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Marvel Zombies: Core Box

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There’s a zombie plague spreading throughout the populace. Mighty super heroes are doing what they can to halt its spread. But as powerful as they may be, they are not immune to the ravages of the virus. Now, heroes that have been turned by the plague are actively trying to spread it as far as they can. They’ve even retained much of their previous personalities, but now twisted …
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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Marvel
  • Co-op games
  • Lots of detailed game pieces
  • Easy to learn and play

Might Not Like

  • Extra components that need expansions to play
  • Ms Marvels overpowered ability
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There’s a zombie plague spreading throughout the populace. Mighty super heroes are doing what they can to halt its spread. But as powerful as they may be, they are not immune to the ravages of the virus. Now, heroes that have been turned by the plague are actively trying to spread it as far as they can. They’ve even retained much of their previous personalities, but now twisted in service of the Hunger.

Marvel Zombies - A Zombicide Game puts players into the rotting bodies of these tainted heroes. Unlike previous Zombicide iterations, they’re not trying to stop the zombies, but instead spread the plague far and wide. Each hero still retains some of what made them powerful before they became infected, but other heroes that have not yet been turned, plus the members of S.H.I.E.L.D. are trying to stop them. In the end, will all be made to service the Hunger?

Inspired by the 2005 ‘Marvel Zombies’ comic book series, ‘Marvel Zombies – A Zombicide Game’ not only puts you into the shoes of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes but also takes a unique spin on the Zombicicde formula by having you play as the ravenous flesh eaters.

But being a superpowered zombie isn’t as easy as it sounds. Standing between you and your banquet of famous faces of the Marvel Universe are some of Marvel’s most powerful surviving heroes and an army of specially trained S.H.E.I.L.D. agents.

Sounds like fun? Read on to find out more.


The first thing out of the box is the 44-page full-colour rule book, including the full set of rules, 1 tutorial mission, 10 missions to be plaid straight out of the box and 5 missions to be used in conjunction with the upcoming Marvel Zombies – X-Men Resistance, allowing you to use the superheroes from the set to fend off the zombie hordes. The rules portion of the book is very concise and is a breeze to get through for both Zombicide veterans and newcomers alike.

Next comes a total of 87 miniature game pieces. Broken down into 6 types, including 6 zombified heroes, 6 survivor superheroes, 12 bystanders and 63 S.H.E.I.L.D agents made up of troopers, Specialists and Guards. Including Zombie Hulk and Spider-man, all well-sculpted and a lot of fun to paint, but if painting isn’t your thing, each type of game piece is moulded in a different colour plastic, making it easy to tell who’s who and what’s what on the table.

Also included are 9 double-sided game boards featuring famous locations from the Marvel Universe, including Avengers Tower and The Dailey Bugle and 41 tokens, made up of doorways, spawn points and objectives. All packed with colour and detail.

Additionally, there are 140 cards. 116 of which consist of Zombie Hero IDs, zombie traits, spawn, bystander and Superhero cards. The remaining 24 cards aren’t usable in the game on their own and are intended to be used alongside the upcoming Marvel Zombies – X-Men Resistance.

And lastly, there are the plastic dashboards, colour bases tracker cubes and dice.

Set Up

Marvel Zombies allows between 1 to 6 players to choose between 4 to 6 zombie heroes to use during the game, including the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Wasp, Marvel and Deadpool, each with their skills and attacks representing their respective powers, recognizable from the comics.

Players then choose from 10 missions, each with their game board layout and unique mission objective. Each with its playtime and level of difficulty, there’s plenty of variety if you’re in the mood for a quick casual experience to be played in under an hour or a gruelling challenge over a couple of hours. Having more zombie heroes may seem like a “no-brainer” at first but each mission has special rules to increase the challenge for the more zombie heroes being used.

The whole setup takes around 15 minutes at most for the larger games and is made super easy with the instruction, clearly stating what tiles are used and where and the location of all tokens.

Game Play

Most of the gameplay revolves around players taking turns activating their zombie heroes to ‘move’, ‘attack’, ‘break down doors’, ‘gain zombie trait’ and ‘devour’. Most of these actions will be familiar to anyone who has played previous versions of Zombicide. The two not recognised will be the ‘devour’ and ‘gain zombie trait’, both new for Marvel zombies.

‘Gain zombie trait’ is the closest equivalent to ‘search’ action from previous games. Rather than searching for weapons and equipment, zombie traits give zombie heroes special abilities that can be used to give them an advantage, such as free actions and bonuses to dice rolls.

