Play on a biiig table. It took us about 2 hours to play our first four-player game of Zombies (so figure on 90 minutes once you get up to speed), and the whole deck of map tiles did come out. You will be needing lotsa space. And if you suck at zombie-killing as much as we did, the 100 included zombie pawns might not quite be enough. For all our stumbling, though, we had a great time. If I have a complaint, it’s that things can feel isolationist – you don’t really interact with other players on your turn, or very directly at all. You can only mess with them via cards in your hand (cards that mess with other players are maybe 40% of the card mix?) and by moving a few zombies toward them at the end of your turn. There are some vaguenesses in the rules as well – we still don’t know if the grenade Nathan lobbed at the police station should have won him the game on body count or not.
Zombies’ randomness and reliance on fun, exception-based cards give it the feel of a fast, silly game, although it actually has the pace and resource-management decisions of a longer, more serious board game. It’s a curious balance and I’m psyched to try it again. Pick it up fast, though, because the company has reportedly sold out, and given the layoffs, we’ll have to see if they print any more. At least it’s cheap. (You know, if I were USPC, I might wonder a bit about a division that put full-color cards with gorgeous art, specially-cut color map tiles, and 106 custom-molded plastic parts in a box and sold it for $19.95. They can’t be losing money on every sale… can they?)