Nov 5, 2014

[Games] Last Night on Earth: Growing Hunger Expansion

I had been pretty much sold on Last Night on Earth when I had first watched the Tabletop episode featuring the game. This feeling carried over to when I finally bought a copy of the base game since I immediately gambled on purchasing the Growing Hunger expansion as well. And it actually took us a few game nights before we felt comfortable enough with the base game before finally bringing out the expansion.

The Growing Hunger expansion is pretty basic as far as expansions go - it's all about adding more characters more board pieces and more cards. But this doesn't make it a bad expansion - just not quite as exception as compared later expansions.

I enjoyed reading this Board Game Geek review that cites that this isn't the sort of expansion that would get people unimpressed with the first game to get on the bandwagon, as it were. And that's a pretty decent assessment. It's good and adds more of the same fun that we've seen thus far but it's nothing amazing either.

Synopsis: Last Night on Earth: Growing Hunger Expansion is a full expansion to the original Last Night on Earth. As an expansion to the original game, this requires the original game in order to play and still supports 2-6 players only. But it still celebrates the b-movie zombie movie genre complete with campy heroes.

What you get with Growing Hunger is 4 new hero characters, new red zombie figures, 2 new game board pieces, 3 new scenarios and more cards for both the zombies and the humans. Let's talk about what this means for you.

First, the 4 new heroes are pretty diverse and flesh out more concepts we've seen in such horror movies. Amanda the Prom Queen most interesting trait is the fact that she has Beauty, which inspires Male characters in her space roll with an extra fight dice. Take that This Could Be Our Last Night On Earth card! Sam is the diner cook who is pretty much a tank. Rachelle is a new police detective who starts with both a Revolver and a Flashlight and her Intuition ability allows her to cancel a wound on a 6+ roll. And there's Kenny the Super Market Bag Boy, with the crazy ability Clean Up on Aisle 7, which allows him to kill a zombie only defeated in combat if he takes a wound or gives up an item.

The new heroes are a decent enough mix that nicely complement the existing heroes. And they also have starting locations that include some of the original game board pieces to provide greater usefulness. The new board pieces include Kenny's supermarket and other new locations like the Library and the Antique shop. The new locations have much more clever hero pick-up abilities similar to what we saw with the Junk Yard in the original game. For example, the aforementioned Antique Shop lets you reshuffle two cards from the Discard pile back into the Hero deck.

The zombies now have red Zombie Grave Dead zombies that have new abilities like faster movement or greater health. They count as 2 of the typical zombie spawns and you roll for every turn and the special ability is randomized as part of the new rules. Some of the abilities seem pretty scary, like the ability to spawn where a hero is. But sometimes the effects aren't quite as impressive as you'd think. And given you need to spawn 2 zombies to bring out a Grave Dead zombie, it can get a little frustrating.

The new cards provided for both the zombies and the heroes do add a nice little edge to things. But personally I felt that the end result is that the Hero side gets a bit more of an edge that tends to offset any gains offered by the Grave Dead zombies. We've played a number of games with the expansion and most of those sessions left the Zombie players more than just a little frustrated that they either couldn't get their red zombies out in time or the random ability didn't add all that much to things.

Then again, we felt that the original game did feel a little slanted towards the zombies more often than not, so it really can go either way. And this may rely more on the players themselves. On the whole, the game remains highly dynamic and this expansion builds on the modular nature of the original set and adds a lot more character. And if you're already tired of using the starting set of heroes, this is a great addition to give you more folks to work with.

Last Night on Earth: Growing Hunger Expansion is still a decent addition to your Last Night on Earth collection. It's really designed to benefit fans of the existing game who only want a modest step up in terms of complexity. It rates a good 3.5 weird new townsfolk cards like Coach Parker the Gym Teacher out of a possible 5.

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