Disclaimer: Many thanks to producer Scorpion Masque for a copy of Zombie Teens Evolution in exchange for this review. As per request from Matthew Legault, all details of the envelopes will remain sealed and spoiler free.
However, I will say that those envelopes expanded the game in a way that was surprising and definitely added a layer of complexity to an already great game. I would implore anyone who enjoys the premise of this game to consider getting it. Now onto the review!
Created by Annick Lobet and illustrated by NIKAO, comes a co-op board game for 1-4 players where you play as one of four teens transporting four crates in different locations. Seems simple enough except for one issue- zombie hordes roam freely and are rapidly overwhelming the buildings where the crates are located.
To win, all players must successfully coordinate as a team to move the four crates into the school before the zombies invade all the buildings. If all four buildings are overrun, all players lose the game.
4 Ingredient Crates
1 White Die
4 Overrun Building Tiles
6 Event Cards (no.1-6)
4 Zombie Horde Tokens
4 Hero Tokens
1 Town Board
10 Mystery Evolution Evelopes
4 Achievement Envelopes
11 Plastic Supports
1 Completely Black Die
1 Page of Stickers
Each piece is designed in a vivid, cartoon style with professional printing quality and colour used. I really liked the designs as they help keep track of each piece on the board. Everything is clearly marked and the stands added a nice touch in the realism of each piece moving around the board. I am a big fan of stickers as well so that was fun to play around with.
I’ll briefly go over how to play the game. For more information on specific rules and a visual guide on how to play, visit the Scorpion Masque website to check out a step by step video on how to play Zombie Teenz Evolution.
As you have the main board set up, each player chooses a character that they want to play and places them within the school base in the middle of the game board.
Players take turns to roll a white die to see whether they trigger a zombie spawn or event. That event card either goes into a discard pile or is removed from play-denoted by the trash symbol.
If the die lands on a colour, the matching Zombie gets placed on the board with its respective colour. If its already on the board, advance its movement following the direction of the footprints (going into the next adjacent area). Once that has transpired, they get to perform two actions out of the three following choices during their turn:
Movement of the Hero to an adjacent space
Heroes can only move from one adjacent space to another. An adjacent space is denoted by a dotted line. On the game board, the school and building located in the corner spaces are NOT considered adjacent. A hero is unable to move from the school straight into the building and must go to an adjacent space first to enter a building.
Attacking a Zombie
Heroes can attack a zombie occupying the same space . Once attacked, zombies get temporarily removed from the game board and placed in a line residing outside the board space.
Transfer an ingredient crate
Being in an adjacent space towards another hero, if you have a crate in the same space you can transfer it to that hero. You can also take a crate from a hero within an adjacent space instead.
If a zombie successfully enters a building, that building gets overrun and the Overrun Tile is placed on top. The zombie within that building stays until it is sent away by an attack from a hero. If this zombie advances in movement or another zombie enters an overrun building, it can catapult itself straight into the next building.
The way the Zombies catapult themselves can get out of hand quickly and easily if zombie hordes aren’t managed by heroes. I’ve had games where I thought everything was under control and two rolls later everything was overrun and we’ve lost due to luck of rolling a die.
In all, this game requires a lot of communication and forward planning as a team, with players positioned to receive, move a crate, or attack a zombie. I found this clever since it does require strategy that is often not found in the demographic that Zombie Teens Evolution is aiming for; 8 and above.
Often, the more simpler approach is the way to go, and the designers have executed this quite well with the way heroes work and how each piece moves around the board.
Having the transfer of the crates work as they do is smart as well. This forces players to plan their next few moves in advance as to which crate to start off with and where others should follow suit to receive the crates. Overall, mechanics were easy to understand and were very clearly worded.
I liked the event cards too as they added an extra layer of randomness to the game along with rolling the white die. You can plan for a turn all you want, but an unlucky roll or event can set you back and cost you the game.
One small gripe I had was the wording on the rulebook about following the footprints shown on the game board. This made me assume that I had to move within the footprints. However, it is a small issue and was cleared up after I watched the tutorial video on the Scorpion Masque website.
I feel that Zombie Teenz evolution took a relatable setting and combined it with simple gameplay mechanics to create a fun, strategically challenging, and balanced game.
While I can’t say much about the specifics in each envelope, I would say that they were a pleasant surprise and helped expand the game in new and exciting ways.
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Zombie Teenz Evolution Official Website – https://www.scorpionmasque.com/en/zte
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