How To Play the Zombies!!! Boardgame
Playing the Board Game Zombies!!!
Zombies!!! is a horror board game released in 2001 by Twilight Creations. The game is a part of a growing fascination in zombie pop culture which culminated in the popularity of movies such as Resident Evil, 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead.
This game is for ages sixteen and over. It is for two to six players, though it becomes more interesting the more players are involved. Zombies!!! tends to take around an hour or so to play.
Like most scenarios in the zombie genre, the game centers around a sudden zombie attack on a modern city. Zombies!!! uses tiles to randomize play from one game to another.
Each tile represents a stretch of road in a mid-sized urban area in modern America. Different parts of the street have difference businesses, from grocery stores to movie theaters to gun stores.
Other tiles have a police station and a hospital. In effect, these tiles become the game board in Zombies!!!. Besides the starting and ending tiles, there are 28 random tiles included in the game.
The beginning tile is the town square, which is where players begin the game. The final tile is a helicopter pad. This plays on a common element in zombie movies, since characters often seek to escape the zombies by flying out of the area via helicopter.
Build Your Own City
At the start of a player's turn, that player selects a tile randomly and places it on the table top. In this way, the players decide what the city looks like.
These tiles can be placed strategically, allowing players to place obstacles or advantages where they choose.
Zombies must be placed on the tiles. This is determined by a roll of a die, though there can be no fewer than two zombies added.
There are good encounters in the city, too. Certain locations have health or ammunition tokens on it. Players also draw three event cards every round of play.
Whenever a player shares a tile with a zombie, that player must destroy the zombie. This is done with the roll of a single die. Players must roll a four or greater on this die to kill the zombie. If the player fails, then that player loses a life token.
The Bone Pile
If the zombie is killed, the player remains the zombie figurine from the playing surface. This goes into his personal bone pile, which keeps track of the player's kill total. The importance of this will be explained later.
If the player misses the die roll and loses a life token, then the player must roll again to kill the zombie. This process continues until the either the zombie or player dies.
A player starts the game with three bullet tokens. These can be used during any combat to raise one's die roll. Each bullet token raises a die roll by one rank. Therefore, if someone rolls a three, that person can use a bullet token to raise the roll to a four, thereby killing the zombie.
Event cards can be played to help the player with encounters. Though a player holds three at a time, that player can only play them once per round of play.
The Shotgun Guy
Players keep track of their movement through the city with the use of a game piece named a "shotgun guy". This is a two inch tall molded figure holding a shotgun. There are six different figurines of various colors.
If a player's life tokens are reduced to zero, the player dies. His or her figurine is returned to the city square. On that player's next turn, play resumes as if that character was just starting the game.
The player is given three life tokens and three bullet tokens. Unfortunately, one's zombie kills start out at zero.
When a turn is over, that player rolls an additional six sides die. The number rolled is the number of zombies that player can move. Zombies only move one space at a time.
The zombie movement phase offers several alternative strategies. One, if you are running low on life tokens or bullet tokens, you can move zombies near you out of your path. Two, if you have good event cards and a surplus of life and bullet tokens, you can move zombies into your path, so you can increase your kill total. Three, if one character is nearing the helipad or running low on life tokens, you can move zombies into an opponent's path.
Winning The Game
There are two ways to win Zombies!!!
A player wins by reaching the center square of the helipad. Typically, opponents place any zombies they can near this location, and move other zombies in that direction. Event cards played by opponents can also slow one's approach to this area.
Another way to win the game is to kill 25 zombies. Any player who accomplishes this automatically wins the game.
Spinoffs, Expansions and Director's Cuts
Zombies!!!, like many zombie pop entertainments in decade of the aughts, has been a commercial success. It has spawned several expansions.
There have been five expansions of the original game.
Zombies!!! 2: Zombie Corps deals with events after escaping the city.
The Zombies!!! 3: Mall Walkers expansion adds a mall to the city, like in the second George Romero movie, Dawn of the Dead.
Zombies!!! 3.5: Not Dead Yet simply offers new event cards. It does not add a new setting to the game, which is probably why it was not considered a full expansion.
Zombies!!! 4: The End, takes the setting into the backwoods, where the players must battle undead dogs. The players are seeking The Book of the Dead, and the winning player is able to use the book to end the spell that first summoned the zombies. It should be mentioned that this can be played as a stand alone game.
Like the Mall Walkers expansion, Zombies!!! 5: School's Out Forever adds a more detailed setting to the original game. In this case, the setting is a local school.
A second edition of the original game has been released, too. Like most movie director's cuts, this edition offers only cosmetic changes to the game.
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