While at MetaCon, I wandered into the tabletop game room for a spell, and I stumbled upon something I hadn’t heard of before. It’s called Zombie Dice, and it’s made by Steve Jackson Games, the guys behind Munchkin and a whole dragon’s hoard worth of other super geeky games. I like Munchkin quite a bit, so I decided to give Zombie Dice a shot.
I sat down between two guys named Charlie and Gabe, both of whom were as unfamiliar with the game as I was. Luckily, Holly, a representative from Steve Jackson Games, was there to show us the ropes.
Essentially, in Zombie Dice, you take on the role of a zombie with the goal of collecting 13 brains. You do this by shaking a can of specially made dice, drawing three from the can, and rolling them. Each die can reveal one of three possible outcomes. There’s a brain icon, which earns you a point; a footsteps icon, which allows you to re-roll that particular die; and a shotgun blast icon. As someone who’s spent an absurd amount of time playing Resident Evil games, I’m very aware of the fact that a zombie’s worst enemy is a shotgun to the face. So rolling a shotgun blast icon is bad for your health.
Now, let’s say that on my turn I roll three dice and come up with one of each icon. I would get one point for rolling a brain, get shot in the face for rolling a shotgun (not in real life, depending on the type of person you are playing with), and I’d get to re-roll the footsteps die if I wanted to. If so, I would then keep the footsteps die out and grab two more from the can.
As I roll the dice, I accumulate points, but I also accumulate shotgun blasts. Racking up three shotgun blasts ends my turn and causes me to forfeit all my brains for that turn. So the trick is knowing when to quit rolling.
Also, I should mention that the dice come in three different colors. Red dice contain the most shotgun blasts per die, green dice contain the least, and yellow dice are somewhere in the middle. They’re basically “Hard,” “Easy,” and “Medium” respectively, I suppose.
The rules were simple enough that we all had it figured out by the second turn, and our game took maybe fifteen minutes to complete. (Charlie won by a landslide.)
Ultimately, I would recommend Zombie Dice as a party game. It’s simple enough that you can pick up the rules even while being several drinks into your weekend binge, and it’s short enough that your short attention span won’t hate you for playing the game to completion. If you are looking for something longer and more involved, though, Zombie Dice won’t really scratch that itch. Then again, as I already mentioned, Steve Jackson Games also has a game called Munchkin that you’ll probably love.