Sunday, April 06, 2008


This time up on my treck through my game collection we come across one of my favorite games of all time, Zombies!!! The basic premise of the game is the same as those "B" grade horror films; you are stuck in the middle of town with zombies all around you, and you have to escape. Of course, this being a competitive games, only one person can escape, so you don't really play cooperatively with the other players. No, you stab them in the back, hopefully at the most inopportune moment possible, because it is much funnier that way.

Mechanically the game is very simple. Each player gets three cards, which can be used to either help you or hurt another player. When your playing piece is on the same space as a zombie, you roll a six-sided die to fight it. Roll a 4 or higher, and you defeat. Roll a 3 or less, and you lose a life point. Unless you use bullets. Every player starts with three life points and three bullets. Each bullet expended lets you add 1 to a die roll. When you run out of life points, you die, your score goes back to 0, and you go back to the starting space in the middle of the town. This is all rather simple, which makes the game easy to teach new players.

What really makes the game interesting to play, though, is the board. There is no set playing board. Rather, the board is created as the game progresses by the players. The board consists of a number of 3" x 3" tiles, and on each player's turn, they get to place a new tile anywhere on the board they want. Thus, the map is different each time the game is played. Also, some tiles include specific buildings like the Fire Station, the Hospital, the Lawn & Garden Store, the Toy Store, etc. These named buildings have extra life and bullet tokens available to whoever gets there to claim them first, and some of the player cards also allow you to gain special items when your playing piece is in the correct building. For example, in the Military Surplus store you can get a hand grenade, which does to massed bunches of zombies pretty much what you'd think it would. With these advantages, players will try to get the buildings they want close to their own playing piece, while keeping them away from other players. It is a fun dynamic. The board placement and keeping other players from winning with a well-played card are what makes the game so much fun.

The game is popular enough that a bunch of different expansions have been created for the game. The most recent game I played was with the Zombie Corps(e) expansion, which was the first one created for the game. This expansion set adds new cards to the game, along with a new set of tiles that make an army base that attaches to the town. Other expansions add a shopping mall, a university, and a forest that you have to race through while chased by zombie dogs. None of the expansions really change the base rules, they just add new challenges and flavor after you have played the main game a dozen times or so. Still, I really like this game and the expansions. Because it's just fun to watch your friends get eaten by zombies, while you fly away in the helicopter to safety.

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