All Things Zombie, a new board game from Lock N Load Publishing, is an intense tactical simulation that pits survivors against hordes of the undead. Known primarily as a war game designer, it is no surprise that Lock N Load's foray into zombie board gaming should both look and play like a war game simulation.
Both survivors and zombies are represented by cardboard chits, each with special stats. The game includes several scenarios in which survivors move through a desert wasteland looking for resources. Survivors are placed on the board, as are a number of zombies who must either be fought or avoided. Survivors must search buildings for loot, and as soon as they enter, the player must draw a zombie card that reveals how many zombies they encounter.
Players' choices depend upon an initiative dice roll, which determines if the zombies are surprised or the survivor is. If successful, the survivor may shoot at the zombies, engage in melee combat with them or flee from the building. In some cases, charts are consulted that detail the effects of a player's actions.
After the survivors have moved and engaged in an action, the zombies begin to charge and/or fight the survivors. Though fleeing may be an option, players are wise to take down as many of the undead as they can. One or two zombies can quickly turn into nine or 10, and survivors can only take so many wounds before their stats are affected or they are eliminated from the game.
One really cool mechanic is the shot markers. After each shot is fired, players must put down a shot marker, representing the sound of their gunshot. After both the survivors and the zombies have moved, dice are rolled for each marker, possibly summoning more zombies to the board in search of their next meal.
Although All Things Zombie appears to be a relatively small, unpretentious zombie board game, it definitely succeeds in creating a tense, action-packed simulation that feels like a war game. With its artwork and atmosphere, this game's theme is spot on. More important, it is a lot of fun to play, and fans of the genre should have a field day.
Because of its scary theme, All Things Zombie is recommended for 12 years and up.
Cody K. Carlson holds a master's degree in history from the University of Utah and currently teaches at Salt Lake Community College. He is also the co-developer of the History Challenge iPhone/iPad apps. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org