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Subject: Ranking the LNOE heroes (includes SOTF) rss

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Roman F
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Just for fun, I took a shot at ranking all the heroes now that I have SOTF. I’m trying to determine their overall effectiveness in terms of, if I’m building a team of heroes to complete a very difficult scenario, which ones I’d most want on my team.

A few disclaimers:

1) The exact effectiveness of a hero depends on his teammates, the scenario and the exact situation. In other words they VARY. In certain scenarios where you need to find specific items (e.g. "Save the Townsfolk"), Jake might be the most valuable hero of all. In other scenarios like "Die Zombies Die!" Jake isn’t nearly as useful. I’m well aware that certain characters that I’m ranking near the bottom can be highly effective in certain situations, or as some like to say, "If you know how to play him". I can only tell you that when drawing heroes randomly, there are some that I’m always glad to see and others that I never want to see. I’m attempting to rank their AVERAGE effectiveness.

2) I haven’t played a lot of SOTF so although I take a stab at including those heroes, there’s still more to be learned about them. If you haven’t played SOTF, feel free to ignore those 4 heroes.

3) I divided Adults and Students. I don’t necessarily think all Adults are better than all Students but in general they are.

Before getting to the rankings, I’m going to throw in a few typical hero roles. When I form a team of heroes, I often have them taking on 1 or more of these roles:

TANK -- This hero protects the other heroes, sometimes by being in the same square as a weaker hero and sometimes by intentionally drawing zombies to him/her. Killing zombies is nice but the main thing about this character is that he/she is durable and can survive many fights. Think Sam with a Baseball Bat.

SLAYER -- Sort of a "Super Tank," the Slayer doesn’t just protect the heroes but actively looks for zombies to fight because he/she is likely to outright kill them. This is the guy you load up with all the weapons for the purposes of sending him/her out to do battle. The one way a Slayer and Tank differ is that the Slayer isn’t necessarily concerned with saving others or even himself, he just wants to kill zombies. Think Johnny with the Chainsaw.

CANNON -- This is the hero whose primary job it is to fire that ranged weapon every turn and try to kill some zombies. Whoever has the shotgun is typically your Cannon.

Don’t worry too much about the definition of these roles right now. They are very fluid and flexible and I’m just listing them as a reference. Any hero can play any role, though some are clearly better at some than others. A Tank and a Slayer are often the same hero. Any hero with a gun can be a Cannon. A hero can take on all of these roles in a single game, or none of them.

With that, here’s my attempt at ranking:

Adults

Becky
Father Joseph
Sheriff Anderson
Sam
Victor
Rachelle
Mr. Goddard
Jake
Stacy

Students

Sally
Johnny
Billy
Amanda
Jade
Kenny
Jenny

Adults

Becky
Becky's certainly not the most exciting hero but if you’ve ever played any fantasy role playing game where you form parties to go into dungeons, such as D&D or WOW or that sort of thing, one essential member to every party is the healer. It’s not the most fun role to play but it’s a specialized role that someone has to fill. I don’t think it’s any less true in LNOE. In fact, the key to the zombies’ game is killing your heroes so it’s all the more valuable to prevent them from dying. Becky is simply the only hero with this ability, making her invaluable, IMO. Becky’s only weaknesses are that she can’t heal herself and that she isn’t great at taking on any role besides that of healer. You don’t send Becky to do a job, but the job of healer is enough. Plus, she’s an adult with 3 wounds and can carry a shotgun so it’s not like she’s chopped liver.

Father Joseph
Father Joseph’s ability to retain "Faith" alone gives him an extra fight die and makes him a great Tank or even Slayer, one of the best in the game at those roles, so who cares if he can’t use a gun? Then you throw in his game-changing STRENGTH OF SPIRIT ability, the one thing that can stop short a potentially-devastating Zombie turn and he’s arguably the most valuable Hero in the game. Pair him with Becky for a combo so effective it’s almost unfair. Even without Becky, he’s great with some First Aid kits or Doc Brody to let him keep using SOS to bail the heroes out of trouble. Finally, his immunity to TCBOLNOE makes your whole team a bit easier to manage.

