playing both sides, so I think it is very fair
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Tim Fiscus
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I have not shared your experiences, and this might help with your view on "the odds of melee combat wounding humans" being "absolutely huge":

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/222297

Quote:
In a standard combat, a Zombie wins 42.13% of the time (91 out of 216 possible 3-die combinations).

The Hero wins 57.87% of the time (125/216).
The Hero kills the zombie (rolls doubles and beats the zombie's roll) 6.94% of the time (15/216), and merely repels the zombie 50.93% of the time (110/216).

So what happens when a hero adds an extra die?

The Zombie wins only 34.02% of the time (440 out of 1296 possible 4-die results).

The Hero wins 65.98% of the time (856/1296)
The Hero kills the Zombie 14.51% of the time (188/1296), repels the attack 51.47% of the time (667/1296).

Interestingly, the odds of merely repelling the attack stay about the same, but the chance of a kill more than doubles. The Zombies are still respectable against the heroes even with an extra die, thanks to winning ties.


So, the zombies must be respected in hand-to-hand combat, particularly if you are an unarmed hero. Makes sense.

The zombies are allowed only 4 cards per turn, making it highly unlikely that they are:
1- Shambling every turn
2- Playing a card that adds 2 more dice (only a few in the deck, one of which allows the heroes to win ties) every turn, in multiple fights

Also, the heroes have great stuff in their deck. What do you mean by:

Quote:
It's very difficult to get hero cards, and the ones you get are worthless half the time


Ranged weapons have very high chances of taking out zombies with a single shot, and 5/6 of the time the heroes have sufficient speed to move faster than the zombies (not counting the 4 "Shamble"s.)

Originally I was thinking this was just bad luck in a game, but it sounds like you've played multiple times... Have you tried the 60-card Advanced version? The reason I'm posting this response is because my personal experience with the game has been so different from yours.
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Ernie
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mkozlows wrote:
We're playing the basic game rules with the Die Zombies Die scenario. The humans have never even lasted more than eight rounds, and that was in a futile "just run away every time a zombie is near" strategy that would have led to the humans losing in the end if they had managed to survive.


I can understand where you're coming from - the first couple of plays I had seemed to give the zombies an unbeatable advantage, but for the most part, each of the games has been fairly close. See below.

mkozlows wrote:
The things that make it seem unbalanced are:

...

2. You're never safe from attack, ever. Sure, zombies can only move one space... except that at least one zombie is shambling every turn, so even if you're 3-4 spaces away from a zombie, you're vulnerable. A wounded player can't hide, and it's very difficult to search without fear of attack.


One tactic I've seen used successfully is to take advantage of Zombie Hunger. Using one Hero as "bait" (i.e., the closest Hero which zombies must head towards), this should give other Heroes a few turns to search for equipment unmolested.

mkozlows wrote:
4a. And if you do win a combat, you don't win. Even if the zombie didn't roll a six somehow, and you managed to, well, la-di-da. Unless you got the 1/36 chance of a double six (and the zombie had the 1/2 chance of not having a six with the three dice that they'll nearly always use if you actually do roll sixes), you still didn't do any damage. It's basically impossible to kill a zombie unless you get a weapon, which leads us to...


Note: You don't need double sixes to kill a zombie in hand-to-hand. A Hero just needs to win the combat (i.e., the highest Hero dice must exceed the highest zombie dice) and roll ANY double. So if the Hero player with three dice rolls a 5, 1, 1 and the zombie player with one die rolls a 4, a zombie is still killed. Even if you don't get the double, at least the zombie is fended off.

mkozlows wrote:
5. It's very difficult to get hero cards, and the ones you get are worthless half the time.


When possible, hero players in my games always take advantage of drawing from the discard pile at the special locations whenever a weapon is dumped because of being out of ammo or broken. That being said, without good cards in the heroes' hands, winning any scenario is just about impossible. Having those turns unmolested to search does wonders.

Good luck with the game, and don't be too discouraged - as others have said in other posts, it could be this game and its mechanics aren't for you and your group.
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Sight Reader
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mkozlows wrote:
Upshot of this is that no matter what the humans do, they die. A lot. And quickly. And the more they try to fight, the more they die.

We had this problem too. We solved it with a simple house rule: all doubles kill the zombie, so even if you get hit you can still kill the zombie. This made a big difference and resulted in some very close games and should tie us over until our humans strategy improves.

