Battleshed Diaries

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Zombicide in the Big W

With Firefly being a demonstratively popular multi-player club game - at least, at Livingston Battleground anyway -  I thought it would be a good opportunity to try another game I've had lurking in my 'Play me! Play me!' gaming shelf - Zombicide from Guillotine Games.

 "Amazing! I've never seen a bunch of gamers from the same club actively planning and helping each other through a game!" That was the response when out team of 5 players finally completed - successfully - our mission without any casualties. It was quite an epic! 

Zombicide is a collaborative game for 1 to 6 players. Solo play is also accommodated. The core box comes with a very nice hoard of 32mm plastic zombies, (40 Walkers, 16 Runners, 8 Fatties and 1 Abomination) as well as 6 survivor miniatures and their accompanying Survivor Identity Cards. The board is made up of 9 reversible, modular tiles supporting different scenarios, complete with dice, tokens, equipment, zombie spawn and wound cards . Its a very nicely designed and quality product. The blurb says;

Each player controls between one (for 6 players) and four (solo game) survivors, human trapped in a zombie-infested town. In fact, "survivors" quickly change to "hunters" to smash zombies through and through. However, the team must constantly maintain a balance between survival and slaughter, for as the zombicide continues, the Danger Level increases, and the infected grow in numbers. Any misstep can turn to disaster.

Well,  any misstep can turn to disaster! The Danger Level is a very nice mechanic. The more zombies you kill, the higher the Danger Meter rises on your Survivor Identity card. The higher it gets, a greater number of zombies can spawn at the spawn points each turn - or even pop up through street level man-holes! Importantly, this impacts all your team of survivors, so if one of you decided to go all Chuck Norris and blast away it affects everyone else. And every time a character uses a 'noisy' weapon (e.g. a chainsaw, sawed-off shotgun etc) a sound marker is paced - which will attract the zombies to the loudest point on their movement phase!

The survivors start with three 'actions' per turn including searching buildings for kit that may help them, from cans of food and bags of rice for completing scenarios, to weapons (pistols, machetes, fire axes and the like) or useful kit  - gasoline and a Molotov being a particular prised combo.

The survivors can only carry 5 items (three in reserve, two in hand) and have a number of characters traits that come into play depending on their Danger Meter, which works as a personal XP meter too.

There are 10 cinematic scenarios provided with the basic ruleset, as well as a tutorial mission. None are as easy as they look! The game mechanics really encourage cooperative planning amongst the survivors;  Fast Amy can see a whole group of the undead filling a room in the local diner;  smash the door down and lob a Molotov - that would surely ruin their day! Amy has the handy crowbar that can quietly force open the locked door, and she has some gasoline. But Josh the hoodie has the Molotov and he's trying to draw another group of zombies away. Decisions!

For our game, we played the 'Big W' scenario where our team of survivors had to take five objectives, which were scattered throughout the pre-defined map. The twist being that any survivor that does take an objective gets them five XP - and five points on the Danger Meter. The more objectives the team take, the harder it gets!

I can highly recommend this game. Its easy to pick up and play. Has some very nice game mechanics and is perfect if you fancy some multi-player cooperative play  - or even solo play. There have been a number of expansions released since I first purchased the core game, which I will seriously be having  look at!

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