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Subject: Zombicide: Designers' notes rss

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Percy Montblanc
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Nicolas Raoult is one of the 3 designers behind Zombicide.

He took the time to write this article giving details on our first board game. We hope you will enjoy the reading.

Zombicide

• Zombicide is a collaborative game for 1 to 6 players, for 10 years old and up. A game lasts for 20mn (beginner board) to 3 hours (expert board).

• Each player control from one (for 6 players) to four (solo playing) “survivors”, human beings in a zombie-infested town. In fact, “survivors” hastily change to “hunters” to smash zombies through and through. However, the team have to constantly keep the balance between survival and slaughter: as the zombicide’s going on, the “Danger level” is going up and undeads are growing in numbers. Any misstep can turn to disaster.

• The “Danger level” defines the game rhythm. A survivor gains experience for each zombie eliminated and gains new skills as he reaches “Danger levels” defined by colors: blue, yellow, orange and, finally, red. On the other hand, the most experienced survivor fixes the “Danger level” for zombie spawns. The more experienced he is, the more zombies spawns. And the more dangerous they are.

• Every game turn begins with “player’s turn” then “zombies’ turn”. The first player changes at the beginning of each turn. Zombicide is not just for violence, it’s also for strategy and planification.

• The game is scenario-oriented and victory is achieved through completion of various objectives from finding food to rescuing fellow survivors, including cleaning an infested area and running a car-race through the city. A 20mn tutorial is enough to learn the mechanisms and give way to ten scenarios of growing difficulty and intensity. The modular material easily allows players to create their own scenario.

• Game designers’ wish was to create a fun and easy game with cool minis in an archetypical, popular and comics-inspired environment. Ambiance is constantly kept between “beat’em up” and “survival horror” as characters keep on turning from preys to predators. Second-degree humor and gloom happily marry in a zombie-fest.

Zombicide Box Content

• 71 miniatures. Special effort was given to detail and diversity: several models are available for most zombies of the same type.

• 9 recto-verso gaming tiles. Scenarios take place on boards from two to nine tiles in a riot-devasted urban area. Characters move from zones to zones defined by walls and crosswalks. Designers were careful about the overall quality and playability of tiles’ illustrations.

• Recto-verso tokens. Objectives tokens. Doors tokens. Cars tokens. Noise tokens. Zombie spawn zones tokens. More tokens than required indeed. In fact, enough of them are planned to create your craziest scenarios.

• 110 cards, including Equipment cards and Zombies cards.

Zombies gameplay

• 4 zombies types: Walkers, Runners, Fatties and Abomination.
- Walkers are rank-and-file zombies, numerous, stupid and slow walking. The average zombie.
- Runners are really fast and really smart. As they play twice per zombie’s turn, they’re your worst nightmare in close quarters.
- Fatties are hard to kill and come with two “walker” escort.
- The Abomination looks like an inexorable and overwhelming fattie. There’s only one way to kill it and you need to combine Equipment cards to build the required weapon.

• Zombies are played by the game itself.
- They move according to the survivors they see and hear. Vision and noise are crucial to confront, avoid or possibly control the zombie horde.
- Zombies enter the board through “zombies spawn zones” defined by the scenario and manholes sketched over the game tiles. Opening the first door of a building also triggers a zombie spawn in each building’s zone.
- The way they spawn is defined by Zombie cards randomly picked over the Zombie pile. Pick one card per Zombie spawn zone. Each zombie card figures four combinations of zombies to put in play, read the according line, put the zombie minis in play, it’s as simple as that.
- Survivors don’t choose their targets among zombies. The wounding priorities in any targeted zone are: Walkers first, then Fatties (including the Abomination) and, finally, Runners. Yes, runners indirectly benefit from the Fatties “meat shield” effect and consequently are the last to be eliminated. They’re smart, we said. You were warned.
Moreover, survivors are priority targets for ranged combat. Never shoot in a zone including a fellow survivor AND zombies, you would kill your friend first. Going in hand-to-hand combat is the only way to help him/her. Will you take the risk?

