Recommend
30 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Zombicide» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 72 Zombies led the big parade... (first playthrough impressions) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
United States
Brown Deer
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My gaming group wanted to convene early yesterday, however earlier in the day I had received this e-mail saying a certain package was out for delivery. As a result, I stayed home for it to arrive...and finally...it did. The package promptly traveled to my gaming group and the grand unboxing happened...and then it began.

Zombicide: The First Playthroughs


Overview
Zombicide is a purely co-operative game where a group of 4-6 survivors attempts to complete various pre-scenarios in a town while a drizzle of zombies quickly becomes a rampaging horde. Pretty generic sounding, so what sets this game apart and are those differences any good? Pure co-op is the first big difference I noticed. In LNOE the existence of two teams has led to friction within my gaming group. Instead of accusations of cheap tactics and huffing and puffing about always have the right card to counter, there was shared discussion about tactics trading and collaboration. To me, instant win. But let us discuss more things in details.

Rules
I will give you a brief overview. Move, kill zombies, level up, don't die. Yes there is more to it than that, but the rules are available at the product website: http://guillotinegames.com/en/gamestuff.

I will take this opportunity to comment about "the controversy" that have been floating around.

Yes, when shooting into a zone that contains both friendlies and zombies you will always hit your friendlies first. I understand that this sounds counter-intuitive to our action movie hero sensibilities but after playing through, this is what I can tell you I feel. IT'S A BALANCE MECHANISM. Being able to pick off whatever zombies you want basically allows you to have a rearguard (which if you get the right combination of skills and cards can be dual wielding chainsaws....) and really stops the zombies from being a threat. The inability to shoot zombies before friendlies encourages moving as a group (what do we know about stragglers in zombie movies?), creates some really heroic come save us moments, and keeps the zombies chasing you as a threat. You may not like the rule, but I can say when in game it works. I really feel without it the game would be far too easy.

Anyways...onto reviewing the game:

Like seeing the sun the next day...(The Good)

Production Value

Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous!


(Photo by Deviser)

One minor complaint, if the zombies are not painted (which mine are not) it can be difficult to tell walkers apart from runners on the fly. I'm sure I unintentionally made our game easier more than once by moving the runners as walkers. Otherwise, I continue to worship at the feet of games distributed by CMON.

Depth of Play

Tactics, tactics, tactics. Wow are there tactics. We had an abomination spawn really early in the game. None of us had a weapon that could kill the thing, and we really did want to get pinned down by it. It became clear to us that we had to use literal diversionary tactics. Some survivors cut through a building to get to the other side of a road. They screamed, shouted, shoot their guns into the undead horde, and breathed REALLY loudly to create more noise. The remaining survivors ducked out of sight and remained quiet. As per the rules, the abomination headed towards noise. The noisy ones then cut through the building in order to rejoin the group, buying more time away from the abomination.

This is just one example of tactical situations that arise. While you do not have control over what zombies show up, they follow strict rules dictating their movement. To that end, YOU HAVE FULL CONTROL OVER WHERE THEY WILL GO. Use that to your advantage.

The feel

We played the tutorial and scenario 1 last night. And by the end of the night my adrenaline was pumping a little bit. You can't help but get involved when your poor little hero is surrounded by hordes of minis. We actually had to have a character die last night due to heroic sacrifice, and we were whooping and smiling when we figured out that we could win that way.

I got bit...I can feel myself changing (The Neutral/Bad)

Wounds

I expected the game to be deadlier than it is. If played carefully wounds are decently easy to avoid (especially if the majority of your heroes have the slippery trait). We suffered exactly 4 wounds using 6 heroes in playing the tutorial and the first scenario. But, as stated above, because you have full control over zombie movement, the number of wounds can be minimized with good tactics and a bit of luck.

