Zombie Ninja Pirates (Oh my!)

When this game, and the expansion deck arrived, we immediately started butchering the name.

“What should we play tonight?”  “Well  Zombie, Pirate, Fairies just arrived.”

“What should we play tonight?” “Well we could try Pirate, Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

“What should we play tonight?” “How about Vampire, Zombies, Pirates? Oh My!”

It became a running gag.  Every time the name of the game was said, it was elaborated on, in some creative way, to get a giggle out of the others (and because we never could remember what it’s proper name was).  This became an absurd game all it’s own.

One night I finally settled down to read the rules and get us going.  Much to my pleasant surprise, the rules were short.  You would think that most card games would have pretty short rules, but some designers try to squeeze a lot into a card game, and so some card game rules take longer to read than to play the game.

However, when I finished the rules I rolled my eyes.  Ah, this was one of those games.

  1. Play a card.
  2. Discard if you like.
  3. Draw.

That’s the game play in a nutshell. Not very exciting, and really more of a throw away.  “Oh well,” I thought “lets get this over with”.  I called my players over to explain the rules to them. Upon hearing the rules, one of them bowed out and sought something else to do.  This was not looking good.

But then we started playing, and it was simple, but it was funny.  The game was also comprised of some very simple, yet very effective mechanics for easily keeping score.  We found ourselves playing, at a rather quick pace, and giggling about it as we went.  Soon the player who had wandered off came back to see what all the fuss was about.

The fuss was a simple game in which you try to earn points before the “End Game” card is revealed.  You earn points for being different types (Zombie, Ninja, Pirate, or Mad Scientist), and for having gear that goes along with your type.  You also lose points if you have gear that conflicts with a type that you have.  The easy, effective scoring mechanic was that you play your card upright if it gives you positive points, sideways if it has no effect, and upside down if it gives you negative points.  It becomes very clear to your opponents, without having to read every card you have, the general nature behind each card.

Getting gear on the table is as simple as playing it down.  Nothing special there.  Getting to become a type is a different beast.  You have to use cards in order to turn into that type.  For example you can use a bite card to become a zombie.  Without a card that can be used to become a type, you can not play down type cards.  There in lies the one problem we had with the game mechanics, it became really hard to get both a proper object card to use with an appropriate type card.  Sometimes the players went for half a dozen rounds before being able to become a type.

The player who wandered away didn’t have too long to stand and watch before he could join in, the games are each only a few minutes long.  I would estimate maybe 15 minutes total.  So we dealt him in on the next hand.

After a couple more hands of “Zombie Ninja Pirates” we thought it was time to break into the expansion “Vampire Werewolf Fairies”.  We set the original game aside and delved into the expansion and played it as a stand alone.  Now maybe we just have an affinity for Vampires (after all, who isn’t watching True Blood these days?), but we liked this set even better than the original. For me, the gags were simply funnier even though the game play was exactly the same.  It was the same game with a different theme pasted on.  The rules suggested that you could mix the two decks together, but after looking through all of the minor rule variations that were needed to do this, we declined that proposition.

This is purely and simply a beer and pretzel game.  It’s humorous and easy to play, but it’s not going to replace meatier games on your game night.   I could certainly see this game travelling with us to the bar, or being used as a filler game.  It’s silly, and sometimes silly is exactly what you are looking for.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 8:26 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Theme Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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