Monday, October 13, 2014

Quick Review - Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
Designer: Jason C. Hill
Publisher: Flying Frog Productions
Quick Review - Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
This weekend I played the basic scenario of Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game with a few friends.  In Last Night on Earth players control either the Zombies or the Heroes.  The game can be played with 2-6 players and depending on how many players there are the heroes and zombies get divided up.  There are four hero characters in the game and the zombies can be controlled by up to two people.  We played with four players, but kind of tweaked the player distribution so only one player controlled the zombies and one player (me) controlled two characters.  This worked out fine since it's a very cooperative game for the heroes (and my second character died pretty quickly).

As players move around the board they can stop and search buildings for items and weapons that can help them, or occasionally an event that can affect the game.  The zombie player also gets card that can help him, but they're drawn randomly from a shuffled deck.  Combat between zombies and players can happen with ranged weapons, or hand-to-hand.  For ranged weapons (revolver, shotgun, etc.) combat is described on the card.  Hand to hand combat is pretty straight forward and relies on dice rolls, but in an almost Risk-like fashion.  Heroes roll 2 dice and zombies roll 1.  The higher value wins, zombies win ties.  If the hero wins they fend off the zombie (but don't kill it, unless they have a hand weapon that allows for kills).  If the hero wins and rolls doubles they actually kill the zombie.  If the zombie wins they inflict 1 wound, if they inflict enough wounds the zombies can kill heroes.  Play progresses until one of the objectives are met (heroes or zombies).

In the basic scenario the goal is for the heroes to survive and kill 15 zombies within 15 turns.  If they do, they win.  If not, or if two heroes are killed, the zombie player(s) win.  The basic scenario was very basic and serves to mainly get the players acclimated to the rules and gameplay.  More advanced scenarios include more challenging win criteria for both the heroes and zombies.  However, playing the basic scenario is a quick way to learn the game and see how different strategies work without investing a ton of time into an advanced game.  We learned a few things from playing the basic scenario, some of which may seem like common sense in a zombie apocalypse.  These tips apply to the basic scenario though, :

  1. Heroes should not stand in one place if there are many zombies nearby.  You'll eventually get overrun and killed, as evidenced by Johnny's fate in our game.  You need to keep moving and pick off zombies one at a time as they get closer.
  2. Get a gun.  Ranged Weapons are absolutely necessary to take pop shots at distant zombies.
  3. If possible, meet up in the Gun Shop.  The board is somewhat modular, so the Gun Shop might not be on your board.  If it is, have everyone gather there and kill zombies as you can.
  4. Unless you are in a building well supplied with guns and ammo, keep moving!
  5. If you control the zombies, you don't always need to go after the heroes.  At least in this scenario the zombie player would have had a much better chance at winning if he had avoided the heroes instead of chasing after them.  Because he came after the heroes we could just hang out in the gun shop and wait for the zombies to come to us.  The game would have been much more challenging for us if we had to resupply and then leave the gun shop go after the zombies.
  6. Spread out your zombies.  Grouping them into one space makes them easy targets for the shotgun, which can hit all zombies in the same space.  The revolver is more accurate and has better range, but can only kill one zombie per turn.  We were able to wipe out 4 zombies at once on one turn because they were all grouped in one space and the shotgun did a ton of damage.
  7. Get a sheriff that knows how to shoot a gun.  Yeah, my sheriff character had to rely on the nurse and the farmer's daughter to shoot and kill the zombies since my dice rolling abilities are atrocious.
Overall I found the game fairly fast paced.  There wasn't a whole lot of downtime between turns and the cooperative aspect for the heroes encourages between-turn discussion.  There is a bit more downtime for the zombie player, but the game moves quickly, so it's not too bad.  The components of the game are very nice, even more so since my friend painted all his hero and zombie miniatures.  And the game even comes with a CD of mood music.  The basic scenario was fun, but just gave a taste of how the game works.  I can't wait to try out a more advanced scenario.

Preliminary Rating: 7/10

Zombies all around.

The sheriff is out in the open, better get protected.

Holing up in the gun shop and picking off zombies as they swarm.
Watch out, they're in the building now!

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GJJG Game Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with my family and friends.  Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some are print and play versions of games.  Where applicable I will indicate if games have been played with kids or adults or a mix (Family Play).  I won't go into extensive detail about how to play the game (there are plenty of other sources for that information and I'll occasionally link to those other sources), but I will give my impressions of the game and how my friends and family reacted to the game.  First Play Impression reviews will only get a single rating of 1-10 (low-high) based on my first impressions of the game during my first time playing.  Hopefully I'll get more chances to play the game and will be able to give it a full review soon.

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