Review : Zombicide – Don’t say the Z Word!

TABLETOP GAME REVIEW:

DON’T SAY THE “Z” WORD! (A Review of ZOMBICIDE)

Written by Meghan Schmidt on July 8th, 2014 at I Slay The Dragon

Zombicide Box

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “How long would I survive in a zombie apocalypse”?  Have you ever wondered what would happen if the dead started rising?  Do you have a zombie survival plan in place?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are ready for Zombicide!  A game where you fight to survive against the oncoming zombie horde!

Zombicide is a co-operative game played solo or with up to 6 players.  The rule book has missions you set up with the modular boards and the object is to survive while completing the mission objectives.

Initial set up for one of the missions.

Each character has an initial 3 actions they can do in the player’s phase of the game.  These actions involve moving, searching, opening doors, reorganizing your inventory, combat, using a car, getting an objective, activating objects, and finally making noise to draw zombies towards you.

The survivors also begin with special skills that add an additional action at no cost to the player.

Combat is dictated by the weapon cards your survivor possesses.  They are either melee or ranged, and either noisy or silent.  How you use the weapons is listed on the cards.  They show you the range, the number of dice you roll, the accuracy (the value on the dice that will be successful), and how much damage is done.  With a melee weapon, you can choose the targets you wish to attack on your space.  Ranged weapons assign hits in a certain order.  Survivors are targeted first, followed by walkers, then fatties and abominations, and finally runners.  Fatties and abominations can absorb hits, so even if your roll is successful, it may not hit a runner.

Once the survivors have completed their actions, the zombies’ phase begins.  Zombies either attack survivors in their space or move to the nearest survivors (or where there is the most noise if no survivors are in their line of sight), with the exception of Runners which can move and attack.  Then, zombies spawn on the board.

When the zombies have finished their spawn phase, the end phase begins.  Noise tokens are removed from the board and the first player token is moved to the next player (clockwise).

The game ends in a loss when all survivors are eliminated, or in victory when all the mission objectives have been completed.

Lose your Head or Dead Man Walking?

Zombicide VictoryZombicide is a game dripping with theme.  It feels as though you’re trying to survive the zombie apocalypse and the outlook is grim.  You feel hopeless, trapped, and helpless.  It is a true zombie experience.  Your heart races as more and more zombies fill the board.  Sweating, you watch as they shamble towards your small team of survivors.

Our Heroes are ready for battle!

The game requires true strategy and co-operation to win.  You and your fellow survivors must work together to achieve the objectives.  If you don’t, you have no hope of surviving.  It also has great replay value as each scenario can be played differently depending on the players, the decisions that are made and the outcome of the combat.

There is a luck based element to the game as you use dice to resolve your combat.  The better the weapon you have, the more dice you roll and so, the greater your chance of success.  When you begin the game, you randomly draw your starting weapon cards.  If you get stuck with frying pans, your best bet is to search a building.  This triggers a zombie spawn, so make sure someone with a good weapon can back you up – there is very little chance of success with a pan in your hand!

The game’s difficulty increases as you play.  Since the spawns are linked to the player’s level, the more zombies you defeat, the more zombies will spawn.  If you have a player who loves killing zombies, this could lead to conflict with someone who wishes to keep their experience level low to avoid the more difficult zombies.

Will our survivors make it to the end?!

The rule book is a bit difficult to follow and vague at some points, and it took watching a video tutorial to really grasp the rules.  It seemed to me that it could have been streamlined and much more clear.  Perhaps a good editor would have helped the game creators simplify its wording.  I am not the only one who had issues, which means there is a lot of information online and FAQs to help you along.

However, once you understand the rules, the game is pretty straightforward and easy to teach.  The long initial set up may be daunting to some casual gamers, but the game itself is not as complex as it first seems.

Zombicide Heroes in troubleTo read the rest of this review, visit ISlayTheDragon.com

Overall Rating : 7.5 out of 10

Summary

Pros:

  • Enjoyably Thematic
  • Straightforward gameplay
  • Beautiful artwork
  • As real as a game about zombies can get

Cons:

  • Rule book is problematic and vague
  • Art is graphic
  • Controlling multiple characters can lessen the fun
  • Might seem daunting to casual gamers