Monday, January 02, 2006

Zombies!!! Some Thoughts about Gameplay

Zombies!!! is a board game where you build a map of a zombie-infested town & compete with the other players to survive. Last week I played the game for a second time and discovered I had some issues with it.

As a game, it works - creating cutthroat competition and a desire to survive & win - but it's uninspired. Every player's turn is a succession of placing map tiles & zombies, moving your piece, fighting any zombies in your way and then collecting the resources necessary to survive. At any point, other players can play cards against you. The game finishes when a player either kills 25 zombies or climbs aboard the last helicopter out of town.

The gameplay lacks variety. It's basically the same from start to finish - and this repetition is (to me) both boring and, for some reason I haven't yet been able to articulate, counterintuitive. Players in both games I've played have had to keep asking what order they do things in - even after an hour or two of play. There are quite a few elements to keep track of in a single player's turn. Perhaps that's the reason.

Also, as soon as one player gets close to fulfilling the victory conditions, the game becomes a slog to win as other players team up to stop you from succeeding. This is both a problem and a benefit. It significantly increases the time to play but also adds a real element of excitement and means that, as a player, you can finally make meaningful decisions about how you want to try and win.

In general, Zombies!!! takes ages to play & I'm not yet convinced it's worth it. I'll post more about it later.

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