Marvel Zombies Design Diary #2: The Uncontrollable Hunger

The Hunger is absolute in the original Marvel Zombies comic. Even the Super Heroes with the greatest willpower fail to refrain from their horrific cravings for flesh. In Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, Hunger is perhaps your greatest weakness… But also your greatest weapon…

Michael Shinall here, one of the designers for Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game, and let’s talk about The Hunger.

In the board game, you take on the role of a Zombie Super Hero, and your primary goal in (un)life is now to Devour as much flesh as you can - unwillingly, unfortunately, as no true Super Hero would elect to perform such actions. But, as we’ve mentioned, this is the universe of Marvel Zombies, and the choice is no longer your own.

Gameplay-wise, Hunger plays a vital role in your overall experience. Each Zombie Super Hero has a Hunger Track ranging from 0-4. It represents their overall level of Hunger.

At the start of each game round, the Hunger Level of all Zombie Super Heroes increases by 1. Whenever a Zombie Super Hero performs an Attack, they gain additional dice equal to their current Hunger Level. So, for example, Hulk has his SMASH! Attack, which innately rolls 2 Attack Dice and Hits on a 4+. Let’s say three game Rounds have passed and now Hulk’s Hunger Track is at 3. This means that, each time Hulk Attacks, he’s going to be rolling 5 Dice. A pretty hefty Attack!

Ok, so Hunger represents the Zombie Super Hero getting more dangerous and vicious as time goes on, but also just performing Attacks in general can cause this Track to increase. For each Attack Die roll of 1, the Hunger Track of that Zombie Super Hero also increases by 1. Such is the risk of actively attacking your enemies in an attempt to destroy them instead of… well… devouring them.

Did I forget to mention your Devour Attack? My bad. Brain must be malfunctioning.

In addition to a unique Attack, each Zombie Super Hero also has access to a special Devour Attack. It’s not the best Attack out there. In fact, it’s pretty bad, as in it only rolls a single Attack Die and only hits on a 4+. Worse yet, while normal Attacks can wipe out a swath of enemies, Devour only ever eliminates a single target.

Ok, so why would you use it? Hunger increasing sounds pretty awesome! (If you ignore the whole “having to eat people thing”) Well, Hunger has some extreme drawbacks. If it ever caps out, you enter a state called Ravenous. This limits your Super Hero to only performing Move Actions and the Devour Attack. No special Skills, no fancy Attacks, no collecting objectives, just finding a target and eating them. And should you be unable to find a meal? Then you’re going to begin suffering damage as your body begins ravaging itself. Yes, it might be a bad play to have to leap right into the middle of a group of SHIELD Troopers… But when you gotta eat, you gotta eat.

This creates one of the central risk-vs-reward/push-your-luck systems of Marvel Zombies: A Zombicide Game. You will need to constantly take your current Hunger Level into account, being sure to Devour regularly, lest you lose total control and end up in a lethal (… for a zombie) situation!

While Hunger is a relatively simple mechanic, it’s also interacted with by a large number of Super Hero Skills, as well as Zombie Trait cards. Some will grant you powerful bonuses if your Hunger is reaching its maximum, and some (very rare ones) might even aid you in keeping a modicum of control over yourself. Further still, some Skills are directly tied to your Hunger level, changing slightly how they operate based on your Hunger level.

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

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Marvel Zombies Design Diary #2: The Uncontrollable Hunger

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