- Memorable Moments (the surprises in the game, the movie scene moments).
- Crackerjacks (rewards, treasure, something to gain)
- Ever-Afters (the campaign, the on-going story)
Last Days is completely straight forward. Go right on through it. The few times (upon first read through) you might want to flip, there's page references directly in the rules. Other than that, the book is made, so you can start reading, work out characters as you read, play a game - continue into a campaign.
That's my hype point number 1 cleared as well.
Gangs and refuge
This part is all about zombie movie references and styles. An it hits the nail on the head - into the zombies skull. The game comes with three leader types Selfless Everyday Hero, Selfish Thug and Trained Professional.
Instantly bringing the thoughts to (for me, being to young for the orignal Romero) Tommy from Kadavermarch (Danish book), Negan of The Walking Dead and the officer of the soldiers in 28 Days Later.
Next up is recruiting survivors, fitting your leaders personality or being neutral. All based on fiction stereotypes. All the types would build of for zombie games anyway - but this saves a lot of time. There's no micro managing small gear, extra gadgets or rolling skills. Super simple start.
And the group needs a refuge. Again taking from fiction - the group will hold up in anything from a mall to a prison (... not much 'anything from').
There's five specific thing I want to mentioned about how the game plays.
Players alternate taking actions with their models. The only way to go in a skirmish game, keep people in the game at all time. Each character (and zombie) have Action Point (AP). These are use for doing stuff. But it's an interesting take on the normal 'model may take two actions'.
By spending 1 AP a model may move 1". And that's the interesting point with AP over 'two actions'. Many games use 'this item gives -1 movement' or 'this halves movement'.
But in this system carrying a big gun not only prevents movement, it'll also prevent being picking up supplies, climbing, staying in overwatch etc. Action Points are good to have!
The characters have the usual skills for a game like this. But most tests in the game is made by rolling a d6, adding your stat and trying to beat 7. Making for a situations where you can end in impossible or certain dice rolls.
I've fired a few guns in my life and there is such a thing as an impossible shot and situations where I wouldn't miss.
I like this. And there's a reason this game doesn't need the '1 is always a fail, 6 is always a success'.
Every character creates noise. A lot of noise. You run, shoot, bark (dogs always makes noise - is so funny), fight - you generate noise. The more noise, the higher a chance for zombies (potentially a lot of zombies) will enter the game. Zombies will eat the nearest thing they can see (or move towards the noisiest thing they can't see).
Everytime you shoot, there's a higher chance they game will run out. You don't know when, the more you shoot, the higher the chance. And this will make for some more zombie movie moments - that gun will go out of ammo (or jam if you prefer) at some convenient time. And that character is already carrying loot, that doesn't leave a lot of AP for movement.
The stars of the show. Zombies are about as dangerous in combat and an unarmed human. But they have a chance to scare the survivors, making them unable to escape and keep the fighting (avoiding bites etc). Making room for more zombies and suddenly be in a very dangerous position.
You won't kill as many zombies in this game as The Walking Dead or Zombicide - these guys feel a bit more dangerous. And the survivors will die quickly.
Skirmish games begs for campaigning and for this Last Days seems to shine. After scenarios character might get new skills, new gear, improve the refuge or find new survivors. But they'll also take damage, get wounds, amputated limbs and get attacked by zombies at their home.
It's clearly a dangerous game. The survivors will die. It's not a matter of 'if', but 'when'. Levels are experience point expensive and will get harder to get all the time.
I've not played the game more than once. But from my experience with other games, Last Days seems balanced. There'll be no super soldiers in this game - they will get eaten, captured or left behind before that. So new players will have a much better chance in campaigns. Even the optional rules for ending the campaign is brutal.
And this whole dying part brings us to the end.
Last days is clearly a labor of love for the zombie genre - there's no doubt about it. Everything in this game screams zombie movie. From the character creation to the way the game plays - it's meant to be a tribute to the great zombie movies. ... and zombie movies almost always end the same way.
This is not a bad thing. The author state this in the very beginning of the book. The story is not about making a thriving new civilization from the ashes (like The Walking Dead) - it's about surviving just one more day.
And having fun while doing it. The author is pointing out, multiple times through the book - that it's supposed to be fun, good game, great stories. It might not be to everyone's taste, to have an author doing the (doing a comment on my own book, in a paranthesis) - but I think it's okay.
That's pretty much my first review done. And a review is supposed to end with some kind of score. I don't know have to score a game like this. So I made a test.
I've watched a 50 minute video 'Let's Play' and read the book once. Could I play a game against myself now? Or is it more complicated.
It's not. Last Days Zombie Apocalypse is simple. One read through and you're ready to play. The questions you'll have are easily answered in the book.
This is a great product.
If you like this review or have some relevant feedback, please share it with me. It was a fun write, so I'll do some more - so feedback is most welcome.
Also please considering dropping a like on my Facebook blogpage. You can check out my Walking Dead collection (used in the test game) here and my modern terrain collection here.