Let me preface this review by saying I own Zombies!!! 1 – 11 including 3.5 and 6.66 and have been a big supporter of Twilight Creations through this franchise and a couple of others.
I first came across Zombies!!! 6 years ago. I’m not sure how I came across it, but Boxing Day 2006 or 2007 saw me at a friends where 6 of us spent 3 hours playing that first game and immediately went back to play a second. The next year we all chipped in and bought up to Zombies!!! 4 (I think that was what we were up to) and played the different expansions all day. Every year since we’ve bought the latest expansion(s) and 4 – 6 of us would play on Boxing Day; it’s become a tradition.
That said, it was never as much fun as that first time but we came up with house rules or incorporated other people’s that made it more enjoyable and got rid of most of the broken parts.
So, when I was in Forbidden Planet browsing and came across the card game, I bought it without hesitating and headed to the pub for a quick game with some friends.
After 4 (admittedly quite quick) games this has retroactively made all of the other Zombies!!! games worse by forcing me to no longer overlook their flaws.
The game mechanics aren’t too bad. You have your own deck, you play cards and fight zombies, and you play card effects. All good in theory. There’s enough cards that your deck will end up being varied each game, though not necessarily fair (but then again neither’s life).
However the problem becomes that it’s impossible to go a turn without having to wrestle with the rules to figure out what’s supposed to be going on. Literally every turn that someone plays a card to mess with the other person there’s some arguments as to what the card is supposed to do.
The rules are incomplete for just the basic game turn, the terminology inconsistent and confusing, and trying to figure out how a card interacts with the rules or other people is primarily down to the individuals on the day. Not what I look for in a game.
Bear in mind I’ve wrestled with TCs idiosyncrasies with their game rules before but if you gave this game to people who haven’t I doubt they’d even make it through a single game.
While I’m sure the cards made sense to Todd and Kerry while they were playing I have to wonder what sort of play testing has gone on when we were encountering so many issues.
The cards and effects were primarily rehashes of the Zombies!!! cards, in itself not a problem as that’s what you’re paying for, but the nature of the game is significantly different and becomes much more a game of exceptions like Munchkin or M:tG which necessitates a different way of player interaction.
Ultimately this will get played for 1 round on Boxing Day again, then consigned to the cupboard and never looked at. Zombies!!! 11 will also likely get the same treatment and we’ll probably move on to a different franchise for next year.
- (technically) Portable version of Zombies!!! (though why it’s in such an unwieldy box I don’t know)
- Games are fast