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  1. #1
    Destroyer of Worlds
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    Default [Zombies Keep Out]

    Is anyone finding zombie control too easy like us? Being able to pick from three Terrible Things really allows you to pretty much keep the zombies at bay with minimal risk, and never needing to take bite tokens unless you really want to. Maybe it's just us after a couple games.

  2. #2
    Zombie Conqueror
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    We've only played twice, took 1 bite token in the first game, then 3 in the second. Of the 4 bite tokens taken, 3 were through the Promo card, which forces you to take a bite token (we cycled through the deck once in each game, so the card came up 3 times).

    On the standard game, we've felt some pressure, but nothing that really felt like we were about to get overwhelmed. We've had a couple locations down to one or two boards left, and lost all the boards on one window for a couple of turns, but all our wins have been by what feels like comfortable margin.

    I think we're about ready to up the difficulty, but my 8 year old son isn't quite there yet.

    There have been many times during a game where taking the bite was very tempting...there were already so many zombies on the board that adding more was not a good idea, threatening a push chain that would end up taking 6+ boards from a single location.

  3. #3
    Lich Lord Dacarnix DC's Avatar
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    The particular players involved and their experience level make a huge difference.

    For a group of experienced gamers, I recommend the Challenge Mode (6, 4, 8, 4, 6 on barricades) if they want a fair fight or Impossible Mode (4, 2, 6, 2, 4) if they want a truly uphill battle.
    2003-2008 (Dacarnix): No Quarter contributor, playtest group lead, organized play writer, freelance game developer
    2008-2015 (PPS_DC): development manager at Privateer Press HQ
    2015-20XX (DC): infernal, No Quarter contributor, independent game developer

  4. #4
    Destroyer of Worlds
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    I've only got one game under my belt, so standard grain of salt stuff applies here, but:

    In the game I played, the group I was with wanted to race through making the devices, and very rarely wanted to take any defend actions. I don't think we ever but up any barricades.. It was just race to complete two devices, we blasted a few zombies with them while some players drew extra cards, then we raced to the finish line. We had nearly every zombie in play, and several of the locations were dangerously low on barricades.

    So given your description of "easy zombie control" I'm thinking that perhaps that means that it can depend on what approaches the players are taking? If you are focused on zombie control, then maybe the hard part is actually finishing the devices. If you're focused on finishing the devices, then the hard part is zombie control..

    Just musing really, one game and a description of another game is hardly extensive experience

  5. #5
    Destroyer of Worlds LunarSol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PPS_DC View Post
    The particular players involved and their experience level make a huge difference.

    For a group of experienced gamers, I recommend the Challenge Mode (6, 4, 8, 4, 6 on barricades) if they want a fair fight or Impossible Mode (4, 2, 6, 2, 4) if they want a truly uphill battle.
    Just picked up the game at my wife's request and while she loves it, we've found it a little easy at times as well. The upper difficulties definitely make it a little harder, but it more of a "if something bad happens, you fail" sort of way rather than anything that creates a sense of pressure and difficult decisions. Our losses here usually stem from feeling like its still too easy and letting things get out of hand without the barricades in place to handle it.

    What we switched to instead is just removing our starting hands. Largely, what this seems to do is remove the ability to race out a device during the early turns while you've still got a lot of space between yourself and the horde. With at least 4 Terrible Things drawn before you can even hope to have enough Parts to complete a device, it effectively means that the board gets a little more chaotic and hard to control before you have to start deciding how you will use your cards to control it.

  6. #6
    Destroyer of Worlds tutenkharnage's Avatar
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    I just ordered the game a couple nights ago, and it should be here soon. I'm looking forward to playing it.

    @LunarSol: Have you tried out the four ZKO variants in NQ #54? One involves adding a third row of zombies at the start of the game, one gives each player two additional part cards at the start of the game in exchange for giving all players the gameplay penalty of having three bite tokens from the start of the game (plus an additional penalty when a player gets three bite tokens), and increases the threat level of each zombie by changing the behavior of each type (Leapers leap over one occupied space when they shamble, Brutes remove an additional barricade when they smash against the workshop, etc.). These might provide just the challenge you're looking for.

