Rise of the Zombies
The Zombie Apocalypse Game
Game designed by Dan Verssen
An excerpt recalled from the games Introduction.
“Did it start in the water? The food? As a bio weapon? I never found out.”
“I was touring Washington D.C. when the President declared a National Emergency and the Army barricaded the streets. Trapped in my hotel room, I watched Apache helicopters fire wave after wave of rockets into the shambling masses surging up Pennsylvania Avenue. I sketched what I witnessed on the cards you are holding now. For two days the helicopters came, and my towering hotel shuddered from the ever approaching blasts. The third day was the worst. I awoke from a troubled sleep to silence. Just before dusk on the fourth day, flames engulfed the White House. It burned throughout the night. At dawn, the flag over the White House had fallen.”
This game began as a Kickstarted Project on http://kickstarter.com. The description of Kickstarter is taken directly from there website and is: “Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others. “
If you want to see the project that DVG games submitted on Kickstarter and their final results, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/80793621/rise-of-the-zombies?ref=live. As you can see, DVG received a lot of support for this game and I for one am glad they did.
The components that you receive in this game are of high quality. The game comes in a standard size book case type box which fits the components nicely. You receive in this game the following items:
- 168 Full Color Cards
- 1 sheet of Color Counters
- 8 Plastic Survivor Stands
- 2 Six sided dice
- 1 Full Color Rules Booklet
- 1 Digital Timer
Did I say Digital Timer? Yes I did. All games played with Rise of the Zombies are timed. The timing is dependent on the “Number of Players” in the game and the “Difficulty Level” chosen. For example, if there were 2 players in the game, playing at a “Standard” “Difficulty Level” the players would have 55 minutes to reach their Rescue Helicopter. Sound like an easy task? Well you may just be surprised at just how tenacious the zombie horde can be.
The rules for Rise of the Zombies are 20 pages in length of which only 13 deal with the game. The extra six (6) pages provide the reader with the games Credits, a sample game and biographies of the 13 survivor characters that can be used in the game. The rules themselves comprise the remaining 12 pages and of course I am discounting the front and rear pages. The rules are divided into sections to help a player learn the game. The sections of the rule book are:
· Learning the Game
· Preparing to Play a Game
· Card Text and Decks
· Game Duration
· Starting the Game
· Survivor Cards
· Location Cards
· Readying a Card
· Weapon Cards
· Item Cards
· Companion Cards
· Instant Cards
|· Skill Cards
· Location Attachment Cards
· Zombie Cards
· Epic Cards
· Sequence of Play
· Drawing Cards Due to Card Effects
· Trading Cards
· Zombie Turn
· Card Keywords
· Otis Rule (Optional)
· Campaign Game
· Stopping the Timer
Throughout the rules booklet there are sample cards, and counters as those items are being discussed. This facilitates players learning the game as they are reading the rules. The rules are easy reading as they are in full color and are well written. However, to make the game even easier to pick up and start playing, DVG has created a three (3) part video that fully illustrates the play of the game.
Victory in Rise of the Zombies is survival. The game begins with only two cards placed on the table. These two cards are the Safe House and the Rescue Helicopter. Between these two cards there should be enough space to place 7 cards as this will be the path that your characters must follow to survive and win the game. As I had mentioned earlier, this is all done under time constraints as the digital timer is ticking away and the characters must reach the Rescue Helicopter before time runs out and the helicopter leaves.
Sequence of Play
During the Sequence of Play all players perform the steps simultaneously. Not only does this speed up play, but it adds a bit of insecurity as the players are not only trying to beat the Zombies, but in a way they are trying to beat each other so they can be declared the ultimate winner. Players can cooperate with one another giving each other weapons, discuss who has what cards, provide each player with healing packages, or provide a card to a player to make them stronger. After all, as you are battling Zombies, you don’t want to be overrun.
Then there is the Optional rule that I am sure that some players will use only to add spice to the game. This rule allows players to attack one another. I am not saying that players will always attack one another, but let’s just say that this rule adds that option to the game so that the player characters may not always cooperate with one another.
The Player Sequence of Play is as follows:
- Discard Cards
- Draw Cards
- Play Cards
- The Zombie Turn consists of the following sequence:
- Zombies Move
- Zombies Attack
- Zombies Spawn
As you should be able to see from the Sequence above, whether you are playing solitaire or with 7 other players, the Sequence does not change. The Zombie Turn is the key that it is the same each and every turn and their only action is to attack the Survivors.
Playing the Game
The number of cards that a player is dealt depends on the number of players that are in the game. For example, if we look at the counter, we see that there are three (3) players in the game and that each player is dealt 5 cards. Additionally, we also see that all Location Cards have a Zombie Infestation value of +1. This means that if a Location Card has an Infestation Value of 2, one would be added to that value. Finally, if a Survivor is killed, we would replace this counter with the counter that shows that there are two Survivors in the game and we would draw the cards and follow the infestation numbers on that counter.
Above you see an example of how the cards could be laid out as taken from the Rise of the Zombie rule book. Here you see that each player has their card hand and that there are two decks from which players draw. The two decks are the Zombie Deck and the Action Deck. When Survivors draw new cards they are always drawn from the Action Deck. The Action Deck contains all the player used cards such as Location Cards, Weapons, Items, Companions, and any skills that a player can add. Finally, one of the players is chosen from those that are playing and that player will draw the Zombie cards when called for.
One of the really fun aspects of this game is that all player actions are performed simultaneously. So, which player is getting a new weapon, players can discuss who is laying down the next Location Card, another player could be asking for an item to healing his wounds, and it goes on and on and on. Whatever craziness that you can imagine that could occur if a Zombie Apocalypse were to happen will have you yelling and carrying on once you get into character and jump into the game. You may even sacrifice the weakest member by not giving that player your extra weapon so that your survivors are not slowed down!
A Rise of the Zombie Campaign Game is a set of 3 games that players play. The scoring for the games are as follows:
If all the Starting Survivors live, score 2 Campaign points
If not all the Starting Survivors live, but at least 1/2 the Starting Survivors (rounding up) live, score 1 campaign point.
Score 1 Campaign point for each “Epic” card’s challenge you overcome.
At the end of the three game series, players total their points to find out that their total can be anything from Legendary all the way to Dismal.
Sample Game and Survivor Bio’s
Finally, we come to a sample game. Here we are taken from the Safe House as our survivors battle their way across town to the Rescue Helicopter. We are shown the cards that are drawn and the way the cards are played. We see a glimpse of strategy as players are taken through a game from beginning to end.
Lastly there are the Survivor Biographies. This is a nice touch to provide each gamer with a bit of background on the Survivor that is being played. We learn where they were when the outbreak occurred and what their plans were to survive. This area fleshes out the game by giving it more substance and it could give the player an affinity for that character.
Dan Verssens’ Rise of the Zombies, the Zombie Apocalypse Game is pure fun whether you’re playing solitaire or with a group of 8. This is the type game that I call a “beer and pretzel” game where everyone around the table gets involved, plays to character, and enjoys themselves tremendously. This is the type of game that you take to boardgame or miniature conventions as the stress reliever where old friends, new friends, and strangers alike will have a blast. This is a game that when it’s over, you will ask, “who wants to go another round”. Rise of the Zombies is a card game that should get a lot of use from your gaming collection as it allows gamers to take a quick break from the seriousness of historical gaming and take them to the streets fighting off the Zombie hordes, while making their way to the Rescue Helicopter.
There are three demonstration videos that you can watch that explains how to play Rise of the Zombies. To view these videos you can go to Dan Verssen Games website and look for the links in the left hand column, or you can click on the links below: