Sunday, March 20, 2011

Last Night on Earth (Review)

From Flying Frog Productions
Last Night on Earth
a Flying Frog Production
by Jason C. Hill

2-6 Players
Ages 12 and older
Game time- 1 to 1&1/2 hours
$49.95 from Flying Frog

Box Contents:
(from rulebook)
1 Full color Rulebook
1 Town Center Game Board
6 L-Shaped Outer Boards
8 Unique Hero Figures (grey)
14 Zombie Figures (7 green, 7 brown)
40 Card Hero Deck (Basic Game)
40 Card Zombie Deck (Basic Game)
20 Advanced Cards for the Hero Deck
20 Advanced Cards for the Zombie Deck
6 Reference Cards
8 Large Hero Character Sheets
5 Large Scenario Cards
2 Full Color sheets of Die Cut Counters
16 Dice
1 CD Soundtrack of Original Music

Gameplay: It takes a couple rounds to get use to, but isn't overly difficult. The variety of goals and game set up keeps each play unique. 3 of 3 stars
Social Interaction: A fantastic balance of cooperation and competition that keeps everyone talking. 3 of 3 stars
Strategy: A little bit is good, but with zombies on the loose you can be much more reactive than proactive. 2 of 3 stars
Presentation: They left no detail to chance; honestly, it has a soundtrack. 3 of 3 stars

Overall Rating: Two thumbs way up, a cheesy grin and a crazy nod. (approximately 5 of 5 stars)

From Flying Frog Productions
Game set-up is unique each turn. The game board has one center piece (with two sides) and six L-shaped pieces. One L-shaped piece goes around each corner of the square center board. The L-pieces have the different buildings which can affect your resources and zombie spawning points. Each character has different strengths and weaknesses so your abilities to resist zombie attacks or use different items will depend on who is in the game.

Depending on the number of players, there is either one or two zombie players and every one else is on the hero team. Each round of gameplay has a zombie turn and a hero turn. The zombies pretty much just move fight and spawn more zombies. Since their general goal is just destruction and brains, there is not much else that they need. Generally, each hero only do a few things per turn, but they have more options than the zombies. They can move, look for weapons (and other things), heal themselves or each other, and/or fight. Fights depend on a role of the dice, and items, abilities, and other assistance you can find depends on a shuffled card deck.

The hero's goals vary from game to game. They may need to kill as many zombies as possible, or round up the townsfolk and keep them alive until morning. The game comes with 5 scenarios. There are several expansions with new goals and there are currently 5 additional scenarios available as web content. The game setup provides a basic starter game to get use to the gameplay and rules. I recommend it, but I'm confident you'll have the full game structure figured out before that game ends.

Social Interaction:
The cooperative aspects of the hero team keeps everyone talking about the plan and the impending zombie fights. Having one of the players play the zombies also fosters some competitive banter. Just don't play the zombies if you're not prepared to be ganged up on.

The strategy varies from game to game since the goals and the resources are different each time. The zombies do not have a lot of strategy options. Appropriately, they are pretty mindless and they get their strength from numbers. As a hero, you can develop a strategy based on the game set up that you have, but your plans could be thwarted you buddy sitting across the table controlling the zombies (and listening to everything you say) or that other hero who refuses to leave the corner and will only shoot at zombies as they come through the door. I think the fun factor will be just as high if you grab a baseball bat and start swinging.

From Flying Frog Productions
As a former Disney cast member, I can assure you that I have extremely high standards for my theming. This game completely hits the mark. Every cliche you could want from a good or bad zombie movie is here. The characters include the preacher, the sheriff, the busty nurse and some angsty teenagers. You can fight zombies with a chainsaw, your favorite fire arm, or you can just start punching when things get desperate. The characters and the cards come with cheesy catch phrases. I find all of this wonderfully entertaining, but keep in mind there is some adult content. If you wouldn't let your child watch a move with this cover, then you will probably have similar reservations about the game.

Beyond just the creativity of the game, I feel that the quality of the components is fantastic as well.  The cards for the hero and zombie decks are much thicker than I am use to. At first I found it a little uncomfortable to shuffle, but I've since grown to like them. The miniatures are sturdy and clean. There is no left over molding plastic, and they came in reusable bags with air holes. I am also excited because I've heard that the game box will comfortably hold the two expansions that I've ordered.

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