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Subject: Berix By The Numbers: Eaten By Zombies rss

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Sean Torrens
United States
Myrtle Beach
South Carolina
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I was fortunate to receive a "Special Advanced Airmail Copy" of this game in the mail from Mayday Games with the request that I review it on BGG "for others who are trying to make an informed decision about the game."

I got to thinking about how I would write this and came up with this blog idea. For information on me, check out the blog post entitled Reviewer Background

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So what did I think about Eaten By Zombies before I played it?

Prior view of the Theme: d10-5 I don't much care for zombies. I don't like zombie movies or TV shows. I think it is unnecessarily gory and they are either very slow and dumb or very fast and powerful. The only thing that can make the genre interesting seems to be the need to add more gore.

Prior experience with Zombie Games: Zombies!!! (I rate it a 4.5), Zombie Dice (7), Last Night On Earth (8.25),

Prior view of the mechanism of Deck-Building: d10-8 I'm an admitted Fanboy for deck building games. My buddy and I are toying with an idea for one ourselves. I don't care as much for ones with less player interaction, but do like what the game achieves and watching my decisions build. Shuffling, though? Not so much.

Prior experience with Deck Building: Dominion (5.5), Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (6.5), Puzzle Strike (7), Thunderstone (8.5), Quarriors (9)

Prior view of the mechanism of Hand Management: d10-9 I like this mechanism quite a bit and how just the quantity of choices with the card interactions allows for so many individual choices in each game and so much more replay-ability from game to game. There are just so many games (and plenty I have played) in this category that this is just a smattering of my history.

Prior experience with Hand Management: Gloom (5.5), Battlestar Galactica (6), Biblios (7), Innovation (7), Shadows Over Camelot (7.5), Cosmic Encounter (7.5), Magic: The Gathering (8), Memoir '44 (9), Pandemic (9), Macao (9), Deadlands: Doomtown (10)

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Review of Eaten By Zombies

Components: (d10-0) This is the best card quality, packaging and overall look of any deck building game I've played yet. The card quality is on par with Pandemic, if not better. The box is a perfect storage solution and the card dividers even have extra information printed on them for the card they represent. The external look of the game box is that of an ammo box and helps with the theme of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The randomizer cards are one of each of the actual piles, so you don't have extra randomizer cards taking up room in the box. Just put one of each of the 'Swag' piles into the randomizer pile and you are ready to go!

Artwork/Layout: (d10-7) Artwork on the cards are pretty good with the requisite blood spatter and splotches of muck for effect. The 'attrition/flee values' for the zombies are printed on 'directional arrow' road signs at the bottom of each card. I felt these should have been numerically left justified so that when stacking zombies in 'The Horde' the numbers are easier to read and the Horde takes up less room. Minor squabble, but there it is.

Theme: (d10-8) The gameplay itself does a decent enough job of capturing the feel of survivors scavenging for supplies to fend off the inevitable onslaught. Not sure what more could have been done to make this better, but something still felt... lacking.

Rulebook/Player Aids: (d10-7) The rulebook is laid out well, but needed more examples. The graphic for road signs denoting fight, flee, draw and scavenge left out the scavenge sign. The player aids that come with the game don't point out some easily overlooked points (such as where you can take Attrition from during the fight or flee "penalty phase" or how many cards must be lost when failing to fight or flee, among others).

Gameplay: (d10-6) I really enjoyed the refreshing ability to buy cards directly into your hand for use next turn, but that took some getting used to. I kept trying to put scavenged swag into my discard pile and then filling my hand back up from the deck! Also nice was the cards lost to attrition go back to form piles for others to buy, including YOUR starting cards. I think everyone had a bite of my sandwiches at some point.

The swag cards were not that different from each other in game effects and might not allow for very many differing gameplay interactions. Perhaps expansions would add more to the mix.

Once we got past the confusion of some of the rules and exceptions to when and where you had to take attrition from, we found the endgame to be very "Kingmaker" heavy. One player can easily decide who wins, especially in a 4 player game once one player succumbs to a Horde and can direct the Zombie Horde's abilities.

