Survival in a shopping mall can take many forms. Parents taking the kids will know what I’m talking about for starters. When the grandparents aren’t around for drop-off, the creche is full, the queue at the coffee shop is long… and the whining starts. Five minutes in. Then there are the sales, the mad clamber for goodies at low prices. By Grabthar’s Hammer, what a saving!

And zombies. Yep, the undead do like to shop. Mainly for flesh and brains, but hey, you can get silently judged when you bite into a burger, right? One person’s poison is another’s Brain Meal with all the trimmings. So, say the zombie apocalypse kicked off just when you were paying for those impulse-buy board games, what do you do? Who do you do it with? What have you got to hand to fend off the slathering death in the janitor uniform coming right for you…?

Well, look no further. The answer’s right here and it’s finally arrived to cheers and high fives. Quiet ones, though, as zombies have good hearing. Tiny Epic Zombies by Gamelyn Games was one of the hot Kickstarters of the year. Backers are now receiving their goodies, teased and tantalised via (very good) updates over the months. Considering the quality of titles such as Tiny Epic Quest, Western and Galaxy, the bar is so very high. Worth the wait, or destined for the darkest part of the shelf? At Game Mountain, we just received our copy. Come join the ritual known as the unboxing… ahh… the smell of a new box. And braaains…? No.

The Box

The same size as previous titles, which means nice and compact. Well, tiny and epic, right? The cover, as you can see, screams zombie movie theme. And it’s gorgeous. It’s a 1-5 player game with a playing time of 30-45 minutes and is low on set-up / downtime, as well as learning curve. The weight is full of promise – tightly packed full of awesome. Oh…. Yes it is. Love the artwork inside the lid!

Goodies

As expected, it’s full to the brim with a beautiful manual, cards, meeples, wooden counters and a cool looking die. Decent quality too. Hey, there’s police car and motorbike! Everything is sorted and packaged in order, and by the looks of it, putting it all back in won’t be a marathon chore. What about the effect of sleeving, I hear you ask. At first glance this doesn’t appear to be a major problem going forward… But I’ll get back to you.

The Manual

Colourful, thematic, easy to read and digest. An Open University course this is not. It’s straightforward and should take no more than a read or two. It has several play styles, including solo. The art is great. Although this isn’t a gameplay review, it’s looking very, very good from here.

Ite-Meeples!

Rocking a crowbar and fancy upgrading to the Uzi? No problem. The meeples have little holes for the plastic, and nicely detailed, weapons to fit snugly. They won’t swing limply or fall off during a game. We got our hands on the deluxe version, which came with an additional bazooka and katana to add to the carnage. Sweet…

And these guys can fit onto the motorbike and police car!

Zombies!

They’re mean, they’re green and perhaps could be a tad larger to be better seen. It’s my tiniest criticism in that the main antagonists are a smidge on the small side. But hey, the word tiny is in the title, so a passing comment only I think. The rest of the counters’ colourful wood-ness is great. There are 18 zombies and also horde markers, survivors, wound and ammo tokens and a barricade for those desperate moments. Just a smattering are pictured below. Oh, and there’s a dog meeple in the deluxe version! To add to this there are small cardboard tokens denoting rooms and objectives.

The Characters

Lots to choose from. A teenager, Pop Star, Athlete, Hippie, Photographer….14 in all. Plus four more for those riding the deluxe version train. Again the art is great, but flip the character card over to find a zombie version.

Guns! Ammo! Stuff!

What great zombie apocalypse movie doesn’t haven’t a vast array of guns and things to maim, decapitate and obliterate the lurching hordes? Some item cards in the game are scenario-specific, like a radio set, while others are aids, such medi-kits. And then there’s the really fun stuff. Grenades, pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and, of course, a trusty chainsaw and all the sharp and blunt tools of trade you could wish for. A few devious event cards are thrown in to make life even harder, just for kicks.

Scenarios

The potential for replayability shines through here, as there is a good number of maps and scenarios. I won’t go into them so as to avoid spoilers. I’m nice like that. Good sized double-sided store cards give that familiar Tiny Epic theme, as you race through different parts of the mall, fighting off the non-vegan undead and collecting vital supplies. It looks set to be hectic fun.

First Impressions

I’m soon to browse through the manual and get into some games, but so far I’ve got that warm, fuzzy feeling (not a zombie virus), that this is going to be another great addition to the Tiny Epic family. Start up that chainsaw!

 

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