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Rise of the Zombies from Dan Verssen Games

By Aaron Skinner
Published: August 14, 2013
DVG Rise of the Zombies
DVG's Rise of the Zombies is a card-based zombie-apocalypse survival game for one to eight players.
DVG Rise of the Zombies
DVG's Rise of the Zombies capitalizes on the current popularity zombie TV shows and video games.
Product: Rise of the Zombies is a card-based zombie-apocalypse survival game for one to eight players. The game includes 168 cards, double-sided cardboard counters, two six-sided dice, eight plastic stands, a digital timer and a rulebook, all wrapped in an colorful box. All of the components are attractive, especially the cards with their hand-drawn images.

Gameplay: Rise of the Zombies pits the players as survivors against oncoming zombie hordes. Each player selects one of 13 survivor cards, which contain unique biographies and skills. The number of starting survivors determines each player’s hand size and health points. In addition to the survivors, the game has zombie and action cards.

Players start in the safe house and have to make it to the rescue helicopter by playing new locations; defeating zombies that block the way; and gaining experience to use weapons, skills and items. What provides the game its unique feel is that it is played in real time. Once the electronic timer starts — game duration is a function of number of starting players and difficulty level — it can’t be stopped. And if the survivors don’t make it to the rescue chopper before the clock runs out, it leaves without them, they die and the game is over.

The game is designed to be cooperative. and players can discuss strategies, trade cards and make team attacks, but all player actions take place at the same time — there are no player turns — and that can lead to some interesting back-and-forth as players jockey for experience and safety.

No two games play quite the same because the randomness of the cards and die rolls can change events quickly.

The game is challenging, but between the real-time nature, the pressure of the deadline and the fact that there isn’t a lot of let up from the zombies, it felt to me like being in a zombie movie.

It works pretty well as a solitaire game, but can be very challenging to win single-handedly.

Marketing: Zombies are hot at the moment with the popularity of TV shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and a seemingly never-ending stream of zombie movies and video games. Rise of the Zombies captures the frenetic nature of that type of entertainment. I would emphasize the visceral nature of the game, that feeling of fighting to survive.

The rules are simple to learn and the game fits into the mold of the beer-and-pretzel games, which means it could be easily mastered by newcomers while appealing to experienced gamers, as well.

Demonstrate how easy and fast the game is to play, the small number of components necessary and the speed of set up. Keep some of the action and zombie cards out for customers to look at and get a feel for the game’s humor.

Consider marketing it with other zombie-themed games, posters or videos.

Above all, emphasize the game’s fun factor. This is an entertaining game for fans of the zombie genre and enthusiastic gamers.

Product: Rise of the Zombies
Maker: Dan Verssen Games
Stock number: PN-32060
MSRP: $39.99
Availability: Various distributors

• High fun factor
• Immersive game play
• Easy to learn 

Aaron Skinner is an associate editor of FineScale Modeler (Kalmbach)