Posted by : David Guyll November 03, 2016

We finally got our Zombicide: Black Plague Kickstarter swag a few days ago (which I'm told is super late but whatever we had other shit to play and do anyway). It's basically medieval-fantasy Zombicide, which for us is apparently all it takes to make it a billion times more fun.

Mechanically the game is (thankfully) very similar to Zombicide: each player controls one or more characters (for a total of six or more if you have more characters to play with), and you run around stabbing, shooting, and blasting various types of zombies while trying to complete one or more objectives

If you haven't played Zombicide, it's really easy to learn and fast to play (even if you gotta control more than one character). Each character gets three actions per turn: moving a space is an action, as is trying to open a door, attacking, searching for loot, trading loot, shuffling around your loot, and activating various skills.


Once every character takes a turn, the zombies get to go, which generally means they move towards the characters, and if they're already in a character's space they just deal damage. Once they're done, you randomly spawn zombies by drawing cards from one of the decks. You draw a card for every spawn point on the board: sometimes you luck out and nothing spawns, other times you draw a double-spawn or a type of zombie gets to take another turn right away, but usually you get various types of zombies or a necromancer.


As with the original Zombicide the game has levels of a sort, though instead of numbers you have colors: everyone starts at blue, and as you rack up XP (by killing zombies, eating food that you scavenge, and collecting objectives) you progress into yellow, orange, and finally red. On one hand this is good because it gives you bonus actions and new skills, but on the other hand it makes it much more likely that you'll get more/worse zombies to deal with during the spawning phase.

See, each spawning card has four colors with different zombie value/types, and you check the character with the highest color when determining what spawns. For example, if one guy is at orange, another yellow, and the other four are blue, you still check the orange values on all zombie spawns. So, it's a good idea to try and keep everyone about the same as long as you can, because it's easy for blue characters to get overwhelmed due to a lack of bonus actions and skills (also, share objective markers if you can).


If you've played the original Zombicide, the main differences are that if you have armor, a shield, and/or the Iron Hide skill you can make rolls to resist getting hurt (unless you get hit by an abomination), you can take three hits before going down (and you don't lose gear when you get hurt), you can shoot into zones with allies without automatically hitting them, sometimes you gotta roll to open a door, and the plastic dashboards are fucking awesome.

 I totally wanted to make a character sheet that functions like that for our kids game
If you enjoyed the original Zombicide, you'll probably like Black Plague (but then you probably already own it by now). If you didn't like Zombicide, then you probably won't like this unless you specifically wished that Zombicide was fantasy instead of modern day. I've seen some criticisms about the replay value, but even after you've done all the quests you can always make up your own, and if you play tabletop role-playing games then hey you also got a bunch of minis!

It'd be nice if there was a kind of campaign mode that allows you to keep XP and gear from one quest to the next, but it's very easy to hit orange on any given quest, so by the mid-point of your second quest you'll probably be in the red (the 2nd or 3rd quest actually requires one of you to be red to win, in fact). Loot would also be a problem: we hit the vaults every time, so we'd run out of artifacts pretty quick, and by the end of a quest we're decked out in all sorts of awesome shit.

So, dunno how I'd handle all that. The rule where you can wrap around the XP bar again to get more skills would be one way to pad things out (it's in the Wulfsburg expansion, along with zombie wolves), and maybe you could add more spawn points based on everyone's level. One thing I'd definitely do is rotate the characters out and add permadeath, and if we somehow ran out of characters I'd "de-level" them and let them come back.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

If you're looking for a class that lets you play almost any were-thing you want (plus a bunch of related extra content), then check out The Therianthrope. There's also The Dragon, a class that lets you play almost any dragon-ish thing you could think of.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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