Overview: A few of the survivors from Woodinvale managed to escape in a truck, making their way to the small logging town of Timber Peak. But wouldn’t you know it, there are zombies there, too. (Good thing: it wouldn’t be a very interesting game otherwise!) With new boards, new heroes, experience-based upgrades, and a couple of rule tweaks, Timber Peak is a fine sequel to Last Night on Earth.
Players: 2 to 6
Ages: 12 and up (for horror theme)
Playing Time: 60 to 90 minutes
Rating: Zombie-licious! It’ll certainly satisfy your — ahem — growing hunger for braaaaiiiins.
Who Will Like It? People who like zombie movies. I know, zombie games have been popping up in the past few years (sorta like the undead) but Last Night on Earth is still my favorite. Need a celebrity endorsement? How about Wil Wheaton? Timber Peak works as an add-on to your existing set or as a stand-alone game.
As with the original, Timber Peak features a team of four Heroes versus the hungry zombies. Pick from one of four included scenarios or the just-released free downloadable Halloween scenario (PDF), which give the zombies and heroes more specific objectives. Three of the characters are Woodinvale survivors: They’ve changed a little from their earlier counterparts.
This is Flying Frog’s biggest Last Night on Earth expansion yet. It doesn’t have its own soundtrack, but it’s got plenty of other stuff to make up for it. Here’s the components list:
- 1 Town Center/Radio Station board
- 6 L-shaped corner boards
- 6 Hero figurines
- 14 Zombie figurines (7 green, 7 brown)
- 6 Hero character boards
- 4 Scenario boards
- 45 Hero cards
- 45 Zombie cards
- 30 Hero Upgrade cards (10 each Melee, Ranged, and Special)
- 10 Zombie Upgrade cards
- 16 dice
- piles and piles of counters and tokens
The cardboard components are very sturdy with a glossy finish, and I’m not kidding about the piles of tokens. There are little tokens for zombie spawning pits, wounds, experience points, and useful items. There are larger tokens for Fire, Lights Out, and Taken Over. And there are many other bits which can either be used for specific scenarios or are just included in case you make up your own scenarios — fewer of these than in the original game, but still plenty.
My only complaint about the components is the cards. For some reason Flying Frog’s cards are a very stiff, glossy cardstock which seems extremely durable but are very hard to shuffle. The cards tend to cling to each other and it’s important to spend a little extra time shuffling them the first time you play the game, or you’ll have clumps of the same card.
Since the bulk of the gameplay is the same as in Last Night on Earth, I’ll just focus on the changes. If you haven’t played the original, I have a more detailed explanation in my original review.
One notable difference is the experience system, which reminds me (just slightly) of Invasion From Outer Space. As heroes and zombies inflict wounds on each other, they collect experience points, which can be traded in for upgrades. It costs three experience points for your first upgrade, and then an additional point for each upgrade after that. Heroes can boost your melee and ranged attacks, or just get a special upgrade which gives you an ability that may not be fight-specific. Upgrades can also be boosted for three experience points, making them even more potent. Hero upgrades represent the Heroes getting better at fighting zombies as they survive.
Zombie upgrades aren’t about the zombies getting smarter — but they are getting hungrier and more aggressive. A lot of the zombie upgrades are one-time use cards, and they always cost three experience points to purchase.
The town of Timber Peak also adds some new features in the form of new buildings. In addition to the usual “pick up” abilities that let Heroes grab specific cards from the discard pile (for instance, the Police Shotgun at the Police Station or First Aid items at the Hospital), some of the buildings have other effects. For instance, while you’re in the Power Relay Station, any zombie beaten in a fight is killed automatically — but if the zombies take it over, all the buildings have Lights Out (making it much harder to move around indoors). The Bowling Alley gives you a chance at finding two cards when you search, or none. And the book store (I love that Timber Peak has a book store) makes Hero Upgrades cost one point less. Knowledge is power, folks!
There are a few Hero cards which now use markers, like Ammo, Bandages, Gasoline, and Dynamite. When these item cards are drawn, you get to put two markers on them, and each marker (plus the card) counts as one use, making these cards more valuable than before. Along with the old uses of Gasoline and Dynamite to blow up zombies (or yourself), these also start fires.
The fires were also originally introduced in Invasion From Outer Space, and they can be quite effective here. After a fire starts, there’s a fire phase at the end of each zombie turn. For each existing fire on the board, the zombie player rolls a die: 1 means the fire goes out, 2–4 means nothing happens, and 5–6 means it spreads in a random direction. Heroes and zombies can move through fires, but they take the risk of burns, and buildings can completely burn down. Plus, of course, if you’ve left any gasoline or dynamite sitting around, fires will automatically make them explode.
Two special rules that had been introduced in earlier versions are now standard: Always Zombie Heroes and Heroes Replenish. Before, there were specific cases when a killed hero turned into a zombie, and when hero players were allowed to bring in a new hero after they dead. Flying Frog realized that it’s much more fun when you keep everyone in the action, and zombie heroes (who move faster and can take more wounds) are a lot of fun, too, so both of these rules are now standard.
Some cards can make a hero Infected — you put a token under the hero figure to mark that, and every time that Hero gets a wound, they have a chance of taking an additional wound. Plus, if a Hero is ever infected twice, they’re automatically dead (and become a Zombie Hero).
The three survivors are Sheriff Anderson, Sally the former high schooler, and Jake Cartwright the drifter, each of whom is slightly different from their original incarnations. The three new characters are Nikki the bush pilot, Alice the diner waitress, and Ed Baker the lumberjack.
There are four scenarios included:
- Learn to Survive: This is the basic, get-to-know-the-game scenario. Heroes must get 6 upgrades before sunset; Zombies need to get 4 upgrades, kill 3 Heroes, or running the Heroes out off time.
- Radio for Help: Heroes must find the tools and repair parts, get them to the Sound Booth of the radio station, and survive a turn in the Sound Booth. Zombies can win by destroying the generator, killing 3 Heroes, or lasting until sunset.
- Mountain of the Dead: This scenario has the zombies on the march, with heroes playing defense. Heroes have to protect the 4 generators until sunrise; zombies have to destroy 3 generators or kill 3 Heroes.
- Blow Up the Town!: Timber Peak is a lost cause. Heroes must find explosives and plant them around town, blowing up at least one building on each corner board — and then survive a turn in the center of town where the detonator is. Zombies must kill 2 Heroes, or last until the sun sets.
If you’ve already played Last Night on Earth, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Timber Peak is like: it adds more variety in the town, characters, and scenarios, without doing anything to mess up what was already a good formula. The “Always Heroes Replenish/Always Zombie Heroes” rule is a good choice, because it keeps everyone playing and you don’t have to consult the rulebook to see exactly when it does or doesn’t happen. If you’re just getting started with the game, it’s a toss-up whether you should go for this or the original; I still love a lot of the characters and scenarios from the original game, but the hero and zombie upgrade system does make things more interesting in Timber Peak. If you’re a fan, you’ll probably wind up with both eventually.
You can find PDFs of the full rulebooks for both the original Last Night on Earth and Timber Peak, along with several of their previous additional scenarios, on the Flying Frog website. You can buy the games directly from Flying Frog, through Amazon, or your friendly neighborhood game store. (Note: Despite what it says on the Geek & Sundry TableTop page, Last Night on Earth is not available at Target. Yet.)
WIRED New town, new scenarios, and new characters who can pick up skills as they battle zombies. And for the zombies: nasty surprises for the heroes as the zombies get more aggressive!
TIRED Hard-to-shuffle cards, like the undead, just won’t go away.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of this game.