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Subject: Hype vs. Reality rss

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Jeff Smith
United States
Bel Air
Maryland
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Zombicide was one of the highest funded Kickstarter games of all time. No doubt what lured so many people into becoming a supporter was all of those beautiful miniatures. But with no rules to be seen many people were skeptical that this project was all glitz but no game. Several backers even reasoned that if the game itself turned out to be a loser, at least the vast quantity of miniatures could be used in other games.

My copy of Zombiecide arrived this afternoon, and I anxiously ripped through the many boxes that is the "Abomination Level" of the game wanting to find out if this was a wise purchase or had I simply fallen victim to all the hype.

Components:
The box itself it very sturdy, has a tight fit, and is beautifully illustrated. Well, maybe beautiful isn't the right word to describe images of carnage and bloodshed.

The minis...well there are a LOT of them! Even without the expansion there are 71 great looking, unpainted miniature in the box. I'm not a painter, but this game just might be the one that sends me over the brink. These figures deserve some paint.

The mapboards are thick and sturdy and the artwork is very well done in a sort of cartoon style. (A very bloody cartoon, that is.) Yes, the boards will begin to warp right before your very eyes as you play your first game. It seems like they just need to absorb some moisture to reach a sort of equilibrium. I gave them a slight bend in the opposite direction and they seem to have settled down. I don't see this becoming a problem.

The counters, which include vehicles, objective markers, spawn sites, and doorways are all printed on very thick cardboard. Very well done.

The game cards are quite small, sort of the same size as Ticket to Ride cards, measuring 1.75"x2.5". Small, but they work. I probably would have prefered larger ones.

The survivor cards are card stock. Nothing fancy, but they get the job done.

The rules are well illustrated and written fairly well. A few things are a bit ambiguous, but already questions are being answered here on BGG.

Gameplay:
I'll cut to the chase and say that for me the gameplay is great! Zombicide provides an exciting cooperative game, full of decisions, tactics, plenty of carnage, danger, excitement, and fun. And the game itself can be taught in about 10 minutes. The game includes 10 scenarios (plus a very simple tutorial scenario). So far I've played three scenarios (tutorial, #1, and #9) and they each have a very different feel to them.

Here are a few observations after an evening of play.

1. It is a game. If you are looking for a simulation of human vs. zombie conflict you need to look elsewhere. There has been a lot of debate about the targeting priotity rule. Is it "realistic"? Probably not. Does it work in this game? Absolutely!

2. Become a zombie killing machine. The way survivors level up over the course of a scenario is brilliant. It's great seeing your characters gain experience, add new skills, and become more powerful. I especially like how the player can choose between two or three skills when leveling up. This not only keeps the game fresh, but is very useful in balancing the survivors in a scenario.

3. It keeps getting harder. Tied to the leveling-up of the survivors is the level of difficulty related to the zombies. As the survivors become more powerful, the zombies become more powerful and more numerous. Kill zombies too quickly and you will regret it. This is an ingenious way of creating a game that becomes more and more exciting until reaching either a glorious victory or a gory defeat.

4. Zombie AI. Since the zombies follow a very strict, yet simple set of AI rules for movement, success in a scenario depends greatly on how well the players control where the zombies will go. This is done through line of sight and noise. The zombies will always head toward humans they can see and/or make the most noise. So you can distract the zombies just like in the movies. "Hey! Over here! Come get me!!!"

5. Weapons. There are lots of different weapons. Some have range, some are melee, some do higher amounts of damage, some can score multiple hits per use, some do less damage but have a higher chance of scoring a hit. In the few plays I've got under my belt, I've found that weapon choice is critical. This leads to another great aspect of the game. Each character may carry up to 5 items, and two of these are considered to be in hand. This is determined by the placement of equipment cards on the character sheet. Since it takes one action to rearrange your equipment, and since you can only use what is in your hands, you need to give serious thought as to how you carry your eqiuipment and weapons.

6. Overwhelming odds. By the time you reach turn three or four of a scenario you will seriously wonder how in the world you will ever survive. Then, in a other four turns you will be convinced things couldn't possibly get any worse. Then, the next turn, things get worse. As I played scenario 1 there were many times when I just paused to look at the game board and thought to myself, "Holy cr@p! Look at all the zombies." I thought for sure the game was over for the survivors, only to watch them decimate the living dead. It's crazy and it makes for great fun.

7. A puzzle. Each scenario seems to be a sort of puzzle to be solved. Sure, this game has a lot of chance elements in it, but luck isn't enough to win. Even with just a few plays under my belt, I am beginning to see mistakes that I made, and what I should do differently next time to improve my chances of winning. I like this aspect of the game.

8. It's hard. My son and I won the tutorial scenario. Then I horribly lost a solo game of scenario 1. I then tried scenario 9 solo. I died four times and then decided to play using three starting characters. After an exciting finish I managed to get six survivors off the board to safety. This game can be hard to win, but who said the zombie apocalypse would be easy?

