Wednesday, August 29, 2012


A few months ago I helped with a Kickstarter campaign for a game called Zombicide.  It looked neat and by the time it was fully funded seemed like a rather good value.  After a few weeks, the manufacturers and creators started sending out the games on schedule.  I’ve played two games with my girlfriend and had enough fun to post a quick review here.
The box itself is quite large and sturdy.  It contains dozens of zombies and several Survivor miniatures.  The detail on these plastic figures is excellent, considering their size.  At some point, I may get around to painting them, but for now, the zombies shall remain a basic gray and the Survivors their easily identifiable bright colors.  Game board tiles, markers, and objectives are high density cardboard.  They’re all very colorful and well detailed.

The directions are pretty easy to follow, and turn sequence is well defined.  Essentially, the Survivors get to do their thing, one at a time, and then all the Zombies get to do their thing.  This makes it seem like the Survivors have a huge advantage over the walking dead- and they do, at first.  Eventually, though, the balance shifts, and very quickly.

Survivors each start with 3 “actions” with which they can move, search, trade equipment, attack, and a few other things.  Different Survivors have different skills, so who you select as your Survivor does make a difference.  When you attack Zombies, you’ll be using equipment that you picked up during the game.  Equipment cards define the stats of a weapon (range, damage, etc.), which is what you roll against to determine attack success or failure.  As you start to eliminate the Zombies, you will gain experience.  When you “level up”, you get more skills.  Great, right?  Read on…

Most Zombies are slow and not particularly threatening, but they’ll always move towards your Survivors- even if they can’t see you, they can hear you.  If a zombie starts his turn in the same zone as one of your Survivors, he’ll AUTOMATICALLY hit you.  You can only take two hits before you die.  See- I told you it starts to get bad.  So obviously, the trick is staying away from Zombies.  Then it gets worse- after every round of play, more Zombies are generated, in random numbers, from 4 pre-set spawning zones.  Every time the Survivors level up, a higher level of generation is achieved, so even more Zombies show up.  At the end of turn one, you might get between 2 and 8 new Zombies, but later in the game as you level up, the spawning phase could easily put 10 to 20 Zombies on the board, some of them being faster and tougher than normal Zombies!  Eventually, if the Survivors don’t achieve the objective quickly, they’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of walking dead.

Each scenario usually has a primary objective and a bonus.  In the case of the game pictured above, the objective was to get at least one Survivor to the Exit Zone, which was across the board from the Starting Zone.  The bonus was a "medicine cabinet" which would cure one wound on a Survivor.
Simple game mechanics, clear rules, nifty minis- lots of fun.

1 comment:

  1. Didnt like this at all at GenCon. Much prefer the depth of Last Night on Earth. On the upside it is co-op. Downside is the price and the fact that the Zombies just get pushed along the board and have no zombie feel to them. Also the mechanics are annoying. Overhyped in my opinion