WBG Score: 8.5/10
Player Count 2-4
Published by: Le Scorpion Masqué
Designed by: Annick Lobet
This is a spoiler free review. In the final section, there are some very minor spoilers that are hard to read unless you highlight the text, but you can stop at that point and have all the info you want if you don’t want any spoilers.
Did you know that Zombie Kidz Evolution is the number one family game according to Board Game Geek? Well, the developers behind it have launched a sequel and it is always number two in the family list!
Zombie Teenz Evolution is a stand-alone sequel to the amazing Zombie Kidz Evolution. It is a legacy game suitable for children from five and up. A legacy game means it has things that happen in the game that permanently change future games. New rules, characters, and powers will unlock after meeting certain requirements or hitting a certain goals. These changes will be in the game forever, replacing something else for good. Legacy games are great for encouraging further games. It is hard with Zombie Teenz Evolution to ever just play one or two games!
The way the game develops is through opening envelopes. After you meet certain goals playing the game, you can open an envelope. Inside these box of delights could be… well, who knows! And I won’t tell here! This is the joy in this game. My children go crazy for this! They love the carrot this dangles for them. They absolutely adore opening the envelopes to see what is inside. This becomes the bigger attraction with that game than playing the game itself!
The whole game is explained in a comic book style rule book which develops over time as you open more envelopes and get more parts of the story to add in. The highly visual way of learning works brilliantly for younger players and makes this game accessible for children to play alone as well as with parents.
The game works very simply and is designed for younger gamers to play with full confidence and control. Like Zombie Kidz, you need to move your character around a board, trying to complete certain missions. In Zombie Teenz, the mission is to collect a box of ingredients from four separate buildings and bring it back to the school. You cannot carry the box, but you can pass it one space if there is another character next to you.
On your turn you can carry out two actions. Move a space, pass a box, or fight a zombie. You can do the same action twice if you like, and as the game develops, more actions will become available to you. But the fundamental game remains the same for most of the game. Each game takes between 5-10 minutes to play, as such, and due to the repetitive nature of the game-play, this is ideal for younger children to play and feel in complete control. This is not a co-operative game where you as the parent need to tell them what to do all the time.
The game rewards you win or lose. There is no pressure on you or the children to make the right moves. Later games do get a little harder to win first time which brings its own tension. But each time you play you can add a brain sticker to the back page of the rule book to progress your movement towards the next envelope no matter the result of the game. If you win the game or achieve certain goals, you can add trophy stickers as well as the brain sticker. Winning does speed up your progression through the game. But losing doesn’t stop it.
Before you take your turn, you must roll the white dice to see what happens with the zombies. At the start of the game, they are all lined up outside the town. But they will quickly arrive and course chaos! The colour of the dice roll determines which zombie you need to place on the board. If you roll this number again on a later turn, they will move forward along their path. Unless of course one of the players has fought them off. If they move twice then they will enter one of the buildings and ransack it. This is shown by placing a large tile on the board covering the building showing new art. If this happens to all four buildings you will lose. It can start to escalate quickly as once a building is ransacked, the zombies manage to find a trampoline in each room, which then moves them forward three spaces rather than one when they move again, all the way to the next building which in turn becomes destroyed!
I would like to now cover some of the developments seen in the game, but I am very keen to not spoil this for anyone who wants to encounter and discover this all for themselves. There is nothing below that will be a major spoiler, but nor is there anything that you need to know in order to understand the game or its key mechanics.
FAIR WARNING – MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD - To read it more clearly highlight the text. Works on Desktop only.
As you progress through the game and open the envelopes, you will encounter new characters, items to use in you battle against the undead, and new rule cards. Beyond that, I don’t want to say too much as I really want you to experience this for yourself, but I did want to make the point, that although at first this game seems very simple and basic. It does ramp up quickly. It never becomes anything beyond the capabilities for a younger player, but it does stay fresh for all at the table.
What I found with my six-year-old daughter was that as the game developed and more options were made available, she did not become confused or overwhelmed, just excited about the new things to do. She did sometimes forget to roll the second dice. But essentially it is a very light game which develops into a light game. As new rules are introduced every three to four games rather than having to learn everything all at once as is the case with most games, Zombie Teenz has a very delicate and simple learning curve suitable for younger players.
Playing Zombie Teenz Evolution is a fantastic experience suitable for any family. I would recommend getting Zombie Kidz Evolution first if you don’t have that as it feels like the natural place to start. And then if when you finish that, you are hungry for more, this is the perfect next game.
The Zombie theme and art is not scary of inappropriate for younger players. This is an ideal game for children to learning simple pick-up-and-deliver and legacy mechanics in a highly engaging and exciting fashion.
When you have opened all the envelopes, this doesn’t stop the game being playable. There are a few surprises left for you to try which I wont spoil here. The main draw is certainly the envelopes, so when they are gone, it does feel completed. But the game can certainly be played and enjoyed many times after this is over. And by that point, with 30-50 games played, you will certainly have got your money’s worth anyway!