Zombie in my Pocket Review

Zombie in my Pocket board game in play

A quick game where you can get your zombie-fix is Zombie in my Pocket.

In Zombie in my Pocket, the object of the game is to find the Cursed Totem (and let your buddy carry it - after all, it is cursed), find the Sacred Etchings, and then bury the Cursed Totem to stop the Zombie Apocalypse that is infesting your backyard. To do this, each turn one of the players gets to serve as leader. He then decides on one of three courses of action for the "team": explore, perform an event in the current location (if available), or cower (to regain one health for each player still in the game). If you explore or attempt an event, then you must resolve the top card from the Event Deck (normally get jumped by large numbers of Zombies). If you choose to cower, then you simply discard the top card from the Event Deck. If you are able to successfully bury the Totem before going through the Event Deck three times, then whoever is still alive wins; if not, then you all lose. Oh, and if you all die you all lose.

The first thing that I like about Zombie in my Pocket is the Event Deck serving as a timer. This forces the players to continue exploring instead of constantly cowering. Another neat aspect of this is that whenever an Item card would be found, an Event card is flipped to determine which Item is received - which means that you have to waste time in order to find the Item. This is often worth the time lost, but sometimes a greedy leader can cost the entire group the game!

Another aspect of the Event Cards is that they get progressively more difficult as the game continues. This means, if you are able to explore everything incredibly quickly and find and bury the Totem, then you can win with minimal cowering. However, if things start going wrong and you start cowering and wasting cards in the deck, well, you should hope you gained items at some point. Otherwise, the Zombie Horde will probably cause problems for you.

The last thing pro that I will mention about Zombie in my Pocket is the Fight or Flee mechanic. Whenever your group encounters a group of Zombies, each player must independently determine if it is in his best interests to fight or to flee. Then, everyone reveals their decision at the same time. If everyone flees, everyone loses a life and you return to the previous room. If everyone fights, then you compare your total strength (one per player plus any weapons) to the total strength of the Zombies (normally more than what you have) and damage is dealt out as evenly as possible. However, if some people decide to fight while other players decide to abandon their "teammates", then the ones who fled get to gain health by abandoning their friends. Yeah, that's fairly awesome. I enjoyed constantly pondering whether I should abandon my friends or not (and acting like I was going to abandon them each time). Of course, in the end, I was left to hold off an entire Zombie Army with only my wits, my looks, and my Chainsaw... needless to say, I was not a winner in that game.

A neutral point of note about Zombie in my Pocket is that there is not a large amount of replayability in the game. Whereas this is almost always a con in my reviews, I do not see it as a con here. Zombie in my Pocket, I believe, was designed as a light game in which you could play a quick scenario and enjoy running away from Zombies. It is priced accordingly. It isn't Betrayal At House On The Hill or Arkham Horror - don't expect it to be.  I don't think that you should go buy this game thinking that it will provide you unending hours of entertainment. Go into it expecting that you should be able to get what you pay for - that it should be able to entertain you to play through it several times, and then you can move on from the game.

The first (and biggest) con that I have to Zombie in my Pocket is that the board is designed in a way that it is possible to run into a deadend in every direction. In one of our games, I noticed that we only had one valid open door left, and so I cheated to see if we had any deadend rooms left. Sure enough, we had one. I shuffled all of the remaining tiles and pulled a random one - it was the deadend! At this point, there was no way to win the game because the architect of the mansion did not see fit to include hallways to each of the inner rooms (so where these Zombies were coming from was beyond me). We re-shuffled the draw pile and took a different room instead, thus continuing our game, but it seems to be a flaw in the game if you can run into this kind of situation.

Overall, I give Zombie in my Pocket a 7.5/10. It is what it is - a simple, single scenario, Zombie game. It is fun, I in no way am disappointed in it, but I will probably move on and play other games now.

If you like Zombie or Horror-themed games, you might also check out Nightfall, Zombie Dice, and (of course) Betrayal at House on the Hill.

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