Review: Zombie Island


Designer: Fran├žois Valentyne
Year: 2014
Publisher:  The Flux Capacity
Players: 1-4
Game Type: Tile Placement, Abstract Strategy

The family vacation isn't going according to plan. Your boat sprang a leak, but luckily you made it to the beach of a remote tropical island. While you were making repairs your family wandered off. Time to go explore the island and find them. Man, that's thick jungle! Good thing you have a machete as you're going to need it...  

Zombie Island is all about tactical tile placement and strategic piece movement. The core mechanisms contained in the initial scenarios are the foundation for future expansions and many more scenarios to come! This core game is made for 1-4 players (including an easy-to-learn solo game) and plays in 15-45 minutes.

What is in the box.

SETUP
An average setup time is roughly 3-5 minutes. You need to choose what color miniature you want, sort the tiles into 4 stacks and you are ready to go.

GAMEPLAY
In Zombie Island you will be exploring an island, running from zombies and trying to make it back to the beach alive once all the tiles have been placed. At the start of your turn, if you are on a tile edge you will flip over the next island tile, place it as you choose (you have to move into it), and then move. You can move in a straight line in any direction (even diagonally), ending your turn at the end where a new tile needs to be placed or when stopped by a jungle. So you can technically move more than one tile at a time, if the straight line is not blocked by anything. When playing with more than one person 3 can be humans, and one will play as the zombies. Zombies only appear when a Zombie tile is placed. Once a zombie is placed the player then takes a machete tile, to play when they choose, to add an obstruction for the zombies, to try and slow them down. Zombies, once discovered, will chase after the closest player, but can not move more than one tile at a time. Once all the island tiles have been placed, it's a race back to the beach to escape.

Game Setup

SOLO PLAY
Solo play sets up the exact same as the regular mode. You will explore the island, planning your moves and then trying to make it back to the beach alive. You will move the zombies, when they appear, in the same way, as you try to stay alive. This game is all about strategy as you place your tiles and try to survive. By the time you get all the tiles down, there will be 4 zombies coming after you.

Mid game shot.
FINAL THOUGHTS
This is a quick game. After your first run through, it should easily be playable in about 30 minutes, if you can make it to the end. It's fun to try and figure out your route, and not trap yourself into a corner. The zombie turns take a little longer as the game goes on, as you have to count the spaces away from you to figure out their best routes. You will need table space for this game, there are 27 tiles to be placed, and you never know which way you will wind up going once the chase begins. The tiles are slick, so if possible make sure you get a surface with some grip to it. The miniatures seem fragile, I'm sure that with a little bit of pressure they could snap, so treat with a little care. This is a good game to get out and play when you want to think, it's quick, it's fun... but it's not too deep to where it only comes out to the table a few times a year.

SCORE
3 out of 5 Solo's

PROS
* Love the strategy involved.
* Good game AI for being chased.
* Good replay value solo.
* Easy to pick up and play. 

CONS
* Tiles have a slick gloss surface.
* Miniatures seem fragile.
* Confusing box, says 3-6 players, but it's a 1-4 player game.


Game Soundtrack Sponsored by Metal Blade Records: 
God Dethroned - "The World Ablaze"
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