Whenever Fred fell asleep, he dreamed of exploding heads. They always made a silent POM and walls all around were sprayed with sprinkled blood. And usually that was that precise moment, when he woke up, with terror and accelerated breath, sweaty in his own bed. His wife lay beside him and quietly gasped. But he was really there and saw it! Not now, but at the first day of the undead invasion. He threw away television and had kept only radio for sake of news. He knew, that otherwise he would have gone crazy in a while, looking constantly at the destruction.
But someone had to go hunt for food and water. Only few drops of contaminated water, that is what it took to provide mankind with destruction. Water. The greatest friend of humanity and most voluminous of the population of our planet turned against us. Infection reached huge numbers within days. I am sure, they will ring today as well. Hunters. Searching for recruit into their ranks, trying to help survivors and keeping the city at least a little safe. He gathered courage. Perhaps today. Maybe its time to join them..
Undead attack on the world. They left behind havoc in the form of burning cities, neighborhoods and a lot of smoking corpses lying in the streets. No one could escape them, as their numbers continue to increase. Anyone who died by their hands rose within 24 hours again and joined their insatiable quest for human flesh and brains.
This opportunity comes also to our homes. There are no bloodied and torn monsters running aroudn our city, there is no cry for help coming from the street. You do not fall to sleep knowing, that you can not do anything for the screaming victims. Our world is at least a little safer. What could be, this is a situation, which is a new board game trying to show us. Its filled with undead and called – Zombicide.
But, who would want to play for stupid and slow zombies, right? That is a reason, why authors Raphaël Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Raoult and Nicolas Lullien said, that they should create entertainment based on cooperation against this horde of rotting flesh advancing forward instead.Author of graphics and illustrations are reputable Miguel Coimbra and Nicolas Fructus, but with them also worked Edouard Guiton, Mathieu Harlaut and Eric Nouhaut. But only names of the first two clearly give to know, that we have something to look forward to graphically.
Zombicide have battled their way towards the birth on a Kickstarter server and earned $ 780,000 (!). Its publishers CoolMiniOrNot are indeed one of the few companies, that will always lead new project to inspire players. That is why they persuaded many people to join their campaign for River Wars, Relic Knights or Sedition Wars.
And believe us, that this is no small, handheld game. Zombicide is proper massive board game, which corresponds to the size of the box. High and very heavy, almost like a D&D board games (Drizzt – review). Such is the first glance impression. And red. With portraits of heroes defending the onslaught of ugly bloody zombies. This is exactly look of enticing cover picture.
But when you put lid of the box made of hard cardboard away, there is a big surprise waiting for you regarding organization of components inside. Packaging consists of several smaller boxes effectively combined into shape, that exactly fits the box. Of course, at the top are cardboard sheets containing pieces, which need to be punched out at the beginning.
There is a lot of those parts. The main and most important are clearly nine double-sided maps containing drawings of streets, but also insides of buildings. Big tiles create environment of nameless a city, where you move and fight for your lives. Or at least an hour extra life, until you get caught up by the undead and trampled under their rotting feet.
Among other cardboard pieces appear also some vehicles, that will hang around the streets, and you will be able to ride them! Yes, it’s starting to look appealing? But before we get in and run over zombies, we have to talk about zombie spawnpoints tokens (where enemies are revealed) and one EXIT token to indicate only possible exit. There are also colored crosses marking tasks you need to accomplish, door tokens, triangular noise markers with icon of ear or skills-shaped shells.
In uncompromising quality performance of the game, you might bewilder, when you get to main characters cards (total six of basic characters). They are made only of hard paper, no cardboard. Its still quite thin. But this is not necessarily a step back. Their thickness comes for a good reason. You will find also six plastic latches for this purpose. Simply attach them to heroes cards on the top and you have experinece trackers.
List will not disappoint you even with presence of 110 small cards. You can split them into first deck with 62 cards of heroes equipment (you easily find place for them on characters), six wound cards and 42 zombie spawnings. These determine, which and how many of monsters will run towards you in the next round. Cards are supported by six red dice, which decide on some important actions during the game.
