Keith M. Sandler
Unity Games XIX
Game 4: City of Horror
Keith: Businesswoman, Rasta, Little Boy
Maranda: Geek, Rocker, Little Girl
Ludya: Grandma, Punk, Sushi Chef
Robert: Vigil, Thief, Housewife
Jeff: Teen, Student, Blonde
After having a fun initial outing with this title a couple of weeks ago, Maranda and I were excited to get this one to the table again at Unity Games XIX. Ludya and Robert were happy to join us, as was Jeff, designer of the upcoming release Z-pocalypse. M & I being the only two who had played previously, we began rules explanation as we set up. We used the advanced/drafting set-up for action cards, which I liked a lot better than the basic, random card draw. More control over the first batch of cards, likely the most cards everyone will ever see through the course of the game, makes for a more strategic feel over the type of game one wants to play-- zombie-killing, hiding and moving, vote-manipulation, negotiations.
The start of the game saw only a few characters in the street. My little boy and Jeff’s teen were apparently up to some malfeasance when Z-day hit, as they both started on the water tower, where they would remain for the entire game. This made for some nice diplomacy with me and Jeff, who used the watertower action to plan strategy among one another throughout the game.
My rasta started in the church, where he would also remain for the game. I used most of my movements to shift my businesswoman around the board. Originally I was attempting to get her into the hospital, but Robert and Ludya had that locked up tighter than the cans of food lying in the crossroads, so she ended up in the crossroads herself, along with a gaggle of other women including the housewife, the punk, and student. The geek found himself there, as well. Unfortunately, Robert manipulated the Zombie Leader into a craving for geek-blood in order to save Ludya’s punk, and so the carnage began.
The negotiations in this game were great, with deals for zombie-killing, syringes, and cards flying around the table. Ludya and Robert had an on-again-off-again alliance, signalled to the rest of us by whether or not Ludya’s hand rested on Robert’s leg or not. Jeff and I were fairly solid throughout the game, and Maranda deftly navigated the treacherous waters between Ludya, myself, and Jeff, but she wasn’t able to gain much from it unfortunately.
Maranda and I made a deal for a syringe in exchange for which I would tell her the results of the water tower viewing during the next turn. Unfortunately for her, most locations were pretty bad. Jeff and I again decided to hole up in the bank. My plan was to use my kitty-cat card to send the zombies away. Risky, but it was really the best shot I had. (The turn prior, I believe I had made a misplay which folks allowed me to reverse, as I had accidentally sent my businesswoman to a zombie-infested bank. My little boy was apparently very observant but also prone to ADD, as I couldn’t remember for very long which locations would be good or bad. I also tended to forget to take into account the zombies presently on the board, zombie movements, and other “minor details” that could get one torn to ribbons and eaten. Jeff was goodly enough to nudge me in the right direction.)
The end of the game ratcheted up the tension as supplies dwindled, the zombie count grew. At the water tower, I thought about throwing Jeff’s teen under the bus and simply hiding, but I had a change of heart and advised Jeff to take off before the zombie attack. He ended up in the street, but was fairly safe there, as Robert, too late, tried to send one of his characters to the now full church. The zombies busted into the hospital after that. In an act of chivalry (and romantic reconciliation), Robert voted himself killed, sparing the Granny from a gruesome death.
Next, in the bank, Jeff solidified our alliance against Ludya. It looked to be close between the two of us for the lead now that Robert and Ludya had each lost characters. I had hoped to gain an edge in the church by double-crossing Jeff, but it never came to that, as he played the action card that killed half the zombies at that location.
The final score:
This was a much more interesting game for me than my first, as I was able to make more headway in negotiations. The advanced set-up rule helped a lot, as did the group we played with (nothing against my normal group, but sometimes it helps to get some fresh blood... or brains... to get new dynamics).
This was surely the highlight of my day, and Maranda’s as well, and with a full 9am-12am game day during which we each clocked 6+ games, that’s quite a feat. With the double-sided and modular set-up and variable characters, I think this game will be a top choice in the coming year. The play-time has been a bit long for our taste in our initial plays, but M and I think we can cut that down once most or all players are familiar with the rules.
Thanks everyone for playing!
- Last edited Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:37 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:40 am
Fantastic write up. Thank you so much for letting me join the intense game, the betrayal was fantastic. Reminded me of Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game where we would vote for someone to be pushed out the air-lock. However this time instead of the the air-lock it was a horde of zombies. The one instant where 4 girls voted for the geek to get eaten was hilarious.
This is one of the few zombie games I have yet to try and and to be honest I was quite impressed with the game. I have been working on my own zombie themed game Zpocalypse for quite some time. It was nice to try something completely different which focuses on the tough decision people may have to face in an outbreak.
Thanks again Keith!
Keith M. Sandler
Yeah, this was definitely a Survivor diplomacy game.
Jeff, you were a welcome addition to the group. We'll have to have you come teach us Z-pocalypse some time, seeing as we live in the same town! (After watching Vasel's preview, I'm more than a bit intrigued, and I'm sorry I didn't make the time to give the game a try at UG!)
We actually played BSG later on, and even though that game is my all time favourite, the game we played at UG wasn't nearly as fun as City of Horror.
A few misplays:
Robert pointed out that in the event of a tie, the vote for sharing items does not get the first player as a tie-break. Instead, all items remain where they are. Nobody gets nuthin'!
Also, the Service Door card (gives a temporary extra space for characters in an already full building) only goes away when the the character on the extra space leaves that location. That would likely have altered the game quite a bit.
Finally, there is a zombie limit of 8 per location. I think that would have meant that several zombies should have remained at the bank instead of following my kitty cat.
Even so, it was a very enjoyable game-- just the right amount of tension and fun.