Boardgaming 2022: the year of "point salad really isn't very filling"

So those of you who have played it (or made videos about it, @tomchick!) tell me about Dawn of the Zeds 3rd edition. It looks like it’s getting one last push into the retail pipeline here of late.

Is it too fiddly? Obsolete mechanics? Or for fans of a solo game “state of siege” type of play, still worth a look?

It’s amazing and totally worth a look for the solo player! :)

The main issue with 3rd edition is the tacked-on multiplayer and insistence on splitting the game across a hundred difficulty modes and rulebooks, which makes referencing and finding stuff difficult.

But the game itself is still really good.

I feel like it’s a very strong contender for best zombie boardgame. Not that most of the competition is any great shakes, and a few of the ones people seem to love best are mostly about doing terrible things to your friends while there are also zombies, which doesn’t rate for me.

I have Dawn of the Zeds on my table currently. Though not much time to play it currently. Yeah it’s good. Definitely some high tension in the game. I’ve had the zeds pull off some sneaky wins because I didn’t secure a flank hard enough! Yeah I’d say get it if you can.

Regarding the rule book, I agree that finding certain rules can be tricky. But I can see the principle at play which is to drip feed new mechanics to the player and get accustomed to the rules at that difficulty before moving on. It’s better than something akin to Mage Knight where it throws everything and anything right from the start. Because of this trickling of new systems, I don’t see the game as too fiddly. However the most basic game is a little boring, the game does ramp up in excitement after progressing through the rules book.

Each turn is pretty straight forward and the event card reminds you what needs to happen, what tracks progress to and when.

There’s a bit of awkward Victory Point stink on the third edition of Dawn of the Zeds, but it’s still very good, mainly because the first and second editions were so good. This guy liked it ten years ago and I have it on good authority he still likes it:

Here’s some third edition gameplay:

Yes, but it partly depends on what kind of game you’re looking for. It’s not a dungeon crawler or a Euro or a deck-builder or anything the average person would expect when he buys a boardgame these days. It’s very much a wargame using the states of siege template. But it’s also a perfect example of how states of siege is often an awkward abstraction when it comes to history, but it’s a perfect gameplay engine for a zombie apocalypse!


Remember all the different combat shifts! Named space vs. Town space vs. space with a barricade or whatever it’s called… and remember that shifts aren’t cumulative… no one has ever played Dawn of the Zeds all the way through without making a mistake! It’s great, though.

In unrelated boardgaming news:

Obviously an adaptation of the classic Phillips CD-i FMV game.

It is not.

Everdell, Quacks, and King of Tokyo getting to the table tonight. Color me excited

Still my son’s favorite boardgame. If he gets a vote on a boardgame to pull out, it’s pretty much always King of Tokyo.

Interesting. That’s actually a selling point to me, maybe. I find myself at times needing a couple of readthroughs of rules and watching a playthrough video or two to grasp deckbuilding or Euro worker-placement mechanics in games. But traditional war game mechanics? For someone who grew up playing SPI and Avalon Hill games with counters with numbers on them and ye olde Combat Results Chart…well, those are mechanics I think I’ll grasp right off the jump.

Oh, me as well! And that’s part of why I love Dawn of the Zeds. Hermann Luttman, being a wargame designer, has all the meticulousness of a wargame designer, and it shows in the early editions. I mean, just the fact that @justaguy2 popped into the thread to remind someone about combat shifts! Who even knows what combat shifts are anymore, right?

The problem – this is a theory I have and it’s not based on any actual information – is that Alan Emrich’s “development” in the later editions seems to get more aggressive, introducing little tweaks and add-ons and “wouldn’t it be cool ifs…?” that ultimately weaken the original design. It turns into a messier game, a goofier game, a more pandering game, and in the process, the wargamey meticulousness gets muddied. My feeling is that the third edition is the reaction of a company trying to cash in on the popularity of zombies because, whoa!, it turns out lots of people bought the last edition, so they figured they’d make it easier to play, and think up some paid expansions, and fold in lots of extra pop culture references, and then maybe even more people will buy it! I feel the same thing happened with Chris Taylor’s Nemo’s War, by the way.

I like the third edition of Dawn of the Zeds, and I’m glad it’s a hit. But I feel like the supposed course correction it was trying to make from the second edition was mostly a mistake.


For those that may not know, Alan Emrich was previously (in)famous as the lead designer of Master of Orion 3…

And keeping with the Victory Point video game link, Nemo’s designer Chris Taylor was a lead designer on Fallout (not to be confused with the Gas-Powered Games Chris Taylor, of Total Annihilation/Dungeon Siege fame). :)

Everdell was fun, but took us a solid 2.5 hrs to play. Hopefully with an experienced group that would be closer to 90 minutes. Only mechanic that stunk was one player who was out of it pretty quickly and had no way to come back. Most of that was from new player mistakes, but I could see the same happening to a player with runs of cards that don’t work together.

Took so long that we didn’t get Quacks out, and instead of King of Tokyo we just played straight in Yahtzee which is my favorite go to.

But it’s a solo game, correct? Why is it so hard to make and awesome multiplayer zombie game that’s good? Last night on Earth was probably the best effort I’ve seen.

In theory 3rd edition has coop rules but they’re pretty much just “divvy up your actions between players”. So yeah, it’s a solo game.

He’s getting a new shot at it soonish (likely late 2023?):

Here’s my boy schooling me tonight in Transformers TCG. Late to the party, but I picked up a couple of starters and booster boxes on the cheap. Opened 8 tonight and played our second game, but first ‘full’ game with 25 stars worth of bots. Of course he opened a super rare Nemesis Prime, then mopped the floor with me.

It’s pretty fun, but I guess covid killed it in the end. The art on the cards is awesome, retro 80’s inspired and it seems pretty easy to get into and I kind of like the randomness that card draws add to attack and defense values - it made one play super memorable.

I played a combo to add attack value and additional card draws to an attack against Nemesis Prime, drawing six cards instread of the usual two. Against the odds, this ended up only adding a single attack value to my stack, which he then drew multiple defense cards against it, resulting in Nemesis Prime escaping with one health against my well executed plan, which had him screaming for joy.

I don’t care about winning, but that’s the kind of experience I want him to have to drive an interest in boardgames and all the beneficial education I think they can bring - maths, strategic and tactical thinking, planning and social interaction.

That’s pretty awesome. I can relate. I will miss those moments a lot once the kids are no longer kids and off to their own far away lives. Hopefully a memory or interest is set so that someday there will be visits with request to pull X or Y off the shelf once again.

I just need to vent

I don’t understand Kickstarter. And I mean that in the most literal sense possible. I have never backed anything, but every once in awhile I go to see what might be coming.

Today I stumbled upon the Game Toppers, but when I go to the KS page it is just an absolute mess of images and numbers and explanations and I honestly have no idea what is going on:

Why isn’t this just a proper store with a storefront? (don’t answer, I know why)

It isn’t just this product - I’m consistently confused when I go to KS pages to try and figure out what the product is, if it is even available to back, when it might ship and what will be included. Drives me crazy

/end rant

It is, assuming your definition of “proper storefront” dates back to about 1995.