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Subject: Which expansions to use? rss

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Rob Rob
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I recently lucked into the original base game and a number of expansions (2, 3, 3.5 and 4). The boy and I played a quick two player game tonight using the "shuffle the helipad into the bottom of the deck" rule.

My understanding is using more than one or possibly two expansions would make the game (literally) unmanageable. What expansions or combination of expansions do people recommend?

P.S. What are the "guts" I notice on some of the BGG user designed player mats?
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Guts appear in Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever. Basically you start with 3 guts which is also your hand size. There are cards and rules in the set that allow you to increase or decrease guts which changes your hand size.

Zombies 4 is a new base set. I wouldn't normally mix it with the original Zombies game because the maps will be too big. Zombies 3.5, which is only cards, can pretty much be mixed into anything with good results. One thing you can do with it is to remove some of the cards you don't like and tailor the game a bit. For example, removing some of the "take that!" cards can make the game faster and less frustrating.

Beyond not mixing 1 and 4, I'd typically say that you can add 3.5 and 6 to any other set and generally improve the experience. For the other expansions, I'd typically only add 1 or 2 additional ones.

I think the Zombies!!! 8: Jailbreak and Zombies!!! 7: Send in the Clowns, particularly 7, are best played with no other expansions, but that's more a personal feeling. The clowns are hard enough to escape that it doesn't usually add more fun to then have to escape the town.
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Rob Rob
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Hah! I was just reading your earlier reviews of Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever zombie It does seem the consensus is to always use 3.5, 2 works well and to not combine the others unless really looking for a change.

To clarify, the guts rule is you start with 3. That dictates your hand size. On a natural combat roll of 1 lose one gut, natural 6, gain one gut. Max of 5.

That's it, right? No swapping them for damage or re-rolls like hearts or bullets?
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Correct, but there also cards in that set that can add or subtract guts from you or other players.
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Brad St. Pierre
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This series pretty much marked my entry into the board-gaming hobby. As such, it has a fond place in my heart.

Having said that, balancing expansion mixing correctly (or incorrectly) can really make or break the game. The following observations and suggestions have been formulated over the course of many game sessions:

One thing to consider is the alternate setup rules in which you attach the entrance tiles to expansions to Town Square at the start of the game. This will allow people who want to explore a specific area the opportunity to do so without slogging all the way through town to get there once the entrance is revealed. I recommend this for most expansion + core town setups except for the 3rd expansion. The vent system allows for too fast movement, making winning the game in a location other than the Mall difficult when the Mall is in play from the start of the game.

A good house-rule we use is to allow players who are killed to "respawn" at any entrance tile that they have been to before (for example, a player that dies in the Woods would be allowed to respawn at Town Square or the Bridge).

Something to keep in mind is that every tile based expansion you add will add to the length of the game unless people simply ignore the other areas and stick to the main town.

Now for my personal suggestions: I find the base set or the woods + a small expansion, such as the Military Base or the Mall works great in a 2-4 player game. If you're playing with a full 6 (or more), adding the Woods to the Town or using two small expansions can be fun.

A great investment if you're really digging this game is the 6th expansion. It adds Subways to the Town, in addition to several other components. When we play with 6 (or more) people with multiple expansions, we remove a Subway Tile for each expansion entrance tile and attach it to the entrance tile when it is drawn. This allows for relatively fast movement both in the core Town and to different expansion locations.

Sorry for the walls of text, I guess I had more to say about this topic than I thought... blush
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Steve Shockley
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Good post, thanks. I've recently been getting into this game. Right now I have just the base game with some 3.5 cards mixed in. I also removed some of the more powerful base game cards as recommended by the Quick Play rules. The current deck I'm using is 64 cards; 40 from the base game and 24 from 3.5. I'm actually thinking of putting one or two of the cards I removed back into the deck, maybe the other Fear and Brain Cramp cards. It seems you can go to far in the other direction if you don't have enough cards that hamper an opponent's movement, meaning that whoever does place the helipad will almost always win, which would be a little predictable and anticlimactic.

I like the 3.5 card that lets you pick which card to draw from the top three on the deck; it gives you some good "hand-building" capabilities, which can be useful when you know the helipad is coming up and need to look for a good screw-you card to keep the leader from escaping.

 
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