Thursday, August 5, 2010

App O' the Mornin': Zombie Dice

Yesterday, I posted a little outburst about Munchkin games and their transcendent awfulness. Zombie Dice is what prompted that outburst.

Munchkin had long been a sore point, since it really is just about everything that could be wrong with a card game compressed into one over-priced, under-produced waste of shelf space.

But spending time with the Zombie Dice app is what finally made me lose hope that Steve Jackson Games was capable of making a good product.

The Zombie Dice app isn’t really meant to be it’s own game. (At least, I hope not.) Instead, it’s more like an interactive demo for the actual, tabletop dice game, complete with an in-game ad telling you where to buy your very own set.

This is where SJG has made their fatal error. The success of their titles depends upon people thinking they look good in the package and sound like they might be entertaining. They don’t depend upon actual time spent with their gameplay, which only reveals their shortcomings.

Zombie Dice is what Yahtzee would be like if Yahtzee was much dumber and trying desperately to cash in on the zombie fad. (Or the Cthulhu fad, since there’s also Cthulhu Dice.) Basically, you’re a zombie who’s rolling dice to try to determine if he gets to eat some brains. The dice are red, yellow, or green, and have pictures representing SHOTGUN, FEET, and BRAINS. If you roll brains, you get a snack and 1 point. If you roll feet, your victim runs away. If you roll shotgun, you get blasted. If you get three shotguns, your turn is over and you lose the brain points you’ve already accumulated.

The idea is that you have to decide how far to press your luck by choosing when to stop rolling. And … well, that’s pretty much it. If you’re smart enough to stop rolling when you have 2 shotguns, then you’ll probably never get blasted. That’s really not a lot to hang an entire game line on, is it?

And, no, I’m no leaving out some vital part of the gameplay. That’s really all there is to it.

I cannot tell you how glad I am that I downloaded this App. Based on my disappointing encounters with everything else from Steve Jackson Games, I was beginning to wonder if they were capable of making a good game. Now, I no longer wonder.

UPDATE: After I posted this, I received some good comments about Revolution by SJG, so there is hope!


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