Board Game (2014). Iello. Designed by Guillaume Lémery and Nicolas Schlewitz.
Zombie 15' is one of a series of board games with a Zombie escape theme – players must escape from a Post-Holocaust scenario before they are eaten by a ravening horde. The game is timed, and players have exactly fifteen minutes to win.
Zombie 15' is played on a board composed of tiles which form a city map. The game is cooperative, and played with 2-4 players. These take the roles of young adults from Los Angeles (see California), with the explanation that an epidemic has broken out in the city, turning everyone over 18 into a shambling corpse. The object of the game is for all the players to escape from the city alive. The game is turn-based, with each player having to choose basic actions to perform on their turn; move, carry others, search, or pass. These actions must be quickly decided upon because of the limited time frame needed to escape, and because players move sequentially. In addition, each character has different abilities and hindrances which affect the types and number of actions they can perform, the Weapons that they can use, and their movement abilities. After a player has performed their actions, they must fend off any attacking zombies.
As with several other board games, including One Night: Ultimate Werewolf (see The Resistance), and the X-Com board game, Zombie 15' comes with a virtual component which is integral to gameplay. A musical score determines when zombies need to be added to the game, and becomes more frenzied as time progresses. The soundtrack provides verbal cues either every minute or every 40 seconds, depending on the scenario or the difficulty of the game, which demand the players draw cards to determine how many zombies appear on the map. As with Zombicide (2012), "noise" plays an important factor in the game, with some weapons or actions creating more noise (and therefore spawning more zombies). Weapons picked up degrade over time, so the players need to balance trying to escape from the city and get to the end of the board, with collecting items that will help them do this.
Zombie 15' was originally sold via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Stretch rewards for the game added extra characters and artwork, and a solo campaign. The game received mixed reviews, largely because it often takes longer to set up than to play. Despite this, it is an interesting, rather quirky inclusion in the zombie board game genre. [EMS]
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