|Number of unique Cards||4|
|Role||Enemy, Swarm, Being cute|
|Threat Level||Low to Mid|
|# of scenarios||2 (technically. But really only 1)|
My take on this set: First things first: These are adorable. We need Zoog plushies. Now.
With that important piece of business out of the way, let’s talk about the actual cards. Zoogs are the first showcase of the Swarming mechanic and are pretty much singlemindedly focused on working off of Swarm. To be honest, i don’t think they do this as well as some of the spider themed enemies or even the later Cats of Saturn do. Swarming 1 on a 1 stamina creature still lets it be defeated by attacking with one bullet, and evading works against them just as well as it would against “normal” creatures due to the lack of Hunter. Only if Zoog Burrow or a scenario specific card would increase their swarm count, they would start becoming more relevant as that would put their damage and horror at frightening levels.
The one exception to this is the Inconspicious Zoog, whose mechanics of retreat, then hunt again can potentially be a huge pain.
What it does: Stealthy Zoog is a minor enemy with Swarm 1. Its agility is high enough to pose a problem for some investigators (which it preys upon) and Alert threatens a counterattack by the full swarm on a fail to do so. However, attacking and defeating it is very easy to do.
My take: The message “Do not evade” is heard loud and clear, as even puny seekers can instead punch this thing to death with two or three actions. Mostly, this plays as a Swarm of Rats with 2 stamina, which does have some implications but not enough to make them stick around for a lot. I would even punch these when playing Finn.
Threat level: Very Low to Low. Anyone even remotely capable to defeat enemies will have no issue at all.
Dealing with it: Just kill them. Due to how swarming works, they can be defeated with a single 2 damage action, so that should be the plan for sure. Evasion is not really a suitable option, as risking 2 horror on a fail is way more than i would want to risk for such a small critter.
What it does: The combat flavored counterpart to the Stealthy Zoog. This one has higher fight instead of evasion and it has Retaliate instead of Alert. Accordingly, it also preys on low fight investigators instead of those that are weak in agility.
My take: Dedicated fighters like most Guardians or Tony Morgan will probably still want to shoot it. But anyone else can certainly use that evasion to defuse them for a turn and move on. They don’t have Hunter and the map layout in Kadath and Gates of Sleep allow for stranding this enemy in a location that is not going to be entered again, so there’s not really anything that would make this plan likely to backfire.
Threat level: Very Low to Low. Arguably, the evasion route is open to even more investigators than the combat one, as anyone can exhaust this creature for only one action.
Dealing with it: It’s not like this is terribly difficult to defeat, but when evasion is such a low hanging fruit, why bother and risk the Retaliation attack?
What it does: Inconspicuous Zoog uses Swarming in a unique manner. Whenever it is defeated, it doesn’t use any additional swarm cards and instead moves to a connecting location. It spawns at a connecting location instead of engaged, but has Hunter.
My take: There’s nothing inconspicuous about this creature, this guy is dangerous! If unanswered, it will hunt into an investigator on its first enemy phase and attack with all of its swarm cards resulting in the same amount of damage and horror as if you were being hit by Azathoth itself. It is important then to be proactive about this Zoog and move to its location and kill it. Of course, it will then disengage and move, so you will need to do this all over again. And then one more time. Between moves and attacks, finally getting rid of this bugger can take away a lot of time on your own. Having someone else around to help can cut this number of actions down considerably, as they can just bounce the Zoog between them. This is pretty much the worst enemy to have to attach additional swarm cards to, so you should put a bit of a priority on defeating it. Else you risk drawing Zoog Burrow (or Ancient Zoog, during Gates of Sleep) and making this even more painful.
Threat level: High. Able to both dish it out and take it. Also bypasses a lot of the commonly played answers to creatures.
Dealing with it: One of the rare enemies where dealing extra damage doesn’t help. As a result, spending charges or ammo should be avoided if possible. Someone with high base fight like Tony or Mark can just punch the Zoog, but melee weapons are a fine answer as well. The forced move on defeat doesn’t specify that the connected location should be empty, which can be used in the investigator’s favor. If two of them team up, they can push the Zoog from one location to the other and back again, at least saving the move actions that would otherwise be needed to catch up with the Zoog every time it disengages. If that is not possible (because the other players are unavailable or simply because it’s a solo game) then having actionless sources of damage (Beat Cop, Zoey’s Cross) can be a big help to deal with this enemy fast.
Dynamite Blast and Storm of Souls are also excellent answers to this enemy.
Due to how much damage and horror this deals, evasion is a very risky plan. You can’t really run from it during Gates of Sleep either due to the layout of the locations.
What it does: If the investigator fails an agility test, swarm cards are added to the nearest Zoog enemy for each point failed by. If no suitable enemy is around, one is searched up from the deck and discard pile instead. The only enemies that can be targeted by this card’s primary effect are the three Zoog cards from this set, there are no other swarming Zoogs in any of the scenarios.
My take: As long as you can keep Zoogs off the board, this is fine. Fetching up your choice of Furtive or Stealthy Zoog shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. However, if this does get to add swarm cards, things can become a bit uglier. On one of the small Zoogs it’s just a bit extra stamina to chew through (just be aware that failing to do so can lead to a big hit in the enemy phase!). But on an Inconspicuous Zoog, this can really take away a bunch of actions. Since it has Hunter, attacking it to exhaust it becomes a priority because having that thing hunt into you with 5+ swarm cards can take out many investigators in one hit.
But still, that’s just a worst case and mostly this can easily be avoided.
Threat level: Low to Mid. The stars have to align a bit for this to become troublesome, but there is a worst case scenario here that at least deserves some recognition. Even if it requires drawing two cards together that both only have one copy in the encounter deck.
Dealing with it: If you managed to “park” one of the non-Hunter enemies on a location that you don’t plan on visiting anymore, you are likely able to dump any swarm cards generated by the Burrows on that enemy. The Inconspicuous Zoog should be public enemy #1 when it enters play anyways, the existence of Burrows only increases its priority. So there isn’t really anything you may want to play differently because of this card, it only reinforces how you’d usually deal with those Zoogs anyways.