Unveiling The Mechanics And Thrills: A Deep Dive Into How Zombicide 2nd Edition Plays

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Zombicide 2nd Edition How It Plays.
Immerse in cooperative zombie survival. Explore, strategize, and fight undead. Discover Zombicide 2nd Edition's intense gameplay today!

Welcome to the most thrilling zombie survival coop game in existence. There is a reason this game is so loved and an absolute joy to set up for game night! There is a reason this game makes us so happy to win or lose. It is a work of genius how the gameplay works so smoothly. Zombicide 2nd Edition offers immersive cooperative gameplay in a zombie-infested world. With intuitive mechanics, strategic decision-making, and a modular game board, it delivers an engaging gameplay experience. Cooperation, resource management, and mastering survivor skills are key to survival. Dive into this ultimate zombie survival adventure!


Overview Of Zombicide 2nd Edition Game Components 


Zombicide 2nd Edition zombies are an easy way to learn to paint.

Zombicide 2nd Edition comes with a range of high-quality components that enhance the gameplay experience. The game includes finely detailed miniatures representing both the survivors and the hordes of zombies. These miniatures add visual appeal and bring the post-apocalyptic world to life on the game board. They are also super fun and easy to paint. In fact, Zombies are the best way to start painting miniatures. Zombicide is the best way to get your kids painting with you. Mistakes are easily masked with blood or grim making them look horrifyingly beautiful.


Zombicide 2nd Edition monochrome zombies are an easy way to learn to paint.

We like to paint the zombie horde in a monochrome color and our survivors in the speed paint style. Check out this article on how to get started painting miniatures, but here are the Vallejo paint sets we use. Vallejo has become a well-established miniatures paint company offering high quality for great prices. The Vallejo Company was established in 1965, in New Jersey, U.S.A. In the first years the company specialized in the manufacture of Film Color, water-based acrylic colors for animated films (cartoons). They have an awesome history you can read about here.


In addition to miniatures, Zombicide 2nd Edition features 110 mini cards (sleeve sized 41mm x 63mm). These cards are separated into small decks and contain various items, weapons, and equipment that the survivors can acquire during the game, and zombie spawning cards that the survivors need to deal with. Hidden within the item cards are a few zombie spawn cards that are a fun little surprise when you’re hoping to draw that needed Molotov cocktail.


Zombicide 2nd edition game components.


In the box, you’ll also find neatly punchable thick tokens that add depth to the game board. Things like noise, doors, crates, and vehicle tokens really make the game pop. Best of all my 8yr old understands how to set these tokens out during set up. You’ll also find 9 double-sided city tiles measuring 250mm x 250mm or about 10 inches x 10 inches. They are beautifully crafted but they do tend to temporarily warp ever so slightly if the air in your game room is humid. You might try this fix for humidity and comfort in your gaming area.


Zombicide 2nd edition game component tiles warp


The game board is modular, consisting of multiple tiles that can be arranged in different configurations. These tiles depict different locations within the zombie-infested city, such as streets, buildings, and alleys. The game board’s modular nature allows for various missions and provides replayability as players can explore different layouts and challenges.


The base set also includes 6 survivor dashboard trays made of hard plastic allowing for easy access to both sides of your survivor ID card. The only drawback here is if you decide to sleeve your survivor ID card (which I don’t recommend) then it won’t fit into the dashboard correctly. That’s one oversight of CMON games that I wish they would fix. However, all the other sleeved mini cards fit perfectly in the dashboard.


Zombicide 2nd edition game component survivor dashboard


The standard game of Zombicide features 6 Survivors, distributed among the players. The kids and I distribute the 6 survivors among the 4 of us with 2 people taking 2 survivors and the other 2 taking 1 survivor, The beauty of this game is in its simplicity. I play this with my littlest kids ages 8yrs old to 11yrs old. They understand what their survivors do and what tactics work well. They can handle playing 2 survivors and in fact, enjoy it as this allows them more options and longer turns. I further talk about this in my article: Is Zombicide 2nd Edition Worth The Buy?


Zombicide is easy to learn and age appropriate for 8 years old and up!





Zombicide 2nd Edition game components get a 4.5 out of 5 only due to the slight warping of the game board tiles and the fact that you cant sleeve your survivor ID cards and then fit them in the dashboards. Otherwise, the quality of this game set surpasses any game I’ve seen.


