Category Archives: Dice Games

Zombie Dice Review

Name: Zombie Dice
Type: Dice Game
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
No of Dice Included: 13
Players: 2+
Price:  £10.79
Play time:
Rating: 2.0 Stars (2.0 / 5)

Zombie Dice, Tube- Title

Zombie Dice was another impulse buy for me, at the same counter, in the same Forbidden Planet and at the same time as the Cthulhu Dice. I actually went in just to browse and ended up with those 2 games, plus the Call of Cthulhu LCG by Fantasy Flight Games and the Miskatonic University sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium (both to be reviewed at some point but if you’d like to see them sooner rather than later then comment below). Forbidden Planet did well out of my lack of self restraint that day. Anyway, I digress, Zombie Dice is a mechanics light Dice game by Steve Jackson Games that casts you in the role of a Zombie hungry for tasty, tasty brains.

The game comes in a small cardboard tube that houses the 13 dice you need to play the game as well as the rules which come on a double sided, full colour, A5 sheet. The tube also doubles as a shaker during the game. The tube is nicely decorated in full colour with the title of the game and a great looking cartoon zombie.

Zombie Dice, Contents

The 13 dice come in 3 varieties, Green, Yellow and Red. You get 6 Green dice, 4 Yellow Dice and 3 Red dice. The dice have 3 custom faces, a brain, an explosion which denotes a shotgun blast and footprints and each of the different coloured dice has these symbols in different combinations. The Green dice has the most faces with brains, the Yellow the second most brains and the Red has the least with just a single face bearing the brain symbol. Conversely the Red dice has the most shotgun blasts, the Yellow has the second most and the Green the least.

Zombie Dice, 3 Colours

The point of the game is to roll brains and to be first person to amass a score of 13. Like many modern games Zombie Dice elects for an abstract way of deciding who goes first, either it’s the person who won the last game or the person who is able to say Braaaaaaaaains in the most convincing way.

On your turn you shake the tube full of dice and then randomly select 3 and roll them, counting up the number each of result you get, brains, shotgun blasts, and footprints. Each brain adds one to your score, each shotgun blast counts against you, I’ll explain how in a minute, and each footprint means that your victim escaped. After rolling you can choose to roll again to increase your score and to do this you replace any footprint results back in the tube, shake it and repeat the process above.

Brains and shotgun blast results are not put back in the tube until your entire turn is over. You can continue to roll as many times as you like, making sure that brains and shotgun blasts are set aside in between rolls. After each roll you count must check the total number of shotgun blasts you have rolled and if this is 3 or more then your turn immediately ends and your entire score for the turn is discarded as you have been fought off by your victims. You can, of course, voluntarily end your turn after any roll and add any rolled brains to your total score but if you draw more dice from the tube then you are committed to rolling them.

The trick is to keep rolling as long as you can, using judgement based on the dice in your shotgun and brains piles as to the odds of pulling out more Green or Red dice for your next roll. As I mentioned above, Green dice have the most brains and the least shotgun blasts and so are your friend, the Red dice are quite the opposite.  The game progresses until the first player gets a total score of 13 and wins.

Zombie Dice isn’t a bad game by any means and it’s a fun way to kill 10 minutes while your group is waiting for late players to arrive. It has a little bit of strategy to it when deciding whether to take the chance and roll again but not so much that it’ll keep you hooked for any length of time. The production values are quite high with 13 pretty cool dice, a full colour tube/shaker and full colour rules. The size means that it’s easy to just throw into a backpack and take to a gaming night, making it a handy game to have around. It’s not a complex game and that works in it’s favour because it means you might be able to hook the odd none gamer into playing it.

I can’t say that I think the game is great, there is a huge amount of random chance involved and that doesn’t interest a more hardcore gamer like me, plus there just isn’t enough to the game itself to really draw anyone in for any length of time. What I can say is that Zombie Dice is cheap, cheerful, has good production values and will pass an hour or two every now and then before you bore of it and put it on shelf for another couple of years.

