Zombie, Zomba ! Raid is Dead !

Interview « Custom Tiles » MagusOz

1/ Could you present yourself in a few words?

Hi, some of you may know me on various 3D and sci-fi forums (yes, I used « forums » instead of « fora » — deal with it) as Magus or MagusOz. I’m a general web and graphics monkey with a sideline in 3D VFX. When I’m not chasing squirrels, I work as a Web Developer and Digital Designer at The Australian National University in Canberra (Australia). I’m older than I look, but younger than I feel. Married, with 3 kids, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 1 dog and 63 fish. They’re very important facts to know… 🙂

2/ Could you give us a quick word about you and how you fell into Zombicide?

I’m a huge fan of the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres so of course I watch « The Walking Dead » TV series… And while discussing the merits and flaws of a true zombie apocalypse on one of the forums I frequently visit, I saw a comment about a zombie themed game that was trying to get off the ground on Kickstarter — my first thought was, « what the hell is kickstarter? Is it like Indiegogo? »… and a few clicks later I was totally hooked… I backed Season 1 with all the extras — extra figures, extra dice, extra tiles, extra everything… I was like some dopamine
fuelled addict, I couldn’t get enough of this Zombicide game, and that was before I even played it.

I was so excited by Zombicide Season 1 that I managed to get 3 other friends into it, and added them to my pledge with all the extras as well. When Season 2 came around I backed it on the first day, with ALL the extras again. Then Season 3, came along and I pledged within the first hour (but still didn’t get the earlybird special!) and in the end I pledged US$440. So I think it can be safely assumed that

  1. I like Zombicide, a lot…
  2. and my wife has no idea how much money I spend on Kickstarter…

3/ How did you worked your maps? Did you playtested them? A lot?

I’ve got a core group of 5 friends who come over regularly to play Zombicide (usually 2 or 3 times a month) and one night someone said, « we need a graveyard or something… », and being the easily distracted person that I am I set off about the google-verse to see if anyone else had thought about making custom Zombicide tiles. There were a few bits and pieces around that were pretty good, but weren’t exactly what I wanted, so I decided to make my own. I scanned the original tiles at 2400dpi (yes that IS pretty huge!) so I could use the same roads and save myself some
time. And then I walked around taking photos of paving, and rocks, and grass, and I searched around the google-verse for a bunch of royalty free odds and ends. In the end I took everything into Photoshop and created a large 75cm x 75cm (300 dpi) map that could easily be cropped into 9 tiles.

Graveyard Warfare was my first custom tileset. There was no playtesting at all, I just figured, « it’s a map with corners and straight bits what needs to be playtested? »… I was wrong… Have you ever seen a horde of Zombies suddenly multiply by splitting, and splitting, and splitting again because there’s a huge open space with more than one route to get to your survivors? It’s terrifying! That first game we had a few houses at the bottom of the board (3 tiles wide) and then the full graveyard (3 x 3 tiles = 9 tiles) for a total of 12 tiles – It was a simple mission, search the graveyard for a weapons cache and kill all the Zombies… we were expecting a 2 hour game… we died in about 45 minutes… An abomination appeared in the 3rd turn and just chased us around the Graveyard while all the walkers and runners kept splitting. I quickly modified the map to include a crypt in the centre square so the splitting was cut down a lot… Zombies still split quite a bit, but not as much as they used to…

Obviously, the next lot of maps I made were definately going to be playtested, a lot. They weren’t.

Just after Christmas 2014, one of my Zombicide friends pointed out that when the Season 3 box turns up I’ll have the full cast of The Big Bang Theory, and that I should make a set of tiles for the apartments. Well, challenge accepted. After a short time in the google-verse I found that someone had already built the apartments in an interior design app — most of the work was already done for me. All I had to do was throw on some trees, garbage bins, paving, grass and a liberal dose of blood spatter. I think they turned out ok. 🙂 But again, no playtesting… I just threw
them together and hoped they worked.