Survivor tales – Playing heroes

• Each Survivor is unique and customizable.
- The six Survivors are inspired by everyday people and progress to near-demigod status as they gain Danger levels.
- Each Survivor begins with a special skill and progress through an arborescence of new skills as he/she gains Danger levels. According to your strategy the same survivor could choose different paths.

• Actions! Each survivor begins with three actions per turn, to spend among some of the following actions choices.
- Moving from one zone to the next.
- Opening a door (door-breaking equipment is required)
- Fighting zombies though hand-to-hand or ranged combat (may produce noise)
- Searching for Equipment (draw a random Equipment card)
- Make some noise
- Getting in or out a car.
- Etc.
Every survivor may gain more actions with Danger levels, to spend among specific actions choices.

• Equipment. Survivor may loot very cool stuff while searching into secluded spaces or into wrecked cars.
- Weapons, hand-to-hand or ranged, including revolver, shotgun, rifle, SMG, axe, machete, katana, chainsaw, etc.
- Some weapons may be used as dual: both are activated in the same action. We KNOW you’ll love to play a dual-SMG or dual-machete wielding survivor.
- Extra stuff like goalie mask (ignore one wound), scope (+rifle = sniper rifle), extra ammo (rerolls), bottles and gazoline (Molotov coktail), etc.
- Food equipment may be a mission objective.
- Some Equipment cards are trapped and give way to a minor zombie spawn. Digging in the dirt may be such a thrill.

• Surviving. A survivor take a wound and loses a chosen Equipment for each zombie in the same zone as his at the beginning of zombie turn. Two wounds and the survivor is dead. Sad but true.

Players soon learn that a collaborative team is an efficient but somewhat fragile killing machine.

And this is it for now...
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Erik Racer
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We are living our lives... Abound with so much information... Come on, let go of the remote,
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This sounds really great. Love that the difficultly ramps up with the character level.
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^...^ ALIEN ^...^
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Awesome, can't wait to learn more.
 
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Carlos F.
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N S.
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Looks really promising. I'll definitely keep my eye on this one.

Could potentially dethrone Last Night on Earth as my zombie game of choice.
 
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Alexandr Sirotkin
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This looks like a promising zombie game! I am looking forward to see more ^_^
 
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Paul Leoncavallo
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*drool*
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Alexander Bulgakov
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I want it now. (: Thanks for brief, now I know everything, that needed for decision to buy or not to buy. Hm, answer is must have. (:
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Jason Rupp
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This looks fun. I have one question. Will there be different difficulty levels available?
 
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Galen Ciscell
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This sounds AWESOME!!!

My one concern - does the game necessarily get longer on the harder modes? Do I have to play a 3 hour game to play the hardest challenge?
 
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Percy Montblanc
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Not really... 3 hours is for the most complicated and difficult missions....

thanks
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Nicolas Raoult
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rrrrupp wrote:
This looks fun. I have one question. Will there be different difficulty levels available?

Starting a game at Yellow, Orange or Red Danger level is an option but I wouldn't recommend it unless you and your fellows are experienced zombie hunters.

At higher Danger levels, survivors are strong but zombies reinforcements are very, very numerous and nasty. As zombies can get some kind of an extra turn each time you don't have enough zombies minis to put on the board, the whole thing can get FUBAR in the blink of an eye.
This kind of "zombie rampage" can happen every once in a while on bigger boards or when players don't cull undead numbers. It WILL happen on an alarming frequency on a "Red Start" trip over any 6+ tiles board.

Moreover, survivors will begin at higher Danger levels, but won't have any better equipment. Imagine your average joe facing a zombie crowd with a single pistol, if not a broom... In this case, you'll better bet on discretion or evasive strategy until you get some bigger weapons. But then, beware zombie rampages. Slaughter VS Survival, once again.

We tried "Red Starts" to experience the demigod feeling of veteran characters. It's very exciting indeed (oooh yeah, good memories) but can abruptly stop in a gruesome - and painful - manner.
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Nicolas Raoult
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gciscell wrote:
This sounds AWESOME!!!

