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Subject: [Review] Zombie Dice - Fast and Fun! rss

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Tim Myers
United States
Salem
Wisconsin
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Zombie Dice is one of the latest push your luck games and is published by Steve Jackson Games. As the name implies the theme is Zombies and your goal is to acquire as many brains as you can before you get 3 shotgun blasts. It retails for $13.13 but you should be able to find it for between $9-10.


The Components:

Zombie Dice comes in a blister pack with instructions, 13 dice and the storage cup.

image by: DICE_COLLECTOR

The dice are nice plastic ones with engraved and colored symbols so they should hold up well. There are 13 six sided dice:
6 Green dice with - 3 Brains, 2 Footprints and 1 Shotgun blast.
4 Yellow dice with - 2 Brains, 2 Footprints and 2 Shotgun blasts.
3 Red dice with: 1 Brain, 2 Footprints and 3 Shotgun blasts.

The drawing cup / storage container is a colorful sturdy cardboard tube with plastic end caps. One of the end caps has a tab on it so you can easily remove it.

The instructions are on a color, double sided 5 1/2" X 8 1/2" sheet of glossy paper. You could really fit the instructions on one side but there are graphics, flavor text and headers that break up the rules and make them easy to read.

image by: herebebooks


The Game:

During each round every player will take turns trying to collect as many brains as they can before getting 3 or more shotgun blasts.

On your turn you will pull 3 random dice out of the cup and roll them setting any "brains" you get to your left and any "shotgun blast" you get to your right. Any "footprints" you get will be re-rolled if you decide to continue. If or more likely when you get 3 or more shotgun blasts your turn ends and you put all of the dice back in the cup and pass it to the next player and score zero brains for that round.

If you do not have 3 shotgun blast you can decide to try and get more brains by rolling 3 more dice and adding the brains to the brains pile and the shotgun blast to the shotgun blast pile (ending your turn if you get 3 or more blasts). When you roll 3 more dice you will re-roll any footprints you previously rolled and add random dice from the cup until you have a total of 3 dice.

When you feel that you have pushed your luck enough you can decide to stop rolling and score 1 point for each brain providing you do not have 3 or more shotgun blasts. All of the dice then go into the cup and play passes to the next player.

You play until somebody has 13 or more brains and play continues until the end of the round so everybody has the same number of turns. Whoever has the most brains at the end of that round wins and if there is a tie the tied players will play 1 tie breaking round.


Luck vs Skill:

One of my sons says that Zombie Dice is all luck but I argue that there is some skill to playing. I think that the different number of brains and shotgun blast on the green, yellow and red dice and the different number of dice (6 green, 4 yellow and 3 red) gives you something else to consider when making your roll again or stop and score decision.

If it were purely luck you would continue to roll until you have say 2 shotgun blasts and then stop. Somebody that considers the color of dice already rolled and whats left in the cup for them to roll, rather then just what brains and blasts they already have should have an edge.

Still it is dice game and anything can happen.



Players that have their turns later in the round will have an advantage over earlier players. Since the game ends at the end of the round that somebody has 13 or more brains, later players will push their luck until they have more brains for the win or get the 3 shotgun blasts. This can also force earlier players to go for more then 13 brains if somebody later in the turn order is close to 13 brains.

When we play multiple games we have the winner of the previous game go first in the next game.


The Good:

* Fast - 4 to 6 players can finsh a game in 10 - 15 minutes.
* Theme - You are a Zombie trying to collect as many brains as you can before getting blasted.
* Easy - Simple rules that can be explained and somebody can pick it up after watching a couple of players take their turns.
* Some Depth - The number of colored dice and disposition of brains and shotgun blast will appeal to those that want to calculate the odds when deciding whether to roll again.
* Player Involvement - You will groan when you get your 3rd shotgun when you have seveal brains while others jeer you. Players will chant for the others to get a shotgun blast and cheer when somebody rolls all shotgun blasts on their first roll.
* Price - In a couple of weeks I have already gotten my moneys worth out of it and I have a lot of plays left.


The Bad:

* The Cup - The edge of the cup will wear as players dig in the cup for their 3 dice to roll.
* Last Player Advantage - The last player has an advantage but it is a fast light filler game that we don't take too seriously.

NOTE: I added a bag that I put the dice in and use to mix them up and pull the 3 random dice from.


Final Thoughts:

Zombie Dice is a fun and fast paced filler game and the theme will appeal to anybody who is a Zombie fan. With the addition of the bag to pull the dice from it will hold up well and get a lot of plays in the years to come.

If we need a filler game this is one game that I will suggest!
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Eddie
United Kingdom
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I bought this the same time I bought Cthulhu Dice -- unfortunately, I haven't yet had the opportunity to play. Kinda itching to grab it and play a few games after reading your review.

On a side note, I could see integrating this game into various RPGs as a different way to (occasionally) deal with random (or planned) encounters.

Oh, the possibilities...
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Joe Lott
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Good review, me and a friend played this two player last night, played 3 games of it (I WON!!!) and it was really fun. A great quick filler.
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Sean O'Carroll
Australia
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Agree, first played this as a quick filler while waiting for the DM to show up for a D&D Encounters game. Comment most heard was "this is fun, I have to get this". Fair bit of luck to the game, but I think like other random games (e.g. Poker, Bridge, 21 etc) over the long term, the player with the most skill will win the most, although no-one can ever be sure of victory.
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Jason Martin
Canada
Torbay
Newfoundland
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intrepideddie wrote:
I bought this the same time I bought Cthulhu Dice -- unfortunately, I haven't yet had the opportunity to play. Kinda itching to grab it and play a few games after reading your review.

On a side note, I could see integrating this game into various RPGs as a different way to (occasionally) deal with random (or planned) encounters.

Oh, the possibilities...


I dunno, I don't see the point...kindof skill-less...best off to play Blackjack, it's free.
 
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Gary Bradley
United Kingdom
Unspecified
Scotland
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Blackjack lacks zombies.

Which I've been sayin' for years.
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H. S. Funk

South Carolina
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Wow! I was totally unaware of this game. It actually sounds pretty cool.
 
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