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Zombie Kidz Evolution

Published by Scorpion Masque and distributed by Coiledspring Games, Zombie Kidz Evolution is a children's game. It's a cut above the usual mindless roll & move fare, however, and the twist is that it's a legacy-style game - apparently the first such game designed for kids - where the game rules change the more you play the game...

For many children, Zombie Kidz Evolution may also be the first co-operative game they experience. The 2–4 players won't be playing against each other: they'll be working together to beat the invading zombies and achieve a collective win or share in the joint loss.

The core game is quite simple. The premise is that zombies are invading your school (the board on which you're all playing). Each game starts with a zombie at each of the school's four entrances and a queue of four zombies outside the school. On your turn, you'll roll a custom six-sided die and place a zombie in the room that matches the colour shown on the die. Only one side of the die is blank, so you'll have zombies invade on most turns. Once you've rolled the die and placed out the zombie, you can move your avatar and can eliminate up to two zombies in the room you are in.

The zombies are easy to kill (as it should be: after all, they're already dead). However, killing them just removes them from the board and adds them to the waiting queue. They'll continue relentlessly to invade the school, and if ever three or more zombies enter the same room then they block players from entering it. If ever there are no zombies left in the queue to meet the requirements of a zombie-placement die roll then the players collectively lose. To win, they need to place out locks on all four of the school's entrances, which requires two or more avatars to be together in the same entrance location.

This base game is essentially the same as designer Annick Lobet's original game, first published in 2013. This edition has lighter, more cartoony art by Nikao but the main change is the addition of the Evolution element that turns this into a Legacy game. Every time you play, you'll record your game by placing a sticker on the track at the back of the rulebook. These trigger instructions to open numbered sealed envelopes, each of which introduces a change to the rules. To avoid spoilers, we won't spell out exactly what's in any of the envelopes but suffice to say that each introduces gently incremental tweaks so that even children of primary school age will have little difficulty following.

The changes are just enough to keep players interested and coming back for more. Each individual game takes no more than 10-15 minutes, so Zombie Kidz Evolution is never going to outstay its welcome; and kids will probably want to immediately play the game again if only so they can reach the trigger to open up the next envelope. All in all, this is an excellent children's game that will get a lot of plays. And by the time your children finish with this, they'll be about ready to join you in Dead of Winter (Plaid Hat). :-)

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