I admit this was one of my first experiences with the horror genre. I must say, before playing Zombicide , I knew nothing of zombies or horror movies in general save for Resident Evil. That said, after playing the game a few times, horror elements are still strong.
To start off on how to play Zombicide , one player is assigned as the overseer who controls all of the zombies and placing them on the board. They also have a separate deck of cards called “Overseer Cards”. These cards consist of different kinds of zombies that can spawn during the game including ones that spawn hazardous items on the map instantly that only they can activate (hence why you want an overseer). The other players act as survivor characters with their own unique traits. As they kill zombies, they get more skills which the survivor characters use to accomplish certain tasks such as finding gold or opening doors.
Survivors start off with three random equipment cards. They can equip one of these cards on free slots on their character board at the beginning of the game and upgrade later on if they gain skill cards that say so. They can then go out into different areas of the map where buildings are divided by smaller zones inside separated by walls within each building zone. Within these smaller zones, there are rooms separated by double-sided tiles (one side showing an outside area while another side shows a room interior). People who have played Pandemic before might think is familiar territory because it works in a similar way.
Each zone can fit a maximum of one zombie group at the start of the game. When survivors kill zombies in that zone, more zombies spawn until they take them all out and survivors claim it as their own. Zombie groups must exhaust after spawning before they activate again which makes killing them much easier and once they run out in a zone then no more zombies will spawn there in future rounds. If too many zombies spawn then the board becomes overrun and everyone loses so players must cooperate to prevent this from happening by managing how many zombies appear on each turn depending on how skilled they are when compared with other survivors in their party.
Zombies for Days
Zombies come in two types: Walkers or Runners . Walkers shuffle slowly towards the nearest survivor they see and kill them on their next attack phase (they do not take turns like survivors). Runners move faster and can activate every turn instead, allowing them to eventually catch up to their target. Players must either balance killing zombies or fighting other hostile survivors also roaming around the map who will try to take out as many of your group as possible before you manage to overcome them.
Zombies come with their own inherent traits that change up strategies somewhat such as Hunters that run straight for the closest survivor instead of walking around the map, Brutes that cannot be killed until their armour has been destroyed or Virals who stand idle in a zone until a player enters it which allows them to move.
The core gameplay sounds simple but strategies start forming when we consider survivor abilities and how they work with each other which is why I enjoy this game so much. Each character has a certain ability that can help in specific situations such as having more than one survivor adjacent for extra defense against incoming enemies or taking two actions during your turn such as moving twice, searching twice or shooting twice in one turn. These abilities, combined with what equipment you have and other survivor buffs can lead to interesting tactical situations such as blocking another player’s line of sight while they shoot at the zombies or using your health for extra damage against a powerful enemy instead of risking it all fighting zombies.
A human-only game is also available where players control only survivors and no overseer exists but I’ve never tried this mode before so I can’t personally say how different (if at all) it is from the regular version.
Zombicide: Black Plague Expansion
Zombicide: Black Plague takes place after the events that transpired in Zombicide, and the heroes return to medieval times but this time, we get to play as the zombies instead!
The gameplay is still the same: players control survivor teams and fight against hordes of zombies with a deck of cards and dice. There are 104 miniatures, 100 double-sided tiles, 15 modular map sections, 6 pre-assembled board sections for different setups and more than 1000 cards to choose from when building your deck.
You start off by choosing a scenario which will determine what equipment you use (note: poison gas zones can be present in some scenarios so avoid entering these), how many zombies spawn per round based on our skills compared with other survivors in our group, where certain items are located within the map and what kind of starting abilities we get each turn.
A nice change from Zombicide is having NPC survivors working alongside you with different agendas and starting locations on the map. Some ally survivors will ignore your group but others may attack you so you have to be careful when entering new zones since they can add an additional hazard to avoid while fighting zombies.
The goal is to end up with more Name cards than anyone else at the end of 8 rounds, thus winning you that game; however, players can also win immediately if they manage to spell their own Name (the one written on their character sheet) which requires collecting any 6 Word cards in your hand, placing them all down at once and then revealing your choice for everyone to confirm. This mechanic feels like it might be too powerful compared to everyone else but no one has managed it yet so I’d say games are usually close enough despite this small edge someone might have.
Host your own night of horror and buy Zombicide today.