Friday, June 20, 2008

A Zombie in my Pocket - Build and Game Report

So after trying out the 2 player version of Settlers, and then downloading and building some player aids for Ticket to Ride: Europe I decided I was ready to tackle the next step in my board gaming geekdom... doing a print and play. For those that don't know (or haven't gathered) a print and play is merely a game where you download the instructions, any templates that you may need, and then print them out and then play the game. Pretty simple.

For my first ever print and play I decided to try Zombie in my Pocket (ZimP). It got good reviews, it had good instructions, it was a solitaire game, and best of all the tile pieces that you assembled looked really nice, probably some of the highest quality graphics I saw in any of the print and plays I considered.

The first thing I did was download the ZimP complete package PDF. I printed the second page of the PDF out in color on regular paper, did the proper folds and cut, and had my instruction booklet fully assembled. I then used some rubber cement to glue the first and last pages together (if you build it, you will know what I am talking about) so that the whole booklet would stay together without unfolding itself.

Next I printed both page 3 and page 4 (The event cards and the tiles) out on some 110 lb card stock I had purchased. I then downloaded these images and using photoshop I made a tileset of the smaller square image that matched up with the how the interior/exterior tiles had printed out. I then tried printing on the backside of my interior/exterior tiles so that my tiles would all have a nice backing on the. Sadly, the printer didn't get everything lined up and all of the images on the backside were about a 1/4 of an inch off from the front side. I just used an industrial paper cutter to cut the tiles out using the front side, and printed a second sheet of tile backs. I also used the paper cutter to cut the tile backs, and then using some rubber cement I put the tile backs on the tiles themselves. I was really pleased with how this turned out as it gave the tiles a bit more thickness and rigidity to them, and I think I am happier with how it turned out than how I had planned.

I then used the larger "card" image from the above image, made another set of images to match up with the event cards, and printed out event card backs on a second piece of cardstock. Using the same method as the tiles I cut and then rubber cemented my event cards together.

At this point I had a completed game... but there were a lot of pieces still floating around. So I downloaded the ZimP tuckbox and printed that out on another piece of cardstock. Then just cutting along the solid lines, folding along the dotted lines, and putting glue on the gray shaded area (there were no instructions on how to build it, but it seemed pretty intuitive) I ended up with a very nice looking card box for my ZimP set.

I had read the rules and it stated to track your health, attack, items, and everything else with a pencil and paper, but reading through the file section I saw quite a few people had made scorepads instead. I downloaded this one as it struck me as fitting in with the theme the best. I then printed that out on some card stock, cut them out, and now had a full game that still fit within my tuckbox. Finally I brought everything home and we had some colored macaroni (not the bendy kind but just some tiny tubes that were as high as they were wide, very small) and used that as tokens for my score pads. And the beauty of using the small macaroni is that they also fit within the tuckbox, so everything I need to play fits within the tiny box.

At this point I was happy with my construction and it was time to play!

The object of the game is to find the zombie statue inside the evil sanctuary, exit out the dining room, and then find the cemetery where you must bury the statue. If you can do all that without running out of health or time, you win.

On my first play through I actually turned over the dining room as my 2nd interior tile, and then the the evil sanctuary on my 4th. I was able to reach the patio before the clock had turned to 10:00pm. It took me right up until the last even card in the 10th hour to find the cemetery, but as my first action at 11:00 I was able to bury the statue and win the game.

While it was nice to win the game on the first try, I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping that ZimP would prove to be more challenging and that it would have high replayability and I assumed that because I beat it on my first try it was just "easy."

I sat down for a 2nd game, and I was awoken to the harsh reality that ZimP wasn't quite as easy as I thought it was. In my 2nd game I couldn't find the evil sanctuary and had to keep back tracking through rooms to go explore new rooms. This meant I was burning through my event cards and not only was time ticking away but I kept having to fight zombie hordes. With only 2 tiles remaining I turned over the last card which wasn't the sanctuary and boxed me in, which meant I had to have a 3 zombie attack break through the wall, and I wasn't paying attention to my health and even tho I ran away, I only had 1 health and that killed me. So in my 2nd game I never even managed to accomplish the first task (much the 2nd or the 3rd) before getting killed. In a strange way this made me happy, because I could see that while ZimP wasn't an incredibly deep game, it definitely does have a replayability factor and you won't win every time.

I played 2 more games after that, losing my third and then winning on my 4th. I figured that was as good as any time to stop and write up this report.

Overall I would give ZimP probably a 6 or so on the game play ranking, but I gave it a 7 because the experience and process of actually building the game was half the fun. If I could rate the process of building the game I would give that a solid 10 :D I look forward to finding some more print and plays and trying my hand at them, I only hope they turn out to be half as fun as ZimP was.


.justin said...

printing now.
hoping to assemble and explore in chelan.
what do i need to know about building it on the go?

Ryan said...

Not much, depends on how long you want to try and keep it around. I used the card stock and double sided because I wanted to keep it around for a while. But if you wanted to just print it out, play it for a week, and chuck it, just printing out the PDF on 4 sheets, cutting and away you go.

I guess it just depends on how long you want to keep it around.

Also realize, the game is only about 10-15 minutes long, but it does have some okay replayability. Also, if you don't print out the scorepads and use little markers, you will have to use pencil and paper, so those would be extra supplies you would need.

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