Although I could argue either Becky or Father Joseph to be better than the other, there is no question, to me, that they are the 2 most effective heroes. The challenge is ranking them from here:

Sheriff Anderson
The addition of the "Laying Down the Law" card provides a big boost to Anderson and to Rachelle, even with only 1 in the large Hero Deck. It can turn Anderson into the ultimate Cannon, a ranged zombie-killing machine. Even though Revolvers are weak for ranged attacks, having one is still so much better than not having any ranged weapons, making "Man of Action" simply a great ability. You gotta love how he can hand off the Revolver to a friend and then just draw another the next turn (so long as the discard pile is participating). Always armed with a ranged weapon and with 3 full wounds, even without "Laying Down the Law," Sheriff Anderson is the ultimate Cannon and a valuable addition to any hero team.

Sam
Sam’s combination of 4 wounds and BRAWLING makes him the ultimate Tank. He’s not necessarily the best at killing zombies but he sure is great at fending them off, even it means sometimes taking some wounds. He has no limitations and his 4 wounds maximize Doc Brody. My only knock on him is that if you have a bunch of weapons to hand to somebody, there are better heroes than Sam. His other weakness is that cards like "I Feel Strange" and "Bitten" are very effective against him, but that’s the only way the zombies can counter the one hero with 4 wounds.

Victor
It’s a little early to say on him but so far he looks great. His combination of RAGE and "I Don't Trust'em" means that Victor has a very high upside but doesn’t always reach his potential. When he does reach it, though, he has no peer as a zombie killer. He benefits big time from the "Hero Card Pool" rules as it gets around this issue. When hindred by IDTE, Victor is a menace with any one weapon in his hand, even a Fire Axe or Jumper Cables. Give him a Baseball Bat and a Chainsaw, and he’s the best Slayer in the game, rolling 6 dice at a time. That’s gotta count for something, even though getting stuck with "I Don’t Trust’em" makes it harder to arm him than the others. My other knock on him is that pretty much all of his abilities are tied to havig weapons, without them, he has no abilities that can really help him out of a jam (unless that jam is a locked door).

Rachelle
She’s a pretty good Cannon and a pretty good Tank but not great at either. Again, I have to bring up "Laying Down the Law" since it turns her into a top character. Without it, Rachelle is still awfully handy with that Revolver and Flashlight, just not quite the pure Cannon that Anderson is. Also, her "Intuition" can make her a useful Tank when you need one, but she’s not great in that role.

Mr. Goddard
Admittedly, it’s early to say, but his "Fire" ability is very nice and can be critical in some scenarios ("Burn It to the Ground" comes to mind). "Quick Thinking" can be very useful, but only in certain situations. It’s not often you have items to spare so I’ve only seen this ability used in dire circumstances, with time ticking away from the heroes as they desperately search for that last elusive scenario search item. Those situations are fairly rare but when you’re in them, you want Mr. Goddard on your team.

Jake
I think Jake is one of the more debatable heroes because the effectiveness of "Resourceful" has such a high variance. It can be the game’s most useful in scenarios with scenario search items. However, even though it’s useful in other scenarios, I find it to be only a little helpful. Most hero cards are good so having to choose between 2 of them isn’t necessarily much of a benefit. It’s not that Jake isn’t useful because he certainly is but generally, he’s not as useful as the other heroes listed above.

Stacy
Again, it’s early, but I’m not impressed. How often do you really want to go stand on a Spawning Pit? Forgetting the danger for a moment, how often is the Spawning Pit even the place you want to be on the board? Sure you CAN search there, but wouldn’t you rather just search in a building? I’ve been part of a few games where buildings getting "Taken Over" has led to the demise of the heroes and where Stacy's ability to search in a Taken Over Gun Store could have been huge... but only a few games. In most games, I think Stacy’s abilities go to waste.

Students
As with the Adults, it’s easy to identify the 2 most effective heroes, hard to say which of the 2 is more effective, and hard to rank the heroes after the top 2.

Sally
A Student with 2 wounds who can’t even use a Shotgun, yet she’s one of the best heroes in the game, better than many of the Adults. Sally’s "Lucky" ability makes her one of the game’s best Tanks and depending upon her weaponry, she can be a pretty skilled Slayer as well. Still, I’ve seen her get in trouble or even killed quickly. A re-rolled 6 means a wound and she’s only got 2 wounds after all. Plus, with ranged weapons being such a big part of the game, Sally’s "Lightweight" ability is an important limitation. But I’ll take her on my squad, every time.

