Custom Gaming: Zombicide: Gotham City Re-skins and Development Notes

We started off by revealing the Heroes of Gotham and followed that up with a look at the Villains of Gotham that are facing down the undead. In this installment, we take a look at some Gotham City inhabitants who can be realized by simply re-skinning existing Zombicide characters, as well as provide some notes and address a few questions about the development and the future of Zombicide: Gotham City

There are plenty of great characters from Gotham. The problem is that many of them are very similar to existing characters, and we didn’t want to overly complicate the game by creating custom character cards for people that really didn’t need them. Instead, we looked at the season 1 Zombicide characters from the base game and Kickstarter stretch rewards and re-skinned them as necessary. As Zombicide moves into season 2 and beyond, we’ll have more characters to choose from and this list might expand:

Commissioner Gordon – Phil

Jim Gordon seems like a no brainer as a character, but the more we thought about it, we couldn’t really think of a great way to differentiate him as a survivor, so we decided to take Phil (already a cop) and use him as the base. Phil’s versatility and natural leadership seemed like the perfect way to represent Commissioner Gordon.

Officer Harvey Bullock  – Nick

Another cop, but Bullock has always seemed a little more gruff than Gordon and has a toughness to him that is well represented by the character of Nick. Though the Ninja skill doesn’t make perfect sense.

Alfred Pennyworth – Doug

Depending on which background you believe, Alfred is no slouch with a gun and has seen his fair share of combat, but that was well before he settled into the role of mild mannered butler to Bruce Wayne. Even if he never used a gun in his life, being Batman’s butler and confidant probably has unhinged Alfred enough that when the dead come calling he’d see it as his chance to grab a couple guns and let off some steam. Just like Doug.

Talia Al Ghul – Amy

Talia’s not exactly “goth”, but being the daughter of the demon, hanging out with ninjas and generally wearing dark clothes seems close enough for us. We also liked her penchant for melee attacks and that Amy is holding a katana in her photo. Seemed like a good call back to dear old dad – Ra’s.

Here are some notes and answers to questions about how we designed Zombicide: Gotham City and where we can go from here.

It goes without saying that while you could shuffle the custom equipment (sans the arsenal from the Batmobile) into the normal inventory deck, we don’t really recommend it. None of the weapons are over-powered by any means, but flavorwise, those items were created because they jive with a specific character. It wouldn’t make sense for Josh to be using a Batarang, even if he did just “find it.”

Also, we defy anyone to play with these characters and not slip into imitating voices and imagining character dialogue. Are Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill available to hang out and do voice-overs while we play? We can provide snacks!

Why didn’t you create Nightwing, Batgirl, [Insert other character here]?

The choice to make a Batman character into a survivor came down to two things, mainly. First, were they realistic enough?  Second, and perhaps more importantly, were they unique?

This could easily have turned into a case of diminishing returns, and specifically in the case of Batgirl and Nightwing. Neither character is that different from other survivors we made. Nightwing would have just been some mash-up of Batman and Robin and Batgirl would have had a similar composition. Nightwing especially also would have required even more custom equipment and we felt that making tons of custom equipment would really disconnect Zombicide: Gotham City from the core game.

All that being said, as Zombicide moves forward with more expansions, we could see new abilities and equipment develop that might make some of these characters more viable, so never say never.

Another reason that we shied away from some characters is that flavor-wise, a few villains just wouldn’t work with Batman, even during a zombie apocalypse. So, even though Victor Zsasz seems like an easy re-skin of Cholo, Zsasz just isn’t going to be a team player, so he’s out.

Why do so many of your survivors have Slippery as an ability?

This was actually a complete coincidence, and we didn’t even notice it until we did the write-ups. However, we stand by the decision for three reasons. One, most of our characters are going to be locked in to 4 actions total, with very few exceptions. So, even allowing them to ignore zombies for movement won’t be a massive imbalance. Second, in many cases, characters can’t get Slippery until red, and there are some other amazing ability choices so taking it won’t be an automatic choice. Third, it just makes sense for so many of the characters who are either super acrobatic or thieves who are accustomed to slipping away from capture.

Do these characters work in the normal and downloadable scenarios of Zombicide? Will they break the game if we try to play them in a party with regular survivors?

These characters work very well in the normal game. We know, because we play-tested them there. In fact, we took a party of heroes and villains through the entire “Switch City Campaign” and were thrilled with the results (like losing horribly a few times). They also won’t break the game if you decide to play a few of them in a mixed party alongside original characters. Though you might have to ask yourself why the Joker and Ra’s would be hanging out with characters like Ned and Wanda.

Are we going to see custom scenarios that are specific to Zombicide: Gotham City?

Yes, most definitely. We don’t want to reveal too much at the moment, but suffice to say we’re toying around with several additional concepts, but our first goal was making balanced characters that were on theme. But we did just create a group of heroes and villains. Even if it is the zombie apocalypse, there’s no way they could all co-exist forever.

Also, anyone else think Solomon Grundy would make an awesome zombie? Spoiler alert: so do we.

Have more questions you want answered? Leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you!