Friday, 2 November 2012
The best (and worst ) of the rest
Well obviously zombie week is drawing to a close. We have Saturday, which will hopefully have some fun little articles I've been working on, and on Sunday we have a vitally important public announcement in sermon form. However, before then we have the issue of zombie games I missed out on reviewing. Obviously I've reviewed a lot of zombie 'themed' product this week, and even delivered an interview with Rob Butler who is producing his own zombie game, Z War One. So the question remains what was the king of zombie games this week? Well that's a difficult one you know. I have soft spots for both Last Night on Earth and Zombicide, but for very, very different reasons. However, there can be only one, and I have to narrowly give it to Last Night on Earth... but only just. Zombicide was chomping right at its heels all the way.
There are though plenty of Zombie based product out there that I haven't reviewed this week. So what is the best of the rest, what did I miss out on? Well here's a list:
Before Zombicide lit up Kickstarter with it's insanely popular Kickstarter campaign, Green Brier Games were getting their own product funded via Kickstarter. True their campaign didn't quite have the exposure of the Cool Mini or Not backed Zombicide, Zpocalypse (pronounced zee-pock-a-lips pronunciation fans) was rocking up a respectable total. Sadly it passed me by and I stumbled onto the campaign 3 days after it ended, which is a real bummer. Because the game looks brilliant and it looks like the sort of Armageddon zombie scenario that I'm more of a fan of. I like my apocalypses to be hellishly brutal, and Zpocalypse looks to totally fulfill this criteria. The game isn't actually out in the shop yet though, so I wasn't in a position to cover this rather spiffing looking game during zombie week. But rest assured, when it shows its maggot riddled head I'll be blowing it wide open with my trusty sawn of shotgun. Definitely one to keep an eye on zombie fans!
Now I've actually played Zombie Dice a number of times, it's a mildly diverting dice game best played with bored friends who are waiting for some lazy fecker to get out of bed and haul their tired sorry ass to your house to play the game they swore they'd be up for. It's a perfect stop gap game. It requires absolutely zero cognitive thought and is real quick to play and can be played by multiple people. Zombie Dice though is like many of Steve Jacksons games, it is a product with a neat and tidy mechanic upon which a theme or veneer is washed over the top. It is not a real bonefied zombie game, realistically it could be fairies you were trying to collect or beers. It makes no difference, but still I figured it would be a pretty cool little review to chuck into the mix on a wet Wednesday afternoon... until Will Wheaton did his review of it, amongst many other similar stop gap games on his YouTube show Table Top. This made the game impossible to find, right around the time I was ammassing product for review... so you were sparred at least one of my reviews. It is worth picking up though and keeping in your figures case for when you have that downtime between games.
City of Horror
I put out feelers prior to compiling my list of zombie games, with many gamers who I know and respect around the globe... and the Cursed. Many suggestions flooded into Frontline Gamer HQ and I poured over them all carefully, as I had a limited budget to work with to bring you Zombie Week. Then just after I made my purchases for Zombie Week somebody popped along and told me about Asmodee's City of Horror. I'll be honest, even with all of my awesome powers of geekiness I'd never heard of this game. Fore-shame, because it actually looks like a lot of fun. Whether it is the sort of 'miniatures' based boardgame that a wargamer like myself would normally go for is a completely different question. But the idea of playing a resource collecting and building game where you have to form fragile alliances with your fellow players before you mercilessly shaft them and leave them to be eaten by the zombie hordes does sound like my sort of game. Although having just read that sentence back to myself I do know sound like a complete and utter bastard. I'm not, or at least I don't think I am, but this sort of game always brings out the scheming best in me. Another one I'll be looking to pick up at some point.
Walking Dead - TV (Cryptozoic)
Ah ha, there are two Walking Dead games. I got the one based on the TV show because I know plenty of none-gamers as well as gamers who religiously watch that program. I don't however know many people who have read the excellent comics. So I figured this would be instantly recognisable and therefore an easier sell to more people. Now depending on who you talk to I've either got the good Walking Dead game, or the crud Walking Dead game. However, on Boardgame Geek they're both hovering around the 5.8 mark or thereabouts, which means they're probably equally as crud as each other. This one is a simple move, encounter and collect boardgame. In many respect's it's not too dissimilar to the sorts of boardgame 'normals' might buy, which isn't surprising given that the market for this game probably goes way beyond just boardgame geeks, because of the tie in license with the insanely popular and totally awesome TV show. I do have this game, so I will be reviewing is at some point in the future. Although you can read into the fact that I didn't play enough games to perform a review in of it 3 months, however you like...