The ‘devour’ action ties into one of the most interesting new systems in the game, hunger. As well as managing the zombie heroes’ health points, players must also manage their hunger levels. The higher the hunger level, the more deadly the zombie heroes become, with extra attack dice. However, if they don’t devour a bystander or SHEILD agent before their hunger reaches its maximum level, they become ravenous and are only able to move or devour. They also lose health each turn meaning if a zombie hero becomes ravenous, they need to eat someone fast.

Like other ‘Zombicide’ games, as players complete objectives and defeat enemies, their zombie heroes gain experience and new abilities. But with each time a level is gained, so does the threat level, taking us into the next round, the enemy phase.

The phase begins with all enemies making a movement action in the direction of the nearest zombie hero, or attacking a zombie hero if they are in the same space. Bystanders will either try to escape the map or attack zombie heroes if they are a ‘combat bystander’. Superheroes get 2 actions each having their unique abilities to represent their comic counterparts, such as Thor inflicting 2 wounds to demonstrate his immense strength and Spider-Man appearing in the closest space to a zombie hero’s,  representing his ability to web swing at high speeds.

Their step is the enemy spawn. Scattered around the edges of each mission are spawn points where enemy reinforcements appear. Players draw a spawn card for each spawn point and space the designated enemy type and numbers there. The higher the threat level, the more enemies are likely to appear at a spawn point. Some spawn cards can also give enemies extra action, meaning the difference between victory and defeat in some situations.

The last step is the end phase. At this point, any game effects stated to happen in the end phase happen here and if any zombie heroes were defeated in the round, the game ends and the mission failed.

Final Thoughts

The Marvel iteration of ‘Zombicide‘ is different enough from previous versions to warrant giving it a go for ‘Zombicide’ and represents the Marvel universe well with its lore-friendly rules for both comic book and MCU fans alike.

This game is easy to learn, set up and play, and most importantly a lot of fun. After playing each mission more than once, I’m looking forward to the ‘X-Men Resistance‘ and other expansions for new zombie heroes and game types.

Marvel Zombies The Gory so far…..
Since time immemorial in the Zombicide world, survivors/heroes have battled against the Zombie hordes. From its inception in 2012 as a ground-breaking, in retrospect, slightly clunky cooperative slugfest, it has metomorphasised into a sleek, streamlined, energetic, cooperative, slugfest. Through various expansions, standalones such as the Medieval Black Plague and the Undead or Alive Wild West iteration, we have arrived at Marvel Zombies and my excitement runneth over.

What’s in the box.

Opening Marvel Zombies is, like most CMON productions, a tense Jack-In-The-Box moment. As expected a plethora of Minis spring from that cardboard treasure chest and a myriad of cards wing themselves to freedom as if they had life of their own. WOW. A cornucopia of delight as always. Component quality is, as expected, up to a high standard. The miniatures, all 87 of them, are awesome, especially the 6 Zombie Heroes and the 6 Superheroes. There are also 12 bystanders from the world of marvel, ranging from Thunderbolt Ross to Agent Coulson. 63 shield agents are there to give you the utmost grief, 35 troopers, 14 guards and 14 specialists. The artwork, from the brilliantly riotous front of box, down through all the cards is mind blowing. Zombie Hero cards and Superhero cards definitely stand out. My only pet gripe is the size of the spawn cards, trait cards and bystander cards, a little bit bigger please. I’m not over the hill, but my nose is bent and my eyes are old and weak. The map tiles are detailed with easy iconography and look pretty cool. All in all a mighty production.

Marvel Zombies

The set up…

Set up is pleasingly simple, pick a mission, starting with the tutorial and progressing through 10 further increasingly difficult levels. It’s best to play them in order as it shoehorns you gently into objectives and mechanisms and the flow of the game. It also helps you to learn the nuances of the different Zombie Heroes.

Slouching towards Zombiism…are you getting hungry?

The rules and gameplay of Marvel Zombies are very much akin to all ‘Zombicide’ games, but with an efficient streamlining and a delightful twist…..you ARE the Zombies! Yikes! Not as bad as it sounds, in fact, devilishly clever and exciting. Grab your mission and fire that baby up…bosh out the map tiles and fill them up with spawn points, mission objectives, locked doors and kitchen sinks (not literally) as per the mission instructions. Missions are recommended to be played using 4,5 or 6 Zombie Heroes. Dig in and choose your merry flesh-eating band. You can choose from, Captain America, Iron Man, Wasp, Hulk, Captain Marvel and Deadpool. They all have unique attacks, which level up as they gain experience, and a generic devour attack. Set up your dashboards with health points, hunger points and your zombie hero cards. Shuffle up any spawn cards, Superhero cards, trait cards and bystander cards needed and you are pretty much ready for the dice-chucking madness.

