- All Things Zombie (ATZ)
- Fear and Faith (FaF)
- Final Days
- New World Disorder: Zombie Apocalypse (NWD:ZA)
- Total AR:SE (a.k.a. Akula's Rules)
|Feature||ATZ||FaF||Final Days||NWD:ZA||Total AR:SE|
|Includes game setting?||yes||no||yes||yes*||no|
|Solo play support||high||moderate||moderate||moderate||high|
|Specific support for campaigns?||yes||yes||no||yes*||no|
|Included game scenarios||6 with rules for customization||1 (zombie themed)||4||1||none|
|Relative complexity of the rules||moderate||moderate||low||moderate||low|
|Activation style||activation roll with unit reactions||per-unit activation rolls||IGO-UGO with card-based activation||per-unit activation rolls||mixed activation based on cards|
To be honest, I think that all zombie survival games (or at least most of them) are suitable for solo play, since zombies aren't smart; their strategy most of the time is to charge any survivors in sight and that's easy to automate. Still, I included a "solo play support" row on the table to distinguish between games that have mechanics particularly suited for solitaire play from those that will require some work.
Fear and Faith and New World Disorder aren't strictly "zombie games": the former includes support to many different supernatural creatures, including skirmishes of monsters against monsters (vampires vs. werewolves anyone?) and the later is a modern/near-future game which adds zombies with the Zombie Apocalypse supplement. In both cases, you might pick them up if you don't need so much depth or options in your zombie games, but want those other genres as a bonus. On the comparison chart, they look very similar to each other and their rule sets have similarities in what they accomplish but not in how. Both have (distinct) activation systems to check how well a character may perform in a game turn, and they may complete a variable number of actions. While NWD has a strict alternate activation system, in FaF a player may be able to activate several characters before passing initiative to their opponent. Firearms are more effective in NWD but in both systems zombies are quite tough to destroy. NWD characters have more stats than FaF ones, but both keep character records simple and while NWD characters have gimmicks and skills, FaF ones have special rules. Like I said before, the implementation of the rules is different in either system and may suit the tastes of a player better than the other, but it's difficult to make hard and fast recommendations on this subject.
Comparing All Things Zombie, Final Days and Akula's Rules -- the three "zombie-specific" games -- is a little awkward as they are quite different, as evidenced by the comparison chart. There is a definite gradient in level of involvement and detail between the three: Akula's Rules is great for a pick up game and was designed for large tables, possibly with multiple players. All Things Zombie is the epic zombie game that can run single games but will really shine in a multi-game campaign of survival after a zombie apocalypse. Final Days stands in the middle, with a bunch of scenarios that can be played individually or linked together -- note however that there are no rules for campaigns, character development, recruiting new characters etc.
As stated in the beginning of this post, I have no intention of pointing the "best" of the games as that will greatly vary depending on a player's goals. However, I hope that this comparison is useful to someone looking for miniature games with zombies.