Monday, January 21, 2013

Dawn of the Zeds- Solitaire Gaming

Lately the thought of driving a half hour down the snow covered highway to maybe get in on a board game has not been looking so rosy, so I began looking into solitaire games. Happily it turns out that there are a Lot of interesting looking solitaire wargames. After some time deliberating my wife got me Dawn of the Zeds for Christmas.

Dawn of the Zeds (DoZ) is published by Victory Point Games, which has an extensive line of solitaire games. Their solitaire engine is called the States of Siege system and presents the player with a series of encroaching threats, all of which demand some attention and of course there are not enough resources to go around. In the case of DoZ you're placed in a city and forced to deal with hoards of zombies approaching from various directions. You have to decide which direction to send your strongest fighters in, and also hunt for supplies, heal wounded civilians, and research weapons and a cure for the plague. Each action costs resources of some sort and there are usually few resources at hand.

The Game Board

DoZ has a lot of good qualities. The game is tough and you can expect to lose more often than win. There is a great degree of theme and each time I play I very much feel the stress of being surrounded by shambling undead, slowly advancing down highways and streets. There is a huge degree of variability between games based on random events and a random pool of initial heroes to draw from. Finally, the game will absolutely reward thoughtful play. If you allocate your resources wisely then civilians are saved and your heroes succeed. If you play carelessly you will be swamped.

The game components are also pretty decent. The product is sold in a ziplock bag so the board is pretty flimsy but counters and game cards are quite nice. The rules are well written and easy to follow. I think it's a good value.

If there is a negative to DoZ it is that it is not a quick game. I like being able to knock off a game of Race for the Galaxy online in ten minutes. DoZ is a good hour's committment if not longer. Further, you can't play for a quick win. The game system is really an endurance test- can you balance resources long enough to be rescued? That's fine enough but sometimes I want a quicker playing experience.

In total I really enjoy Dawn of the Zeds. It carries its' theme well, it has huge replay value, and it's challenging and interesting. I even suspect it would be fun to watch simply because of the engaging drama. I'm curious to see how some of the other States of Siege games play out now.

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