The first Zombicide game I played was Black Plague. I love Zombicide: Black Plague. So when I had the opportunity to get my hands on the original, I dove right in. At SaltCon 2018 I found copies of Zombicide, Season 2: Prison Outbreak, Season 3: Rue Morgue, Toxic City Mall, Angry Neighbors, Murder of Crowz, Zombie Dogz, VIP #1, VIP #2, Lost Zombivors, 3D Doors, and more. I bought a copy of every bit I could find, and for incredibly reasonable prices as well.
Having visited this game’s BoardGameGeek page, I knew that some things had been changed between the original game and season three. I also knew that Black Plague changed a lot. Having played several different versions now, I can say with some certainty that Black Plague is the cleanest version of Zombicide I’ve played yet. That’s only to be expected, however.
The original Zombicide follows most of the same principles. Each player controls one or more survivors. As a team, survivors move around the board so that they can kill zombies and collect objective tokens. At the end of each round new zombies come into play based on the experience level of survivors in the group. Yep, pretty basic. The things that really stood out and helped or hurt Zombicide were the small mechanisms. Most of these things are easy enough to remedy using house rules, but even so.
After everything is said, I really enjoy Zombicide. I may not like it quite as much as Black Plague, but it’s a close thing. This game’s got almost all of the great things I love in Black Plague, and it’s hard to judge it without comparing it. So if the Best Points section seems a bit short, trust that it’s a good game.
Zombicide’s Best Points
Zombicide is fun. It’s a standard take on the zombie apocalypse, but it does it well. Far better, in fact, than many other games. Having modular boards and a large cast of survivors is really great. Plus you get to kill zombies using modern (if generic) weaponry. It’s a great simulation of the zombie apocalypse.
One of my favorite things about this game is the community support. You can find just about anything you can think of, new rules and survivors, materials, and more. Although the base game has some flaws, it’s got stuff that can really help with most of those.
Zombicide’s Worst Points
Okay, so almost all of these points can be house-ruled and will make Zombicide every bit as good as its successors. Most of the trouble I have with this game is that it’s got some really stupid rules and some issues with components.
The rule that really gets my goat is targeting priority. In Zombicide, when using a ranged attack on a space that has a survivor, all hits must be assigned to survivors first. Yeah, you MUST kill your own team before you can even hit a zombie. For me this doesn’t make sense on any level. Instead it should be only misses that hit survivors (which is something that Black Plague got absolutely right). With the default targeting priority rule in play, it makes ranged characters virtually useless unless they can select their targets.
Another rule that I struggle with is how wounds work. In the default Zombicide, each character can sustain two wounds before meeting their doom. In addition to the low damage threshold, each time a character takes a wound, they have to drop a piece of equipment and replace it with a wound card. This rule, at least, makes sense thematically. It also makes the game far deadlier. That can be a good thing. I still prefer the way that Black Plague handles wounds.
Finally, one of the biggest issues I have with Zombicide are some of the components, namely the character dashboards and experience trackers. I’ve been spoiled by the plastic dashboards that come with Black Plague. In Zombicide you have mats on which you simply deposit markers over the top of abilities you unlock. Additionally, the sliders that move over the experience track are very flimsy and tend to slip around.One bump to the table, and you’ve got to re-arrange everything on your character card. It’s a fine system, and was great–until you’ve experienced the way that Black Plague does things.
Expansions & Extras
True to all CMON games, Zombicide comes with a wide array of expansions and extras. Unfortunately, many of them are Kickstarter Exclusives. I was able to pick up a HUGE collection of both Kickstarter Extras and expansion content.
There are also a few mechanisms that I think are truly awesome that only come with expansion content. For instance, survivors who are killed can come back as “Zombivors”. Yes, it is a play on the word survivor. Zombivors have a slightly different skill tree, and make great berserkers. It’s really fun.
Between new rules, new types of zombies, new maps, and new scenarios, there is so much to get for Zombicide. I even had to create my own storage solution for Zombicide, but more on that later. The short version of a long story is that all of this extra content is cool and can add a lot to the game, but it’s so much to juggle. A simplified, streamlined version of Zombicide would really go a long way for me.
There are so many different modules, expansions, survivor packs, and more that you can buy. I didn’t want to try to list them all here. Almost everything that wasn’t a Kickstarter Exclusive is available on Amazon. I highly recommend picking this game up if at all possible.
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