Johnny
Arguably better than Sally as well as many of the Adults, Johnny has 2 great abilities in Tough and Blitz that make him a pretty good Tank but the ultimate Slayer. No one can handle the Chainsaw like Johnny, potentially running through lines of zombies and leaving a trail of blood in his path. When I need a job done (e.g. go in the building and reveal that number counter), Johnny is just about the best there is since his movement doesn’t get blocked, he wins on ties and he can use a Shotgun. As a student with only 2 wounds, he does have a tendency to get himself killed.

Billy
This is where the drop-off occurs, and it would be a rare situation in which I’d choose Billy over any of the Adults except maybe Stacy in some scenarios. The only reason I rank him this high among Students is that the new rules of SOTF in building Barricades and searching Survival Decks make’s Billy’s "Track Star" ability far more useful. Beyond that, Billy’s movement is nice but how often do you really need it? It can be nice to have one fast guy on your team to do certain jobs but for the most part, it’s best for getting Billy out of trouble, which he needs because he’s pretty bad at handling trouble in the first place. Zombies can still block his escape routes and I’ve seen Billy get killed first in many games he’s been in.

Amanda
She’s sort of "Sally Lite" in that she can make a pretty good Tank but unlike Sally, Amanda would almost never be a Slayer since she doesn’t fight, she Hides. There are better Tanks in the game but Amanda can get it done and she can sometimes be the best candidate to send into a swarm of zombies for this reason. Still, if her Hide rolls fail, she’s toast.

Jade
Too early to say, but I like what I’ve seen so far. Her ability to avoid wounds with doubles definitely makes her sturdier than most of the other students and makes her a potential Tank. Put her in a game with other strange Heroes and she could even be a star, but only when in the same square as the Strange Hero, which can carry with it other problems.

Kenny
Kenny brings almost nothing to the party besides a humorous character with a humorous ability. Cleanup on Aisle 7 is rarely a good tradeoff. Unless dealing with a Zombie Hero. I’d much rather let the zombie live than take a wound and as stated with Mr. Goddard’s "Quick Thinking" ability, I rarely have items to spare. In fact, I think you’d have to make the ability "Kenny kills any zombie beaten in a fight" just to make him competitive with Sally and Johnny.

Jenny
Her abilities are highly situational to the point where she basically has no added abilities in a lot of games she plays. So she’s Handy, so what? She’s rarely the one I want using a weapon anyways, and some of the best weapons don’t break (e.g. the Chainsaw and Cleaver). She’s clearly at the bottom of the list unless the Farm is on the board, and even with it on the board, I don’t know that I’d take her over anyone else.

Parting notes: This is based solely on my opinion. All of it’s debatable, there is no right or wrong, only preferences. It’s all for fun so let’s have some fun and debate it. I would only ask that you respect my opinion.

Edited to add underlines and bolds to make it easier to read.
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Daniel V
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Hi,

Here is my ranking since SotF.

Adults

- Jake : the key of winning for heroes is search. Going through hero deck quickly is invaluable. Even if all cards are good you can help by putting those items that can be picked up in discard pile.

- Sheriff : picking back his gun always good.

- Rachelle : a jack of all trades. perfectly balanced in all scenarios.

- Father Joseph : can be an asset but depending on heals he could get. In too many scenarios I have seen him getting munched to death early in game. He's a walking target.

- Victor : If you can get him weapons early by himslf or getting rid of "I don't trust them" then he is a dangerous guy.

- Becky : has to stick with someone. Heal ability is good but really shines if Father joseph is in the game (we pick up randomly)

- Sam : A nice tank but a hell of nightmare when turned into zombie hero. Needs to be equipped but playing a cook war veteran is always fun...too bad he doesn't have a pony tail...

Not ranked : Mr Goddard and Stacy because haven't tested them enough but above sam and under father joseph.

Students
- Billy : With SotF he s on my top list. adding 1 to movement roll means often getting out of reach of zombies and also the ability to draw those powerful survival/unique items cards or build barricades fast.

- Sally : I admit when I got the game 1st time I wasn't impressed, but that "Lucky" ability makes her a warrior

- Jonhy : just winning on ties makes him a survivor.

