Brandon: I once made a dice tower based on the Porkins’ Dice Tower and helped Tarehna make a birdhouse themed dice tower for herself. You can get a good look at them both in this video! In that video you can also see a dice tower I purchased from Troll Works with cashy money. Well, with an electronic card thing over the internets. Thank you internets and thank you cashy electronic card thing. The first dice tower I purchased from Troll Works is a Memoir ’44 themed dice tower and I love it. The construction is excellent and the fake little rivets are all turned different directions. This dice tower fits in so well with the theme of the game. A Glen Miller playlist on Pandora, Memoir ’44, and this dice tower (pictured below) make for an excellent evening.
It came completely flat and I got to assemble it!
I enjoyed the Memoir ’44 tower so much I kept going back and looking at the Trollworks Etsy shop. One of the products that stood out to me was a fold-down (or up) tower. It appeared to have the same great quality as the dice tower I had purchased and presented additional benefits. It folded up, or down, or both. Space saver! Also, there’s a lid that goes on the top so that you can plop your dice in it, put the lid on, fold it up (or down), and travel to your next adventure!
I had a dilemma on my hands though. I already had a Memoir ’44 themed dice tower, and I was eyeing yet another Memoir ’44 themed dice tower. I couldn’t do it. There was no way that I could justify two Memoir ’44 themed dice towers. Or could I? No! I could not. Not to worry. Zpocalypse to the rescue! I did a review of Zpocalypse for the now defunct Zombease.com, but you can read the text of that interview at my BGG page. You can also read my review of the excellent expansion Zmergency. How did this help? Time for a zombie themed dice tower! It is a thing of beauty.
Toxic Dice Tower
I can report that the construction and attention to detail are excellent. The dice flow and bump their way to the built in tray. The dice tower folds down (or up) and, with the lid on, does in fact keep my dice within for travel. The color is an excellent toxic green and really accentuates the feel of a game of Zpocalypse.
I do, however, have two issues. First, I wish I had purchased these in the reverse format. The fold-down (or up) tower seems more appropriate for Memoir ’44 to me. But that’s just me. Or maybe it’s you too. Go us! Second, I feel like I need to purchase all of the dice towers Troll Works has to offer. Castle designs, Star Wars (or Trek), Cthulhu, D&D. So many options. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space and I’m pretty sure that my being in grad school means my cashy money electronic card thingy just won’t be able to handle the strain. And that’s not all! Troll Works also offers box inserts and various game accessories. You should check it all out.
Visit Troll Works at this fabulous internet location and tell them Brandon sent you.
Look at this. Would you look at this? That’s a lot of plastic. 3d printed plastic. This, all of this, is NecroVirus. And there’s a 31 page pdf of rules.
Look at this!
Before I get into this I want to back up a little. We here at S&M are huge fans of Zpocalypse and Zpocalypse Zmergency. Now, on the face of it NecroVirus looks like Zpocalypse on a calorie intense diet and weight lifting program. But it’s not. It’s really not.
In NecroVirus you have different mission cards that set up specific scenarios with specific win conditions. For example you might need to fiind four survivors and get to the Cathedral within 15 turns. That’s as simple as I can put it. Create the world, complete the mission. How complicated can I make it? Well I don’t have to. Like I said there are 31 pages of rules. And it’s not that it’s impossible to figure out it’s just it feels like a larger, more insurmountable obstacle.
“Something can’t be ‘more insurmountable.’ – It’s either surmountable or it’s not.
He’s right, but the point is: obstacles.. I would really love diagrams in here that were “anatomy of a character card” or “anatomy of an event card”. Just a quick reference so I know what means what on the cards. And then also give me the additional 31 pages of rules. I feel important for me to state that following the instructions as written makes the game seem more complicated than it is. And there are small issues such as the order of actions in the rules book do not match the order of actions on the starter button.
Huh? What’s that? Yes, enough of rules. I started out by saying “look at all this stuff”. So much glorious 3D printed plastic. You get a great selection of different types of buildings in various states of disrepair. You get character pieces with their character names printed on them. There are zombies, and food tokens, and weapons and other supply tokens; little boxes in which to put the tokens for when you scrounge.
