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Subject: The tough decision - Kickstarting Zpocalypse Aftermath rss

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Shawn Macleod
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I really love the theme of this game. It sort of reminds me of one of my favorite trilogy of books by Justin Cronin, "The Passage". And, when this latest Zpoc Kickstarter campaign became available I jumped in with both feet (Limited Edition Origins Bundle). However, in parallel to this campaign I've had the opportunity to get in some significant play time with the original Zpoc Kickstarter campaign products.

To that end, I'm really wondering what majority is supporting this current Kickstarter campaign. Are the majority of these folks new and never played the game? I wonder because I'm struggling to find this investment's worth. Because after playing the game I think it may be silly to invest more money into this game. Does anybody else feel this way?

Like I said, I've been sinking some serious time into playing this game. While I have been enjoying every game, I've also been wondering when the fiddly rules will not feel so taxing and when I'll realize this game's full potential. I really want this game to be great, but I'm now beginning to turn down opportunities to play the game because I am beginning to think the game just isn't that good.

All that said, I'm still holding on to my pledge because I'm hoping to learn there is a community of folks working to tighten up the game's play and make it less chaotic. And, I'm also hoping to learn that most of the folks backing the current kickstarter are big fans and have found the sweet spot for this game. And, they will share their secrets (which I suspect come in the form of house rules).

To be honest, I'm just looking for a reason to stick with this game and not give up on it because I feel it has all the elements to be awesome.

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Henrik Schmidt
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Since fighting the zombies is the major element of the game this

http://forum.greenbriergames.com/zpocalypse/viewtopic.php?f=...

might improve the experience. I can also imagine that zmaster will spice up the game. We do not have a review with zmaster included.
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Shawn Hayden (GBG)
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I'm backing it because I enjoy the game and I like mini's. I figure these can be used not only for the Zpoc game but also for RPGs I play. Not to mention the company is great!

They've said a number of times they plan on doing actual expansions but this enhancement was done due to the high number of requests on the forums.

So I'm supporting the company while getting some enhancements that are multi-purpose for me and just waiting for the next real expansion.
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Scott Everts
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I think the game is pretty cool, more a diamond in the rough. It's not perfect but there are elements of cool in it.

I spent $100 on the original and got a ton of great stuff. I'm holding off on this one for now. If I get anything at all it will probably be the fortifications. I might consider the "fortress" level depending on what's included. It's more then double what I previously backed and doesn't include a lot of extra gameplay. We'll see as they get closer to the end what gets added.
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Mike Watne
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I'm a backer from the original campaign. I'm backing Aftermath just to get a few more basic zombies and the new adapter tiles ("The Patch" level). I have no interest in the cheeseball additions of superheroes, lightsabers, and robots. I'm keeping an eye on the campaign, and have made a few suggestions for some legitimate enhancements that would improve upon the main game without requiring such a sharp departure from the "realistic" feel of the base set. If something pops up that actually looks like it will make the game better, I'll happily jump on it...though it seems awefully determined to continue its descent into cheese.

As for the game itself (pre-Aftermath), I see nothing but potential. The love and attention to detail is obvious. I haven't been more impressed by nuances in a long time the way that I was when I saw that the leather boots were "technically edible" (brilliant!). Zpoc is a fantastic framework to explore what the designers have dubbed "a definitive Zombie Sandbox" experience. While the rules could certainly use an overhaul (one of my campaign suggestions, BTW) and a few minor tweaks to clean up some of the fiddle, the foundation is solid and I have been very much enjoying the game. I backed the original campaign at a level that got me a few custom survivors, and it is beyond cool to see me & my buddies personally eeking out our survival. Good times.

I will continue to support the franchise to the extent that it remains relevant, so I've got my hopes pinned to the next expansion and hope that GBG gets over the music-video zombie fluff and back to the grit.

[Edit: Typo]
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Shawn Macleod
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LarkinVB wrote:
Since fighting the zombies is the major element of the game this

http://forum.greenbriergames.com/zpocalypse/viewtopic.php?f=...

might improve the experience. I can also imagine that zmaster will spice up the game. We do not have a review with zmaster included.