- Amanda : has to stick with male character. But Hiding is good.

- Kenny : Often misused but to kill a special zombie can be quite useful.

- Jade : doubles makes her more keen to survive but has to stick with a strange hero to be fully effective.

- Jenny : nothing special unless the correct L-shape is in play or if she has a breakable hand weapon. Even so most can still break.

As side note I always play zombie in my group so these are in fact the ranking of my hatred

cheers !
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Zombie Slayer
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Adults
Sam
Sheriff Anderson
Father Joseph
Rachelle
Victor
Jake
Becky
Mr. Goddard
Stacy

Students
Sally
Amanda
Johnny
Billy
Jade
Kenny
Jenny

Combined
Sam
Sheriff Anderson
Father Joseph
Sally
Amanda
Rachelle
Victor
Johnny
Jake
Billy
Becky
Jade
Mr. Goddard
Kenny
Stacy
Jenny

Rating guidelines:
1. In general, adults get the nod over students.
2. I don't like playing into Bickering/TCBOLNOE/Catfight, so I value heroes that can stand alone.
3. These are averaged over LNOE, GH, SOTF, and HP1 scenarios.

Sam is nearly impossible to kill, and is backbreaking with 1 First Aid Kit/Doc Brody.

Sheriff Anderson is more important than ever with increasing deck size, since the gun-to-other-cards ratio has decreased.

Father Joseph is a ridiculous support hero that is unreal with Becky.

Sally is great in combat and the best target for Heroic Resolve (IMHO, the 2nd best hero card).

Amanda is a survivor, and her ability plus starting location often means she has an edge over other heroes in number of cards.

Rachelle isn't impressive, but starting with a gun is very very important now.

Victor is above Johnny purely on potential upside as a zombie slayer.

Johnny is all-around solid. I don't bother with Blitz! because it's very suicidal (I prefer positioning and using zombie hunger).

Jake is still very good at cutting some of that new hero card chaff, but doesn't do much else. Also, terrible starting location.

Billy is getting a lot better now with barricades and the new decks.

Becky is not too great for me, since I abhor heroes sticking together. Still good compared to other heroes.

Jade's doubles ability hasn't come up for me too often, but that's more to variance than anything specific about her.

Mr. Goddard only really has one ability, but it's a decent one with Gas and Dynamite.

Kenny has a great starting location, but that's about it.

Stacy's spawning pit ability is so farfetched with most scenarios. The best thing about her is...

She's not Jenny. Great in principle, but so flawed in execution. Her starting location board is arguably the weakest for heroes, all the best weapons do not roll for breakage, and the the last few worth using still break often enough with her that it's just not worth bothering.
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Etienne Aubert
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After a few games, i must say that Stacy's habilities are pretty efficient in facts.
The very cool things is that you can Run and Search during the same turn. I've used her to collect a lot of usefull cards.
The very important thing to notice is that most of the Zombie spawn are made at the end of the Zombie turn ; This let time for Stacy to move away. Give her the Dual handed hammer, and she's a killer.

I didn't liked her at first, but now, i finally find her very usefull.
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Nicholas Daley
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Blutch75 wrote:
After a few games, i must say that Stacy's habilities are pretty efficient in facts.
The very cool things is that you can Run and Search during the same turn. I've used her to collect a lot of usefull cards.
The very important thing to notice is that most of the Zombie spawn are made at the end of the Zombie turn ; This let time for Stacy to move away. Give her the Dual handed hammer, and she's a killer.

I didn't liked her at first, but now, i finally find her very usefull.

I agree. I think Stacy is pretty good. She can sit on a pit within a building and draw two cards per turn. Zombies don't often spawn more than 4 zombies per turn so the chances of her getting two zombies spawned on her are pretty slim. Besides, with her drawing two cards per turn, she'll have plenty to defend herself with.

Edit: One more thought. Stacy will be great to use in the scenarios where the zombies are the ones trying to accomplish the goal (as long as that goal isn't killing Heroes). For example, in Zombie Apocalypse the Zombie player needs to destroy buildings. In this case, they are less likely to want to put a zombie on the spawning pit with Stacy. Stacy will have free reign to just draw two cards each turn. Personally, I think she's better than Jake. She gets to KEEP both her cards.

