Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Game Review: Zombie in My Pocket (Solitaire Edition)

Zombie in My Pocket is a print-and-play game for one player that simulates being trapped in a house being overrun by zombies. The player frantically searches for the zombie totem inside the house. Then he has to go outside and bury the totem in the backyard graveyard before midnight or else the world will end.

The game begins at 9 p.m. and starts in the Foyer of the house (one of the eight house tiles). Leaving each room, a new tile from the shuffled house stack is laid (unless you flee from attacking zombies, then you have to go back into an already explored room). A new card from the development card stack is drawn, telling what happens in that room. Maybe zombies attack, maybe the player finds something useful, maybe it's just quiet. Once the development card stack is empty, the hour changes. The cards are reshuffled and reused (each card has different actions for different hours). The player moves from room to room tracking the ups and downs of his health (which requires a pen(cil) and paper unless you've got a fabulous memory or a 12-or-greater-sided die) and what equipment has been found (weapons help to fight zombies, even the grisly femur!). Finding the temple card where the totem is hidden and getting outside in time to bury the totem in the right spot before the 11 p.m. development cards run out is tricky.

I have played this game several times (it takes about five minutes) and enjoyed it, though I have only achieved victory twice. Luck seems to be more important than skill in winning the game, though a combination of both is required just to stay alive. If you want a fun, small, solo game that you can take anywhere, I recommend it. There's no real gore at all in the game (even the graphic of the grisly femur is pretty tame), so it's family-friendly (except that it's a solo game, so you wouldn't all play together).

Game components, though you'll need some paper and a pencil or pen too

Find information about the game and download the pdf files here at Board Game Geek's web site. Zombie in My Pocket Cellular Edition is available for PC and touchscreen phones here. The site says it is optimized for LG phones--I am not sure what that means. I haven't tried to download it because I have finally started playing Plants vs. Zombies, so I have my mobile fix of zombies. The game has also been spun off into a multi-player game published by Cambridge Games Factory. If I ever get a copy I will be sure to review it.

Zombie Apocalypse Appropriateness: The size of this game is a great winner, because it will fit in even a small pocket. I keep it in a snack-sized ziplock bag with a golf pencil and pad of sticky notes. It doesn't teach any real survival skills other than patience and perseverance as you play just one more time to try and win it. It is a solo game, so you won't need a partner to play with. The fold-up instruction book is a pretty cool trick too.

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