Dan
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What is the difference between LNoE and Zombies!!! I’ve actually been asked this a number of times and each time, I bring up different points.
So I decided to put them down here, expand on the important bits, (At least for me.) and share my observations since I am a veteran of both games. As you read this, remember, I am a fan of both games so I’m not slagging one for the other. I’m just trying to be honest and helpful.

Time

LNoE does take about 45-60min, tops. If it takes longer, you’re probably doing it wrong. The heroes have a limited number of turns to accomplish their task, and if they don’t do it by then, they fail. (Or win, if survival was the point of the scenario.)

Z!!! takes 30-60 min but can take longer. Actually, with the amount of backstabbing going on and player death, I have seen games take WAY longer. Also, the more supplements you throw in, the longer a game can take.

Goals

The point of Z!!! is to kill Zombies. It’s one of the two ways you can win, and sometimes, even if the helicopter pad has popped up on the board, you can be two kills away from the “zombie apocalypse” win and you should go for it.

Sadly, most people who play LNoE think that killing zombies is the point of that game too.

It's not.

LNoE’s zombies are the lethal, diseased, strong type. LNoE's point is to bulk up your characters with weapons and equipment before you even THINK about attacking a zombie.

Also, running away is a GOOD tactic and should always be considered even if you are armed.

The zombies in both games are ENDLESS. Your health and resources are not. Unless there is a point in attacking Zs in he scenario you are playing, don’t do it. Or if you’re going to engage them do it as a team.

Which brings me to my next point…

Competition Vs. Cooperation

LNoE is cooperative. Human players against the Zombie player(s). Many of the human characters have abilities that help the other humans. (Healing, combat bonuses, etc.) If the humans run around like it’s a competition, they are dead, dead, DEAD. In fact, in LNoE, either the Humans win, or the Zombies. You can argue about who had the most to do with a win after you get the win.

IF you get the win.

Z!!!'s whole point is screwage and competition. The players play the humans and the Zs are resolved automatically. There is no real reason to work together. You are in competition! You play your cards to screw over whoever is in the lead (or perceived to be in the lead) or to help yourself.

I’ve never actually seen players work together in Z!!!

Ever.

Life and Death

When you die in Z!!! you respawn with 1/2 your kills.

There is no reason to hold back or be cautious.

IN LNoE, if you die, you are usually quite dead. You will respawn if you are unlucky enough to die in the first 1-3 rounds or so, but beyond that dead is dead. Also, if the zombies kill 4 heroes during the scenario the humans will LOSE so be careful.

This means that player death is punished WAY harder in LNoE and much less in Z!!!. You must concentrate in LNoE to survive. If you lose your concentration in Z!!! and die you “go back to start” with a slap on the wrist.

Don’t get me wrong, Z!!! is fun, but you can play Z!!! drunk, not paying attention and possibly STILL win. LNoE is a bit more involved and needs more attention.


Cards


The cards in Z!!!, a single deck, are really very random and, while they mix things up a bit, there are not many tactics in playing them besides cycling them out of your hand as fast as possible. The art is pretty but extremely graphic, if that makes a difference to you. (Intestine looping out, exploding heads etc.)

Also, the initiative is on the gamer to get to certain buildings to activate certain cards. (Like the Chainsaw and the Lawn & Garden.) When you are across the town, it is sometimes impossible to get across town to activate a weapon at the appropriate building.

Which leads to modding. (More on that later.)

The Z!!! deck get VERY bloated with all the expansions as well, more on that later.

In LNoE, the cards, two decks one hero one zombie, are tuned like C.C.G. decks. There are combos in there, cards to boost characters, cards to boost other cards.

Also, your characters themselves can boost certain cards (modifying break checks) and there are spaces on the board for you to plunder the discard and draw piles. (E.g. The police station allows you to pull a shotgun from the discard, if one is there.)

The card decks in LNoE are VERY tight and a good idea if what is in them will lead to a win for a clever player. Z!!! is random. Very random, and certain people hate that.

Theme

Z!!! is a very simple game with very broad brush strokes. It is any zombie movie or video game at any time and/or all at once.

LNoE is set up like a movie with characters. These characters have unique special abilities, back stories and even roles that add to the horror movie theme of LNoE. The town has a minor history, and even certain cards target character archetypes with effects that mimic scenes in movies...

Unnecessary Self Sacrifice:
Makes a character take a wound for another.

Teen Angst:
Makes young characters chafe at roaming with the adults.

Loner:
Turns a hero into… yes you guessed it. (VERY BAD in any horror game.)

We’ve got to get to the… :
Gives one human character the uncontrollable urge to run to another building on the map to collect their younger sister/cat/dog/mom’s locket or something ELSE totally useless to survival.

Last Night On Earth:
Makes two characters of the opposite sex lose a turn, um… doing you know what. And the zombies crawl closer…

Bickering:
Humans spend the turn arguing instead of moving or fighting.


While Z!!! cards are full of effects, they don’t really have any plot. They are targeted events.

The characters in Z!!! are all “shotgun guys”. They all have 3 hits and 3 bullets to start. Their only difference is pawn color.


Expansions


Z!!! has a LOT of expansions, which was cool, but the game is seriously bloated at this point. Actually, I’ve taken to putting my card into two decks.

