A hoard of zombies is between you and the truck, the Sheriff can’t take another hit, the keys are with Jenny’s corpse at the zombie’s feet, and you have the last can of gas in town… This may very well be your Last Night on Earth.
Inspired by horror movie cliches, Last Night on Earth is a competitive board game where one team plays as the generic heroes trying to survive the night (or day) while another team plays as the shambling horde of zombies aiming to suck your brain out through your nose.
The Hero team always consists of 4 heroes divided between the heroic players trying to meet the requirements of survival in one of the five scenarios available in the base game. The included instruction book suggests that new players begin with the “Escape in the Truck” scenario to help introduce all of the basic aspects of the game. In this scenario, the hero characters need to search the buildings to find The Keys and the Gasoline cards, then get at least 2 heroes to the truck. All heroes not at the truck when it leaves are just zombie kibble.
Meanwhile, the Zombies are meandering about one square at a time, attacking every living thing that comes near them. Unlike the heroes, the zombies can only move one square at a time (heroes move 1d6 squares), but they’re not concerned about things like walls; they just burst through the walls or spring up from under the floor boards… you know, like they do in the movies.
Both sides have a collection of cards to play. Heroes acquire cards by searching buildings to find event cards and necessary items, while zombies get to draw up to a full hand at the start of every turn. Hero cards usually help them avoid damage or assist in killing zombies (which, by the way, is kind of hard without a weapon). Zombie cards are usually a big inconvenience to the heroes by causing them to lose turns, or blacking out an entire building and filling it with zombies.
Combat between zombies and heroes is pretty simple; heroes roll 2d6, zombies roll 1d6, and the victor is the player with the highest roll on a single die. However, heroes can only kill zombies if they roll higher AND roll doubles, otherwise they only shove the zombie off, unless they have a card to change the outcome.
We played Escape in the Truck, since it was suggested for beginners. The heroes drew Sheriff Anderson who starts the game with a revolver, Jenny, who gains a bonus when determining whether the guns she use break, Jake who can draw 2 cards when searching and keep 1, and Johnny who can move, fight, and continue moving.
We zombies started with almost no zombies on the board because of bad rolls.
The game seemed like it was going to be very short since Johnny found the keys in round one, and Jake found the Gasoline only a few turns later. This scenario starts with a 15 round limit, and by round 5 the heroes had everything they needed for victory, all they had to do was reach the truck.
We zombies weren’t just going to sit back and allow them to escape so easily. We managed to get a large enough zombie horde around the truck that the heroes were very hesitant to approach, then sent a few straggling zombies out to try and bite the heroes as they scrambled about searching for a way to get rid of us.
Bad rolls were a recurring theme for the heroes. Sheriff Anderson starts the game with a revolver, but with a roll of a 1, he lost the gun the first time they tried to use it. This turned out to be a regular occurrence as Anderson continually rolled a 1 every time he tried to shoot a zombie… losing about 6 or 7 firearms throughout the game.
At one point, Sheriff Anderson was in close combat with one of my zombies. I thought I had lost when I rolled a 2… but Anderson failed spectacularly by rolling snake eyes, two ones. My zombie pulled Anderson to the ground and made a healthy meal of his internal organs.
With only 5 rounds left to go, the zombies were beginning to feel confident that they could actually win; the heroes had spent most of the game trying to figure out how to get to the truck without dying in the process; and it seemed Jenny had an idea. She approached the horde by the truck… and chucked a stick of dynamite at us.
She killed… all of us. Three quarters of the zombies on the board were wiped out.
4 turns left.
The zombies spawned anew and scrambled to play every card they could to get to help us get back to the truck. The heroes were rolling low movements, rolling ones and twos. The zombies threw down two shamble cards allowing them to move two zombies up to 1d6 squares. We managed to place 2 zombies back on the truck, but Jake and Johnny shot them down.
Jenny reaches the truck.
3 Turns left.
Jenny reaches the truck with Johnny. The zombie horde is beginning to get close again. Jake fends off another zombie, blowing a group of them a square back with a fire extinguisher card.
2 turns left.
The Zombies play the Last Night on Earth card! Johnny and Jenny both lose their turns! But is it enough? The zombies are too far away to reach the truck without any more shamble cards, but we don’t have any more.
Jenny and Johnny are back in play. Jake reaches the truck. Jenny fills the tank. The zombies… are still one square away. Johnny has the keys… and the heroes drive off.
Game over. Heroes win.
We have played this game several times and every single game comes to an exciting climax. During one game, Jake single-handedly fended off TEN ZOMBIES to reach the truck and escape, bringing the heroes victory again, while in another game the zombies managed to force their way into the mansion in the last 2 rounds of the game, after succeeding in making a meal of 3 of the heroes.
Last Night on Earth is thrilling and unpredictable as the tides regularly shift from favoring the heroes, to favoring the zombies, then back. We’ve never played a game where victory was up in the air and obtainable by either side all the way to the last few rounds.
I would recommend this to any fan of board games or zombie stories.
Players: 2 – 6
Play Time: 1 – 2 hours