Not Just Another Gaming Podcast
Not Just Another Gaming Podcast

By: JIM REED

I'm writing this letter in my final hour in hopes that one day, you'll read it, and understand why I did the things that you undoubtedly will hear that I did. And that you will forgive me. 
 
 We were holed up in a small house just outside the city when the call came over the radio that a rescue chopper would be arriving in four hours at the center of town. 
 
With us in the house was a priest and some punk rock chick. We made a pact to stick together and help each other out, but getting into the city was tricky and we all got separated. 
 
I climbed a water tower for a better look. Up there was this business woman. I could see the bank, the armory, the church, and the hospital. I could also see the destruction. I could also see them. There was at least 40 of them, stumbling their way into the city. 
 
On of the things they made clear about the evac, is that each one of us needed a vaccine, without it we would not be allowed to leave. 
 
From my position I could tell where the zombies were headed and decided I should make my way to the hospital. Unfortunately, zombies were everywhere, and they were threatening to tear down the very tower I was standing on. This world runs by a different set of rules now. I'm sure you know that. In order to save myself, I did the only thing that would keep the horde at bay. I pushed the woman off. It gave me enough time to scramble down and over to the hospital where I met back up with the priest. I was able to grab a vaccine. There was also some nerdy kid with a toy sword. The zombies were crawling all over the doors to the place. I knew what had to be done and so did the priest, but to keep his conscience somewhat clean, I shoved the kid through the doors to satisfy the raging horde for a time. 
 
While doing so, I saw your mother headed into the armory and knew I had to get over there. 
  
It didn't take long for the zombies to start banging on the doors again. A few of them wandered off, and just when the priest and I thought we could make a break for it, more of them came in. 
 
In this new world, often, you don't have much time to think through your options. To survive, you have to move quick, think fast, and never turn back.  
 
I saw a small opening and took it. And I didn't look back. I left the priest alone and have no idea what happened to him, but he never made the evac chopper.  
 
When I got to your mother, we held each other for some time. And cried. She looked in my eyes and knew then I had done some things that would change me forever. 
 
With the help of a man who had a dog, and some newly found supplies, we have been able to hold off the zombies. Your mother actually managed to fall asleep. She doesn't know We only have 1 vaccine. When the chopper arrives, I will give her this note as well as her vaccine. Then I will stay behind, and it is doubtful I will make it. Be strong. 

 

If you know nothing about City of Horror, the above scenario can and (almost) did happen.
  
City of Horror is a game about zombies. City of horror IS NOT a game about fighting off zombies. In fact, it's a game about zombies where the greatest threat is not the zombies. It's the players!
  
Repos Production says it best themselves ... "City of Horror is a backstabbing survival-horror game!" (About zombies)
  
As in all my reviews, I'm not giving a breakdown of components or a "how to play" overview. If you're looking for that go check out The Dice Tower video or grab the rulebook from Repo's website.
  
It's no secret, zombie games sell. Zombie games are plentiful. People like zombie games. I'm one of them.

CoH, again I say, Is a zombie game.
  
But is it? Wait, now I'm second guessing myself?
  
This game does one important thing not many other zombie games have done, it makes me feel like I'm actually doing what I might me doing, if zombies really existed. Yes, there's still some "game mechanics" that have to be here to make it a "game", but they don't completely break the thematic overture which is, in short, try to survive. Your victory in this game has nothing to do with the number of zombies you kill, in fact, you may never kill a one, but it has everything to to do with how well you can manipulate and judge the players of the game.
  
You start the game with a group of  mismatched survivors and some cards that are more valuable than almost anything else in the game. Remember that!
  
Another important aspect is that on your turn, you're only going to be able to move one character, so where you are in the turn order is pretty huge.
  
And this is where the wheeling a dealing starts. Only the players on the water tower space know where the next wave of zombies and supplies are headed, and they don't have to tell anyone.
  
If you have no interest in diplomatic games involving voting, making and breaking deals, bribing for information, and straight up back stabbing, stay away!
  
Every location on the board (except the crossroads) has the chance to require two separate sets of voting each round. A vote on which player present gets the supplies there, and a vote on which player gets eaten. So a lot of time is spent negotiating with each other in these situations. Having a majority in voting can be essential. But if you have any inclination that  you will end up being on the wrong side if a deal, or zombie food, this is where the cards are huge! They can be played anytime "except" just after a vote (so don't wait too long to make your move) and, they can have drastic effects.
  
The key to survival is out maneuvering, out planning, out thinking, and out and out treachery! You will not make new friends playing this game. You may loose some.
  
Blind siding people is a key ability. hiding your strategy is another.
  
All this fits together nicely for me and makes for a negotiation game with swings and loyalty changes more than any other I have played.
  
Most of the negatives I have with the game are going to be very situational. You could play with some people who just hate this sort of game or those who just can't seem to grasp that "it is just a game" and will get upset at what happens to them.
  
You may get into a situation where two or three players team up and make it difficult for the others. Now, teaming up can be in the spirit of the game, but I'm talking about a group of friends, or a couple, that refuses to compete against each other and will only vote against the other players and always with themselves, even when it makes no sense to do so.
  
I played in one game where it was pretty clear player "red" (who had two votes) should vote to take all the supplies and kill player "blue" (one vote) to save both of her characters, but player "blue" already had lost a character and she didn't want to hurt his little feelings so she decided to split the supplies and then toss one of her characters out to the horde.
  
You're not going to want to play this game with someone like that, an if you're someone like that, play something else!
  
You should also know that CoH is a language independent game, which means that all the character abilities, item cards, and locations use only icons. And there are a lot of different ones. Sure, after a few plays you'll have them all down, but for the first couple of times you will constantly be passing a rather large rule book and reference sheet around.
  
The game has some desent replay ability with each location having two different sides on the tiles and the random placement of the 4 corner locations can change up gameplay as well.
  
Speaking if the tiles, this brings me to the biggest problem with City of Horror. The boards warp!
  
When the game was released at gen con 2012, the company decided to not even sell the game. A few people did receive copies for review and in their reviews said that the problem was being fixed. Well, it obviously wasn't. There are countless numbers of people complaining about the quality if their boards in the game.
  
If you're reading this review on Board game geek, go see more on this topic here..


   
The boards that came in more game which I purchased from my FLGS are the most warped boards I have ever seen in a game. Upon writing Repos they responded their was nothing they could do. (Again see link)

Very disappointing!

A pic of my warped boards

The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence RPG suppliment

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