|The contents of the Project Z skirmish game by Warlord Games.|
Upon opening the box, my first impressions were not favourable. You get one small 12 page Rules Manual, 1 equally small 16 page Survivors' Guide, 2 Player Reference Sheets, a sheet of thick card counters, 10 special six-sided dice (they use symbols not numbers), 3 decks of cards (8 Character cards, 36 Combat cards and 10 Survival cards), and plastic sprues to make 23 Zombies, 10 Male Survivors and 6 Bikers (including 2 on bikes). I was very underwhelmed by the size and content of the books. Upon reading them, I was even less impressed. The dice are gimmicky and ditto the Combat and Survival cards. The dice have symbols for hits (on 3 sides), for defences (on 2 sides) and for a surge (on the remaining side). The Combat cards are used to increase the number of hits or defences rolled on the dice. The Survival cards offer assorted tactics that can aid a side in the game. Players get 5 cards each if they're playing humans. The Character cards give stats for Movement (in inches), Resilience (armour class), Melee (number of dice rolled in melee combat) and Ranged (number of dice rolled in ranged combat). Some characters have Grit scores, which give dice re-rolls. Finally, all characters have certain Special Traits (something they excel in). Character cards can be for specific characters like PCs (for example, "Big Bazooka Mama") or for generic NPCs (for example, "Some Survivors x3"). NPC cards will list how many of them make up one choice, usually two or three of them. The card counters include Grit Tokens, Loot Markers, Reload Tokens, Wound Tokens and Zombie Spawn Points. The game also includes a very naff 6" ruler. I say "naff" because it is useless for measuring any distance greater than 6", which will quite often happen in a game. It just seems like a pointless inclusion to me.
So far, the only thing that has impressed me is the quality of the plastic figures. More on them later. So what is game-play like? In a word, adequate. The game is designed to be played by 1 to 3 players. A game Turn is divided into four phases as follows -
- Initiative phase
- Action phase made up of Movement, Shooting and Engage & Melee sub-phases
- Upkeep phase made up of Recover Shocked miniatures, Roll to Reload weapons and replenish Combat card hand.
- Spawn Zombies
The rules are not a total dead loss but they did not grab me like All Things Zombie or Zombicide did. Those games made me want to come back to them and play them again and again. I have played Project Z once and just felt underwhelmed by the experience. It is not a game I want to return to. Bummer! For a one off game, if you are short of time and have nothing better to do, they'll pass muster. But where they do fall down big time is in long term game-play. They have no rules whatsoever for character development or campaign play. In every game you'll choose from the same pool of characters and no matter how many Character cards Warlord Games provide that is eventually going to become an issue.
It seems to me that when Warlord Games acquired the rights to sell the zombie apocalypse figures previously made by Wargames Factory they wanted to make a game to go with them. Project Z is what they came up and I'm afraid they missed the mark with it. Zombie apocalypse games are still incredibly popular and there are many games to choose from. Too many, some would say! For a Zombie apocalypse aficionado like me, this period is gaming heaven. But I know which games are praiseworthy and which are turkeys, Sadly, Project Z fails on so many counts it must be regarded as a turkey. One to avoid, folks! The game retails at £30.00 from the Warlord Games webstore.
|A Project Z game in progress. A promotional photo by Warlord Games. Note the "naff" ruler!|
So, what is the bad news then? Price and quantity. Originally, these sets sold for about £25. For that, you got three sprues allowing you to make 30 or more figures. Now you get one sprue for £15. Oh, and you also get a set of Character cards and Survival cards to use in Project Z. Whoop-die-do! That works out as a price increase for less figures. I could live without the cards but some of you might appreciate them. But if you are buying multiple boxed sets then your spare cards will become surplus to requirements. Warlord Games should have included these cards in the game and added at least one more sprue to the figure sets.
|Another Warlord Games Project Z promotional photo. You can't deny how great those figures are!|