Zombicide Invader now on Kickstarter

Zombicide Invasion Box Art

Is the third time the charm?

So early March I wrote about how CMON announced Zombicide Invader, the new addition to the franchise.  Well, the Kickstarter has been out for about a week, giving me a chance to properly look at the new game.

Short version – for better or worse, it’s everything I expected.  If you have played Zombicide before or have a previous version, you’re not really getting a new game.  If you don’t own Zombicide, this is the version for you.

But as usual, it looks beautiful and there are some rule changes to go with the new look.  There are small nods and callouts to many well-known characters, and Invader is no different.  It starts with the location this time – the PK-L7 outpost.  I think that they already knew the Aliens comparisons where here to stay, so they just went with it.

And it is indeed a new look.  No longer are you taking on the zombie hordes, you now face swarms of infected aliens, called Xenos.  This does allow a bit of creative flair, and the new swarms look great.

The aliens can all be basically translated from the previous Zombie types.  In Zombicide Invader, the main foe is the Worker class.  These are essentially the Walkers, not too bad by themselves but dangerous in numbers.

Zombicide Invader Xenos art
The new Zombies in town

Hunters are similar to Runners, fast and dangerous on the board.  Blink and they will be on you.  Next are Tanks, which do sound better than Fatties.  These are the mid-boss bullet sponges of the game.

And finally, the Spoiler Abomination.  These are the big bad guys you need to clear off the board ASAP.

Another change is how closed doors work.  As a player, you can open them up without a weapon, and close them as a free action now.  But the Xenos no longer try to work around a closed door – they use all their actions to destroy it.

In Black Plague, there were a lot of quests where all players had to survive.  This is now baked into the rules – if one player dies, it’s an instant loss condition.

A big change is when you run out of a type of mini.  If you can’t place a hunter for example, instead of giving all hunters another activation, you give all abominations another activation or place a new one.

Zombicide Invader Kickstarter Parts
It wouldn't be a CMON Kickstarter without a mountain of plastic

There are a couple of different types of survivors, but ultimately they are just different groups of character abilities.  You get military types with armour to better withstand attacks, but can only find certain equipment in certain rooms.  ‘Normal’ civilians are able to salvage items more but are cut off from some specific items.  It all seems to make sense as the game flows.

Change wise speaking of rule changes, the ranged targeting order has been flipped – you now target from the Abomination down.  Now, this is a board game and I don’t look for true realism in my rules, but it does make more sense to me.  If you were trying to survive in a horde, wouldn’t you target the bigger threat?  You can also now concentrate fire to help take down the bigger targets.

Zombicide Invader Survivors
Can you spot the inspiration for the survivors?

For new rules, the one I am liking the look of is a mechanic where Abominations spread ‘mould’ (or mold if your American :p ).

Like Starcrafts Creep, as abominations move around the board they spread this mould, changing the layout of the board as they go.  This leads to two possible new loss conditions:

  1. The mould covers a required objective location, effectively removing the location from the board
  2. Two spawn zones become connected by Active Mold tokens

Without playing the game I am not sure how much more difficult this would make winning or the extra maintenance involved in playing.  Mould does add a sense of tension as a visible timer starts spreading across the board though.

Zombicide Invader Painted
I wish I could paint this well!

For me personally, I am not going to back this one.  While there are some new rule tweaks and the new miniatures would be a lot of fun to paint, it’s just the same Zombicide.

Now that’s not a bad thing in itself – when Zombicide first came out, I had a lot of fun painting and playing it.  Taking over a friends pool table to play a 6-7 person game was an absolute blast.

But the mechanics are starting to feel old with newer dungeon crawlers coming out.  While the number of mini’s you get is amazing, storage and setup/teardown is a real factor in playing, as is between turn bookkeeping.

I still have Black Plague to keep me amused.  If you haven’t got a Zombicide game, this is definitely the one to get if you specifically want one.  But there are other options available these days as well.

Check out the Zombicide Invader Kickstarter page here, and let me know what you think.

Zombicide: Invader is coming to Kickstarter April 10

Zombicide Invasion Box Art

CMON has announced that Zombicide: Invader is launching on Kickstarter April 10th at 3 PM EST (6 am April 11th QLD Time).

Normally a CMON announcement has me excited, but Zombicide as a franchise has me in a strange place.  A little history to explain.

When Zombicide first came out, it wasn’t a perfect game but I had a lot of fun with it.  It was a bit of mindless fun, even if it did drag on a little bit.  There wasn’t really anything like it at the time, and the CMON miniatures were glorious.

Zombicide Season 01 Minis Mixed

When Zombicide Season 2 came announced, the idea of new Zombies and new locations had me excited and I backed it instantly.  When it arrived I started playing as soon as I could.  It was then I realised that the new Zombies just added to the maintenance and dragged out the game even more.

Zombicide Season 02 Minis Mixed

Zombicide Season 3 had me convinced these issues would be fixed.  Spoiler – they were once again made worse.  This was the game that made me all but give up on playing Zombicide, especially as new games that had learned from the games were announced and being developed.

Zombicide Season 01 Game Setup

Then Zombicide: Black Plague was announced.  I cautiously had a look, and I was happy to see it looked like CMON had scrapped the previous games completely and started in a new medieval fantasy setting.  I stopped and waited and watched previews from groups like the Dice Tower to hear what they had to say.  And I liked what I heard!  The rules had been streamlined, feedback from the players had been listened to and addressed, so I backed it with glee!

Then the game arrived.  I played it a couple of times solo, then slipped it away.  Black Plague wasn’t bad at all, it had potential, but by then other games had started to take its place in my games nights.  Games days stopped being “Can we play Zombicide?” and became me trying to convince people to give the new Zombicide a try.

Zombicide Black Plague Came Setup

Largely because of all this, when Green Horde was announced, I looked at it and just kept flicking through the internet.  I just couldn’t see anything new that either interested me or that I could use to convince others to try it with me.

So the announcement of Zombicide: Invader only has me looking at it because it seems to be the latest series reset.  Zombicide: Invader now has the franchise in space, where the zombies seem to be replaced with an alien horde.

Zombicide Black Plague Minis Zombies

There are no rules to look at right now, and I am going to guess that game previews will be coming out over the next few weeks to show off how gorgeous the game will inevitably be.

Zombicide was one of the original Kickstarter Phenomenon back in the day and a CMON mainstay, so I have no doubt it will be a successful campaign.  Personally for me though, while I will be looking at Zombicide: Invader and trying to find out more about it, I doubt there is much CMON can entice me with.

Zombicide Black Plague Minis Survivors

There are just smoother and better implementations right now for the genre as a whole.  Fantasy Flight has made great strides with Mansions of Madness Second Edition and Imperial Assault.  Gloomhaven has a much better story campaign experience and is the number one game ever according to Board Game Geek right now.  Sentient Cow Games even has a Kickstarter right now for Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce that has me 100 times more excited than this announcement.

I am not trying to say that you shouldn’t buy Zombicide – if you’re a fan you already know you are.  If you don’t have Zombicide in your collection, by all means, check it out.  The Board Game Geek page is here, and I am sure it will be updated as the campaign gets closer.

I will be posting my thoughts probably in the last week of the Zombicide: Invader Kickstarter if you would like to know my final thoughts.  But in the meantime, check out some of the already available games (including Zombicide: Black Plague) before getting caught up in the hype.

Until next time,