CMON: Zombicide Marvel Zombies Previews
CoolMiniOrNot geben ein paar Einblicke auf das kommende Brettspiel, Zombicide: Marvel Zombies.
MARVEL ZOMBIES DESIGN DIARY #1: FUSING MARVEL AND ZOMBICIDE
- Hello, and welcome to the amazing world of Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game.I am Fábio Cury, one of the designers of the game. Today, I’ll be talking about some general aspects of the game, but my main focus will be on the challenges of fusing the Marvel Zombies franchise with the well-established gameplay of Zombicide. In the Marvel Zombies comics series, Super Heroes infected by the virus don’t become your regular, mindless zombie. Instead, they largely retain their intellect and, to some extent, their personality. However, they are driven by the „Hunger“ for human flesh. So, one thing that became clear early on was that we needed to come up with a system where you could play not against the zombies… but AS a zombie. That’s one of the big innovations coming to the table, more on that soon!
One of Zombicide’s key aspects we wanted to maintain was the franchise’s simplicity and how easy it was to learn. In this regard, we focused on keeping the abilities very clear and maintaining the core rules of Zombicide as consistent with previous games as possible.
We balanced this with elements from Marvel Zombies. We wanted to make sure that each hero was as representative as possible of how they’re portrayed in the comics. Each hero’s superpower is very unique, and they’re very important for you to get the “feel” of playing that specific Super Hero. Abilities are very distinct and specific to each character. However, this created several technical issues. Such as, while “+1 Extra Action” is pretty straightforward, having an ability named “Web-Sling” is not very descriptive. The solution for this was for each Hero Dashboard to have the rules for each ability written right under them.
Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game is still under development. Images are subject to change.
This was beneficial for two reasons.
First, players can reference all their abilities in the blink of an eye and don’t have to check the list of abilities in the rulebook.
Second (and this is the real catch), is that each Super Hero is truly unique. This way, we can tailor each and every ability to fit their character.
On that note, let’s wrap this up to keep things short and sweet! We are very excited to have you join us on this venture.
MARVEL ZOMBIES DESIGN DIARY #2: THE UNCONTROLLABLE HUNGER
- The Hunger is absolute in the original Marvel Zombies comic. Even the Super Heroes with the greatest willpower fail to refrain from their horrific cravings for flesh. In Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, Hunger is perhaps your greatest weakness… But also your greatest weapon…Michael Shinall here, one of the designers for Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, and let’s talk about The Hunger.
In the board game, you take on the role of a Zombie Super Hero, and your primary goal in (un)life is now to Devour as much flesh as you can – unwillingly, unfortunately, as no true Super Hero would elect to perform such actions. But, as we’ve mentioned, this is the universe of Marvel Zombies, and the choice is no longer your own.
Gameplay-wise, Hunger plays a vital role in your overall experience. Each Zombie Super Hero has a Hunger Track ranging from 0-4. It represents their overall level of Hunger.
At the start of each game round, the Hunger Level of all Zombie Super Heroes increases by 1. Whenever a Zombie Super Hero performs an Attack, they gain additional dice equal to their current Hunger Level. So, for example, Hulk has his SMASH! Attack, which innately rolls 2 Attack Dice and Hits on a 4+. Let’s say three game Rounds have passed and now Hulk’s Hunger Track is at 3. This means that, each time Hulk Attacks, he’s going to be rolling 5 Dice. A pretty hefty Attack!
Ok, so Hunger represents the Zombie Super Hero getting more dangerous and vicious as time goes on, but also just performing Attacks in general can cause this Track to increase. For each Attack Die roll of 1, the Hunger Track of that Zombie Super Hero also increases by 1. Such is the risk of actively attacking your enemies in an attempt to destroy them instead of… well… devouring them.
Did I forget to mention your Devour Attack? My bad. Brain must be malfunctioning.
In addition to a unique Attack, each Zombie Super Hero also has access to a special Devour Attack. It’s not the best Attack out there. In fact, it’s pretty bad, as in it only rolls a single Attack Die and only hits on a 4+. Worse yet, while normal Attacks can wipe out a swath of enemies, Devour only ever eliminates a single target.
Ok, so why would you use it? Hunger increasing sounds pretty awesome! (If you ignore the whole “having to eat people thing”) Well, Hunger has some extreme drawbacks. If it ever caps out, you enter a state called Ravenous. This limits your Super Hero to only performing Move Actions and the Devour Attack. No special Skills, no fancy Attacks, no collecting objectives, just finding a target and eating them. And should you be unable to find a meal? Then you’re going to begin suffering damage as your body begins ravaging itself. Yes, it might be a bad play to have to leap right into the middle of a group of SHIELD Troopers… But when you gotta eat, you gotta eat.
