One of the best things about attending Gen Con 2016 was the opportunity to not only play tons of games, but the chance to play several games before they even hit shelves for sale. One of the standout games I played at Gen Con was ZORP (Zombie Oblivion Response Pack), and I had the privilege of doing so with the game’s designer Carl Sommer during our “Gaming with GeekDad session.” Anything zombie-related piques my interest, but with the market so heavily saturated, I was interested to see if this game could stand apart from the rest of the pack. Spoiler alert: it does. Now that a new Kickstarter for ZORP has launched, I figured now was a perfect time to tell you about the game.
About the Game:
Wonky Rhino Games‘s founder and game designer, Carl Sommer, succinctly describes the game as “Imagine the Left For Dead videogame meets chess.” OK. Simple enough. One of the things that makes this game different than any of the other zombie games you have played is that one of the players is the zombie mastermind controlling the hordes of the undead, while the rest of the players are regular humans armed with slingshots, guns, and explosives avoiding and destroying zombies in an attempt to find a cure. Another unique aspect for this game is one that makes it more appealing to me. Win or lose, ZORP will be over in nine turns.
The game’s playing surface serves as not only an illustrative parking lot landscape perfect for zombie hunting, but as a grid enabling setup and calculated moves. Depending on the number of players (2-4), the game comes with several recommended setups for zombie placement. Human players can select which tile they want to start on, but as your familiarity with game play increases, you can stray away from the recommendations and add some variety to your ZORP sessions.
Even though the game is humans vs. zombies, it’s really every player for themselves. Winning the game is based on points earned by killing zombies or obtaining the cure. On the flipside, the zombie master player wins if all humans become zombies themselves or if nobody obtains the cure in nine turns. As a turn-based game, a human player’s turn is made up of two movement phases and an attack phase in any order, while the zombie master controls a variety of movement-specific zombies.
My Review of the Game:
The comparison to chess is a pretty accurate one. With the three types of zombies each having unique movement patterns, you’re constantly having to not only account for avoiding certain spots on the board during your turn, but anticipate your opponent’s future moves as well. Because of the comprehension it takes to understand and anticipate those moves, first-timers may need some help navigating the board.
The first time I played the game, I was pretty swiftly “zombified,” and once that happened the game was pretty dull for me as my only option was to try and help the zombie master win. However, with the opportunity for me to win the game completely removed, my motivation went with it. Fortunately, Mr. Sommer has listened to player feedback and modified the game’s rules since I first played, by allowing zombified humans the chance to turn back (following a successful dice roll after landing on a weapon tile).
Thankfully, my enjoyment of ZORP has only increased the more I’ve played it. Now that I better understand the rules, I’m able to think faster, move quicker, and have fun. A first game can take you over 30 minutes to play, but because of the limited number of turns, the more you play the game, the shorter each game session tends to be. The only real turn off for me happens to be the artwork on this game, which can fortunately be overlooked in favor of the fun game play experience. Should this game get picked up by a larger publisher and distributor, a more intense and detailed-oriented art package would better reflect the action-packed nature of ZORP.
Bottom line is this game is fast, strategic, and fun. If you’re interested in playing ZORP, be sure to check out the game’s Kickstarter where you can get a copy of the game as a reward for being a backer. Learn even more by watching the Kickstarter video below and visit the campaign to watch a playtesting session.