Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Board Game Review 01: Zombie Dice

So, recently I discovered a web series by the name of Tabletop on Youtube.  It's run by the GeeksandSundry people, who also do the web series The Guild.  Tabletop is hosted by Wil Wheaton, and features guests popular in geek culture, such as Felecia Day (Dr. Horrible's Sing A Long Blog, The Guild), Bill Prady (Co-Creator of The Big Bang Theory), Phil Lamarr (Mad TV, Futurama), and even Blizzard CEO and founder Mike Morhaime.

Anyways, when watching one of these videos, I saw a game that piqued my interest (no, it did not peak it, that would mean my interest is capped.  Learn to use proper words internet!).  The game was Zombie Dice, a quick little dice game that can be played with 2+ players.

Don't mind my half an arm.  I'm just here for your brains.

So what about Zombie dice makes it so appealing?  It's a fast game, that can last between 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of players and their luck.  The game has a total of 13 dice of 3 different colors; Green, Yellow, and Red.

Those red dice suck, you will cringe when you draw them.

So the way this game work is like this.  You grab 3 dice at random from the cup and roll them.  Each die represents a person whom your hungry, hungry Zombie is going to try to consume.  If you get a brain, you score it by putting it off to the side.  You also keep any shotgun blasts you receive.  If you get 3 shotgun blasts total up over your turn's rolls, then you lose all points you earned this turn.  The feet on the dice represent a "Runner".  If you decide to roll again, you draw until you have 3 dice, counting any runners you have.  

For example, if I rolled two brains and a runner, I could either stop my turn, and bank the 2 points for the 2 brains, or I could grab 2 more dice from the cup, and roll them with my runner.  You always roll 3 dice per roll.  If, on my second roll, I get a brain and two shotguns, I'd have a total of 3 brains, and two shots this turn.  If I get a shotgun on my next roll, I get no points.  A key thing to remember though, if you pull the dice out of the cup, you can't end your turn until you roll them.  You can only bank your points after you finish a roll.

Now, what do the different colors mean?  Well, the color coordination is pretty handy in telling you which ones are good and which ones are bad.  All dice have 2 runners on it.  Green dice have 3 Brains sides, and 1 Shotgun side, making them the safest of the dice.  Yellow Dice are the most fair, with 2 of each type.  Red Dice are not good.  3 Shotguns and 1 Brain means that your odds of success with these are not good.

Of course, hubris can be your downfall.

To win Zombie Dice, you want to be the first to 13+ points.  Once a player scores 13 or more points, every other player gets one more turn to try to surpass them.  For this reason, if the game is close, I always try to score around 16-19 in order to give myself more of a cushion.  If two players tie, they each have a 1 turn tiebreaker.  

This game is all about risk management.  You have to know when to play the odds, or when to just call it quits.  It's a fun party game, and my friends have been asking to play it every time I go over there.  For only $13 at Barnes and Nobles, I'd say that it was a good purchase.

So that wraps up my first Board Game review.  I have other games lined up on the horizon, so keep an eye out for those.

PS, the game's creator is Steve Jackson Games, who you may know as the creators of the Munchkin series. We may see one of those games down the line as well.

PPS, you can download a free version of this game on mobile iOS devices.  Sorry Android users :(

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