Zombicide 2nd Edition artwork

Zombicide 2nd Edition: A Thrilling Cooperative Survival Experience

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Introduction to the Apocalypse

In the landscape of cooperative board games, Zombicide 2nd Edition emerges as a beacon of innovation and excitement, drawing players into a post-apocalyptic world where survival hinges on teamwork, strategy, and the will to overcome the undead hordes. Developed by CMON, this game has swiftly ascended the ranks to become a favourite among board game enthusiasts and newcomers alike. At its core, Zombicide is more than a game; it’s a narrative journey through a zombie-infested terrain, demanding cunning, bravery, and collaboration.

Zombicide 2nd edition box

Unpacking the Box: First Impressions

Upon opening the Zombicide 2nd Edition box, players are greeted with an array of high-quality components: detailed miniatures, modular game tiles, dice, cards, and tokens. Each piece is crafted with care, ensuring a visually immersive experience. The miniatures, representing both survivors and zombies, stand out for their intricate designs, bringing the game’s characters to life and enhancing the thematic depth of each session.

Visuals: Feast for the Eyes

Zombicide 2nd Edition boasts high-quality miniatures and detailed game tiles. The miniatures, depicting both the survivors and the undead, are impressive in their detail, bringing the characters and the zombie threat to life. The artwork on the game tiles complements the miniatures, creating a grim and atmospheric world overrun by the apocalypse.

Zombicide laid out duing play

Setting the Stage: Zombicide 2nd Edition Gameplay Overview

Zombicide 2nd Edition is designed for 1-6 players, and despite the number of players, it is always worth having 6 characters on the map. This will give you the best chance of success but it also offers flexibility in player count without compromising on engagement or challenge. The game unfolds over a series of rounds, where players and zombies alternate turns, simulating the relentless pressure of surviving in a world overrun by the undead. Each game session can last between 60 to 120 minutes, depending on the scenario’s complexity and the players’ decision-making speed.

Characters and Customization: Choosing Your Survivor

One of the game’s standout features is its diverse roster of survivor characters, each with unique abilities, stats, and backgrounds. Players begin by selecting a survivor, stepping into the shoes of adults or children, each group offering distinct tactical advantages. Adults excel in combat, standing their ground against the zombie onslaught, while children are more agile and capable of evading zombies with ease.

The character customization deepens as players navigate through the game. Survivors gain skills and equipment, allowing for tailored development paths to a point. This progression system adds a layer of RPG-like depth, encouraging players to invest in their characters’ growth and adapt their strategies to the evolving challenges of the zombie apocalypse but there is a caveat, each character needs to progress at roughly the same rate so balancing point allocation over the whole team is important

The reason for this is the spawn rate and therefore difficulty of the game is set by the player with the highest threat level

The threat level is indicated by the various colours on your player card. Each point will move you along your personal threat track and in turn, unlock skills and abilities.

A player that charges on without waiting for the team to level will get you killed as you won’t be equipped to deal with the added challenge.

Customisation is achieved through gear choices but this is also tempered by your fixed and predetermined upgrade path.

BunnyG Zombicide 2nd Edition child survivor

First play Characters:

  • Survivors: Players can choose from a diverse cast, even children are playable, with child characters having the “Slippery” ability offering a unique tactical advantage. Playing with a full crew of 6 will help you get through your first few missions a little easier no matter how many players there are.
  • BunnyG, this kid is slick and dangerous. Very useful to have in your party and if it’s your first time playing, perhaps essential with his “Lucky” combat skill

Amy, she’s a goth, she’s got a sword, she wears fishnets and she has a +1 move action. What’s not to like? Extra movement is a double-edged sword, it’s imperative to stay together but it is good to be able to move quickly so Amy is still a worthy addition to your party but don’t let your crazy loner mate play her.

Ned, or Ned the Crazy as he is known. Draws pictures with dog shit and doesn’t wear gloves. Has a free search action so is an absolute must-include for your party early on. Extra gear is useful enough to take the chance of being surprised. There are more good cards than bad is all I am saying.

