ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE RPG. The board game comes with six colorfully molded figures for the players, and 100 28mm zombie miniatures. Throw in a couple of dice and the game was a value even if it wasn't fun to play.
And it is fun. The game is much more competitive than a role-playing game; the goal is to be the first character to reach the helicopter and escape a city overrun with the undead. The board is built up of randomly selected squares, each one with a predetermined number of zombies, ammunition and health-pickups. Each turn, a player lays down a new map tile (and all the new zombies that come with that tile), moves his character and then moves some zombies. The strategy of the game lies less in where you move your character and how you move the undead; do you move the ghouls out of your path or take the opportunity to push them into your opponent's direction? Unlike ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE RPG, this is not a game that encourages players to work together to survive the undead horde! It is every player for himself in this game.
ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE RPG player. Any time you encounter a zombie, you roll a six-side die; if you roll a 4, 5 or 6, the ghoul dies; otherwise, you lose a health point (you start with three at the beginning of the game, but can pick up more by exploring the map). You can also find bullet tokens; each token allows you to re-roll your attack if you missed the first time, but is used up in the process. Fortunately, you can find more bullets on the map as well.
The game also uses cards to provide special bonuses or game-changers. Each player can carry up to three cards at once, and a card can be played at any time. Cards have a variety of affects, from forcing other players to lose their turn, spawning in more zombies, or providing combat bonuses (although the latter are usually limited to only being used on specific map tiles). These cards add an extra bit of randomness to the game.
The overall production values of the game are very nice; the aforementioned map-tiles are four-color print, as are the cards. The latter are well illustrated to boot. The plastic figurines are unpainted but are good molds, especially given the quantity the game provides. If there is one area where the game falls short, it is in its rather skimpy rule book, which do not do as good a job of explaining the game as it might have. Although there is something to be said for simplicity, a mere four pages is not enough to cover all the basics, much less some of the more unusual situations that might arise. More than once I was forced to refer to forums on the developer's website to answer some questions about what to do with certain cards, for instance.
The original Zombies!!! has spawned a host of supplements, which increase the number of map-tiles, action cards and even add variety to the type of zombies you face. Combined into one giant map, you can easily create a gigantic city-scape to explore, pillage, and potentially die in. Fairly easy to pick up, the randomness of the game ensures that every match will be different. With high production values and a reasonably low price (the base game can be had for $20, the supplements are around $10 each), it is easy to recommend this title to gamers who want to experience a quick and fun battle against the undead.
Jun 17, 2014
So, in case you didn't notice, the ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE Role-Playing Game now has its own custom domain name: http://www.ZombiepocalypseRPG.com. The site itself is still hosted on Blogspot.com (and probably will remain there for the foreseeable future) but now it has a more direct identifier. No need to update your bookmarks; the old address will redirect to the new domain.
I've updated the logo, and uploaded a copy (suitable for printing - they make great stickers - or as wallpaper for your computer's desktop). You know, just in case you want to spread the word.
Jun 4, 2014
|Plastic figures on a whiteboard map|
Of course, miniatures do have a downside; not only are they an added expense but they are another thing for a game-master to keep track of (they can also be an unwanted distraction for some undisciplined players). I personally believe the advantages of using miniatures more than balance out the potential for distraction, and as for cost, even an army of undead does not necessarily have to challenge even the most modest of budgets. Below I offer a handful of inexpensive alternatives.
|Using coins as tokens on a vinyl mat|
|Paper tokens played on a whiteboard map|
Finally, you can purchase small bags of plastic miniatures from most gaming stores. I personally like to use the figurines from the Zombies!!! games as these have both monsters and heroes but there are many alternatives you can find. Barring that, cheap plastic Army Men toy soldiers can take the same role; just use different colors to represent the different factions (for instance, green soldiers for zombies and tan for the Player Characters).
The primary purpose of miniatures is to help players better envision how they are positioned with regard to each other and any monsters. As such, neither game mats nor boards are required. A game mat with a pre-printed hex grid can be useful to help determine the distance between the various creatures, but many Game Masters find they can manage without this sort of aid. I personally like to use an dry-erase whiteboard so I can quickly sketch any nearby landmarks such as buildings, vehicles or vegetation. Vinyl mats are available for about $30 dollars, either from your favorite online retailer or your local gamestore; dry-erase boards can be had for anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on the size, from any office supply store.