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Zpocalypse Review: by Zombease contributor Brandon Burke
The only thing more ubiquitous than zombie-themed products these days are reviews that feel compelled to point out that ubiquity.
Zpocalypse is a zombie survival game for two to four players, though I feel a one player variant would be easy to do(more on that later). Each player runs a squad of two or more characters and attempts to survive four nights while accomplishing tasks and scoring points. Points scored increase the character’s skill points and make survival easier. The basic premise of game play is that players scavenge, accomplish daily goals, place tiles that create the playing board and setting, and of course fight zombies.
Zpocalypse Board Game board
Each turn has four phases: Scavenge, Feed and Fortify, Something’s Happening, and Combat. Players draw Scavenge cards during the scavenge phase and gather supplies in the form of Armory cards, Survivor cards, Food cards, and Item cards. These will aid you as you battle the zombies. The Feed and Fortify phase is just that. You use Food cards to feed your survivors (represented by character cards). Something’s Happening adds danger to the game buy adding tiles and zombies to the board. The final phase, Combat, isn’t over until all zombies on the board are dead. Then the next day starts it all over again. Be prepared to roll some dice. Players roll dice to check if there are bullets in their guns, for defense against zombies, and to see how much damage they give and receive.
Zpocalypse Board Game Set up
This game has a lot of moving parts. There are pieces, tiles, tokens, counters, various cards, miniatures, and dice. There are also a lot of rules and orders to how to play. All of this can seem daunting at first. I recommend spending time reading the rules book a couple times before playing(I must admit that I did not do this as I am a very impatient person and wanted to get my hands on all those pieces). I felt overwhelmed the first few times I played through, but had fun even in the early learning stages as I continued to lose. I lost and lost and lost while playing Zpocalypse, but still had fun. My first victory was all the sweeter for the struggles I went through. Well, not an actual victory, but the first time I survived all four nights-my wife actually won that game. To win the game a player must survive all four nights and score the most points. Points are scored by completing daily goals, killing zombies, and by placing fortifications to help protect the bunker.
Zpocalypse Board Game Set up Character cards
Zpocalypse, at least for me, plays a lot like a tabletop version of a video game. Player characters collect gear, food, and weapons. One of my favorite components of game-play is that there are drops, just like in a video game. If a player’s squad is killed, their gear is left where they died for other players to grab. Fear not if you are the one whose squad was mutilated by zombies as you can recruit new characters and continue to play rather than sit and wait for everyone else to finish. The game feels largely realistic in its resource management and the choices one must make as a player. Do you risk your life to save others or wait until they are dead and grab their stuff? Also, you get to fight zombies; lots of zombies.
Game-play is largely cooperative, but daily goal cards may put players at odds with each other. For example a player may get a card that requires them to blow up the bunker. There are also different scenario cards to choose from. Not every game needs to be the same and this also relates to the video game as board game aspect that I mentioned earlier. Some of the scenarios are strictly combat phase based just as many first person shooter computer games have the option of doing the full story or just blow stuff all to hell. These scenario cards as well as daily goal cards should make it fairly simple to do a one player variant (see I got back to this). One would use all the same mechanics and turn phases, but simply do it alone.
Zpocalypse Board Game Zombies
I highly recommend Zpocalypse for any zombie fanatic or board game enthusiast. The pieces are well made and the game-play is well thought out. It’s a struggle to learn, but well worth the time put in. I was elated when we had our first drop and we hooted and hollered and high-fived each other the first time we survived four nights. Plus, you get to kill lots of zombies.
Zpocalypse is available for $59.95 direct from GreenBriar Games, along with all sorts of expansions and other goodies.
*Special thanks to GreenBriar Games for sending Zombease a copy of Zpocalypse for review! Brandon obviously loves the game and is happy to have it in his collection.
8/8 FREE, PROTECTED
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