Review – Zombie Close from BrainCandy
Designers – Russ Smith, Tim McArdle
note – Thanks to the guys at BrainCandy for providing a copy of this game for review
I really respect the effort that goes into designing a game (going through the process myself currently) and I celebrate that there are so many new games being designed and published. A lot of us may talk about games but to actually design and publish a game is really something worth noting in my book. At UK Games Expo, there were a number of independently published games released and I picked up a copy of a game from a new company, BrainCandy, called Zombie Close.
At first pass, I am not a big fan of Zombies games and I think that there is a danger of over saturation at this point but I’m always willing to have a go.
Zombie Close is indeed a game of survival. The last Survivor standing wins basically. It is a very simple game for 1-4 players ages 12+ and is meant to play rather quickly. 30 minutes-ish should do. The components are fairly basic. A simple map of a street with houses, 2 card decks, dice and 4 sets of metal figures representing 1 survivor and 3 zombies per player. The sculpts which will of course look better when painted, are fairly crude, it must be said. There is an A4 sized card with the rules so this is a very simple game to get into and play.
The game process is divided into 2 phases –
Each player chooses a card from the survivor deck which can be used at any time. You can only have one card in your hand at any one time so each turn you choose one and then choose which you will keep. These cards allow you to kill zombies (only to find they get recycled back into the game) or impact other players, etc. A number of actions become available.
Then you move your survivor up to 6 spaces. Basically you just need to run for it.
Move your zombies to attack the other survivors – (subject to a die roll)
When you are turned into to a Zombie, you get to use the Zombie deck for some different actions.
This is a simple and fairly limited game. You just don’t have much to do but hope you can outrun the zombies. Once you are cornered you will be bitten and its only a matter of how long it takes before you become a zombie. The movement of the zombies is luck dependent so there’s only some much room for maneuver. Whoever gets the best die roles will ultimately win. The theme is simply played out mostly through the cards which add flavor but not a lot.
Did it work for me?
As a first go, I congratulate Braincandy for publishing the game. Not an easy feat.
Having said that, there just isn’t a lot there. Its just ok at best. The rules are a bit sloppy with some omissions but these are easily figured out. There isn’t much to do really. Its a simple role and move game that lacks any depth. Makes for fast game play and a quick game but leaves you wanting. Good for a simple laugh but not really a game that will come back to the table much at all. I think that Zombie Close needs a lot more development and play testing to stand up to the wealth of Zombie games out there. The fact thatthey themselves did not list on BoardgameGeek.com leads me to wonder if BrainCandy have done their homework to see what the competition is like and get a better feel for what the game player market really would want from a Zombie game. Disappointing.
Boardgames in Blighty Rating – 4 out of 10
Well assuming the family likes zombies subject matter…
Although their website is only the home page – here is the URL for BrainCandy – http://www.braincandy.uk.com/