    @DC: It sure would be nice if those variants eventually made their way here! After NQ #54 has aged a bit, of course.

  7. #7
    Destroyer of Worlds LunarSol's Avatar
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    Haven't tried the variants yet. They sound interesting though. Thanks for the heads up.

  8. #8
    Zombie Conqueror
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    Played a game on Father's day. My 5 year old dropped out after the first few rounds, but that really didn't impact the game. We played on Challenge Mode. We lost one window pretty early on, and had quite a number of zombies nearing the threshold several times. We'd completed the Mega Nailer, which isn't really that useful once it's completed, and our second device only let us kill zombies in that column. Both remaining players each had one bite token, so with no trading I focused on keeping the front row clear and putting enough barriers back up that we didn't lose either of our machines or the door, and my son scrounged desperately for the parts we needed for machine #3. It was our closest win yet, but a win all the same!

    Now where's that Doctor machine that removes bite tokens?

  9. #9
    Destroyer of Worlds tutenkharnage's Avatar
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    I've now played about half a dozen games, solo and multi-player, all on what I guess would be called "Normal Mode" or "Standard Mode" (8, 6, 10, 6, and 8 barricades). Here's a quick rundown of most of them:

    • Game 1 (solo): I got through this game very easily, only to notice that I hadn't been playing it right! I somehow overlooked the rule that Creepers, Leapers, and Brutes remove two barricades when they smash into locations that match their colors. No idea how they might have played out.
    • Game 2 (solo): With the proper rules, the game was much harder the second time around. I believe I finished with 7, 2, 5, 1, and 3 barricades on each location. By the time this game was over, I had noticed that "take one bite token" never appears as one of the first two options on a Terrible Things card.
    • Game 3 (two players): I taught the game to my elder daughter, who's nearly eight. She got the hang of it rather quickly. We didn't finish the game, but we were off to a good start.
    • Game 4 (three players): I played the game with my wife and my elder daughter. We were making decent progress until my daughter got bit. Not long after that, I got bit again, and this left my wife to tinker by herself. This placed the game in a very odd stall pattern of sorts—the two of them had to run off to a store after about 45 minutes, so I continued playing for all of us. An hour later, when they returned, I was still going at it! At this point, two of us had two bite tokens, and I had taken one for my wife as a free turn, in essence. (Unable to trade with either of us, taking a bite token had no real effect on her except that it left her unable to take another.) My daughter rejoined the game while my wife made dinner. Eventually, she got bit a third time, and now our ship was taking on a lot of water. Not knowing that the third option is the only one that can result in being bitten, she picked option #3 at the wrong time, and our defense collapsed shortly thereafter. But that game took nearly three hours, which was crazy.
    • Game 5 (solo, Challenge Mode): I decided to ramp it up a bit. The first contraption I completed was the Zombie Scanner, which allows a player to look at the top three cards in the Terrible Things deck, discard one, return the remaining two in either order, and then draw a card. Seeking to test whether this could be abused in a single-player game, I pushed that button constantly. My usual pattern involved pushing the button, planning two moves ahead, discarding one of the cards, returning the other two, drawing one of them, tinkering, drawing the other one, and then pushing the button again. This provided a trickle of cards, but it didn't work—I slowly lost ground and was eventually overwhelmed. Whether this was due to my overreliance on the Zombie Scanner or my reluctance/refusal to shamble zombies into my locations, I don't know. But my choice of Terrible Things eventually became too limited, and I went down fast.
    • Game 6 (two players): I introduced the game to a coworker who has gamed with me since mid-high school. (That's a long time now—nearly thirty years!) He and I stayed on top of the zombies relatively easily, although we did end the game with only two barricades in front of a window that housed the first contraption we completed. Had we been playing on Challenge Mode, the game would have been much harder. I attribute a good portion of our success to (1) our relative gaming experience, (2) my specific knowledge of the TT deck and previous results, and (3) our early completion of a contraption that allows you to pick two spaces, select a zombie in each, and destroy all other zombies in those spaces. Once that contraption was complete, he and I manipulated the zombies so they would pile up in range of the contraption, at which point I would push the button and trade him the cards he needed.


