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Game Review: Zombie Dice

20131129-221824.jpgIt is hard to believe that 13 dice in a container the size of a soda can would receive the first perfect score I’ve given since I started writing for Graphic Policy, but believe it, Zombie Dice is flawless. Better known for Munchkin and their role-playing game GURPS, designer Steve Jackson and his self-titled team at Steve Jackson Games managed to combine equal parts luck and risk taking in this quick, addictive, and deceptively simple game.

Two rules: eat brains and don’t get shotgunned. For two or more players, this game can be played in 10 to 20 minutes and can be taught in a single round.  The dice are color coded green, yellow, and red and have three symbols on them, a brain, shotgun, and footprints. The green dice have the most brains and least shotguns, yellow dice slightly fewer brains and slightly more shotguns, and red dice the fewest brains and the most shotguns. On a player’s turn, shake the cup, draw three dice without looking, and roll them. Brains to the left, shotguns to the right, and footprints get re-rolled along with however many more dice you need to draw from the cup to roll three again. Once you roll three shotguns your turn is over, but until then you can choose to stop and score how many brains you have or keep rolling. The first to collect 13 brains wins!

All comments and issues have been heard and answered by Steve Jackson Games (a rarity with many game companies these days). Players mentioned the original container peeled and the bottom sometimes popped out while shaking…so they designed a sturdier dice case. Then people cried for an expansion…and they got  Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature, which added three additional dice (a hunk, a hottie, and Santa Claus) that added even crazier twists to the game mechanics.  They even released a brain score pad, which I failed to see before I typed ‘brains’ in Amazon and found a 36-count bundle of brain pencil top erasers for teachers. The best part? Reviews underneath said, “these are perfect for Zombie Dice!” They cost more than the game, but I bought them anyways and couldn’t be happier.

Though this game’s popularity exploded once it was featured on TableTop, Star Trek childhood star Wil Wheaton‘s web series, I’d like to think it would have thrived regardless of their excellent game review. Perfect for waiting in line or traveling, and at around $12, this game is a cheap stocking stuffer for last minute buyers (I’ve seen it at Target). Zombie Dice now has a smartphone app, shot glasses, and t-shirts (did I mention it was popular?), but merchandise aside, it is still just a cup with 13 dice that makes for–dare I say–brainless fun.

Designer: Steve Jackson
Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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