Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/01/20/tabletop-r-
Zombies. We know them – we love them, and try as we might, we can’t escape them. Movies, TV, comics, books, video games, board games, CCGs – the undead menace is everywhere. And, once again, they pop up in board game form in Dead Things.
Developed by DM Fitzgerald and published by DCS, Dead Things is an easy to set up and quick to play board game (that you have to cut out and set up yourself, nothing bad, just making you aware) that pits two to four players against a field of ravenous zombies, and gives them one option – escape with your lives. Yes – lives; this isn’t a case of “first to the finish line wins it all”. No sir, every human has to escape, because if so much as one of you dies – it’s game over, man, game over.
The game follows a fairly standard turn rotation – humans move, attack if they can, each zombie moves towards the nearest character, attack if they can; repeat until finish. The only difference between humans and zombies (besides the sheer, sometimes overwhelming number of zombies) is the fact that humans get to move three squares to zombies one. There is no set direction to follow for either side – just get from the start to the finish however you can.
When it comes to killing and/or destroying, once again, the advantage falls to the humans – while the zombies get a single energy point before they are destroyed, the humans get four “luck chits” which gives them four chances to get attacked before they die (taking the game with them). This may seem a little overbalanced to you, but since the sides measure four (maximum) humans vs. upwards of sixteen zombies, it does even up – especially when you realise that not everyone will get through the game with all four luck chits intact. This luck, however, does regenerate at the end of a turn, which should lead to some strategic play from players if they get hit with a run of real life bad luck.
Now, while the game itself can make for a fun and frantic way to kill half an hour or so, the physical layout of the game (at least of the copy I am reviewing) is rife with spelling and grammar errors. This is nothing that a run with a spellcheck can’t fix, but the errors do serve to make the overall presentation look quite unprofessional.
Fixable errors aside, Dead Things seems like an amusing enough diversion – it’s not something that you’ll pull out again and again, but it seems good enough for a couple of quick games here and there.