Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Zombicide from Cool mini or Not unboxing and review

Zombies..... done to death? (see what i did there?) or still a fun genre for games?  I think that depends on the people involved in playing, i know there has been a long deluge of zombie games coming out, so it seems people (well not everyone) has been burnt out by the shuffling dead.

I for one love zombies, being a huge fan of the George Romero classics like night, Dawn of the Dead, and Day in particular.  I also like games that tell a story.... and today's look at Zombicide from Cool mini or not, lets you tell you your own epic tale of zombie survival.

Zombicide is a collaborative game in which players take the role of a survivor – each with unique abilities – and harness both their skills and the power of teamwork against the hordes of unthinking undead! Zombies are predictable, stupid but deadly, controlled by simple rules and a deck of cards. Unfortunately for you, there are a LOT more zombies than you have bullets.
Find weapons, kill zombies. The more zombies you kill, the more skilled you get; the more skilled you get, the more zombies appear. The only way out is zombicide!
Play ten scenarios on different maps made from the included modular map tiles, download new scenarios from the designer's website, or create your own!

Its a big hefty box.... with some pretty epic and graphic artwork on it, really i really like.  Was i worried Olivia may be put of by it? no.... as was proved when she saw the box and said.... zombies!!!! coool... can we kill them?  she may only be 7, but she knows her zombie lore, telling me they could only be killed if they where shot in the head, or had there head cut off, or bashed in until their brains ooze out.... yeah... enough of that Olivia.....
Of course, if you are going to play it with children, or younger players just be sensible if they can handle it or not.
An excellent overview on the back, showing the boards and models.  it can play 1-6 players.... yes 1 player!!! which is excellent for me, and scores extra bonus points.  It is a cooperative game where the idea is to work against the AI controlled zombies to complete different missions, be they escaping, or gathering up food stuffs with all sorts of variety the 10 scenarios int he provided booklet will keep you gaming for many many hours.

Thats quite a component list!!! plenty of goodies in here to be discovered, so lets take a look and see whats inside this big old box.....



 popping the top off you get a nice slab of tokens, for all the things you may need, such as noise, zombie spawn points, experience counters, and doors that are double sided for shut or broken open.  Compared to some games its fairly token light which is nice if you have played some of the big FFG games.then some boxes...... hmmm what could be in them??

The rulebook is full colour, and nicely laid out, easy to ready and follow and get playing, with a tutorial mission that shows you the layouts to use with the tiles (which are all number coded) and zombie pawn points, and plenty of example pictures
With everything out you do get quite a bit, the big game tiles are excellent quality so we shall take a closer look in a bit.

 In the smaller cardboard box you get the 6 hero playable characters, and the big mega brute zombie (if you see him, you better run!)
 The models are nicely detailed, and if you wanted to paint them up would look pretty good.  My favourite is Phil the Sheriff and Olivias favourite is Amy the Katana wielding emo.... Though Olivia described her as having cute pigtails was odd.
Each Survivor comes with his own board.  These will give you a place to put the items you find in game into your reserve, or if a weapon into your hands.  You can only have one weapon in each hand.  Items in reserve are things you may find and need to complete the mission, or things you may want to trade with another character.  It is also where the wound cards will go on you, when a zombie attacks it automatically hits, you can nullify this by dropping an item from your inventory, so the zombie scrabbles at you, manages to pull something out of your backpack as you dodge away.  You can also see the experience tracker at the top, each time you kill a zombie you move the nifty little included clips that go over the cards up one.  Each time you enter a new zone you get to pick a new ability that are different for each character.  The problem is...... Zombies... zombies spawn on a card system, that is coloured,  like the one below.  These are drawn from
from the deck each turn for each zombie spawn point, or room in a building you enter, and the colours match the character sheets.  So blue, not to bad, to red... usually pretty unpleasant, as there more then just shambling zombies in this game, there are runners who move fast, or fatties who are strong, then the brute of course...

