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  • Writer's pictureJared Neal

Zombie Kidz Evolution - No Spoilers

Updated: Sep 22, 2021


Retail Price: $25

Player Count: 2-4 (best at 3 or 4)

Age Range: 8+ (3+ in our experience)

Play Time: 5-15 mins. (can vary greatly, but usually between 10 and 20 mins)

Complexity: 3 out of 10 (it starts out closer to a 2, but it ramps up as things are revealed)

Mechanisms: Cooperative Game, Dice Rolling, Legacy Game, Point to Point Movement, Variable Player Powers

Designer: Annick Lobet

Artist: Annick Lobet, Nikao

Publisher: Scorpion Masque


Educational Value:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Future Planning

  • Teamwork

Flavor Text/Overview:

“In the game, the young players are at school when zombies start to attack, infiltrating the entryways, then barring the way to classrooms. Players move through rooms and entryways to eliminate zombies and keep the zombie reserve full. If a zombie must enter the school but none are available, then the school has been overrun and the players lose. To win the game, players need to lock each of the four entryways as apparently the custodian has abandoned the post and given up the school for lost.

As players get better, they can complete missions, track their development through a trophy-sticker system reminiscent of video games, and open envelopes that contain new material for the game, upping the challenge they face while also providing them with new powers and new heroes as well.”


Setup:

  • Place the game board in the middle of your playing area, either on the 2 player side or the 3-4 player side, depending on how many players you have

  • Place one zombie on each of the four entrance spaces

  • Each player selects a character to play with, and places them in the red space in the middle of the school

  • Place the remaining 4 zombies

Gameplay:


In the introductory game (which is all that I will be explaining in this review, so that you can enjoy uncovering the rest on your own), each player on their turn will take two actions.


  • Roll the dice, and place a zombie in whichever color room you rolled, or no zombie if you rolled the blank side.

    • If a space ever has 3 zombies on it, then that space becomes locked, and you can no longer move onto that space or kill those zombies.

    • However, you can still place additional zombies on a locked room, which will make that many more zombies lost to you for the remainder of the game.

    • If you ever roll the dice and have to place a zombie, and there are no zombies left in your supply, then you immediately lose the game.

  • Move your character one space through an open doorway, as long as the room hasn’t been locked by zombies, and kill any zombies in the space you move into.


There are four outside spaces, and the objective of the game is to get two players on these spaces at the same time, so that they can lock the gate. If you are able to lock all four gates before you are out of zombies, then you win the game.


As you progress through the hidden information in the envelopes you unlock, you will be adding many new rules and objectives.


Luck/Strategy:


At the beginning of each turn you are rolling a dice that tells you where to place a zombie, so there is a good amount of luck in this game. However, it very rarely is so overwhelming it costs you the game, and with each game being so short, it is very easy to just reset and play again if that happens. Especially as the new rules are revealed, there starts to be a good amount of strategy you have to think through on each turn. Honestly this may be the best mechanism I have ever experienced for bringing new or younger players gradually into the concepts of more strategic actions.


Artwork/Components:


Especially for a theme that could be slightly scary to younger children, the artwork is done really well here. It takes zombies, and illustrates them in such a way that they could almost be described as cute. The characters and board are also very well illustrated, and really help to pull you into the gameplay.


Theme:


For such a simple game, the theme actually works really well, once too many zombies get into a room you can’t go in there anymore, and the only way to protect yourself is to lock new zombies out. As mentioned above, what is traditionally a scary theme, has been turned into a very kid friendly light hearted affair.


Replayability/Fun Factor:


I am not traditionally someone who likes legacy games, because there is an inherent need to play the game repeatedly with the same core group of people. While Zombie Kidz Evolution has been an absolute exception for me in that regard, I do have to say that this will not be for everyone. The base game is so simplistic, it is only going to appeal to the youngest or lightest of gamers, but the revelations in the game draw in individual players, and as mentioned above turn this into a fairly strategic game by the time you are done. This isn’t a game you are going to play as consistently once everything is unlocked, but I would be surprised if most families didn’t at least make it through all the material in the box (which will come out to somewhere between 30 and 40 plays).


Conclusion/Audience:


Based on the experience you get in this little box, and the relatively light price tag, I am going to recommend this game for families with kids of just about all ages. My son who is 4 at the time of this writing, has been playing this since he was 3 completely independent of instruction. There are certainly times he needs slight clarifications on what move might help other players, but the core rules (even the ones you unlock) are very easy for younger audiences to grasp. Also, this is such a great way to introduce young kids to a fun simple game, that is short enough they will stay engaged, and then slowly ramp up the complexity to help them start to understand strategy. I am going to say this game is appropriate for preschool and older, and probably wouldn’t lose interest until middle school on up (at which point I would highly recommend Zombie Teenz Evolution).


+ Easy to learn

+ Quick to play

+ High replayability

+ Evolving strategy


- Very simple

- Once you beat it, it loses its appeal

- Can be quite lucky at times


Final Score:


Jared - 8

Abigail - 9


Other Games You Might Like:


Andor: The Family Fantasy Game, My First Castle Panic, Outfoxed, Zombie Teenz Evolution



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