I may be playing with non-gamer human players, and may experiment with more than 4 humans in that case.
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Ben Boersma
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I haven't found this to be a problem.

We played the first scenario this afternoon. I played Heroes, my g/f was zombies.

I pulled out a Heroes win with 2 turns to go. Two heroes had one wound left , the QB was held up in the gym healing instead of moving (after getting the life beat out of him) and the Drifter was swamped by three zombies. He was unarmed, but relied on 'Faith' to roll and extra die.

In the last two turns we played, the Drifter healed using a medkit that he had searched for and then killed all three zombies due to doubles. I have never seen anything like it. If this hadn't of happened though, there was still two turns to kill three zombies, so it would have been close.

I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed the game (because it is fairly random). I will have to see how it holds up to repeated plays. Next game we'll use the advanced cards/rules.

Ben.

(PS. That soundtrack is not very Zombie-ish yuk)
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Evan Champie
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mkozlows wrote:
There's a 50% change of a six with three dice! That's a 50/50 chance of the zombie automatically winning. And if there's no sixes, there's a 60% chance of the zombie having a five, which means that 80% of the time, if you're lucky, you have a 1/3 chance of winning by rolling a six.


Ummm... this math is crazy. 50% six, 60% five, and 80% of the time I have a 33% zombie kill? I hope you were exaggerating blush

This is how I tell it to new players: Imagine you are in a standard zombie movie. Zombies feel no pain, do not bleed, do not stop when torn in half. You want to fight a zombie with your bare hands, kill him somehow, AND not take a scratch. Your weapon: thumbs. Good luck.

50/50 wound/fend off, with a very slim chance of bite-less zombie kill. Put a bat in your hands, and suddenly the odds go way up! Not to mention GUNS killing zombies FOUR SQUARES (THAT'S TURNS IN ZOMBEZE) away on anything above 2??

We generally see a pretty balanced game. Are you sure you were using the right spawning rules? Four heroes generally can split up enough to allow at least 2 or 3 turns of free searches.

It takes the zombies six turns to catch up to my one, since I roll a 6 50% of the time
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Stephen Tassie
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I've played the basic scenario twice now with different sets of players and once was a very close zombie win and once was a very close human win. Humans did not "die often", nor were Hero cards hard to get or useless. In the last game, there was only one hero card that stayed in a player's hand, the rest got used quickly and with strong effect.
I don't know how many players you had, but the zombie side gets four cards total, not four cards for each zombie player, so maybe that was part of your problem.
Also, when we played, cards that added dice to fight rolls had to be played BEFORE the roll (obviously not re-roll cards), so the zombies couldn't just add more dice after the fact if they didn't roll well. That may also solve your problem with the game.
Each time I've played, at least one character has started play with a gunm and guns were not hard to come by, so LOTS of zombies went down to head shots.

I played the night before new year's eve and the other couple immediately wanted to go out and buy the game.
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Dave Maple
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I've played Die, Zombie, Die twice times.

First game the hero won on turn 15 killing the 15th zombie. That was until we realised that the Zombie player actually would have won on about turn 5, because we thought you kept playing until there were no hero cards (all eight of them) left alive. Whoops, actually you only need to kill two. Still we were learning the rules.

There were five players (one hero each) and one zombie player, each hero acted as an individual, they were all over the place and showed no tactics at all. Tried fighting zombies without weapons in an attempt to get the 15 kills as soon as possible rarely searched.

The zombie player (me) didn't think tactically about zombie movement, but did cycle through my cards quickly, got two draw three extra cards on the first turn, and the shambling and advance cards so that all but one of the heroes had a zombie on them in the first turn.

Second game heroes won around turn 10.

The heroes had learned from the first mistakes. Becky in the hospital is the most vulnerable and again thanks to a movement card was jumped in the first zombie turn, but this time ran away rather than searching in her turn. She got to the dinner and searched there. Similarly Father Joseph searched in the church until the zombies got close an then with a roll of 5 got to the dinner in one move.

Jenny played her faith card on Father Joseph, Becky and Joseph combined his ability with hers to counter the zombie cards. The Sheriff and Jenny hold-up in the hanger with Jenny searching for the flare gun and using it each turn. When the zombies looked like they were going to surround the hanger Jenny made a break for the cornfields and the Sheriff got jumped when he tried to follow her and rolled low. The zombies attacked and he rolled a double 5 against the 15th zombie's 4. I used the hate card to force a re-roll, but Father Joseph countered it with his ability (and died in the process).

