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Zombies!!! (2ed)

39 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

So, by now many people know the general gist of Zombies!!!. In case you don’t, a general breakdown goes like this: you and up to five other players pick a plastic character (called “Shotgun Guys” in the rulebook), place them on the starting town square tile, and roll dice to determine movement and attack success or failure. Bullet tokens allow you to make up for a bad attack roll, and life tokens represent how many licks it takes to get to the center of your Tootsie Pop (or in this case, your brains). At the end of your turn, you also roll to shuffle some zombies around. The game board is built by placing new tiles down that branch off of existing ones, and the game ends when any player racks up 25 kills, or gets to the helicopter tile and escapes.

Everyone has a small hand of cards that allows you to break the rules in some way, such as moving more spaces than you normally could, or adding +1 to your attack rolls. Other cards screw players over by doing things like surrounding them with zombies, or making them skip a turn because their shoelaces are untied.

And screwing people over is what you will do in this game- it’s not cooperative by any means. Sure, you might form temporary alliances to try to slow a mutually disliked player, but in the end, only one person wins.

So with this basic setup, you would think a game about blasting away zombies in a ruined city would be quick and full of action, but then you would be wrong. And frustrated. Because you just spent an hour and a half slowly slogging through waves and waves of zombies, dying often because health and ammo are annoyingly scarce, and not in a good “zombie apocalypse” way, but in a “I have to travel halfway across the map and kill 15 zombies to pick up a couple more bullets and many of the action cards I have only let me use my special abilities in infrequently occurring specific instances and why are we still playing this.” way.

So why give this a 6/10 instead of something lower?

The reason why Zombies!!! isn’t an abject failure is that the rules are so easily customizeable. In fact, the rulebook actually encourages creating your own house rules if you don’t like the ones they provide (and you won’t). Changes to make the game run faster, like the ability to play and discard any action card at any moment, or putting a health / bullet token in the middle of every new area tile, gives you incentives to keep moving and using cards. Shuffling the helicopter tile into the upper half of the deck makes a mad scramble to win soon after the game starts, instead of having people groan as it shows up halfway across the map, and the realization that another boring half hour awaits just getting over to the thing sets in.

Even with these changes, Zombies!!! isn’t the best game you will ever play, but it provides quick, light filler between heavier games, or while waiting for more players to show up to your game night. At around $25, it’s not that expensive, the rules are simple, and heck, you could just use the 100 provided zombie miniatures in another game if you decide you simply hate it. Either way, it will certainly help you pass the time when the actual zombie apocalypse comes.

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