Zombies - a will-less and speechless human held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated. In many cases, a strikingly popular reference used throughout film, TV and books and one that has grown in popularity massively over the past few decades! With this pop culture reference growing exponentially, it was of course natural for the board game world to follow suit, producing some great games such as Dead of Winter, Zombies!!! and Tiny Epic Zombies - to name but a few.
Perhaps most notable of all though is Zombicide. Created by Guillotine Games and released in partnership with CMON back in 2012 on Kickstarter, Zombicide has been a staple for any zombie fan wanting a beautifully themed game, with great mechanics and even better miniatures!
As such, further games have been added to the series, most notably Black Plague which flung players back to the middle ages, the big change being the small medieval town you were in was overrun with the undead! The latest addition to the Zombicide series is Green Horde, the first base game that is a direct continuation of a Zombicide timeline.
Based in the same era as Black Plague, players find themselves pitted against hordes of undead orcs, all destined to rip your team to shreds! You must avoid these hordes while collectively working together to complete objectives, find items and just be a general bad ass zombie-killing machine.
A map is created from the scenarios in the book using the double-sided map tiles. Objectives and zombie spawn locations are added and the players miniatures are placed on the map. Doors are placed on buildings where players can explore and then you are ready to go. Each scenario will have a set of objectives and certain criteria that must be met and various elements that will change up the gameplay. Players then take turns either moving their characters, picking up objectives, attacking Orcs or firing the trebuchet.
If a player is killed in combat, the other players must continue and try and fight their way to the end. If you all die, you fail miserably and you will probably find yourself resetting immediately and trying again (this has happened every time I have played! It is such an addictive game!)
What's new in Green Horde?
You are probably asking what new elements there are in Green Horde. Perhaps the biggest addition to the game is the introduction of a “Horde” mechanic. The way this works is simple. Whenever you spawn zombies at the spawn points on the map, you are then forced to create a “Horde” pool of Orcs. You will continue to add to this horde of Orcs throughout the game until you turn a “Unleash the Horde” card. This card forces the player to place all the Orcs gathered in the Horde on that one spawn site. From there, they follow the same rules as all the other Orcs including movement and combat.
Another notable addition is that of the Orc Necromancer! The necromancer is set on completely destroying your world while simultaneously working hard to wipe you off the face of the earth. When a “Spawn a Necromancer” card is drawn, the Necromancer miniature is placed on the board, along with a Necromancer spawn site. He also spawns with his own personal army of Orcs, making it that little bit harder for all players involved.
The Necromancer, once on the board, moves completely differently to any of the other Orcs. His aim is to get to the closest spawn site to his, without being intercepted by the intrepid band of warriors (that’s you!). If he succeeds, his spawn site becomes permanent and spawns zombies as normal on each remaining turn of the game. However, if you are successful in intercepting this evil being, and can kill him, you can then remove his spawn site or one that is already active! His priority in terms of attacking is below that of standard Orcs so you won’t be able to kill him straight off the bat! This addition can change the course of the game fairly swiftly and adds a nice element to keep players on their toes!
And finally, who can ignore the GIANT TREBUCHET!!! This weapon can be used by any of the players and they have the option of firing three different types of ammunition, from scattershot to wipe out walkers to a boulder that can kill the Abomination in just one hit! The firing of the trebuchet will cost three actions, and the range is 2 spaces or more, so make sure you aren’t trying to fire it in close proximity!!
Apart from these big changes, there are a few extra items and cards and of course, the miniatures have taken on a nice green tinge.
Gameplay and Opinion
So, how does Green Horde play and what do I think of it? Having only briefly played a couple of games of the original, it is clear to see that the evolution of this game series is going from strength to strength. Gameplay is smooth and while it is up to the players to place zombies and stay on top of the horde-building mechanic, this doesn’t detract from the game too much.
The addition of new mechanics is great to see and I think the “Horde” mechanic is by far the best! The unnerving feeling of having a horde slowly grow from outside the map and not knowing when they will be released keeps the game interesting and makes it really tough if you don't keep on top of the hordes.
In terms of the content and the quality of the components, as usual with CMON, is incredibly good! The miniatures are well made and highly detailed, something that is always key when investing in this more expensive tier of games. You are given 10 scenarios to play and each offer different objectives and utilise all of the new elements nicely. You are always free to create your own scenarios as well and there is always a wealth of info online.
Having only just entered into the world of Zombicide, this game has definitely held the series up in my expectations. I have had some great evenings playing through the different scenarios with my partner as well as groups of friends. The game also allows for you to tackle the Orc horde solo. You can play with all six characters if you like and while it adds another play option to the game, I found it a little overwhelming at times, keeping on top of everything as a solo player. Apart from that, the game played exactly the same as any other format.
Final thoughts on Green Horde
So, should you look at picking up Zombicide: Green Horde? If you are new to the whole series of Zombicide games, then Green Horde is a perfect start in my opinion. It is completely standalone and benefits from mechanics and play features that have been refined over the previous games in the series. If you are a seasoned Zombicide fan and have played previous games, then this will be an awesome addition to your collection! The new mechanics are a well implemented and work seamlessly, while also maintaining the original concept and feel of the first base game!
Overall, Green Horde, in my honest opinion, is absolutely fantastic. The theme, the components, the gameplay and the mechanics all work in perfect harmony and produce an experience that I don't often get from most games, that being a constant want and need to continue playing!
With Halloween fast approaching, then this is definitely going to spice up your parties and game nights, but if you are just after a game that plays great with a small group, has a fantastic theme and backstory and has some much-loved miniatures thrown in for good measure, then Zombicide: Green Horde is your answer!