Nerdful Things – Zombie Dice
The player has to shake a cup containing 13 dice and randomly select 3 of them without looking into the cup and then roll them. The faces of each die represent either brains, shotgun blasts or “runners” with different colours containing a different distribution of faces (the 6 green dice have 3 brains, 1 shotgun and 2 runners, the 4 yellow dice have 2 of each and the 3 red dice have 1 brain, 3 shotguns and 2 runners). The object of the game is to roll 13 brains. If a player rolls 3 shotgun blasts their turn ends and they lose the brains they have accumulated so far that turn. It is possible for a player to roll 3 blasts in a single roll, but if only one or two blasts have been rolled the player will have to decide whether it is worth it to risk rolling again or “bank” the brains acquired so far and pass play to the next player. A “runner” is represented by feet and rolling a runner means that the player can roll that same dice if they choose to press their luck. A winner is determined if a player rolls 13 brains and all other players have taken at least one more turn without reaching 13 brains.
Zombie Dice requires no set up, really. You open the dice container and pick out three dice to roll. If you want to be picky, I suppose you could include time to print out some score sheets if you need fresh ones. Other than that, that’s it!
The game blurb states games last between 10 and 20 minutes. In our games with three players, our games lasted five minutes or less. That may sound like a negative but it’s not. I found myself in our first game taking a couple of rolls and being blasted out of the game without scoring. The dice were not in my favour. The second game fared a bit better but after Lauren and Seren were out (they scored zero brains) I found myself banking one brain just because I could and my track record with the dice was unfavourable.
The rate we took our turns we could probably have managed five or six games into a half hour session with time to spare. Again, not a negative and it’s a refreshing change from some games that can take a while to set up, play and eventually allows boredom to kick in (hello, Monopoly!).
The game is basically Yahtzee with brains only there’s no major strategy behind it such as choosing which scores to take to mark off your score pad. The essence of pushing your luck is there and has a more burning presence as it can make the difference between getting points or being blasted out of the game with nothing but your hurt pride to show for it.
The game has the ebb and flow of disappointment and glee from turn to turn and is a good way to start a game night by getting into the mood. The simplicity and convenience of setting up and getting started has made it one of my favourite games. Seren, who is eight, can enjoy it without the need to try and learn complex strategies or techniques which makes it all the more enjoyable.
Ever since I saw the TableTop episode featuring Zombie Dice, I have wanted to play this game. It’s a fun game to pull out for a quick few rounds before tackling something more involved or, in our case, to slot in after getting in from work and having food and sending the kids to bed. The dice are great quality and the rules are straightforward – there’s no bigger buzzkill than presenting a game to kill some time than to be sat reading the instructions and trying to work it out while everyone else zones out and loses interest. Zombie Dice is well worth the buy and doesn’t require much brain power. Pardon the pun. Or don’t. Just play the game if you haven’t already!
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