I've been doing quite a bit of ranting about a potential zombie video game over the last couple months. And after all of that, I randomly came across a zombie board game at a store downtown. I had no idea such a niche existed. There are people out there that are so dedicated to their zombie apocalypse scenarios that they actually carry them out in real space with miniatures and everything. In other words, my kind of people.
Not only did I stumble across a zombie board game, I came across a whole genre. There were no fewer than three games to choose from, so I ran home to go do some research.
In this game the goal is to be the first survivor to make it to the helipad and escape. The twist is that the terrain is completely random. You actually build up the town as you go, with a new piece of it being added every turn. As the oldest of these three zombie games, Zombies!!! has six expansions to it, providing a large set of possible environments spanning everything from a mall to a military base. The most common criticism I've read is that the game often runs too long.
A newer game by the same creators as Zombies!!!, ZombieTown exchanges the dynamic board for more varied objectives. The goal of this game is to survive for 10 days while barricading properties, finding survivors, amassing weapons, and killing zombies. The catch with this game is that it really requires four people in order to hit critical mass, and without a steady gaming group I can't really guarantee that. Plus a good deal of the tension in the game comes from the players turning on each other in the fight for territory, and I'm not sure if everyone would be into that. But certainly this one looks to fulfill a lot of the survival objectives that I've been talking about.
Last Night On Earth (photo)
Instead of pitting the players against each other as fellow survivors, Last Night On Earth divides players up into a zombie team and a hero team. The board is a fixed shape but is made up of random modular pieces. The scenarios range from killing a specific number of zombies, to escaping in the truck, to smoking out the cult leader. One of the key draws for me is that it is designed to work well with only two players.
In doing my research there were a couple of other names that popped up that I hadn't seen in the store:
I went back downtown and snatched up Last Night On Earth, because it seemed to be the most favorably reviewed and was recommended for two players. I've had the opportunity to play a couple games by now, and it definitely scratches some of that zombie gaming itch. Expect a proper review sometime soon.