And like the above poster said: If the zombie player happens to spawn a Grave Dead or other powerful zombie on that space, she still has her own turn to move away and head to another spawning pit before that zombie even has a chance to attack her.
 
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Roman F
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I think picking up cards is more important than ever, so I'll try Stacy some more and see how she does. The issue for me is, I really don't like putting anyone deep into a building, where the Spawning Pits are. I like to hang out by the door so I can get out quickly if I need to. It's a high price to pay for an additional card per turn. But as new Spawning Pits are placed, I think Stacy's abilities could really shine.

As far as my own list goes, I've definitely overrated Becky. She is an excellent support character and if you have Father Joseph, she's basically a must-have. But she's not as good on her own as other adults and is kind of limited to having to follow other heroes around to be fully effective. I still think she's near the top, just not at the top, probably better than Rachelle but I don't know if she's better than Victor or Sam.

Some interesting points on Jake, as I say, he's difficult to rank since it depends heavily on the scenario you're in. If you need specific cards to win, he's the best guy to have. If not, I think he's one of the weaker heroes to get. I see him get eaten all the time because he's just not much of a fighter.
 
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Dan H
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With the distinction between the different roles -- tank, slayer, cannon, support/search -- I don't think a single list, or even a list for adults and a list for youths, really makes sense. What we should have are lists for each of these different roles. Something like this:

Tank
---
Sam
Johnny
Jade
Amanda
Sally
Jenny

Slayer
---
Victor
Fr. Joe
Sally
Johnny
Jenny

Cannon
---
Sheriff Anderson
Rachelle
Mr. Goddard

Support/search
---
Billy*
Becky
Fr. Joe
Stacy
Mr. Goddard
Jake
Kenny
Billy* (Billy's usefulness depends heavily on whether you're using barricades etc.)
 
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I question putting Father Joseph so high on his own. With Becky, sure, he can be deadly, but if I were ranking the heroes I think he'd need a little star by his name that says "ranks the highly only with Becky." If Becky's not present I dread a random Joseph draw, mainly because of the no-gun factor.
 
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Roman F
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jcb231 wrote:
I question putting Father Joseph so high on his own. With Becky, sure, he can be deadly, but if I were ranking the heroes I think he'd need a little star by his name that says "ranks the highly only with Becky." If Becky's not present I dread a random Joseph draw, mainly because of the no-gun factor.


I've seen him majorly influence several games where Becky wasn't involved. There are other ways to heal besides Becky, such as a Hospital with the FIRST AID KIT in play. Furthermore, sometimes a wound is well worth preventing a Zombie card.

FAITH, though more diluted since SOTF, turns him into a Zombie-killing Tank or Slayer. With FAITH and a CHAINSAW, who needs a gun?
 
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Roman Farraday wrote:
jcb231 wrote:
I question putting Father Joseph so high on his own. With Becky, sure, he can be deadly, but if I were ranking the heroes I think he'd need a little star by his name that says "ranks the highly only with Becky." If Becky's not present I dread a random Joseph draw, mainly because of the no-gun factor.


I've seen him majorly influence several games where Becky wasn't involved. There are other ways to heal besides Becky, such as a Hospital with the FIRST AID KIT in play. Furthermore, sometimes a wound is well worth preventing a Zombie card.

FAITH, though more diluted since SOTF, turns him into a Zombie-killing Tank or Slayer. With FAITH and a CHAINSAW, who needs a gun?


I suppose, but I tend to get a bit wary of relying on a specific card draw to make a hero great. All the copies of Faith could be on the bottom of the deck depending on the shuffle.

I think my current favorite hero is Anderson. He starts with a gun and can always grab it again from the discard pile if he should run out of ammo. Other faves are Becky, for the healing factor, and Johnny, for the game-changing wins-on-ties factor, regardless of his other powers. I also like Sally and Amanda's abilities to alter or avoid combat altogether, although Sally suffers a touch by not being able to use heavier guns. I find Amanda works very well with a sturdier male hero like Victor.

I think my least favorite is probably Kenny. He can be useful sometimes, but he's a bit too quirky for my tastes. Billy's not great either unless you're playing a scenario that relies heavily on getting from point A to point B and you need the extra speed.
 
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Dan H
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jcb231 wrote:

I suppose, but I tend to get a bit wary of relying on a specific card draw to make a hero great. All the copies of Faith could be on the bottom of the deck depending on the shuffle.


