Survive the Zombie Apocalypse — The Home Version!

Geek Culture

I don’t care what anyone says, zombies are still cool. Yes, there are movies and TV shows and books and comics and video games galore, but I say the more the better. Zombies are at their best in large numbers, correct? While I’m certainly not anxious for the zombie apocalypse to occur, I’d at least like to practice my tactics (and traitorous, backstabbing ways). That means simulation. But I’d also really like to avoid any real-world running and hacking as well as the tag-along screamers I’m sure to pick up on the way to the roof to catch the ride in the helicopter that’s in route. ETA, sixteen minutes!

I continue to hone my skills on Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, but lately I’ve been wanting a bit more old-school practice for my zombie fighting regime. And for that, I’m turning to my trusty copy of Zombies from Twilight Creations to get me prepped and ready for the inevitable shutdown of society and the parade of undead chasing me down Main Street as I duck in a store to look for weapons, try to divert some of the walkers to steer in the direction of the annoying tag-along boyfriend and girlfriend to take some of the pressure off myself, and just plain try to survive as I make my way to the heliport!

Zombies is definitely old school. I’m talking slow zombies, not those runners that are infected with that Influenza/Ebola/Rabies combo. No, you’ll be practicing against real shamblers that you’d have a good chance of escaping if you weren’t having to watch your own back because you sure can’t trust the other survivors to do it. Bubba, the cheerleader, and that shifty electronics store guy want to get to the helicopter just as bad as you do, so you better know that they’ll pull every trick they can to make certain you’re served for dinner first.

Fortunately, I’m armed. But so are the other players… I mean, humans. We each have some tricks up our sleeves, and it’s all about timing, right? Bubba there just jumped into that sporting goods store to avoid the three undead I pointed in his direction, but he doesn’t know I’ve got the Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse card which allows me to put a zombie on every single space in that store. Which I do. Of course, he turns around and plays the Lots of Ammo card that gives him three more bullets. Well played, Bubba. Well played.

Meanwhile, it looks like the young love birds are skipping the helipad that’s surrounded by the horde and are making their way to the town’s gated entrance. I know that just a few tiles… erm, miles… down the road is the abandoned military base. Lots of weapons there plus a backup helipad. Smart kids. But not smart enough. I jump in the jeep that allows me to double my movement rate and I blow by them with a grin. Trixie, though, thinks she’s funny and lays down a Bad Sense of Direction card that sends me back to the Town Square. $#@$! Nice, Trixie… real nice. I thought we were friends.

And then her boyfriend, Ken, lays down the We’re Screwed card, allowing him to place a zombie on any ten empty spaces he likes. He chooses the 8 surrounding me and two more directly in front of Bubba. Unbelievable.

Hey, wait… is that a mall over there? I’ve got four bullets left and a three hearts, so I’m going for it. You two just head for that secret military research lab while I make a break for the food and security of that well-fortified bastion of commerce. I manage to take out the zombie directly between me and the mall but Bubba decides to play it funny and sends a few more my direction. I lose a single heart and two bullets, but I’m heading to the mall entrance and safety, my friends.

Wait… is that a bunch of shamblers I see milling around outside the food court!?

Oh, look… Trixie just played the Brain Camp card. She gets to decide where I move and I rolled a five. One… two… three… four… five. She’s just put me in between a wall and three zombies. You see what I mean? You can’t trust anyone!

And so it goes. I wish I had better news, but I’m holed up inside the Music Store while Trixie and Ken double-back to the helicopter. Looks like the lovebirds are going to make it.

Oh… wait a minute. What’s this? Ken, you’re never going to get boyfriend of the year if you play that… oh, no you didn’t! Ken just played the Zombie Master card, and he placed those five free zombies between Trixie and the helicopter. I guess we all know who’s going to live to fight another day, don’t we?

Meanwhile, Bubba just became the buffet line on Main Street after running out of bullets. And things aren’t looking too good for me, either. Ken just chose to send a zombie into the store. He’s looking at me, Ray. He can hear you, Ray.

Zombies is a tile-based game that currently offers up 10 additional expansion packs for added tiles, even more devious Event cards, and alternative scenario rules that guarantee you’ll never get bored. The company has an outstanding website that not only offers up additional rules and scenarios submitted by fans of the game, but they also offer up free PDFs of the various rules from the original game as well as the expansions. You’ll find bags of zombies, bags of zombie babies, and bags of zombie dogs for purchase. Plan on dedicating an entire living room if you wish to simulate the end of the world with three or more expansion packs. (Or is it an entire un-living room?) One or two expansions will only take up a large dining table. Get it? Dining table? I’ll stop.

If you’re both a zombie fan and a board game fan, you’re going to be the happiest kid in the neighborhood when you start examining all the great (and humorous) artwork that you’ll find on the Event Cards. The Twilight Creations folks are a sick, twisted bunch — and you gotta love that. Start out with the first kit (required if you wish to use any of the expansions) and just enjoy the thrill of being chased through Small Town USA without all the added threats that come from the circus (Zombies Expansion 7), the glowing enhanced zombies (Zombies Expansion 2), the bottleneck that is the escalator in the mall (Zombies Expansion 3) or the risk of getting trapped in the nearby prison (Zombies Expansion 8). When Small Town USA just isn’t scary enough for you, you’ll know it’s time to bring in some additional nastiness and specialty zombies (can’t you just hear those zombie dogs howling tonight?) and acquire some new skills and tactics that you’ll need when the real zombie apocalypse hits.

The current Zombies game is in its 2nd Edition along with 10 (yes, 10!) expansion sets as follows:

Zombies!!!, 2nd Edition

Zombies!!! 2 – Zombie Corps(e)

Zombies!!! 3 – Mall Walkers

Zombies!!! 3.5 – Not Dead Yet

Zombies!!! 4 – The End…

Zombies!!! 5 – School’s Out Forever

Zombies!!! 6 – Six Feet Under

Zombies!!! 7 – Send in the Clowns

Zombies!!! 8 – Jailbreak

Zombies!!! 9 – Ashes to Ashes

Zombies!!! X – Feeding the Addiction

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