Zombie games might be as undying as the monsters themselves, and perhaps no zombie game more so than Zombicide. After all, it remains one of the most-funded tabletop game ever on Kickstarter, even more than 3 years after its successful funding! Zombicide is a cooperative game for 1-6 players, with tense, action-oriented gameplay and a ton of well-sculpted miniatures. You and your fellow players take the role of different survivors, attempting to accomplish a mission in a world where hordes of zombies just want to eat you alive.
Zombicide‘s game board is composed of customizable and modular tiles called Zones, which can be interior or exterior spaces. The game comes with 10 missions, which require unique setups of these Zones and a set of special rules. Each mission also has a different objective, but they are all simple and often revolve around getting to a particular tile, picking up certain Objective Tokens, or clearing out all the zombies in a specific Zone. Everything right down to where the zombies spawn can be changed for a mission, and it’s easy to come up with fun missions of your own.
No matter which mission you’re playing, though, your survivor will have three actions per turn. One action can move you from one Zone to another, although you’ll have to spend an extra action if you’re leaving a Zone with a zombie on it. You could also Search an interior Zone or a Car to get an Equipment Card, but only if there’s no zombies on that tile. An action will also be necessary to open a locked door, reorganize your inventory, trade with another survivor, get in or out of a car, take or activate an object in your Zone, or make some Noise.
Making Noise might sound like a bad idea, but it might be necessary to save your fellow survivors! Noise, after all, guides zombies and dictates where they’ll move. If a zombie can see a survivor, they’ll obviously move toward their Zone, but if they can see multiple survivors, they’ll move toward the Zone making the most Noise. If they can’t actually see any survivors, Noise is even more important, since they’ll simply move toward the Zone that has the most Noise Tokens. Survivors count as Noise tokens too, so they’ll always attract some attention.
If a player has a weapon card, they can attack. Melee weapons can only kill zombies in close proximity and can usually help open doors as well. Ranged weapons often do more damage, but the hits you make are inaccurate and tied to a priority list. Unfortunately, your fellow survivors are at the top of that list, so unless you want to turn traitor, you have to be careful not to fire into a Zone with another survivor. Check out our article on Homebrew Zombicide rules for some great alternatives to the priority list.
There are 4 kinds of zombies in the game: the standard Walkers, the more resilient Fatties, the unique and very tough Abomination, and the fast-moving Runners. On the zombie turn, each zombie can either move one Zone or make one attack–unless they’re Runners, which take two actions per turn. If a zombie attacks, it hits automatically. Each survivor can only take two hits before dying, so every zombie attack is frightening. They’ll also keep increasing en masse, with cards from the Zombie deck spawning more zombies each turn depending on the Experience Level of the most experienced living survivor.
Yes, you gain Experience in this game, which is actually one of the coolest things about it. Each zombie killed and objective completed will increase your character’s Experience. As your character’s level goes up, they’ll gain Skills, like the ability to increase the range of their weapon by 1 or ignore the first zombie attack that hits them every turn. However, as mentioned above, leveling up will make the game harder for everyone. It can get to be a tough call whether running from zombies or fighting them is the better idea.
This game has a lot of depth and complexity to it, and there is so much strategy we could get into. And hell, I haven’t even started on the many huge expansions that have been published! When Game of the Game plays Zombicide this Thursday, they’ll have their work cut out for them. Surviving the zombie hordes is no easy task, but when you throw in that great horror that is dice rolling… well, let’s just hope Wil isn’t there this week. Watch the show on our Twitch Channel from 4-7pm PST!
Featured image credit: Guillotine Games