Run for your life! The ZOMBIES are coming!
The zombie genre has exploded in popularity. Literally, anything you could possibly imagine has been infiltrated by the shambling hordes: movies, video games, fashion, toys, flip flops, energy drinks, and even beef jerky. Who the hell makes zombie beef jerky? It’s a real thing, I promise.
It’s become such an integral part of pop culture that you can probably find zombie baby pacifiers if you tried hard enough (gross).
Zombies aren’t as scary as they used to be but I still really love the genre. Ever since I saw George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead I was completely hooked. So if you’re one of those people who is wondering how zombies have gone from being an allegory of mass consumption & consumerism to a product of mass consumption and consumerism (a bit ironic, I know), I’m probably one of those at fault.
But now, it’s not just regular, run-of-the-mill zombies you have to worry about. Now it’s orc zombies.
“The zombie plague knows no frontier! And now, our old Orc foes have fallen. It’s no longer a matter of us versus them. It’s a matter of life versus death! Orc zombies are now crossing the border, forming a green horde to bring about the end of times!
But their dark masters, the necromancers, forgot something in their evil plan: you! As a group of strong-willed survivors, you’re not the type to run in the face of death. Unite, take arms, and repel the horde with extreme prejudice!
Bring your crossbow, sharpen your best axe, and ready your fiery spells: for the few, the brave, it’s time for… Zombicide!”
A Brief Overview of Zombicide: Green Horde
A new, green threat looms on the horizon…
GREEN? That’s my favorite color!
Zombicide: Green Horde is a standalone expansion to Zombicide: Black Plague. They can be combined or played separately. Players familiar with CMON (Cool Mini Or Not) and the Zombicide series, will find the same levels of quality with Green Horde that they have come to expect from this publisher.
Like all Zombicide games, Green Horde is massive and comes jam-packed with hours and hours of replayability in one box. There are multiple missions that can be played, and even more that can be found online, created by fans. In an outpouring of zombie-themed games and pop culture, Zombicide still manages to set itself apart. It has one of the best leveling systems I’ve seen in a board game, scales difficulty extremely well, and more importantly, is a lot of fun to play.
Enough fangirling for now, let’s take a look at Zombicide: Green Horde.
Versions & Expansions
Zombicide: Green Horde Expansions
Zombicide Core Sets
Other Zombicide Expansions
Unboxing Zombicide: Green Horde
- 9 double-sided game tiles
- 72 miniatures
- 6 survivor plastic dashboards, color bases, and ID Cards
- 48 plastic trackers
- 6 dice
- 133 cards
- 68 tokens
- 1 Rulebook
Sometimes when you hear about a new game being released by a specific company, you might already have an idea of what’s going to be in the box. CMON is known for funding almost all of their games through Kickstarter, which drastically affects the finished product. If they get enough pledges, they’ll usually upgrade some of the components (depending on the number of pledges) or they’ll offer a ton of upgrades (depending on the level of the pledges). They continually pull in obscene numbers of pledges, so there are always extras to look for.
So Many Minis
The defining features of CMON (Cool Mini or Not) board games are the miniatures. Who would have guessed?
Every one of their games comes with an absurd number of highly-detailed miniatures. I honestly can’t remember a game published by CMON whose miniatures didn’t impress the heck out of me.
Probably the coolest miniature (which isn’t really mini) in the whole box is the big ol’ trebuchet. It’s used in every single Green Horde standard campaign and allows players to smash zombies two spaces away. It also enables players to fling stuff at zombie hordes that are amassing off-board before they arrive. It’s pretty cool.
Not only are you going to get a box full of great miniatures, but you’re also going to get some beautiful map tiles that are all extremely high-quality with excellent artwork.
The Kickstarter Dilemma
The only real downside that I can think of is the Kickstarter component. And this only really matters if you’re not a fan of Kickstarter. There are a lot of extras that CMON includes with its games… and a lot of them are Kickstarter exclusives. You probably won’t see anything other than the base games or the larger expansions available for retail.
This cuts both ways but it’s a minor annoyance for me. I’d be a lot more upset if there wasn’t already a ton of components jammed into the base box. If you bought all of the extras, you’d be spending hundreds of dollars and getting an insane amount of miniatures. I honestly have so many games, though, that I can’t justify spending that much just for expansions to a single game.
