So, Nathan here, the guy who made the game. For those of you who’ve flipped through the rulebook, played, or even bought the game, (word to your mothers) you’ll probably have noticed that the rulebook doesn’t include any advice to play.
The absence of any strategic suggestions was because I didn’t want to taint the players with my preconceptions on how to play. I was really curious how players, without any input from myself, would do and what tactics they’d employ.
So, after a considerable amount of time of watching, and playing myself, I’d like to share what I’ve learned and seen some very clever people do.
In PHZ, you and your team are essentially given a grab bag of random powers, strengths, and exploits.
The most important element is that your opponents are also living, thinking people. So you most not only think of strategy, you must think of counter strategies. This is key. So I’m going to list a bunch of strategies and counter strategies.
Basic Human Strategies
Stick Together: Humans, for the most part should stick together. Humans are vulnerable alone, so you should refrain from splitting apart, particularly later in the game.
The downside is, you will move very slowly, and don’t get much stuff. Taking too much time and running out of supplies is a sure way too die.
Fan out and Loot:You can risk splitting up early on, if spreading out will get you a bunch of items, extras or other goodies. Note, you should only do this if you’ve got a couple aces to save yourself/or allies. Even early, a bad event or a really well played Z-card can drop an isolated human. So either be rigged up to save someone, or be willing to leave a guy behind.
Spead out the weapons: As much as you may be tempted to play every card on yourself, and keep every weapon. This is probably folly. Try to arm your allies to get the greatest effect out of your gear and abilities. In fact, you might arm a character with a needed ability (like the nurse, or store clerk) with your biggest weapon so they get a good supply of points.
Extras are awesome: If at all possible, get extras. They equate to extra manpower, firepower, and ultimately, meat shields.
Basic Zombie Strategies
Attrition: You are endless. Throughout the course of the game, you will have dozens, perhaps, hundreds of zombies. Barring any childhood fireworks accidents, you can count the number of humans on one hand. So fights are about attrition. Make the humans use cards as much as causing injuries. Eventually, you should be able to swarm them.
Speed Bumps: Typically, the humans will ball together, making them very hard to attack early on. Take advantage of this and slow their movements as much as possible by getting a single zombie on each space adjacent to them. That way the humans have to push one space at a time, but only get one zombie out of the fight. Sending in a killable waves of 3 or 4 against the same number of humans probably won’t score any blood and just feed them points.
Be Prepared for Opportunity: Zombies are opportunists. A good card draw or a calamitous event can put the humans in a bind. Try to have a cluster of zombies within reach just in case something causes the humans to split up, or end up in a bad place like a place with Lights Out or God Forsaken Spot.
Be Scary: Zombies accumulate a lot of Z cards. If you’ve got a good amount of hunger you can buy up even more. A fist full of cards is a weapon in its own right, even if you’re not playing them. Again, you’re playing against people, so you can use your hand to intimidate or manipulate the other team. You might not have to be able to do something, they just need to think you can do something.
Get them to waste stuff As said before, attrition is key. If the Humans have a bunch of cards that you don’t know, don’t blow everything at once to hit them. Use some of your resources to send a moderate strength force to see if you can get them to use up their one shots.
Dirty Zombie Tricks
A lot of what the zombies can do is based off of their theme. Here’s some dirty tricks.
Invisible Speed Bumps Zombies ‘that sneak’ are the perfect speed bumps. You can block with them, then when a fight would start, use their sneak ability to relocate them to a new position. If you’re fortunate enough to get ninja sneakers, it’s even better since you could ambush then save them.
Screaming for one guy If you have screaming zombies, max aggro out one guy, but don’t waste it maxing everyone. Make the humans choose between using up a turn all hiding, feeding you hunger if they don’t pause, and splitting up.
Long Dead Wreaking Ball: Long Dead zombies don’t count against the spawn, and I’ve seen this trick once or twice. Pick a spot, way in the back. Just keep spawning until you get all fifteen of your pawns out. Once you’re capped out, roll ‘em in. You’re going to want to make sure the humans don’t have full auto weapons.
This is hardly everything. I’ll add more amusing tricks as I think of them, and encourage anyone else to add their clever tricks.