There are some issues with this setup. In the review copy we received you can see some of the issues with 3D printing. There are parts on some of the buildings that didn’t form quite right or some that have little strands of plastic that one assumes aren’t supposed to be there. Additionally, all of the zombies we received are the same color, which isn’t a problem for other games like this, but in the missions we did players control zombies to attack the player to their right. You can see how quickly and insanely confusing this can get especially once all players have placed 7 zombies on the board.
Let’s talk about the space issue too. This is not a small setup. You’re going to need a big table or a friend with a big table. And you’re going to either want to leave this setup or make sure you have enough room for storage if you have the 3D version. What? Ah, yes. You can also just do a 2D print and play version, which would reduce storage issues considerably.
But why would you want to?! Look at this! It’s an entire 3D apocalypse city with these great buildings where the little strands of plastic I complained about before actually resemble rebar or support beams in these once cared for, but now dilapidated buildings. And sure all of the zombies we received were the same color, but you can paint them to match the colors of the characters. Or, if you are 3D printing your own then print them in different colors yourself.
Look at this!
Gameplay! There are different missions with different setups, by the idea of each is basically the same. Don’t get bit, and get to the safety point before the set amount of turns while also meeting the win conditions. Survivors have four action points they can spend to move, scrounge for goods, or kill zombies. Players control zombies and attack the player to their right with those zombies. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I almost think I would prefer some sort of AI where zombies are moved indepebdently of this player attacking that player. But it may just be that I’m not used to this, and you may really like that direct conflict. Oh, and you use d20s to help resolve conflict. Yay dice!
So, that’s NecroVirus. But the Kickstarter for this isn’t just about this game. It’s about Boardcraft. The point is to create a service and community where players can design their own characters and scenaros. You don’t have to be limited to zombies, you can create share and print fantasy related gaming pieces and characters.
I don’t have a 3D printer, though I would love one, so if you want to send me one please feel free to do so, but I love the idea of BoardCraft. They want to create a world and provide a framework and tools where gamers are using the same jumping off point and then see where it goes from there. Boardcraft envisions people creating their own rules and expanding the worlds and . most importantly sharing.
To get the game as you see it here in front of me will cost you $250 US on the kickstarter. That’s a little rich for my blood. Maybe you go for the $25 print and play. Maybe you enjoy that. Then, maybe you want to updrade to 3D. Maybe you start one building at a time. Maybe you work your way up to a full 3D version.
Is the full version 3D version of NecroVirus worth $250 to me? No. I can’t spend that much all at once on one game. Can you? Do you want to? Because if you do, what I see here, is the opportunity to allow a game to completely overtake your life. You have all of these building and roads and characters, what do you do next? Well, you probably want to paint all of it. Let’s face it, you are probably angry about all the changes to Warhammer and have thrown all of that away or handed it all to your younger sibling. You need to start again and if you spend $250 on THIS you are going to make sure it’s worth it.
Again, would I pay for all of this? No. Unless my wealthy reclusive eccentric uncle who lives in a perfect replica of NORAD in the wilds of New Hampshire dies and leaves me an inheritance.
Would I play this again? In a heartbeat. This is fun. After you get past the whole learning curve thing and I’d probably house rules some of it. The thing is you could completely write your own rules and just use these pieces and characters as your template.
Do I love the idea and approach of BoardCraft? Creating tools and a community for tabletop gamers? 100%.
Greenbrier Games sent us a review copy of Zmergency and I couldn’t be happier. Zmergency is an expansion of sorts for Zpocalypse. You can read my review of that here. I say Zmergency is an expansion of sorts because while it does add more components it doesn’t add additional gameplay. Rather it simplifies things to just the combat phase, and that’s ok.
In my review of Zpocalypse I talked about how much I really loved that game and the sense of accomplishment and relief I felt when we finally won a game. That relief, however, is limited compared to the relief I got from winning a game of Zmergency. In the original game you win by surviving 4 nights at which point the game is over and you declare victory. But, the thing is, you, or rather your character, is still in the bunker. Sure, the game is over, but it was only a segment of your existence in the Zpocalypse. You will have to continue to fight, four nights at a time for the rest of your life. You can breathe easier, but the weight of your zombie filled situation still weighs on you; still nags at you in the back of your mind.
