Polygon A&A&Z article, June 6, 2018


  • 2019 2018 2017

    Polygon, a website, released an article about A&A&Z, linked below:
    https://www.polygon.com/2018/6/6/17431468/axis-allies-and-zombies-rules-preview
    In this article, we learn the following:

    • This game comes with paper money. The IPCs included will be “blood-stained” and unique to this game.

    • The Zombies come in two fashions: At the start of every player’s turn, you flip a card and put a zombie on the named territory. Also, all Infantry casualties from ground battles become zombies.

    • The neutral countries will come into play. One revealed card states: “Add a zombie to Spain. It is no longer neutral and has an IPC value of 2.”

    • They posted the setup card for Japan. On it are infantry, tanks, artillery, fighters, bombers, submarines, destroyers, transports, aircraft carriers, and battleships. So, similar to A&A '41, just with artillery added. Also, Japan starts the game with a 15 IPC income.

    • At least some of the technologies for the game are on the card, with a couple described in the text. Listed techs include: Z.I.B.R.A. suits (Infantry), Z-4 Explosives (Artillery), Chainsaw Tanks (Tanks), AirD.O.T.S. (Aircraft), Deadnapper Convoys (Transports), and Zombie Mind Control Ray (Zombies).

    • Only change to regular unit values that I saw were Tanks at A3/D3/M2/C5 (so, 5 IPC 3/3 tanks).

    • Will ship with 215 minis, between the five countries and the zombies.

    • Will come with: “… rules and components to fully modify Axis & Allies: 1942, allowing fans and collectors to play an even more grand version of the game.” I suspect this means, allow you to turn A&A '42, SE, into A&A&Z, '42.

    • MSRP: $40.

    • No release date in this article, but others have stated that we should expect an October '18 release.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • 2020 2019 2018

    I didn’t expect the Zombies to be so… “uninspired” I guess is the word I’m looking for.

    What happened to all the talk of “Zombies will stop the stalling” that we’d heard previously? It sounds like they’re just a random factor (luck of the draw) thrown in for the sake of randomness.

    In fact, if anything, the threat of zombies spawning due to INF casualties will only encourage EVEN MORE stalling, since the game is actively discouraging you from swapping minor territories (i.e. the 2 INF Vs. 1 INF or 1 INF/1FTR Vs. 1 INF fights that define the Eastern Front in smaller-scale A&A games).

    Moreover, the threat of Zombie INF discourages any major engagement whatsoever, because even if I beat your 20 INF/5 TANK/5 FTR stack with my 30 INF/10 TANK stack, I’m probably just going to lose the rest of my army to the 40-45 Zombies that show up afterwards. And it’s not like anyone’s going to be capable of building less INF-heavy armies with the IPC incomes dramatically reduced, so things are just going to devolve into a stall war for fear of Zombies.

    There has to be something else to the Zombie mechanic that they haven’t revealed yet, because from the sounds of it they’ve basically made the game unplayable.

    But hey, paper money. Isn’t that what people on here have been rioting about for like the last 4-5 editions of A&A?

    Others will say the puns for the tech (“Z-4” instead of “C-4”, etc.) are in bad taste, but I think they’re hilarious


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I looked at the Polygon article and these four paragraphs caught my eye:

    In Axis & Allies and Zombies, every time an infantry unit dies it will turn into a unit of zombies. These zombie units linger on the board, contributing later to the war of attrition on both sides of a battle.

    Zombies will also spawn randomly all around the board. A new deck of cards is being added to the game. On each player’s turn they draw randomly from that deck, spawning zombies in a single territory – even in traditionally neutral countries or places that start the game without any military forces on the board.

    Players will have to decide if a territory filled with the undead is important enough to do battle in, or if the risk is simply too great. Van Essen said that this opens up new avenues of advance on virtually every front, and forces players to make new and interesting decisions on the fly.

    “There are people who will never, in a hundred games of vanilla Axis & Allies, land a guy in Brazil,” Van Essen said, “but suddenly there’s a zombie in Brazil that’s taking your income away. You’ve got to go down and fight it.”

    What this seems to imply, in my opinion, is that the zombies are basically there as an annoyance factor.  Their job is to gum up the works in two basic ways: by preventing you from doing things that you want to do (“Players will have to decide if a territory filled with the undead is important enough to do battle in, or if the risk is simply too great.”) and by forcing you to do things that you don’t want to do (“suddenly there’s a zombie in Brazil that’s taking your income away. You’ve got to go down and fight it.”).  A third potential annoyance effect has to do with unit purchases: from tha part that says “every time an infantry unit dies it will turn into a unit of zombies”, it sounds as if players may come to the conclusion that they shouldn’t buy any infantry at all in order to mininize the zombie-fication annoyance effect.  If so, perhaps that’s the actual anti-turtling mechanism that the game supposedly introduces into the A&A universe: make it counterproductive to buy infantry units in the first place.

    The part which says that the game “opens up new avenues of advance on virtually every front” is a strange statement because it sounds to me as if the zombie-fication of territories actually restricts movement rather than opening it up.  Unless, of course, the designers regard “opens up new avenues of advance” as meaning “discourages you from going where you want to go and forces you to go where you don’t want to go,” which isn’t the definition I’d apply to the concept of opening things up.

    I’m also wondering about the game’s victory conditions.  It sounds to me as if the players are actually better off fighting the zombies rather than each other, and I’m wondering if the designers intend for the players to come to that conclusion on their own – kind of like those scenes towards the end of Independence Day in which the world’s military powers (including various countries which are traditional enemies) realize that they need to set their diferences aside and work together on a global scale to defeat the common threat of the alien invaders.  So perhaps this game should really be called Axis & Allies vs. Zombies, at least in some sort of house-ruled version.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    Sweet !!! I hope they add a Ice Walkers Deck too !!! :evil:


  • 2020 2019 2018

    However, all things considered, I’m glad the Zombies appear to be constrained in a way.

    If they only show up as INF Casualties and as the result of the Zombie Cards (TM, Copyright Wizards of the Coast 2018, all rights reserved.), then you can easily remove them from the game with the following quick house rules:

    House Rule 1.) Skip phases 1 (“Play a Zombie Card”) and 2 (“Zombies Attack”).

    House Rule 2.) Zombie do not spawn when Infantry are killed.

    Then you can make up some other fun house rule for the neutral countries with IPC Values/strategic importance, or just ignore them.

    So to all the naysayers who panicked about the Zombies “ruining the game”, it turns out that it’s incredibly easy to get rid of them. I know that won’t sway people who take personal offense at the zombies being in a WW2 board game in the first place, but that’s your conscience and we already bogged down two other threads with those kinds of arguments.



  • yeah, it seems zombies can be easily removed from the game.
    Now, if the map is bigger than 41, we have a “new” 41 intro game with higher income and more pieces.



  • I dunno, I think the adjustments to play will make this game an interesting variant.

    -does it look to you all like zombie units can’t move from territory to territory?  Seems like it to me.  Also, since the Zombies go first on every player’s turn, does that mean zombies go first wherever that particular player is facing them, or worldwide, against everyone, wherever there’s zombies present?  That gives the Zombie Hordes five worldwide shots against the living for every round of play.  Might be too powerful, unless zombies attack at 1 (which they presumably do).  Might be too powerful anyway.

    -it seems like most of the nations would probably avoid purchasing Infantry if they can help it.  Except that leaves the Russian player in quite a pickle, as Infantry has always been the lynchpin of Russian defense.  Can he afford (both strategically and financially) to purchase all tanks and artillery?  I doubt it.

    -The Infantry Bite-Proof Armor and the Zombie Mind-Control Rays might be the ‘Heavy Bomber’ of this game.

    • the Zombie Capture Transport sounds hilarious.  Don’t have units of your own to transport into battle?  Snatch up a couple of coastal Zombies and dump them on an enemy coastline to rob him of IPC’s.  I wonder if you can Battleship Bombard along with a zombie drop-off.

    Can’t wait to see what other wrinkles are in store when this hits the shelves!


  • 2019 2018 2017

    I was looking at the zombie cards when I noticed two more things about this game:

    1. I think that they will have custom dice. If you look at the zombie card on the right, the one about adding zombies to Spain, there’s some interesting text at the bottom:

      “On a roll of 1-3, get 1 arty; on a roll of 4-5, get 1 tank; on a roll of {special symbol}, get 1 fighter.”
      That tells me that the dice will go from 1-6, with the 6s replaced with a special symbol…

    2. I think there will be limited ways to move zombies around. If you look at the zombie card on the left, the one about adding zombies to Hawaii, there’s some interesting text at the bottom:

      “Choose a zombie occupied territory. Move half of the zombies in that territory (rounded up) into an adjacent territory.”
      I bet the “Zombie Mind Control Ray” will work in a similar fashion, for one territory of a player’s choice per turn.

