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Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Some thoughts on Last Night on Earth rss

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John Apps
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Last Night on Earth is a zombie horror game (I know this because it says so on the box) by Flying Frog Productions for 2-6 players. Players are split into two teams: the heroes trying to fend off a horde of ravening zombies and the zombies trying to feast on succulent hero flesh. The game comes with a few scenarios detailing the win conditions, the number of rounds and any other special rules. Flying Frog also have additional scenarios available for free on their website and you are encouraged to make your own.

Contents

Inside the box are game boards (a double sided centre piece and some L-shaped pieces that are placed around it), scenario and character cards, game cards (a hero deck and a zombie deck), hero and zombie figurines, a score or so of dice, a bucket load of tokens and a soundtrack CD.

I was (and still am) really impressed with the quality of the pieces. The boards and scenario/character cards are sturdy and satisfying to handle. The game cards also feel high-quality, although I find them a little hard to shuffle (that could be just me though). The artwork on the cards is photographic and you can see the characters in the cards (e.g. the card for a baseball bat has a photo of one of the characters holding the baseball bat and so on), which I think is a nice touch. The hero figurines are detailed enough that you can recognise the different characters and the zombie figurines come in a couple of different poses to make them more visually interesting. Zombie figurines also come in two colours for when you have two zombie players. The tokens are also nice, thick card. Some tokens only come into play in certain scenarios. I haven't listened to the CD yet (the one time we thought about it, my daughter was watching TV so we didn't).

Gameplay

Players divide themselves into hero and zombie players (there are always 4 heroes to start with and one or two players will control the zombies) and choose a scenario and characters. Four random edge boards are place around the centre board and the pieces are then placed on the board. Zombies have spawning points around the edge of the board and heroes start at the location listed on their card or in the centre of the board if their start location isn't on the board for this play.
Each round is divided into a zombie turn and a hero turn. During the zombie turn, the player(s) draw cards, move and fight and during the hero turn, the player(s) can move or search (draw cards), exchange items, shoot and fight.

Heroes can move faster than zombies but are limited in that they can only enter buildings through doors. Zombies can move through walls but can only move one square at a time and if they are adjacent to a hero, they must move towards the hero (in a vain attempt to satisfy their insatiable hunger).

Combat is dice based with the aim of rolling higher than your opponent and there are a lot of cards that let you tip the odds in your favour by letting you roll more dice, re-roll or force a re-roll, win ties, etc. In general, it's easy to defeat a zombie (roll a higher value on one die) but harder to kill one (roll a double).

Both zombies and heroes are trying to meet the win conditions on the scenario card. Hero win conditions can includes things like trying to kill a certain number of zombies, find certain items, last a certain number of rounds and so on. I think this is a good idea as you tend to play differently depending on what you want to achieve and it gives the game replay value. Zombie win conditions tend to be pretty straight forward, kill everything and don't let the heroes win. Again, you play differently depending on what is needed to stop the heroes.

My Thoughts

Overall, I liked this game. I thought it had a very cinematic feel to it and a lot of the cards reference tropes common to zombie movies. In general, if there were questions about the rules, I tended to argue along the lines of what would work best in a movie. One of the best aspects of this game for me is that it easily lends itself to creating a story over the course of the game.
The combat system is simple and easy to understand and the way the cards work with it makes sense. I have heard some claims that it is unbalanced but I don't think it is, or not badly if it is. I agree that it can feel that way at times, especially given that there are some powerful cards in both decks and a lucky draw can give one side a huge advantage. But that advantage never lasts long and I've never played a game where I felt that one side or the other was in a position they couldn't come back from. In fact, the games I played were usually pretty close; one came down to a single dice roll. This can also lead to some surprising moments as you make a lucky escape when the hero runs out of ammo or a single hero goes on a rampage wiping out a string of zombies.
The different scenarios and the possibility of making your own give this game a lot of replay value, especially when you take into account the different characters and the possible board set-ups. The latter two probably won't make a huge difference but they help to give each game a slightly different personality.
I've played the game with 3, 5 and 6 players and I thought it played reasonably well in all cases. The box says it can be played with 2 (one hero player, one zombie player) but I'm not sure how well that would work. I feel that 4 heroes might be a bit much for one player to handle, especially trying to juggle special abilities and cards for that many characters.
There is also a fair bit of player interaction, something I look for in a game. Both making plans with your fellow heroes or just the opportunity to say take that to the other team.
I can't think of any major drawbacks to the game. I'm not saying it's perfect but there's nothing there that I really hate. Having said that, the theme probably won't appeal to everyone. However, if you like zombie movies, this is a good game to pick up. Even if you don't like 'em (as a friend of mine doesn't), you may still enjoy this game (as my friend does).

