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Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot
Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot
image © CoolMiniOrNot

The Zombicide Season 1 is cooperative boardgame from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot. It has nice and easy tp play mechanics and a lot of cool miniatures.

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Boardgame: Zombicide Season 1

Set type: Boardgame base set

Series: Zombicide

Rules: Zombicide Season 1

Company: CoolMiniOrNotGuillotine Games

Designer: Raphaël Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Lullien, Nicolas Raoult

Players: 1-6

Style: Cooperative, Solo, Miniatures, AI controlled enemies, Modular board

Playtime: varies, based on scenario

Language dependency: Language dependent character cards

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Opening the box

Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Contents
Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Contents
image © CoolMiniOrNot

The Zombicide Season 1 box has great product value. The box is nice, it has art and info even on the sides of the bottom box, and the box is practically stuffed with content.

It was a nice touch that the miniatures come inside their own little boxes. That should protect them during shipping and while you carry them around for games.

Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Miniatures
Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Miniatures
image © CoolMiniOrNot

There are a lot of nice minis in the box. Every player mini is different and all of them are very nice with lots of details. The common zombies have 5 variants, the runner has 2 variants, and that's great. Even though I enjoyed Twilight Creations Zombies!!! game, that came with a hundred zombies, they were all identical, and Zombicide zombies give you a lot of variety, so it's more interesting visually.

Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Game boards
Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Game boards
image © CoolMiniOrNot

The two-sided, laminated gaming boards represent deserted and slightly damaged streets and houses. They are 30x30 cm large, one zone is around 10x10cm. The 9 boards provide a wide variety of possible layouts for your homebrew scenarios.

Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Player sheets
Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Player sheets
image © CoolMiniOrNot

The 6 player sheets give us a great selection of interesting characters, 2 of them female. The player sheets are double sided and on the backside you can create your own character, and there are already some skills provided in the rulebook you can use for them. It's an amazing feature. If you are still not content with these options, you can download Additional Survivors from the publisher's website.

The player sheets are not optimal - the experience tracker slides on the upper edge, but you have to place skill markers and equipment on the sheet itself. This means that the players often have to move the sheet, and this causes everything to fall off.

After punching out the tokens from the sheets, I couldn't really put them into the box any more. However the box for the player minis is too big for the minis themselves, and has extra space under them, so I just put everything into the box of player minis.

The only thing that would have maximized the content would have been some ziploc bags for the tokens and cards.

Contents

71 minis (realistic 1:50 scale, an average human is 35mm high):

  • 6x1 different Survivors
  • 40 Walkers, 8 x 5 sculpt of different zombies, 3 male, 2 female

8x Female Walker Zombie #1

8x Female Walker Zombie #2

8x Male Walker Zombie #1

8x Male Walker Zombie #2

8x Male Walker Zombie #3

  • 16 Runners, 8 x 2 sculpt
  • 8 Fatties
  • 1 Abomination

6 double-sided cardboard Survivor Identity Cards
110 mini-cards (42 Zombie cards, 62 Equipment cards, 6 Wounded cards)
9 cardboard game tiles, reversible and modular
76 tokens: These include game tokens and 2D scenery.
6 6-sided dice
6 experience trackers: These are little skulls that clip to the Survivor Cards

Reading the rules

Even if you didn't get the theme and goal of this game just by reading the cover and opening the box, it's clearly stated on the first pages - Zombicide is a cooperative survival game about killing zombies.

You get some pre-defined starting equipment, but you can search for more in buildings. The starting characters have 3 actions to spend on moving, attacking, searching or activating things. They generate noise, some actions generate more. Then the zombies try to attack the characters that are in the same zone, then advance towards the humans they see or the noisiest zone.

Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Zombie reinforcement cards
Zombicide Season 1 from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Zombie reinforcement cards
image © CoolMiniOrNot

The game uses four danger levels - blue / yellow / orange / red. It starts at blue, and the experience level of the characters are also blue, but every zombie killed adds up and after killing some it gives an experience level that gets bonus abilities for the character but raises the danger level of the game. At the end of every turn you have to draw zombie reinforcement cards for every spawn point. Depending on the current danger level you put the zombies indicated by that colour.

