Axis and Allies Zombies at Gencon 2018

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    Howdy crew, Taamvan here.

    Had a great time at Gencon 2018, didn’t get to do as much Axis and Allies as in the past, but I did get to play Zombies, dress up, and watch my two buddies Jason and Jim, with my new friend Ryan Davidson take the G42 Tourney final and win, so congrats to them.

    Despite the negativity about AAZ, the ruleset is pretty solid and the game needed a refresh to mix up some of the more standard choices that become boring after alot of play.  Key things that the designer did here

    Buying and placement are married into one phase which changes little except planning
    The order in which you want to lose your units has changed since you are trying to avoid losing infantry at key times to avoid zombies appearing all over the place
    The naval game hasn’t changed much but on land you’re constantly dealing with tons of zombies so that makes charging forward relentlessly quite a bit more difficult
    The dice are totally mixed up so you’ll need to play with the game’s dice
    Random cards and tech make the game more fun than grinding…
    Dark bloody design that makes the game look cool against the other permutations of the design language

    Things that may disappoint you

    42.2 sized map and scaling
    Fairly limited setup with some obvious strategic choices that
    Put Germany on an early defensive
    USA has quite a bit more money than the other powers because it needs the boost to affect the game more quickly and deal with zombies
    No strat bombing, building factories, or expansion units
    Not that many pieces or new molds the UK is the only thing thats different as far as i can tell it has a greener-khaki that looks sickly
    The Zombies because you think thats cheezy
    There is a 6 turn limit to keep the game short though that’s up to you to tweak

    I had a ton of fun, we played 2 turns with the champion Charles Michachek there to proctor the game, he understood it well, gave great advice and really captured the excitment of play.  I played against a mom, dad and son who hadn’t really played before, and it was actually pretty fun to help introduce a well known game to some newbies and learn it along with them.  We played for 2 turns, which took 2 hours, and I conceded to them–had a great time.  Thanks to Greg Smorey of the Smorey Swamp who made it a great time by organizing our area and games.

    The cards are alot of fun, even moreso than Fortress America, the zombies are interesting, just mix the game up some.  You dont need to kill all the zombies in order to take a territory, but you can.  They basically are appearing after every round of combat, and imm. ripping into both attacker and defender.  You can sort of ignore them, which means that if you come back around to your turn again, they rip into you again, but this also dissuades the attackers from taking stuff over, because they will have to deal with those zombies instead of you, and probably create some more.  If they do well and slaugter all your guys in the first rounds with good luck,  they’re just going to get even more zombie friends to hang out with.

    None start on the board, so they are always popping up and causing problems for all the teams.  The zombies are a really basic AI neutral, which gives you a chance to fight the other team or get some cash by attacking zombie held stuff.  Since zombies are always blasted with a 6 (skull) on the main combat dice, they are somewhat weaker than the other units.

    I guess the only secret of the game I can drop after 1 play is that tanks are the best unit now, they cost 5 and are still 3/3, and they dont turn into zombies.  Only downside there is that there are many situations where you NEED infantry (to transport, pair with arty, or just to turn into zombies, or bc they’re cheap).

    Hope we get a chance to play together, its a really fun new twist on the game that was badly needed to shake up some of the staleness of the core mechanics.  See you at Gencon 2019.  Jon

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18

    Your account seems different than the accounts given by the people who were at Origins. Have they changed the game since then?

    New things I noticed are:

    • You say Axis (Germany in particular) seems weaker, people at Origins said Axis were extremely overpowered.

    • The “Zombie Dice” were said to just be aesthetic before, but you’re saying they have something to them that makes them mandatory. Are they not 6-sided?

    • Finally an answer on the dimensions of the board! If the board’s as big as 42SE I don’t think anyone would complain. Spring 42 and 1941 (and possible Revised/Classic) are the only games I’d consider “too small”

    • What’s this about not having to kill all Zombies on a territory to take it?