Thanks.
We hope you'll get as much pleasure playing to Zombicide as we took to design and playtest it.

gciscell wrote:
My one concern - does the game necessarily get longer on the harder modes? Do I have to play a 3 hour game to play the hardest challenge?

No.
Three hours is the given time to wipe a whole 9-tiles map with several and distant objectives, while searching every building for top-notch Equipment and discussing optimized strategy (read: "carnage!") with your friends.
The very same scenario could be finished (and has been finished indeed, with another test team) in merely one hour with a completely different strategy: minimize Danger Level (optimized XP gain between party members), stop searching for stuff when everyone has a weapon (optimized inventory sharing FTW) and speed to objectives.
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Galen Ciscell
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Fantastic, thanks for the clarification Nicolas!
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Chris Bain
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This sounds amazing! I can't wait. This will be highlighted on my watch list!
 
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sam faraci
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The game sounds awesome but i hope its not one of those games thats impossible to win and speaking of winning ,how do you win the game,is it by killing all zombies or by achieving objectives etc.
 
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Tim Bueschel
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This looks like a pretty neat games. Are there only ten scenarios? Will there be expansions, or are there different levels of complexity per scenario?
 
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Percy Montblanc
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Sam, of course is possible to win the game... And you have to achieve the objectives... Zombies never end...
 
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Percy Montblanc
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10 scenarios will be in the base game.... Free scenarios will be posted in our site... You will also be able to create easily yours...
Expansions? We are working on it, but much depends on sales...
Thanks!
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Jason Rupp
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cutter3377 wrote:
The game sounds awesome but i hope its not one of those games thats impossible to win and speaking of winning ,how do you win the game,is it by killing all zombies or by achieving objectives etc.


I'm hoping it's hard enough to be tense I don't want another Elder Sign soblue

Ghost Stories difficulty would be great!
 
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Carl Grosspietsch II
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For a die-hard Romero / Walking Dead-style zombie fan who absolutely hates the rise of the fast zombie / mutant zombie archetype, does this game hold any promise?

The components look fantastic, details of the gameplay sound great, scenarios add variety, board is not static from game to game, etc. Until I got to the part about running and mutant super zombies, I was hooked. Is it possible to play the game with only the walkers with the game mechanics intact?

Thanks for your time.
 
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Nicolas Raoult
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Hi !

carlg2 wrote:
For a die-hard Romero / Walking Dead-style zombie fan who absolutely hates the rise of the fast zombie / mutant zombie archetype, does this game hold any promise?

It absolutely does. Walking Dead was one of our sources for atmosphere and Romero films are "must-see".

carlg2 wrote:
The components look fantastic, details of the gameplay sound great, scenarios add variety, board is not static from game to game, etc. Until I got to the part about running and mutant super zombies, I was hooked. Is it possible to play the game with only the walkers with the game mechanics intact?

We didn't test that way, so consider my advice with a bit of salt.

From a strict mechanical and objective point of view, it's perfectly feasible. The game would run just as smooth, albeit the difficulty would be easier.

From my subjective point of view, the game would lose some interest. The zombies would be less dangerous and more predictable. Some Equipments, specifically thought to blast specific kinds of zombies (i.e. rifle+scope allows "sniper shots" to eliminate Runners even in a zombie crowd, priceless) would prove much useless.

As you love Romero-like shambling hordes of Walkers, it could not be real problem.
To regain the "lost" game interest, you could rearrange the Zombie cards pile. Perhaps (testing really needed here) by considering each Runner as 2 Walkers, and each Fattie (including escort) as 4 Walkers. "Zombie rampages" would happen sooner and give thrill from another angle.

Have fun.

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Carl Grosspietsch II
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Nicolas,

Thank you for the quick follow-up and detailed response. I think this game has become a must buy!

Good gaming,
Carl
 
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Juha Salmi
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zombie nice miniatures. I hope runners and rollerblade girl have good stand, as they seem to stand with only 1 small supportpart.

I have to buy this one.
 
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