Here comes a short glance at the new Zcide black plague. I just wanted to tell you my impressions from our first mission of black plague yesterday evening!
Black plague has a unique feeling different than the modern days Zcide. This is mostly due to four aspects: small map, a lot of meele combat, new cards (weapons as well as spawn cards) and the Necromancer.
|The Necromancer is leading the zombies pack and the abomination through|
Lets have a closer look
Ranged weapons do not play such a big role in black plague (in comparison to modern days Zcide) even though there are several available. You are also able to shoot into close combat now without killing friends. However nearly every melee weapon can be used in a combo now. And there are more of each type. This means you will quite quickly find a second short sword or equip the axe in both hands. Moreover you have a third slot on your characters now which can hold an armour or in some cases a third weapon like a dagger which means you can really power up your melee skills.
Dragon bile which is the new molotov cocktail works nicely. You can place it somewhere and guide the zombies to it, then throw a torch on it and BOOM z'ds are gone. Moreover there are more dragon bile cards and torch cards (4 of each kind) which means you'll find it more often.
Runners and walkers you already know. Nothing new here. However for fatties something changed. They are not spawning with their crew (aka their hood) anymore. But there are less weapons with a strength of 2. We had a harder time killing them. The abomination behaves as usual but it is now moving with every new abomination spawn card drawn (instead of spawning a fatty in this case). Cool thing is that Samson (the dwarf) gets +1 in melee combat when entering red level which makes him a good abomination hunter later in the game.
The Necromancer is a new class of enemy. As soon as he spawns you want to kill him 'cause he brings a new spawn point and he'll try to escape through the next zombies spawn point rather than running after you. If you kill him before he leaves you are free to remove a spawn point. This means you can't just play hide and seek with the zombies but are actively forced to hunt them down. Here comes another change into play and this leads us to:
Maps are much smaller than in modern-times Zcide. Most of the maps in the mission book are only 4 or 6 map tiles in size, only the very last one is 9 tiles. Moreover there are less fields per map tile, several map tiles have less than 8, in one case even only 4 fields. First we thought this is boring - but no!
Due to their size you are much faster into close combat. On top there are the vaults. These are separate rooms besides the map (yellow and violet). You enter them and leave them via the vault doors. As they are on different locations on the map you can use the vaults to travel really fast from one edge of the map to another.
Our heroes are using the vault (violet, behind the glass ;-) ) to get from thelower left corner to the upper right corner to help the wizard
As you may already have guessed reading this there are also some tweaks regarding the spawn and weapon cards. First of all there are a lot of melee weapons (surprise surprise). Besides of melee (swords, hammers, axes) and ranged weapons (bows, crossbows) there is a new class of weapons: magic spells. Most of them are also ranged weapons but there are also enchantments. These are quite rare spells which work like skills, i.e. there is a healing enchantment.
Most of the melee weapons and spells can be used as dual weapons. Just equip two weapons of the same type and you can use them as one weapon - we already know that from modern days Zcide.
Also there is another new type of equipment: armours and shields. As you may already guess they can save your life when the undeads try to get a bite off you. Another tweak is that you can open doors with a lot of weapons but not in every case you will be successful. With the axe for example you can just open a door as you know it from Zcide. With the short sword you'll need to role a die on a 4+ to open the goddamn door (!!!).
Whats with the cards which are neither weapon nor a zombie? Yes they are still included and they are depicting apples and salted meat now. However as you are not loosing a card anymore when getting hit by your rotten ex-neighbour they are now giving you skill points when discarded (aka immediately when you find them).
Not so helpful stuff
Of course there is a new type of card: the Necromancers spawn card. This simply tells you that a necromancer is coming your way. But there is a second new spawn card: the double spawn card. When you draw it you do not find zombies in the room you draw for but draw two cards for the next room. This opens the potential for really crowded rooms even in blue level. From both Necromancer and double spawn there are enough cards in the game to change your weekend trip to the big city to a nasty adventure.
All in all I'm totally happy about all the rules tweaks in black plague. It really has the feeling of a medieval close combat sword-and-dagger fighting style game and I didn't expected it to be so different to the modern Zcide!