Horror-themed board games: The worst and the best (pt 1) By Sarah Rigg & Jeff Kaatz

Game Reviews By: Sarah Rigg & Jeff Kaatz

If you’re a fan of horror and of tabletop games, many game options combine both. In these articles, you’ll get a “his and hers” perspective on eight horror-themed games (in two parts).

A couple notes:

*When people hear “horror-themed tabletop game,” the first that comes to mind for many is Arkham Horror. That game isn’t reviewed in this article, but if you’re curious about it, check out the review at BoardGameGeek.com.

*Secondly, while we played most of these board games with four or more players a few times, many of these games were most thoroughly play-tested with just two players, so there will be a slight bias toward games that are good for two players.

We’ll start with the worst game we played and work our way up to our favorite.  This week, 8-5.  Next week, 1-4.

  1. The Walking Dead Card Game
    Number of players: 2-10

Typical game length: Less than 30 minutes

Age group: Age 8+ (unless your youngster is scared of zombie imagery)

Type of game: Casual bar game

Reply value: Low

Sadly for fans of the TV show “The Walking Dead,” the worst game on our list is “The Walking Dead Card Game.” The worst thing about this game is that it has very little to do with the show, aside from the pictures. It’s basically a double solitaire type game for 2 or more players. You choose a Walking Dead character card at the start, but it doesn’t matter what character you choose, since they all have the same “trump” type mechanism in the game. You’re basically making numbered piles of zombie cards and counting up points at the end.

Jeff says: I’d fail Walking Dead. Not only does the game not work in the theme of zombies, but the game wasn’t all that interesting. One positive: It can accommodate up to 10 players, so if you need a game for a big group and an uncomplicated play style, it might get a C-.

Sarah says: This game sucked. I’d only get it if you’re a huge fan of the show and want it for collectible reasons. It would be a good time-waster game for a large group and is simple enough to be played while intoxicated.

Final grade: D-

zombies-close-up

Photo by Jeff Kaatz

  1. Zombies!!!
    Number of players: 2-6
    Typical game length: one hour
    Age group: 10+
    Type of game: Strategic modular board game
    Replay value: Moderate to high

Our opinions on this board game are mixed. One of its strengths is that the mechanics of the game and the illustration and themes work well together. It feels like you’re a living human trapped in a town overrun with a horde of zombies. You have to move around a board that you create as you go along by laying down tiles, fighting zombies, trying to survive and get to the helipad to take off in a helicopter.

Jeff says: I think Zombies!!! is amusing. I’d give it a B for interesting game play and a fun board that is different every time. It’s more fun with more than two players.

Sarah says: My main beef is that this type of board game is just not my favorite mechanic. It’s possible I’m just being overly hard on it. I do think the art is good and the mechanics fit the theme.

Final grade: C+

 

  1. Zombie Dice.

Number of players: 2 and up

Typical game length: Less than 30 minutes

Age group: 8+

Type of game: Casual party game/dice game

Replay value: Moderate

In this game, you are the zombie, and your goal is to eat 13 brains without getting blasted with a shotgun. It’s a silly game that has some of the same problems as the Walking Dead game – the mechanics don’t have a lot to do with zombies at all. However, it’s a fun, fast-paced game that you can play with large groups (the packaging says it can accommodate 99 people).

Jeff says: This was a fun game that was not too complicated. It would be boring with only 2 people.

Sarah says: I agree with Jeff. It’s a silly throw-away game, but good if you have a large group of friends and don’t want a game to take all night.

Final grade: B-

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

  1. Zombie Fluxx/Cthulhu Fluxx

Number of players: 2-6

Typical game length: 30-40 minutes

Age group: 8+

Type of game: Strategy card game

Replay value: Moderate

There are at least a dozen versions of the game Fluxx from the original to pirate, Martian and family-friendly themes. The starting rules are “draw one, play one,” but the goal and rules continuously change. If you already know you like Fluxx, you’ll probably appreciate the two horror-themed versions we’ve played, Zombie Fluxx and Cthulhu Fluxx. There are cards called “keepers” in regular Fluxx, and the Zombie edition also contains “Creepers”- cards you have to keep but that you don’t want in your hand because they keep you from winning. The “keepers” and goals in both the Cthulhu and Zombie versions are very thematically appropriate and add sly humor.

Jeff says: Both of these Fluxx versions get a solid B from me. They are most fun with more than two players.

Sarah says: I like Fluxx, and I think these horror-themed versions are fun.

Final grade: B.

See you next week with horror-themed board games 1-4.  Can’t wait!

Bio:  Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in southeast Michigan who loves cooperative tabletop games. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com. Jeff Kaatz is still a newbie writer but a gamer of several decades.

Additional Photo by Jeff Kaatz

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