I, like many others, saw Eaten By Zombies through Drakkenstrikes components breakdown video and was immediately drawn to it. I do love a good zombie game and Eaten By Zombies appeared extremely heavy in theme. So I emailed the publisher listed on the kickstarter page and confirmed that it would be available for my session at Strategicon, in LA. And it was...so let's get to it.
How it works
Eaten by Zombies is not just a dominion with zombies, but regardless I am going to use Dominion as a comparison point for the bredth of this review. The game starts the same way as domionion, everyone gets an identical deck of weak cards (which represents the items you start with in your safe house) and a random (or suggested) set of items are set out in the middle of the table for you to scavenge (buy). But then unlike dominion the zombie deck is built and set next to the scavenge-able items. You draw up 6 cards into your hand from you deck and you're ready to go. Each turn the active player will:
Add a zombie to the horde
Choose to fight or flee from the horde
Execute their selection by playing the appropriate cards from their hand
If they make it they get to scavenge the goods in the center, items including things like binoculars (to help you survey the situation and thus flee better) or a shotgun (with obvious purposes...zombie murderin')
However, and here's where it differs vastly from Dominion, if you are unsuccessful in facing the horde you will lose cards from your hand or deck. After this happens enough times you eventually will not have enough cards to draw up to the 6 card hand and are overcome by the horde and zombified.
From that point on you're playing for the other team, trying to murder all remaining survivors (or drive them insane). In my few plays all survivors died relatively close to each other in turn so there wasn't much time for the zombie players to have any significant impact on the play but I think with more experience it'd be more of a back and forth between survivors and undead.
So, pretty simple concept, what did I think in my limited plays?
Dripping with theme.
Everything in the game has a theme to it. The mechanics are structured perfectly around what everyone imagines when they think of their favorite zombie movie. You have a bunch of stuff in your house, you take some of it with you to venture out and face the zombie horde, if you make it to town you might find some good stuff to stock up on, if you don't quite make it you can still escape the zombies but lose some of your stuff in the struggle and eventually you will die...and so will everyone else.
I can't comment on this all that much...too few plays to tell for certain. What I can say is that it looked like there were plenty of card combos to go for but I just didn't know well enough to build a cohesive strategy. Think of the first couple time you've played dominion and you had the "oo, everything shiny" syndrome. I was affected by the same problem playing this game. One thing to mention is that this game doesn't have the same restrictions you'll find in Dominion. In Dominion actions and buys are expendable resources so when putting together successful strategies one must keep these resources in mind. In EBZ you can play as many or as few cards as you like, there's no 1 action and 1 buy per turn, so when you do successfully make it past the horde to town, the choices of items seemed more straightforward than they do in Dominion. I found myself just picking the best ones I could, judging "best" by the cards which added the most fight or flee, whichever I happened to be focusing on.
Longevity / Replayability
Deck building games are inherently replayable (to a point). By randomizing the starting piles you should be able to get a serious number of games in before you see the same starting set-ups.
The art is fun and campy and it comes in the beautiful ammo box that's just perfect for this type of game.
The game doesn't overstay it's welcome. It's a fun diversion for 30 - 45 mins.
Eaten by Zombies is a fun little game that definitely deserves at least a couple plays. My few tries with it left me craving more...more time to dig deeper, examine more cards, build a cohesive deck and outsurvive my friends.
If you like dominion, give it a chance. If you hate dominion, give it a chance. If you used to love Dominion, but got tired of it and now hate it, definitely give it a chance. And hey, it's only 25 bucks!
The more I read about this game, the more I realize that I can't wait till October for this game to come.
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I also played this game, I see it as a nice filler, but will keep my interest about as long as dominion does. 2 or 3 games then I am off to something else. Great opener for game nights and such. Tactically seemed a bit flat which is the only part I could see killing replayablity but would need to see more of the cards used.
Shawn, do you find Battlestar Galactica to be the same for you?
The big draw for me in Eaten By Zombies is that the game changes a lot depending on what cards are available, but also with what my teammates and/or opponents are doing!