Games are fun. Period. But when choosing what kind of game to play, some of the more popular choices include battling the ever-resilient zombie. Why? Because zombies are irreverent, they have no conscience – anything goes, and they’re unpredictable. You need to know who the zombies are and if you have the right equipment to engage in battle with them to win and survive to live another day. These are questions even young players ask themselves.
A good zombie board game has a lot to offer. It is geared towards problem-solving and solution-finding, making you either a hero or a dead loser. And they show us—psychologically speaking—who we are and how we view the world.
What’s the Best Zombie Board Game out There?
Playing a great zombie board game can expand your understanding of human nature as you defend yourself from the undead intent on eating your brains. Watching someone play this kind of game can give you a bird-eye view of that person’s psyche. Scary, isn’t it?
The best zombie games cover everything about the human endeavor in life and death situations and deepen your understanding of relationships. Can you kill that beloved sister or brother who has been bitten—and is not wanting to bite YOUR head off? Are you willing to trade your best friend’s life for the virus antidote?
As in most fighting games, the crisis of combat in a zombie board game is paramount and could even be viewed as a training ground of sorts for our future survival. It could mean the difference between winning or losing the war. It’s a do-or-die scenario, and playing a zombie board game will bring out the ‘cutthroat’ in you. Trust me; you DO have that in your DNA, and the zombies know it. They just don’t care.
The pop culture of zombies is everywhere; your grandma could become a zombie. Not today, but maybe someday. Do you have the fortitude to kill granny? Is that new boy or girl at school only slightly weird, or are they on the verge of zombie rage?
If you’re in the market for a zombie board game, there are many choices out there. Depending on what you’re going for: horror, extensive play, thematic play, or simply a game that will fit into your budget, here is a review of the best zombie games in 2020 from the standpoint of entertainment and thrills.
Tiny Epic Zombies
On a budget? The best zombie board game for you is Tiny Epic Zombies, a series of small games that won’t cost you a fortune (each game is about $25), but will give you a zombie rush to match your caffeine fix without taking your last dime. It’s easy to learn and features a quick setup. You’ll be ready to play in as little as 30 minutes, and the strategies of the game are both fun and challenging.
Each game, once started, is an apocalyptic frenzy of 30 to 45 minutes. You can set up to play either as a fantasy cooperative or a competition. Be the hero and squelch the outbreak, be a survivor, or be a zombie. The choice is yours. You can even play without other players if you’re wanting some alone or “me” time. The strategies are exciting, and the board game artwork is very well done. It’s brutal survival on a budget.
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Just have to have a thematic game? Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game will be your best choice because you survived. Now that the apocalypse is over, you’re stranded out in the cold, tired and hungry, and no one is there to rescue you. Good luck knowing who you can trust as you work with the other survivors to stay alive. This game is playable in 90 to 100 minutes of sheer desperation and gut-wrenching survival play. Good luck!
Dawn of the Zeds (Third Edition)
Dawn of the Zeds (third edition) is a top choice because it’s a game that ups the ante in difficulty as the play proceeds. The more you play, the more you discover. This is a board game of a city and its five villages that must be defended from the brain-eaters. It’s all about the chaos that happens when your government abandons your town.
Yep, it could happen. Maybe tomorrow. The players in the game must work together, so if you aren’t a team player by nature, I’d re-think this game, which is, by the way, insane in the membrane. (Could that be why the brains of those left standing are so delicious?) Dawn of the Zeds is like playing six games in one, and you can mix them up to create an apocalypse your mother would be proud of. It all happens in a town called Farmingdale. While it sounds quaint, I’m not planning to vacation there anytime soon.
Many zombie lovers will say that Zombicide is their number one pick because of its exciting slasher/co-op zombie action. The main objective is to stay alive, but the players need to fight those brain-eaters even to find the weapons to defeat them! As you level up—yeah, you got skills—the more zombies there are to defeat. The part of the game I like best is that you can customize your character to make each time you play a unique game. Just beware: the hack ‘n slash can last mega hours, so if you’re on a game-playing timetable, I’d choose to pass.
Zombicide: Black Plague
Another prediction of brain-eating madness, Zombicide: Black Plague, is a board game that transports you to a world of dragons, magic, and—of course—lots of zombies. It’s a fantasy version of the zombie apocalypse that’s unique because there are so many expansions you can get to add new characters, locations, and heart-pounding scenarios. You not only need to stay alive, but you must save the realm and punish those zombies! How hard can it be, when you have magicians, magic spells, dwarves, and Necromancer overlords to help? Non-stop, brain-eating fun.
Last Night On Earth
If you’re one for horror and mayhem, you can check out this fantastic list of eleven zombie and other horror-filled delights. Like killing people to eat their brains is not horrible enough. They predict you’ll enjoy Last Night on Earth because it’s a survival horror game that puts the small-town heroes against a slew of zombies. Another cool feature is that each hero has his or her own special talents. Plus, each hero gets their own sculpted gaming piece. There’s a lot of different scenarios but only one goal: kill those zombies!
City of Horror
For those who enjoy the added texture of lies and betrayal with a lot of backstabbing, City of Horror is the board game for you. You’re a survivor, of course, in a city overrun with the undead, and you need to fight these brain-eaters together as a group. When, or if, morning arrives, there will be a rescue team to extract you via helicopter. Survival is key. Your survival. Your friends? Not so much.
You’ll learn to develop the skill of betrayal like an art form as you play this game with four turns in total. Each turn lasts about one hour before your rescuers arrive. See that helicopter off in the distance? Did you remember to keep the zombie virus antidote in your pocket? Do you have time to go back and get it? No? Oh, well. With 21 character choices and lots of player interactions, betrayals and brain-eating have never been more fun.
What Makes Zombie Board Games So Much Fun?
Depending upon your age, what you can spend on a game, and your passion or level of zombie-love, you’re sure to have a lot of choices. Some other zombie board games you may want to consider are Zpocalypse 2, After the Virus, World War Z: The Game, and Zombie 15. With all the various zombie board games on the market, have you ever wondered why we are so enthralled with zombies? I have. So have psychologists worldwide. Did you know that zombies show us something about ourselves?
Taking the 2014 television series The Walking Dead as the example, scientists state zombie movies, TV shows, and board games trigger our fight-or-flight reactions by showing us where there are elements of risk and danger in our midst. Psychologists insist that these types of games reveal there are people from certain groups that we perceive as a threat. As humans, we have suspicious natures that label some individuals “easy to destroy.” Zombie board games give us a healthy and nonviolent way to handle our ancestral urges to do away with all that is not “like us.”
When you think about that, you realize it’s true. We tend to shy away from people that are different from us. Even in a gaming atmosphere, be it online and active or a more passive board game, everyone wants everyone else to be “like them.” Both the survivors, heroes, and saviors of the day and the undead strive to either eliminate or “turn” each other. In other words, kill the zombies, so you don’t become one. If you’re already a zombie, bite the human guy or gal so they become a zombie just like you.
There are two great things we all love about zombie board games. The first is, of course, they’re a heck of a lot of energized fun. Who doesn’t want to save the day and kill off the bad zombies? The second is that these games are psychologically therapeutic. They provide us a way to unleash our inner ugly. It’s a win-win. We have a lot of fun, and we can skip giving in to our baser, violent tendencies that psychologists claim lie just below the surface.