In a nutshell
- Play Time: 15 minutes
- Game Type: Cooperative, Strategy, Legacy-style
- Maximum Number of Players: 4
- Youngest Player Age: 4.5 Years Old
- Rules Difficulty: Medium
- Language Dependence: in-game text, easily memorized
- Game Setup: Easy for basic variant
- Clean up: Place for every part. Kids can do it with a little instruction.
- Future Gamer Skills: role playing, decision making, cooperative gameplay, strategy, legacy components
- Some call it educational: fine motor control, order of operations, reading comprehension
- Replay value: High
- Manufacturer: Scorpion Masque
Long story long
Since his birth, our son has been surrounded by board games. One of the defining moments of his first year was our Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 campaign. True story. My husband and I staved off new parent loneliness and isolation by embarking on a mission to save the world. For those unfamiliar, the Legacy mechanism means that with each play of the game, there will likely be a permanent change to any of the rules, board, characters, or components. This allows for continually evolving strategies and outcomes. It’s a great way to keep a game fresh and replayable until its logical conclusion. With that said, it’s no secret that we have been hoping our son would share our enthusiasm for tabletop gaming.
Zombie Kidz Evolution, by Scorpion Masque, is fun way to introduce kids to the legacy-style mechanic. It might actually be the first for this age group. Whatever the case, the story goes like this: with all of the teachers and adults succumbing to undead life, a ragtag group of kids are all that stands between the safety of the school and the zombie apocalypse. With experience and time, the kids get stronger. So do the zombies. MWAH HA HA HA!
At its basic level, Zombie Kidz Evolution is an easy, cooperative, point to point movement game. The anatomy of a turn looks like this: roll to place zombie in a colored room, stay or move one space, auto-defeat zombies in the room, lock the gate if the conditions are correct. That’s it. As the campaign progresses, i.e. you play more games, the legacy mechanics start to kick in. Envelopes are opened, stickers are stuck, and components are added. This translates to rule changes, achievements being earned, skills get unlocked, and the zombies become more aggressive.
The basic mechanics are easy enough for a 4-year old. We are finding that our kiddo needs to be reminded about the zombie placement stage, but he is pretty good about remembering how a turn looks. The tricky part comes as the campaign advances. While the mechanics are still fairly simple, pre-readers will need to memorize any changes. In order to play completely independently, one or more players must have the reading comprehension of at least a third grader, and recall four or more steps in order. This is a great game for a family to play on game night.
Logistically, this is a small game that takes up a tiny piece of real estate on the game shelf. The parts are easy enough to put away, though it isn’t a throw it in the box however you like kind of clean-up. The game play is as quiet as your kids want to be. A flat, coffee table sized surface is needed for a game set-up. The components are mostly thick cardboard/paper stock, and of very good quality.
Zombie Kidz Evolution is a great introduction to the legacy-style games for younger kids. Like other legacy-style games, this game really shines with repeated play. We enjoy this as our family game night main event. While you can play younger, the ideal age starting age is around 6 years old.
This game will not teach your kid zombie apocalypse survival skills. For that, you will need to play Dead of Winter.
Please note: This is an unsolicited, uncompensated endorsement of this game. We are recommending this game because it’s super fun, and it makes parenting easier.