  • 88 miniatures (12 survivors, 40 Walkers, 16 Brutes, 16 Runners, 4 Abominations)
  • 6 survivor plastic dashboards, color bases, and ID Cards
  • 48 plastic trackers
  • 9 double-sided game tiles
  • 107 mini-cards
  • 6 dice
  • 71 tokens
  • 1 rule book


Zombicide 2nd Edition components guide for new players


9 Steps To Setup A Game Of Zombicide 2nd Edition

Zombicide 2nd Edition easy set up guide


Setting up a new mission is as quick and easy as 9 steps. The gameboard does not start with a horde of zombies so mainly all you need are survivors, tokens, dashboards, ID cards, and shuffled decks. Take a look at how easily the setup flows:


1– Choose a Mission or play through all 25 in a campaign-style game. We like to add the house rule that not all survivors need to make it to the mission’s finish but if they don’t then a new survivor must be selected for the next mission. We select our survivors from the core set and all the expansions.


2– Place the tiles according to the tile layout pictured in every mission detail. What’s really cool is that there are lots of FAN-made missions for Zombicide as well. You can take a look at fan-created missions here.


3– Place the Spawn Zones, tokens, and survivor EXIT as indicated by the Mission and tiles. Spawn Zones are where the zombies might enter the game board each turn. They also might enter the game board when you first open the door of a building, spawning in all the dark rooms.


Zombicide 2nd Edition set up guide for player dashboards

4– Select the Survivors you think are best and distribute them between the players as desired. There are equally 6 male and 6 female survivors to choose from in the base set. As they are cooperating against the game, all players form a single team. Players sit around the table in any order they choose. We like to start each round by asking each other which survivor should be activated first and then so forth with each survivor until all have been activated. We place a marker on the survivor after it’s been activated to remind us that it has already had its turn.

Zombicide 2nd Edition set up guide survivor ID cards female Zombicide 2nd Edition set up guide survivor ID cards male

5– Players take 1 Dashboard for each of their Survivors, placing the Survivor’s ID Card on it. They take a colored plastic base and attach it to the Survivor’s miniature to help identify it. They also take 5 plastic trackers of the same color as their base. The trackers are used for marking skills and life points on the dashboards.


6– Set all the cards in separate decks. They are identified by their category, as written on their back, and their respective color. Shuffle each of these decks and place them facedown close to the board. This is where sleeving the mini cards makes perfect sense because shuffling becomes so very easy with sleeved cards. Plus all the handling of these cards will eventually ruin them. Sleeve them to protect your investment.

Zombicide 2nd edition game components.CARD COLOR IDENTIFICATION:

• Starting Equipment (grey).
• Equipment (blue).
• Epic Weapons (red).
• Zombies (yellow).
• Abominations. (Yellow and Black)


Place the Car reference card within view of all players. This card acts as a reminder of the car rules and stats. It does not belong to any single player


7– Take all Starting Equipment cards. Then, deal them randomly and as evenly as possible among the Survivors. If needed, players choose the Survivors who receive more than 1 card. We like to assign the cards specifically to a survivor because some combinations make more sense.

Zombicide 2nd Edition set up guide starting weapons

8– Place the miniatures representing the chosen Survivors in the Survivor Starting Zone(s), as indicated by the Mission.


9– Each player places their Survivors’ Dashboard(s) in front of them. Make sure the sliding arrow is on the 0 space in the blue area of the Adrenaline/Danger Bar. Then, they place a tracker in the appropriate slot of their Wound Bar and another tracker in the slot for the first Skill. Place 3 more trackers in the reserve slots at the top of the Dashboard. Starting Equipment may be set in the Hand or Backpack slots of the Dashboard.

Zombicide 2nd Edition Adrenaline bar set up guide

The game is won by completing the mission objectives and is lost by failing to complete those objectives.



Zombicide 2nd Edition game components get a 5 out of 5 due to its intuitive and perfectly laid out setup chapter. My kids that play this with me ages 8 to 11 can easily set this up alone! Everything is simple to read and easy to find, making Zombicide 2nd Edition a great family game!


Core Set

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Fort Hendrix Expansion

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Rio Z Janeiro Expansion

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Washington ZC Expansion

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Zombicide 2nd Edition components guide for noob players

Zombicide 2nd Edition Game Phases


Zombicide is played over a series of Game Rounds, which proceed as follows.


The players decide which survivor will activate first and that player takes their turn, activating their Survivor. Each Survivor can initially perform 3 Actions per Turn, though they may gain skills allowing them to perform extra Actions as the game progresses. When you gain an extra action you may take that action immediately. The Survivor may use their Actions to kill Zombies, move around the board, and perform other tasks to accomplish the various Mission objectives. When all the players have completed their Turns, the Player Phase ends.


