Last Night on Earth
Last Night on Earth is a board game where players have to gang up against each other, humans versus possibly unbeatable zombies. Tense, claustrophobic fun.
Everyone knows how zombie movies work. The world is overrun by a plague of the shambling undead due to military experiments gone wrong / viral pandemic / cosmic rays, and a handful of smalltown nobodies battle bravely until in the end they all die horribly. Flying Frog Productions’ Last Night on Earth is a new board game that beautifully represents this reality in a 45 minute burst of horror mayhem.
Setting up the game only takes a few minutes. The board consists of a central panel with four corner panels being randomly selected from the six provided. When put together it forms a small town with classic locations like the high school, junkyard and cornfield. Anywhere from 2-6 players can play, one side representing archetypal heroes like the Sheriff, the High School Quarterback or the Man of God and the other the walking dead. There are a number of different scenarios which give the victory conditions. Maybe the heroes need to save the resident townsfolk or perhaps they need to fill up a truck and get the hell out of dodge city. The zombies generally just want to stop this happening until the sun goes down (represented by a turn tracker) or by eating the brains of as many of the heroes as they possibly can.
Each turn starts with the zombies. There is a maximum of 14 on the board at any one time but as they get killed off more keep coming. While they generally don’t move quickly (although in the advanced rules zombie heroes can get a whole lot quicker) the numbers mean they can quickly start to box in the heroes. They are aided by drawing cards that can be played to give bonuses when they attack or that just make life difficult for the heroes. The heroes then scamper round the board searching buildings for items that will be useful (guns, chainsaws, more guns) and other cards that can get them out of tricky situations while they attempt to achieve the goal of the mission.
While the gameplay is simple it is surprisingly addictive. There is a real sense of tension when your hero has run out of bullets and finds that their escape route from the four zombies smashing through the walls is locked, while the power is cut in the building leaving them unable to see anything. As the zombies there is immense satisfaction when the relentless weight of numbers drives your opponents to wails of frustration and despair. When we played there was a lot of the latter as the zombies won every game, despite moments where the heroes looked like they might have the upper hand. At the end of each game however we quickly found ourselves shuffling up the board panels and getting going again – until the sun went down on our own session.
The components are well produced and the artwork is spot on. Wonderfully there are a number of counters that aren’t featured in either the basic or advanced rules, a positive encouragement to develop your own additional rules or scenarios. The game also comes with its own CD soundtrack, although in truth after playing it once we moved on to the horror film soundtracks that a true nerd always has available on their iTunes.
There are other zombie board games out there but I found the blend of horror and tongue in cheek humour of Last Night on Earth to be pitched at just the right level for the genre and can wholeheartedly recommend it. Now where was that dynamite!