The main thing, where Zombicide really comes to life and reason, why it got so many fans, are miniatures. And not just any. There are incredible 71 pieces altogether. Out of them, only six color-coded are heroes, each with matching paint of his hero card. Although Doug and Phil (dark blue and gray) are a little harder to tell apart (on cards) at first glimpse, if controlled by one player. But you’ll soon get used to differentiate all characters and there are no problems with the others, each having a different pose: Wanda, Amy, Ned and Josh.
And then there are four kinds of enemies. There are weakest pedestrians (40), who represent vanguard of a wave, that is trying to weaken you. Behind them slowly rolls fatties (in the game a total of eight pieces) and one Abomination on top of all that. But there are also Runners, who move faster than others and you should worry about their rapid motion.
Although this would seem as satisfying to majority of companies, CoolMiniOrNot said to themselves, that they will give us an even deeper experience. Therefore you can see five really distinctive types of pedestrians, eight of each kind. And sixteen runners are separated into two different miniatures as well. This provides a game board with unprecedented variability and atmosphere.
At the beginning of each experience, you need to choose a particular scenario and therefore the story, which will determine course of the game. In Zombicide, these variations of the game are called missions and you have ten of them available in base game, which is enough for a long time. They are quite significantly different from each other with environment or objects, you have to achieve.
We will tell you about them later. But as we approach preparation and gameplay, we rather describe it in general, and we will not go into excessive detail. You then certainly would like to find for yourselves, what more can Zombicide offer.
Each player takes few survivors under his control. Their number depends on the amount of players and difficulty of the game you want. The basic rules are recommending three miniature for each of the two players, two for each of three, and only in four participants would have each player his own single survivor. Here you can see a clear difference – while four players have only four survivors in play, two and three have six! Of course, this number can easily be reduced, if you do not like it.
First you select miniatures you like, take card with their portrait and empty inventory. Now attach a plastic horse on the top experience counter bar. Each player also marks his one initial ability with a shell token. Once you gain some experience, you may receive new skills.
This is followed by further preparation of a board. You place doors on a given place, but also task tokens and spawn places, where you will add zombies. These preparations are specific to each scenario and we will therefore not describe them more. You have to create a supply next to a board, with other tokens and shuffled decks of cards.
While you simple shuffle the undead deck, with the equipment one its a little more difficult. You must separate one starting axe, crowbar and pistol. One of each and no more. This is all the equipment, which surviving people get to start. Some will therefore begin with no amenities and is only on players decision, how you divide it among all heroes. Or you can divide it by lottery.
Before we get into shooting and fighting for survival, let’s take a look at the city plan compiled from several boards. The map can be divided into so-called zones. The simplest are those inside the building. They are simply divided into rooms and characters can see in adjacent rooms only, when the door is open. He does not see, of course, around corners.
Situation is different on the street. Heroes see everywhere around and the only obstacle is corner, when street is turning. And from open space, they can see also inside buildings only in open doors in straight line. Zones on the streets are divided with the help of pedestrian crossings. One zone is of course also one step, when you or enemies start to move.
But with that, we are slowly running into gameplay. Its really time for that. Each mission preparation includes putting characters miniatures on their starting position. Somewhere is a place, where undead will start moving. And you always play for one of your characters and gradually progress through all of them. And alternate with other players. Each hero has three, or later in the game four action points to spend each time.
You can use them to move between zones. You can move even diagonally. For one action, you can also search the room and try to find some equipment, open the door with a tool, trade equipment with another player or rearrange your own inventory. But there are also offensive actions, getting into the car, completing a task or making noise in your current location to lure hungry monsters towards you. Simply anything you can imagine and might want to do, is an action. And as you can see, this game allows players a lot of freedom in decision making.
The most important action in the beginning is a search. It can be performed only in buildings (there are not many things lying on the street) and only when there are only people in the room (no undead). Just spend an action point, and take top card from equipment deck. You can put subject found on your character card. Heroes can carry up to five things, but only two can be actively used in one moment. When you pick up a new object, you can also reorganize your inventory for free. Otherwise, this is also an action.