One deck that make sense is my main play deck, and one deck made up of cards that either make NO SENSE at all or are only useful if you play with “X” expansion. Otherwise, these extra cards are out-of-play.

LNoE has one expansion, and it’s a good one. Cards integrate nicely and balanced into the two decks, two new corner boards that expand possible towns, and 4 new characters with new abilities that stack with the team they are in. (The prom queen boosts male characters in her square. Right up there with the nurse who can fully heal a companion I think.)

Modding


If you are a modder, then Z!!! is chock FULL of things to add or play with. I’ve had to mod the deck out of necessity since there are SO many cards. Also, there are a TON of minis available in the games. Zombie men, women, dogs and coming soon humans!

I’ve actually created monsters and rules for Z!!!, and so have a lot of other players.

LNoE, because the card decks are so tight, resist modding, but are perfect for writing scenarios in the same little luckless town.

However, there are people on this site that have complained that Flying Frog has included extra cardboard props and components with the game for the expressed purpose of future scenarios or mods...

I don’t understand it either.zombie

Last Night on Earth
: Dripping with theme, something for the more tactic minded player.

Zombies!!!: A really fun beer and pretzels game with lots of cool bits for modding.


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Andreas W
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its not really the truth that if you die youre dead in lnoe. you get to draw a new character and start in random building. even during later game.
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Dan
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Oops. You may be right. (I have the worst cold, my head is swimming.)

But you can only let humans die 4 times total.

Zombies!!! you can die again, and again, and again.
 
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T France
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andy_b. wrote:
its not really the truth that if you die youre dead in lnoe. you get to draw a new character and start in random building. even during later game.


True, but only if it's that player's last hero (unless the Heroes Recycle variant is in the Scenario (or whatever it's called!))...
 
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Yoki Erdtman
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Great work Dan. Thanks for sharing.
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Nicholas Daley
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Titeman wrote:
andy_b. wrote:
its not really the truth that if you die youre dead in lnoe. you get to draw a new character and start in random building. even during later game.


True, but only if it's that player's last hero (unless the Heroes Recycle variant is in the Scenario (or whatever it's called!))...
But that's still one of the good things about LNOE; that you don't have players that die and then have to go watch TV or find something else to do. The players get to draw a different character to play with.

While this is basically the same mechanic in both games, LNOE is a much better game overall.
 
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Andrew C
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Dan - great review! Now I must get LNoE.

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Rich Moore
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I appreciated the review as well...now I am must NOT get Zombies! (LNoE is much more up my alley).
 
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Dan
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philofmars wrote:


Oh, sometimes it is to your benefit to die in Z!!! if it respawns you closer to your goal.
Yes, I've seen that. Bit of metagaming, but why not?

Also, I've seen a long street with the helicopter at the end. Then I've seen the leader get a "lost" card played on them and gone.

All.
The.
Way.
Back.
To.
Start.

He quit and walked away. I think he ALMOST flipped the table... zombie
 
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Jeremy Henderson
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Quote:
Also, I've seen a long street with the helicopter at the end. Then I've seen the leader get a "lost" card played on them and gone.

All.
The.
Way.
Back.
To.
Start.


I think I've seen that happen in every game of Zombies! Quite often it's happened to me, and in one frustrating bloody game it happened twice.

Makes you question who the real monsters are. The zombies...or US?!?!

(And by US, I mean my friends who love stabbing me in the back during boardgames. Jerks.)
 
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Jack Wells
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There's also minimal downtime in LNoE compared to Z!!!, Z is horrible for downtime, it's a great idea but it doesn't work well at all IMO.
 
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Mad Halfling
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I agree, I think they are both great games, but very different (which is good for zombie fans as they have a choice of a co-op vs a competitive game, if they prefer one style). One minor point in the goals listed, in the base rules the Zombie Apocalypse win (25 kills, if I remember correctly) only applies if the map gets sealed off so the helipad can't be placed.
 
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Joe Reil
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Quote:
Also, I've seen a long street with the helicopter at the end. Then I've seen the leader get a "lost" card played on them and gone.

He quit and walked away. I think he ALMOST flipped the table...


That's just silly. Z!!! is not a serious tactical game to get upset over (I'd argue if you're getting that upset over any game, you should probably find something else to do with your time, but especially not something like Z!!!). There's a lot of luck, and a lot of random silliness.

For me, half the point of the game is the "screw-you" cards you can play on your opponents - easily more than half the fun in the game is messing with the other players... We also implemented a house rule eliminating the one-card-per-turn restriction for the sole purpose of getting more "screw-you" cards to mess with each other with!

Anyway... LNOE is the better game, overall, IMO, but Z!!! has it's place as a great party/beer & pretzels game.
 
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Dan
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RedShark92 wrote:
Quote:
Also, I've seen a long street with the helicopter at the end. Then I've seen the leader get a "lost" card played on them and gone.

He quit and walked away. I think he ALMOST flipped the table...


That's just silly. Z!!! is not a serious tactical game to get upset over (I'd argue if you're getting that upset over any game, you should probably find something else to do with your time, but especially not something like Z!!!).
I think the game had also been going on for 90+ min.

Cranky. blush
 
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Joe Reil
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Ok, yeah, that'll do it.

I still have a hard time picturing it, but then, our big games of Z!!! tend to basically be more of a party/hanging out atmosphere and the game is more an excuse to hang out than the point of the whole evening...

 
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