Marvel Zombies

‘In a nutshell’ philosophy.

Player phase followed by enemy phase. Meet up in the middle, slap each other silly and then repose on the chaise-lounge with a cheeky schooner of Oloroso. Regale each other with tales of the epicness that just occurred and then…..slap each other silly again.

Marvel Zombies assembleeeee!

Player phase. Firstly increase all hunger tracks by 1, a very new and important mechanism. The hungrier you are the more dice you roll when you attack. But, if you max out your hunger, you can only move or use the generic devour attack. Devouring an enemy resets your hunger track to zero, thematically you have sated your hunger. It is important to manage this hunger, it can be your best friend. Next , all Zombie heroes activate in whichever order they choose. Generally you have 3 actions, this increases with experience, and you can do the following.
Move – 1 action for every zone moved. Extra actions would be needed if leaving zones that contain enemies.
Open Door – 1 action opens a door, none of that frustrating dice rolling nonsense from previous iterations. Beware, enemies will spawn when first opening a door to a building.
Gain trait – Once per turn you can draw the top card from the Zombie trait deck. These are powerful one-time use effects.
Interact – With objects or mission specifics.
Attack – Use a melee or ranged attack. Either the Zombie hero special attack or the generic devour attack. Combat is resolved by rolling various dice, which is mitigated by the specific attack and how strong your hunger is. You hit on 3+, 4+ and sometimes 5+, which can be mitigated. All hits equal 1 wound each and are dealt out as per the target priority. Superhero, guard, trooper, specialist and finally bystander (devour only). Marvel Zombies

Shield agents, go, go, go…

Enemy phase. All shield agents and Superheroes activate, moving towards the nearest Zombie Heroes or attacking them if they occupy the same zone . Attacks are automatic wounds. Bystanders also activate. Combat bystanders trying to attack Zombie Heroes and normal bystanders trying to exit the board. Then spawn enemies. Draw 1 spawn card for each spawn zone, 1 at a time. This starts off slowly, but as your Zombie Heroes gain experience, more and more enemies flood the board and you have some truly ‘what the glockenspiel is going on?!’ moments.

Win some…..lose mostly?

The game is won as soon as all mission objectives have been met. The game is lost as soon as any Zombie Hero is eliminated or any mission losing specifics are met.

Marvel Zombies

Glorious dice-chucking, knees bent running around madness.

I love this game, it’s just pure fun.
Positives:- The streamlined rules set is so natural to use and, after a couple of plays, becomes second-nature. The hunger mechanic is genius. Its’ management is key to a smooth arse-kicking ride. Bring on the Marvel world. The IP is brilliant and sings thematically. You can weave magnificent stories, as well-loved characters appear. The artwork pops furiously, firing off like a hyperactive Catherine wheel. Miniatures – just look at them, just look at THEM, just….
Negatives:- Randomness. I can see people being frustrated by bad dice rolls. As a child of the 70s, this was normality, so doesn’t bother me at all. 2 or 3 badly drawn spawn cards can lead to deflating ‘we’ve been cheated’ moments. You can’t plan against it, embrace it and dust yourself off, go again, you mad Zombie Hero you. Marvel! Marvel? If you’re not into Marvel then the characters are just that, characters, no story weaving. Not everyone likes Marvel, I guess.

As the dust settles…..

I highly recommend Marvel Zombies to anyone and everyone. Zombicide stalwarts will pick it up and run with it, foaming at the mouth with rabid anticipation. ‘Oy! You! Come back with my Marvel Zombies Core Box!’. Newbies will dive straight in, it’s so approachable, so playable, no hard edges, entreating softness. As I stand at the window, sipping my cup of coffee, relaxing after that last, gruelling, edge of the seat rollercoaster ride. I watch the people passing by. I get an urge. Do their legs look like chicken drumsticks? Am I getting hungry? Oh no! Oh yes! Rahrrrrrrrrrrrr…

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Marvel
  • Co-op games
  • Lots of detailed game pieces
  • Easy to learn and play

Might not like

  • Extra components that need expansions to play
  • Ms Marvels overpowered ability