ZOMBIES!!! The Game

From Journeyman Press; Reviewed by Aldyth Beltane

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Title: Zombies!!!
Published By: Journeyman Press
Game Type: Board-based card game
Freak Nation Rating:

After days of battling the creeping horrors of Silent Hill, and watching a George Romero marathon, I’m immersed enough in the walking, or perhaps I should say shambling, shuffling dead, to be in the proper frame of mind for this review.

Zombies!!! is a self-contained tile and card game with the same themes as All Flesh Must be Eaten, the Zombie-battling RPG, with an intro by George Vasilakos. The object of the game is simple: be the first player to fight your way through a town crawling with the living dead, and escape via the heliport. But the fun and the horror are in the details!

The player tokens bear a striking resemblance to Bruce Campbell’s character Ash, from the Evil Dead movies. Then there’s the bag of 100 little plastic zombies, which will be strategically placed and moved about the randomly placed map tiles. The map tiles of the city contain humor and homage of their own, including the cinema that is showing “Evil Dad” (this is not a typo), a comix store, and of course, a Lawn and Garden Center where one lucky player can pick up a chainsaw.

The genre homage continues in the art and text of the event cards. Players can harry their opponents with “Brain Cramps” which redirect their movements, or “Claustrophobia” which inhibits them entirely. In the players’ favor, one can discover a truck with the “Keys Still In It”, a shotgun, a fire axe, or “Lots of Ammo”, among other key weapons. And of course, the zombies do move very slowly... but there are lots of them!

The game begins with each player having three bullets, three lives, and three cards. With every player’s turn, a map tile is drawn, and the indicated number of zombies is placed upon the tile. The player then rolls for movement and must defeat any zombies encountered. Bullets and life tokens can be used to fight the zombies, which one otherwise has a 50% chance of overcoming. But the other players will do what they can to be a hindrance, and once one runs out of life, one must return to Town Square (the beginning.) To make matters worse, more zombies are added with every turn — and they move! Admittedly slowly, but they do move. Luckily, there are locations in the city that offer additional lives and bullets, and some unique and useful weaponry.

We first played this game whilst bleary eyed, after an all-night party, when feeling rather zombie-like ourselves. From the fairly simple, easy to learn rules, there is a great deal of room for strategy, and because of the method of tile placement, play is always varied. And there’s a certain thrill in taking out little plastic zombies, and collecting the tokens. My only complaint is that with all the dying and starting over, the game can go on for a bit. Overall, the game is enjoyable, and can be gruesomely funny if approached with a suitably irreverent frame of mind. In other words, hand me that S-Mart chainsaw, I’m gonna kill me some Zombies!!!

Zombies!!! is conceived and designed by Todd A. Breitenstein, and published by Journeyman Press.

Aldyth Beltane is many things — writer, magician, DJ, Glittery Diva, and despite protestation to the contrary, crusader. Aldyth’s body of work includes interviews (the number of which she has lost count), contributions to comics and gaming books (including White Wolf’s Orphan’s Survival Guide — of which she is rather proud), and many articles and reviews for many websites (including this one and Wellred Press). She has expanded her body of work to include non-fiction, examples of which can be found in Morbid Curiosity numbers 8 and 10. Aldyth DJs at a variety of venues and parties, spinning Glam, ’60s garage, ’70s original punk, and any other loud rebellious rock’n’roll that moves her fancy.

When not pontificating or forcing her musical tastes on others, Aldyth pays homage to Bast in the form of feline care and rescue, shops for her personal take on the coolest styles, absorbs media like a glittery sponge, and waffles on whether the pain of romance is worth the creative fodder.