Designer: Jason C. Hill
Publisher: Flying Frog Productions
Date Released: 2007
Number of Players: 2-6 (but it works best with 5)
Age Range: 12 and up
Setup Time: less than 15 minutes
Play Time: about 90 minutes
Game flow and Review:
You take the role of either a small-town hero or a zombie horde in this survival horror board game.
Each game begins with a team of four heroes—if you have 4 or fewer players, some players will have to play more than one hero—and the zombies are controlled by 1 or 2 players. The players pick their heroes—I prefer a blind draw for this so you get some odd hero choices—or color of zombie horde (one horde’s brown, while the other’s green), and then you choose or draw a scenario.
While there are only five scenarios, each game of Last Night on Earth varies, because you’re playing on a modular board, which changes the layout of the town and start positions of each hero. You may find yourself burning down the barn or escaping in a truck or going berserk and trying to kill as many zombies as you can before the sun rises.
There are two decks—a hero and a zombie deck—that give tactical bonuses to each side. Players resolve combat by using 6-sided dice, but you can find a weapon in the hero deck, and that weapon can modify your combat roll.
The game uses photographic artwork that makes you feel like you’re in a horror movie, and Last Night on Earth draws from as many horror/zombie movie tropes as it can, including a card titled “Last Night on Earth.”
One game I played as Jenny, The Farmer’s Daughter, while my cousin Chris played Father Joseph, Man of the Cloth. My son—playing as the zombies because who wouldn’t want to play zombies?—drew into the “Last Night on Earth” card and played it. It’s effect had me and my cousin lose a turn: we were playing characters of opposite genders, occupying the same space on the board, and according to the card, our characters wanted to spend some “quality” time with each other because “this could be our last night on earth.”
I never saw my cousin turn that red, and my son couldn’t stop laughing.
You’ll find other fun tropes in this epitome of a thematic game. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of strategy to this game—just a lot of dumb luck—but it doesn’t matter. If you have a love of horror or zombie films, you should give Last Night on Earth a shot.
Verdict: An enjoyable thriller of a thematic game that changes gameplay each time with its scenarios and modular board. The missions may be straightforward, but you shouldn’t care. It’s all about playing in a zombie movie.