    I've also played one or two other solo games. So far, this game has been a blast, even solo. The flow of the game depends in some part on your initial draw of cards, the contraption that best matches those cards, and which location it's behind. If you get the right contraption early, the game will be much easier; if you need a lot of yellow cards to complete all five contraptions, you might have some trouble. When you are playing solo, you can always take a bite token "for free," but doing so limits you to two of three choices in 25% of the deck. (Ten of the forty cards include an option to gain a bite token: six do nothing else, three make you place a non-Runner before taking the token, and one makes you take two bite tokens. All of these are the third option on their respective cards, and the third option also covers all but one of the TTs that manipulate the blueprint tokens, i.e., that don't add zombies to the board. Well played, DC; well played.)

    I do not yet have a good feel for when to defend and when to repair; so far, those actions have been taken out of desperation only. I've found some combos with particular cards, but in general I haven't defended unless I have a spare part card with 2x Runners in the Defend box and haven't repaired locations unless I have one or more spare part cards with two barricades in the Repair box. I'm sure I'll identify better opportunities as I become more familiar with the game.

    In multiplayer games, trading has been very strong, and avoiding bite tokens seems to be a necessary strategy. In a two- or three-player game, I wouldn't recommend taking a bite token until two contraptions are complete; in a solo game, I wouldn't recommend taking one until you are halfway through your second contraption (i.e., you're halfway to winning).

    And WOW, that's a lot to say about ZKO! I love it, though. I'll be playing with more coworkers later this week; my elder daughter is already looking forward to the expansion; and my younger one, who will turn five in August, has already asked me when she can play. (Oh, and it has four different difficulty modes, plus four variants in NQ54? TELL ME MORE!)

  10. #10
    Destroyer of Worlds tutenkharnage's Avatar
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    I spent my lunch break today teaching another coworker how to play ZKO. He had a little bit of difficulty with Heap but picked up on this game right away. We played a standard game and discussed strategy as we went along. Trading was huge in this game, as it has been in all the multi-player games thus far. Although neither of us got bit, by the end of the game we were down to 1, 1, 3, 2, and 4 barricades, as I recall. Multiple locations were nearly overrun multiple times. This included the cellar, where our second contraption was located. But we finally scrounged a green part from the parts deck, winning the game not long after we reshuffled the deck of Terrible Things.

    The contraptions and their locations continue to have a big effect on the game, which gives each game an unknown degree of difficulty. In this game, we first built the Meganailer, which allows you to add two barricades to a location. The zombies hadn't smashed any barricades by the time we completed it, so we missed out on part of the completion bonus, but we ended up pushing it four or five times to avoid overruns at the critical cellar and door locations. Our second contraption was at the cellar, and it allowed us to destroy up to two zombies in any space within one space of that location. Those locations were under the most pressure throughout the game, but the completed contraption's limited range in this particular game hindered our ability to push the button to great effect. We didn't use any Repair actions during the game (not surprising, given the completed Meganailer), but I burned three cards destroying three Brutes in front of the door as part of a Defend action. And I haven't seen a lot of Defend actions during my games. All in all, it was a lot of fun again, and that's without using Challenge Mode or any of the four variants in NQ 54!

  11. #11
    Destroyer of Worlds tutenkharnage's Avatar
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    I've played a few solo games with the "Extreme Zombies" variant in NQ 54, and it's resulted in three very narrow wins. I finished each game with one Bite token and the following barricades in play:

    3, 1, 6, 2, and 2
    5, 2, 7, 1, and 6
    3, 1, 3, 1, and 1

    I was on the verge of losing the first and third games. In each game, I've had to spend several turns defending, repairing, or pushing buttons, and I've considered letting a location or two get overrun. It should provide a very good challenge for anyone who knows the Terrible Things deck well enough to manipulate the board so as to keep certain options open (keeping one or more zombies in a window column, keeping one row and one column light on zombies, etc.).

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