    • The 6 Turn Limit is something that was not mentioned by the reports from Origins (those reports claimed the victory conditions were total Allied/Axis victory, or Zombies win if they get 25IPCs). This limit sounds interesting to me. How is the winner determined once 6 turns have passed?


  • Saw another photo on Facebook of the board.  Clear view of the IPCs, US definately makes some bank, i’d worry it overly much so if you dont play with the mentioned time limit.  Looks like infantry production in India but a straight up factory in australia?  Also infantry production in china.  Certainly a lot of ways to pressure japan early.  With the ways Zombies work I’m wondering if the game will have a “rubber band effect”.  May be hard for a player on the offensive to keep making gains.  Also interested in trying Russia or Germany in this game and trying “strategic zombification” of forces at hotspots.

    38276296_10160925506450556_7239228275749289984_o (1).jpg

  • Official Q&A

    @taamvan:

    There is a 6 turn limit to keep the game short though that’s up to you to tweak

    There is no such rule in the Rulebook.  Perhaps they added that for the demo to keep it short?

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    I only had time to review the rules quickly, but i thought the allied economic victory condition was based on russia preventing germany from obtaining a certian income by turn 6.  Sorry for the confusion if thats not so.

    Germanys not weaker, russia just had a clear opener i couldnt counter right away.

  • Official Q&A

    OK, I see now that there’s an “intro scenario” in the back of the Rulebook that’s only 6 rounds long, but there’s no round limit on the standard game.


  • Sounds like the Rulebook is (at least close to) finalized.  Any chance of the rules pdf being released publicly before October for a sneakpeak?

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    DMG,

    to wit

    Germany seemed weak on the water, and russia came at me with a stack 14 inf 2 arty which I couldnt assault on G1.  If you do that, youre going to lose alot of german tanks and just create a crapload of zombys.  So, i had to fall back and put a thin line of infantry on 3 more 2 value territories, which if i was russia, would have taken all of them R2 (8 ipc swing for 4x2 german losses) and set up to take norway forever on R3.  Japan is quite strong w a big navy.

    the combat dice for the main teams have a 6 for zombie kill.  both teams can incendentally kill zombies while they fight each other, or when only fighting zombies, increase the hit chance (so say 1,2 and 6 %50 rather than 1,2 33%)

    zomby dice are 1-2 attacker 3 defender 4-6 nothing,  so zomby has a x2 chance of killing attackers than defenders, which overall retards the value of a relentless charge forwards

    once all the defenders are dead, you can continue combat to eliminate all the zombies.  you may not want to, bc you still take the territory and they deter the attack in later rounds as the attacker has to deal with them too

    map size is fine, we needed a shorter game but its still pretty small on the order of classic.  zombies may make the game more careful and drawn out since there are reasons to goof around and cleanse peripheral areas.  6 turn limit sounds fine but id think that 4 hours to a clear victor wouldnt be unreasonable.  about 1 turn per hour until you get used to it.  no quick and easy victories with all the new cards and techs.

    glhf

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    its a final, ready for release version.  production quality is sharp but had some flash on one japanese infantry.

  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Thanks for sharing experiences and the pic!

    From the image of the board it looks like the factories are printed straight on the map in stead of seperate tokens. Seems like there is no strategic bombing in this game then.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18

    @Krieghund:

    OK, I see now that there’s an “intro scenario” in the back of the Rulebook that’s only 6 rounds long, but there’s no round limit on the standard game.

    Are you allowed to share the contents of the rulebook with the rest of us, or are you prevented from doing so by a pre-existing agreement with WOTC. If you’re not allowed to comment on that due to a NDA that’s fine too, I’ll just accept silence as a substitute for “can’t share that info.”

    Honestly I think capping the game at 6 turns, with victory determined by the Axis reaching a certain economic threshold by the end of the time limit, is a much better victory condition than anything we’ve ever seen before, “Intro Scenario” aside. It finally actually puts a time cap on games and allows for interesting plays by encouraging something other than stacking. I hated on the Zombies earlier for encouraging super defensive play, but if Germany has to play aggressively to reach an income threshold that changes the entire dynamic of the game by forcing the Soviets to play differently to deal with German aggression + zombies spawning on their front lawn.