At the time of writing Zombie Dice has 2 expansions available.

Cthulhu Dice Review

Name: Cthulhu Dice
Type: Dice Game
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
No of Dice Included: 1
Players: 2-6
Price:  £5.49
Play time: 5-10 minutes
Rating: 1.0 Stars (1.0 / 5)

Cthulhu Dice text

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Cthulhu junkie and so it should come as no surprise that I own a game named Cthulhu Dice. Cthulhu dice was an impulse purchase for me, picked up from the counter at Forbidden Planet at the very last minute for the low, low price of £1.99. I’m pretty pleased that I only paid £2 for the game as I honestly don’t think it’s worth more.

Cthulhu dice should really just be called Cthulhu Die, as there is only a single die in the pack, but I guess that the folk at Steve Jackson Games figured that the title Cthulhu Die might suggest that the goal of the game is something very different from what it is. The game comes packed in a self seal plastic baggie and contains a single 12 sided die, 18 glass ‘sanity’ beads and the rules on an full colour, double sided A5 sheet. There are also now several different colours of dice that you can get as part of the set as well as a deluxe metal die version.

Cthulhu Dice Contents, PackedCtulhu Dice Contents, Unpacked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The game is pretty simple, as you’d expect from such limited contents. In the game you play a Cthulhu Cultist and the goal overall is to make the other players go insane by cursing them which is accomplished by rolling the dice and reducing their sanity points to zero. To start the game each player takes 3 of the glass beads that represent their sanity and then the owner of the game decides who will be the first Caster (basically the player who’d turn it is). The Caster picks a Victim (another player) and rolls the dice, which can result in one of five outcomes-

  • Yellow Sign- The Victim loses a point of sanity to Cthulhu
  • Tentacle- The Caster steals a point of sanity from the Victim
  • Elder Sign- The Caster receives a point of sanity from Cthulhu
  • Cthulhu- All players loses a point of sanity to Cthulhu
  • Eye of Horus- The Caster chooses a result.

The winner is the last player to have any sanity left and if two or more players simultaneously lose their last point then Cthulhu wins. Cthulhu is considered to be in the middle of the table and, as you can see, he can gather sanity from the players throughout the game. If at any point a player should receive sanity from Cthulhu and there are no sanity points in the middle of the table, then the player gets nothing.

One of the things I like about the game is that even if a player is reduced to zero sanity then they can still keep playing, which means that no-one is left sitting at the table with nothing to do. A player who is reduced to zero sanity is considered to be mad which means that, on their turn, they can keep attacking other players  but they can never regain any sanity so can’t win the game. This means that mad players can, and should, do their best to try and make sure Cthulhu wins.

Now, obviously, this game is 90% reliant on luck. Aside from deciding who you attack and, very occasionally, picking the result if you roll the Eye of Horus (a 1 in 12 chance), then there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome of the game. This really limits the mileage you can get out of the game as there is only so much enjoyment you can get out of rolling a D12. The game falls into a weird and difficult niche, it’s a bit too geeky to make it as a mainstream game but it’s a bit to basic to be of interest to hardcore gamers. The best use I can find for it is as a drinking game, with each point of sanity lost representing a shot and going mad meaning you have to finish your drink. In this way it would be a good warmup game for Cards Against Humanity on a casual evening with people that aren’t really gamers.

The best thing about the game, and the selling point for me is the Cthulhu die. It’s an interesting and unique D12 with some cool symbols on, such as Cthulhu and the Yellow Sign-

Cthulhu Dice, Cthulhu Face Cthulhu Dice, Yellow Sign Face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, this isn’t a great game, there isn’t much there and it’s too luck based to be of much fun but, it’s also very very cheap. The score I’ve given it is based more or less entirely on the fact that it’s cheap and I really like the die. I can’t really recommend it to anyone but if you think the die is cool or if your group wants a new drinking game then it might be worth checking out.

At the time of writing there are no supplements for Cthulhu Dice.