How to Play Zombicide: Green Horde
Every version of Zombicide comes with a starter scenario that introduces players to the basics of the game. The scenarios each have their own specific objectives to complete.
- Reach a particular location.
- Find an object.
- Kill the thing.
These are all pretty standard objectives but there’s an element of randomization built into the game. Even replaying the same missions can produce dramatically different results, depending upon some luck and how many monsters are going to spawn.
Green Horde is set within the medieval world of Black Plague, so instead of rollerblading chainsaw-wielding punkers from the original Zombicide, you’ll get to choose from wizards and warriors as your avatar to beat back the Green Hordes.
Most of the rules remain the same as those from the original Zombicide. If you’re unfamiliar with Zombicide, the weapon cards all follow a similar structure. The four numbers at the bottom of each weapon card show all the stats you need to actually use the weapon.
The first number is the weapon’s range. 0 = Melee. You have to be right next to something to hit it. You can’t just throw your sword at it. That’s never worked out well for anyone… ever. Any number higher than 0 indicates you can use it at a range and shoot at an enemy that many spaces away.
Dice are next. The second number tells you how many dice you’re able to roll. The more dice rolled = the higher the probability of you actually hitting something.
The third number is accuracy. This is the number you need to roll in order to actually hit with the weapon. It usually looks like this (4+). For that attack, if any of the dice rolled a 4 or higher, then the target is hit and takes damage.
The last number on a weapon is the damage dealt. This section tells the player how much damage they’ve done. If the roll meets or succeeds the accuracy role, then the zombie takes damage.
Just like in other Zombicide games, the Abomination is stupid strong. There is no natural weapon in the game that is going to be able to kill it. You’ll have to light it on fire and start attacking it, or try to be really clever and get away from it.
The horde is a new mechanic unique to Green Horde (who would have thought?).
You may have noticed that the spawn cards have an additional green +1 to the left of them. This is your horde. Every time one of these pops up, you’ll have to place an additional zombie of the same type off to the side of the board. This is the infamous green horde. As players progress through the mission, the horde will continually grow. Whenever a horde card is drawn from the spawn deck, that’s when the pain train pulls into the station and ALL of the horde zombies smash onto the board in one spot.
Just for funsies, Necromancers also add to the horde. Every time a Necromancer spawns or is reactivated, you get to add a normal orc, an orc fatty, and an orc runner to the horde. YAY!
If left unchecked, you’re going to be overrun. It’ll be really cool-looking, but you’re still going to die. Luckily there’s a big ol’ trebuchet that players can use to deal with them. The trebuchet can be used to attack zombies 2 spaces away or it can be used to target the horde off-board. Targeting orcs on the board can definitely be useful, but if the horde is getting too big, you may want to divert a character to thinning them out before they make it to the board.
Green Horde adds two new terrain mechanics: waterholes and hedges.
Hedges are just that, hedges. They work as a hedge maze would. Sure, you could smash through the wall if you tried hard enough but you won’t be able to see where you’re going and you can’t attack through the hedges. Players and zombies can’t see what’s beyond a hedge, and therefore cannot attack through them. That’s pretty standard but it does get interesting. If another survivor does not have a line-of-sight on the other side of the hedge, players are forced to roll a die. On a roll of 1, an orc zombie is spawned and the player basically bumbles into it. Who doesn’t like a little risk vs. reward in their board games? Players will be able to move around the map more quickly, but will also have a ⅙ chance to run smack into the middle of a zombie.
Waterholes are the next new terrain type. I guess central drainage wasn’t a priority when the city was overrun by orcs and zombies. This type of terrain represents players wading through waist-deep water. There are two ways to exit the water: Ledges and Embankments. Anything can walk through an embankment. It’s like a gradual incline into and out of the water. Ledges, however, are like crawling out of the ledge of a pool. You’ll flop about along the edge and pull yourself up. Nobody does it gracefully, but it can be done. For a player to leave through a ledge, they’ll need to spend an additional action. Zombies can only leave through the embankments, which gives players a tactical advantage where they can lay down a kill zone.