I think this game mechanic could be very cool. I'm very interested to see if it gains any momentum. However, I have a big fear that it comes at a "fiddly tax" the game can't afford to pay. Nevertheless, I'm excited to learn that folks are continuing to invest time into the game.
 
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Shawn Macleod
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ScottE wrote:
I think the game is pretty cool, more a diamond in the rough. It's not perfect but there are elements of cool in it.

I spent $100 on the original and got a ton of great stuff. I'm holding off on this one for now. If I get anything at all it will probably be the fortifications. I might consider the "fortress" level depending on what's included. It's more then double what I previously backed and doesn't include a lot of extra gameplay. We'll see as they get closer to the end what gets added.


I really like the concept art for the military tiles. I can see some really cool fan based epic scenarios/campaigns using these tiles. I actually have a few in mind. The decision may get tougher if these are unlocked at my current pledge level.
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Shawn Macleod
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thegreybetween wrote:
I'm a backer from the original campaign. I'm backing Aftermath just to get a few more basic zombies and the new adapter tiles ("The Patch" level). I have no interest in the cheeseball additions of superheroes, lightsabers, and robots. I'm keeping an eye on the campaign, and have made a few suggestions for some legitimate enhancements that would improve upon the main game without requiring such a sharp departure from the "realistic" feel of the base set. If something pops up that actually looks like it will make the game better, I'll happily jump on it...though it seems awefully determined to continue its descent into cheese.

As for the game itself (pre-Aftermath), I see nothing but potential. The love and attention to detail is obvious. I haven't been more impressed by nuances in a long time the way that I was when I saw that the leather boots were "technically edible" (brilliant!). Zpoc is a fantastic framework to explore what the designers have dubbed "a definitive Zombie Sandbox" experience. While the rules could certainly use an overhaul (one of my campaign suggestions, BTW) and a few minor tweaks to clean up some of the fiddle, the foundation is solid and I have been very much enjoying the game. I backed the original campaign at a level that got me a few custom survivors, and it is beyond cool to see me & my buddies personally eeking out our survival. Good times.

I will continue to support the franchise to the extent that it remains relevant, so I've got my hopes pinned to the next expansion and hope that GBG gets over the music-video zombie fluff and back to the grit.

[Edit: Typo]
Thanks for your reply. I see my feelings aligning with yours. Three questions:

Have you cherry picked any cards out of the game because they are a "buzz kill" or derail the experience? Lately, my group occasionally redraws any cards that seem to derail the experience.

Do you emphasize more cooperative play or play the game "as is"? We've been considering a house rule or two that requires all squads to survive for there to be a winner.

Does your group leverage any house rules to minimize fiddle or chaos (i.e. an alternate survivor drafting mechanism, squad focused attacks versus individual survivor attack rolls, etc.)?

I appreciate any experience you can share.

Cheers,

Shawn
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Mike Watne
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To be honest, I haven't had a chance to dive in too deeply yet. I'm a CPA (accountant), and with the income tax deadline looming, I've pretty much been a zombie myself for the last few weeks.

I've played a solitaire game, a "multi-player solitaire" game (me controlling 3 squads in full co-op), and one 2-player main scenario game so far. It is enough to know that I really enjoy the game and can't wait to dive in deeper, but also enough to know that it is not flawless.

I will be getting some time back in the next few weeks as the tax season wraps up, and it is my intention to get this onto the table enough to put together a review (Shameless Plug: Check out my Kickstarter Report Card list for a more detailed look at all of my KS-backed games). I will certainly keep your questions in mind, and once I have some answers for you, I'll repost them here.

Cheers

[Edit: Typo]
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Scott Everts
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macleodsr wrote:
ScottE wrote:
I think the game is pretty cool, more a diamond in the rough. It's not perfect but there are elements of cool in it.

