Having a touch of the ADHD, I tend to gravitate toward situations where I can bounce from one interesting thing to the next, rather than spending lots of time savoring one thing for extended periods of time.* I love appetizer samplers at restaurants and mall food courts.
That said, I also enjoy games that I can pick up, teach in five minutes and play at a rapid-fire pace before switching to another quick game. My favorite game of this type is Zombie Dice.
In Zombie Dice, you are zombies out on the prowl for some oh so tasty brains. The 13 dice in the cup represent potential snacks… also known as humans. On each player’s turn, he or she draws three dice (victims) out of the cup and rolls them. The dice have brains, feet and shotgun blasts on them. The idea is to roll as many brains as possible without rolling three shots. Any feet that are rolled are “runners”which can be re-rolled as you continue trying to accumulate brains. A player can stop rolling at any time, bank the brains they’ve rolled and end his or her turn. If the player rolls three shots during a turn, he loses any brains he rolled that turn and his turn is over. The game is won when a player has banked 13 brains.
At first, a game called “Zombie Dice” held no appeal for Michelle, who has a low personal tolerance for nerdy activity (despite having played in the marching band in high school), so for the first few weeks, Jackson and I played a lot of one-on-one games. Between all of the laughing going on during our games, a lot of reassuring that the game play has very little to do with zombies and finally, talking about how much getting to spend quality bonding time with his favorite step-mom would mean to Jackson, I convinced Michelle to play. Much to my disappointment, Michelle’s slow and steady approach frequently wins the game. However, Jackson almost needs a change of underpants from laughing at my attempts to go for the glory and win in heroic, odds-defying fashion… which mostly leads to me taking the maximum number of shotgun blasts mathematically possible. In one game, I rolled eight brains and one shot in my second turn. In almost all cases, this would be a good time to stop and bank the brains. Jackson laughed/gasped for air as I reached in the cup for three more dice shouting, “I PLAY TO WIN!!!!”
After rolling three shots and eventually losing the game, Michelle just shook her head and pointed out that there might be something wrong with me. It was nice of her to leave room for doubt.
Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature is an add-on to Zombie Dice that adds variety and complexity by including three new dice which have special functions. The set includes, “The Hunk, The Hottie and… Santa.” The concept here is that your game is set in the world of horror movies so naturally, there are some main characters to contend with who are a little different than the run-of-the-mill zombie fodder. I’m not sure what Santa is doing in the mix, but he adds some very cool super-zombie possibilities. If you’ve been especially good, Santa brings you an extra brain (or two!) to snack on. However, with this Santa, being on the “naughty list” means the jolly old elf busts a cap in your zombie butt. The whole Santa concept in this game is sick and twisted and awesome and hilarious.
Zombie Dice is great. It’s easy to play, super portable, and is great at punishing people for being greedy or impulsive. Important life lessons for the kids! Plus there are zombies and that’s kind of a thing right now. If you already play Zombie Dice, and want to add in some fresh unpredictability, I highly recommend Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature.
Note: If you take Zombie Dice with you on vacation, and you are playing anywhere near the ocean, take care that no one rolls a die off the table and into the waves. I’m not saying this happened and I’m not saying that it was Michelle who did it, but if you happen to find a red and black die in the sand near Laguna Beach, I’d like to hear from you… unless you found it lodged in a dead marine creature. In that case, this was a purely theoretical situation.