For example, drawing the sample card above - if the game is in the starting (blue) level, it generates one normal zombie. In the yellow and orange level, 2 normal zombies. In the max danger (red) level, it generates two runner zombies (that get twice the action a normal zombie does).

There are some special reinforcement cards too, that doesn't generate the zombies for the zone you draw them for, but in zones indicated by the card, or they don't generate zombies at all, but rather give bonus actions for an indicated zombie type. Both of these special cards cause unpredictability in the game and that's good.

The rulebook is good. It's easy to read, the rules seem easy to follow, and there are a lot of fun quotes around. There are lots of examples to make the player understand the rules. The editing is also good, it's a clear reading. It's the 5th print, so if there were any confusing parts, I suppose they had enough time to get rid of them.

I don't say every rule was clearly in my mind after one readthrough, but after one reading I was confident I were able to play the game and know where to look up the rules. (Sure, as I later realised, I missed some rules and misinterpreted others, but it didn't really cause any problems due to the cooperative nature of the game.)

First play

When we started the first game, it became apparent there are many questions that made me constantly reread the rulebook. Even though I thought I understand the rules, I was not sure of every situation. Even after finding the rule, I was never sure whether some other rule would modify the situation.

I've detailed the problems in their own article, it's probably a more interesting read for those who design games than for those who'd just like to get into Zombicide.

Feeling of the game

Even though these might look like they have caused a lot of problems during the games, and made the gameplay a bad experience, but actually it was not that much of a problem. As the game is cooperative, we just used rulings we agreed upon, and continued playing. Also, most of the participants were rpg players as well, so they already got used to situations like these.

It took a few games with every group to understand most of the rules, but after spending that time the games became fluid. Due to the cooperative nature of Zombicide there were no quarrels between players and we only started to argue about the rulings and house rules we implemented to change the game to better fit our style.

The only thing that probably detracts from the cooperative experience is that you practically play against the system, and while in the beginning it can feel very random with the extra activations, random reinforcements, sewer zombies and runners, after a while the players learn the probabilities and learn what to look for. If there were some random elements in the rules themselves, it would improve the game a lot.

Takács György leading a game of ZombicideKadmon leads a game of Zombicide on the Makettfesztivál 2016 miniatures conventionKadmon leads a game of Zombicide on the Makettfesztivál 2016 miniatures convention

Zombicide is a game that is very easy to get into if you have someone to lead your play. I've used Zombicide in conventions and new players could easily start or join in during games. After a few sentences about the basics of the game, a gamemaster can run it for novices. Being able to change the difficulty of the game is especially important during game demos to give a good experience to those who try it and Zombicide lends itself to tweaking easily without breaking the rules or being obvious about the cheating.

For demos and club games I prefer scenarios with 2x2 or 2x3 boards. Due to the flexible nature of the game you can modify scenerios that require larger game areas, and either make them harder with a yellow starting level or just try to divide the scenario into two smaller ones that the players need to solve one after the other. So after they finish the first one, they continue into the next using the same characters with the achieved levels and gathered weapons.

Features

Cooperative: The game is cooperative, the players have to work together to survive the missions.

Solo: It might sound strange at first, but there's not much difference between solo play and group play as the actions of your opposition is controlled by the rules system.

Miniatures: The minis that come with the set are nice, dynamic and easy to paint miniatures. The game itself doesn't need the miniatures, they could as well be tokens, but it enhances the look and doesn't take away from the experience.

AI controlled enemies: The rules that control the enemies (zombies) is sometimes a bit confusing, and it's easy to game the system to control their movement, but it didn't seem to cause problems for the players I've played with.

Modular board: The game is played on modular boards that offer a wide variety of playing areas.

Comparisons

Aliens from Leading Edge Games: Aliens was the first cooperative game I know of. The Zombicide experience reminded me of Aliens, but the whole thing was more streamlined and more random. Also, Zombicide lends itself to customization, and offers lots of material for that - a variety of board tiles, customization of equipment and zombie deck. Even if you just change the number of zombie minis you use can change the gameplay drastically. I like the theme of Aliens better though, so I'd really like to see some rules to combine these two games.