All Zombies on the board activate and spend 1 Action to either attack a Survivor standing in their Zone or, if they have nobody to attack, Move toward the Survivors. Some Zombies, called Runners, get 2 Actions, so they can attack twice, attack and move, move and attack, or move twice. Once all Zombies have performed their Actions, new Zombies appear in all active Spawn Zones on the board. If zombies do not have any survivors in line of sight to move towards then they move towards the most noise created by survivors represented by noise tokens. Each survivor is in itself also a noise token. If the zombies could go left or right equally to the greatest noise then the zombies are split in half as the players agree.



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Zombicide 2nd Edition Mission Story

Zombicide 2nd Edition Mission Scenario Overview


Zombicide 2nd Edition isn’t heavy on the story but it does offer engaging survival tactics that make you think of real-life SHTF scenarios. It does make you feel for each unique survivor and cause you to desire a good mission outcome. If you play like we do and permanently eliminate a dead survivor from the campaign you will feel their loss like an empty hole in your heart. 


Zombicide 2nd Edition Fort Hendrix


If You’re looking for a bit more story depth then you should grab the expansions Fort Hendrix, Washington ZC, and Rio Z Janeiro. These add story cards in the Legacy style as well as some optional rules.


No matter how you play remember to make it fun. CMON intended for you to make it fun! Part of the ethos behind Zombicide is “Tweak it ’til it’s fun for YOU.” The designers have talked about how the Zombicide system is more of a framework and that people should house-rule any and everything that makes the game more fun.





Here is an example of a mission and its objectives:


M1 (Mission 1): This is an example straight from the core set. It requires the survivors to find food and water but that’s only the easy part. The difficult task it sets before the players is collecting an objective token for each survivor. These objective tokens are found within buildings. This means you’ll be spawning in zombies from spawn zones and from freshly opened buildings. It’s going to get busy fast!


“Our shelter is safe, for now. Unfortunately, our

food supplies won’t last long. We also need some

clothes, equipment, and supplies. We’ve decided

to arm ourselves and go explore the surrounding

houses. We cannot come back empty-handed.”


Tiles needed: 

1V    7R    3R

5R   9R   6R

8V   2V   4V


OBJECTIVE THEME: Find supplies for the shelter. First, meet both of these objectives:


Zombicide 2nd Edition mission objectives• Get an Objective token with each Survivor (see Special Rules). The game is lost if this Objective can no longer be met (if a single Survivor takes too many of them, for example).


• Get 3 food cards (Bag Of Rice, Canned Food, or Water), distributed in any way among Survivors. Then, reach the Exit with all Survivors. Any Survivor may escape through this Zone at the end of their Turn as long as there are no Zombies in it. As I said above, we like to play with the house rule that not everyone has to make it to the exit, but any dead survivors do not get to continue to the next mission. A new survivor will need to take their place.




• Doing our part. Each Objective gives 5 Adrenaline Points to the Survivor who takes it. Place the token on the Survivor’s Dashboard. It does not take up space in their inventory and cannot be traded. Adrenaline points are tracked at the bottom of the survivor dashboard. The double-edged sword of the Adrenaline bar is that the higher it gets the more skills you get while also causing more zombies to appear during each spawn.


• Finders keepers! Each Epic Weapon Crate gives a random Epic Weapon, among those still available, to the Survivor who takes it. They can then reorganize their inventory for free. Epic weapons are truly epic in this game allowing you to pull off some near-death experiences. You want weapons that deal 2 wounds or what we call double-tap weapons. Some zombies will only die from a double-tap weapon no matter how many single taps it takes. Therefore, it is vital to obtain these epic weapons.


Zombicide 2nd Edition Survivor Skills And Abilities


Zombicide 2nd Edition Adrenaline bar set up guideEach survivor has a unique set of skills and abilities. The higher you raise the adrenaline bar the more skills you can unlock. Adrenaline points are earned by killing zombies and by obtaining objective tokens throughout the game board. One strategy that most players utilize is to try to do as much as possible before anyone gains enough adrenaline points to move their bar into the next color. The adrenaline bar is made up of 4 colors each unlocking a new choice of skills. It moves from blue to yellow, to orange, and finally to red. As soon as one player moves a survivor’s adrenaline bar into a new color then every zombie spawn becomes harder introducing more zombies and zombie actions. This is why it’s fun to discuss as a team, what are the best survivor actions in a turn.


Zombicide 2nd Edition Survivor ID Cards backs


The skills you unlock during the mission make your survivor epic. Each one is easy to remember and utilize. You won’t be spending your turn looking up countless keywords. The back of the survivor ID cards often clarify particular skills.


