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- A fast-paced card game of backstabbing and treachery
- Featuring immersive artwork that will draw players into unique realm of airship piracy
- For Ages: 10+
- Number of Players: 2-6
- Playing Time: 60 min
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FFGDU06 Mad Zeppelin Card Game
By Fantasy Flight Games
Mad Zeppelin: The Fast-Paced Card Game of Sabotage
Players: 2 - 6
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Distant colonies, rich with cargo to strengthen the Emperors iron rule. Aboard this ship is a hand-picked crew of specialists, chosen by the Emperor himself to protect this valuable shipment. Little does he know that all aboard are traitors to the Great Empire, secret agents bent on stealing the delivery and bringing the Emperor down.
Mad Zeppelin is a fast-paced and easy-to-learn card game where players will assume the roles of traitors to the imperial crown, using their special abilities to manipulate the course of the zeppelin, Nostria, and throw valuable cargo overboard to their waiting agents below, scoring points and slowly bringing down the Great Empire.
Mad Zeppelin features 14 different characters and players roles will change round by round, providing a diverse play experience. Special cargo cards also introduce fun and chaotic effects into the game, making each turn an exciting fight for control of the ship and cargo.
Fly the turbulent skies with Mad Zeppelin!
- 110 Standard American size cards, plus oversized Traitor and reference cards
- 3 custom dice and 30 gold coin tokensFeatures stunning art by Paolo Parente
From the Manufacturer
1890. At the height of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Empire is about to take delivery of many secret crates from its colonies. These crates contain all the Emperor needs to strengthen his rule on the Empire: steel, coal, ore, and above all: gold! For security reasons, the Emperor himself has hand-picked the crew of the Nostria, one of the armoured zeppelins of the imperial fleet. However, neighbouring nations are organizing the resistance, and traitors are secretly boarding the airship to thwart the Emperor's plans. Mad Zeppelin is fast-paced card game of backstabbing and treachery for 2-6 players. Mad Zeppelin includes:14 Traitor cards100 Cargo cards10 Journey cards3 dice30 gold coin tokens
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|Sold By||Dragonfly Games||Roundtree Games||Crenstone||AmazinglyGreatThings||YANEZ, JORGE S|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||4 x 1.5 x 7.75 in||5 x 8.5 x 2.5 in||9.88 x 2.25 x 9.88 in||8 x 8 x 2 in||7.67 x 7.67 x 1.77 in|
|Item Weight||0.97 lb||0.7 lb||—||0.79 lb||1.24 lbs|
Top Customer Reviews
The conceit: A zeppelin loaded with loot flies from somewhere to the capital of the kingdom. Before it gets there players will use traitors in their employ to drop some of the loot overboard. Be the one to collect a given number of points or have the maximum when the journey ends (decided by cards) and you win.
Each player will receive one traitor randomly, and get to pick one from those left. Three dice are rolled to select "direction" (which decide via color coding which traitors may toss stuff overboard this turn). Two rounds will be played. Each round the players play a traitor, use his/her powers as appropriate, draw treasure and cash and if possible pay a toll to "drop" a card overboard onto the table in front of them. Then they throw their traitors back into the pool and do it all again.
Artwork, very steampunky.
Components, very sturdy (though the corners on my traitor cards are all buckled and one was damaged enough to "mark" it in the first game). Very sturdy box that keeps it all organized.
Oversized Traitor cards difficult to shuffle and deal, for no real benefit I could see. They could usefully have been half the size.
Treasure could have been more obviously marked as to "class" (which comes up during play). You have to use the window shape to figure it out, but it isn't straightforward. They should simply have printed 1,2,3 or 4 as appropriate on the cards.
The master key of traitors does not reproduce the color code of each traitor, making it of dubious value.
One needs to understand the entire spectrum of possibilities to properly use one's traitors, which means new players are at a decided disadvantage.
Poor instruction book, no FAQ online to resolve really stupid ambiguities. There isn't any clear statement of how the deal passes, just a statement that it does, for example. Given the way Traitors are played, certain of their powers are superfluous (Igor's immunity seems to be singularly useless unless you are the dealer).
The gameplay has little to compel one to come back to it. It's ok and entertaining enough, but the consensus was it could have been much better. Those that had played "Citadels" remarked on the similarities and compared the two games to Mad Zeppelin's detriment.
My overall opinion is that I wish I hadn't bought this one. The artwork is nice and the components well-made but the game rules feel unfinished, support for the game at FFG (the new owner of record) is non-existant at the time of writing as far as FAQs and everyone I've exposed to the game has been so under whelmed that they probably won't play again so I'll never be able to see if the game has (so far) unspotted potential.
I can think of a couple of upgrades that could be made to increase play value - increasing player decisions over randomicity would be one and making the Traitors do more interesting things in the game in addition to their current function would definitely be a good move - if you have to learn the entire game spectrum of outcome before you can play, why not make it worth the time?