It really showed me that if the heroes work as a team they can win, it's still tough however if they can't draw an early weapon or two. The zombie player has a real advantage on the draw and the deck.
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Ernie
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sightreader wrote:
I may be playing with non-gamer human players, and may experiment with more than 4 humans in that case.


Do a lot of gaming with non-gamer, non-human players, do you now? And what sort of experiments - the run-of-the-mill electric shocks, or are we talking the movie Saw?

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William Terdoslavich
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I've played this title four times already. It was always fun, but the zombies won every time.

Some tactical notes: Humans really need to play as a team. I think we would have been better off getting four in one space rather than going in four different directions to search, search, search. Humans usually get defeated in detail.

Still, some tweaks are in order. We have heard of or are thinking about some house rules, though he have yet to try them. Among them:

Zombies cannot go through walls, but must roll a "6" to do so.

Human players may opt for a lower movement rate plus search. Right now its move or search.

In the game, humans must stay on certain spaces and accomplish actions without movement to qualify for victory. Examples: must gas up truck before starting it, must throw dynamite in zombie spawning pit, survive repeated combats and move away before pit is destroyed, etc. Again, some variation of action/move suggests itself.

Another house rule: let all the humans draw two cards and keep one. Only the drifter has this power.

We have yet to try any of these. We still want a close game. But we need to give the humans a fighting chance, not a fighting defeat.
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GeneSteeler wrote:

LNoE is not Puerto Rico. It is a fun romp, which the humans should have the fight for their life on their hands - in the true horror movie vein. I haven't played the 'first' scenario yet, but this certainly isn't Doom:the Boardgame where the humans don't even have a chance in a 4 player game.


I agree completly with this.

My girlfriend and I played the scenario with the truck. The living won by an inch.

I enjoyed the game as a fun romp but my girlfried Anye didn't enjoy it as much. I like the tension in the game.

Try the game again.
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James Moss
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I've played the game three times so far and I have yet to see the grotesque beatdowns which came from an imbalance of the game. I lost pretty severely the other evening, but that came from good playing on the heroes part and a few mistakes on mine.
 
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Dan Cain
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Sally + Chainsaw = Hot Zombie Death (One game of "Die, Zombie Die!" this combo resulted in 13 kills for Sally.)

Mike,

Zombies are supposed to have an edge. One of the reasons I like LNoE so much is because it's slanted towards the zombies, that is how it is supposed to be. It didn't seem like your heroes were searching from the get go. Most of the heroes start in a building, and should use the time it takes the zombies to get to them to search as many times as possible and stock up on valuable weapons. And as somone pointed out earlier, the heroes must work together. That is essential for a human victory over the zombie hordes.

LA
 
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I wouldn't think a game 'slanted' toward the zombies would be as much fun, but I haven't really seen that. The games I have played have usually had a few very tense desperate moments for both sides, which makes for a fun game.

There is a huge luck factor though, so that can swing things around - maybe your humans are just having bad luck?

Some rules to check:

- As mentioned, ANY doubles kills a zombie if the hero wins, not just double sixes. Double 2's vs. a zombie rolling a '1' = dead zombie (well, more dead than it already was). Seen is happen.

- The zombies just get to draw cards once during the turn. So if you get a 'play immediately', you don't draw a card to replace it. You can play 'at the start of the zombie turn' cards you already had before drawing to get to replace those, but if you draw a 'start of a turn card', you can't play it then replace it.

Some tips:

- Never use a card until you have to. If you've got an 'extra fight dice' card that can interrupt a combat, wait until after the dice are rolled. If you have a card to heal, wait until someone is on their last wound (just remember that those can't interrupt a fight, so once the dice are rolled its too late!)

- Use the building special abilities to recycle useful cards. If you get a shotgun and the police station or gunshop are on the board, get that shotgun back!

- Use zombie hunger to clump zombies for shotgun blasts (or even better, explosives). You'd be surprised at how often a tough hero can survive a few zombies and leave them all stuck together to be blown apart.

- Play some different scenarios! I don't recommend sticking to the basic deck and scenario for more than one game (though I'd keep it in the random mix of scenarios, just for variety). The advanced cards give a lot more options, and different scenarios will keep people on their toes. Maybe some of your players can't get a grip on the strategy of killing zombies, but escaping them will lead you to try new things and learn better tactics.
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Tom
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Before I start with my response, I wish to say not all games will be loved by everyone so this game might not fit your tastes, and that is alright by me so please don't take this as an attack. There are plenty of games that are hot right now that I can't stand. With that in mind let me react to your review.


