Sep 10, 2014

[Games] Zombie Dice

Tobie and I have just come back from another trip to Singapore. And our Singapore adventures are never complete without a trip to our favorite gaming hangout, Paradigm Infinitum. And we've picked up a few more games to add to our collection, which will act as fuel for future reviews and of course many, many game nights.

Zombie Dice is a game that I've been considering picking up for a while now. And while it's ridiculously simple,the fun of the game lies in this very aspect of the game. And what's even better is the fact that the game scales to support a large number of players, which is always a good thing for game nights with friends.

Dice games are always a bit of a  mixed bag, although most American games tend to rely on dice a lot as a way to introduce randomness into things. And thus the element of chance can be a little annoying at times, but it does make it easier for new players to try their luck and experience the game for themselves.

Such gateway games are always an essential part of any gaming collection. After all, not everyone is automatically ready to get into the heavier games.

Zombie Dice is a really easy-to-learn dice game created by Steve Jackson. The game has all of the players as zombies and it's good for "2+" players. And given the design of the game, I can see how there's no true player limit - unless you're not especially patient.

In the game, players draw 3 of the 13 dice at random and roll to see the result. As a zombie, you naturally want to eat brains and your ultimate goal is the first to roll a total of 13 brains across the rounds. However you might also roll shotgun blasts, which are pretty bad for zombies. Roll at least three shotgun blasts and your turn ends immediately without letting you score. The last symbol on the die involves the victim running away, and so it doesn't help you or hurt you, but you can at least consider re-rolling it.

After you get your first die result, you can then decide to roll again or keep the brains that you've collected and pass control to the next player. You don't re-roll any brains or shotgun blasts that you got in the prior round. Instead you draw new dice from the pool to get back up to three - and this includes any victims that "ran away" in your previous die result.

Another thing to consider is the fact that there are three different types of dice coded by color. Green dice are the most plentiful and have more  brain symbols. Yellow dice are perfectly even in terms of all three symbols. And red dice have more shotgun blasts and thus are the most dangerous. So there's that added element of risk based on the actual dice that you draw from the provided zombie cup.

And that's all there is to it - thus the game relies primarily on chance, but you also get to strategize a bit based on the color of the dice. For example, if you've already drawn a fair number of green dice at the beginning of a turn, you know you're going to risk more with additional rolls as there's a bigger chance of red rice coming up. And of course you just need to keep the whole 13 brain target in mind as to whether or not you can risk passing control to the next player or not.

I really liked the quality of the dice - they have nice vibrant colors and have a good weight to them, as far as dice are concerned. The cup included for the basic set is pretty sad though since it's more like your basic cardboard container that a kid might store coins in. Still, the dice are the main point of the game and things might work better if you just carried them around in a dice bag or something.

Zombie Dice is a nice easy game to teach to new players and it's a quick enough game that you can play in-between rounds of other board games as a bit of a break. The concept can get a little tiring over time and of course the significantly random nature of the results doesn't really give the player as much control as liked. Still, the game is fun enough to rate 3.5 zombies out of a possible 5.

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