I recently picked up two new additions for my gaming shelf and had a chance to try both games out yesterday. The first one is Eaten By Zombies: In Cahoots!. This is a stand-alone box with enough cards to be played as a two-player game, or added in to the core game to expand it up to six players. We played it on its own with two players.
The artwork and card design is the same level and quality as the base game. Thematic, lots of colours and nicely done overall. Unfortunately, also like the base game, In Cahoots! still suffers from rampant spelling, grammar and general editing errors; both in the card text and the included rule sheet. In fact, there is one error on the rule sheet that is SO bad that a new player to the game would end up playing a fight scenario completely wrong. There is also one instance in the rule sheet where the name of the game itself is spelled incorrectly. This kind of poor quality control really shows a lack of care and I personally find it extremely annoying.
The game itself plays exactly the same as the base game, although there are several references to card that don't yet exist (promises of features in upcoming expansions). While I appreciate the forward thinking, I'd have preferred the game cards to reference things only in the current box and the base game. I don't want to look at the FAQ in the rule sheet to find out that half the text on my card doesn't mean anything, for now.
Game play is pretty fast, and everyone has the chance to screw over their opponents by adding zombies to the growing horde. Players must either fight the horde, or escape them in order to scavenge for swag. Once things starts going bad however, it goes very bad very fast. When a player starts losing cards due to attrition they'll likely continue doing so, and quickly end up dead, often through no misplays of their own.
Eaten By Zombies is a game I want to like, and had purchased In Cahoots! in hopes that it might fix some of the things I felt were negatives in the base game. I'm disappointed to say that it doesn't. The rampant typos are a big no-no in any product, and the gameplay is generally disappointing rather than fun. I can only recommend it to the most die-hard of zombie game fans.
Thankfully the second game we played was much more fun!
Level 7 [Escape] is, I believe, the first board game produced by Privateer Press. We read through the rules and set everything up for scenario 1 in the scenario book and played through that scenario a total of four times learning all of the various rules for spawning enemies, conflicts, using skills and playing adrenalin cards. Even though we played the same scenario multiple times we had good fun and enjoyed the experience.
Starting out and getting new players up to speed can be a bit of a slog for this game initially. There are a lot of rules to sift through, and which ones you'll be using changes depending on the scenario being played. However, the game itself is very good. The components are great with top notch art, the theme is baked right into the game and each scenario feels like a different part of a larger story without feeling incomplete.
One thing that may surprise people who are familiar with Privateer Press is that there are no miniatures in this box. All the components are card standees, but the artwork on them is so good that I didn't care. If I had to complain about anything components-wise it's that the main character sheets are a little thin. I'd have preferred to see them made of the same heavy card that all the other pieces are made of, but this is a minor complaint.
A single scenario in Level 7 [Escape] also plays quickly enough that the game can be played multiple times in a session and still remain fresh. I recommend this one for groups that like their co-op games with a dose of stab-you-in-the-back. You will have to work together, but in the end, it's every person for themselves!
I'm looking forward to playing this game again, preferably with a full group of four players, and go through the scenario book from the beginning. I think that it'll make for a great gaming session.