Game Name: Zombie Ninja Pirates
Publisher: Gozer Games
Designer: Matthew Duhan
Artist: Neko Pilarcik
Genre: Hand management set collecting card game
Players: Two to six players
Playing time: 20 minutes
Zombie Ninja Pirates is a cool little filler card game. Got 20 minutes to kill? Why not try eating some brains? Or pillaging? Or doing ninja things? In ZNP, you can do all that and more. The game also features the secret, fourth category “the mad scientists”.
The artwork is well done by artists Neko Pilarcik and Harvey Ehrlich, giving a playful cartoony feeling to the senseless violence.
The object of the game is to have the most points at the end, but how do you get to the end you ask? Well, you have to start at the beginning. The game has three kinds of cards, The Type cards allow you to become a Zombie, Ninja, Pirate, or Mad Scientist, or any combination therein. If you want to be a Mad Scientist Ninja, go for it. How about a Ninja Zombie. Scary!
The action cards allow you to perform, well, actions. You can mess up someone else’s playing field, or do good things for yourself.
Object cards are things that you can get. They are played in your playing field, or in front of another player. Put a shotgun with a zombie player and they get -3 points.
Every player gets five cards, and you place the special END GAME card into the bottom third of the deck. There are rules for playing your cards of course, but I won’t review them all here. Suffice to say they are not difficult to learn. You play them into the playing field in front of you and this is what determines your score. Becoming a zombie will net you 5 points, adding a spleen adds another 3 points. Be careful, someone could cure your zombiness and turn you into a pirate. That spleen will then get you -3 points. Negative cards are reversed on the playing field, non-applicable cards appear “tapped” in front of you, and those cards granting you points are paced facing you. After you play your cards, you draw some more and play continues until you reach the END GAME card. You get one more turn and then everyone adds up their points, and that’s it.
The rules are very short and sufficient, and includes a FAQ on the back. Some of the cards took a little thinking, but it is a light game, so we weren’t too worried about it. The game works for its intended purpose as a fun, fast, filler card game, and is definitely more enjoyable if everyone starts saying “Braaaaaains” and “Aargh” around the table.
One recommendation I have, pull the reset button card out of the deck. It doubles the length of the game and it is fine just the way it is.
Gozer is currently working on the sequel called Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies. The new version will feature artwork from the likes of Phil Foglio, Terry Moore, Randy Milholland, and John Kovalic, as well as Neko Pilarcik. The new game was successfully funded via Kickstarter on Oct 31st and is even now in production.
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