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Entry updated 7 December 2020. Tagged: Game.

Board Game (2012). Guillotine Games.

Zombicide is a turn-based cooperative board game in which 1-6 players must survive a series of Zombie Disaster scenarios. Players take the role of an individual character with their own special powers and must survive a series of deadly turn-based attacks by zombies. The atmosphere of the game is intended to generate a B-movie ambience, with characters, game scenarios and zombies evoking traditional stereotypes (see Clichés) and tropes from the zombie genre.

Zombicide was originally funded through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, and subsequent expansions to the game have been released as "seasons" on the site. This enabled Guillotine Games to produce a game containing multiple high-quality pieces, robust cards and boards. By managing the expectations of people who pledged to the project in this respect they were able to release the game at a higher cost than a more straightforward commercial approach might have enabled (many games struggle to balance these elements on first release). Subsequent seasons and extras to the game have also been marketed via Kickstarter prior to more general release. Rather like the X-Com and One Night Werewolf / One Night: The Resistance (see The Resistance) board games, Zombicide comes complete with an app that keeps track of characters and events, and greatly aids gameplay.

The game is designed so that a number of different objectives are available to players, depending on which scenario they pick. They may choose a situation which demands they stay alive for a set amount of time, destroy a specific number of zombies, locate a specific item hidden somewhere on the board, or reach a target destination. Collecting items and becoming more powerful by killing zombies facilitates this, but also increases the strength and numbers of zombies as time goes on. In this respect the game echoes predecessors Last Night on Earth (Flying Frog Productions 2007) and Zombies!!! (Breitenstein 2001), but provides more complex gameplay by combining the chase element of the latter and the exploration and teamwork of the former. Despite echoing low-grade zombie films in tone, Zombicide also avoids some of the overt sexism in other zombies games such as Last Night on Earth, where female characters are frequently given supporting rather than proactive roles. The basic game provides ten starting scenarios for players, but the developers have released many others through expansions, online releases and crowdfunded extras. Players are also able to customize their own scenarios and share these with others online.

Zombicide is extremely hard, which does not apparently deter fans who clearly enjoy its challenge and respond well to this. A difficult learning curve is often welcomed in such cooperative games, for example Pandemic (2007), Forbidden Island (2010) and Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game (2014). All stack the odds against the player team, and there are often multiple ways to lose – as a team and as an individual.

There are three "big box" expansions for Zombicide; Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak (2013), Zombicide Toxic City Mall (2013) – which can be played with either of the first two boxes – and Zombicide Season 3: Rue Morgue (2014). Multiple other small extras include new characters (both zombies and players) and pieces for the board, often made available exclusively through Kickstarter or Conventions. [EMS]

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