Ostara is another character that has more than one search action. Combined with Ned that’s 4 search actions per turn from 2 characters which = lots of gear.

Josh, slippery will allow you to move around zombies easily. I should perhaps mention that Slippery means: The Survivor does not spend extra Actions when he performs a Move Action through a Zone containing Zombies. Entering a Zone containing Zombies ends the Survivor’s Move Action.

Odin. Great character, plus 1 for mele which you will find is the saving grace during your early mission. He also has slippery once per turn. Overall definitely someone you want in your team.

Mechanics and Mastery: The Learning Curve

Zombicide 2nd Edition presents a learning curve that is both challenging and rewarding. Initially, players might find the variety of rules and mechanics daunting. However, the game is designed to gradually introduce its complexities, making the learning process a part of the adventure. Understanding the nuances of movement, combat, and character progression is crucial, as these elements form the backbone of the game’s strategic depth.

Combat is a thrilling aspect of Zombicide, blending skill with the unpredictability of dice rolls. Players engage zombies in battles that require tactical decision-making and risk assessment. The dice-based combat system adds an element of suspense, as the outcome of each encounter hangs in the balance of a roll, pushing players to carefully consider their moves and equipment choices.

Kids, there are child heroes in Zombicide 2nd edition

Exploration and Engagement: The Board and Beyond

The modular game board is another highlight of all Zombicide games and this is no different in Zombicide 2nd Edition. The board’s layout is dynamic, changing with each scenario and reflecting the unpredictable nature of a world in chaos. This variability ensures that no two games are the same, offering fresh challenges and replayability. Players navigate the board, looting for supplies, battling zombies, and working together to achieve scenario-specific objectives.

Exploration is not without its dangers. The game masterfully incorporates elements of suspense and surprise, with zombies lurking behind closed doors and spawning in waves that can overwhelm the unprepared. This constant threat requires players to balance their thirst for exploration with the need for caution, making each step into the unknown a calculated risk.

The Heart of Horror: Atmosphere and Theme

Zombicide 2nd Edition excels in creating an immersive atmospheric experience. The game’s art direction, from the detailed miniatures to the grim aesthetic of the game tiles, contributes to a cohesive and compelling world. The thematic elements are woven into every aspect of gameplay, from the survival horror mechanics to the narrative arcs of the scenarios. Players are not just moving pieces on a board; they are survivors fighting for their lives in a narrative-rich, zombie-infested world.

Collaboration and Strategy: Winning Together

At its core, Zombicide 2nd Edition is a testament to the power of cooperative gameplay. The game encourages players to strategize as a team, combining their characters’ strengths and compensating for their weaknesses. Communication and planning are essential, as players must coordinate their actions to navigate the dangers of the game world successfully.

The cooperative nature of Zombicide fosters a sense of camaraderie and collective achievement. The game’s design ensures that victory is not about individual glory but about working together to overcome the challenges posed by the game. This emphasis on teamwork makes Zombicide 2nd Edition a rewarding experience for groups of friends or families looking for a shared gaming adventure.

Challenges and Critiques: A Balanced View

While Zombicide 2nd Edition offers a rich and engaging experience, it is not without its challenges. The learning curve can be steep for newcomers, and the game’s complexity might overwhelm those unfamiliar with cooperative or strategy board games. Additionally, the reliance on dice for combat can introduce an element of randomness that may frustrate players who prefer more control over the game’s outcome.

However, these challenges are part of what makes Zombicide 2nd Edition a rewarding game. The complexity adds depth, the randomness injects excitement, and the steep learning curve makes mastery of the game all the more satisfying.

An issue that cannot be solved through playing the game however is the lack of a cohesive campaign, instead, you are left with a bunch of standalone missions that fragment the story but we have a solution for you so read on.

