Zombies are still a big part of horror, especially action horror, but that doesn’t mean they can only be seen in movies and TV shows. In fact, there are a lot of zombie board games that bring the hungry horde to your table, where you try to stay alive, get away, kill, or even take control of the undead. With that in mind, we’ve listed the best zombie board games below to add a little more death to your game night.
Many zombie board games have a standard set of tropes and ideas, like looking for supplies and fighting with dice, but they also have a lot of fun ways to play, like negotiating to stay alive, bidding on the best way to move forward, and managing the defences of your community as a whole.
No matter what kind of zombie game you like to play, you need loaded guns, strong nerves, and brains to win.
Dead of Winter
A harsh winter seems like a good place to hide from zombies in a world after the end of the world, but you also have to survive the harsh winter. You’re lucky to have friends to help you, but any one of them could turn on the whole group. The mix of survival, humanity, heroism, and cruelty in Dead of Winter is exactly what makes zombie stories so interesting.
Dead of Winter has a number of cooperative scenarios and a secret traitor that you can choose to play. Each survivor must work together to keep their new colony alive by scavenging for supplies in the nearby buildings, saving other people, and building barricades, all while secretly pursuing their own goals, whether they agree with the rest of the group or not.
In every game, you’ll have to make tough choices, like whether or not you have enough food to take in more survivors or whether or not to kill one of your own infected characters out of compassion before they start a chain reaction that wipes out your whole colony.
If Gloomhaven is a fantasy RPG campaign in a box, then Zombicide is the closest thing we have to a zombie RPG in a box. The Kickstarter hit has cooperative scenarios that take place on a tactical map with miniature zombies.
Players can choose from a fun list of colourful survivors with katanas, chainsaws, and rollerskates. Unlike most zombie games, the survivors get experience when they kill zombies, which lets them use new skills as they level up. On the other hand, as heroes level up, they attract more and more dangerous zombies, and it hurts even more to lose a high-level hero who is well-equipped.
Zombicide can be changed and added to a lot, just like a good tabletop RPG. There are ten scenarios in the original base game. Since its first release eight years ago, Zombicide has gotten many expansions, sequels, and spin-offs, such as a mediaeval fantasy plague and mutated zombies from space. With a new base game coming out later this year with 25 scenarios and a full-fledged RPG spin-off on the way, there’s never been a better time to go zombie hunting.
Last Night on Earth
Like many horror subgenres, zombie movies are often loved despite or even because of how cheesy they are, whether it’s because of bad acting, a stupid plot, too much violence and nakedness, or all of the above.
Last Night on Earth is all about the cheese, with card art that shows “real” actors from your favourite made-up B-movie zombie movie. In the game, up to four people play against one or two zombies on a tactical, modular battlefield that looks like a small town. The humans have to work together to find weapons and resources while trying to complete different tasks, such as getting gas for the truck so they can escape or just killing a lot of zombies.
Many games, including some on this list, have tried to copy Last Night on Earth’s tactical combat, multiple scenarios, and focus on the hero’s survival. What makes Last Night on Earth stand out, though, is its charmingly self-aware theme that puts fun over brains.
Dawn of the Zeds
Farmingdale has a bad case of Zombie Epidemic Disease, and players will have to work together to keep the town safe, healthy, and productive while sending heroes out to fight the undead. It’s kind of like the later seasons of the TV show The Walking Dead, but with a dog named Pickles and a few more dice rolls.
Featuring no fewer than five rulebooks, automated zombies and a lengthy play time, Dawn of the Zeds works particularly well as a solo game. In fact, Dawn of the Zeds was made so that one player could handle all of the actions, events, and movement in the first version. The most recent third edition lets up to five players play both cooperatively and against each other.
Despite its potential complexity, the game is highly customisable with multiple difficulty levels that greatly alter the gameplay and add entirely new mechanics – hence all the rulebooks. Dawn of the Zeds is the zombie board game for you if you like zombie stories but want your tabletop games to have a bit more to them.
Tiny Epic Zombies
You can probably think of a popular game theme and find a Tiny Epic version of it. Tiny Epic Zombies re-creates the classic mall survival scenario by putting locations, weapons, heroes, and “meeples” into the series’ trademark small box.
Tiny Epic Zombies has a lot of different ways to play, including both cooperative and competitive modes where real people or AI zombies can play. Heroic survivors like The Teacher, The Photographer, and The Athlete run around a mall full of zombies to pick up radio signals, save other survivors, and find out where the zombie plague started.
Even though it’s not very big, the fun parts really help sell the theme. It’s always fun to give your meeple a little plastic chainsaw before you go out to hunt zeds, and who can resist putting their meeple in the little wooden police car before crashing into the hardware store? Tiny Epic Zombies is not only one of the best Tiny Epic games, but it also holds its own against the other games on this list that are bigger.
Zombie Dice is not deep or strategic in any way. Even the most optimistic gamer would still call it a “beer and pretzels” type of filler game. You roll some dice, decide if you want to try your luck, and eat some delicious brains. Still, it’s easy to get to, easy to carry around, and a lot of fun. We’ve played this song everywhere from airports to backyard barbecues. Because of how the game is made, almost any group can play it when they have a few minutes to kill. Zombie Dice is a good choice if you want to get your zombie fix quickly.