February 28, 2008

Last Night On Earth - Avioid The Mansion Scenario

LastNightOnEarth.jpgLast night we sat down to play the Last Night on Earth - our favorite zombie board game to date - and something bad happened: we didn't have fun. Why? We had the unfortunate event of randomly drawing the Manor House scenario, something that we'll ensure won't happen again.

This scenario pits 4 nimble axe toting heroes against 16 shuffling zombies. The goal: prevent the sea of zombies appearing on the cusp of the board from reaching the mansion in the middle. If 9 zombies set foot indoors before the sun rises (some 15 turns) then it's lights out. Game over. You lose.

It all boils down to this: there are just too many zombies to fight, and there ain't no way to kill 'em all. As soon as one dies, another appears on the edge of the board, walking in the dead Z's footsteps. While this is great for theme, it stinks for balance. Due to the combat mechanics of the game - a hero has to roll doubles on two dice to kill a zombie - the heroes quickly become flooded with beaten zombies, but not killed zombies. Their only chance is to pick up some key weapons drawn from a random deck, but they have to reach the fringes of the map to successfully search for weapons, knives, and supplies. Spending the time moving and searching means even more zombies make their way to the Mansion, setting up forts with kitchen tables and couch cushions.

Sure the heroes can use their bodies to attract zombies away from the Mansion (zombies have to move towards adjacent heroes), but they soon fall due to the mass mob and the nature of the fight dice. And once it's down to three heroes things just start falling apart fast. Even the Zombie player was having a pretty lame experience , and felt sorrowful as he tore the intestines out of the heroes and wore them as hats.

It got to the point that we thought we had done something wrong, or played the game in some stupid way, so our group played it again; the heroes lost 7 turns in the second time around, too.

We've had lots of great times with Last Night on Earth, and we hope it remains a mainstay in future, including the Growing Hunger Expansion coming in the next few months. But we'll be sure to ditch the Mansion House scenario when it comes around next time.

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at February 28, 2008 2:34 PM

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