Rise of the Zombies is a game by Dan Verssen Games (DVG) that was not fun to play.
The object of the game is for the players, who are survivors of the zombie apocalypse, to get to a helicopter without getting eaten by zombies. The game has several modes of play. We decided to give co-operative a try since we were playing it for the first time. Normally, the game is a very much about everyone out for themselves-mostly towards the goal of reaching the chopper and getting to safety. The progression to the end goal is played out through location cards. Downtown, The Hospital, The Graveyard. You get the picture. Each one of those locations have a different zombie “spawn” that, depending on the location, will make things easy or difficult for the player(s).
Though the variant of the game we played was cooperative, there weren’t that many options available towards working together other than staying in the safe house and whacking zombies for experience points. In fact, the game almost incentivizes players getting killed off since the rules state that as players drop off, the other player’s health and hand sizes increase while the threat of the zombie spawns decreases. This leads to lots of early death, as was the case with our group, and lots of watching over people play. Yeah, it was boring.
We actually tried it twice-with both times many of us dying in the first area that was played. Some of us even tried switching characters the second time through (I know I did) while others stayed with their first timers. Guess what? It didn’t help. Not unless you were the guy who picked the Boy Scout. That mother fucker starts out with 4xp, which is extremely useful in this game.
See, the only way to get better weapons, skills, special cards, etc is to kill zombies for experience points. Those xp points unlock the items you hold in your hand but can’t put into play. Want that sweet ass shotgun you’re holding in your hand? You need 5xp in order to unlock it and put it “in play”. Otherwise, it’s just sitting in your hand, waiting to be discarded for an extra attack.
Now, all characters (to my knowledge) start with a weapon and a skill. It doesn’t mean shit that you have a cheerleader with a baseball bat, though, if you can only hit on a 5 or 6 on a 1D6. Most zombies can hit you on a 2, 3 or 4-6. Zombies. You know, those (literally) brainless and frustratingly slow moving motherfuckers that just need a bump on the head to die? Yeah, they will eat most of these characters in the first location played (regardless of spawn) because you can’t use most items unless you have xp and you can’t have xp until you start killing fucking zombies! If you miss a shot, you can always discard that sweet shotgun and try again for another swipe. Good luck to you, by the way. Once you’ve used up your one attack action and discarded your gear for extra attacks, its time for the zombies to hit you back. And if you’re the only player present in that area, guess who they’re all going to attack?
Did I mention this game is timed? Yeah, if time runs out on the timer, the zombies eat you all, game over.
For me, there was no point in starting the timer. There was no point or purpose to playing a location card past the Safe House. There was never a point to opening the box and getting all the materials out. If I wanted to play a good zombie game with xp rules, weapons and the whole thing, I’d ask to play Zombiecide, instead. Like a lot of games from DVG (like Kill Shot) are, for me, not worth the card stock its printed on-let alone your saved up lunch monies.