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:

Blue Skill - Repulsor Blast: As we initially mentioned, Iron Man’s attack is his Missile Barrage. His Blue Threat Level Skill, aka the one he will begin the game with, is his Repulsor Blast, which allows him to push all the enemies in the zone he attacks. This immediately gives him a great deal of area/crowd control straight from the beginning, being able to blast enemies out of his way or, more strategically, out of his own zone.

Yellow Skill - +1 Action: In keeping with traditional Zombicide, all Zombie Super Heroes gain +1 Action upon reading the Yellow (2nd) Threat Level.

Orange Skill - Evasive Maneuvers: This Skill allows Iron Man to perform a Move Action immediately after completing an Attack, giving him the opportunity to perform Hit-and-Run techniques. Combine this with his Repulsor Blast and you already see one combo of Iron Man blasting a zone, forcing the enemies back, and then pressing himself forward and continuing to push them, literally clearing a path for himself and his allies.

Red Skill - Suit Auto-Control: One element we haven’t spoken much of in this article is the Ravenous state, wherein if a Zombie Super Hero’s Hunger gets too high, they lose control of themselves, forcing them to get up into melee with their enemies and attempt to Devour them. As a completely ranged fighter, you can see how this is bad for Iron Man. Luckily, however, this Skill allows Iron Man to function normally, even while Ravenous, as his suit takes over control instead of the instinct-driven zombie. Now, should he still refuse to Devour anyone, he will begin suffering Wounds from failing to eat, but proper utilization of this Skill can prevent Iron Man from getting into otherwise lethal situations.

And that’s going to wrap up out look at Iron Man. This is just a single example of the unique play-styles and strategies that each Zombie Super Hero brings to their team. Join us next time when we dive further into the mechanics of this game and the universe it originates from!

Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game is coming soon to Kickstarter! Sign up here to be notified on launch: .

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

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