Last Night On Earth:Review

Harv gave us this:
last night on earth game box a family copy of Flying Frog Productions’ “The Last Night on Earth” game for Christmas this year. Since we actually had Christmas with Harv on New Year’s day, last night was our first chance to sit down with the whole family and give it a run through. We enthusiastically give it a 6 thumbs up. We played with a group of 6 that ranged in age from 8 to 43, with a 43 year old female and a 16 year old female, the rest male. (My 13 year old daughter is currently on a rampage against the total family geekiness and shut herself in her room with a phone and 8th grade gossip while we played) The game was enough of a hit that after the first game, the next words out of most players mouth was “let’s play again”. We played two games in about 3 hours. Even with pauses for learning rules, the first game played in an hour. We started with the basic game ( “Die, Zombies, Die!”), and I agree with the game makers that this is a great game scenario to learn the turn rules.

The game is played with 1 or 2 zombie players and up to 4 hero players. The zombies are a team and the Heroes are a team, working together to meet their goals. If you have never seen a zombie movie in your life, but like strategy type board games, or RPG games, you will enjoy this game. If you are a fan of zombie movies, you will revel in this game. It is a cinematically rich game, with amazing graphics on all the game pieces, quotes from zombie movies and the classic zombie movie characters (the priest, the sheriff, high school sweetheart, high school hero, Jake the Drifter, the nurse, etc…). The item cards are lots of fun to play with ( revolvers, pump shotguns, pitchforks, baseball bats are some of the weapons) and the events are not only fun, but make a classic zombie movie ( teen angst, over confidence, zombies take over buildings or cut the power to make a black out, etc..). As a matter of fact, if you could record the game play for play, you would have the outline for a great B grade Zombie movie. The fun thing is, the game is so variable there are probably thousands of outlines in the box. Maybe some movie makers need to buy the game and play it to release a series of “Last Night on Earth” web flicks.

Our biggest complaints were from the zombie players- they wanted more zombies in their zombie pool. There were several times they had the ability to take over a building, but only had one zombie in the pool to place in the building. I agree that having more zombies on the board would make the game more fun and more challenging, even from the Hero Player’s perspective. A small technical detail, but one that was a constant ongoing issue was the colors of the zombies. The zombies in the pool are two colors, so that two players can play on the zombie team. One group of zombies is moldy green and the others are baby poo brown. The issue we had was that one of our zombie players was color blind, and the two groups of zombies looked exactly the same to him. Different colors or markings on the zombies would be helpful. We might get bored one winter day and start painting the plastic miniatures to make them easier to distinguish.

One of the features we really like about the game was that when a hero character dies, you are not out of the game. Your Hero becomes a Zombie Hero under control of the zombies and you get to draw a new hero character out of the set to start in the game. Because the game can go for an hour and a half, this works ell to keep all players engaged and not have “I am dead” dropout boredom issues. This was a nice twist and I wish more RPG board games did something in this manner.

All in all, it was a blast of an evening. Everyone is looking forward to playing again- it is without question getting added into the Kwakcon game round up and we are already looking forward to the expansion pack being advertised to come out this year. We would even pay to just have more packs of zombies and some zombie cards to add to the game– sort of like Heroscape expansion packs. It was a big enough hit that I was motivated this morning to clean out the hall closet and make a good space to store that and a few other family games for easy access, without putting the games in the midst of all the kid games where pieces are at risk of being lost.

Now? I am off to get lunch on the table and keep the kids from eating me…

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