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.
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.
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.
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:
- The mould covers a required objective location, effectively removing the location from the board
- 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.
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.