Tiny Zombies (Preview)
I’ve written so many zombie articles at this point that I’m all out of lead-ins and funny puns. So, you may ask, why do I continue to cover zombie games? Well, why not? Most of the zombie games I come across are incredibly fun to play, and “Tiny Zombies” ended up being no different in that regard. Don’t let the name fool you, these zombies are anything but tiny. In this instance, you and your friends will team up and take on the role of a group of survivors. For those of you who have played the video game, think “Left 4 Dead”, but on your dining room table with cards. Will your group successfully make it to the safe zone before you succumb to the horde? Before we take a quick look at what makes this game tick, I’d like to thank Christopher Haskins from Nord Games for sending out a prototype copy. It’s important to stress that prototypes aren’t usually representative of the final product, so the content and pictures featured below are subject to change.
It’s worth mentioning right off the bat that even though “Tiny Zombies” is zombie survival themed, the game is family-friendly. While the cards feature things like weapons and zombies, the art isn’t gory or bloody by any means. Assuming that your child knows the difference between shooting a weapon in-game as opposed to shooting a firearm in real-life, I think you’ll be OK in introducing the game to them. Each parent will need to make that determination on their own.
Moving right along, the game comes with a plethora of different card types, minis, tokens, and dice. As far as card types go, there are a total of five different decks at about eighteen to twenty-two cards each. Before the game begins, each of these five decks (item, basic zombie, advanced zombie, event, map) are shuffled separately and placed near each other within easy reach of players. The exception is the map card deck, in which the “Start” card will be placed on the table and the “Safe Zone” card will be seeded at the very end of the deck. Each player will be allowed to pick a character card, with each featuring a special ability that players will be able to utilize in their travels.
What, no board? Actually, no. In this game, map cards serve as the ever-growing path that players will need to transverse. All of the character minis will begin on the “Start” card and as the game progresses, more map cards will be introduced. As I mentioned earlier, the bottom of the map card deck will be seeded with a “Safe Zone” card…it’s this card that players will be aiming to place on the table and get their minis to before it’s too late.
Every turn, a player will have three action points to use, though they needn’t use all of them on their turn if they don’t want to. Players can perform different actions like move their mini from one card to the next, attack a zombie, explore a new map card, and so on and so forth. When exploring a new map card, the current player will place the map card from their visible hand onto the board in a logical fashion…that is, the way two or more cards border each other must make sense depending on how the cards are laid out.
Exploring new map cards is where the game gets really exciting, as they’ll tell you which cards to draw from which decks after placing them. One map card, for example, might instruct you to draw so many item and so many zombie cards from their respective decks. Or, you might have to work through a particular event which can be either negative or positive, depending on the circumstances. Combat is fairly self-explanatory, as the zombie cards will tell you what is needed on a die roll to inflict damage upon it. How many dice you roll and your attack distance is determined by the item you’re currently using.
Zombies also get their own turn and move in pre-defined fashion, opting to advance toward players they’ve seen, flashing lights, noise…that sort of thing. Some weapons are very powerful, but make a lot of noise and thus attract some unwanted attention. If a player gets attacked and takes too much damage, they’ll convert over to the undead side. It’s at this point that said player will flip their character card over to the zombie side and attempt to stop the group from winning the game.
Our experience with “Tiny Zombies” was a positive one. The number of components that were included in the box was staggering, but the game was surprisingly easy to play. Vinnie (12) had no issues understanding the basic premise, though he needed some direction when certain events came into play. Normally I reserve personal thoughts for reviews, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass along how much Vinnie really enjoyed the game. I must confess that I agree with and share in his excitement. “Tiny Zombies” hit me as a cross between zombie survival and a tile-laying game, and it combines the best of both worlds without as much as a hiccup. Solid concept, easy to learn gameplay, and zombies…it doesn’t get much better than this.
“Tiny Zombies” is currently being funded through Kickstarter and has about a few weeks left before the campaign ends (as of 8/12/13). If this sounds like something that would interest you, feel free to support it via the links below: