In the latest of our board game spotlight series, Zatu Games inserts dual eyelid specula and entrusts its live-in manservant with the pipette as it focuses intently on Zombicide, the 2012 game from publisher Guillotine Games and designers Raphaël Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Lullien and Nicolas Raoult.
Zombicide casts players as the survivors of some kind of apocalypse (probably a meteor or something) and pits them against an unending zombie horde. The base game provides a range of different playable survivors, each of them pulling the expression of someone whose lips are still numb after a dental procedure.
There are six in total, matching the maximum player count. They are: Josh, a man with a hoodie and guns; Doug, a man with a shirt and guns; Phil, a policeman with guns; Ned, a man with guns; Amy, a woman with a sword (and also a gun); and Wanda, a woman with a chainsaw and rollerskates. The ubiquity of available guns among the other characters suggests they’re all secretly hoping Wanda’s going to die first, which, at the end of the day, is what friends are for.
Zombicide is a co-operative game, giving players a common objective and forcing them to rely on their characters’ varied skillsets to make it through. The creators have taken rudimentary health and safety to heart when implementing its mechanics: firing a gun with a fellow player ahead of you runs the risk of killing them rather than your intended, less alive victim. Every action must be considered.
Players have a limited number of actions each turn, which they can use to move, open up new buildings or, of course, cide some zombies. Doing so allows characters to upgrade their abilities and become more powerful. However, as the game progresses, the zombie hordes will grow and the risk of being overwhelmed becomes ever more real.
There are ten different scenarios across a variety of maps to play through, suited to everything from solo play to the full half dozen.
Guillotine Games is a board game publisher originally founded in 2011 by members of the art department from Rackham Entertainment. Zombicide was their first release, and has been a huge success, spawning a series of expansions.
Another of their well known titles, Blood Rage, had also seen plenty of success and a series of expansions. The game sees players take control of viking clans and doing battle with one another, pursuing glory before the inevitable arrival of Ragnarok.
Guiton, Lullian and Raoult are said art department from Rackham. When Rackham closed, they decided they liked their team too much to go down with it, and thus Guillotine Games and Zombicide were born.