So I've never actually played Zombicide before, so getting this game (as a birthday gift) was definitely the push I needed to finally try it out. Actually as I'm reading this I see that Marco Checchetto did the art, which explains why its so good. The game plays almost the same as the regular version of Zombicide, but with a twist. Instead of playing as the zombies, you play as the remaining heroes trying to stop the invasion. This game was cheap whenever I saw it out and about at retailers, so this is pretty much the Jaws of the Lion/Horizons of Spirit Island version, where they want to teach you the basics of the game before you buy the big version. To start, each of us had to pick a character. The card comes with the heroes abilities, and shows you what abilities you gain when you level up. The twist is the more you level up, the more zombies show up to munch on you, so you have to carefully pace your levels.
The top right is your health, top left is your current power, and your list of abilities is on the right. The power is a pretty interesting mechanic, you get one level of power each turn, and you can use it to activate abilities, and to throw extra dice during combat rolls. The powers on the right hand side are interesting too, you start with Heroic Rescue, then when you kill enough zombies and do enough objectives to level up to Level 2 you get the Plus 1 Action, and so on. So while more zombies do show up for stronger heroes, the perks (especially the plus 1 action) definitely improve too. Here are two other heroes.
As you can see, you can get allies and other cards to help your hero get stronger too. For a "starter" set, this came with a good amount of content. You have access to six heroes, four zombie hero antagonists, and a solid amount of missions in the book that you can try out. The board is piecemeal, so you put it together based on what the book tells you to do.
The game comes with a LOT of pieces for a 20 dollar game. It has upgrade cards, ally cards, dozens of zombie cutouts, six heroes, four zombie heroes, and an ever changing game board. At the end of the rulebook there are scenarios you can paly through as a mini campaign, we ended up doing about five of them in 3-4 hours, so the game does move pretty fast. The concept for the game itself is pretty simple, it usual involves finishing an objective or killing x amount of zombies, then escaping through the exit tile (covered by Zombie Iron Man in the photo above, top right of the board).
This photo represents a more standard game of Zombicide. We had just wiped out a zombie horde but this is how big the map usual is in the game. And here is a better look at the zombies.
The game is pretty much a horde based concept, with more and more zombies showing up until you beat the objective. The teamwork between the three of us was pretty neat, and we took turns running a second character so we could try it out with four players. The synergy between the players works well and feels like a real co-op experience, and each of us had fun smashing hordes of zombies. With that being said I am VERY excited to order the actual Zombicide games, so I can play as zombies eating humans, that sounds MUCH more fun. But overall this game was simple, fun, and a very enjoyable co-op experience. It also serves as a very cheap way to see if you would like Zombicide, before you drop 100 bucks on the actual game itself. So kudos to CMON for adopting what other companies have done and releasing an affordable "Tutorial Set". If you like co-op games or Marvel I highly recommend getting this game!