Played half a game once. For whatever reason it makes everyone's eyes bulge out of their heads when they see the massive spray of bits, cards, dice, minis, markers, chits, placeholders, status indicators, and funny-shaped cardboard nib-nobs. And then they expect me to know all the rules. By myself.
"Here's a rule for ya—you're dead! I win!"
UPDATE: In the end I'm just not a fan of tactical dungeon combat. I love dungeon crawls—just with the combat and movement more abstracted. Descent goes into a level of detail I find laborious. It is, by all appearances, a great game, and if I had a rabid group of players who dug it I'd go to the effort of learning and playing it. With no one clamoring for it, it'll have to anchor my game shelves until such a crowd forms...
Takes a light game and froths it into ghost-meringue. Rolling dice is fun, and that's pretty much all you're gonna get out of this. The whole experience is nothing but scrotum-tingly gamblin'... but even that bit is castrated by only having one re-roll.
In the end this is just about the equipment: if you like the clatter of dice in a cup and want to do that while you ride tickets, go for it. Otherwise, I had the mad desire to play real Ticket to Ride while playing this.
UPDATE: I'm liking this more and more. It makes the game super-short, and it's really easy to pull off some spectacular blocking. If the game were longer with screwage of that magnitude, it would just piss people off. If the game were just as short and everyone had to play like Fonzie, it'd be boring. As is, it's the perfect mix—a completely different game from Ticket to Ride proper.
This is working well as a party-game replacement for Settlers when we have couples over. The super bonus item is that it seats six neatly, whereas six-player Settlers is godawful.
Will update after more plays.
UPDATE: No more plays—that damn Ticket to Ride bastard barges in, slams down one too many and ends up curbing poor, stupid-brave TransAmerica in the parking lot. And, of course, all we do is call 911 and hide under the table.
Too much "limp-factor", and I'm not talking about eight inches of limp, either. Middle-of-the-road forgettable, so much so that I'm sitting here scratching my head trying to remember why I shouldn't just sell this... or abandon it to the vagaries of wind, sun and passing hobos.
This is pure, unapologetic, stomp-the-leader PvP in the same vein as Munchkin and Wiz-War. It all comes down to take-that card play, requiring constant groin-booting, constant expectation of multiple boots in your own groin AT ALL TIMES and a solid how-to-lace-18-eyelets understanding of the contents of the deck.
It is the antithesis of all things Eurogame—in fact, it is the shadow of the very tongue that licked Euros from the original ice so long ago, hot, hateful and mean-spirited.
This means two things:
1. Most people on this site will be severely allergic to it.
2. A single play tells you nothing about what it actually does.
It was clear to me after that single play—as a rabid fan of take-that card games—that intimate knowledge of the deck will cause the game to open up like a lacerated artery and splash our laughing faces with color to please the Gods. We really didn't get the hang of it until about halfway through when we suddenly figured out how to deploy triple groin-bootings, how to chain cards like the stanzas of a Saga, how to monkey-wrench those chains, how to get more cards to keep it up... and how best to use the sea monster. (Hint: CONSTANTLY.)
You know by now whether or not you like this sort of thing. It has "Viking" in the title, and those people weren't famous for gathering sea cubes and converting them into salt-fish disks to impress the Jarl. We know them for their "cultural outreach program" where they aggressively traded iron for gold. This is lots of that.
Besides, how can you not like a game where you can make people vomit and/or throw them overboard? Seriously.*
*I mean, have you even read the original Norse myths? Not the ones that have been scrubbed for children, but the ones where Thor hurls a boulder into a menstruating giantess' vagina, for actual example.
Really, really wanted to like this more than I do. The Warhammer world is fun, the art is fantastic, and the component quality* and presentation are like a gingerbread house in the middle of the woods.
In the end the problem, to quote my son, is that "it's not Magic."
Not that it has to be, or even that it's trying to be. But I get where he's coming from: why play this when you could be playing Magic: The Gathering? It's a better game, a deeper game, a more satisfying game. And if we're going to be playing a fantasy-themed card game for the next 20 minutes, I'd rather throw some Magic around.
*With the exception of different-sized cards in the expansions. I hate card sleeves, and when the cards are even fractionally larger or smaller or funny-shaped it affects the shuffle. (And, no, pile sorting doesn't randomize the cards—it just makes sure no two cards are next to each other.) If you overhand or monge shuffle with different sized cards, they end up clumped by size. Riffle shuffling is better, but the bigger cards get mangulated faster. Ah, well. I should count myself lucky to have such problems, no?
This better not suck, or some of my GeekBuddies have 40 bucks worth of 'splainin' to do!
UPDATE: Nothin' wrong with the game itself—it just turns out I'm not a World of Warcraft fan. I don't MMORPG (pronounced "more-pig") and I never really got into the turn-based version back in the day. If this had been themed as a Runebound adventure game, It would get played to death around here. (Runebound? In less than four hours? Yes, please!) As it is, the license kills it. Might as well be about Hannah Montana* for all I care.
GAME ENGINE: 8++ THEME: 4-
Dear GeekBuddies: You gots 40 bucks worth of 'splainin' t' do!
*And not the 2013 has-crummy-handlers version, either.
... dead walk the earth lightly and with much luck ... shell casings dance in hazy gore-spray ... send more cops ...
This rates a 5 played with the rules as written out of the box. With the proper amount of house-rule spackle this can climb as high as a 7 or even an 8 with the right music, mood and people.
How much spackle? All of it. You'll want to come up with new rules for movement, combat, endgame and victory conditions, using any combination of your own tasty brains, the Quick(er) Play Rules, Yugblad's suggestions:
1. Throw out the rulebook. 2. Pick and choose from the variant rules on the Geek - remember to keep it SIMPLE! 3. Do not lay down tiles after finding the helipad. 4. Forget counting "dead" zombies for the winner - this is a kill-the-zombie-to-escape game. Let the most bloodthirst player place the helipad. 5. When a player dies, have him/her/them control the zombies, etc. 6. Trim the card deck to a custom-picked 50-60 cards. NO more, no less. Keep it 50/50 to screwage/benefit cards. 7. Use a timer - this keeps a panicky atmosphere ticking over. 8. Mount the town tiles on 2mm-thick card. 9. Use the subway expansion.
and the smorgasbord of rules salad on the Twilight Creations website.
I have to admit that I was very put off by this at first—if I wanted to make my own game I would have made my own game, not spent money on an unfinished product. With time, however, I've very much warmed to the idea of Zombies!!! as a sandbox/tool kit experience game, a gaming hot rod that can be fiddled with and tuned until you get the custom ride that perfectly suits you & your game group.
If you dig the theme, have the time and are so inclined to tinker, this is pretty darn good.