One Board Family: Zombie Tsunami Review
Our oldest daughter has the same response every time we ask her to play a board game. “How long does the game take to play?” Some of this is due to her being a teenager and some of it has to do with the fact that she can lose interest when a game drags on. It was an easy sell when we told her that Zombie Tsunami takes around 20 minutes to play and there’s little to no downtime.
Zombie Tsunami from Lucky Duck Games is a casual game for 3 to 6 players and has been so much fun for our family. I never played the iOS game that this game is based on but the truth is that it doesn’t matter that much. This fast-paced party game is based on a popular endless runner app that came out in 2012.
Gotta Catch 'em All
The goal of Zombie Tsunami is to amass a hoard of incredibly cute zombie cubes over the course of 3 rounds. Players start the game with 2 zombies each and are given a hidden role card. This hidden role adds a small deduction element to the game as you play and can give you a slight advantage if you’re paying attention to everyone at the table.
During a round, cards will come out onto the street board that sits in the middle of the table. The various actions on these cards will force you to roll your zombies (and possibly lose some), give you a bonus or allow you to team up with someone at the table to push past an obstacle. The artwork on these cards are bright, fun and really family friendly. It’s possibly one of the cutest representations of brain eating zombies I’ve ever seen!
During a round, there are designated times where players will gain a coin and can purchase a card from the shop. These cards are where the “take that” mechanic of Zombie Tsunami comes in. Players can buy more zombies, take zombies from another player, gain humans in the form of tokens and even bomb another player that has humans. You definitely don’t want to have a stack of zombie cubes after the first round because the other players will do everything in their power to thin out your zombie hoard.
Over the course of the three rounds the challenges get tougher. You want to be prepared by storing cards that can bring your zombies back from the (un)dead or by making sure you have enough zombies to spare on a bad roll. At the end of each round, all the human tokens turn into zombies that get added to your pile.
In each round you’ll run into “push” cards that have players team up together to push a vehicle out of the way with their hoard of zombies. When these cards come out, players have to secretly choose a color team in order to pass the obstacle. Each player has 3 tokens in the colors red, blue and yellow. Players choose a color and reveal it simultaneously. If players chose the same color, they are teamed up together. They count up all their zombies to see if they had enough to push the vehicle out of the way. If you didn’t have enough zombies, you’ll lose 2 of your precious green cubes.
Fun, Fast-paced and Very Casual
The biggest thing with Zombie Tsunami is knowing what kind of game this is. It’s not a particularly deep game and there isn’t some strategy that can be mastered. Zombie Tsunami is a silly, fun, push your luck game that gets us laughing every time. This is a casual game that doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t. I love that the game plays up to 6 players and honestly, this is the player count I’ve had the most fun with. The game scales very well by introducing different hidden role cards at 4, 5 and 6 players.
Lucky Duck Games has done a great job with the components of Zombie Tsunami and they definitely nailed the artwork from Mobigame’s original app. I really enjoy the light deduction element to the game which makes you second guess whether or not you should hurt another player. If I bomb the player that has the “Quarterback” card, they get to steal zombies from my pile and they suffer no damage. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if the player at the end of the table has the “UFO” card because they are really passionate about collecting human tokens.
The game moves quickly with almost no downtime and is really simple to teach. The artwork and gameplay makes this a solid choice for families. Zombie Tsunami has also been a big hit for our group of co-workers that play games at lunch. Once you know how to play, it’s easy to fit 2 games in during a lunch break.
After about a dozen plays, my only issue with the game is that some of the hidden roles are not as fun as others. I would much rather have the “Quarterback”, “Ninja” or “Giant Z” card over the “Dragon Tail” card which has you trying to guess who has the “Dragon Head” card. The good thing is that each round you’re given a new hidden role card which is great if you’re not a fan of the one you’re currently holding.
Lucky Duck Games packed a ton of value into this box by including an expansion called “Zombirds” along with rules and cards for 4 additional languages. If your family is looking for a fast-paced filler game that supports up to 6 players, Zombie Tsunami may be a great fit for you. No I must be going as I have to tend to my zombie cube hoard. They’re getting a little hungry.
You can pick up Zombie Tsunami at your local game store or purchase online through Amazon today.
Lucky Duck Games provided us with a retail copy of Zombie Tsunami for this review. This in no way influenced our opinion on the game.
- Fast gameplay that keeps everyone at the table involved
- Those cute brain loving zombie cubes
- Hidden role cards add a layer of deduction to each round
- The box could use an insert to keep everything organized
- Might be too light for gamers looking for more depth