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Zombies in the Monroeville Mall.
The premise of the game is as follows: You have an intrepid band of survivors fleeing the zombie holocaust, as does every other player. Your team consists of the heavy (a big guy who can lift heavy things and grunt), a guy with a gun (being a guy…with a gun…) and a worthless blonde trollop who attracts zombies like Moe to a pile of Little Debbie snack cakes and Rogain.
Yeah, I went there.
The flip side is, the more useful a character becomes the fewer points they’re worth. This means your sack of screaming blonde zombie food is valued at more than double the rest of your team, should she survive.
The gameplay works like this. Each round your team moves from room to room, scavenging for supplies and trying to create the same bizarre social order one finds in any zombie movie, where everyone is only concerned with saving their own ass but tries to make things appear democratic so they can sleep at night after feeding their friends and loved ones to a horde of mutant cannibals in order to save their own craven hide.
I’m looking at you, Leftybrown in Left 4 Dead.
As you move from room to room, zombies appear and shit goes down. While it’s possible to barricade all the survivors in a shop and hide out from the horde of undead, there’s only a limited amount of space in each location, and if the zombies outnumber the survivors, they’re coming in. This leads us to the voting, and the part of the game that makes me laugh maniacally.
Anytime something happens that’s going to cause some form of horrible death, the survivors get to vote on who does what. As in, if someone has to be sent out to feed the zombie hordes, you can collectively decide that the green team is the one who gets to play “all you can eat buffet.” All voting is done anonymously, until the terrible results are revealed. Teams also vote for a leader, who gets some forewarning on where zombies will appear, and can use this information to protect his team (and others in theory). However, if no one votes for a leader, this information cannot be had, and everyone’s forced to run blind and hope they end the turn with faces intact.
As with any good zombie movie, salvation arrives only after it is far too late to save everyone. You will have been forced to sacrifice your friends and loved ones, either by pushing them out a door, denying them entry to a safe room (and thus forcing them into the parking lot to be surrounded by hordes of undead), or voting that they leave the safefty of this place to scavenge for supplies while you hide in your pile of canned Spam and shotguns. Points are awarded for survivors, and the player with the most points at the end of the game claims victory and the undying hatred of everyone else at the table.
I love zombie games, and I absolutely delight in games that force players to screw one another over thoroughly. Mall of Horrors puts both of these things together in a wonderful, brain-eating package. Play is for 3-6 players. Expect to take about 60 minutes to destroy friendships and alienate yourself utterly through betrayal and douchedom.This delightful pile of joy is made by Asmodee games and available at most retailers of tabletop geekery. My copy was acquired through Amazon.