As my zombicide collection seems to grow larger by the day I thought it was about time to dip my toe into the Washington Z.C (Zombie City) Campaign Expansion this Christmas… And while you might not think that Zombicide is a particularly christmassy game, well allow me to prove you wrong…
See… there’s Santa.
Zombicide is a game of surviving the Zombie apocalypse, completing missions and killing loads and loads of zombies. With the Washington Z.C. expansion… not much changes in that regard, if I’m being totally honest.
So far, and we’re only two missions in, but Washington Z.C. is basically zombicide with a couple of optional rules baked in and a dollop of story slapped on that has then been scrapped off again with a butter knife, leaving behind a thin veneer of thematic immersion.
The major revision is that the objective tokens are replaced with story cards which heroes can interact with to get a little story and sometimes a choice about what happens next. And while this is better than “get 5xp” it’s only a little bit better, honestly the writing is okay at best, but the idea is cool and I hope they push it further as the missions progress.
The idea of survivors getting a choice when they reveal a card is also cool but usually seems to be “do the thing or leave it and another player can do it on a future turn”. If you’re looking for drama and tough decisions you’re in the wrong zombie game my friend… try Dead of Winter instead.
The additional rules are cool though. The All-Out mechanic, which is basically forced on you if you use the new heroes included in the expansion, adds a push your luck mechanism to your attacks, adding extra dice but also the threat of breaking your weapon. It also encourages players to search more often and take bigger risks.
The expansion adds Night Rules, which make the game harder, reducing all weapons to hits on 6’s but compensates by making zombies only see into their own space, making them easier to herd with noise.
There are new tiles too, but so far they have yet to appear in the first two missions, which doesn’t help with making the campaign feel more distinct.
The final major change for this box is the addition of character sheets where the players can level up. CXP (campaign experience points) can be gained by a survivor when they reach the Orange danger level and again when they reach Red. This can be spent to acquire additional starting skills or bonus actions that can be redeemed once per mission. Characters also have the possibility of carrying equipment over from game to game.
The main criticism I’ve seen of the campaign is that levelling up causes the game to become too easy at the later stages of the campaign. I can neither confirm or deny this but Zombicide has always been a sandbox game, if it’s too easy add harder cards to the spawn deck or use some alternate enemy types and abominations, or drop down the number of heroes in the party.
Overall we like Zombicide, but two missions in and I can’t say I feel the campaign adds enough to make the game feel different and exciting. That said, I do plan to play it to its conclusion so check back in the future for a full review.
On the 6th day of Christmas, Santa gave to me... 6 plucky survivors...