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Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Early Access

Last Night on Earth! Or is It? The Gaming Gang Review

Last Night on Earth (Flying Frog Productions)TitleLast Night on Earth

Publisher: Flying Frog Productions

Designer: Jason C. Hill

Artist: Jack Scott Hill

Year: 2007

Players: Two to six players

Ages: 12+

Playing Time: 60 to 90 Minutes

Retail Price: $49.95

This one has been around a few years, but I never had the opportunity to play, until now. Last Night on Earth is a zombie apocalypse survival game at the horror movie level. I’m not talking a George Romero Night of the Living Dead type zombie flick. It’s more of a Evil Dead/Army of Darkness type flick. Granted, the latter aren’t actually zombie flicks. I mean more the feel. Horror with some cheesiness maybe? Not that it is cheesy, it just has more of the Ash, over the top bad-ass feel. It feels quite movie like.

I suspect this has a lot to do with the graphics of the game itself. The box gives it away. There are live actions shots of various actors in zombie killing action poses. These are the characters in the game, and they all have their own little place in the sleepy town of Woodinvale.

The still shots of a zombie movie in progress show up throughout the game. On the character cards, the card decks, the scenarios, and the rules. Don’t get me wrong, they are good and thematic and get you in touch with the folks in the town. It can be a little graphic, so I wouldn’t recommend the game for the younger, impressionable crowd, but I like it. The photos are cool and are filled with many overly dramatic poses of the characters, so that you can almost hear them saying things like “Go Ahead, Make my Day” or “Groovy”. The game came with a soundtrack, but I almost wished it had come with a dvd with five minutes or so of each character’s back story and their initial reactions when the zombies appeared (they all have designated starting locations after all). I know it is a lot more costly and involved to do, but if they ever decide to do one I would definitely pick a copy up to add to the ambiance of the game.

The board is modular and features a town square that is surrounded by four randomly selected “L” shaped outer boards of the six provided with the game. So the town changes a bit with each game. The board is a birds-eye view, divided into squares and artistically well done.

There are eight character figures included and 14 zombies in two different colors. The characters each have different action poses, and the zombies are not all identical. There are several different sculpts and the zombies are in two colors, so that two players can play the zombies. Pretty nice figures actually.

Yes, play the zombies. In this game there are hero players and zombie players. The game handles up to six players, but will always have four hero characters and at least one zombie player. It is a slugfest game of direct conflict and a lot of potential to tick people off. If you don’t like the kind of “Take That!” game, or you have easily angered people in your group, then Last Night on Earth (LNOE) might not be the game for you.

The rules are fairly simple. Select a scenario, select your characters and zombies. Place them in their starting locations of the board, and you are pretty much set to go. The scenarios are limited in turns. The heroes have only so many turns to accomplish their goals before they lose. In the first scenario, the heroes need to kill 15 zombies in 15 turns to win. The zombies need to kill two heroes, or just make it last longer than 15 turns for them to win. This is the basic learning scenario. The other four scenarios included use the advanced rules and cards (20 each advanced hero and zombie cards are included).

Each zombie turn, they move the time tracker, draw new cards, roll to see if they get new zombies (max of 14 zombies at one time). Move all their zombies one space, fight the heroes in their space, and place any new spawned zombies on the board.

The hero turn, which follows the zombie turn, is even simpler. The hero moves (1d6) or searches a building (draw one hero card), then can do ranged fire if in range and has weapon, fights zombies in their square, and exchanges items with other heroes next to them if they wish.

That’s most of the rules there. There are specific rules for each weapon or item in the game, but these are all described on the cards themselves. The trickiest part would have to be the line of sight rules for shooting zombies, but even those are not too difficult.

Mainly the players will be searching for weapons and items and trying to stay alive, while the zombies just want to kill the heroes. There is a lot of luck involved, but of course in a real zombie attack I assume there would be a lot of luck involved too. Combat is fairly simple and involves rolling a number of fight dice. Heroes get to roll two and zombies get one. Various cards and effect can change the number of dice rolled. The heroes need to beat the zombie roll on one die, while the zombies win ties. The trick is, the zombie is only killed of the heroes roll doubles, so you are better off finding weapons and using ranged attacks, rather than hand to hand combat. Of Last Night on Earth Box Back (Flying Frog Productions)course, there are a lot of zombies.

So if you are looking for a deep strategic zombie game, this isn’t it. If you just want to play a good, fun zombie game that is easy and can be played in about an hour, then this game is a perfect fit.

I have won the game as both the zombie player and the heroes. I have to admit I got a lot more satisfaction winning as the heroes. There’s just that satisfied feeling you get when defeating the evil zombies. I’ve even played a few solo games, which is fairly easy to do as long as you don’t cheat when taking the zombies turn. I was a little upset when the zombies killed the sheriff’s teenage son Billy right in front of him, but everyone else was able to hop in the truck and escape the next turn, so his noble sacrifice was worth it.

One final point, if a hero is killed, they become a zombie hero, which is really a zombie that can take more than one hit. The player then gets to choose a new hero, so there is no player elimination.

Last Night on Earth is a fun zombie game, and I like it.  It will most certainly come out for Miller Halloween Game Day 2011.

TGG REVIEW
9 TGG SCORE
0 VISITORS' SCORE (0 votes)
Summary
A fast and furious zombie game without player elimination. Look for a lot of B-Movie fun packed into an hour or so of gameplay.
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