Locked doors can only be opened by force. On each card in your inventory, you have weapons or tools. There is its picture and symbols indicating, what it can be used for. On right side of the card, there is a symbol of the door, on the left silhouette of an undead creature. If this icon is there, it can be used for attacking zombie / opening door. These rectangular images have also a small icon next to them – either ear in a yellow triangle or blue crossed ear. These symbols indicate, if activity using this item makes noise.
Sounds are very important element in fighting zombies. Sound is enticing. Their movement is always directed towards a place, which is noisiest. So if you use an axe to open the door, it makes cutting noise and you have to add one noise token to this zone. This token will be important at the end of the round.
Often you will find yourself in a place, where is also one or more zombies and you’ll want to kill them off. Any weapon can be used, if it has zombie icon on its card and you have it equipped. On its card, you will find many important informations. We start with distance, at which can be weapon used. Zero indicates melee weapon, any other number indicates ranged weapon reaching to kill over a number of zones. Second number indicates number of dice, you can roll during one attack. In combination with the third number, precision, you can easily specify number of hits inflicted. A hit means dice with number at least equal to weapon precision. And last number in table is damage, caused by one hit.
Important rule comes in play, when you are fighting stronger zombies. Stronger weapons are needed. A fattie cannot be killed with a simple gun, even if you empty the whole tray into it. You need something stronger. A weapon, that does damage th whole required damage with one hit (two points with fattie). When you have more successful attacks, you can successfully kill more enemies during one blow.
Shooting from a distance has its specific rules. While shooting, you have a high chance of hitting someone of your own ranks. If there is one (or more) survivors (people) in target zone, they get hit first. Only after they are dead, you divide injuries to others – first weakest pedestrians, then fatties, amobinations and in the end to runners. So you have to think carefully, where you shoot.
For each monster killed, players receive one point of experience. In the moment pointer on your character card reaches experience in a different color, you can choose one new skill and begin to use it. In addition, since the yellow line, your are experienced fighter and have one action more each round.
At the end of round, when all survivors had opportunity to act, it’s undead turn! They first attack all the people, who are with them in the same room or zone in the street. Hero will receive an injury card for each damage inflicted by zombies and must also discard one of their equipment cards. If character gets a second injury, he is dead and eliminated from the whole battle.
Then the zombies start to move slowly. Priority is given to visual contact with undead. If they see a living flesh, they move that way. But if there are several groups in sight, they will shift towards the noisiest. In addition to noise tokens, also characters themself make nois – each miniature counts as one noise token. Yes, breathing is also a sound! If they can not see anyone, then they simply move towards noisiest sound. If there is consensus among multiple sites, then undead divide into groups and set off in both directions.
At the very end of the round, you will be adding a bit of a rotting meat on the board. This means, that you must reveal top card from the udnead deck and add as many creatures as card states. And which line applies to you? It depends on how experienced your fighters are. Desicive is the most experienced hero and his arrow pointing towards one color. This is color of the line, which specifies monsters added.
The scenario ends with the death of heroes. But wait, there is an optimistic ending as well! They can be victorious in case, they fulfill tasks assigned. These can vary per mission and usually consist of reaching some places or runing somewhere.
Zombicide is a game, that bets everything on atmospheric note. And it really delivers! Players will experience battle with the undead in its most gruesome form, will be arguing at the table, what is the best plan. Their chances of survival are influenced in administration of randomly assigned cards. First of all, without proper equipment, you get often stuck for a while. Or even worse.
What is really the best part is the fact, that from the first turn, you’re part of the action. There is always something going on and undead threat is moving in your direction. The longer you hesitate, the more monsters you attract and it will be harder for you to break through. Sometimes, you must also return the same way you came and you need to think tactically enough.
That is why there is noise present in the game. One of the heroes can make sounds, allowing others to escape. You will see players proudly sacrificed for the team and being devoured by a pile of undead, for a chance, that their comrades could survive. Scenario does not usually require for everyone to survive. Causalties are allowed and sometimes even necessary. But who will it be? Noise is a wonderful way to add atmosphere to the game, as players must use their weapons wisely. Sound tokens are removed at end of each round and you start fresh.
