Yes, folks, it's magic time. Halloween is upon us and I saved the best for last. I have one more board game for all of you and I recommend, nay, demand under pain of death that you check out this game.
I don't remember when I first caught wind of this game. It was, most likely, when I was still working at a comic and game shop many years ago. In fact, I think that's right, because it came out around 2001. Seriously, though, when I did check it out on our store shelves, I knew I wanted to play it.
Which is part of the reason I love playing this game. This is the truest test of friendship I have ever known. If your friends can play an entire game of Zombies!!! with you, as you call each other the harshest of names after taking turns dicking each other over, and they still like you, they're a keeper. Hell, I remember one time I called my wife something along the lines of "Harpy Bitch Queen" after she screwed me over royally. She told me to fuck off and die, or something, and we both laughed our asses off.
So, the game works like this: On their turn, each player draws a card, if they used one and are below the hand limit (I think it's five), pulls a new tile from the top of the stack and connects it to the rest of the board, then they roll the dice for movement and get to where they want to go. If they encounter a space with a zombie on it, they have to fight. They roll 1 die (the dice are all the standard d6, by the way). If they get a 4 or higher, they kill the zombie and add it to their kill count. If they get 3 or lower, they can do one of two things, they can either spend an amount of bullets (each character starts with three bullets, but can collect as many as they find) in order to bring the die roll up to a 4. For instance, if someone rolled a 2, they would have to spend two bullets in order to succeed. Each bullet counts as adding +1 to the die roll, and you can only do it if you wouldn't normally make the roll.
If the player doesn't have enough bullets, or doesn't want to waste that many, they take 1 health worth of damage (players start with three health and can have up to five). Should you run out of health, you lose your entire hand, half the zombies in your kill count, and have to start their next turn back at the town square. If the player survives movement, they then roll another d6 to determine how many zombies they can move. Each zombie moves 1 space per turn (into legal squares - there are some nameless buildings that are not considered a legal square) and only one zombie can occupy a square at a time. Other than that, the player can move them however they like.
Needless to say, this game is fucking awesome. I always look forward to a good Zombies!!! game, though I usually don't win. And, if playing the core box gets a little stale, there are expansion sets that add on to the basic set. Usually, these expansions add new rules as well as new locales to escape from the zombies, including a mall, a military base, a circus, a prison, a forest, even the sewers. Adding one of these expansions is sure to keep your game going longer, though I only recommend using all of the expansions if you and your friends have an entire week to kill.
You can find Zombies!!! and all the expansions at your local store of awesome, or at Twilight Creations Inc. The company actually has a wide selection of horror games to choose from, including a hybrid board game/RPG called When Darkness Comes..., which is very similar to Betrayal at the House on the Hill, but isn't out of print, so you can get it at a more reasonable price (I found a copy of Betrayal on ebay for $80. Yikes!). They also are releasing a Deadlands board game (Deadlands is an old west horror RPG and is also the predecessor to Savage Worlds). Definitely check out these games.
I assure you, you won't live to regret it. (maniacal laughter)
Happy Halloween, my Steel Legionnaires!