Zombicide 2nd Edition Survivor ID Cards


Ned: One of our favorite survivors is Ned because he’s an absolute tank. He starts with the +1 Free Search Action skill allowing him to search a room without using an action. A survivor may only search once per turn at the cost of 1 action. He then has further skills to unlock that allow you to choose a combat path or a ranged weapon path. Lastly, one of his red color skill options is SHOVE which allows him to push a zone of zombies into another adjacent zone. The strategy here is to clear a zone (Square) separating survivors from zombies. By shoving the zombies away you give survivors with ranged weapons the ability to fire at the zone of zombies without causing friendly fire. Pair this up with a few of our next favorite survivors:


Zombicide 2nd Edition Survivor ID Cards Ostra


Ostara: For her first skill she can search a room more than once spending an action each time. This strategy allows players to quickly find needed mission items. Because Ostara is a KID she has one less life point than adults so keeping her protected is imperative. Lastly, one of her red color skill options is SLIPPERY. With this skill, she can move through zones containing zombies without stopping her move action and without spending extra move actions to move out of the zone containing zombies.


Zombicide 2nd Edition Survivor ID Cards Elle


Elle: We have a special love for Elle since she has saved our behinds so many times. She begins the game with the Snipper skill allowing her to make ranged attacks into zones containing zombies and survivors without causing friendly fire. Our house rule is that anyone else trying the same thing must spend an extra action to “Check Fire”. Get Elle a sniper rifle ASAP and choose Ranged for her skill path. She will be able to take long ranged shots clearing out zones of zombies in one activation.


Zombie Behavior And Spawning


Zombicide 2nd Edition offers the best-automated enemies I’ve ever seen in a board game. The rules are simple. Move zombies already on the board, make attacks with zombies if able, and spawn zombies at spawn zones and in newly opened dark rooms. Zombies move towards survivors’ line of sight or the line of greatest sound if there isn’t a line of sight. The main strategy of zombies is outnumbering your survivors’ group effort to navigate the game board. Take a look at our suggested strategy:


Zombicide 2nd Edition Strategy


Cooperative Gameplay and Teamwork:


So now you can imagine how discussing which survivor should activate is important. However, the game is not that heavy on strategy. You don’t need to overanalyze every move or take 10 minutes a turn. The mistakes are as fun as the tactics in this game. Recovering from a stupid decision makes for a great story after the game. The main strategy we use in our missions is to choose a path around the game board. Deciding which objectives to get and their proximity to zombie spawn zones. This plan of attack keeps everyone on the same page and keeps all survivors working together and never far apart. So two main strategies seem to work best for us:


  1. Path of Attack.
  2. Keeping the adrenaline low.




The Good:

Zombicide 2nd Edition has a lot to offer. From cooperative survival tactics to fun dice-chucking mayhem, it’s won a special place in our household. It offers horror without being overly gross, It has lots of replayability without being rules-heavy. It’s a great introductory game for board game noobs and kids. It has a straightforward set of goals that force your group to discuss tactics for completing those goals. Zombicide 2nd edition is a joy.


The Bad:

The only complaint many have is that the zombie theme has been worn out in many video games, board games, and movies. How is it any better here? Well, it isn’t. In essence, Zombicide is a classic dice-chucking tactics game with monsters in the form of zombies. Simply survive and move on to the next mission. How your group gets to the next mission and what risks you’re all willing to take are the heart of this board game. But moving on to the next mission might be challenging or you might end up implementing house rules as we did. However, If you love zombies, monsters, and survival, then you’ll dig this! 


Alternatively, you might get a kick out of this Zombicide twist:


Marvel Zombies Core Set

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Cooperative Zombie Mayem


Marvel Zombies puts players into the rotting bodies of these tainted heroes. Unlike previous Zombicide iterations, they’re not trying to stop the zombies, but instead spread the plague far and wide. Players must balance between wanton destruction and feeding the Hunger. Zombies must feed, after all.



You’re now all set to embark on an epic cooperative adventure in the zombie-infested world of Zombicide 2nd Edition. With your survivors assembled, your equipment distributed, and the game board prepared, get ready for heart-pounding excitement, strategic decision-making, and thrilling encounters with the undead.


Remember to communicate, collaborate, and support each other as a team. Each survivor’s unique skills and abilities will play a crucial role in your group’s success. Be mindful of the danger level and make use of the resources at your disposal to stay one step ahead of the relentless zombie horde. Good luck out there!

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