Night of the Living Headbangers


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.

In Zombie Mosh, each player is a different zombie.  The zombies are visually varied with classic metal looks and even some punk inspired moshers as well.  There are plenty of piercings, leather jackets, and spiked hair to make each character unique.   These dancing undead are inspired by Cannibal Corpse more than Michael Jackson.   Also, they all have names inspired by rock legends, so music fans will find some amusement there. While aesthetically different, each zombie does play the same.

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.

5 Responses to “Night of the Living Headbangers”
  1. Regan says:

    Everyone should create their own soundtrack for this game. I suggest some Rob Zombie and Rollins

  2. David says:

    Rollins sounds choice. Weight is one of my favorite albums.

  3. Josh says:

    This game is definitely a mixed bag. I played it a second time after this initial play through. The group was not very into the casual nature of the game. It is definitely something to play at a party or as filler when you don’t have a lot of time. It can still be a lot of fun. Just don’t get your elitist game group around the table for it unless you want to hear groaning the whole time. Not from the zombies.

  4. zaggitybomp says:

    I think it’s a decent game for when you want to sit and have a conversation but have a little something at the table to keep you occupied as well. It definitely doesn’t take much thought, which is not exactly appealing to me at least. I think this game could be a little better if, as David said, it included more mechanics. Perhaps if Zombie Mosh stated the way that you damaged someones arm or leg, added some storyline. Something like “Spike grasps your arm and twists it until you can hear the snap and crack of it breaking” or something silly like that. I’d say give it a shot just for the fun of it anyway. Maybe add some roleplaying to make the best of it.

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