An off night
Last night I went to my local Wednesday club meeting. As it was the first one after the Christmas and New Year break, I hadn’t had time to properly organise a game . I’d contacted my usual opponents - Eoghan had ‘man flu’ so was going to be a no-show. Malcom likewise was unavailable. The only one was James O. who managed to contact me late in the day to say he was going. So there was a prospect of a game and we agreed on something 1800s…
When James arrived at the club, he’d had a hard day. Both of us baulked at the prospect of carrying all those boxes from the car and setting up the terrain in the time we had available. It was at this point that Richard R. and his son brought in Zombiecide. Would we like to join their game? Why not?
Zombiecide is a change from the traditional wargame/boardgame. The latter tend to be purely competitive - one person will win at the other’s expense. Zombiecide is different, a cooperative game where players have to actively work together to survive. Sure, you can kill your fellow players, but that pretty much ensures your own demise. It’s quite possible, no, pretty certain that all the players will die if they don’t cooperate together fully. The mechanisms in the game are simple but elegant: it’s all a single D6 rolls for resolution. The more Zombies you kill, the more experience you get, but the more powerful hordes you attract. As such, it’s best to let everyone share the experience rather than let one player get greedy and leap ahead. Otherwise you’ll attract the harder-to-kill monsters too soon, like the runners (who move twice), the fatties (which require bigger guns to kill) and the abomination (who can only be killed by a Molotov cocktail). The zombies are relentless, moving last, but if enough of them are in your square, you’ll be eaten alive. It’s a game of keeping one step ahead of the hordes.
I played Amy and was joined by Doug, Wanda and Ned. We played mission 3 “The 24 Hour Race of Zombicity”. Our objective was to survive long enough for one of our party to reach the ‘red’ level in experience (43 xp). At first we cleared out the central buildings but Richard (playing Wanda) accidentally killed a few too many Zombies which pushed us into the ‘yellow’ for Zombie reinforcements. We should have really opened all the doors before going into the yellow, now every building block we entered would contain more dangerous foes. Halfway through, we were having to kill a good half dozen zombies just to stay ahead of the game - if you run out of the lower zombies, you then put on the next highest zombie instead. We didn’t want to trigger the abomination before we found the gasoline and bottle we needed to make a Molotov.
We’d found the gasoline early on, but still lacked the all important bottle. Finally someone found one, but predictably it wasn’t the player with the gasoline! In a desperate attempt to survive, we cut our way through the zombies from one side of the board to the other - the idea being to outpace the rest coming towards us. By this time my character had a chainsaw and was mowing down zombies left and right. As we crossed the second street I charged into a pile of six zombies and mow them down so the others could cross safely - it was a risky strategy as it would mean me facing eight zombies next turn. I killed the six zombies with ease. With four actions and the chainsaw, surely I couldn’t fail next turn against eight?
Famous last words!
First action - I rolled and killed three. Next action, two more fell. I was confident now, as I had a free move action so I could move out once the last zombie was dead. Third action, I stared at ones and twos - no kills… dammit! Fourth action, two dead zombies, but one remained… and I couldn’t move out of the square! Zombiecide is one of those games you can see death coming… the Zombies activated and I was torn apart by Runners and the last remaining Zombie…
The turn after Richard reached 43xp and the game ended. I’d like to say that my sacrifice was necessary, but I could have shot the zombies and then tried to chainsaw my way out later. This would have delayed us a turn but we probably could have taken it. Charging in was a mistake and zombiecide is a game where you pay for your mistakes. All in all we had a great time and everybody (else) won.
The occasional boardgame is great for an off or odd night. I don’t fancy trying to paint up the 80 odd zombies for the game though, I have French and Prussians to finish!