Sunday, April 12, 2015

[GameHack] Build A Better Zombie Horde For Escape: Zombie City

As part of International TableTop Day, I wrote an overview of Escape: Zombie City. Now, I really like this game a lot, but to be frank, the zombies that came with it are a bit lacking.

First up: many other zombie boardgames comes with actual zombie figures for use with play. Cardboard cut-outs placed into plastic standees strikes me as a bit cheap-looking. (Also, the player and van figs are physical wooden props, so why not the zombies you fight/flee from? My other issue was that the coloring used to differentiate the power of the zombies (red, yellow, and green) was applied very lightly. As a guy with severe color-blindness, this made the zombies nearly impossible to identify during the heat of play. I needed zombies that were RED, YELLOW, and GREEN. So I decided to Build a Better Zombie Horde.

If you're color-blind, these are identical -- except for the numbers, of course.

I know there are many places online where you can buy ready-to-go zombie figures for use with other zombie games. (The Bag O' Zombies for use with Zombicide comes to mind.) But for this project, I didn't want cookie-cutter zombies who all looked the same; No, I wanted an assortment of different zombies in different poses who stood just a touch bigger -- the size of little green Army men, in fact.

I did a bit of searching online, I found a 60-piece zombie playset filled with an assortment of undead -- just what I was looking. I then gathered up some white poker chips, epoxy, plastic primer, three tubes of acrylic paints, and some double-sided foam tape.

My staging area for my soon-to-be-released zombie horde.

First I sorted out 20 zombies in interesting poses I liked, then I glued them to the poker chips for a stable base. After dusting them with the primer, they held the acrylic paints well.

A few zombies both pre-painted and post-painted.

For the fist/bat icons, I scanned a few of the original figures, then trimmed the icons down in size (removing the "X" as superfluous). I printed them onto thin cardstock, covered them with a layer of clear tape (to protect the imagery), then stuck them to the bases with foam-backed double-sided tape. This both "lifts" the icon up for easier reading, as well as adheres to the irregular shape of the poker chip base.
Compared to the originals, I like my zombies a LOT better for gameplay!

 And my Escape: Zombie City "new-and-improved" zombie horde is ready to storm the table!

During gameplay, you'll need to draw these blindly out of a box rather than the cloth bag provided with the game, but I think these are going to see a lot of use in future games!

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