Name: Zombie Dice
Type: Dice Game
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
No of Dice Included: 13
(2.0 / 5)
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.
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.
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.