Unfortunately, while most missions are nicely prepared and guarantee you great fun, some are untuned and maybe completely untested. We refer specifically to second scenario, which is about fighting your way through group of zombies and get as fast as possible to other side of town. You can simply sprint there with your quickest player and once you are there, it’s over. During five, maximum ten minutes. So be careful, if you try Zombicide, be sure to not use mission number two!
Moreover Zombicide contains several other imperfections, but they can be easily fixed. For example, mandatory injuries heading into your own ranks, when shooting at a distance. We do not think, that people would be such clumsy. Keep the rule, but instead of hitting everytime, you roll the dice. And if you throw one, then you’ve really hit your colleague. Otherwise, you are sharpshooting into zombies right away! You can therefore save your comrade life from a distance with a headshot! Such a situation is not possible using the original rules.
These few shortcomings are trumped by tremendous opportunities and other elements of the whole game. For example, variability of equipment and its use, collecting experience for each kill and special abilities, that differ with each character and allow specialization. We had a chance to play only with basic character out of the box. Number of available characters is also expanding.
And we did not even mention the option to travel by car. This allows you to ride over the undead, but at the same time also shoot from the car window. Cars are not there just as a decoration, but you will experience for yourself exactly those scenes, that you’ve seen so often in many zombie movies.
Ten missions is enough to make many evenings into zombieripping fun. With character switching and variability of found weapons, you get entertained with this game for quite a long time. Moreover, there is nothing easier, than to build your own stories and scenarios. Nine double-sided boards is absolutely sufficient quantity for anything possible.
And as Zombicide got popular, there are many and many scenarios available at BoardGameGeek. There is even a six missions joined into a glorious campaign! Its incredible, how quickly and furiously gamers jumped into option of creating their own zombie adventure. So be free to pick up any of those and be entertained forever!
Processing of Zombicide is absolutely ultimate. This, however, also corresponds to its price. But for your money, you get a breathtaking experience, which looks perfectly on the table. Miniatures are professionally processed and all components are made of hard cardboard. Everything then is finished by the elegant processing of the packaging itself.
Zombicide is a mandatory purchase for anyone, who has a penchant for this genre. But it is not limited only to these players, but game opens its arms to all, who seek cooperative blood dripping adventure. Put an end to treating diseases and killing nameless orc! This time, you have to save your own skin. You may need to shoot your way through friends. But you must not stop at nothing, this is Zombicide!
Zombicide is game filled with constantly hungry monsters. These are in large quantities hidden inside this box and are in a shape of excellent miniatures. You will try to escape from them with your heroes, but you have to complete your mission first. For example put supplies into a car, while surrounded with zombies, so you can run and do not stop, only for gas. Who knows, where will be food and fresh incontaminated water. This time, players are working together with common goal to survive, but they have to sacrifice themselves sometimes for safety of the whole group. Heroes are represented also as miniatures, moving across board made of double-sided boards. These offer large variability for all scenarios. Players have their limited inventory space on their character cards, where can they choose and swap equipment. You get experience for each killed undead and you step by step improve your special skills. But also monster numbers are rising as you becom more powerful, so even in later phases of the game, it will be not simple. Exactly the opposite! Zombicide introduces unique concept of sound. Each activity in game can (but also does not need to) produce a noise, which will attract and lure zombies towards it. Players can fight them and only afterwards search houses and their surroundings for usable objects, items and weapons, which will help them in their quest. Unfortunately some scenarios are broken and you must avoid them. But they are more than sufficiently replaced by free downloadable community scenarios on internet (BGG). The biggest issue with the game is shooting into neighbouring areas, which are resolved in a strange fashion. But luckily there is something you can do about it – make a house rule, which will solve it. Except these little glitches, Zombicide makes an extraordinary atmospherical adventure, with loads of zombies roaming the streets at your heels. Run away and do not let them eat your brain.. Although, even this might be fun sometimes, because Zombicide is fun, no matter what!