Sep 212010

Pitchfork to the Horde

Some things come off as a little too hokey for me to take seriously.  For a few years now that has kept me away from what turned out to be an awesome game.  Last Night on Earth The Zombie Game covers their box with intentionally silly live model photo manipulations of stereotypical modern horror movie archetypes battling the hungry dead.  At first look I decided that the game is probably a joke and not worth buying.  I was foolish.  Flying Frog Productions has put together a board game that captures everything right about those cheesy horror flicks and the pictures only add to that theme.

Rules to Follow

Because the rules are available for a free download (direct PDF download by clicking HERE or by browsing Flying Frog’s website linked above) I’m not going to detail fully how to play the game, but I am going to highlight some of my favorite points.

  • We started one on one, always good for testing games that claim that there is a two player mode.  I’ve seen far too many where playing with two is nothing like playing with five.  From there we scaled seamlessly to 2 vs 1 and 2 vs 2 play.  The game can support up to 6 players but the fundamental mechanics of the game do not change due to scaling, so no fears of constant rules referencing based on the number of people at the table.  At any size between 2 and 6 players, the game is a blast.
  • The game uses a modular board to create a different map every time it is played.  The board typically sets up in a space 21 by 21 inches, and of course some room must be left for player cards and tokens to sit around the board.

  • A player must take the role of zombies.  At its core, Last Night on Earth is a brutally competitive game between zombies and humans.
  • Zombies are TOUGH.  Slow moving corpses can, at times, create an illusion of safety, but players find out quickly that just a few zombies can overpower a character and end the game pretty fast.  To kill a zombie players must not only make an opposed roll against the flesh eater to defend, but must also roll doubles to land the finishing blow.  Heroes are given two dice while zombies only have one, and can get weapons or other cards that will grant them an additional die or re-rolls (though zombies can as well).
  • Every heroic character has a list of abilities that fit on a large index card sized character sheet that feels unique and fitting for the portrayed archetype.  There is a very real sense that these characters are not intended to be balanced, they are just a random group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse.
  • Several scenarios.  Each play through of Last Night on Earth begins with choosing a scenario that defines the game play.  In some cases the Heroes may be looking to escape via an old beat up pick-up truck while others require them to defend the town from being overrun.  With these sorts of variations there are countless hours of replay value by changing characters, the board, and scenario.

The Apocalypse Never Ends

In addition to the expansion set options such as The Growing Hunger and Survival of the Fittest, Flying Frog Productions have not abandoned the core game.  Three free PDFS can be downloaded from the publisher’s site by clicking HERE.  This kind of support is exactly what the industry needs.  Board games and RPGs can do themselves an immense service by crafting free content like this to keep the community interested.

Final Word

With continued support, so much replay value, and loads of tongue-in-cheek humor throughout the missions and cards, Last Night on Earth has secured a place at my game table for many nights to come.  There is an adjustment to be had if you aren’t accustomed to the cut throat nature of some competitive games.  Zombies and Heroes constantly play cards and abilities that cancel each other out or wreak havoc on plans from turn to turn.  The game definitely favors the undead, making every scenario particularly difficult for the human players, but that is sort of the point.  While I felt challenged by the pressures of the zombieocalypse, I never felt like my characters didn’t have a chance.  It is true that Troll ITC loves all things zombie, but this game really stands out in the horde.  I give it a full recommendation for anyone who likes the genre.

Can I get a Witness?

So the question that remains for me is, “Is there an online community writing for this game?”  Seems like there’s enough encouragement from Flying Frog Productions that I bet there are some fun fan scenarios on the web or maybe alternate rules sets.  Anyone know where I can find such a group of creative folks?

[tags]Last Night on Earth, board games, review, zombies[/tags]

About Nick Nundahl

I'm a wild haired demi-viking living on the East Coast United States. I've run games in countless systems and tanked more game nights than I've ever run successfully, but hopefully I learned a lot in the process and I'd like to pass that on. Follow me on Twitter.

  8 Responses to “This could be your Last Night on Earth!”

  1. Edited to fix broken images.

  2. God Dammit Nick! Now I have to go out and buy another board game.

  3. has fan scenarios and much much more… check it out.

  4. Yeah, this game is awesome. Nice article Nundahl!

  5. While I agree the game does seem to be tilted in favor of the zombies, in the 4 or 5 games we’ve played(of which the zombies have won all but one), it usually comes down to the wire. A large part of that is the zombies are far more numerous(up to four times as many zombies as heroes if the zombie player rolls well), and tend to have a lot of cards to screw the humans where the humans tend to have more cards that help them fight off zombies rather than stop their movement, keep them from attacking, etc.

    I’d also like to add, this game is hilarious! A large part of that is unintentional, due to the random nature of the game. But how can you not laugh when the town church is suddenly overrun with zombies(completely out of the blue; no zombies had even gone near the church during the game to that point).

    Good review, Nick!

  6. @Andrew – Thanks man, I’ll have to check that out.

    @Eric – Especially since the card read, “My God they’re coming from the…” or something along those lines.

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Nundahl and Troll in the Corner, Chris K.. Chris K. said: RT @Nundahl My Troll ITC Last night on Earth Review – #Boardgames […]

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