The undead have risen [in popularity], and consumers have little power against the oncoming hordes. Fortunately for humanity, Bucephalus Games has found a way to avert the zombie apocalypse. They’ve trapped the monsters in a dance club! They say music soothes the savage beast, and what better music for zombies than death metal? Driven by the gnashing guitars and primal drums the zombies swing and sway, and soon THE PIT is formed. Swaying becomes flailing, and there is no camaraderie here. By the end of the set, one zombie will be left standing!
Guilt Free Games had a chance to play a hands-on game of Zombie Mosh, a new game from Bucephalus releaseing in August. We played one round with the basic rules and five players.
ZM is a simple strategy game. It is entertaining, but not very deep. There are two rows for cards next to your character sheet: Attack and Defense. Each round, players draw four cards with five suits (representing limbs) and take turns placing cards on an opponents attack row or their own defense row. At the end of the round, the cards are matched up. Matching suits are successfully defended, but the remainder results in damage. When you lose three limbs you are eliminated from the game.
We didn’t fully understand the rules until we began to play, but we were able to pick up the game mechanics rather quickly. There are two phases to each round. In the first round, you play two cards while taking turns clockwise until it reaches the last player, and play then bounces back counter-clockwise until it is the first player’s turn again. In this way, the first player goes first and last. This works well with the matching part of the game. Since each piece has two body parts on it, you often find yourself torn between causing damage and defending. The last player has a little more flexibility since they can have two turns in a row, while the first player tends to spend their last two cards defending attacks. If they know they will lose at damage resolution, however, they can always go down swinging.
Zombie Mosh was a good way to pass the time when we first played it, but I don’t think it is a game that would hit the table often. I feel the game would have more potential if it was longer. The game should not be Monopoly long, but I think one more element added on top of the game play could deepen the experience. For example, some cards could be a special dance move (Skanking to the beat?) or there could be a teamwork aspect with punks versus metalheads. As it is, different damage levels for limbs on the “Advanced Play” side of the cards are not very thrilling.
If you’re a fan of Bucephalus’ other games and love zombies, this may be worth a look. It is a very casual game, so if you see your buddy Metal Steve playing Plants vs. Zombies this could be a potential gateway game for him. The quick play would be a plus when you are playing with people who are interested in theme more than the gameplay.
Zombie games are crowding the market, so you have to keep an eye out for what is a legitimate game and what is cashing in for a quick buck. Zombie Mosh feels like it leans toward the latter, so I would recommend a try before you buy. ZM could find its way to my own shelf eventually. I like the theme, and it should be inexpensive. The game is not yet available, so if it interests you, stop by your friendly FLGS to preorder. Otherwise, look for it in August.