Overall Rating: (d10-7) All in all, it's an above-average game. I'm not sure it's really for me, though. I didn't care too much for the theme before hand and this game didn't change that view at all. It serves as a low-level, almost entry-level, introduction to deck building games. It plays fast enough and once you get the rules and quirks down, it only gets faster. We played a full game in about 30 minutes with 4 players.

The disappointing, nearly scripted ending to the games we played didn't seem to leave a lot in the way of strategy or surprise-ending wins. If you are looking for something like that, I'd steer clear. If you are looking for the next step up from light party games (like Zombie Dice, to stay in the genre) then this game might be right up your alley. Then again alleys are never good things in zombie flicks...hmm.
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Scott Kinsey
United States
Lancaster
Pennsylvania
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Great job with the review - I really liked the way you broke out various bits of the game, compared them with previous games, and gave your opinion of those bits in those other games. Short, succint, to the point, and gave me a good reference for your other comments.

Great job!
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Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
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Thanks for this review. It's nice to get some straight-forward critique about this game. It's also nice to see your background for reference. I appreciate the way you structured this review.
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Sam L.
United States
Myrtle Beach
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An awesome review! I saw it being but never joined in. I feel this gives me an excellent sense on whether I will play this myself. I look forward to giving this a shot!
 
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Jeffrey L.
United States
Western Burbs of Beantown
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We don't have a zombie game in our family collection, so I pre-ordered this one. We like deck builders and games that don't take forever, so I am hoping we have a good time with this.

Thanks for the review, I like to read multiple view points of a game before I buy something.
 
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Kenneth Chan
United States
Conway
SC
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I played this game with Berix this past weekend and liked the game, but had one issue with it. I felt frustrated the entire time while playing this game. Maybe that is the feel the designer wanted since surviving the zombie apocalypse is pretty rough I hear. It was perfectly possible that you could play the entire game without "deck-building" a new card once. Perhaps I went into this game with the wrong mindset thinking it was heavier than it was. I can see this being enjoyable for a quick, fast, almost filler like game.
 
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Mayday Games
United States
Layton
Utah
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Sean,

Thanks for your honest review! I loved how you posted your reviews of other games from the genre and other somewhat similar mechanics. Dominion of 5.5 and other zombie games of 4.5-8.25 make this 7 seem pretty good.

One thing I will point out, the game is very zombie heavy... if someone goes out early they can have a huge impact on who wins/loses in the end. The idea behind this is sort of like Survivor, the TV show. Those who you have a hand in kicking out of the game then play a big part in who the end winner will be in some cases.

I know for me, I pretty much "got it" with Dominion within about 4 games. Don't buy copper, try to improve your cards, and you generally do best by buying Gold/Silver to get to the Provinces quickly.

I've played 10+ games of Eaten By Zombies and still haven't figured out a strategy to win consistently. I think it depends a lot on the interaction of the players, what items are out there (more fight or more flee) and the type of person you are playing with/against.

To really win the game you have to figure out who among your friends is the best one to put out to allow you the best chance of winning personally, based on the cards that are out there. We played one game recently where my 10-year old son was bragging that he had a killer new strategy and all 3 of us tried to team up on him mercilessly for almost the whole game and he still did actually win. I think it was more luck but have to admit he played a great game.

I guess I'm just saying it may be a little deeper strategy-wise than it is coming across here. This was a fair review to be considered with the others out there for sure!
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Ed Nesler
United States
Charlotte
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Sean,

As a new gammer I really appreciate the style of your review. It's open and honest. It's great to see the before and after play. The comparing to other games helps with perspective. Keep them up. I will read more.
 
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Cameron Chien
United States
Rancho Cucamonga
California
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dacool561 wrote:
It was perfectly possible that you could play the entire game without "deck-building" a new card once.

Uh, once you start to get two or more zombies a turn, you will find that this approach won't work.

Cameron
 
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