The day started like any other. The farmers had been harvesting steadily for hours when one of them looked up towards the woods that lined the edge of the fields and noticed someone emerging, shuffling slowly towards them. Someone or something. It had a strange, jerking way of moving, as if possessed by some evil spirit. In an instant, another appeared from the woods. Then a third. Before long, the fields were filled with the beasts. By the time they got close enough for the farmers to realize the danger they were in, they were already being overrun. When it was over, a man with a staff and dark cloak walked out of the forest. He surveyed the scene, then his eyes shifted down the hill and came to rest on the small village in the distance. He muttered a few incantations under his breath, and the horde under his control immediately stopped feasting on the flesh of the recently killed, turned their heads in unison towards the gathering of buildings, and began to walk in that direction. Across the countryside, the same scene was playing out again and again. The time of the living had come to an end, and death was spreading like a plague.
Last week, we took a look at the modern series in the Zombicide franchise. For this week’s CMON Feature Friday, we’re continuing our retrospective with a look at the fantasy entries.
By 2015, Zombicide had already produced three Seasons of standalone adventures and a number of expansions and supplements. When Zombicide: Black Plague came to Kickstarter that year, it changed the setting these undead stories took place in.
Set in medieval times, Zombicide: Black Plague replaced the guns and chainsaws of previous entries, for swords, bows, and magic. The fantasy setting gave the design team the freedom to make rules and scenarios with a completely fresh approach.
In this medieval iteration of the game, the undead hordes were raised from their eternal slumber by Necromancers. These evil magicians used their dark powers to bend the dead to their will. Survivors had to take on, not only the undead, but also the sorcerers who commanded them.
The new Survivors included brave heroes like Silas, an elf who is a deadeye with a bow. He saw the advancing threats of the zombie hordes and immediately informed the elven council. However, it takes a long time for elves to decide on anything, and Silas decided to go rogue, joining the forces of humans fighting for the survival of the world. Baldric the wizard had lived a long life by the time the plague hit, but his advanced years did not detract from his ability to launch magical attacks from afar. Leaving his arcane academy, he joined the resistance and contributed as much to the cause as any of the younger Survivors. Anne saw her entire village destroyed by a heartless ruler when she was a child. She was the only one who lived. A travelling barbarian tribe found her and dropped her at a convent. When the Black Plague started, she once again tested her knack for survival. Taking up arms against the zombies and Necromancers, she fought for mankind and the Lord.
These Survivors were joined by many others, fighting the good fight across 10 challenging scenarios. Zombicide: Black Plague also introduced the Wulfsburg expansion. The town of Wulfsburg long had a problem with the local canis lupus population, but the residents were soon to find out that the plague, which had gripped humankind, wasn’t isolated to them. In the Wulfsburg expansion to Black Plague, four new Survivors were introduced to do battle with the horrible menace of Wolfz. These furry killers were faster than any human runners, and could easily kill any Survivor that strayed from the pack. Wulfsburg also introduced the Wolfbomination, a hulking monster that was part wolf, part man, but all zombie. Wolfz are one thing, but the next challenge to take place in medieval times would introduce a new strain of the plague. One with a decidedly green tone to it.
The infection had taken its toll on the cities and towns, but it was along the borderlands where the living would face their greatest threat. In 2017, the Kickstarter campaign for Zombicide: Green Horde was launched, and quickly became the most successful CMON project of all time.
In Green Horde, the virus had spread to the small encampments along the border with the Orcish lands. There had always been conflict between both the sides, with small raiding parties making occasional assaults, but humans had always been able to fight the Orcs back. However, when infected by the plague and urged on by Orcish Necromancers, these giant zombies knew no fear, flooding across the border as a green tide.
That could’ve spelled the end of the human resistance, but six brave new Survivors worked together to take on the zombie Orcs. Heroes like Asim, whose life as a merchant was interrupted by the Green Horde, or Megan, the daughter of thieves, who turned to magic to defend her people, rose up and fought the undead creatures.
The Orcs tended to gather in groups outside of the battlefield before charging as a giant horde all at once. Survivors had to be prepared to face a pack of single-minded monsters. Luckily for them, they had some new weapons at their disposal, including the trebuchet. This old-timey catapult could be aimed at a space on the board and obliterate anything inside.
Green Horde introduced some new environmental mechanics, like Waterholes that slowed down the Survivors, Barriers that could divert the Orc’s approach, and Hedges where Survivors and zombies could play deadly games of hide and seek. The Orc zombies were considerably more powerful than their human counterparts, and Goblin zombies took the place of the runners. Over 10 nail-biting scenarios, the Survivors fought back the horde, and restored an uneasy peace to the border. Fans will be able to get their hands on this adventure when Green Horde comes to retail in April 2018.
To date, the Zombicide series has spanned two different time periods, and sent countless different Survivors on a number of thrilling adventures. The threat to humankind knows no limits. It can return again at any time and in any place. Where will the Zombicide franchise take us next?