I spent $100 on the original and got a ton of great stuff. I'm holding off on this one for now. If I get anything at all it will probably be the fortifications. I might consider the "fortress" level depending on what's included. It's more then double what I previously backed and doesn't include a lot of extra gameplay. We'll see as they get closer to the end what gets added.


I really like the concept art for the military tiles. I can see some really cool fan based epic scenarios/campaigns using these tiles. I actually have a few in mind. The decision may get tougher if these are unlocked at my current pledge level.

Yeah, that's actually a neat tileset and would probably back that separately if it becomes an add-on. I detest the internet celebrity figures but was thinking if I do get the "fortress" level maybe I can sell those off later. The Alpha & Beta teams I'm not sure of. They are way too powerful to shuffle into the survivor's deck and I'm not sure combat only scenarios are interesting enough.

I do think the fortifications, tilesets, and extra zombies would be nice to have but once you add in all those add-ons then your cost is so close to "Fortress" level you might as well blow the full $125. I expect that's why they are so expensive individually. So its quite a difficult decision. I'm getting a bit of "Kickstarter Fatigue" after backing over 40 projects so much more careful what I back.

Will continue to watch how it progresses and make a final decision on the last day.
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Mike Watne
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ScottE wrote:
I'm getting a bit of "Kickstarter Fatigue" after backing over 40 projects so much more careful what I back.


Agreed. I only really seem to do a lot of Kickstarting during tax season. I think it is because I'm stuck behind my desk so much that it is nice to have something exciting to watch. But I know what you mean by KS Fatigue. I just recently received all of the games from my last big KS run (receiving the original Zpoc in the middle of March), all of which I really want to find time to play/review, and now I'm already into another 4-5 campaigns this year. Once this one wraps up, I'd love to ignore it all again for a while, but now I have to keep tabs on everything I've backed just to be sure not to miss any expansions to the games I've already got

Good times.
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Shawn Macleod
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ScottE wrote:


I do think the fortifications, tilesets, and extra zombies would be nice to have but once you add in all those add-ons then your cost is so close to "Fortress" level you might as well blow the full $125. I expect that's why they are so expensive individually. So its quite a difficult decision. I'm getting a bit of "Kickstarter Fatigue" after backing over 40 projects so much more careful what I back.

Will continue to watch how it progresses and make a final decision on the last day.


A large part of me wonders if Zpoc at its core is really solid, but the Kickstarter 'craze' of stretch rewards caused it to 'wander off the reservation'. I certainly have Kickstarter fatigue too, and it is driven by a concern that these Kickstarter games (at a minimum their stretch rewards) aren't being thoroughly play-tested prior to launch.

Perhaps the question is, "Does Aftermath drive Zpoc further off the reservation?"
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Shawn Macleod
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thegreybetween wrote:
ScottE wrote:
I'm getting a bit of "Kickstarter Fatigue" after backing over 40 projects so much more careful what I back.


Agreed. I only really seem to do a lot of Kickstarting during tax season. I think it is because I'm stuck behind my desk so much that it is nice to have something exciting to watch. But I know what you mean by KS Fatigue. I just recently received all of the games from my last big KS run (receiving the original Zpoc in the middle of March), all of which I really want to find time to play/review, and now I'm already into another 4-5 campaigns this year. Once this one wraps up, I'd love to ignore it all again for a while, but now I have to keep tabs on everything I've backed just to be sure not to miss any expansions to the games I've already got

Good times.


To be honest, I'm probably a little Kickstarter sensitive after Zombicide Season 2 hung me upside down and shook a serious amount of coin out of my pockets. A little assurance that Zpoc game play is going to get 'tightened-up' will go a long way - and, hopefully it will not require another Kickstarter campaign to get there.
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Brent Lloyd
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ScottE wrote:
Yeah, that's actually a neat tileset and would probably back that separately if it becomes an add-on. I detest the internet celebrity figures but was thinking if I do get the "fortress" level maybe I can sell those off later. The Alpha & Beta teams I'm not sure of. They are way too powerful to shuffle into the survivor's deck and I'm not sure combat only scenarios are interesting enough.

