This military-themed expansion for Zombicide 2nd Edition features not only the same Campaign Mode and Advanced Rules seen in Washington Z.C., but also new additions like special Military Equipment - new regular Equipment and Pimpweapons to replace the core ones, similar to the Secret Service deck from the Washington expansion.
There are also military base tiles, veteran survivors, and zombie soldiers! All this comes to life in a brand new 10-mission campaign set in Fort Hendrix, a military base where mysterious experiments were being conducted in relation to the zombie infection.
What’s In The Box?
On the miniature front, you’ll be getting a total of 13, which comprises 6 brand new survivors, a new companion and 6 zombie soldiers. The 6 survivors also come with ID cards, detailing their skills and perks that can be accessed by levelling up. You also get six new game tiles, which make up various sections of the titular military base...
A bunch of new equipment cards - Standard, Advanced, Pimpweapons and the all-new Military Equipment deck. Which features entirely new weapons and equipment exclusive to Fort Hendrix. There are also ten sets of Objective cards (one for each mission). Six All Out dice, Campaign Survivor Sheets, the Night & Day dial, accompanying light beams and the all-important rulebook rounds off the contents.
First of all, there’s the all-important campaign mode. Which allows players to take survivors through a ten-mission slaughter-fest. You’ll battle through the familiar streets of Zombicide: 2nd Edition to Fort Hendrix. Along the way, you’ll have the usual mix of victory conditions to meet. But this time around there are also objective cards dotted around each map with additional tasks.
Without spoiling anything - these range from simply clearing out zombies and small-scale fetch quests, to more challenging tasks that will test the mettle of your squad. As well as these new objectives, some missions come with notes that mustn’t be read out until instructed. Occasionally these will turn a mission on its head and radically change the victory conditions. Some even have achievements, which are noted on players’ Campaign Sheets and can affect certain things in later missions.
In standard Zombicide, once a mission is complete, you’re done and everything resets to zero. But in Fort Hendrix progress carries over from mission to mission. Survivors can earn campaign experience points (CXP). Which is used to level up survivors on a separate track to the usual Adrenaline level. And allows them to pick unique and, most importantly, permanent skills from the Campaign sheet.
Survivors can also keep the weapons they find on the battlefield, but only if they pass a “Weapon Check”. It’s a great addition, but is, as with Zombicide in general – luck-based, with the decision resting on the roll of a die. Most weapons in Fort Hendrix have a number in a padlock in the upper left corner (those that don’t are immediately lost at the end of the mission).
That padlock number represents how many “All Out” dice must be rolled for a weapon check. Once rolled players must check to see if they rolled a ‘1’, which is shown as a breaking symbol on the dice. Rolling even one of these break symbols means the weapon breaks and is returned to the deck. If the roll is successful (one that doesn’t have any break symbols) that weapon is carried over to the next mission. Being entirely luck-based, it can become annoying to lose a favourite weapon, but it can be found again in the following mission... with a bit of luck.
The All Out dice also has another use. Most weapons now have a red number above the usual number which states how many dice are rolled when firing it. This red number indicates how many additional dice may be used. Unfortunately, these must come from the All Out dice pool and, as when rolling weapon checks, rolling a break symbol breaks the weapon.
It’s intended as a high-risk high-reward tactic that can potentially get a Survivor out of a tight spot.
The Campaign Sheets
These track progress through the campaign. Players record how many CXP they have. These are earned through getting a Survivors adrenaline level into orange and then into the red. Some objective cards also have the chance to earn CXP. Adrenaline levels reset to blue after every mission, meaning there’s a potential to earn a minimum of two CXP per mission, per survivor.
There’s also a new night and day mechanic. The start time of the dial is indicated by the mission brief. The end of every turn moves the dial along by an hour. Once it hits 7pm the map is plunged into darkness. This causes the range of every gun to reduce to 0-1 and every dice roll must land on a six to hit. Basically, the entire map turns into a dark room from the standard Zombicide rules.
Players will have to survive 12 rounds to reach 7am and daylight again. Luckily there are more flashlights available than standard Zombicide. Using these lights up a zone for everyone and negates the night-time rule for that particular area. But it also attracts the undead more than noise. There are also Night vision Goggles, which negates the night rule for the Survivor wearing them.
