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Subject: Short Review of the Red Danger Level rss

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Raziel XM
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When I first read the rules of the game, I was excited to get my survivors slaying, so that I could level them up and get to the red danger level, so they could get their best skills. I realized, of course, that there's strategy involved, and you can't move up too fast, or you'll get swarmed. My problem is that, once you get to the red level, I feel like it's instant death for your team (or, well, death within a few rounds).

I was playing scenario 1 by myself (so only 4 survivors, which I realize is a little handicap), but once I got to red, I could not, no matter how hard I tried, keep the zombie population at bay. Dual SMGs, chainsaws, some kitanas here and there: I still quickly ran out of zombies (walkers, specifically). And once that happens, drawing more walkers make them activate again. And, in my opinion, allowing that many zombies to activate twice (or three times!) in a round is instant death: I can't keep my survivors at least two squares from every hoard, especially when the most devastating weapons are a range of 0-1.

I was disappointed that as soon as I had the best abilities, I had only a few rounds before I was overrun. I even re-read the rules to make sure my interpretation was correct (that once you're out of miniatures, the zombies will activate if you draw more of them... including moving and attacking). But when you have a hoard of 7 walkers activating multiple times, they're basically going to rip through you no matter what weapons you have. I thought it would make more sense if the zombies were allowed to move on their extra activations, but not attack (although this is not the case). This would result in a harder survivors' phase (as each player would start with larger groups on top of them) without allowing the zombies to cut through your survivors in the matter of two card flips.

I was curious how other people were able to deal with the red danger level, and how long you were able to hold out. Ideally, in my mind, it's something that should be stressful but possible to play at for an extended time with a well armed team. To me, though, it's just a matter of a few rounds at that point until the game is over. The one point to note is that this happened to me only on Scenario 1 (the only scenario I've played so far other than the tutorial), so it's possible that other scenarios are more Red friendly.
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foksieloy
Croatia
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The designers themselves said that the game is supposed to feel like a constant switching between prey and hunter, and when you hit red zone the game is coming to a rapid end.

So I do not think you are supposed to last long once you hit the red zone. Thats why picking what to kill and what to avoid is an integral part of the game.
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Dan Keller
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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I have a feeling the extra walkers and walker cards included in the Abomination reward, when mixed with the base game, are ramping up the difficulty level. We played a couple games with Mission #1 tonight and got overrun as we ran out of walkers, giving them an additional turn. I think next time we play I'm going to remove zombie cards 43-54 and see how much the difficulty changes, if any.
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Jeffrey Smith
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Bel Air
MD - Maryland
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Part of the strategy is keeping track of the minis. If the walkers are running low you may need to charge into the hoard and cut some down. It reminds me of how in Pandemic you need to keep an eye of the number of disease cubes for each color.

I agree that solo play, with only four survivors, is tough. I've found that with six survivors you can not only do some amazing zombie killing, but also share wounds easier. Also, you can netters distribute the kills and keep everyone in the orange as long as possible.

Just a few observations after three games.
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Scott Hill
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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I just finished playing Scenario 01 via Google+ with someone in the US, and we got overrun, even without hitting the 'no minis = extra turn' problem!

Though, we did have 3 survivors (Wanda, El Cholo, Dave) wounded within a couple of turns and 1 survivor (Dave) rolling misses all the time.

It ended with me left with Amy, packing twin sawn-offs, backing up in the building top-right, with a hoard of zombies coming through the lower-right door, franticly searching, with a flashlight taped to one of the sawn-offs, 'cos she didn't have anything that she could open a door with!

Then out came a 'zombies move again' card, during the zombie spawn phase, and she got taken down by too ravenous runners! So, not even her Goalie Mask could save her!

Oh, and we didn't get all that close to red either.
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Scott Douglass
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I had a similar experience with getting completely overrun after reaching the red danger level on scenario 1, but I ascribed it mostly to not having a good enough team set up going into red. I was playing with only 4 characters, and one of them died to an extra walker activation before I started paying more attention to that possibility.

