Happy Halloween! I was hoping to be able to review some appropriately themed game for today.
Apparently, this game orifginally was a kickstarter game, and was available at Board Game Geek, but now Steve Jackson bought the rights, and is now releasing this new edition. This version made its debut at Gen Con before being released to the general public a couple of months ago. I heard it was a very small and short game that played up to 12 people. That’s always good for parties, right?
Steven Jackson Games is best known for their Munchkin games line, which has a pretty huge fan base with casual and gateway gamers. This one seems to be aimed for that audience as well. It’s got a neat zombie theme on top if it too, so let’s find out if it’s any good:
I HATE ZOMBIES (2016) designed by Kevin Wilson; Published by Steve Jackson Games; for 2-12 players and takes about 10-20 minutes.
This shouldn’t take too long to explain. It’s about as simple as a game can get. It’s Rock, Paper, Scissors with zombies! This game is actually for 5-12 players. There is a 2-4 player variant which seems like it could work, but I feel like the game is best with 5-12.
Besides the game rules, the only contents in the small box are 19 Tarot-size cards. That’s it!
There are 18 double-sided cards.
One side has a human character and the other has a zombie version of that character.
There is also a card that has a anti-zombie serum on one side and a shambling hordes ability on the other side, which is used when the game has an odd number of players.
The dealer will give one card to each player. Then the dealer and the player to his left play Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Whoever is the winner will put their card on the human side, and the loser will turn his to the zombie side. Then, clockwise from those 2 players, each player will alternate being a human and a zombie.
The only players that get a turn are the zombies, who take turns going clockwise around the table. The active zombie player picks the first human player to their left, or to their right and they fight each other…. playing Paper, Rock Scissors. The loser will take a wound. When you take a wound, turn your card 90 degrees clockwise. If a human takes 2 wounds, they turn to a zombie and must immediately turn their human card to the zombie side. If a zombie should take 3 wounds, they are eliminated from the game.
And that’s pretty much it. Each human character has their own special ability, like one player might kill a zombie immediately if they use Rock in their battle. If all the zombies are killed, the humans win. If everyone turns into a zombie, the surviving zombies win…. except for the last human player who was turned. He is the sole loser for screwing up humanities last hope.
This game is very quick. I played a few 12 player games with my middle school group, and it took less than 15 minutes. I was the sole loser, as my students love to team up on me.
I feel like that you will know if you’ll like this game just by hearing my description. This game is not for hardcore gamers, nor is it meant to be. I feel like the target audience is for people who might normally not play games, and middle school kids. I even think some 3rd graders and up will love this game too. It’s fast, quick and fun. And EVERYONE knows how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, so the game is very easy to explain. A 5-year-old could play this (and I have played it with a 5 year old too…. who loved it!).
What do I think? It’s silly fun. It’s not going to send the gaming world on fire, but it’s not supposed to. This game succeeds at exactly what it was trying to set out to do. Just be a fun, mindless filler where players are laughing at each other, as the zombie invasion gets worse. It can get really intense too. especially, if you constantly tie, because in this game, if you DO tie, you keep going until someone wins. And when it’s not you’re turn, you’re constantly cheering on your teammates to win their battles. The interaction is fun here.
I must mention that the artwork is fantastic. It’s a specific type of artwork. Very 80’s, comic book/cartoony, but it’s extremely well done. I loved just looking at each and every card, seeing what the normal character looked like, and then turning it over to see the wicked zombie version of that character.
I also liked all the special abilities. It gave the game just enough flavor for it to hold interest. Thankfully, the game is only 10-15 minutes, so it never overstays its welcome. In fact, my students wanted to play it again immediately.
This isn’t something that I’m going to bring out at a heavy game night, but I will be bringing this to Halloween parties, casual get-togethers and family events. For a game with such a stupidly simple idea, I HATE ZOMBIES is quite fun. The price point is right too.
If you’re looking for something fun, silly, light and easy to teach, especially for 8-15 year olds, this game would be a good bet.