[BGCOLOR=#009900]_[/BGCOLOR]Never Goes To WarpPower Description
with History and Flare (from The Warp):ZOMBIE
: Never Goes To Warp
You have the power of Immortality
: Whenever you should lose ships to the warp, use this power to instead return them to any of your colonies and keep using them.
In addition, you may free any player's ships from the warp (back to any colonies he or she has) as part of a deal.History
: Shadowy forms on a dark and murky world, Zombies prized all sources of energy. They could flourish only by careful recycling of their own kind. Living on decomposed organic matter, they abhor the needless waste of war and have developed effective techniques to make sure their numbers will not be reduced.Wild
: Each time you lose ships to the warp, you may prevent one of your ships from going to the warp, instead returning it to one of your colonies.Super
: Each player who allies with you during an encounter may retrieve one ship from the warp (if any) and place it in the encounter. This ship does not count towards a player's normal limit of four ships in an encounter.EVALUATION AND GRADING1. Is it a power?
Zombie doesn’t lose ships to the Warp. This primarily means that he can always commit 4 ships to an Encounter, whether as Offense or as an ally. Because Zombie will most likely lose an Encounter as Defense here and there, his future Encounters as Defense are likely to see him defending with more ships than his opponents typically will.
Zombie’s ability also means he is less affected by nasty effects like ship-targeting aliens such as Cudgel, Vacuum, and Grudge, as well as Plague and various Flares.
Zombie’s ability means he cares less whether a deal fails or not, so the designers added a second ability to Zombie, giving it the ability to restore another’s ships from the Warp.
FFG’s FAQ, working off of a previous ruling by designer Peter Olotka, stipulates that Zombie does not receive Compensation for ships lost in an Encounter. Olotka’s reasoning is that Zombie hasn’t actually lost ships, so therefore isn’t entitled to Compensation from his opponent.
While this ruling has a certain internal logic, it’s problematic for at least two reasons. One, Jack Kittredge, another of Cosmic’s original designers, ruled in Encounter magazine (in an issue from the ‘80s) that Zombie was entitled to Compensation. Secondly, not being able to draw Compensation really devalues the Negotiate in Zombie’s hand. Void and Fungus (from Cosmic Incursion) prevent Compensation, but in that scenario, Void or Fungus has won that Encounter. Zombie, in playing a Negotiate opposed by an Attack, has lost the Encounter and the opportunity to plunder the opponent’s hand.
FFG’s FAQ has also reversed Eon’s original rule that Zombie was safe from Void; now, Void trumps Zombie. This is one particular alien interaction, however.2. Does it obsolete a previously-published alien power?
Strictly speaking, as it is in FFG’s base set, it cannot. 3. Is the alien over-powered?
No. It is arguably weaker than its token-conservation sibling (and variant) Observer, as Observer brings more force to bear as a main player, presuming he wants allies. Roberta Yang has written eloquently about this in the past, averring that every other “like Zombie, but” alien in the Cosmos is stronger than Zombie itself.
Hmmm… let’s say you’re dealt Observer and Zombie at Alien Selection. Which is your choice?
[poll=176482]4. Does the alien power strip a player of control in one of the most basic aspects of the game?
No. 5. Is the alien accessible?
In other words, if I’m a first time player of Zombie, can I read the alien’s power and get a good grip on how the alien works?
Yes, Zombie is quite accessible and a good choice for a “green light” alien. While there might be some who complain about two quite-similar aliens (Observer and Zombie) in the base set, aliens that protect ships from the Warp are easy for newbies and therefore in my opinion good choices for the base set (seeing variants of Zombie show up in the third or fourth expansion is another matter, but this is a different issue, and God willing , we’ll get to it).6. Is the alien innovative? In other words, does it bring something unique to Cosmic Encounter?
Yes.7. Is the alien elegant in its simplicity?
Zombie is more of a Class B (helps you plan for the future) alien, as it conserves ships for future Encounters. Extra Credit: Is the gameplay of this alien evocative of its theme?
Yes.Extra Credit: Does the art of this alien match its description or history?
Not in my mind. When the hypothesis that perhaps FFG switched the art for Virus and Zombie, I found it credible. Apparently this is false; Zombie’s art was always supposed to look like a mutant, gluttonous Amoeba, but the “new look” for Zombie doesn’t really work for me. Does it work for any of you?Grade of FFG alien: B
Grade of Eon’s original alien (which received Compensation): APersonal “iTunes” rating, out of 5:
3(“like it”)Personal “visceral reaction” to this alien in the game:
Zombie, although weaker in execution than I would like, still represents a cool concept and is a bona fide classic alien. MUST-HAVE
Ah, Zombie – we’ve saved one of Cosmic’s most troublesome cases (along with Macron and Void) for last. I originally was going to quote David (on Saul) with “How the mighty have fallen,” but unlike Saul, Zombie was never really that mighty of an alien to begin with, not even among the 14 other aliens in Eon’s base set, such as Amoeba, Clone, Laser, Virus, and Vulch.
Eon’s Zombie was never a combat power but at least it could draw Compensation. This ability may seem weak but it allowed Zombie to disguise any intention he might have to plunder his opponent’s hand with Compensation (consolation, as it was then termed) in the aftermath of the Encounter. Because this ability has been denied it, I have to mark Zombie down. I was tempted to grade it a “C” but it still retains dignity as an alien power among its alien cohorts of the base set. Is Zombie even more of a laughingstock now that several more ship-conserving aliens (Bulwark, Horde, Reborn, Converter, etc.) have been added to the Cosmos? Definitely, but obviously these considerations cannot affect Zombie’s grade – they will affect the grades of those aliens, which are sadly derivative or obnoxious.
Even still, within FFG’s set, Zombie is a disappointment. It’s not quite as sad a case as Void or Macron, but it’s still something of a missed opportunity for FFG.
I am in complete agreement with Bill Martinson when he indicates in the Cosmodex that the Wild Flare is almost certainly an unintentional victim of the new “once only per turn” limitation on Flares. It’s a pity, as otherwise (or if you’re playing the Freewheeling Flares variant) it’s a decent Flare. A very small variation of this would become the Bulwark alien power (barf).
The Super Flare is a neat twist on Zombie’s secondary ability to restore ships from the Warp as part of a deal. It is very similar to Observer, but unfortunately weaker. Those hurting for ships (due to Void or lack of Tubes or whatever) may appreciate it more, though.