Walking Dead - Comic (Z-Man Games)
The second of the Walking Dead games, and the one I'm not in possession of. Yet again like Cryptozoic's game it's a simple move, encounter and collect game. For me I feel that both companies have missed a really big opportunity, to simply turn either the comic book or TV license into nothing more than a simple resource grab game is just infuriating. there's so much that you could do with the theme and the characters, so yeah one is purely competitive (Cryptozoic) and the other is more co-op / competitive, but really they've both taken quite a bland and very mechanically safe route I feel, which as I say is a real shame. there are plenty of reviews out there by rabid comic books fans who will tell you this game is awesome simply because it has Robert Kirkman's name on the box and contains the official comic book artwork inside. There are other people who will tell you the game utterly stinks. I'm just putting it up here because there were a lot of people who wanted me to review it, the fact I steered clear with my own money should tell, which way I'm leaning. But as is always the case, don't just take my word for it, I mean I haven't even played the sodding game, you guys should go out and do more research than reading just one or two people's opinions, even if those opinions are as awesome as mine are.
All Things Zombie
This was actually another game that got a lot of votes for it to be reviewed when I put my feelers out to people. I'll be honest though, not having that much time to decide what games I wanted to review I did sort of play it safe (something I did with the next game on this list). The game looks interesting, the person who was it's biggest fan is actually more of an RPG gamer, and I can see why he was attracted to the game, because it's sort of like a tool set to creating the experience you and your group want. It can be played solo, as a co-operative affair, as a competitive game... and then you can play all these different type of games as either standalone one off, or as part of a story arc / campaign where experience is collected and your survivors get better. Honestly it sounds all sort of genius, and I like the look of the mechanics of the thing, with simple reaction mechanics and the map tiles use hexagons... and you know me I love hexagons! I'd be really interested in hearing from some of you out there as to whether this game is any good. I've heard some mixed reviews in terms of the quality of the components, so if you've got anything to add n this game please do drop your thoughts below.
Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead
This looked like a global conquest game when I first took my initial glance at it, Risk with zombies I thought. Obviously looking at the game in more depth I realised my initial impressions were way, way off. The game is more of a resource and development game, mixed in with a bit of Pandemic. The game is a bit weird insofar as it appears to be neither co-operative or directly competitive, in effect you're flying solo trying to look after your own area and run your own Government well. I'd be interested in hearing what people who have playing this game think too, as I chose not to go for it because of the wildly mixed reviews. But, it is a different take on the well worn zombie game, I mean normally we're dealing with them at street level with shotguns. The idea of having to deal with them on a continental scale and pouring resources into different tech to try and contain and then ultimately eradicate the zombie threat from your area is an interesting one.
Resident Evil Card Game
OK the reality is that the two zombie card games (Zombie Fluxx and Munchkin Zmbies) that I played were mechanics with a theme plastered on top of them, true Zombie Fluxx did add the Creeper mechanic to its gameplay but that was about it really. This card game though I'm reliably informed is something quite different. The game is obviously based on the huge computer game franchise of the same name. If you haven't heard of the computer game series you need to stop reading this article, make yourself a dunce cap and go sit in a corner, I'll tell you when you can come back. The idea is that you play as one of the heroes from the game and you are searching the original mansion looking for stuff to help you obliterate the walking dead more efficiently. Because yep, your aim is to kill as many zombies and get decoration points... whatever the hell they are. They are important though as according to the official games website the person with the most decoration points wins. I'm not the words biggest fan of deck building games, I'm sure I've mentioned that before, but this game does look really cool, as do the various other iterations of it.
While I know that these games that I'm aware of aren't all there is out there for zombie games, yeah I'm more than smart enough to know there are probably hundreds, nay, thousands more games out there with zombies in them, they are the ones I seriously considered buying. If I could I'd have brought them all and told you all about them, but that would have cost me a small fortune, and I don't have a small fortune. Still I'll probably end up picking most of these up at some point in the the future, I mean come on... it's fracking zombies! So if there are any zombie games that I've missed off, or forgotten to review please drop them down below in the comments section, and let us know a bit of brief information about each one, because you can never have too many options where zombies are considered. Peace out!