You’re a zombie. You need brains. You need to chase humans. You definitely don’t need to get shot.
That’s the setup for Zombie Dice, which first came out in 2010. I still own my original set, despite it being used a lot over the years. The sturdy cardboard cup it’s housed in – which provides a way for dice to be drawn blindly – has surprisingly stayed in usable condition for nine years.
Housed within the cup are thirteen black, custom dice; six of them with green faces, four with yellow and three with red. Dice represent potential victims and the colours denote how hard it’ll be to eat their brains – green are the easiest and red are the toughest. Each die has brains, feet (representing victims making an escape) and shotgun blasts; the green dice have the most brains and the red have the most shotgun blasts, with yellow having an equal number of each type of result.
All dice are placed into the cup and on a player’s turn, they first draw three dice (without looking of course!). They roll these dice and the results are treated as follows:
- Brains – Set aside any brains. Tasty, tasty brains.
- Feet – These will be re-rolled, as you’ll get another chance to eat their brains!
- Shotgun blasts – Set these aside too. If you have three of them at any point, your zombie has been killed and play passes to the next person.
You roll until you decide – or are forced, by shotgun – to stop:
- If you decide to keep going, draw back up to three dice, remembering to include any ‘feet’ results in your re-roll (example: if you rolled two feet and want to continue, you roll those two again, plus another one that you’ll draw from the cup).
- If you stop, providing it’s voluntarily and not because you’ve been blasted into undead pieces by three shotgun blasts, you can score a point for each brain rolled.
- If you stop because you rolled three shotguns, those tasty brains accumulated on this turn are lost forever. Any accumulated on previous turns are safe, thankfully.
If you reach at least 13 points and have the highest total once everyone’s had an equal number of turns, you win. You’re king of the zombies! Congratulations. Now…go eat more brains or something, I don’t know.
That’s all there is to it. The quick nature of the game and the fun of pushing your luck makes Zombie Dice incredibly addictive – and its simplicity means that you can play it even with people who’d normally roll their eyes at the suggestion of playing board games. Though the theme is somewhat dark, due to the fact that you won’t be encountering much in the way of graphic content (aside from the cartoonishly gross zombie on the cup), it’s a game that’s suitable for all ages too. The luck element means that players of all ages and experience with the game generally have a decent chance of winning the game too, which is – of course – great for introducing new players to Zombie Dice.
There’s a few expansions available, but I didn’t find that they added much fun to the base game – and there’s a slightly fancier version available too, in the form of Zombie Dice Deluxe (though this isn’t something I own – it adds a score pad and a sturdier plastic cup). The expansions and base game can be purchased together as the Horde Edition too.
Finally, you can also play on iOS. There’s no official Android version, unfortunately.
Considering the countless times I’ve played Zombie Dice over the years, I struggle to think of another game in my collection that I’ve got as much value from – especially when you also consider how inexpensive the base game is. If you regularly find yourself with ten minutes to spare with friends or family, you could do a lot worse than invest in a game of Zombie Dice.
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