....that's a lot of zombie

Yes the game comes with a lot of zombies. And the spawning does get fast and furious. However, when you spawn 4 fatties, their 8 walker escorts, and they converge on a zone containing 12 walkers already... Some of the zones literally are not big enough to contain the swarm of zombies that can be spawned. And then you have to move all of them...

...that's not enough zombies!

Yes the game comes with a ton of zombies. If you kickstarted, you have even more zombies. I dipped into the pool of extra zombies...and still almost ran out. Yes the number of zombies available is kind of a soft timer to keep you moving and accomplishing your goal. I will have to play some games without the extra zombies from kickstarter, but I can tell you that would crank the difficulty considerably. (40 walkers sounds like a lot...until you are spawning 5-7 at each of 4 spawn points)

...we're going to need a bigger table

I recommend 4x4 minimally, especially with 6 players. The game isn't exactly "small." You need space for 9 tiles, player cards, dice rolling, and elbows. Also the boards for the different scenarios are in different shapes (2x2 square, 3x3, square, 2x4 rectangles, etc. etc.)so if you are a poor college student cramped for space...you may need a proper gaming table.

Situational Heroes

Variable player powers inevitably leads to some characters being more useful than others in any given situation. In scenario 1, for instance, you need to grab objectives that are scattered around the board. Wanda (being the most mobile) was extremely useful. Dave (who did not have a ranged weapon for a large portion of the game), largely tagged along and had to be rescued over and over. Item cards also lend to some heroes being "better" than others.

This is what I found:

Dual wielding ranged weapons >>>>>> ranged weapons >> dual wielding melee > melee weapons.

Just to put it into perspective:

Doug (dualie SMGS) : 72 zombie kills
Josh (Single pistol) : 18 zombie kills
El Cholo (Double machete) : 14 zombie kills
Dave (crowbar) : 8 zombie kills

Why? Well your shooters basically get a free turn of shooting into the advancing horde before they have to retreat. Melee wielders really want to start their turn engaged with the zombies so that they can retreat on their last action. Therefore, your shooters have more turns to be shooting.

Now this is not saying if you don't have dual SMGs you are useless. Wanda was our MVP yesterday because she could run around the board and get all the objectives while we cleared the streets for her. It is all about optimizing what your heroes can do, not what they innately do.

Don't be THAT guy

Because the number of zombies spawned keys off of the highest level player, if one of your players is slaughtering every zombie in sight a wide chasm of player ability can develop. This is a part of the decision making process in the game. How much time do you spend spreading power around the team (which can be compounded by some heroes being "better" at leveling than others) versus how much do you specialize one hero.

Just know that if you have person intent all killing all of the undead horde, the rest of you are in for a much more difficult adventure.

zombiezombiezombiezombiezombiezombie...(The bad)

Dying

If you do die...it sucks. Player elimination in a co-op always feels off. Some games get around this with on your turn maintenance (Sentinels of the Multiverse for a good example, Ghost Stories for a bad example), or there are resurrection mechanics (Ghost Stories, again). None found here. Yes I get it is thematic and adds gravitas to taking wounds and dying, however, I play games with friends to get everyone enjoying themselves. Losing someone (especially in a heroic sacrifice) reduces said played to an advice bot, drink fetcher, or that guy over there watching the TV.

The rumors and speculation are that a future expansion will turn dead heroes into zombies (complete conjecture at this point), but the problem stands for now.

Final Impression

I want to play again. I had fun playing it and want to play again. Did I mention I want to play it again? ...I wonder when I can play again and introduce more people to it. ...shoot when am I going to have free time to play?

I feel the theme, production value, and tactical gameplay really create a zombie horror survival experience. While I expected the game to be more deadly, that certainly did not mean the game was easy. When we were playing we did not have that moment of despair that spelled inevitable loss, but we also never felt that we were fully in control (You know...in Pandemic, when have 2 of 4 cures, and the other two in hand...). Waves and waves of zombies stood between us and our goal, and we threw a Hail Mary to get there.

