Posted on June 26, 2008 by Flames
Can you make it to the safety of the helicopter before the zombie hoard makes a meal of you? Do you risk a run for ammo or try to slip past unnoticed? Why not slow them down with a few friends instead?
Players each take on the role of one of four survivors in a town overrun by the undead. The game uses a combination of miniatures, tile laying, dice and cards to simulate the twists and turns of a zombie horror flick. Each player has movement, represented by the rolling of a six-sided die; cards, representing different events or items; and tokens, representing a character’s health and how many bullets they have.
Players take turns laying down tiles that show different parts of the city. Each new tile contains either a location with its own special rules, or a road which can be used to connect tiles. The very last tile in the stack always is the Heli-pad, the only way out of the city.
This means that, if someone else plays the last tile card, your character could end up on the other side of town from where you need to be. Or, if you are the last to lay down a tile, the Heli-pad and sweet, sweet freedom could be just a block away.
As you might have guessed, the heart of the game is survival with every man for himself (or herself, as the case may be). While the basic gameplay may lend itself towards team play(and there are scenarios that allow you to play in that manner), many of the cards when played are intended to put others at a disadvantage while protecting yourself. “Bad Sense of Direction” forces another player to move their piece back toward the center of town (and presumably away from the Heli-pad), while “Butter Fingers” forces a player to discard a weapon and some ammo.
Though some may have a problem with this mechanic, I think it nicely simulates the dog-eat-dog nature of the survivors in most zombie horror flicks. In most of the those movies, the “heroes” are just as bad as the undead, and often more of an immediate threat. I mean, how scary of a movie would it be if some idiot didn’t leave the back door open while making a run for it?
There also are weapon cards, simulating items which can be picked up and used at different points in the game, such as the fireaxe, the shotgun or the ever-cinematic chainsaw. Most weapons correspond to a specific location, so those cards can only be played in the appropriate setting, which, again, makes sense. You’re not likely to find the shotgun in the toy store, but if you are in the sporting goods store, picking one up seems perfectly logical.
Keeping enough ammo to fight and enough health to survive also is a big part of the game. Like most survival horror movies, there is risk to stocking up. Most buildings that contain health or bullets also have extra zombies inside.
But fighting the zombies has its own risks. In most cases, there is only a 50-50 chance of actually winning an encounter with a zombie by rolling a 4,5 or 6 on a six-sided die. You can spend bullets to improve your chance of hitting. For example, if you rolled a two, you could spend two bullets to bump the number up to a four. If you defeat a zombie, it becomes part of your trophy collection. If you fail, you lose health as the zombie chomps you. The problem is, if you didn’t kill the zombie, it’s still there, and you have to either continue combat until you win or die, which can make for a pretty quick and unforgiving game.
And with a collection of 100 plastic zombies, and several expansion packs which add even more undead to the mix, a simple game can quickly come to resemble a George Romero flick as the undead fill the streets and slowly trap their prey through sheer numbers.
All told “Zombies!!!” is a fun game that evokes the feel of the classic zombie flicks, complete with excitement, dread and, at times, frustration. It is a great game to play on or near Halloween or whenever you want to get together with some friends and throw down with the undead. There are multiple expansions for the game which add more zombies, different kinds of zombies and new locations, rules and scenarios. Twilight Creations’ Web site also has links to rules clarifications, scenarios and fan-brewed cards and storylines. Be sure to check it out at www.twilightcreationsinc.com/zombies.
Good luck, and happy hunting.
Review by Michael Erb
Staff Writer – The Parkersburg News and Sentinel – www.newsandsentinel.com
Look for more Zombies!!! at the Undead Shopping Extravaganza.