Now the colour you use relates to the colour of the highest characters experience.  So if someone has gone all gun crazy and is killing everything single handed they are racking their experience up and gaining new abilities whilst the others aren't, but the zombies will be based on that one character, so be sure to share the kills around to avoid being overpowered, its also a good way of ensuring no one person dominates the game by telling the others what to do.

in the other box in the main box is two sheets of zombies, including as you can see, shuffling traditional zombies, runners and fatties, all posed so its easy to tell them apart.  There a re a few different sculpt variations, but do not expect each one to be different.  Olivia was just happy there where girl zombies.
Again like the heroes, nicely detailed and really would paint up well, though its not required for playing.

There are 3 different sets of cards in the box, the items cards, which could be anything from weapons to supplier to gear, or even a zombie hiding that pile of rags! the zombie spawn deck used to see hoe many zombies appear each turn, or when you open a door, and the wounded cards, that go onto your character if there is no gear for the zombies to steal, and when you have 3 you are dead. Each weapon has some stats on it, they give the range, the number of dice rolled, and the number to hit needed along with the damage done.  They also have a symbol to show if they make noise or are silent.  Melee weapons are silent, unless you use the axe to break down a door, that makes quite the noise. Firearms and chainsaws tend to create noise.  zombies head towards noise if they cant see anyone, so opening up with all your guns may sound cool, and look cool, but you will draw zombies towards you.  Of course you can use this to your advantage creating noise elsewhere to lure zombies away, which feels very thematic and leads to some moments of bravery with your characters.
then the tiles...... these are beautiful, you get 9 double sided ones, and the way they have done the design is ingenious, as there are no movement squares or hexes but each room, and from room to room count as one move, and the spaces between the zebra crossings (for us brits) counts as one space for moving.  Each turn each character gets 3 actions, they can attack, move, or search where they draw an item from the item deck.  Other things that may take an action is getting in or out of cars, yes there are car tokens and yes you can go plowing through zombies, though it does make a lot of noise it IS cool.  You can take any combination of actions, so you could attaack 3 times, move 3 times, move search attack, and so on.
The art on the tiles is excellent, really creepy and atmospheric, you can tell something terrible has happened.  The versatility of the 9 double sided tiles to create layouts is immense so there really is excellent replay value to the game.

We got the tutorial mission up ready to play.  our objective as the cross, and there where two walkers ont he streets, and a spawn point.
Olivia spent her early actions searching for goodies and getting ready to bust open the door, though nice and quiet with a crowbar she found.
after taking down the street zombie Phil and Doug hold the outside opening up with shotgun and pistol to keep the zombies at bay whilst the girls cleared the building so we could get the win, but they did make an awful lot of noise, luckily in the tutorial mission there are not too many zombies, as its meant to get you used to the system.

With a win Olivia wanted to play again straight away, and she was thrilled she found a chainsaw for Wanda, 5 dice attacks yes please, who cares about the noise!!

Controlling multiple characters is a breeze in this game, and the rules are simple to keep the gameplay fast and frenzied, i mean who wants to get bogged down when there are zombies to obliterate.  Gameplay time does vary with the scenario played and amount of players, some like the tutorial are 10-20 minutes, some bigger scenarios with all 9 tiles and multiple objectives could take a couple of hours, but the game never feels like it has outstayed its welcome and flows well  as plans are hatched and sacrifices made for the greater good.

Olivia says.....

It looks cool, the tiles are really nice, i like that it has girl characters, and girl zombies too, and its fun.  The rules arent hard to learn, and i wanted to play again, and get dad to set up some bigger maps to try out.  i liked making stories as i did things, how wanda used her chainsaw to chop them up into little bits, or amy had to hide in the bathroom waiting for help and she was scared.

Its a great game, its fun to play, easy to teach, with great story telling moments, and played in the spirit of the game will give you hours of fun, and it looks amazing!!  Its a great game to get those horro movie fans into boradgames.


With an RRP of £83.99 it may seem hefty, but the sheer amount you get in the box is actually very good value. Go find your local game store and pick up a copy, or ask them to order you one in and join the fun with solo play and up to 6 players its a game to suit all.