Evolving Threats: Zombies and Game Difficulty

Zombicide 2nd Edition’s approach to its antagonists, the zombies, adds a layer of dynamic challenge to the game. The diversity of zombie types, from the standard shamblers to more specialized foes like Fatties, Runners, and the fearsome Abominations, requires players to constantly adapt their strategies. Each zombie type introduces unique challenges, forcing the team to rethink their approach, whether it be through brute force or clever manoeuvring.

The game’s difficulty scales not just with the number of zombies, but also with the survivors’ progression. As characters grow stronger and more capable, the game responds by increasing the zombie threat, maintaining a balance that keeps the tension high and the victories satisfying. This scaling difficulty ensures that players remain engaged and challenged throughout their campaign, pushing them to evolve their strategies and work even closer as a team.

Zombicide 2nd edition Game in play

Scenarios and Campaigns: Diverse Missions

One of Zombicide 2nd Edition’s most divisive features is its scenario-based gameplay. As alluded to previously each scenario presents a unique mission, with specific objectives that go beyond mere survival. These missions leave a gap where there should be a narrative depth to the game, encouraging players to immerse themselves fully in the role of their survivors. The missions themselves are fun, from rescuing other survivors to gathering critical supplies or confronting a particularly dangerous zombie, each scenario provides a new story and challenge.

Zombicide 2nd Edition player boards

Community and Expansion: The World of Zombicide

The ability to string scenarios into a larger campaign offers an extended narrative experience, where the outcomes of earlier missions can impact the conditions of later ones and this is where the CMON and community are awesome.

The mere mention that I wanted linked missions at a game group and I was emailed a PDF of fan-made missions collated by some wonderful internet person. These are not my work, these are apparently not his work but he did take the time to stick them together so thank you a man from the internet.

Zombicide 2nd Edition Campaign Missions (110 downloads )

That’s not all, a quick Google search will let you see that there is a wealth of content for your additional pleasure. There are official links, campaigns that will work from Zombicide 1st edition, and official and fan-made campaigns that will not only enhance the game’s replayability but also allow for a deeper story to unfold, drawing players into the world of zombies and the fates of their survivors.

Not happy with fan-made content? Then you could pick up the expansions, Washington ZC and Fort Hendrix. These expansions include a 10-mission campaign and 6 new Survivors to play as.

They both introduce several new rules and are set in the White House and its surroundings or a U.S. military base respectively.

Zombicide 2nd Edition benefits from a vibrant community of players and ongoing support from CMON. The base game itself offers a wealth of content, but the existence of expansions and fan-made scenarios ensures that the game continues to grow and evolve. These expansions introduce new survivors, zombies, equipment, and scenarios, keeping the game fresh and exciting for long-time players.

The community aspect extends beyond just expansions. Forums and social media groups dedicated to Zombicide allow players to share strategies, custom scenarios, and experiences. This community support enriches the game, providing a wealth of resources for new players and veterans alike.

Final Verdict: The Ultimate Cooperative Survival Game

Zombicide 2nd Edition stands as a pinnacle of cooperative board gaming. It masterfully combines strategy, teamwork, and thematic immersion, offering an unparalleled group gaming experience. The game’s depth, from character customization to the evolving challenge of facing the undead, ensures that every playthrough is a unique adventure.

While the learning curve may be steep and the reliance on dice sometimes frustrating, these aspects contribute to the game’s charm and challenge. The thrill of overcoming difficult odds, the satisfaction of strategic victories, and the joy of collaborative play are what make Zombicide 2nd Edition a must-have for any board game enthusiast.

In conclusion, whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the apocalypse or a newcomer to the world of cooperative board gaming, Zombicide 2nd Edition offers an engaging, immersive, and endlessly replayable experience. It’s not just about surviving the zombie apocalypse; it’s about thriving in the face of adversity, building bonds with fellow survivors, and crafting stories of bravery and survival. So gather your friends, choose your survivors, and dive into the thrilling world of Zombicide. The apocalypse awaits, and it’s never been so much fun.