Monday, August 11, 2008

Game Tips: Zombies!!! Gameplay

As I've said in my review of the game, Zombies!!! is a wonderfully simple game to play but there are a few tweaks you can do to get more out of it.

Before you start:
  • Colour the backs of the heart tokens red and the backs of the bullet tokens black. The tokens are only printed on one side and the plain white backs make it difficult to see whether an upside down token is a heart or a bullet, and with these fiddly little tokens that are hard to pick up it can get very annoying in the middle of a game. First thing you want to do is to separate all the heart tokens from the bullet tokens and find 4 closeable containers and a red and black marker. 2 of the containers are for the unfinished hearts and bullets and the other 2 are for the ones you've coloured. Whenever you have a lazy moment where you're sitting around watching tv or listening to music or whatever colour a few hearts and bullets and transfer them to the new container, and after a week or so you'll have worked your way through most of them.
  • Use a table cloth. Even without the extra tiles of the various expansions, there often comes a point late in the game where the table is literally covered with cardboard squares and plastic zombies, and you find that one edge of the table has a ton of space while the other has a few tiles perched precariously over it threatening to fall off. A table cloth makes it easy to shift all the tiles and zombies an inch in one simple move.
  • Refine the events card deck. Even if you haven't added in any expansions you have a big pile of cards and some of them are just plain sucky or don't fit with your groups style of play. Some make the game take forever, and some just waste space in ppl's hands. If there's a card that hardly ever gets used then take it out and keep it separate. If nothing else it will reduce the amount of groans during the card draw phase. It will also make the good cards show up a little more frequently and speed tha game up a little.
While you're playing:
  • Place the tiles logically. Try to keep the play area roughly square with lots of connections, and try not to close off any pathways except at the edge of the table where you wouldn't be able to continue anyway. it might seem strategically beneficial to have 30 tile long serpentine path to the helicopter pad but it'll make the game tediously long when everyone's died 5 times and 6 turns go by before you even run into a single zombie on the way there.
  • Use paper to keep track of your score. Sure it's fun to keep an ever growing pile of zombies in front of you as you rack up kills, but there are only 100 in the box and shortages develop quickly. A simple way of doing this is to keep your kills in front of you til the end of your turn, and then "cash them in", by putting them back in the reserve and adding them to your score card.
Game strategy:
  • Recirculate your cards often. Play a card every turn if you can and discard a card every turn as a rule. If there's an awesome card in your hand but you can't see yourself using it soon then rather get rid of it so that you can get 2 fresh card in your hand every single turn.
  • Play your cards during your opponents turns. You can only play a single card in any given round, and some times you might find yourself at a strategic disadvantage because you can't play the card you need to having already played your card for the round. Unless a card requires you to play it at a specific time, or if it would benefit you to play it at the beginning or end of your turn then the best time to play a card is generally right at the end of the turn of the player going before you.
  • Go after the bullets and hearts. The game is generally a lot easier to win if you don't die. Stay alive by constantly restocking our hearts and bullets.
In my next post I'll look at some ways to customise the game to take it to the next level of enjoyment.
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