In addition to these two terrain types, there are also makeshift barriers. They look like sharpened stakes shoved into the ground. Neither players nor zombies can move through the barriers, but players can still target beyond them. They’re incredibly helpful for setting up a defense. If you manage to completely block the zombies in, they will destroy it, though. It’s best to leave them an opening somewhere so you can set up a kill zone, similar to old school turret defense games.
Your First Game of Zombicide: Green Horde
Green Horde overruns you, clubs you over the head, and eats your brains on the introductory scenario. It’s a bit harder…
First off, don’t camp around for loot. You will get overrun very quickly by the horde. If you’re not dealing with zombies and the horde, then you’re losing. There’s a technical loss if there are six spawns on the board at any given time. It’s actually pretty easy to lose this way if you’re not familiar with the Green Horde gameplay.
Next, make sure to use the trebuchet. Deal with the horde off the board before they get there. They will mess you up if you let them get close.
You have to play much smarter and keep track of a lot more moving parts in Green Horde. The imminent threat of being overrun is very real and you may get completely crushed the first few times you play. That’s okay. It’s still a heck of a lot of fun.
Just remember that this isn’t Black Plague. It’s Green Horde, and you’re going to need a new strategy in order to be successful here.
Pros & Cons
- Lots of cool minis
- A lot of value/game in one box
- Very challenging
- Seems like a weird deviation of the theme.
- The infamous fast zombie model
- Kickstarter exclusives
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: CMON knows how to make a cool minis game. The unfortunate part about that is that their entire business model is based on Kickstarter and crowdfunding. They never have any trouble blowing past their targets but there’s always a ton of Kickstarter exclusives that only backers will ever see unless you wait for them to hit eBay at double or triple the price.
I get that it’s nice to reward people who front money and support, but I just don’t buy games and immediately buy every expansion ever. I like to buy, play it to death, pick up an expansion, play it to death, and repeat.
It’s a weird business model that I’m not particularly fond of, but I also don’t run Kickstarter campaigns that regularly pull in $5,000,000, so what the hell do I know? I will say this though, every one of the core Zombicide boxes has an incredible amount of replayability, and they’ve lasted me a long time without any expansions.
The Infamous Fast Zombie Model
I’m sure if you look online you’ll see a particular distaste for this model. One of the fast orc zombie models looks very similar to the regular-looking zombies. This is one of the few complaints I’ve ever heard about minis coming from CMON. If you look at them individually you can clearly see that they’re different. When you have a whole board of the little buggers swarming your characters, it’s a little less distinct. I haven’t had too many issues with it, but I’ve heard it so many times now that I felt it was worth mentioning.
Zombicide: Green Horde is the successor to Zombicide: Black Plague. It has the same feel as most Zombicide games but replaces the zombies with stronger orcish zombies.
The minis are all extremely well-detailed. The only minor flaw is the fast zombies look similar to the regular zombies and can sometimes be hard to differentiate.
Green Horde introduces a horde mechanic where orc zombies will be amassing off the board. The horde will eventually overrun the players unless dealt with. Players, however, have been given a siege weapon to help mitigate the increased difficulty.
Overall the feeling is Zombicide: Green Horde is a more difficult experience than previous versions. Perfect for veterans looking for more of a challenge.
The Zombicide series has always fascinated me. I enjoy leveling and looting in games. The visual progression and sense of accomplishment make me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Granted, all I’ve done is sit around playing a board game, but I still feel good about myself. Zombicide and Green Horde especially have so many cool leveling abilities and equipment that add so much to replayability… and that’s just in the base game. If you’re a crazy person and shelled out for all of the upgrades during the Kickstarter, CMON went a little nutty and has all kinds of extras. They even did weird parody characters of Stranger Things. It seems completely out of the blue but when you use Kickstarter you see some weird stretch goals.
I like the fact that orc zombies are also much stronger than regular zombies. It makes sense that orcs, who are supposedly stronger and faster than humans, retain a bit of that strength when in zombie form. Overall, I think they did an incredible job with the newest installation. If you’re completely new to the series, I highly suggest starting with regular Zombicide or Black Plague. Both of those options are a little easier and good for entry-level players.
Have you played Zombicide: Green Horde? How did it compare with the original or other versions? Drop a comment below and amaze us with your braaaaaaaainnnns…
Need more zombies? Check out our picks for best zombie board games here!