Continuing with the Halloween spirit of things I have decided to review the board game, Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game by Flying Frog Productions.
Now besides of course the Zombie theme we have going on here what makes this game really relevant to a movie site and horror movie fans is the fact the makers of this game hired real actors/actresses for the for their characters and scenes on their cards. The makers did their best to make this a board game that captured a Horror Movie feel and look in their artwork. If you have seen any movies from the early 90's such as the Faculty this kind of the feel you will get from the visuals. Which really does a great job of pulling you into the theme of the game.
Now let's talk about the game itself and how the mechanics play out and the games fun factor. Last Night on Earth is again a Modular board game. Meaning, the board you play on each time will be different. At the start of the game the board is randomly generated by placing the center tile then each player randomly picking a L-shaped tile to fit around the center one. These will include buildings and locations in them. So again you will have a variety in each game that you play. In each of these locations you can search and try to find items etc.
Next lets talk about the Characters. The game comes with several different characters you can choose/randomly pick from. The characters range from the local sheriff, the mysterious hobo, an FBI agent, a news reporter, a priest, and several "student" characters such as the jock, prom queen, track star and a farm girl. Each of these characters have some sort of special ability, a certain amount of health, and sometimes certain equipment they can start with. For example the Prom Queen has the ability to try and hide from the zombies and all student character can forgo their movement/action to heal a wound. The Sheriff gets to start the game with a pistol and so on. All characters move by rolling a 6 sided die and moving that number of spaces.
Now what is the goal of the game you may ask...just kill zombies? Well yes...and no. The game comes with several Scenarios that detail what the zombies have to accomplish to win and what the heroes have to accomplish to win. The intro Scenario that comes with the game is a straightforward intro for the players. They have to kill 15 zombies before sun-up or it's game over. the Zombies either kill so many heroes or just don't lose 15 zombies. Other Scenarios include defending a house where the heroes are holed up, or another one includes burning it down. One includes escaping the town by truck but you have to find gas and the keys to get out. So in the base game there is plenty of fun to be had.
To fight the zombies the heroes roll two 6 sided die to a zombies one...if the the hero rolls higher than the zombie..they FEND of the zombie but not kill it. If they roll doubles, they kill the zombie. If the zombie ties or rolls higher than the hero, they inflict a wound on the hero. As you can see it is easier to fend off a zombie than it is to kill it. However there are items in the game you can find in the game that can give you extra die to roll as you attack to increase your chances to kill a zombie. And some of the items are very funny ranging a pitchfork, chainsaw, crowbars, etc. All with specific things they let you do. You can even use gasoline to blow their asses up.
Now, what makes the game a winner other than, just being about killing zombies? Well...some of the players can actually take on the role of BEING the zombies! The game is best played with about 5 players. With 3 being heroes and two being Zombies. You basically have teams. The game uses a card system that has a deck for heroes and a deck for zombies. For the Heroes the cards they find range from items to event cards etc. Some of the events will be in form helping them out of sticky situations. Such as if the hero would take a wound there is a card called "Just a Scratch" which basically negates a wound just received. Other include giving the hero an extra die to attack with for a turn or escaping out of buildings etc.
The Zombies on the other hand get to draw cards every turn that are really designed to give the heroes a BAD day...these cards are the ones that really lend to the movie theme and you can see how they would lend to scenes in a movie. One good example is there is a card called "Locked Door" that is played on the Heroes turn as they move. It's best played when when a hero is trying to leave a building that is infested with zombies as they roll their die and proceed to move out a doorway one of the zombie players plays the card to essentially make the the door locked and ending their turn trapped inside the building with zombies closing in...brain food is served!
Zombies have other cards that can wreck havoc such as the "Trip" card making the player re-roll their movement die or "Shamble" that allows the zombie player to pick a zombie to move 1-6 spaces instead of their usual 1.
It's this mechanic of players being able to be both Zombies and heroes that sets the game up and above. It makes for a great teamwork games and "OH SHIT" moments. If you want to play a game that lets you feel like you are in a Horror movie and have a fun time this is a great game for you. The game comes with great components..it has miniatures for both the zombies and heroes. It even has components that allow the players to design their own scenarios to give the game extra life and replay value.
Flying Frog has also released several expansions(The Growing Hunger and Timber Peak coming soon) for the game and little add on scenarios you can order from their website. They support their games well and you will have no shortage of fun with this game. The game is fairly easy to learn to play despite all the things that come with it which is also a big plus. This is another aspect Flying Frog does well..they make their games very accessible for ease of play unlike some other game companies. The game comes very reasonably priced and you can find it from online vendors for about $35.
I highly highly recommend this game as it's very fun and great to play with a group of friends on a Saturday evening in. VERY Solid.