Create your own Scenario and Daily Goals
In comparison, when you reach the hospital in Zmergency you not only breathe easier, but you also feel lighter. You feel your muscles start to relax when you first break out of the darkness that is the original tile set from Zpocalypse into the Zmergency tiles. Your hopes start to rise and you can almost feel the sunlight falling on your face as you “Get To The Choppa!”(one of the scenarios in the game)
The Doctor and his bag of goodies
One issue I have with Zmergency is the set of rules. I feel like they are missing context and a connection to the original game. I suggest just jumping in and following the instructions for Enhanced Quick Play Rules to get a feel for the game and then see where things take you. Additionally, I feel like the box could have been smaller. When I first opened it everything fit just in the middle four inches of the box with spacers on either side.
I highly recommend getting Zmergency if you are a fan of Zpocalypse. It adds some fun gameplay and expands the world. You can use the quick play rules or add the tiles from Zmergency into the original game to change things up. You also get a new survivor-The Doctor. No, not that one. A medical doctor with a medical bag full of healing goodness. And you get two blank cards to create your own Daily Goal and Scenario. Very cool.
You can purchase Zmergency through Greenbrier Games here and even add some additional miniatures for fun here.
Today we have a very special announcement for you all. It’s more a sneak peak, with details to follow in the coming weeks. Since some of us have been posting pictures of our play testing, and getting all chatty about it, we could not keep the lid on the project anymore. Stay tuned to hear more and when we will be launching on Kickstarter!
Back when Jeff and Zach first met we had one goal. OK it was more of an obsession, but who’s asking; to make a zombie apocalypse board game that more closely relayed the struggle of living in the world of the undead. That game launched our company and has given us some of the greatest gaming experiences we’ve had…so far. But like every game, it can be improved upon and grow into something greater. We have gone onto other games, but just like the hero, back from battle with the dragon (I mean just like it), it’s time to return to the Zpocalypse…
“When the city was overcome, we thought, ‘This is the end.’ Then they bombed us, and we were sure it was over. Somehow- I don’t know how, or why, but somehow we survived the onslaught. There were only a few of us, but we escaped the pit of hell that was the urban wasteland. They always say the suburbs have it better, right? They weren’t hit nearly as hard; we’ve found a sturdy house. It still has a roof and everything. We’re hungry, tired, and it’s a struggle to hold back the dead from their nightly assaults, but we’re still here, we’re not going down yet.”
Zpocalypse 2: The ‘Burbs, is a new standalone game, evolved from the original Zpocalypse, a survival board game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Like the original, two to five players each control their own squad of survivors equipped to the teeth with weapons, food, and items. What makes this new rendition unique is that we’ve enhanced and streamlined several parts of the game. Your actions as squad leader allow the survivors to choose their tasks on the daily action board. Each choice has limited space, and will come with benefits (potential for more supplies) and costs (like all things in the Zpocalypse, it’s never pleasant!) With gained experience your survivors will level up on a variety skills to choose from. Rather than picking your path for you, now you have the ability to carve out your survival scenario for yourself, but be careful what you wish for.
2 – 5 player co-operative post apocalyptic zombie survival experience.
Squad based system – each player controls up to four survivors!
Easy to master combat system, and game master-less zombie activation!
Tower defense element of defending your suburban base from onslaughts of zombies
New mechanism for assigning each survivor’s daily task such as scavenge & barter, craft & fortify, guard & patrol and lastly rest & hell.
New story driven scavenging with a choose your own adventure feel.
New skill system (melee, firearms, mechanics, sneak, and talker. )
Experience system to allows for survivor growth and development
New base defenses such as a pit trap and fuel bomb.
New base upgrades: workbench, campfire, ammo press, toilet still and more.
Folklore The Affliction
Many (really, a lot) of you have been asking about the Folklore Kickstarter campaign. We are still working on new content and refining the rules with Twin Fire productions to give you the best game experience. Great games take time and since you are reading this newsletter, you will be one of the first to be notified about future news.