Well-stocked buildings.
 
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But Well-stocked buildings are an optional rule. Some scenarios use them, but other than that they are simply something you can add in to certain games and will not be a standard feature of every game.
 
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Roman F
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Noumena wrote:
Support/search
---
Billy*
Becky
Fr. Joe
Stacy
Mr. Goddard
Jake
Kenny
Billy* (Billy's usefulness depends heavily on whether you're using barricades etc.)


I like the addition of this role very much but I might call it "Resource Support" to put Billy*, Jake and Stacy in proper context and to a lesser degree, Mr. Goddard, who I think is more valuable for his "Fire" than for his "Quick Thinking" (not to say "Quick Thinking" doesn't have its benefits).

I think Becky and Father Joe are a different type of support character, something like "Zombie Counterer" as their abilities directly counter things that the zombies are trying to do.

I don't think Kenny really fits this role. I never realized until this thread Kenny is actually a specialized Zombie Hero Assassin He's a little too specialized for me to put him any higher on my list than I did but he's more useful than I realized.

Not going to keep debating Father Joe, we all have our opinions, I'm just saying I've seen him have a big effect in a lot of games without Becky, both as the Hero player and as the Zombie player. He depends on certain cards but there are a lot of them that can boost his abilities. As the Zombie player, he's the hero I most hate going against.
 
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Father Joseph is downright amazing, with or without Becky. Heck, my sister and I don't even bother anymore with a team that has the Father + Becky, because it just makes it too easy for the heroes. I base the Father's ranking purely on not having Becky. With Becky, he's ranked #1.

With Doc Brody + 2 First Aid Kit, along with 4 Just What I Needed plus Drug Store/Hospital, there's usually a way to abuse the Father in missions that run long. Father in the Hospital or Drug Store with the right equipment is more dangerous than the Airplane Hangar "Battle Station of Doom."

Faith is so very underrated. The key is not to actually tank with the Faithed-up Father, unless you have something else like Meat Cleaver or Garden Shears. It's to protect the guy from Shambled or Surprise Attack zombies. As long as you don't expect him to completely win the game for you, the Father will serve you very well.

Also, I never really had to group heroes together for a scenario before playing with Supply Run. Being able to pair with females as well as males and only having to deal with Bickering is a huge relief, because at worst, you are only blown out once a game instead of potentially multiple times.

I also don't see any problems with guns. Just hand any guns the Father finds to another hero. He shouldn't be straying too far away from other heroes anyway. The guy is too important to not have someone come running to his rescue.
 
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Roman F
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After playing more with SOTF, I want to re-rank the heroes a bit:

Adults

Sheriff Anderson
Father Joseph
Sam
Victor
Mr. Goddard
Becky
Rachelle
Jake
Stacy

Students

Sally
Johnny
Billy
Amanda
Jade
Kenny
Jenny

Some changes:

Sheriff Anderson - Everyone has their favorites but he's the one character that everyone agrees is at or near the top. He's always an asset, he doesn't depend on scenario or cards or anything. MAN OF ACTION gives him remarkable consistency, and it's his consistency that puts him at the top.

Victor - Didn't really change my ranking so much as reinforced it after seeing him some more. There are times he struggles to arm himself, making Sam more consistenly useful. However, there are other times when Victor dominates like no one else can. An armed Victor can be a zombie player's worst nightmakre.

Mr. Goddard - FIRE is a huge ability and depending on the scenario, its critical. Even if it isn't critical, he's still great as an explosives expert who can occassionally pull major resources with QUICK THINKING.

Becky - I was pretty far off. She's always useful and she's outstanding when Father Joe is in the game but using her ability often means putting her in less-than-optimal situations, making you susceptible to TCBOLNOE or CATFIGHT or BICKERING. Also, since she can't heal herself, she gets killed a lot.

Just want to add that after playing more of Stacy and Jade, I'm not changing my opinion of them. It's not like they're useless, both can do some things, but they aren't as useful as just about anyone else. Stacy has had some games where she's pulled several extra cards, but others where her abilities simply haven't been used at all. Same argument that puts Sheriff Anderson at the top puts her at the bottom -- his consistency is tremendous, hers is lacking.
 
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