Another new feature comes into play when a Survivor takes a total of three wounds. In standard Zombicide the Survivor dies and the mission ends in failure. In Fort Hendrix, other survivors have a chance to reach their fallen comrade, but they must do it by the end of the next turn. If they make it to the wounded Survivor they are rescued, removed from the board and live to fight another day.
Playing The Game
The 10 missions see 1-6 players taking control of six Survivors. They’ll be tasked with carrying out main objectives with optional objectives dotted around each map. Survivors and Zombies act in the same way they do in Zombicide: 2nd Edition, so I won’t repeat it here.
Once a mission ends players check to see if they’ve earned any achievements and/or CXP. They also roll All Out dice to see which weapons they carry over to the next mission, which I already mentioned.
Zombicide: Fort Hendrix is a great way to introduce people to Legacy games. It’s simple and easy to understand but, unfortunately, has a few things that hamper the enjoyment and its longevity. Annoyingly, these are also the same problems Washington Z.C. suffers from.
Firstly, the objective cards for each mission are great and several of the rewards for completing them are worth the detour.
But they don’t change when replaying a mission, even the locations are the same. There are a couple that is multiple-choice, but ultimately the choices end up resulting in the same reward but at different stages in the game.
The Night & Day cycle is also a great touch. It adds a tactical element that has been lacking in previous iterations. You can choose to sneak around in the dark completing objectives, but it can mean, come daylight, you’ll potentially be overwhelmed.
In some missions, you can see where it will end and work this to your advantage to grab some early CXP. Unfortunately, some missions can end abruptly. We had a few where an optional objective card would change the victory conditions to something that we had already done, ending the mission.
The Campaign Sheets
They are a fun addition, but you only get 24 in total. Be sure to get your laminators or photocopiers out! Some of the skills players can earn through CXP are great. “Low Profile” eliminates the much improved but still annoying friendly fire ruleset. “Combat Reflexes” is another favourite, which allows a Survivor to get a free attack on a group of zombies as they spawn in. This made room-clearing an infinitely smoother experience.
My biggest issue with Fort Hendrix, as with Washington Z.C., is the All Out, dice mechanic. CMON intended this to be a high-risk high-reward tactic, but it doesn’t work. Once again, my group never found itself in a situation where we thought it was worth losing a weapon for a possible two or three extra kills. Luckily this is where Fort Hendrix shines above Washington Z.C.
My main complaint with Washington was far too many survivor skills being related to “Going All Out”. making them fairly useless and creating an imbalance amongst the Survivors. Fort Hendrix fixes this problem as, instead of playing as a random group of people, you’re playing as a squad of soldiers. Each one starts with great skills, that are only enhanced as you level up. Each one can hold there own when separated from the group, but when together the entire group shines as a bunch of battle hardened veterans that have fought side-by-side for years.
This is handy as the brand new soldier zombies present a new, but pretty imbalanced, challenge. Soldier zombies have guns, they aren’t accurate but are still deadly. They move, they pull the trigger and survivors need to roll for damage. They can be deadly, sadly they can be overpowered fairly easily. When spawning zombies across the Zombicide universe if you run out of mini for a particular class, then the ones on the board get extra activations.
This isn’t normally a problem as Zombicide comes with an insane number of minis for each class and when on the board, can be mowed down fairly easily. Sadly, this is not the case with the soldiers. You only get 6 in the box and, for the amount of zombie soldier spawn cards, this is nowhere near enough. In one game I had all six soldiers spawn in early on the other side of the map.
By the time my group got to them through several other undead, we ended a turn in a firefight down a corridor. Although it was just unlucky (always a problem in a luck-based system) we then drew two soldier cards during the spawn stage, meaning all six zombie soldiers fired twice downing two of our squad.
You could argue that this means you have to be more tactical, ducking in and out of rooms and taking cover. But the cynic in me says it’s to “encourage” people to buy extra soldier miniatures... which are available.
All In All
Ultimately, Zombicide: Fort Hendrix. introduces some fantastic new mechanics that add an increased need for tactical thinking. The campaign is a blast to play but quickly becomes stale on repeat playthroughs, unless it’s with a different group.
The All Out dice mechanic works on paper but certainly doesn’t work as intended. But the strong theme of this expansion, the great survivors and the always excellent miniatures will make this expansion a welcome addition to any Zombicide collection.