The first three Seasons of Zombicide set the game in a modern, contemporary city. The Green Horde games took it into a medieval fantasy land of orcs, elves, and dragons. For Zombicide: Invader, the development team had another opportunity to change the setting of the game, this time opting to take players to the distant planet of PK-L7. As we prepare for the launch of Zombicide 2nd Edition, we conclude our look back at Zombicides of the past, delving into the sci-fi iteration of the game.
The story of Zombicide: Invader put players in a mining colony on a planet far from Earth. There, they had been trying to extract Xenium from the soil so they could useit as a powerful energy source. The planet had been home to an alien species that, at first, really didn’t interact with humans at all. They were passive and shy, keeping to themselves. Then, something changed. The once shy creatures became murderous, slathering beasts. It was death in the dark reaches of space as players raced back to the surface of the planet with hopes to escape.
Mechanically, Invader made several changes to the game. First off, Survivors were broken into two categories: Civilians and Soldiers. Civilians had only two wounds compared to a Soldier’s three. However, Civilians could search in any room on the board, barring Xenos (the name for zombies in this version) being around of course. Soldiers, on the other hand, could only search in designated rooms, making it a tradeoff of versatility vs. durability.As the Survivors were now loaded up with high-powered weapons, the Ranged Attack rules changed. Survivors in Invader had learned to concentrate their fire, instead of attacking into a zone and hoping their bullets/lasers/slashes hit where they wanted. With the ability to go full-in, this allowed them to increase the chances of hitting and take out high-priority targets first. With the addition of SentryGuns and remote-controlled Robots, Survivors could better take on the waves of enemies that come knocking at their doors.
However, with more firepower at their disposal, the stakes had been raised in terms of what would cause the Survivors to lose the Scenario. If any Survivor was taken out, the players lost instantly. Everyone goes home or nobody goes home. Invaderalso introduced Mold, a creeping growth that was infecting the very base itself. Mold could be spread by the Spoiler Abomination, and if too many zones were connected via Mold, the Survivors lost. The designers also turned to the overall game experience, looking to change some other fundamental parts of the game in order to speed up play. For example, all doors were open at the start of the game but could be closed as the game went along. This meant faster set-up at the start. Also, when there were new buildings opened up, there was no spawn step. This represented the aliens invading from outside instead of lurking inside, but this also sped up gameplay, as players didn’t have to stop the action to add more miniaturesto the board midway through someone’s turn. Groups of Xenos also didn’t spawn extra minis when splitting, letting players decided which group got the extra figure.
Zombicide: Invader brought the Zombicide franchise to the far future. But the actual future includes a revamp of the original game. The designers have had seven years and multiple iterations of the Zombicide rules, with many new innovations created along the way. 2nd Edition is their chance to incorporate many of the fan-favorite items into the base game, while also introducing a new entry point for players who may have been on the outside looking in.
We can’t wait to bring you Zombicide 2nd Edition. It’s going to be the next step in the legacy of this great game series.
By Jason "Polar Bear" Koepp