Will continue to watch how it progresses and make a final decision on the last day.


I am with you 100% on these comments. I couldn't give a crap about some internet dudes I have never heard of and will never care about, no offence to the dudes, I am sure they feel the same way about me. The one thing I liked about this game was the "average folks just trying to survive" idea, too bad Zpoc is rapidly moving away from that premise.

I am hoping to get the military tile set and extra zombies as an add-on as well. I am not sure those items are worth the $125 bucks though. I am camping on a Limited Edition Origins Bundle and also am waiting til the last day to make a decision. So if yer looking for one of those, hang in there because my spot is likely to be opening up.

Peace
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Mike Watne
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I can't speak for Zpoc particularly, but I can say that many of the KS offerings, particularly nowadays, are much better products than they may have once been. Now that the phenomenon is established, creators know that they'll be expected to deliver stretch rewards and other overfunding goodies, and as such, many of them are pre-loaded before the campaign launches in order to facilitate them.

From my own experience, one of my favorite games is currently Kickstarting its first expansion: Eminent Domain: Escalation. I joined the playtesting team pretty early, and have actually become pretty involved in the development of certain aspects of the game, particularly the scenarios. I put hundreds of hours of playtesting and revision into the scenarios, and when we were ready to launch, we had 20 scenarios ready to roll. Then I saw that they decided to include only 6 in the initial offering, using the rest of them as "stepping stone" stretch goals. This is actually pretty clever, from a fundraising standpoint, and I can personally vouch for the fact that all of this content is thoroughly tested.

I expect that this type of thing happens more and more now, especially as companies are getting more familiar with the nuances of crowdfunding.

[Edit: Typo]
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Shawn Macleod
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thegreybetween wrote:
I can't speak for Zpoc particularly, but I can say that many of the KS offerings, particularly nowadays, are much better products than they may have once been. Now that the phenomenon is established, creators know that they'll be expected to deliver stretch rewards and other overfunding goodies, and as such, many of them are pre-loaded before the campaign launches in order to facilitate them.

From my own experience, one of my favorite games is currently Kickstarting its first expansion: Eminent Domain: Escalation. I joined the playtesting team pretty early, and have actually become pretty involved in the development of certain aspects of the game, particularly the scenarios. I put hundreds of hours of playtesting and revision into the scenarios, and when we were ready to launch, we had 20 scenarios ready to roll. Then I saw that they decided to include only 6 in the initial offering, using the rest of them as "stepping stone" stretch goals. This is actually pretty clever, from a fundraising standpoint, and I can personally vouch for the fact that all of this content is thoroughly tested.

I expect that this type of thing happens more and more now, especially as companies are getting more familiar with the nuances of crowdfunding.

[Edit: Typo]
You make a good point. BTW, in my opinion TMG has perfected the whole Kickstarter campaign from cradle to grave.
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ScottE wrote:
It's more then double what I previously backed and doesn't include a lot of extra gameplay.


Exactly why I cancelled my pledge.
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Shawn Macleod
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It seems I'm in good company when it comes to this game. And, this discussion has motivated me to type-up and share some house rules that my friend and I have been discussing. They can be found here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/11962361#11962361
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macleodsr wrote:
I really love the theme of this game... [But...]
To be honest, I'm just looking for a reason to stick with this game and not give up on it because I feel it has all the elements to be awesome.


Same here. I love the theme, the humor, the art, the feel, but man, does the game drag, and the continual reliance on dice rolls makes it infuriating sometimes.

I'm sure others have suggested "fixes" out there, but for my part I think it is absolutely essential that all players start the game with a survivor who has at least 2 smarts, and probably I will play this way from now on. I also think that adding the second "bunker entrance" tile a couple of rounds into the game makes it impossible, so I'll probably only play with one start tile.

I love the idea of crouch/run/etc. alternatives to give bonuses in combat or movement, and seems to make sense thematically.
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