Jesta Plays – Zombie 15′

Posted on by Jesta

“I’m a teen boy, so I like seeing blood and guts. I know it’s fake, but I’m having fun.”

~ Chandler Riggs

In an apocalyptic world in which everyone over the age of 18 has turned into a bloodthirsty, flesh-hungry zombie and most youngsters have been served as meat to quell their elders’ appetite, a small team of kids and teenagers tries to survive on their own. As part of that small group of survivors, you must unite to escape the relentless horde of undead. Run across town to find shelter or food, hold a strategic position, meet with new survivors, and discover the truth about this terrible and mysterious disease!

This is a scenario driven, real time game where you control a character walking across a map killing zombies and looking for new weapons and equipment. As it is a scenario based game, the win condition is different each time. So far, I’ve just had to get from one side of the map to the other without dying…

But is it any good solo?

Setup

Is a pain really… There are A LOT of tiles to setup, then you need to place minis on those tiles. The tiles have very small numbers and are double sided (A & B) but also the rule book doesn’t show you which ‘number’ is placed where. It shows you 2 of them (the start and finish) and the rest you have to work out based on art and shape of the road/zones.

It’s not difficult, it’s just annoying.

Later levels will require tokens etc but that should be quite easy. The Zombie deck is easily setup as in the solo campaign you use the same deck in every scenario so once it’s sorted you can keep it separate.

Although it takes up a lot of table space… Future solo levels will not fit on my coffee table.

You also have a character dashboard with an ability and connected equipment.

The scenario is the solo campaign tells you which character to use and what their starting equipment will be… In mission 1, Severity starts with a Crowbar and Nail Gun.

Game Play

The game itself is easy, start the timer (I use the versions on YouTube through an iPad) and start playing.

You have 4 action points which are mostly used to move tile to tile. Each tile has 2 sections, the Street and the Search area (or building) and it costs a movement point to move between each.

There are two types of searches…

For an action point you can reveal the top 3 cards from the deck, you can take ANY items you reveal BUT some cards show Zombies and you have to put that many Zombies in the search area of the tile you’re on. This is called a ‘Hasty’ search or something, basically you made noise looking for stuff and attracted some baddies.

So from these cards, the Tonfa and/or Tommy Gun could be equipped with 2 Zombies going onto the board.

Weapons can be equipped onto the current character with replaced weapons removed from the game. Unwanted/Unneeded weapons from these searched cards are discarded to a discard pile…

Which brings us to the second type of search… Here you just spend an action point to retrieve ANY card from the ‘discard pile’. (Not removed from the game) If you do this, any weapons above it in the pile are removed from the game. This is a ‘careful search’ which doesn’t attract any Zombies but you also doesn’t bring any new weapons into the game from the deck.

Weapons have 4 stats. On the above Axe you can see it makes 4 kills per attack, fends off 3 Zombies at the end of your turn and makes 0 noise. In the bottom left you can see it has 2 ‘Ammo’… Well a gun would have 2 Ammo this Axe basically breaks after 2 attacks.

For an action point you can move the ammo counter down 1 position to kill as many zombies in your current location depending on the damage the weapon deals. If the Weapon makes noise, when you kill Zombies you add a new number shown on the ‘Noise’ icon of the weapon into the horde cup.

More on this evil cup shortly…

The Fend ability on the weapon lets you know how many Zombies you can ‘Fend off’ in your area at the end of your turn. In the case of the Axe, up to 3. If there are more Zombies in your space than that you take a point of  Damage and are knocked down. On your next turn you need to spend an action point standing up.

I mentioned the game is played with an app… It’s more than a timer…

Every 60 seconds (or 45 for some scenarios) there is a Zombie growl…

If there is a growl on your turn, and it being a solo game its always your turn, you flip over a card from the Zombie deck. These contain numbers that show how many zombies go into your current zone.

They also have effects on them that cause you various negative effects like ‘Lose 1 Health’ as seen on the ‘4’ card above.

The deck also has 8 ‘Horde’ cards shuffled in fairly evenly.

When these are revealed all the Zombies in the cup are placed in your location… There can easily be 8-10 in the cup!

In a solo game you need to spend at least 3 action points before ending your turn so you have to balance action with pausing to fend off Zombies.

Complete the scenario and win or die and fail, that’s it 🙂

Tear Down

Not as bad as setup… But obviously if you can put those tiles back in the right order it helps with setup next game.

Positives

Easy game play. It’s good to have simple actions to take on your turn when you’re running against the clock to help prevent mistakes.

It’s a decent puzzle to figure out… When to move, attack, search… You even have to think about when to end your turn to make sure you’re safe and can fend off the Zombies.

You fear the Zombie groans 🙂 This pushes you forward and keeps up your tempo, and heart rate!

It looks pretty decent on the table.

Negatives

Setup/Tear Down is overly long considering the length of the game. In the review from Shut Up & Sit Down they mention that you celebrate when you lose because you can play again without having to set the game back up… Is that a good thing? I don’t think so.

You’re constantly just counting up to 4 in your Head… 1 Move, 2 Move, 3 Attack (move a counter, remove zombies), 4  Attack (move a counter, remove zombies). 1 Move, <Zombie Groan>, 2 Search etc

A solo game misses out on what I assume would be pretty fun and hectic tactical table talk similar to games like Escape the Curse of the Temple and FUSE.

Summary

A decent, fun game with plenty of scenarios included in this version which contains extras from the Kickstarter. (I picked it up in a trade) The mechanisms are great and the real time element and risk works well and feels tense.

I doubt I could convince people to play 15+ games of this to complete the regular campaign unless done back to back and where would I find the time for that?.

As a Solo game, only the desire to complete the solo campaign will keep it in my collection after that? Who knows.

It’s a nice game though

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