Zombicide Board Game Review

Zombicide is about as close to a pure miniatures game as you are going to get without needing to worry about rulers, points systems and terrain. As the zombies are dead anyway it could even be argued that this is not a violent game or maybe not.

The plastic miniatures are of good quality, not the bendy plastic seen in some games. They paint up well if that is your thing, although the grey zombie figures are quite acceptable out of the box.  The nine map sections display streets and shops with zebra crossings breaking up the movement zones. One addition might be to source some toy cars to replace the obviously flat cardboard cars (which you can use to drive over zombies) that come in the box.

Playing Zombicide

Zombicide can be played with one or more players. The gameplay is the same; all the players are on the same side. The difference being how many survivors each player controls. A team of six survivors is usual. Two or three players is a good choice, giving each two or three survivors to control.

This enables a player to stay in the game if a survivor comes to a sticky end and adds some tension when a player ignores the team game plan, runs off for some goodies and gets themselves eaten.

There are few rules to get the hang of; most of the booklet is made up of pictures. The survivors act one at a time and can perform up to three actions. Only one of these actions can be a search, but other actions can be performed multiple times.

This includes combat, moving and breaking down doors. After all of the survivors have acted the zombies get one action, except the zombie runners who get two.

The only zombie actions are move and attack. New zombies are then placed on the board.

The survivors start with some mediocre weapons but can pick up better equipment by searching. These searches require spending an action so slow up the survivors, but can turn up weapons, other rewards or unearth a zombie (boo). Each weapon has its range, number of dice rolled and effect written on its card.

The zombies have no ranged weapons and only attack survivors in the same zone. So if a zombie activation starts in a zone adjacent to a survivor it will move in, but cannot attack unless it is one of the runner zombies. If a zombie attacks it will wound and two wounds will kill a survivor. Zombies automatically move towards the loudest noise and that tends to be where the survivors are.

There are few rules to get the hang of; most of the booklet is made up of pictures. The survivors act one at a time and can perform up to three actions. Only one of these actions can be a search, but other actions can be performed multiple times.

This includes combat, moving and breaking down doors. After all of the survivors have acted the zombies get one action, except the zombie runners who get two.

The only zombie actions are move and attack. New zombies are then placed on the board.

The survivors start with some mediocre weapons but can pick up better equipment by searching. These searches require spending an action so slow up the survivors, but can turn up weapons, other rewards or unearth a zombie (boo). Each weapon has its range, number of dice rolled and effect written on its card.

The zombies have no ranged weapons and only attack survivors in the same zone. So if a zombie activation starts in a zone adjacent to a survivor it will move in, but cannot attack unless it is one of the runner zombies. If a zombie attacks it will wound and two wounds will kill a survivor. Zombies automatically move towards the loudest noise and that tends to be where the survivors are.

Scenarios

There are 10 scenarios, with an 11th training scenario in the base box and many more available online. The plot will always be; get from start to finish without being killed. The variants are to visit certain locations along the way, visit locations within a set order or to find key objects within those locations.

The ‘not being killed bit’ is the hard part. Survivors will get better weapons if they search more. They will also gain more abilities as they kill zombies. Each survivor has a player display that shows the equipment they hold (up to five items) and current experience.

One point is earned for killing a regular zombie and five for the ‘hard to kill’ fatties. As the experience count moves to a new coloured zone, the survivor gains a new skill. For example, at yellow (the second zone) the survivor gets a fourth action so becomes faster. The flip side to this is that the number of new zombies being spawned each turn is based on the most experienced survivor.

As they get better the threat becomes more intense. Although there are some goodies to be had at the higher experience levels there is a lot to be said for doing what you have to do and getting out of dodge before the place fills up with zombies.

Hoping to run out of zombie models is not an option.

Should this happen the existing zombies gain an extra action and will be coming for you

There is a fair degree of luck that is hard to mitigate. Where and which zombies appear is governed by a draw deck.  The big baddie abomination zombie can only be killed (in the base game) by a Molotov Cocktail and this requires finding the petrol and bottle items (two of each in the search deck).

If the abomination shows up early on and blocks the survivor’s escape route things are going to get sticky. With some luck and the survivors levelling up to yellow they can avoid the abomination showing for at least one pass of the zombie deck.

As they get better the threat becomes more intense. Although there are some goodies to be had at the higher experience levels there is a lot to be said for doing what you have to do and getting out of dodge before the place fills up with zombies.

Hoping to run out of zombie models is not an option. Should this happen the existing zombies gain an extra action and will be coming for you

There is a fair degree of luck that is hard to mitigate. Where and which zombies appear is governed by a draw deck.  The big baddie abomination zombie can only be killed (in the base game) by a Molotov Cocktail and this requires finding the petrol and bottle items (two of each in the search deck).

If the abomination shows up early on and blocks the survivor’s escape route things are going to get sticky. With some luck and the survivors levelling up to yellow they can avoid the abomination showing for at least one pass of the zombie deck.

Zombicide Collection

The Zombicide line has been running for a few years and has resulted in quite a hefty range of products. The question being where to start or to be honest where to stop?

There are four complete boxed sets that all offer stand-alone full games: Zombicide, Prison Outbreak, Rue Morgue and Black Plague.

Black Plague is set in the Middle Ages and has slightly different rules and components.  The three basic Zombicide games can be mixed freely although if the various card decks are shuffled together game balance might suffer. In the later games the zombies are harder to kill but the survivor weapons more powerful.

Zombicide has the most useful maps for making up scenarios or using in other miniatures games (a generic town), Prison Outbreak has a prison and Rue Morgue a hospital. The later games and smaller expansions do add more rules but as all the rules booklets are available to download for free from the manufacturer’s site these can be added to the base game as required.

Going for the basic Zombicide offers slightly fewer components than the other main boxes but at a reduced price and if you do get infected by Zombicide this is the game that you will have to obtain sooner or later.

The Good

  • Quality parts.
  • Many official and unofficial scenarios.
  • Strong simple rules allowing more gaming time.

The Bad

  • Many expansion games could turn this into a money pit.
  • High luck factor in what turns up where during a game.
  • No official integrated campaign system.

The Good
Quality parts.
Many official and unofficial scenarios.
Strong simple rules allowing more gaming time.

The Bad
Many expansion games could turn this into a money pit.
High luck factor in what turns up where during a game.
No official integrated campaign system.

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