Zombies!!!


Journeyman Press, 2001, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up. This is a very simple and inexpensive game that is surprisingly fun (and definitely more on the beer and pretzel end of the gaming spectrum). Players start at a four-way intersection in downtown "Anytown, USA". For reasons unknown, the streets are clogged with zombies. During their turn, each player draws a new street square and applies it to the board (someplace where it will fit). If the square contains a building (Toy Store, Hardware Store, Restaurant, whatever) it will have a number of Zombies as well as some bullet and life tokens. After placing the street square, the player rolls movement on a six-sided die. Players move to the squares where they can pick up bullet and life tokens. However, if you move onto a space with a zombie you have to fight it. This simply involves rolling a six-sider (1-2-3 you lose, 4-5-6 you win). If you roll 1, 2, or 3 you must either pay a life token and fight again or spend enough bullet tokens to get your roll up to a 4. If you win, you keep the dead zombie for your trophy pile. If you spend your last life token you're dead and have to start over (losing half your dead zombie pile). Each player draws three cards to start the game which help out in combat and also allow you to mess with other players. These are replenished at the beginning of each turn. At the end of each player's turn, a die is rolled to see how many zombies you get to move (on top of the other players, obviously). Eventually someone draws the "heli-pad" square and it becomes a mad dash to get to the heli-pad, board the chopper and bid your pals adieu. Loads of fun and a quick play (it took us about an hour to complete a four player game). The end-game (after the heli-pad is placed) is especially entertaining - lots of backstabbing. The zombie figures look great - in fact, all of the game pieces are decent, especially considering the low price tag (I paid $14 for a brand new set).

There are two expansions to the game that add more map tiles and cards, but not much else. Zombies II adds a military base (complete with glow-in-the-dark zombies) and Zombies 3 adds a shopping mall. Zombies 2.5 adds more cards and the concept of custom deck building (mistake!!) to the game. I don't really care much for these expansions, I think all they do is water down a pretty well-tuned base game. Each expansion has its own heli-pad, which kind of eliminates the fun of everyone making a mad dash for the same heli-pad at the end of the game. And all of the new cards make it more difficult to draw the good equipment cards from the base game.

A third expansion, "The End", moves the action out of the city and into the woods, replacing the zombie humans with zombie dogs. It works as a standalone, or can be added to the base game. It's entertaining enough, but honestly, not much different from the original game. Just more of the same, really.



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