Sitting down to play World War Z, another game brought to me by Board Game Exchange, I was optimistic. I had heard of the movie and what a failure it was- but I didn’t let that influence my attitude going in. Overall, Zombies are not my thing but the idea of defending the planet from an invasion was somewhat appealing.
I was disappointed to discover fairly early on that the game was essentially rigged against us. First of all, there were just two of us playing- where you could have up to 4. My first remark is to say- this should never have been marketed as a game for two people. What a waste of time it proved to be.
Once we set up the board, placed the different zombie threat levels on the varying continents, shuffled our threat escalation and combat cards it was time to roll the die. You are given different die for varying ‘threat levels’- yellow, blue, red and green as well as a human die.
Depending on the number of players, the number of turns will vary. For 2 players, we had 8 turns to defeat every single “horde” of zombies on every single piece of the map. Right from the start it felt impossible to win. Each turn, the player will decide where they want to go on the map. If you don’t use an airplane, you must move to any space adjacent to where you began otherwise you can jet off to wherever you like.
Each player starts with combat cards which feature tactics and weapons. You may use them accordingly- based on whatever advantages you are given. At the start of a turn, the player moves to their desired space, rolls the human die and rolls the die based on the color of the threat level in that space. So if you’ve landed in an area where the threat is 3 (out of 4), you’ll also roll the yellow die to see what kind of strength you’re up against. If your number is higher than theirs- you win. The threat level decreases by one, the player collects a combat card- but must also pull a threat escalation card. These escalation cards kill the game. Often times, even if you’ve won a battle, the escalation cards will make everything worse than when you started your turn.
Gameplay is simple- once you understand what you’re supposed to do. But as you realize the overall pace of the game you quickly see that with just 8 turns, you’ll probably never even make it over to half the places on the map, let alone roll well enough to defeat the zombies.
This is why 4 players would make more sense- but even then, the number of turns will dwindle down to a lousy 5. I cannot wrap my head around this. I do not understand the point of making it so short. I was losing my mind because even halfway through I said to my husband, why are we even bothering? We’re not going to make it. He kept losing his turns, and though I would win against threat level 1 spaces, the escalation card I was forced to pull after every victory set us back even more.
Suffice it to say I found this to be a waste of time. The concept was awesome- the presentation was even okay- but the longevity severely screws with the players ability to make any headway in a pair. I enjoyed the fact that we were able to finally work together rather than against each other- that seems to be pretty rare compared to most games I’ve come across. Beyond that- I have nothing good to say.
This is probably best for young children- but even then why scare them with the idea of their planet being destroyed by Zombies? Eh. Never again.
1-4 Too Much Awful
5-7.5- Not so Awesome
7.6-8.5 Almost awesome
8.6-9.4 – Awesome!
9.5-10- Totally Awesome!
In theory this game had the potential to be a great time but in practice, it was somewhat of a snooze. It was too short, not good for 2 players, and felt literally impossible to beat. It succeeded in creating the hopelessness feeling I'm sure we'd all experience if the world was being taken over by Zombies-- but that's about it. Would probably be best with 4 players.