    Thanks for the clarifications on my other questions, taamvan, I’m more excited (wouldn’t quite call it “hyped” though) for this game than I was before. Will definitely give it a spin in October/November/whenever it drops.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    tjoek,

    yes, printed on.  china and india have “recruitment centers” which are infantry only.  no new ones, no industrial bombing, and zombies cannot take over these which also prevents the unusual situation of them overrunning a capital.

    also, no landing on allied carriers, no aaa, and few other rules were tweaked to keep things simple.  costs for units except tanks are unchanged.

    dmg,

    6 turns isnt necessarily enough time to reach a traditional vc, esp bc the usa needs to build up and also bc the zombies are taking a bunch of your income over so youll need transports to deal with that.  its still axa, so not a short game by any means.    I did get a sweet tech w japan that let me load up an okinawan zomby and dump him on phillipines, the next turn he took it over from the usa

    re germany, i dont know what to do.  if i play them again ill def.  marshall my forces bc the threats abound zombies or no.

  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Thanks for confirming this taamvan.

    How does this game compare to 1941 (except for the zombies off course)? 1941 is the only missing global title in my collection since the classic MB version 🙂

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    iirc, 1941 was at target, $20, geared for introducing new players.  Molds were boring, in a harder cheaper plastic, board was ripped in half by 2 year old son.  It had too few territories and special rules and was like a slightly more updated version of classic.  42.2 is better and aa50 way better.

    this one has standard molds, sharp cards chits and money.  It has creative new rules and those cards which keep things fun ala the risk variants 2210, LOTR etc.  good balance of the normal game with fun new feelies added in and higher production values than most of the smaller editions,  well worth $40-50

  • Official Q&A

    @Striker:

    Sounds like the Rulebook is (at least close to) finalized.  Any chance of the rules pdf being released publicly before October for a sneakpeak?

    Your guess is as good as mine.  Wizards has provided materials in advance in the past, so they may do so this time.

    @DouchemanMacgee:

    Are you allowed to share the contents of the rulebook with the rest of us, or are you prevented from doing so by a pre-existing agreement with WOTC. If you’re not allowed to comment on that due to a NDA that’s fine too, I’ll just accept silence as a substitute for “can’t share that info.”

    At this point, I’m pretty much restricted to correcting misinformation.


  • Ummm. is this game supposed to take place in 1941? If so why does japan occupy Burma and Malaya and not the Philippine  is, and the dutch islands? and if the game takes place in 1941, why does Germany occupy Russian territory? perhaps late 1941? But then if thats the case, why arent the Japanese carriers in position to attack pearl harbor?  Why arent there loaded transports near japan? If its in 1941, why doesn’t japan have more transports? Its got alot to do. Pearl harbor, invade the dutch islands, Burma and Malaya, china, and possible Russia? But if its 1942, again why doesnt japan occupy the dutch islands? The point is, is that the setup is confusing and hurts to brain to think about.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18

    Historical accuracy has never been A&A’s strong suit… A common complaint from the traditional wargame crowd over the years.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    I think that Japan is positioning its fleets to respond to rumors of a pandemic of Bacillum Zombistus, while their top scientists at their island labs perfect their ZIBRA suit technology that they will later discover randomly or perhaps they will instead get to choose to outfit their Marus with zomby confinement cages so they can load hordes of the infected onto tramp steamers bound for the australian front.

    Its very realistic, like all games.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    @DessertFox599:

    Ummm. is this game supposed to take place in 1941? If so why does …

    If you come into A&A, of any variety, expecting perfect historical accuracy than you’re doing it wrong. Game play has always trumped historical accuracy / realism in this series of games.

    -Midnight_Reaper

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