Twilight Creations’ Zombies!!! franchise keeps shambling along. The latest standalone expansion, Death Inc., offers an new win condition, adopts some popular house rules for faster play, and has better graphic design than earlier expansions. If you’ve ever thought, “Hey, a zombie apocalypse would be a perfect chance to make a corporate power play,” then get those TPS reports done — we’ve got some zombies to kill!
Zombies!!! has always been a pretty lightweight boardgame — you roll a die, move around the town, roll another die to battle zombies, collect bullet and heart tokens, and try to escape to the helipad before any of the other survivors. Its primary distinguishing attributes are the modular game board and the brutal “screw your neighbors” effects that the game’s event cards offer. You can yank another player across the board after they just made a harrowing, multi-turn journey, or throw a ton of zombies in their paths, or steal their weapons, or just generally be a jerk. That’s like 90 percent of the game’s fun.
Death Inc. is no different, but this variant makes things even more cutthroat. Instead of a fully random board, there’s a basic setup with the elevator entrance at one end of a hallway loop. Players then add offices to the doors on the hallway. This creates a constrained, cramped board that will often put the players in each other’s way. Instead of trying to escape, the goal is to find and rescue the members of the corporation’s board of directors. Each director is one victory point (i.e. one vote for you to become the new CEO). You also get one vote per ten zombie kills you rack up. They also grant a special, extra-powerful card for you to use.
So what happened to the old CEO? He’s the other way to get a victory point. Turns out that guy was something of a badass — now he’s zombified and waiting in his office. It takes a roll of 9 on a single D6 to defeat him (which means you can’t do it unless you’ve stockpiled a lot of bullets to raise your roll), and on a miss he can practically kill you in one shot.
Movement each turn is now one D6 plus your current health points, which moves things along much more quickly. Previously, it was just a D6, so a spate of bad luck could have you plodding along one space per turn. The number of zombies and tokens in each office are now random, which is fun — the token types are chosen by the players, which adds a small layer of strategy.
The event cards play up the office theme, with zombies impaled on pens, crushed by copiers, and bored at all-day meetings. The graphics on the map tiles are much tighter and use a wider variety of colors than previous editions, which are honestly pretty muddy and terrible looking.
Zombies!!! is a perennial favorite at our house, so we’re pretty pleased to have a fun new variant. Plus, a bag of zombie office workers to mix in with our Bag O’ Zombies!