These days the first copies of Zombicide - Invader, after more than a year from the more than positive closing of Kickstarter. The Sci-Fi episode of the very successful play series Zombicide, signed CMON e Guillotine Games, it already promised to be different from the previous ones, not only for the setting but also for the introduction of new game mechanics. We got to try a few games and see the gameplay differences: will the Xenos be as bad as the Zombie Orcs? Let's find out together.
In general, the small changes in the rules and the new mechanics were positively received during the games played; in fact, they seemed useful to streamline the game, increase the difficulty and give a pinch of strategy in planning the actions:
- Civilians and Soldiers: The usable characters are divided into civilians and soldiers, which differ in the available life points, which tend to be higher in soldiers, as well as for the freedom to search in the various areas of the map, greater for civilians. The result is that the latter, although weaker, will be indispensable in order to adequately arm themselves against Xenos, while the soldiers will instead be needed to protect the group, being able to withstand more damage. All this makes it essential to have a good balance in the choice of the members of the group itself, as well as giving greater importance to the roles of each, especially for the distribution of the various pieces of equipment.
- Boards: The player boards are undoubtedly the best to date. They allow you to keep improvements under the arms and have two spaces dedicated to equipment such as armor and torches.
- Death: The death of a party member always ends the game. A rule that increases the difficulty of the game perhaps, but allows everyone to play without anyone being excluded or sacrificed.
- Internal and external areas: The areas of the map are divided into internal and external zones: in the external zones it is possible to go only if you have oxygen; the internal areas are instead divided into various types of rooms (normal rooms, red rooms, oxygen rooms) and corridors. The difference between the rooms is fundamental for the gameplay: the soldiers can carry out the search action only in the red rooms, for example, while the oxygen, necessary to venture outside, is available only in the special rooms.
- The doors: No more doors to break through Zombicide - Invader. In fact, in the internal places all the doors are open, but they can be closed with a free action once in turn, in order to delay the advance of the enemies or block the line of sight.
- Abomination and "mold": Necromancer mechanic has been removed. On the other hand, the basic abomination has been made much worse, which spreads an unpleasant "mold" in the interior, which destroys the rooms in which it is found. From this they can then emerge new ones Xenos; furthermore, when there are two spawn points joined by an uninterrupted series of mold, the game is automatically lost. The activations of the abominations do not take place only through cards (which in any case are not few) but also when the miniatures of a certain type of Xeno, so it could soon become a problem (as well as a challenge to be faced with a slightly more elaborate strategy than the previous Zombicides).
- Cars: There is the possibility of controlling machines, even from a distance, which in fact constitute powerful weapons against Xenos.
- Combined attack: It is possible to choose a target before the attack and focus the latter on it, so as to accumulate damage only on one Xenon, thus making it possible to kill even the abominations with weapons of 1 damage.
- Split: When the Xenos they can follow two identical paths to reach the survivors are divided into two equal groups; where one is left over, it is at the players' discretion where to direct it.
Considerations and first impressions
As anticipated above, it seemed to us that the variations in the regulation have significantly improved the gameplay, increasing on the one hand the difficulty of the game but making it for this reason more exciting. While maintaining its nature as an American boardgame where shovelfuls of dice are thrown Zombicide - Invader seems to require a slightly more strategic approach to missions: from choosing which characters to use, which doors to close, which rooms or machines to sacrifice, if and how to divide to divert the path of the abomination.
Many have turned up their noses for the setting, even if here it is more about subjective tastes. The quality of the miniatures, as always, is very high. In short, the new Zombicide he positively surprised us, revealing himself to be perhaps the best of the series for mechanics, even if for a definitive response we would have to play a few more games.