Zombies!!! from Twilight Creations: The comparison is obvious, as the look of the games are very similar - 6 character minis, lots of zombie minis, 3x3 tiles make up the gaming board - but it plays very differently. Zombicide is cooperative and it is played against the system. Zombies!!! can be more fun though, if you like competitive games or just like to be mean to your fellow gamers. Also, the Zombicide minis look way better than the Zombies!!! ones. If you have both, you can play Zombies!!! with the Zombicide minis, maybe even play on the Zombicide boards with some tweaking of the game.

Similar games

  • Aliens: Cooperative game, with stupid, AI controlled enemies.
  • Dungeon & Dragons board games: Play area made out of board tiles. Cooperative game.
  • Dead of Winter: Zombie-themed.
  • The Walking Dead: All Out War: Zombie-themed.

Recommendation

I absolutely recommend Zombicide for anyone who is interested in gaming. It's a good game in itself, but the rules and components allow you to spice up your role-playing or miniatures games.

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Resources - Zombicide Season 1 boardgame from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot

Zombicide from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot - Resources: A collection of articles about Zombicide.

Official

Zombicide Season 1

Zombicide Season 1 Rulebook (updated)

Zombicide Season 1 FAQ

Additional Missions (you have to click on the Season 1 cover to see the Season 1 Missions)

Additional Survivors (you have to click on the zombie face to get the Zombivore sheet)

Additional rules and utilities

Variant rules

Geek & Sundry: Home Brew Rules: Some good addition to the original Zombicide rules.

Reviews - articles

T0rrES: Zombicide (Reseña) (in Spanish): Review article in Spanish.

Google Translate English version

BoardGaming.com: Zombicide: Review article. Includes tips about what kind of player would enjoy the game.

Sophie Brown (GeekMom)(from GeekDad.com): Zombicide: Can You Survive?: Review article.

Reviews - videos

CoolMiniOrNot: Zombicide Gameplay Introduction

Let's Play Zombicide With Nathan of Jaded Gamercast! (Raw & Uncut!)

Zombicide Part 1 - Tech Geek Gamers 104

Crits Happen: Critical Review - Zombicide

Spydah666: Games Night Video 10: Zombicide

Watch It Played: S17E04 - Zombicide - Gameplay Begins

Painting Zombicide miniatures

The Army Painter: Zombicide Painting Guide

FAST FATTY: Zombicide Painting Tutorial

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Buying the product - Zombicide Season 1 boardgame from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot

Price

Base price (Zombicide Season 1): 90 USD (81 Euro / 63 GBP), Price/mini: @1,3 USD (1,2 Euro / 0,9 GBP) if you need the other components

Company Set price (2015)
Price / mini (2015)
Guillotine Games

Zombicide Season 1 (90 USD = 81 Euro / 63 GBP)
Includes:

  • 71 miniatures: 6 modern characters, 56 zombies, 8 fat zombies, 1 monster zombie.
  • 9 pieces of 30x30 cm game board featuring city streets and houses
@1,3 USD = 1,2 Euro / 0,9 GBP if you also need all the other components

Where can you buy it?

Buy the Zombicide Season 1 boardgame in the CoolMiniOrNot Webshop

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Possible uses

  • Miniatures:
    • Characters: Modern civilian combatants.
    • Zombies
      • Sick, unarmed people.
      • They could fit late medieval, modern or futuristic games.
  • Gaming boards:
    • Modular terrain board for modern boardgames.
    • Rolling terrain for role-playing games with miniatures.
    • Terrain for modern or futuristic wargames. The 10x10cm zones lend themselves to be used for 10cm movement rules.

Uses on the website

  • None yet,

Possible substitutes

  • Aliens: The gameplay is similar but Zombicide offers more variety as published. There's a lot of fan-made addition to the base Aliens game.
  • Zombies!!! from Twilight Creations: The 3rd edition box supposedly includes cooperative rules.

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Do you have the Zombicide Season 1 boardgame from Guillotine Games & CoolMiniOrNot? How do you like it? Would you recommend them to others? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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