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!