Compete for Brains with Steve Jackson Games

June 28, 2012 by dracs

When it comes to gaming we all love the deeply immersive gaming experiences provided by some of the more complex board games. But occasionally we all need to take a break with a game that's quick, easy and allows us to do silly zombie impressions.

At this year's QCon in Belfast I came across two dice games by Steve Jackson Games which fill this need brilliantly: Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice.

Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice Logos

First let's take a look at Zombie Dice, a game which some of you may remember as appearing on Wil Wheaton's show TableTop (in fact it was after seeing it on TableTop that I decided to give it a go myself).

Zombie Dice Components

Each player is a zombie, searching for tasty survivors who's brains they can munch on. Each of the 13 dice represents one of these survivors. The player will take three dice at random from the dice cup and roll them. You keep drawing and rolling three new dice until you either decide to end your turn or roll three shotgun blasts.

As you can see on the image bellow each dice has three symbols which depict how successful your hunt for the survivor's brains was.

Zombie Dice Yellow Brain

  • Brains are of course what you most want to roll. You keep track of the total number of brains that you accumulate throughout the game. The player with the most brains at the end wins. Simple as that.
  • Footprints show when a survivor has run away. Whenever you roll these, should you wish to continue rolling, you will re-roll them, along with enough new dice to bring you up to the total of three.
  • Finally we have the shotgun blasts. Whenever the total number of shotgun blasts you roll in a single turn reaches three your turn ends and you lose all the brains you won that turn.
  • The different colour of the dice tell you how likely you are to roll brains with them, with green dice having more brains on them while red have more shot gun blasts

You keep playing until one player manages to get a total of thirteen brains. You then finish the round with whoever possesses the most brains by the end of it being the winner.

Zombie Dice

All in all I found this to be a thoroughly fun game, where judgement and chance are of equal importance. Sure, you could get more brains if you keep rolling, but you still risk getting three shotgun blasts to the face in a single roll (an event which happened to me with frightening regularity).

If you want to try this game out now than you may be happy to know that there is a free to download Zombie Dice app for you to take wherever you want.

Zombie Dice App

Also a how to play interactive demo can be found on Steve Jackson Games' website, just click the following link to try the Zombie Dice Demo.

Zombie Dice Demo

Whether you play it with dice or with technology I think you will find this to quickly become a firm inter-game favourite with your gaming group. It is fun and incredibly simple to play. I was even able to persuade a couple of my noon-gamer friends to give it a go, which led to our QCon accommodation resounding with the heart warming cries of "Ha! You got three shotguns to the face!" and of course "Braaaaaaaains!"

Will any of you try to get your undead hands on this game? Have any of you played it before? Out of interest what is the highest brain score you've ever come across?

In the next article I will take a look at the second of these Steve Jackson dice games, Cthulhu Dice, a game where you take on the role of cultists competing to strip one another's sanity and avoid being driven insane by the dread Cthulhu itself.

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