I have played this game over 30 times and only twice have the zombies won..only twice. Zombies are slow so stay away from them and all will be fine. Keep the zombies spread out and when they are in one corner run to the other side of the board. If the zombie player plays a wait and see approach and refuses to move towards you unless you get close, then pick them off from a distance. If you have the Sheriff, you should always have a pistol. If you have the gun shop, you should frequently have a gun.

I strongly believe the zombie player has it rough and have suggested that zombies (in a variant) should get to roll dice to move (1-2=1; 3-4=2; 5-6=3).

I think if you approach this game with a plan and run away when you can you will be fine.

However, if you played the scenario where you have to defend the house, this was one of the times where the zombies won. This scenario is meant to feel like the end of the world.

The other time the zombies won was when I played the zombies and four new players decided to not act like a team, and hot dogged it trying to go in for the kill every move. They still almost won (got down to the last turn) but in the end they lost because they ran out of time to start the truck and leave.

If you play the basic scenario where you kill 15 zombies (I think it is 15 anyway), just keep searching for guns and shoot them from a distance....if you get the shotgun you can take as many zombies as are in one square but risk running out of ammo per attempt.

One other way to try the game is to pick the people you play with untill you get the hang of things. For instance the Nurse, The Stranger, and the Sheriff all have powers that when used in cooperation make them a tough team to beat.

I suppose that both parts of your title might be true, but I don't think the rules are "broken", and I would re-look at the rules.

 
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ErnieJ wrote:
Do a lot of gaming with non-gamer, non-human players, do you now? And what sort of experiments - the run-of-the-mill electric shocks, or are we talking the movie Saw?


Haven't tried with a lot of non-gamer non-human players... generally, I'm the only zombie and everyone else is human.
 
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johnnyspys wrote:
I have played this game over 30 times and only twice have the zombies won..only twice.

Hmmm... I wonder why our experience is so different.

Well, first of all, we've only played with the basic rules. That may be part of it.

Another possibility is that I am the most experienced gamer and I've been taking the zombies, although our human players are pretty good and their tactics seem sound. With my zombies, I tend to play hide and seek - forcing humans to move around walls, staying away from their guns and keeping them from recharging with isolated pressure attacks - then converging en masse when I've grouped up. Die Zombies Die puts time on my side, forcing the humans work around walls dribbling in after me (invariably someone gets a bad roll and can't keep up) until I have the numbers to go after them.
 
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Lee Valentine
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sightreader wrote:
With my zombies, I tend to play hide and seek - forcing humans to move around walls, staying away from their guns and keeping them from recharging with isolated pressure attacks - then converging en masse when I've grouped up.


How do you force them to move around walls? If they are armed with guns they can shoot right through walls much of the time, and you can't hover just on the other side of a wall or zombie hunger will take over and force you to crawl through the wall to eat the human characters.

In my experience, humans would run to a new locale, and then players with guns would blast zombies while someone else searched. Further I've found that if a human is willing to give up searching on a regular basis it's just about impossible to combat him, since he can outrun the zombies most of the time. That's part of the strategy -- making the humans run instead of searching to slow them down from reaching their objectives.

In general, humans are fodder until they are armed, and once they are armed they are ridiculous. Humans also tend to have mounting bonuses and multi-weapon combinations that are just silly. For instance, with a baseball bat and a meat cleaver, if you are willing to roll weapon breakage, you can keep throwing extra dice until a 6 comes up to auto-decapitate a zombie regardless of his roll. Jenny is great for this, particularly in the Barn or Cornfield. With 2 weapons she's a killing machine. And smart zombie players ignore her once she's hiding in the cornfield -- it's not worth the effort at that point.

Lee
 
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Tom
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This might be part of the issue...you the experienced player playing the zombies. I really think you might be right about the chances of humans being reduced if an experienced player uses the zombies to guard the supply areas. Although, as a human player I would just keep drawing till I got items like shotgun, dynamite, gas, and the dog and then keep firing from a distance. I will also send in the nurse to run a square next to you so that you would have to move an follow, and then have her quickly run away dragging the zombies with her.

