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Reviews - Zombiegeddon
 
by Dennis Hancock


ZombiegeddonZombiegeddon
Published by Twilight Creations
Game Design by Reiner Knizia
Price: $24.99
Contents: Board, 200 cardstock discs (112 pre-bomb, 88 post bomb), 16 plastic figures (4 of each color), 16 supply tokens (4 of each color), and a single 4-page rulebook.

When I think zombies, I think of brain-hungry bags of formerly living flesh wandering the wastes of the earth. I think of burning cities, panic amongst the living, rule #2: Double Tap, and Jonathan Coulton. When I cracked open my copy of Zombiegeddon, I half expected the restless dead to actually crawl out of the box and start doing the 'Nom! Nom! Nom!' on my face. When I saw cardstock tokens and plastic figures, I was more than a little relieved.

Zombiegeddon is a pre/post-apocalyptic survival horror board game of zombies, mutants, and rival humans competing for limited supplies, and occasionally fighting something horrible.

Presentation
Inside each box of Zombiegeddon you will find 200 lovingly machine punched, thick cardstock tokens. There are 112 pre bomb tokens, which represent Manholes, Supplies, Weapons, Road Blocks, and Enemies (Human). You'll also find another 88 post bomb tokens, which represent more Supplies and Enemies (Zombies). The artwork on some of the pieces makes it a little hard to tell what the supply token represents – thankfully it doesn't matter what they actually are. The board itself is pretty basic, the only artwork on it is the title of the game and 8 pre-located bomb shelters. Aside from the artwork, the quality of the game board is what I would expect from any other board game – it might even be a little sturdier than what I am used to seeing. The player figures are made of plastic and color coded to each player.

Game play
Thankfully, the rules are blessedly short, less than four pages in total. Game play starts with all players randomly distributing the pre-bomb tokens on the board, placing one of the player tokens in each of the pre-bomb shelter hexes, and the color-coded supply tokens in front of them on the table.

The object of Zombiegeddon is to collect as many supplies as you can – the more supplies of one type, the better. One tricky rule of the game states that when supply tokens, with the exception of weapons, are collected, they will be piled in front of the collecting player upside-down so they cannot be counted by anybody... including the player who collected them.

Phase 1: Before the bombs fall:
The youngest player goes first and is able to move two spaces, picking up supply tokens along the way. The two moves can be split up amongst two different figures on the board (each player controls four) or used on a single figure to move it two spaces. Manhole and barricade tokens cannot be removed from the board, they stay in place the entire game. Enemy tokens can only be removed if the player has a weapon token in their possession; once an enemy is removed, the weapon token is discarded. Each enemy is worth the number of points displayed on the token. Weapon tokens have no value by the end of the game, so use them if you have them.

There is a catch with collecting tokens. Once a token has been removed from the board, the space it previously inhabited is now impassible to everybody. In this way, a player can strategically cut off other players from the supplies they need. The only way to pass previously looted terrain is to use a manhole. A player may use a turn to inhabit a manhole hex, and a second turn to transport across the map to another available manhole.

Collecting tokens are only half of the pre-bomb phase. Each player must also try to make it to one of the post bomb shelters before all of the supply tokens are collected from the board. Players need only touch the post bomb shelters once to gain access to them in the next phase. Once a player has reached one, they may place one of their color-coded supply tokens on the shelter to indicate they have located it. If a player only reaches two or three of the post bomb shelters before the start of the next phase, they only have access to that number of units to collect supplies. A player who only reaches one of the post bomb shelters by the time phase 2 starts will have seriously limited their loot potential.

Game play continues with players taking turns until there are no more moves, i.e. all of the supply tokens have either been collected or are cut off from being reached.

Phase 2: The rise of the zombies:
At this point in the game, the government has turned on its citizens and dropped the bombs – only, they didn't do anything but kill off the non-infected. The players now take turns randomly distributing the post bomb tokens on the board. Once this is done, players must remove any figures of theirs from the board in excess of the number of post bomb shelters they visited in the first phase of the game – these figures have died off due to lack of shelter. Play then continues with the youngest player making the first moves.

During phase 2, there are no more human enemiesÉ only zombie enemies. This is where the game loses the zombie feel for me. The zombies don't actually move or do anything, they just sit there waiting to be attacked or ignored. Play continues along exactly as it did during phase one. Players collect supplies until the rest of the supplies are either unreachable or are gone. Once this is done, players move on to the final phase, the point tally.

Phase 3: He who has the most toys, wins:
Players may now look at the supplies they have hoarded in front of them and stack them all up in like types. Enemies or supplies with a numeric value are tallied up based upon whatever number is displayed. Other points are rewarded based upon how many tokens the players have of one type. For example, a single supply token is worth 1 point, two of the same type is worth 3 points, and six or more of the same type is worth 20 points. The player with the most points is declared the winner and all other players must bow to their superior skill.

Replayability and final thoughts
I honestly can't see this game being played more than a few times and stashed on the shelf. The rules are easy enough, but there just isn't enough meat to really sink your teeth into. This game could have been titled "Nuclear Winter" and game play could remain unchanged without affecting the overall feel of the game. There really is nothing zombie about this game except for a few enemies that don't do anything and can be completely avoided. $24.99 isn't too expensive, but when it comes down to it, save your money for another game – maybe one that feels more like a zombie game.

Speaking of points, lets tally them up

Ease of play: 4 out of 5 bullets – the rules are short and easy.

Presentation: 2 of five bullets – rough artwork hurts the theme, but the game board and pieces seem fairly sturdy.

Replayability: 2 out of 5 bullets – not compelling; I can't see playing it very often.

Feel of play: 2 out of 5 bullets – this is just another game jumping on the zombie bandwagon. There's really nothing in the game to give you that 'my brains are about to be eaten by a zombie' feel.

Overall: 2.5 out of 5 – It should be obvious by now, I didn't like the game. It actually makes me a little irritated they call this a zombie game.

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