I'd avoid his one (but didn't).
Or, more simply put: You take turns chucking things off a zeppelin. Everything is worth a certain amount of points (Wood = 1, Diamonds = 7) - the first person to chuck 20 or 30 points-worth off the zeppelin wins. We had a lot of fun imagining the humble sheep farmer underneath the zeppelin, steadily losing his flock to falling crates of iron ore.
The game is based around a deck of 14 Traitors, each with their own special power or trait. In each turn, players get two Traitors - one randomly dealt, one secretly selected. Players go around in a circle activating one of their Traitors, then then go around again activating the second one. Each Traitor earns a bit of gold, draws some cards and (possibly) chucks stuff over the side. They do this by bribing the invisible, omnipresent guards and playing a cargo card. At the end of both rounds, the turn is over, and all the Traitors go back into the deck. Repeat until someone wins.
The mechanic gets more complicated because you can't always chuck something over the side. At the start of each turn, the first player rolls special coloured dice and the results show which groups of saboteur are allowed to chuck. Some Traitors have powers that can change the dice results, which adds to the mayhem. Also, many of the Traitors have powers that annoy and/or outright neutralize other Traitors. L'il Tim Sly, for example, can take on the persona of any other non-activated Traitor - meaning he can be a true pest. If he picks one of your agents to imitate, as you'll effectively lose a round. The sinister Doctor Ripp is more direct - he picks one other Traitor and they're knocked out for a round. Very annoying.
Strategically, we discovered that Mad Zeppelin requires the memory of an elephant and the player-reading skills of a poker expert. Knowing what Traitors your fellow players have is essential, it allows you to predict their actions and also pre-emptively defend yourself against their treachery. Controlling the dice is also vital - you want to limit the options for other players' agents while maximizing your own opportunities to launch cargo. There were times where it was easiest just to remove the dice entirely (a "black" roll takes the die off the table) - ensuring that no one can throw cargo. There's also a bit of resource management. Certain agents draw more gold, others get extra cards. Knowing when to use each agent is vital, but then, you can't be too predictable or you'll play right into the hands of the Doctor or L'il Tim.
The learning curve for Mad Zeppelin was, needless to say, extremely steep - it took us a few hours to figure out what exactly was going on. But once the mechanics become clear, the game becomes much easier - and the players can move into proper, strategic play. There were also a few barriers that added to the initial difficulty.
First, a nitpicky structural thing... The game comes with a handy (and attractive) cheat sheet of the various agents and their powers. This is very useful when it comes to both choosing your own Traitor and trying to zap someone else's with one of your powers. However, the sheet doesn't include the Traitors' "colours". So you don't know which are able to act with each roll of the die. That's very, very handy. Whether you're imitating an agent or knocking it out, whether or not they're able to chuck cargo is one of the deciding factors. We wound up writing the colours in on the cheat sheet with a permanent marker.
Second, the lack of a FAQ or any errata was frustrating. There were a few powers we didn't wholly understand - especially the more defensive characters such as Igor. The adorable hunchback (my favorite card artwork) is immune to other agents' powers. However, the way the round/turn timing mechanic went, most of the other Traitors' hostile powers actually affected Igor before he was activated - e.g. the Doctor and L'il Tim. Either we were misunderstanding the way the prioritization or timing rules worked, or Igor and a few others were fairly worthless.
Both of these are little quibbles - bizarrely, our largest problem with Mad Zeppelin was a conceptual one. We could never figure out who we (the players) were. The rules merely told us that we were taking control of various Traitors and we were trying to disrupt the Great Empire. It wasn't too hard to surmise that we were the faceless representatives of foreign powers, but the what/how/where/why of our role felt a little bizarre. The zeppelin only had a small pool of Traitors so we, as evil bureaucrats, were hiring them willy-nilly. This explains why our Traitors changed every turn, but not why we were "competing" to destory the Empire in the first place. It isn't like we were saving the cargo - the end result was still the same no matter who chucked the valuables over the side (crate of ore in a field of sheep somewhere). Eventually, we agreed that Mad Zeppelin was like some sort of slapstick political sitcom ("Carry On Airshipping!"), but that was pure rationalization on the part of the players.
However, a lot of Mad Zeppelin's flaws can be forgiven the instant you really take a look at it. The art is absolutely amazing, and even if it takes an hour to figure out what you're doing (much less why), you'll be entertained by the amazing detail on each of the characters. Every time we drew a new Traitor, we were wildly impressed - and indeed, in the absence of any understanding of the rules, the first few turns were based entirely on playing the Traitors we thought were the coolest looking.
Mad Zeppelin's playing mechanic is unique and, despite the learning curve, a lot of fun. This is an entertaining game, but one that requires a lot of focus from its players. Once we figured it out, Mad Zeppelin became the moderately-paced, extremely-conniving game that I think it was intended to be. However, a little help from the designer would go a long way towards getting players to that stage more quickly.