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Card Game Review: ‘Zombie Fried’

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Most zombie games are about facing down the apocalypse, but Zombie Fried from I’m Not Wearing Any Pants Games starts after the zombies have won and the humans lost. The world is not so different, as the rules explain, “Zombies now rule the world. They go to Zombie work, pay Zombie taxes, hang out at the local Zombie malls.” Still, they are an ever-present threat to selfish humans who would rather not have their brains eaten. These humans are ready to fight back.zombiefried

Players are the humans looking to rise up and cleanse the world of its new zombie overlords. Traditional weapons are very hard to come by, so those seeking to cleanse the world of zombie hordes are going to have to do it more creatively. Weapons from the Resource Deck include crowbars, a mace handle with a chainsaw attached, and the always popular Badger-on-a-Stick. Players compliment these with improvements such as “hollow point” and “laser guided” and can even hire Big Damn Heroes to do the zombie-killing for them with further bonuses.

By way of game mechanic, Zombie Fried follows the time-tested and true system of points-pools similar to a number of other games from Magic to Eaten by Zombies. Potential zombie targets are dealt out on the “Killing Field” with a number of “Brain Points” in one corner of their card and a number of “Zombie Attack Points” (ZAP) in the opposite corner. To attack, players add up their own ZAP and, if it is higher, they win, taking the brain points toward their goal of winning. Other players may attempt to stop them by adding Reality Check cards to the zombie’s defense or slipping cards face-down as a Trap, making a zombie more difficult to defeat for the next attacker. Traps are especially fun to play as they could be bonuses for the player, scaring off a potential attacker from getting the zombie the Trap-setter wants. As in most of the point-counting games, if the player loses the attack, he or she faces consequences such as lost cards or worse.

What puts Zombie Fried into a league of its own in the genre of zombie-slaying is just how funny it is. The cards have great cartoony-yet-freaky style with plenty of puns, such as Sgt. Eatin Guts, who steals a defeated player’s weapon and adds it to his ZAP. Other cards are downright hilarious. Players defeated by Axe Dental Amy must stand up and sing “I’m a Little Teapot” or lose two turns. Perhaps most terrifying of all is the Zombie Pup, a cute little puppy missing an eye and half worm-eaten, that, even if a player kills it, is so cute a die must be rolled to see whether the player loses. Fortunately, a rocket-propelled set of motorized dentures wielded by Old Man Jenkins ought to make short work of that pup.

Zombie Fried is a game for two to six players, aged 13 and up. Its rules are simple, making it an easy game to pick up for quick plays. With its random weirdness, the replay value is high as cards can come in all combinations to spawn all sorts of strategies. Much of the player’s chances at winning comes from the draw as well as group psychology of stabbing one another in the back, so games may take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour with good times had by all… except zombies.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.