Rise of the Zombies is a game utilize cards and dice…I don’t call it a board game necessarily as it doesn’t use an actual game board, more on that in a moment and designed for 1 to 8 players. The object of the game is simple. Your players must survive a zombie onslaught and make it to a rescue helicopter safely, AND before the timer runs out, to “win” the game. The game ends when all players make it to the chopper, the last survivor dies, or time runs out.
The game is played using a pair of dice, counters, and several different types of cards. To begin you select a survivor to play. There are a wide variety of survivor types, each with their own unique weapons and skills. There is the Cheerleader, Mercenary, Construction Worker, Biker, Paramedic, and Scout, to name just a few. These players can use weapon cards which feature mundane items like a pipe wrench and baseball bat as well as various types of firearms. In addition to weapons there are many other item cards that can assist the players such as a canteen to heal a point of damage, backpacks to increase your hand size (how much you can carry); and binoculars which can help spot zombies.
In lieu of a game board, Rise of the Zombies uses location cards which the players move through as they try to make their way to the rescue chopper. These locations include places like the high school, corner store, graveyard, hospital, parking lot, gas station, and city hall. The locations each provide their own advantages and disadvantages.
Throughout the game you will encounter all manner of zombie types from the garden variety Loner zombie, the powerful Hulker; packs of zombie dogs; the speedy Runners; and Mutated Prisoners. The difficulty of the game is determined by the number of players which increases the number of locations to play through and zombies encountered, but can be scaled up or down.
Players and zombies take their turns moving, attacking, and playing action or item cards as the game progresses. While the game certainly takes a level of cooperation, ultimately, it’s every person for themselves as you have to get your survivor on that chopper before time runs out. The length of the game depends on the number of characters but ranges from 30 – 90 minutes so this is a wonderful quick-play game and great for parties.
While developer DVG rates complexity as low, I would call it low to moderate. There are surprisingly a lot of factors and variables that go into gameplay which definitely helps the replay value. There is a lot of depth here that belies the rather short 20 page instruction booklet. Fortunately one of the most useful elements to the instructions is a two page, step-by-step sample game which serves as a fantastic tutorial to help players grasp movement and combat.
Rise of the Zombies is a lot of fun. There is a wide diversity of survivor types, zombies, weapons, and actions that helps to keep each game fresh and there is even a campaign element to stretch out the game into an epic. The card art by Gordon Napier is rough pen and ink sketches but completely appropriate for the game.
If you’re looking for a fun and quick game that will appeal to people who might not be big board game fans, Rise of the Zombies is a winner.
Visit the DVG site to order: https://www.mcssl.com/store/danverssengames/catalog/category/6229328/rise-of-the-zombies