I’ve run a few missions with « The ZOMBi-CIDE Theory » tiles and I think they stand up well during game play. But they’re not really modular like most Zombicide boards, you can’t move them around because the design is fixed – you have to have all 8 tiles aligned properly or the set won’t work. Which is fine for it’s intended purpose. If I had the time to do it all over, I would’ve reduced the scale down to 6 tiles – 3×2… it’s just a bit too big… but I don’t mind…

So now I had 8 new tiles, and I needed to put something on the back… but this time I did things better… I came up with a set of « blank tiles » to use as templates.

zombicide-blank-tiles

After I printed several copies on paper, and laid them out on a table, I began to pencil in some walls. Then I thought about where characters would move about, how line of sight would affect the game play, and what sort of machinery or controls would be needed in each area of the board. After playing out a few options I settled on the simple plans that became the Waste Treatment Plant.

It’s modular, it works with it’s own tiles and you can also join certain tiles seamlessly to the original Zombicide tiles.

I have a companion tileset to the Waste Treatment Facility coming soon, called ‘Zombies in the Toxic Factory’. This will be a set of 6 tiles that form a small nuclear power station — but there’ll also be a bonus of 3 extra tiles that can be used to link and extend this new set to both the original Zombicide tiles and also tiles for the Waste Treatment Facility.

On the back of the Toxic Factory there’ll be a cathedral based on the floorplan of the Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre in Paris. Not an exact replica, mind you. I don’t want to spend the next year getting the details absolutely precise. It’ll be a simple homage to the architecture. 🙂

4/ Do you worked on your dedicated Mission?

I haven’t got any Missions for my custom tiles at the moment, but I’m working with a few other members of the Zombicide community to create some scenarios. They should be ready soon. Keep watching http://zombicide.sigil.biz for updates. But I do have a Mission that I submitted to Zombicide.com that I’m particularly proud of — Damnation Alley.

I’m also in the process of writing a mission for « The ZOMBi-CIDE Theory », where the whole gang needs to save ‘Dave’ because he refuses to acknowledge the existence of Zombies in the « real » world and he won’t come out of his room.

5/ What is your favorite Mission, and why?

C42 Spring Cleaning by Lachlan Abrahams. Not only because he’s a good mate of mine, but also because this Mission is hard. It has a real genre logic to it — it always makes me think of those spooky, tense moments in Season 3 of « The Walking Dead » when they had to fight their way through the Prison. When you play this Mission you can get lost in the whole drama, because it can be so time critical. One wrong move and suddenly you’re panicking and running blindly through the corridors… well, when the lights are low, and you have the soundtrack to « 28 Days Later » playing in the background « shit gets real, man »…

6/ How do you hear about our French Zombicide Fan Site?

I was looking to find some Zombicide tiles that I could steal on the Board Game Geek site. I wanted something set in the sewers, and I found the drafts of the Sewer tiles that your community was working on at the BGG site. Then after clicking around for a while I realised that they were still under construction, and there hadn’t been updates for some time.
Damn it! I wanted those sewer tiles, they were awesome! And then by chance I saw drafts of the Highschool Funeral tileset, so I had to have them. Et Voila! I stumbled into the French community site to grab the hi-res downloads! And I’m glad I did. I poked around the site and managed to scrounge up some ideas for other tiles, including a hidden door that leads to an underground bunker full of Ultra-Red weapons. Nice!

I also made up several sets of the High School Funeral tiles to give to my friends as a Christmas present. They were very impressed with the artwork. So please pass on our compliments to the team that created those AWESOME tiles.

I certainly appreciate how fans give back to the community that inspires them, and that’s why I made all my tilesets available to the zombicide community in as many forums as possible…

You can feel free to translate the descriptions of my tilesets into French and post links to my content on http://zombicide.sigil.biz if you think your members would appreciate my work.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Zombicide. My apologies if I wrote too much, it’s only because I’m a big fan of the game — and I’m jazzed to be on the show, man…


Zombifiez, partagez !
    Eren Histarion

    A propos Eren Histarion

    Eren Histarion : L'esprit créateur de l'équipe du Fan Site

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    1 Commentaire

    1. 18/03/2015    

      My tiles ‘ve reached Australia… Can’t believe it ! Certainly thanks to the Heartbreak High Easter Egg on one of them. Thanks a lot !

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