New Years Day Gaming

On Saturday, January 1st, I had a few friends over so that we could play a few games. The games we played were Zombie Dice, Pirate-opoly, and Back to the Future card game.

Zombie Dice is a simple dice game published by Steve Jackson Games. The game consists of 13 black dice with either green, yellow, or red markings. The sides of the dice have either Brains, Footprints, or Shotgun blasts. Each die represent a potential target, with green dice being easy, yellow dice being average, and red dice being hard targets.

Play is of the “roll and keep” variety, similar to Cosmic Wimpout. Players draw 3 dice at random from the cup and roll them. Brains are held for scoring, and Shotgun blasts are set aside. Once a player has scored some Brains, they may stop and record their score, or they may draw more dice (up to 3) and roll again. But, once they have rolled 3 Shotgun Blasts, their turn is over, and any earned Brains are lost.

We played 2 four player games, with my 5-year old son picking up the basics of the game quickly (with some coaching). There is a rule that once a player gets 13 (or more) Brains, all of the other players get a “last gasp” try at topping the winning player’s score. That rule was confusing for my son, who wanted to play conservatively and stop once he had rolled a couple of Brains (but was no where near the winning player’s score). But, we convinced him to keep rolling, but he finally rolled 3 Shotgun Blasts and lost.

Overall, Zombie Dice is a fun game if you have a few players and a few minutes. Once you have learned the basic mechanics, it’s easy to play and a game can be played in 10 minutes or so. Plus, it’s not very interactive, so it’s great for a social group where players want to chat while they play.

Pirate-opoly: I have my brother-in-law to thank for getting my son this game. He asked us to play, so we did, thinking it would be quick. As it ended up, we played for over an hour, probably close to 1.5 hours before giving up and calling a winner.

Theme: Pirate-opoly is a game where you play parrots who befriend different Pirate-type characters (properties). When a player lands on a Pirate that you “own”, you make money, and you lose money when you land on someone else’s pirate.

The Good: In the game setup, the deeds to the Pirate properties are divided up and dealt out to the players. This cuts out the first half of a regular Monopoly game, where players have to go around buying up properties. This also makes it simpler for younger players, as my 5-year old son could easily understand the game.

Also, there are no houses or hotels in the game. You either own a pirate, own a matched pair of pirates, or you don’t own them. The rent is listed on the space, and doubles if the owner has a matched set. Very simple.

The Bad: Too much randomness. As in regular Monopoly, there is very little in the way of strategy in this game. You star out with a couple of pirates, and there may be a few un-owned ones that you must buy if you land on them. You may get lucky and get a matched set of pirates, and there are a few cards that allow you to take a pirate from another player. But, the game is fairly dull, with just rolling and moving. With no strategy, there is no way to actively try to win or lose the game.

The chance cards (I don’t remember what they are called) add some interesting elements to the game, but after going through the deck once, are no longer interesting.

Final thoughts: Pirate-opoly is a great game for younger players, but can be dull for older players who are familiar with Monopoly.

After I started writing it, I realized that the Back to the Future card game review was pretty long, so I will put it up as a separate post later this week.

Events, Gaming, Geek-related

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