This creates one of the central risk-vs-reward/push-your-luck systems of Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game. You will need to constantly take your current Hunger Level into account, being sure to Devour regularly, lest you lose total control and end up in a lethal (… for a zombie) situation!
While Hunger is a relatively simple mechanic, it’s also interacted with by a large number of Super Hero Skills, as well as Zombie Trait cards. Some will grant you powerful bonuses if your Hunger is reaching its maximum, and some (very rare ones) might even aid you in keeping a modicum of control over yourself. Further still, some Skills are directly tied to your Hunger level, changing slightly how they operate based on your Hunger level.
MARVEL ZOMBIES DESIGN DIARY #3: ZOMBIE TRAITS
- “I want to experience it firsthand. I want to know what it feels like to be turned!“ – Reed Richard, Earth 2149
One of the trickiest elements in adapting Zombicide into the Marvel Zombies setting is the nature of its Super Heroes. In Zombicide you take on the role of the every-man, utilizing whatever scavenged supplies and weapons you can to survive. Here, we are dealing with specific Super Heroes, each with a specific arsenal and iconic skillset. So, how do you keep the “search and procure” themes of the original Zombicide while staying true to the nature of Marvel Zombies?
Michael Shinall here, co-designer of Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, and that question is exactly what we’re going to dive into today.
We’re going to start by briefly speaking about how the Search system worked in the original Zombicide, for those just coming into the franchise. Then, we’ll look into how we’ve modified it for this version of the system. In Zombicide, Survivors have access to a special Action known as Searching. This is the primary way you find useful Items for your Survivor: new weapons, protective gear, etc., etc. It’s one of the core mechanics of the game and brings much excitement to the table as you never know what you will find. A chainsaw? A frying pan? A bag of rice? It could be anything! That element of discovery is one that attracts many to the system. Unfortunately, that logic stops working when you apply it to Super Heroes like Doctor Strange or Scarlet Witch, who aren’t going to randomly come across a weapon and start firing.
The solution to this was twofold. First, each Super Hero has their own Attack. You won’t find random Weapons through the game. The second, and the focus of our talk, is the existence of Zombie Traits. Mechanically, these function very similarly to how you’d Search in the core Zombicide game. During your Turn, you can spend an Action to tap into your undead nature and draw an Zombie Trait. Your character is limited to holding two of these at any time, but you can swap them out if you gain more.
Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game is still under development. Images are subject to change.
In normal Zombicide, once you attained an Item, you had it forever (unless you traded it or whatnot) and it usually represented a new Attack of some kind. In Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, Zombie Traits grant you a 1 time use Skill, usually at the cost of increasing your Hunger Level, as you are tapping into the ravenous nature of the virus.
And while this might seem like a simple mechanic swap, it actually affects the overall flow of the game in a deeper way. In core Zombicide, once you’ve decked out your Survivor, it’s time to get down to some good ol’ fashioned zombie extermination. Part of the gameplay flow is that, in the early game, you’re slowly building up your arsenal and your Survivor before becoming a powerhouse-zombie-killing-machine. By changing the dynamic of Zombie Traits to being single-use Skills (rather than new Attacks), it means that at no point during the game will gaining additional ones be “suboptimal.” So, you’re always going to want to take the time to get new ones. The parallel here would be, in core Zombicide “Sure, my weapons are good, but I could find something better!” whereas here its “Ok, I expended my Infected Traits… I need new ones! MORE FLESH!”
One of the other changes I cited above is that Zombie Traits represent new Skills, rather than Items. While new attacks are certainly interesting and much of the fun in core Zombicide, combining new Skills from your Zombie Traits along with the innate Skills brought by your Super Hero allows for other forms of customization. Changing your tactics on the fly to meet whatever threat you’re currently facing “Oh no! A surprise room full of SHIELD Troopers!” “Oh no, a normal, lone Thor!” different traits will help you in each of these situations.
This is just one of the ways we’ve modified the core Zombicide experience to better fit the setting. But at the same time, it was our attempt to keep every element grounded in the fundamentals of the game as well. As we’ve said, this is a new version of Zombicide. If it wasn’t Zombicide at its core, then something would be amiss!
And that will cover it for today. We have lots more to unveil as far as mechanics go, so stay tuned for our next article! Until then.
Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game is coming soon to Kickstarter!