Finally, I'm aware that there are other zombie games out there but I haven't played them and since I have Last Night on Earth I'm not in any rush to buy them. I'm also aware that there a few expansions for Last Night on Earth and while they look exciting and like they had some interesting new features, I don't feel I've really played the base game out yet so I'll probably hold off on those for a while longer as well.

tl;dr - I like this game. It feels like a zombie movie.
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Omar Hamid
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JSomeone wrote:

I was (and still am) really impressed with the quality of the pieces. The boards and scenario/character cards are sturdy and satisfying to handle. The game cards also feel high-quality, although I find them a little hard to shuffle (that could be just me though). The artwork on the cards is photographic and you can see the characters in the cards (e.g. the card for a baseball bat has a photo of one of the characters holding the baseball bat and so on), which I think is a nice touch.


I think this quality truly brings the game to life. Flying Frog deserves major kudos for not only using actors but implementing them very well throughout the components. I completely agree that LNoE feels like a great B zombie movie. I liked your review
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Robert Wyant
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Best Zombie Movie game on the market!
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Joe Canuck
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After Last Night On Earth, you'll be disappointed. Most other zombie games don't have the same high level of production, and none of them have the same level of cinematic storytelling. It's just "kill the zombies" or "escape the zombies" with different buildings and challenges appearing.

If you're looking at expansions, I recommend waiting for Blood In The Forest. The others are mostly extra characters and cards, but Blood brings out another ring of boards and the ability to boost your heroes' abilities over time (and the zombies too!). Plus, Flying Frog has some FREE scenarios up on their website to tide you over!

If you like the high quality and cinematic approach, you should look at Fortune & Glory next. It's more expensive, but the board is bigger and there are more pieces as 1-8 players race against the Nazis or mafia for historical artifacts a la Indiana Jones. Alternatively, A Touch Of Evil has a supernatural twist on the storytelling as you work against or with other players to stop an evil from plaguing the village -- and the expansions are really well thought out on that one too!
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John Apps
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I saw a video on their website for Blood in the Forest and I like the idea of having a bigger board but I wonder about how it will change gameplay. I imagine they will include scenarios to make use of the extra space because I don't see it being used with the scenarios I currently have. I also wonder if it will allow for more zombies on the board. I don't mean to sound down on it because I really think it will be exciting, I'm just curious about how it will change things. I think the Timber Peak expansion/stand alone game has some sort of experience system as well.

Fortune and Glory is already on my list. Like you said, it's a little expensive so it's far down on my list, but it is on there.
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Toms Leikums
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JSomeone wrote:

The box says it can be played with 2 (one hero player, one zombie player) but I'm not sure how well that would work. I feel that 4 heroes might be a bit much for one player to handle, especially trying to juggle special abilities and cards for that many characters.

It works fine with 2 as well. No needs to argue about who goes first and sometimes you can sacrifice the character if needed.
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Tristan Hall
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painkiller wrote:
JSomeone wrote:

The box says it can be played with 2 (one hero player, one zombie player) but I'm not sure how well that would work. I feel that 4 heroes might be a bit much for one player to handle, especially trying to juggle special abilities and cards for that many characters.

It works fine with 2 as well. No needs to argue about who goes first and sometimes you can sacrifice the character if needed.


Agreed. I'm usually annoyed by 'two player' games which force one player to use multiple heroes (e.g. Descent) but the heroes in LNOE are simple to play and pretty throwaway - even if I'm the heroes it's always a good chuckle to see some poor sap get gobbled by zombies. zombie
Nice review. thumbsup
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Rauli Kettunen
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JSomeone wrote:
The game cards also feel high-quality, although I find them a little hard to shuffle (that could be just me though).


They have a weird, sticky-icky type of surface to them that causes the cards initially to really cling together and the thickness of the cards doesn't help shuffling either. Even before becoming a full-blown sleevaholic cool , FFP games were those that just needed to get sleeved if I was ever to shuffle those cards.
 
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Ankur Gupta
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joe canuck wrote:

If you like the high quality and cinematic approach, you should look at Fortune & Glory next. It's more expensive, but the board is bigger and there are more pieces as 1-8 players race against the Nazis or mafia for historical artifacts a la Indiana Jones. Alternatively, A Touch Of Evil has a supernatural twist on the storytelling as you work against or with other players to stop an evil from plaguing the village -- and the expansions are really well thought out on that one too!


I definitely don't recommend Fortune and Glory -- I think it's a terrible game, and the supposed story it tells is fractured and nonsensical most of the time. Feel free to find my "comment" on the game to see details.

I'm a fan of Last Night on Earth (so I do like the style), but Fortune and Glory was a huge disappointment. I would definitely recommend trying it before spending that much money.
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