Shunning the Zpocalypse
I’m moderately obsessed with Kickstarter right now, but purely for board games. I’m not sure why – there are plenty of games out already that I want, which I don’t own, but there’s something more altruistic about this type of consumerism. Though I worry that it’s eating away at revenue streams for indie retailers – we’re essentially consuming our way up the food chain – I do recognise that this is a niche market, and that risks are taken on a daily basis by publishers already.
Enough of that, though, there’ll be time enough for me to dwell on the mechanics of Kickstarter next week. This week, I’m focused on Zpocalypse. Or more to the point, I’m focused on not focussing on it.
By its initial listing it looked like exactly the kind of zombie board game I’ve been looking for. Co-operative based gameplay with RPG elements allowing the player to manage a team of survivors through the end times. It sounded fantastic, based on the opening blurb:
Zpocalypse is a survival board game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Two to four players start in a basement/fallout shelter which can lead out to several base locations or even through the tunnels to sewer grates throughout the transformable board. Their survivors are trying to make it day to day in a world torn apart from the walking dead.
As in any survival game one needs food, guns, ammo, and more. Players go out into the wasteland and scavenge for supplies, or perhaps to find a new gun or melee weapon to fend off the next zombie attack.
In addition to gathering supplies, each player forms and controls their own squad. Each squad works to fortify the base(s). However your walls and barbed wire won’t hold the dead for long, and they’re getting hungry.
That was all I read, and I backed it immediately despite the high cost once I combined international shipping. Then I watched the Tom Vasel/Dice Tower paid preview:
I removed my backing immediately. Not because there’s anything wrong with the game, nor because Tom does a bad job. It just looks like something that’s not going to suit me. It’s actually not the zombie game I’ve been looking for – a fully co-operative, movie like experience that allows my wife and I to work through scenarios (random or otherwise) as a team in a thematic experience we can both relate to.
Instead, it’s something else. Something I’m desperately disappointed wouldn’t get played at my house. Were it cheaper, easier to get hold of, anything, I’d have it in a heartbeat. It’s not though. Perhaps once it gets a local, properly distributed release I’ll reconsider.
It may be too late by then, however. I’ve already printed off Dead Of Night, a print and play game that ticks off the fussy list I’ve constructed. It’s GM-less, it’s fully co-operative and it’s cheap (free). It also negates any need for me to buy Last Night On Earth, except it doesn’t include miniatures. Both games are scenario driven, but the latter needs someone to control the zombies or to understand a solo variant. If Last Night had a full suite of miniatures – rather than the mere 14 bad guys it does – I’d be more inclined to give it a go, but the plethora of expansions already available at quite some considerable cost puts me off a tad.
Then there’s All Things Zombie, which is alarmingly similar at its core to Zpocalypse, though it doesn’t have the modular board design. It’s also bloody expensive (£45 in the UK) which is surprising given it’s made almost entirely out of cardboard. Get the pricing right, guys.
And what about Zombicide – a game that is remarkably similar right the way through to Zpocalypse again, which will have a commercial release later this year. This has some beautiful miniatures that come with it and what looks to be an interesting mechanic (KILKILLKILL), but doesn’t quite sate that “co-op survival horror” thing I’m looking for.
There’s certainly plenty of choice, and I already have the rather lacklustre Zombies!!!, so I’m sure I’ll figure something out eventually!