Monday, October 15, 2012

All Things Zombie: Final Fade-out Quick Review

      I finished a full read of the All Things Zombie: Final Fade-out rules and overall I must say I like them. There are some things I liked, some I didn’t, and others I’m “Meh” about.

      One thing that is readily apparent is that the explanations are much clearer, a multitude of examples are given, and there are almost too many page number references provided. At the end of major rules explanation a “Stop!” sign is placed along with suggested quick-games to try out that particular rule directly so you get the hang of it before reading onward. There’s also a quick review-style list that reprints an outline of the major points covered in the prior text. This alone is IMO worth the price of the new book!

      As a quick list I provide the following:


What I Like:

* The idea of “Star Power”, where a star character can roll dice to reduce damage or negative effects.

* Now the Reputation score is used for most successes instead of 1-3

* Firearms seem to be easier to use in killing zombies.

* The Challenges description is clearer and more detailed.

* Vehicles now move even when driver is not active.

* There are now more starting zombies on the board

* I also like how zombies now are rep 3 except when in LOS of a human; and then they are Rep 4 for Activation only.

* I do like the rule that zombies can shrug off Impact 1 damage, more cinematic.

* There are now actual rules now for an infected figure becoming a zombie during game play instead of after an encounter.

* Good rules are given for gas siphoning/Fuel resource gain.

* There are more campaign-style rules, and more tables for events and encounters. I especially like the inclusion of attacks on a group’s safe houses and vehicles.

* There are new random events, some are reprinted but others new such as figure twists ankle, grunt wanders off, etc.

* Generating building contents is a lot more streamlined and understandable.


What I Don’t Like:

* Insight checks are now by figure instead of by group.

* You cannot play a Police/Military class anymore, only Citizen to either Ganger or Survivor.

* Some attributes like “wuss” left out.

* Grenades no longer included.

* The sentence “Here’s how we do it.” is repeated constantly…. while I can see the necessity at times it gets old when reading.

* Zombie surprise system seems clunky, and I’m not sure adds much to the game.

* The “Cheating Death” rule should require a loss of items for the star figure.

* The Adrenaline rules I don’t like as they are portrayed as an advantage. Excessive Adrenaline can be as much of a bane as a boon, penalizing aim, attention, and the inevitable crash afterward.

* Some of the random events like Lost Children, etc. are missing but they are in ATZ Haven so I guess it’s not a big deal.


What I’m Unsure About:

* Melee might not work as well as the BDTZ version.

* Leaving table edge not automatic

* The new method of generating zombie locations (using a clock face) seems better but I’m not sure it’ll make much difference.

* The “Items” system seems an expansion of the IZ barter system. It seems simple enough, but we’ll have to see how it plays.


      The only other points I’ll mention in detail are the PEFs system and the Meet & Greet. PEFs are resolved slightly differently, but not so different that I think it’ll throw off people. Generating them is easier though, and it gives the option to “Load” your PEFs with groups at need. I have an idea that the Loading system might be a donation of Vampifan’s; and IMO it’s very nice! Keeps a cinematic/literary feel to the game with recurring villains. Like the PEFs, the Meet & Greet system is a little different too but again not sure its different enough to impact play much.

      I do miss the inclusion of the earlier scenarios such as the ATM trip and the kids’ chase. There is a free pdf Day 1 download but I wish these had been retained in FFO.

      The Quick Reference charts seem to vary a bit from the descriptions in the text, so you have a choice of which to use I guess. I don’t know if the pre-generated characters will be useful or not, but I applaud the inclusion of them. Better to have and not need, etc.; though if the BDTZ scenarios were removed to make room for them I think they weren’t a good trade.



All in All, I give All Things Zombie: Final Fade-Out 4 Head Shots out of 5, as the Mail Order Zombie Podcast grades things!


Zombie Chow


lrqan said...

I like the way you've laid this out very informative.


Vampifan said...

A very well written and considered review. I totally agree with many of the poits you raised. Overall, I think that FFO is a vast improvement over BDTZ... but it is not perfect.

Brummie said...

As the others have said. A nicely laid out review and comparison.

Zombie Chow said...

Thanks all; I know I was on the fence about getting FFO for a while so I tried to list as many variances from BDTZ that I could so people might make an informed choice about purchase. Vampifan, was I right about the "Load" of encounters? ;)


Clint said...

I will need to play the rules through a few times to really get to grips with them. I agree that there are both good and bad points t the rules. "Meh" as well I am waiting to be convinced by these rules but I', not quite there yet!

Grrrr Captcha!

Adam said...

A great breakdown.
I'd say most of the changes you didn't like can easily be fixed by simply using the original rules or scenario or whatever. They're yours now so do what you like with them.

Vampifan said...

The "loading" option for designing your own PEFs was something I mentioned to Ed. Whether it was included because of my comments I couldn't possibly say. I do know that Ed is a fan of pre-generated PEFs, so maybe it was something he was going to add anyway. Or maybe my comments just convinced him it was a good idea anyway. I will admit that it is a rule that I wholeheartedly approve of.

Zombie Chow said...

Adam, true...and I probably will. I do feel obligated to try at least one game "By the Book" so I can objectively decide first. ;)

Vampifan; either way IMO its a
good system. In fact, I could see ATZ players "trading" loads for PEFs to keep their own PEFs fresh and interesting.


Zabadak said...

Thanks ZC for the breakdown of your thoughtson the new rules. I personally don't think that they are that big an improvement on the BDTZ rules, just differnt.
There are a few rules that are really "clunky" (the in-sight rules especially)and I'm sure they'll could slow the game down (except against z's).
The new (for new read tweaked) driving rules are an unworkable nightmare imo.

Zombie Chow said...

Thanks for the feedback Zabadak! I forgot to mention that in FFO zombies no longer cause an Insight test...its just for other humans. Which seems to at least limit the number of Insight tests I suppose.

The FFO vehicle rules don't seem to change much other than the movement while not active and the number of 45 degree turns based on the vehicle in question. I don't know how they would work out in play...I'll probably have to do up a drive-by encounter or some such to test it out. ;)


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