    -Midnight_Reaper



  • I assumed the dice would be normal D-6 with a symbol instead of the 6 pips.

    Zombies look to be static and movement is card driven. Otherwise it would be more of a world against zombies game.

    I don’t know if zombies will be a 1 to 1 replacement in battle though.
    There are only 30 zombie minis. I guess they will be chipped up high on the Russian front.


  • TripleA '12

    This game is starting to look cool now we’re seeing more of the art and mechanics!  🙂


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I don’t imagine it will take very long, after the game gets published, for someone to develop a set of house rules in which the zombies can get captured by a player and weaponized for use against other players – say, for instance, by dropping them from a bomber onto an opponent’s capital.  And since they’re already dead, they wouldn’t even need parachutes, so in their case there would be no need for a paratrooper tech upgrade.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    Those card images just gave me a thought. Both of them are divided into a “desperate times” (spawns a Zombie(s)) and a “desperate measures” (provides some other bonus to the turn player). I wonder if we’ll get differently named cards…

    Additionally, one of the cards mentions something about a “Infantry Reward” for “liberating a Zombie controlled territory.” Interested to know more details on that.

    And another point. If a Territory is “Zombie-controlled,” does that mean neither player collects IPCs from it?

    Side-note: I thought of an even more devious use of the Zombies’ spawning conditions.

    Scenario: My Soviet Stack is next to my opponent’s Nazi Stack. At least one of our stacks is heavy in INF.

    1. I attack the Nazi Stack.
    2. After I’ve either lost all my INF or have dealt sufficient damage to the Germans, I withdraw the Soviets.
    3. Zombies spawn in the territory where the battle took place.
    4. I pass turn.
    5. The rest of the Nazi Stack is wiped out by Zombies.

    Might totally change the dynamics of when it’s considered “safe” to have your stack adjacent to an enemy stack.



  • I believe once a zombie territory is formed, the IPCs are dead. It now falls on you to clear the territory so as to collect those IPCs.
    This is another way to keep forces fighting both each other and the zombies.

    Strategic retreats are an interesting new twist though.

    The down side is both Russia and the Germans need IPCs to continue to fight, fuel the war effort.

    Landing zombies in Canada or Africa could really hurt the UK player as well.

    Interesting game gimmick. I could see some really wild games with zombies being shipped all over the board.

    Needs the right group of friends and a lot of beer and pretzels though.



  • @robert:

    Strategic retreats are an interesting new twist though.

    I concur, that’s some out-of-the-(zombie)-box thinkin’



  • @robert:

    I believe once a zombie territory is formed, the IPCs are dead. It now falls on you to clear the territory so as to collect those IPCs.
    This is another way to keep forces fighting both each other and the zombies.

    No if Zombies take a territory where there is nothing but Zombies it retains its IPC value and when the zombies have 25 IPC’s of territories, it is considered a Zombie Apocolypse and they win.

    Also there are dice with a Zombie head on it as a 1 then there are the zombie dice when they attack.  They are special die with 2 attacker symbols and 1 defender symbol and then 3 blank sides.  the Zombies attack first each round in territories they are present with enemy units.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15

    Thanks for article sharing!–- It seems the benefit of zombies is:

    1.  Break down the original repeated game flow pattern
    2.  Activate lands in map that user seldom would go in traditional AA game
    3.  Introduce  possibilities of riot/rebellion near each country’s own homeland due to the card events like asian time
    4.  A faster paced game (cheaper armor, a new victory condition by zombie victory…)

    All these seems pretty cool in game play perspective to me.  Not sure how much the the random factor compared to strategy/tactics.  It would be great if luck factor is still under considerable control and then it could be my next AA collection!..



  • @smo63:

    No if Zombies take a territory where there is nothing but Zombies it retains its IPC value and when the zombies have 25 IPC’s of territories, it is considered a Zombie Apocolypse and they win.

    Zombies can’t win.  ZA goes to VPs between players.

    @innohub:

    Thanks for article sharing!–- It seems the benefit of zombies is:

    1.  Break down the original repeated game flow pattern
    2.  Activate lands in map that user seldom would go in traditional AA game
    3.  Introduce  possibilities of riot/rebellion near each country’s own homeland due to the card events like asian time
    4.  A faster paced game (cheaper armor, a new victory condition by zombie victory…)

    Also thematic Hallowe’en games and a gateway game for the mainstream.


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