Being a fan of zombie movies and boardgames, I had to give Zombies!!! a try. It is not a perfect game by any means, but does that automatically mean that it's no fun? Let's look into the game itself first.
In my opinion, game mechanics are the core of any game. So I'll go through initial setup, a game's turn, and then add comments on other aspects of Zombies!!!(This review is based on the original rules packaged with the game. Variants and changes can be used for any game to better suit your group of players.)
This is relatively simple. Place the Town Square tile on the table and put a "Shotgun Guy" in the center square for each player. Take the rest of the tiles and shuffle them then place the helipad at the bottom of the stack. Give each player 3 event cards, 3 life tokens, and 3 bullet tokens. Keep those 100 zombies close, they'll be needed soon. Use your own method for determining who goes first.
The goal of the game is to be the first player to the center space of the Helipad or the first to kill 25 zombies.
Step #1 - Draw and place a tile. Place appropriate zombies and bullet and/or life tokens, if applicable, on that tile. Tiles must be placed so that roads line up.
I'm a big fan of games with modular boards. I love the idea of a games ability to change every time it's played. In Zombies!!!, the placement of the tiles doesn't have a real big impact on the game. If you happen to draw a tile with a location corresponding to an location specific event card in your hand it may have a bigger impact on the game.
Step #2 - Combat the zombie in your current space. The combat system is pretty simple. Roll a 6-sided die. On a roll of 4, 5, or 6; you win, take the zombie and place it in front of you to keep track of your kills. If you roll a 1, 2, or 3; you lose. You can use one or more bullet tokens to add 1 to your die roll, or you can lose a life token and roll again. Unless a played event card changes the situation, you must roll until you or the zombie are defeated. If you die, you return to the Town Square, but you lose any weapon or item cards you had played along with half of your zombie kills.
My opinion of the combat system falls both ways. Having combat so simple makes it easy for non-gamers to play, but, like many people have mentioned, makes the game quite a dice fest.
Step #3 - Restock your hand to the 3 card limit.
Not much happening in this step, so let's talk about playing the cards. The cards can be played at any time, during any player's turn, but you can only play one card from the beginning of your turn to the beginning of your next turn. Many effects last until the end of your next turn. So that when you play a card that has a negative effect for all players, you must also suffer the effects. This makes for interesting play since you would want to play it as soon as your turn ends so that it affects everybody on their turns, but makes it so you can't play anything else until your next turn. The location specific cards can't be played unless you are in a certain location. This isn't a problem if the location is placed near you, but most of the time, when it is placed far away, it is not worth trying to get to the corresponding location in order to play it.
Step #4 - Roll a die for movement. Roll a 6-sided die and move that many spaces. As you move onto spaces with zombies, combat them and continue until you've moved the number you rolled, or stop moving whenever you wish. If you move to or through a space with a life or bullet token you take it after the zombie, if any, on that space is defeated. You can have any number of bullets, but no more than 5 life tokens.
I don't really have much to say about this step. It's pretty straight forward. The complaint by some is the matter of rolling for movement since after the Helipad is revealed, the game often becomes a race and the die roll again brings it back to the dice fest that this game is.
Step #5 - Roll a die and move that number of zombies, if possible, 1 space each.
Here is where you try to hinder you opponents by keeping the zombies around them, and, alternatively, move them away from you.
Yes, the zombies move slow, they're zombies. sometimes there isn't a lot happening on the board. There can be some downtime as far as activity in the game, giving it sluggish feel sometimes.
Step #6 - Discard a card from your hand, if desired.
This is just a step to give you a new card during step #3 of your next turn. If you have something you feel is not going to be used, you should toss it. The more cards you can move through your hand, the better chance that you will get something useful.
I like the zombies and the shotgun guys. The artwork on the tiles and the cards are done well. The life and bullet tokens, because they're pretty small are a little hard to handle sometimes.
Overall, I like the game. I primarily play it with non-gamers, but it can still be a fun game as long as everyone knows what to expect. It's not a game for everyone, I don't think there is such a game. The game will be more enjoyable if you are into the theme. If you are not a zombie fan your enjoyment will likely diminish quickly. I recommend it for zombie fans with non-gamer friends to play with, but not many other gamers.