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