Design Diary #4: When Good Guys Go Bad (… For Braaaaaiinsss)

I haven’t eaten in over a day!” – Anthony Stark, Earth-2149

In the world of Marvel Zombies, the Zombie Virus hasn’t stripped the higher brain functions from those it has infected. No, almost worse, it has left them fully aware, but unable to control their rampant hunger for flesh.

This sets the tone of subtle tragedy that permeates the entire setting of Marvel Zombies. As strong and stalwart as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are, even they are unable to resist the new existence that has been thrust upon them. Michael Shinall here, one of the designers for Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, and today we’re going to take a closer look at one of the Heroes of the Core Game, and how he plays: Tony Stark himself, the incredible Iron Man.

In some fundamental changes from standard Zombicide, each Zombie Super Hero comes with their own built-in attacks directly printed on their ID Card. This means that, unlike typical Zombicide, which has players finding various Weapons to utilize, the Infected Player Characters already have this innately (you can read more about that HERE). In the case of Iron Man, his attack is Missile Wave, which rolls a respectable 3 dice (base) and hits on a 4+. Most importantly, it can be used from Range 1, giving him the edge when it comes to distance.

In addition to their unique attack, each Zombie Hero also has access to a special Devour Attack. It’s not the most optimal Attack. In fact, you’ll only want to use it when your Hunger begins to get the best of you. We’re not going to dive deep into those mechanics today (you can read more about that HERE). We’re here to focus on Zombie Iron Man.

Another change to the Zombicide formula is that each Zombie Hero has pre-determined Skills that they unlock as they Level Up. In usual Zombicide, characters would often have a number of options of different Skills they could gain as they progressed, pulled from a common pool of abilities. Here, with the unique nature of each Super Hero, we’ve elected to instead give them a personalized set of Skills representing their various powers. While there are some commonly occurring Skills, we’ve flavored them to match the signature moves of the individual Super Hero. Perhaps most importantly though, by tailoring the exact Skills that each Super Hero unlocks, we were able to develop distinct play-styles for each one. Whereas a normal Zombicide Survivor might end up with a medley of Skills by the game’s end, here in Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, each Hero’s specific cadre of Skills builds upon each other, focusing their role in the group.

That all being said, let’s show an example with Zombie Iron Man himself:

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