Table Top Zombies!!! cover art

Published on November 5th, 2015 | by Justified Croak

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Zombies!!! Board Game Review

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Average play time per game: 60 minutes
Suitable for ages: 12+
Number of players: 2-6
Mechanics: Roll and move, Dice Rolling, Modular Board

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“You’re reviewing Zombies!!!? That old game from 2001? Why?”

“Because me and zombie puns just ain’t finished. That, and it is a classic”

Zombies!!! is one of those old go-tos most of us nerds have shambling around at the back of our cupboards some where. For me, Zombies was the first zombie survival game that didn’t require a gamepad or a keyboard and for that alone, I salute it. I’d go so far as to say Zombies played a part in inspiring the more recent Dead of Winter, Betrayal at House on the Hill and their kin. Yet after all this time Zombies!!! still has a faithful community which is lovely to come back to and I’m just glad it’s not dead on its feet.

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In Zombies!!! explore a zombie holiday resort (or maybe just small town America, I forget) in an attempt to not be there any more. The winner is the survivor who first discovers and secures the helipad tile. The losers are those who share their internal organs with the zombie hoards. Alternatively players deadicated to the combat aspect of the game may claim victory after slaying 25 zombies. This is a far more difficult win scenario to accomplish but if you’re feeling up to it you cadaver go.

Setup

Separate the town square and helipad tiles then shuffle the remaining town tiles and flip them face down to form a deck. Place the town square tile face up at the centre of the play space then place the helipad tile face down at the bottom of the tile deck. Each player takes a pawn, affectionately referred to as a “shotgun guy” in the rules and “Ash” in my game and places them on the town square tile. Each player receives 3 life and 3 bullet tokens. They then receive 3 event cards each and the remainder of the event cards form a face down deck near the tile deck.

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Gameplay

Event cards – May be played at any time but only one a round (That is, from the beginning of your turn to the beginning of your next turn.) You may never have more than three event cards at the end of your turn. These cards are great from aiding you to kill zombies to patching yourself up and should be used liberally especially if they let you cause your opponent some grief.
During a players turn they must follow these steps in order:
Step one – draw one map tile from the stack and connect it to the existing map (the town hall on the first turn) When placing map tiles it is important to remember that all roads must connect. You may not block a road with the side of a building. Some tiles will have a named building. For playing these tiles there are grave consequences. Once the tile is placed add the indicated amount of zombies on the tile to the named buildings squares. Add life and ammo if also indicated.
Step two – Fight any zombies on your current space. Any time you begin your turn on the same space as a zombie or you land on a space occupied by a zombie during movement, combat ensues.
For combat a player rolls a D6. On a 4, 5 or 6 they win the combat and add the zombie as stinky keepsakes to their collection. On a 1,2 or 3 then they player must either forfeit a life token or spend bullet tokens to raise the roll up to a minimum of 4 (each token spent is considered to have added one to your roll) Combat continues until the player has either won, or the injuries have become tomb much to power through and the player falls dead. Dead players rise again at the town square, gain three life and bullet tokens and must discard all items gathered as well as half their zombie trophies. Players will die a lot, so don’t worry and just try to keep your decomposure.

Step three – draw back to three event cards if you have less than.

Step four – Make a movement roll to continue to you “deathstination”. To move players roll a D6 to see how many grid squares they can travel. Players may only move in straight lines. If a player moves on to a space with a life or bullet token that token is immediately acquired. If a player moves on to a square with a zombie on then movement stops and does not resume until the zombie has been successfully combated.
Step five – after moving a player once again rolls a D6. They must then move that many zombies. That player must move the zombies in straight lines only can move them towards other players or closer to themselves.
Step six– you may discard one event card from your hand to the graveyard before play continues around the table.
Winning – eventually the Helipad will pop up. Get to da chopper. This is the mad dash, last ditch effort for whoever can end their turn on the helipad tile with no zombies present wins the game. They may then dawn of the dead their way to presumable safety, leaving the rest of the survivors to stop being survivors. All in all a rotten thing to do.

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Opinion

This is a beer and pretzels game if ever I’ve played one. If you were hoping for some thing more on the tactical side then try not be mortified but what did you expect? It’s a roll and move with zombies. You can’t really dig in to this one for the theme though (as much as I like to deduct points for overworked themetics). As prevalent as zombies had been in films by 2001, they had yet to saturate the video and board game, so zombies!!! gets off the meat hook there.
There isn’t a huge amount to say for the game play. You roll to move, you roll to fight, you use an event card every now, that’s it. That’s not a bad thing. This means it’s easy to teach and learn, minimal set up, and you can play it really casually. You can get away with this one while half watching a cheesy zombie film, or slowly getting more and more intoxicated with your favourite snacks and friends (preferably friends you could outrun in an apocalypse).
I have to say this one has been buried for some time, but after unearthing it for the review, I kinda fancy playing again. It’s not intensive but with the right people and the right cinematic zombie chomping experience in the background it’s a surprisingly lively evening. I think you’d have to pry this one from my cold dead fingers because even if it doesn’t get much play time because for me it’s the must have gateway (in to the afterlife) game ready for monster movie nights and Halloween. Yes it’s dated, and mostly just luck but you know what they say. You can’t keep a good guy down.

Justified Croak

Justified Croak loves nothing more than books, miniatures, board games, RPG supplements and clever Ikea storage that helps me cope with all of the above.

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