Zombies!!! the Game
A 'lifeless' review of Zombies the Game
Zombies the Game is a small box game that sees players attempt to flee a zombie infested city by helicopter armed only with a shotgun (and a few shotgun shells), some health points, a few event cards and their wits. The winner is the player that reaches the helicopter first or when a player has killed twenty-five zombies.
Playing Zombies the Game
This is a card based game whereby players reveal city streets one card at a time on each turn and have to navigate their way through these streets to victory. Each square card depicts a street with some buildings and illustration showing the carnage and waste left by this zombie apocalypse. All players start from the Town Square card and must reach the Helipad card to win, this final card is placed at the bottom of the face-down card stack. Each player has a coloured plastic standee along with cardboard tokens to represent their health, three shotgun cartridges they have in their possession and three event cards that can aid their struggle against the zombie horde.
A player turn
Zombies!!! the Game is a very straightforward board game to play and each player turn consists of the following steps.
1. Take and place a city tile: The player takes the next city tile from the face-down stack and places adjacent to another tile already in play making sure that the new tile is placed in a valid configuration; matching a street with another and not making any incorrect dead ends by cutting off another open street. If a tile has a building depicted on it then shotgun and life tokens are placed on the tile but so are more zombies. So, as the city is revealed and grows so do the number of Zombies that roam its streets.
2. Fight a Zombie!: When a player begins there turn with a zombie on the same city tile that player must first fight the zombie by rolling dice. If the player rolls four or higher they have defeated the zombie and it is removed from the board and place in the player's own zombie kills pile. Roll a 1, 2 or 3 and the player can either spend a shotgun token to up the die roll count by one for each token or give up one of their health tokens to roll again and hopefully defeat the zombie a second time.
3. Draw event cards: The player takes three event cards from the event card deck. These cards can be played at any time during the game but only once per round per player.
4. Roll and move, people. Roll and move: The player now must roll a die to determine how many squares on a tile card they can move toward their escape, making sure not to move diagonally. If during their movement a player meets a zombie they must fight it (as described above) and then continue with the move, assuming of course that they weren't killed by the zombie.
5. Zombies... roll, and move: The player now rolls the die and moves that number of zombies one space. They can move whichever zombies they like, so most probably the ones nearest their opponents.
6. Get rid of an event: After step 6 of a player's turn they can discard one of the event cards that they don't need or that card be played due to restrictions on the card.
Now whilst this may seem like a lot of things to do each turn it does happen quite quickly once everyone is in the swing of things. Zombies the game continues in this fashion until the Helipad tile is revealed at which point the player who has killed the least amount of zombies places the tile card and then play continues, with everyone frantically trying to get to the helicopter first.
Zombies the Game, the verdict
On the first play the game is quite engaging and fun, it's pretty quick to learn and easy to play, even with younger children (although you may need to vet the event cards as some of them are pretty gruesome). Zombies the game does have an element of exploration as you don't know what card will come next and what illustrations you are about to see, and the random build nature of the city does add an element of replayability for the game.
However, there are some downsides to it and the first of these if the quality of the components. The player and zombie standees are cheap plastic, not very well defined and flimsy. The tile cards are very thin and flimsy as well, they don't sit flat on the playing surfaces and can be very easily knocked causing you city of tiles to tesselate horribly and zombies to fall over. The tokens are made of the same very thin card and are almost impossible to pick up due to how small they are.
And while there is re-playability in Zombies the game, chances are you won't play again due in part to the cheapness of the components but also because it's not really that much fun. There's not much strategy involved, there a lot of rolling dice and moving, over and over and over, to the point where players lose interest and you just want to get to the end.
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