Zombology is a handmade(!) card game that looks good, plays good, is innovative and plays quick. I read the review on Fortress Ameritrash, and bought the game based on their review.
I bought the game for a friend's daughter who got hooked on games from a young age when she played K2 and was the only person to make it to the top, she still remembers this achievement and has been hooked on boardgames ever since. Jackson Pope, the designer, puts together each one of these games by hand, and was kind enough to send a dedication to my friend's daughter, she has one of 200 copies and is quite pleased to have something so special. Also she really likes co-operative games, and although this game can be played that way, there is a mechanism to slow down a runaway winner, and you can take the win even if it looks like you are losing by being clever and maybe taking a risk or two. The game can even have multiple winners.
The art design is colourful, simple and functional. If the zombie theme throws you off, the game is whimsical, meaning that one of the card colours works towards an aromatherapy cure, one works towards magnets... the theme is perfectly fine for young and old.
The game is scalable, and is good from three to eight players. I think the designer has put together something quite special.
The game plays fast and is never boring. The game starts with a small hand size (with 5 players), and you are trying to work towards a "zombie cure", although what you are really are doing is playing a series of cards numbered one to six of various colours - each colour represents a research pathway. You start by playing a "one" of one colour. If anyone has played a one, then you can play a "two" and so on. Each card gets added to each person's tableau in front of them. If you play a card that can't be played (e.g. you play a green three, hoping someone else plays a green two) you put the card in the centre, which can later be recovered. After you play your card, the round is over and you pass your hand to the left, and everyone draws another card. The first person who can play a "six" ends the game, but you don't necessarily win - everyone counts the card number that match the card colour with the six - if the card total reaches seven, you win. If no one ends the game by the eighth round the game is over. That's basically it, but there are some very cool features that make this game really interesting:
You pass your hand to the person to your left each turn. With a small player count this adds a bit to your tactics as you will get that hand, possibly with a few extra cards, in a few rounds. You are always facing a new hand each round.
You can win the game even if you have few cards in your tableau - having a one and playing a six (because someone else has a five) will win it.
There are six cards, one of each colour, which allow you to swap out a card in your hand for a card in the centre - or allows you to play a card that's one level higher than you can normally play of the same colour.
There is an overrun card, which can be played to cancel someone else's card - you can even cancel someone else's overrun. There is an army base card to block an overrun. If you think someone is about to win, you can prevent the win by playing this card.
Having multiple winners is not a common thing in the board game world, but fits in with the game's theme (zombie cures) - and my friend's daughter loved that aspect.
Anyway, the game plays really fast (5-10 minutes) and has surprising depth that starts to reveal itself after a few plays. I love games like Glory to Rome, and although this game is not that similar (other than the card switching mechanism, the bright card colours, and the possibility of a surprise win) - to me it has a similar feel - it's fun from start to finish. It's a great game that's better than most other card games I have played, and you can easily teach it to an 8 year old. It is a good game to start with before playing something that takes a bit longer.
Add the fact that each game is hand crafted and I would consider it a must buy. I have rated it 8.5 out of 10, and would not hesitate buying it for someone as a gift. The designer is working on some other games, which I am really looking forward to playing.
Glad you enjoyed my review! Here's a link if anyone is interested.