I do think the advanced rules may help/hurt the humans in certain instances. However, I think once a zombie has a least half of their zombies out on the board, it becomes harder for them to continue to recruit. Therefore the more zombies the more the humans know where they are going to be (depending on the cards played). I think as an experienced player you probably know how to play the zombie cards properly and keep drawing until you have no more cards you can play before you move.

However, on the human side, if you use the character (can't remember which one) who wins ties, and arm them to the teeth they can be very effective especially with the baseball bat (as long as it does not break).

I think the key is the humans have to work together like a team and most of the time I play with just an opponent so cooperation is never an issue because one of us plays the humans while the other plays the zombies.

In fact, come to think of it, one of my wins with the zombies was against four players who never played the game before. Although they were experienced board gamers, they were not working together enough at the beginning and this got them off track. When they started to work as a team it was too late.

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Todd Walden
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johnnyspys wrote:

I have played this game over 30 times and only twice have the zombies won..only twice.


The only explanation I can find for this is that you're playing wrong, or the zombie people have no idea how to play.

Regardless of whether or not it is a good game, it would take some AMAZING luck for the heroes to win that many games. Particularly for beginning players.
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Dan Sulin
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Honestly it sounds like your players ran around to much and searched to little. Weapons are the key to victory. It is often better to search when a zombie is on the same square as you then it is to run.
 
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Well... at least as far as I can tell... we seem to be playing the game correctly.

Of course, as a zombie player, I try to keep the humans from unifying. With smaller groups of humans, a single zombie can effectively keep them off balance (i.e. anything humans gain from searching are used up/lost fighting the zombie). With all 4 humans together, my "pressure" zombies don't last long enough and I take losses too fast. At that point, I run for the hills and hope I can wait out the game.

When attacking isolated humans, I post zombie "guards" at doors, alleyways and other chokepoints to break up or extend movement to keep humans from unifying.
MoonSylver wrote:
As another poster mentioned, a couple of missed rules there: if a Hero is adjacent to a wall they can shoot out of the windows, & the Zombie Hunger rule would apply, forcing the zombies to come in after them.

Oh no, nowhere NEAR that close. I usually set up two buildings away. As a general rule of thumb, I want the humans to have to move at least 4 to get at me, meaning that at least some of them won't get a good movement roll and I can counterattack the isolated leaders. I try to keep enough zombies in my junta to make it ill-advised to get close enough to trigger zombie hunger.

Humans tend to be in buildings since they like to search. As a result, they're forced to choose between being close to the door to quickly go on the offensive or getting good lines of sight by being near the back walls. I can usually take advantage of one or the other to get that "two building" separation I need.

While the main pack hovers, isolated surprise attacks and special cards are used to pressure smaller groups of humans, keep their weapons down, and keep them from spreading out inside a building (i.e. increasing their lines of sight) until they've been softened up enough for a charge.

The most important thing for me is to be on the opposite side of the building from where the door so that I can, with a move of one space "through" a wall, I force the humans to move several to loop around.

Hmm... now that I'm typing all this, I had no idea my strategy was so complex. It sure seems straightforward at the time...
 
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johnnyspys wrote:
Although, as a human player I would just keep drawing till I got items like shotgun, dynamite, gas, and the dog and then keep firing from a distance.

Oh... I guess I forgot to mention... I generally keep isolated zombie attacks going to keep people from arming up while my pack organizes itself. To make these isolated attacks effective, I can't allow big groups of humans to be there: there has to be few enough that they lose as much fighting me as they gain searching.
johnnyspys wrote:
In fact, come to think of it, one of my wins with the zombies was against four players who never played the game before. Although they were experienced board gamers, they were not working together enough at the beginning and this got them off track.

I crushed a single hero player. I also played against 2 hero players who did better, as they could talk to each other, reason through their options, and were more likely to stop subtle mistakes before they happened. All human players were experienced gamers, and I didn't see any obvious tactical errors on their side.

After those games, we started playing with that house rule, and that made the games much more even.
 
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Mike Kozlowski
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HuckmanT wrote:
I have not shared your experiences, and this might help with your view on "the odds of melee combat wounding humans" being "absolutely huge":

In a standard combat, a Zombie wins 42.13% of the time (91 out of 216 possible 3-die combinations). The Hero wins 57.87% of the time (125/216). The Hero kills the zombie (rolls doubles and beats the zombie's roll) 6.94% of the time (15/216), and merely repels the zombie 50.93% of the time (110/216).