I could go on, but for now I will just conclude by saying this: I may have been pursuaded to buy Zombicide because of all the hype surrounding the minis, but I am looking forward to playing Zombicide again because it is an excellent game.
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Julien Le Jeune
Belgium
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Thanks for your review.

As a European, I wish I chose to go into full black-out once the first US guys got their hands on the game. Seeing reviews and people enjoying the game makes the wait so much harder soblue

Anyway, who else wrote a review?
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seb seb2
France
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Shoogoo wrote:
Thanks for your review.

As a European, I wish I chose to go into full black-out once the first US guys got their hands on the game. Seeing reviews and people enjoying the game makes the wait so much harder soblue

Anyway, who else wrote a review?



and where are the unboxing videos ? cool
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Magic Pink
United States
Minneapolis
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I have to disagree on the rulebook; it's really poorly organized and messy as hell. Plus the promo figure rules should absolutely should have been in it. Otherwise the game is a lot better then I ever thought it would be.
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Nicolas Raoult
France
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Thanks for your feedback, Jeff.
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Lunar Sol
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The saving grace of the rulebook is definitely the back page. You can pretty well play the entire game from that alone. The only parts that are iffy and tricky to find are things like how combined weapons happen (surprisingly doesn't take an action) which aren't the easiest things to find. Most of the interactions in the game are pretty intuitive outside of the back page I've found.
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Woody Taylor
United States
Durham
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It's kind of funny if you think about it. One reason we love BGG so much is that we can read reviews, look at photos of the game in progress, see a game's rating, and even download fan-made game aids to get a better feel for the game... all before we buy it.

But now we have Kickstarter, and that throws a monkey wrench into the equation... we have to decide to buy a game before it's even been fully produced, based on artist renditions and often-times crappy videos.

However, there was something about Zombicide that made me take the leap. The artwork, the idea, the cooperative play... something about it was compelling. But I hadn't given it much thought since my Kickstarter pledge... until I read your review. Tracking number says it's "out for delivery" and now I can hardly wait to start killing some zombies.

Thanks!!

 
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Storm Kerr
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Hello all. I'm a noob and this is my first post so feel free to giggle.

I have to agree with Jeff, the game is awesome and somewhat addictive. Another thing that happens is the development of strategy as you play. Our second game was way better than the first even though we all died.

We learned that opening all buildings while still in blue level was a good idea. Also, having each character specialize is better than each character trying to do everything. Controlling zombies was an important strategy that we overlooked and it ended badly.

During our second game we opened a building while at red level and spawned tons of fatties,during the zombie turn 14 zombies moved onto the zone that we all occupied. On our turn we valiantly fought them all off then the next zombie turn we were swamped again but during the spawn phase I ran out of walkers so they all activated again. Half of the party died. Dave, one of the remaining three, pulled out a Molotov and torched our zone. I counted the zombies on that one zone; 23 walkers, 4 fatties, an abomination, and 1 runner. Dave had the highest kill count in the game and killed more players than the zombies did. Everyone is anticipating the next game and planning their strategies.

Reading the rules again revealed some strategies we might've used to better handle the zombies and we decided that we could've cooperated better by trading weapons and waiting until everyone was armed before going up into yellow level.

All in all there was a lot of laughter, excitement, and plenty of "oh crap!" moments. I have three trays of zombies and had all on the table except four fatties and three runners. I give this game a two severed thumbs up!
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Freelance Police
United States
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woodshow wrote:
But now we have Kickstarter, and that throws a monkey wrench into the equation... we have to decide to buy a game before it's even been fully produced, based on artist renditions and often-times crappy videos.


KS makes more visible the risks and rewards of any game or other pre-ordered product. The reward is lower price and extras with the game, as well as the "first kid on the block" of something delivered to the door. The risk is whether or not the hype matches the game, and if the game is produced in the first place.

To beat their competitors, publishers *must* do a good job selling the product and/or allowing the potential crowdsourcer to understand the product better. Good explanatory videos, downloadable rules, publisher reputation, the more information and marketing tricks (stretch goals!) the more money the KS project can take.

I'm kinda bummed that I missed this KS, so if anyone doesn't like their copy, see my trade list! laugh
 
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Steven Tremblay
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I can't wait to get my copy!!
 
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John Ling

New York
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I agree the rulebook is junk. it's poorly written as you have to flip from this page to that page to find your answer. then flip to this page to contiue, back to that page for a clarification of what this meant. BUT once, you get it down the first couple games... the rest is easy.

AND it's FUN!!
 
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Thiago Aranha
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The good thing is, even if the book is a bit challenging, the game is simple enough that you'll never really have to look at the rulebook after a couple of plays.
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