Jun 18, 2014

Zombies!!!! Board Game

Zombies!!! - Cover
I admit it; the main reason I bought this game was because I wanted to use the included plastic figurines in 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.

Zombies!!! - Example Card
Combat is nicely simplistic and should be familiar to any 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.

Zombies!!! - Bits n' pieces
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.

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