As a kickstarter, I wasn't sure what to expect on production values at first, but I think overall I found the game components were not bad, except maybe the cards seemed a little flimsy. However, since the cards are not shuffled much, I don't think this is a big problem. The special dice on the other hand seemed to be above average. However, the rule book is not written well at all and seems to be all over the place. My buddy and I kept flipping back to it trying to find clarifications, all the time. If one thing needs improvement, it's the rulebook.
The game premise is that after a Zombie apocalypse, and nuked cities, the survivors venture forth from a secured base and look for food and weapons for the next four days.
This game is, like any good Zombie apocalypse, a bit bleak and dystopian. There are no lofty goals here. no philosophy to wax elonquently about, no great accomplishment you need to do and feel good about. There is decomposing food to eat out there, as well as radiation, bio-hazards, some guns and weapons (like a jackhammer), etc to get, and the goal is to get as many VPs as the other guy for the four days. However, don't think your character, like some TV show, is going to ride west on a golden future after the four days. One is forced in the game to either starve or eat radiation-filled food (and die later), tear down your barricades to help people, or let them die, take stupid dares for VPs, etc.
Kinda bleak, but thematic. Clearly, the game designer is weaned on such shows as the Walking Dead and such. All the Zombie apocalypse tropes are in this game, eg. someone with a Katana, or a guitar / weapon, etc, but that is good if you really love the genre.
Not enough food means people are starving and have to be left in the base, which means they are no help when fighting the Zs. In fact, if the Z's break into your base with all those hungry people, they will soon turn into more Zs for you to fight. So, a sub-goal is to defend your base.
You start off in your base and you go off to see if you find some food and supplies in these exploratory random tiles - littered with destroyed police cards, broken down rubble, etc- as well as to see how many Zombies you attract back to your base for you to fight off.
Your base is underground, and there are manholes and such, so there is a bit of 3D in the game somewhat. Here, my buddy is pointing to our underground base, the lobby of a hotel, while the other tiles are on the surface.
And what's out there in the tiles? Nothing inspiring.
I've never seen a boardgame before where getting scrap is a good resource.
Scrap is good because you can build barricades that will slow down the Z's a bit.
Food is out there, but don't expect McDonald's.
Normal food is on the left, yellow radiation food, that lowers your health- yummy - on the right.
So, even though the game-turns are only 4 days long, you are basically feeding yourself inevitably with poisonous radioactive food.
These radioactive counters on my character cards lowers their health, but whatever, you have no choice but to keep them fed or lose them to the starving group of people in your underground bunker.
You start with a team of two survivors and try to grow into a maximum team of four. Each of the survivors, and indeed a lot of the cards, have interesting text that gives you a good grip on the background. Take for instance, my South African ex-Buddhist on the left, who now has given all that enlightenment stuff up and is eating and hunting.
Lol.. not the kind of thing you usually read in a boardgame, but I liked it. In fact, I like the rpg elements in the game a lot as it gives it flavour.
Another example of interesting rpg-like text are cards like the ones here. Very RPG like....
Combat mechanics are simple, but can be a bit of a nail-biter. The Z's come at you fast and furious and can overwhelm you even if you got pistols.
I at one point had 3 pistols, but every time you fire one, you also have to roll a blue bullet die. What you don't want is to roll up "click" for that means you're out of ammo and it's a pain in the ass to go out and find bullets afterward.
Here, I rolled a 2 (the red die, which is a miss) but also "click" on the blue die. My gun is now useless after this until I find bullets in this wasteland.
Bullets or no bullets, the Z's keep coming. The Z's movement is fast and they can be on top of you pretty quick as you can see below.
The Green figures below represent 2 Zombies each, the dark gray is 1 zombie and the figures on the blue and red bases are my buddy and I's two 2-man teams.
They backed us into a corner and we fought them all with guns blazing and knives until there were none left, but my blue team was severely wounded, down to only 4 health. One or two more rounds and they would have died for sure.
At last, only our two teams were standing, but I only had 4 health left. And this was only Day 1.
Expect your teams to die, but worry not, there will be other survivors who will take their place over this 4 day jaunt into the wasteland.
There is just a little bit of backstab-your buddy-element in the game. Some examples include character abilitiies that allow your fellow players to steal your food or gear, or players forcing you to trade with them at a disadvantage, especially when you need food, or taking your dropped equipment after your team dies or even in combat when my buddy low in health disappeared down a sewer hole leaving me high and dry to fight off the Zs.
There is even a bit of screw-yourself component too. My buddy and I used up scrap to make a lot of traps and sandbag defenses around our perimeter, but we found ourselves outside that perimeter when we drew a card that forced us to start a day-turn outside it stuck in the mud surrounded by Zs.
All in all, I liked this game as it really has a lot of post- apocalyptic theme with some RPG elements. Some re-playability as well as you get lots of (two sided) tiles and there are different scenarios.. some more cooperative or more competitive than others. I liked this game better than another zombie Game called "Last Night on Earth" and give it a thumbs up if you are into Zombies. I think it's worth a try.