Well, first of all, consider what that means if you neglect powers/cards entirely and just take it as straight combat: Humans have to kill 15 zombies to win, and zombies need to impose between 4-6 wounds (killing two people with 2-3 wound counters each), but zombies have a 42% chance of imposing a wound every battle and humans have a 7% chance of killing a zombie and a 51% chance of doing nothing.

So in half of combats, nothing at all happens. In those where something does happen, six out of seven times, it involves the zombie wounding the human, and only one of seven times does it involve the zombie dying.

If you just do straight up combat, the zombies will win in, on average, 15 battles.

So, fine, the cards balance things out, right? Well, no. The cards radically unbalance things, because they shift things wildly over to the zombie player, giving them something more like an 80% chance of winning, depending on what card they play. And yes, the humans can get cards, but because avoiding zombies is so paramount, and because the human's cards are often worthless (it's nice to cancel a lights out at the opposite end of the board, but not super-critical; it's nice to be able to discard Ammo instead of a gun, but not if you have no gun), it takes absolutely forever to get cards.

Seriously, we searched every time that we could do so without being guaranteed of zombie attack , and it was maybe a half-dozen searches in the whole game. Unless the zombie player is a complete moron, it's easy to keep a zombie within two squares of every building, which means that unless the heroes get some great rolls that let them get deep into a building, it's virtually impossible to have any time to search. (And if you do get those deep-in-a-building rolls, odds are that you're not going to get back out and into safety without being drilled by a zombie.)

We even searched sometimes when we were risking a zombie attack, when we were desperate had a card or two that were maybe kinda useful (like one which nullifies a zombie card, which means that you're back down to merely a 42% chance of taking a wound now that you've managed to scrounge up a card that's actually useful), and it usually ended up costing us the game.

Quote:
The zombies are allowed only 4 cards per turn, making it highly unlikely that they are:
1- Shambling every turn
2- Playing a card that adds 2 more dice (only a few in the deck, one of which allows the heroes to win ties) every turn, in multiple fights


Okay, there are five cards that adds two dice for the zombie (basically a near-guaranteed win for them). There are another five that force the hero to re-roll (which means that the 58% chance of doing nothing becomes a mere 33% chance, and the 6% chance of killing a zombie is effectively a 0% chance). Plus a card that adds one to a zombie's combat roll, which also shifts the odds wildly in the zombie's favor.

So, given that there are 11 powerful combat cards in the deck, the odds are that the zombie is picking up at least one of them every turn.

And keep in mind, they only have to play the battling cards half the time, when they're in danger of losing (or, if they're patient, only 6% of the time, when they're actually being killed, which damn near turns that 6% into 0% straight up). Upshot is, if the zombies can force two battles every turn, they're likely to win one of them straight-up, and the other one with a card. Empirically, in our game, in nearly every combat in which the heroes thought they won, the zombies played a card that reversed it.

Quote:
Ranged weapons have very high chances of taking out zombies with a single shot, and 5/6 of the time the heroes have sufficient speed to move faster than the zombies (not counting the 4 "Shamble"s.)


You mean not counting the SIX Shambles. Also not counting the two Surprise Attacks which attack a hero no matter where he is. Also not counting the two Relentless Advances. Upshot is, there are ten cards that can make a zombie reach an "out of reach" hero. And in a 40-card deck where the zombie gets four cards per turn, odds are that they're going to get one of these every single turn, which means that heroes are regularly -- once per turn! -- subject to unexpected attacks.

And again, that's not even counting the fact that if you want to move into a square to search "safely" ignoring the special movement cards, it needs to have zombies three spaces away from it (after you move, the zombie gets to move, plus after you search the zombie gets to move, so if it's within two squares, you get attacked and therefore wounded). With a competent zombie player, this kind of space is very hard to find, and a couple of bad movement rolls can be utter doom.

And that only gives you one turn to search! During which you're almost certainly not going to find a ranged weapon (we only got two weapons in the entirety of three games, and one of them wasn't ranged). Yes, weapons help a lot, but you can't count on finding them. The sheriff is by far the most powerful figure in the game -- in the basic scenario -- for this reason.

Quote:
Originally I was thinking this was just bad luck in a game, but it sounds like you've played multiple times... Have you tried the 60-card Advanced version? The reason I'm posting this response is because my personal experience with the game has been so different from yours.


No, we didn't try the advanced version or the other scenarios, because we wanted to make sure we were playing the basic game right, and couldn't believe we were. I increasingly think we were, though, and that it's broken.
 
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