Amy was killing 10+ zombies per turn with a chainsaw, but my other survivors weren't even remotely close to as killy. If I had one more character as lethal as her, I might have been able to cut my way through everything except the abomination, but Nick could have dealt with that in a pinch. If I ever got the Glass Bottle I needed to make a Molotov Cocktail, I could have taken out a good 15 zombies with it, including the abomination. I guess I'll have to search more often next game.
 
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Aaron Rainey
United States
Cookeville
Tennessee
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I have played Mission 01 three times now, finally succeeding on the last try. This was with 2 players and 6 heroes. I can imagine how solo with 4 heroes would make it almost impossible, so optimal hero selection is going to be an absolutely critical element.

You have to have Wanda with Slippery and her free move action. She is the one that eventually needs to get all three cards to the exit.

This mission is less about killing zombies and more about outsmarting them. Use your time in the locked center room to search, search, search. Find a flashlight and pass it around to each hero until you get equipped.

Balancing the need to go out and get stuff done versus how long you sit and search and let zombies build up and shuffle toward the center is a very delicate act.

The key to Mission 01 is to open up as many rooms as possible while in the blue threat level. You absolutely have to open the large room in blue. Opening at least 3 rooms is ideal, obviously all 4 is the best. Even if you just run from the zombies, you cannot be opening these rooms at orange or red.

The rest of the map is just managing everyone's threat level. Because of how long the map takes, avoid increasing your threat level at all costs. Have every single person maxed on the current threat level if possible (be mindful of who picks up the objective tokens).

Planning your route is also essential. We went out the top of the bunker, opening the 7 door room (and retreating) and then both of the bottom rooms. We actually headed south to grab both of those objectives and led the zombies down the long narrow building before busting out the top door, making our way north for the top left objective. Everyone piled in and made our way east (to what looks like the dentist's office or operating room). This gives you a large buffer area of safety as long as you don't open the door that leads south.

Once most of the zombies funnel to the top left you can break out and slowly make your way south to the bottom right. Once you get close enough, Wanda can skate away to victory!

TL;DR: open as many doors on blue, start on the bottom right and make a full clockwise circuit of the map, never backtracking, and let the zombies chase you. Plow through as many as you can when necessary to stop them from getting extra activations.
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Dustin Ivey
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Vadnais Heights
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It took us 4 or 5 tries to beat scenario one. We had 6 survivors each time (2 each)

We ended up using wanda to open all doors as quickly as possible (the one RIGHT next to the west spawn is a killer. By turn 3 we had every door on the map open.

The KEY factor to beating this mission is moving quickly and opening the doors as soon as possible (blue level is definitely the best)
 
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Martin Booth
New Zealand
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The key in any scenario is to open doors while in the blue/yellow spawn phases, and search a bunch to get the weapons you need to kill zombies.

We played Big W last night (too lazy to go check which number that is) and opened up the big rooms quick, getting the objectives there, but left the two small rooms near the spawns till last (backwards thinking - they'll be easier right?) and were getting swarmed (nearly all minis on the board at one point). Had nearly all players get to red, Amy is a boss with medic and nick taking a free hit.
I really love getting sniper rifle and plenty of ammo (had it on ned and doug, who get extra die for combat and extra actions) I was firing 3 rifle shots each time, with re-roll opportunities on each shot. Almost no level of spawn can hold up to that with close support of double sawed offs etc (and dave getting two mollys right when abomination came about).

It really is a game of strategy, while luck is a big part of what you find and what spawns, if you think about your actions, take the time to pull back and let them filter down roads and rooms, count for 'runner get extra turn' (forgot there was two walkers get extra turn card, which led to Nick getting a wound)you can minimize the randomness, which is harder to be said for some games of this type I've played (touch of evil I'm looking at you, great fun game but so random in bringing up an endgame).


If you're finding the game too easy, add a mandatory exit point when you have the last objective (we assign number to the exits and roll a die, using a D12 or more if we need) or don't use that last tray from the abomination pack (I know I'd be a lot more dead if I didn't have that tray).
 
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