This game is a great fit for my group. We have a few really sore losers and really vindictive backstabbers. We have played enough games where we don't Alpha Dog too much so it fits really nicely. If you like competition, there is a bit of that in the race to level, however it can be detrimental due to the power imbalance it creates (Gimli/Legolas moment anyone?). Yes there is lots of rolling dice for combat and items are random. Does that mean the game is a complete dice fest? No. I think there is a nice mix of random versus predictable and it really creates a fun night.

While I have only played the first scenario, I can't wait to break out the rest.

Until next time...good luck and good night. Don't let the zombies bite.
45 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg
United States
Lowell
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review pigi.

I got a chance to play the walkthrough scenario yesterday before having to leave game day early. The others played through a real scenario after I left and I heard it went well and it was thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed the little taste of it that I got and saw potential for some great memorable fun.

Only negative I saw about the components was that the tiles were a little concave. I don't know if it was from humidity or shipping that way, but it didn't affect game play.

I look forward to getting to play a real scenario.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
flag msg tools
badge
Handsome devil huh?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm so damn jealous it's not even funny. Great review pigi, thanks for sharing your initial impressions. I'm sad that CMON decided to ship US orders first in order to be able to sell the game at Gen Con, while leaving us poor folks outside the US not only with longer shipping times, but a much later shipping date to start with. I have not looked forward to playing a game this much in years!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julien Le Jeune
Belgium
Namur
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yokiboy wrote:
while leaving us poor folks outside the US not only with longer shipping times, but a much later shipping date to start with


and don't forget the $25 additional dollars we paid

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
StevenE Smooth Sailing...
United States
Torrance
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pigi314159 wrote:


Dying

If you do die...it sucks. Player elimination in a co-op always feels off. Some games get around this with on your turn maintenance (Sentinels of the Multiverse for a good example, Ghost Stories for a bad example), or there are resurrection mechanics (Ghost Stories, again). None found here. Yes I get it is thematic and adds gravitas to taking wounds and dying, however, I play games with friends to get everyone enjoying themselves. Losing someone (especially in a heroic sacrifice) reduces said played to an advice bot, drink fetcher, or that guy over there watching the TV.

The rumors and speculation are that a future expansion will turn dead heroes into zombies (complete conjecture at this point), but the problem stands for now.


Why not allow another character to be spawned in the next scenario... or in the current scenario if you think it has a lot more time to go?

I am really looking forward to this game for some reason... Strange as I've never really gravitated to the zombie genre. I've only seen Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead (as midnight movies) and that was years ago.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Anderson
United States
seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
Two Time Cancer Survivor - Never Give Up. Never Surrender. -Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest (1999 movie)
badge
Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champions!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

So, do you think this is THE zombie game to play now?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Brown Deer
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
@StevenE

Sure you could. It's a matter of rules as written versus what's best for the evening's entertainment. I personally have no problems with doing so other then it's not explicitly in the rules (which does not mean you shouldn't do it).

@turtleback

I think this is a zombie game of extremely high quality. Is it THE zombie game to play? You decide . (Part of the reason I say that is the only other "zombie" game I have played more than once is LNOE. I like Zombicide considerably more than LNOE due to it being pure co-op.)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Tremblay
Canada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I can't wait to get my copy!!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
flag msg tools
badge
Handsome devil huh?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Albator99 wrote:
I can't wait to get my copy!!

I'm with you Steven, if it was available locally I'd run out to buy a copy! I want it now!! zombie
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Ant
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Great first review. Spot on. I'll add a brief comment re this:

"I will take this opportunity to comment about "the controversy" that have been floating around.
Yes, when shooting into a zone that contains both friendlies and zombies you will always hit your friendlies first."

Our group decided that for "thematic" reasons this works because what is it that zombies do when they get close to you? They hug you. Firing a weapon into a crowd of zombies hugging humans is not good policy if you want your friends to survive.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.