Welcome back game fans, to another edition of A Roll of the Dice. Today we are reviewing another game from the wonderful Dan Smith (Party Till The Cops Show up) so lets get started with a brief explanation.
Zombie Run has a very basic concept, and that is to survive. You want to have the most “distance” in front of you at the end of the game. This comes in the form of distance cards, ranging from one to nine. Sounds fairly simple, and it would be, if the other players in the game weren’t tossing zombies and distractions at you. Who knew you couldn’t trust your friends or loved ones during the zombie apocalypse?
Essentially the way it works is that each player draws a card on their turn, and plays one action. Either a distance card in front of them, or a zombie or distraction in front of an enemy to force them into the defensive. May sound easy, but it takes a lot of strategy not to end up out of the game. The reason being, if you go full offence and keep no distance cards, you may lose very fast. This is because you can play distance from your hand for defence but you can not redraw those cards, meaning you still only draw your one card on your turn. This could effectively turn your hand into a one card hand, with the one you draw being all you get per turn (and must play as well). Let’s see what the team gave this game.
Design : Adam – 8, Jordan – 7.5, Alex – 8.5
I was really happy with the design of this game, as the artwork was exactly what it needed. It had its little bit of blood and gore, but overall was cute and cartoony. Honestly it is refreshing to see a zombie game out that I wouldn’t be upset to play with my son when he is a bit older (older than the 1 he is now). It is not needlessly over the top, and does not give you the gore that a lot of other zombie games out will do.
I felt that the artwork was good, the design of the card was good, and very minimalistic, which I prefer in a card game. Jordan felt the same, but thought that the distance cards could have added anything to them so they weren’t so plain. Alex actually got a kick out of the zombie cards, and loved the distraction cards as well. Overall, we liked the look and feel of this one.
Replay Value : Adam – 8.5, Jordan – 8, Alex – 8
Now of course, like with any card game, there is a lot of replay value as the number of different combinations of card is high. With the diminishing card system, it really adds to the replay value because a game can end quickly. You can tell this game is meant to be quick and easy, the kind of game you can play on a break at work, or between long games on your board game days.
I felt the game did have quite a bit of replay value, as we played five times and none of the games went the same way. It also helps having a full game of four players, as there is always multiple targets to work on. Alex felt that the game did have good replay value, but was upset with the teaming up on each other aspect it tends to lead us into. Jordan felt there was replay value involved, but by game five he felt we should have spread out the games a bit. He did not feel it was the type of game to play over and over in a row. I would agree, and say that for most card games.
Fun Factor : Adam – 8, Jordan – 6, Alex – 8
Now, I need people to understand that this game is fun. Overall it has really good dynamics, and we thoroughly enjoyed playing it. It was fast paced, and dynamic to play. The feeling of betraying your loved one, so that they get eaten by zombies, was really fun to act out. We may have taken the zombie theme too far, by actually getting physical in the game a little (roaring, scratching, and making zombie noises). That says a lot about a game, when you can add a little bit of silliness and make it even better! The quick game play made it fun to get in and out of a game, and be able to get right back into another one.
Now, I don’t ever focus on the negative, and honestly this game has so much positive that I had to talk about the one thing all of us felt we would change. The diminishing hand size is a unique feature in the game, and I think it could work, but we all feel it didn’t work for the set-up of this particular game. When you are playing four players, and your starting hand size is only three, that means that blocking one zombie (especially if it is a 10 point zombie) will pretty much flush out your hand, and on multiple occasions it was happening on turn one, that one person was already short handed, and basically out of the game. I feel if the hand sizes were increased to at least seven, then this game rule would work, or have a rule for having minimum three cards, but you can only redraw on your turn. I didn’t feel it ruined the game by any means, but thought it was worth mentioning. We tried three games with the rules the way they were written, all of which were over by turn five. Then we did two games with our altered rules, and one was over by turn nine, and one of them we finished the deck. Just adds some extra game time to it.
1) When did your love for gaming start?
As kids, we all love games and I was no different. My favourite game, AMERICAN HERITAGE DOGFIGHT, I didn’t even own. I had to go to my friend’s to play it. As I got older I went through periods of not playing any games at all. Then I found RPGs and did that for about 3 years, then stopped for about 5 years. Then got back on the RPG horse with a new idea of where it should go and never looked back on gaming. I worked in the RPG/gaming industry in the 90-2000s as an illustrator/scriptwriter, when your income is your passion, it sticks with you.
2) What made you decide to create this specific type of game?
For me, the game play has to be representative of the concept. First and foremost. I have played countless games where the concept was slapped on a game engine that didn’t make you feel you were in that “world”. I recently bought a Walking Dead card game that was just a re-skinned german acquisition game and it was just adding up points with zombie pictures on the cards. I HATE that. My checklist for my games are: 1.Game theme reflected in game play. 2.Simplicity in play (Not simple games, ease of understanding.) 3. Replayability. My game should play differently every time. Battle of the Bands/ King of Crime have never had that problem in the 15+ years I have played them, and I have played them a lot. 4. FUN. being number 4 on the list is not being exactly right as this is a ghost position that must always be there, If you lose in my games, you had a great time. Winning usually isn’t the main goal, it’s having fun.
3) What types of games do you normally play?
I play quick classic games like Mille Bornes, Uno, Stratego, Risk (Legacy) , Ace of Aces, and my newest acquisition AMERICAN HERITAGE DOGFIGHT! I help fund a lot of Kickstarter games but haven’t played many yet because of time constraints. I do play my games often as well, produced and unproduced games. I have about 12-15 unproduced games at the moment.
4) Where/when will we be able to get our hands on this game?
I am working on a kickstarter campaign for PARTY (till the cops show up) which I should have up in about 2-3 months. Zombie Run might be sold in stores later on this year as a 54 card deck. I may do a KS for that on as an expanded 100 card set as well after initial sales occur. It depends on what happens between now and then.
5) Do you have plans for more games in the future?
If my plans go right, I will have about 8-10 games in stores within the next 2-3 months. If that happens it will allow me to put out more games quicker. (I would produce my games and then do a KS campaign for expansions alongside selling the basic sets.
Well, thanks so much Dan for the fun times. We look forward to reviewing more games for you in the future, and we hope everyone has enough information to decide whether this game is right for you. It is really fun, and honestly, worth picking up once available.
Tun in next week, when we review our first video game, Strength of the SWORD 3. Looking forward to it!