Designer: Scott Almes
Artist: Miguel Coimbra and Benjamin Shulman
Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 1-5
Playing Time: 30 Min.
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Gamelyn Games has made quite a name for themselves with their Tiny Epic Series which all began with Tiny Epic Kingdoms back in 2014. Since then we have seen ten more games added including; Tiny Epic Kingdoms Heroes Call, Defenders, Defenders Dark War, Galaxies, Galaxies Beyond the Black, Western, Quests, Zombies, Mechs, and their latest, Tactics.
My personal favorite to this point has to be Tiny Epic Galaxies (see that review HERE), although I really do enjoy most all of the titles. Well, today we are going to be taking a look at the one to five player cooperative, semi-cooperative, solo and competitive game—Tiny Epic Zombies!!! Yes there really are that many ways to play it.
In the full cooperative mode, of Tiny Epic Zombies (TEZ for short), players will be taking on the role of every day heroes trapped in a mall being overrun with zombies hankering to get their shopping on. Semi-coop allows one player to control the zombie hoards while everyone else is a survivor trying to get out. Competitive mode is where everyone is on their own trying to be the best zombie basher in Ladies Wear! There is even a solo mode, for those times where you just want some alone time with the walking dead.
In this overview I will spend most of my time covering the semi-coop game play as most other modes play similar.
To set up the game, players will layout the nine mall cards in a 3×3 grid (see below). Each card is double sided and it doesn’t matter which side is up. Each player will take a character card, ammo token, life token, and ItemMeeple of their choice. The character card is placed in front of them with the ammo token on the far top right and the health token on the far top left. The player’s ItemMeeple is placed in the center card of the mall layout along with the other players meeples. Additionally, depending on the level of difficulty, a certain number of “survivor” meeples are added to the center card as well. Players also receive one equipment card which is placed face down next to them.
Next three random objective cards are placed face up near the play area with their accompanying tokens. Set up rules for each are printed on the card. Finally the hoard is setup by randomly selecting the boss zombie then placing zombie tokens in each of the stores’ entrance room.
Each round consists of the human turn and a zombies turn. On a human turn the active player will 1) move three times, with each move accompanied by the following actions: Kill a zombie, use a room ability, interact with a token, or collect items. 2) Search current store location (for cool gear).
For the zombie turn they will 1) check to see if the humans have made a noise (by comparing the icon on the card that was revealed during the search phase above with the icon of the store. If they match the players have made noise and something bad will happen depending on the boss zombie card). 2) add two zombies to the board in the stores that matched the revealed search card. And 3) deal new search cards to the current player.
Play then continues clockwise with the next player starting the round with the human turn.
Play continues until the the players complete the three objective cards before all the “survivors” are killed (including one of the players being eaten alive or the barricade token being knocked down to 0) OR all of the cards from the Search deck have been revealed with the players getting one final turn.
I don’t know how they keep doing it, but Tiny Epic Zombies is another solid title. So much game stuffed into a very small box and for only $20!!!
The gameplay is pretty standard for the cooperative game genre, a player takes actions, the game takes actions, rinse repeat. This is not a detractor for me since I love cooperative games. The one thing they do a little different is that the actions are part of the players movement. You move, take action, move, take action, move take action, then search. This adds an almost frantic pace to the game since you are always having to move.
The game play combined with the theme does a great job of melding together to create a tense and exciting environment. Between the constant movement, protecting survivors, and holding the hoard at bay all while trying to complete three goals it can become a little stressful.
Another cool aspect of the game play happens during semi-cooperative play where one player plays as the boss zombie. This can make for some neat interaction. Each turn the boss zombie will give the current player an item card which most likely will help the non-zombie player out, however if the location on the card matches that of the final location of the non-zombie player that turn, than the boss zombie triggers her special powers. This creates a fun cat and mouse game where the boss zombie is trying to outsmart the non-zombie players.
Being able to play this cooperatively and semi-coporatively is a great perk as you can take a turn leading the hoards against those human appetizers if you don’t feel like playing together. The other game modes, variable mall layout, and variable objective cards adds immense re-play to this game. This is an underrated feature for games that have come out in the past and Gamelyn has nailed it here.
The components of this game are great considering they are all small and have to fit into this little box. I am a HUGE fan of ItemMeeples, which was introduced in Tiny Epic Quests, and it is so fun watching your character get decked out during the game with weapons galore. Nothing like carrying a crossbow and golf club into battle. The other components are amazing as well.
There is a lot of good things going in in this one. From the components to the variable game play to the fact it all comes in a nice little package.
One downside for me was the artwork. Now don’t get me wrong the artist did a great job, however most my gaming is with my kids and there is too much gore ad scary images for them.
Some might find the difficulty level of the game detracting, however for me it adds to the replay value since I am always wanting to come back and beat it. And you can always adjust it through the number of survivors and objectives.
Like I said before this is another solid title from designer Scott Almes and publisher Gamelyn Games. Although it isn’t my number one Tiny Epic title it definitely won’t be collecting dust on the shelf as it will hit the table as often as I can make it.
So where does it rank in all the Tiny Epic games?
1) Tiny Epic Galaxies
2) Tiny Epic Kingdoms
3) Tiny Epic Zombies!!!
Players Who Like:
Co-operative and semi-cooperative games like Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Shadows Over Camelot and love the Tiny Epic series will truly enjoy Tiny Epic Zombies.
Check out Tiny Epic Zombies on:
Dane Trimble – Owner
Dane is an Advertising Manager for a national magazine by day and a husband, father of four, and board gamer by night (and mornings). He has a passion for board games and believes board games help bring families closer together while providing kids a unique way to learn many diverse skills. And he thinks they are down right fun!!!
See Dane’s reviews HERE.