Review: Zombie Dice

Posted by James (admin) on September 17th, 2010

Zombie Dice is a dice-rolling, push-your-luck game where players are zombies trying to be the first to eat 13 brains.  The game consists purely of 13 special dice whose faces show either footprints, shotgun blasts or brains.  The dice are one of 3 different dice types: The 6 green dice have more brains and few shotgun blasts, the 4 red dice have more shotgun blasts and fewer brains, and the 4 yellow dice are in between the two.

On their turn, a player takes 3 dice at random from the card tube and rolls them.  Any shotgun blast and brain results are set aside.  If the player has any footstep dice remaining they can take more dice at random from the tube to make a total of 3 dice and roll again.  The player can stop at any time and the amount of brains they have accumulated is added to their score.  If a player has no footstep results (i.e. they just roll brains and blasts), then their turn automatically ends.  However, if the player ever has 3 shotgun blasts then their turn is over and they lose any brains they rolled during that turn.  First player to eat 13 brains wins.

Zombie Dice is a very simple game – quick to teach and quick to play – our 3-player game lasted under 10 minutes.  It’s well-produced – the custom dice are solid and really good quality, plus it has an agreeable price point (£9.99 in the UK).  I’d have preferred it if the card tube it’s packaged in was a cloth bag as it would be a lot quieter shaking the dice and easier to get them out, but that’s not a big deal and that probably would have increased the cost.

On the downside though, for me, it’s actually too simple.  It’s a nice idea and I like push-your-luck games, but I couldn’t help thinking it’s shame this isn’t a game mechanic within something bigger.  I like how the dice colours indicate the likelihood of rolling shotguns or brains as this gives the player some extra information about their chances to consider when weighing up whether to keep rolling or not; however, there’s no more depth than that.

I think there will be players that really like Zombie Dice though as it plays so quickly and could be a good micro-filler.  It will appeal to players of lighter games and younger gamers too – I can see it being a great game for gaming parents to play with their kids at Halloween and then the kids will contine playing it on their own afterwards.  For the older players, I think it could be converted into a good drinking game too and there are always fans of anything zombie.  Steve Jackson ought to offer it to film and video game companies as a potential licensed tie-in product too – Steve, if you’re reading this, I know guys at Capcom (Resident Evil) and other video game companies so could maybe help you there.)

So, whilst I’m sure it will find fans – there’s just not enough meat on it for me to want to play it more.


[Played wth 3 players]

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