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Board Game Review – Run, Fight, or Die!

2014 October 17

If you’re looking for a tough game with Zombies try, Run, Right or Die!, by 8th Summit / Grey Fox!

Run, Fight or Die!

Run, Fight or Die!

Designer: Richard Launius

Number of players: 1-4

Age: 13+

Time: 40 minutes

What’s the game about?

A description from the publisher…

The undead hordes are back! But this time they’re not miniatures shambling around a modular board – the zombies are coming straight for you! As in most zombie games, you represent a unique character with your own character traits, except in Run, Fight, or Die! you will also have your own individual board with zombies you alone will encounter. Zombies move closer to you every round. You run from location to location, searching for weapons and survivors in a desperate attempt to stay alive. Survivors may bring new skills to help you in your desperate fight for survival, or in some cases, new challenges to overcome. In either case, every survivor provides you victory points. The game ends either when one player finds five survivors and declares the last round, or when a player reaches the town line (and the total Followers in play meets a minimum), or if a player gets bitten and turns. Be careful, some followers may turn against you, while others can slow you down. When it comes right down to it, the choice is simple: Run, Fight, or Die!

Scoring is based on the total points of survivors and remaining health of the players’ characters.

Run, Fight, or Die! is a frantic first person experience for 1 to 4 players (will play up to 6 with the 5/6 player expansion). The game is loaded with goodies, including 4 Action Boards, 5 Character Boards, a Loot Deck, a Location Deck, an Event Deck, a Follower Deck, Mutant Deck, 7 Custom Dice, tokens and beautifully crafted miniatures.

Basic idea in my own words…

Run, Fight or Die! (RFoD) is a game of pushing your luck with the dice in the hopes of escaping town alive and achieving the most points. RFoD is absolutely a Zombie themed game, so if you are adamantly turned off by Zombies, walk away, but if you’re like me, and aren’t avoiding them like you would with Ebola, continue reading. I’m not into horror and Zombie themes but I have to admit, RFoD is a good game!

The first thing you’ll notice is the sheer amount of stuff packed in the small box, especially all the Zombie miniatures. The next thing I noticed was the good quality cardboard stock. I  am impressed, especially from a company I have not heard of before. Let’s get into the setup.

Setup (express setup):

  • Each player takes a large board and places it in front of them. These 4 tiles are identical
  • Then each player randomly receives a character to play as, or decide with any method you choose. Place the character board directly under the game boards
  • Separate all cards by type and shuffle each deck; place all the decks in reach of the players
  • Separate the wound markers and the Mutant Zombie Boss points and place within reach of all players
  • The player boards are broken down into 3 separate zones (1-3); 2 zombies are placed in zone 1; 3 zombies in zone 2 and 4 zombies in zone 3
  • Choose a starting player and give them all of the dice. The black dice is an extra dice that is normally not used, unless a specific ability or card allows you to do so; Look to see if your character gives you any extra abilities or bonuses;

The Game:

The turns are broken down into sequence for each player.

  • Initial Dice Roll –  At the beginning of your turn; take the grey dice and roll it. This is more of a global effect that will affect you on your turn. This can be such things as, immediately advance 3 zombies, heal 1 wound, etc.
  • Roll white dice – these dice are your primary dice that will allow you to act. You can either accept the outcome of the dice you rolled or roll again. You have two re-rolls a turn. The outcome of the dice represent what you can do on your turn. You will often be overrun with approaching zombies, so you will commonly be defending and attacking to stay alive.
    • Gun: A gun will do 1 damage to a zombie in any zone
    • Baseball bat: a baseball bat can kill two zombies in zone 1
    • Run: you can push 1 zombie back 1 zone
    • Search for followers (handshake): depending on the number of “handshakes” you roll, a different action will be available to you, such as,  draw a follower card, action card, etc.
    • Book of the dead: Book of the dead is similar to the search for followers icon, but you’ll receive such items as, event card, location card, heal a wound, etc.
    • Zombie: a zombie roll is bad; you cannot re-roll a zombie icon and you’ll receive more zombies on your board at the end of your turn for each zombie roll you performed; however, you can pool together all your zombies and re-roll them if you draw a fleeing card, and resolve it’s effects.
  • Zombies Advance – the player just advance all zombies on his board forward one space, starting with zone 1; for any zombies that advance to your player board; take a wound. If you receive any wounds 1 time beyond your allotment on your player board, you are out of the game. Once the zombies attack you, place them back in the zombie pile and off your board. If the Mutant Zombie Boss is alive and on you, draw 1 mutant zombie boss card and resolve it.
  • Hunt Phase – Add 3 zombies to zone 3, and for each zombie dice rolled, add another; move the zombie boss in front of the next player
  • Check Game End Conditions – If the player received all their wound, they are out of the game; if a player has taken 5 townsfolk as followers, the end of the game has been triggered; in addition, if the outskirts of town card is drawn, the end of the game has been triggered, or if all of the mutant zombie boss wound tokens has been taken, the game is over.
Follower Cards

Follower Cards

End of Game Scoring

If the end of the game has been triggered, it’s time to calculate scores. If you are still alive; you receive 1 point for each life point you have. Gain the VP listed on each follower you possess. Gain 1 for each mutant boss token.

That’s it! The game continues until the end of the game has been triggered. The game includes a setup for solo play as well as normal play, and a harder difficulty. I’ve played the game once solo and twice with friends. Every time, the game was extremely difficult for me. Only once did I survive, and I still lost. This is a difficult game, at least when we played. I still very much enjoy it though.

Breakdown

Components: 4/5

The components in RFoD are top notch. The box and cardboard stock is sturdy. The best components of the game are the tons of female and male zombie miniatures you receive.

Theme: 2/5

I’m not big on Zombie themes so the theme doesn’t hit a high mark with me. I do find the follower cards funny though. Regardless of my rating on the theme, RFoD is a good game.

Luck Factor: 5/5

There is a massive amount of luck in this game. It’s mostly about dice rolling. Yes, you’ll get specialty cards and you have to make decisions, but for the most part it comes down to random luck.

Strategy: 2/5

There’s not too much strategy from what I can tell in this game. Don’t get me wrong, there certainly is, but the amount of non-luck strategy in this game is nowhere near a euro title. Deciding on when and how to use your cards and making the best choice of what to do with your dice rolls makes up the grunt of the strategy in this game.

Overall Feelings: 3/5

While Run, Fight or Die! is far from my favorite themes, the mechanics are quite solid and it is a good game. The game reminds me of Roll Through the Ages, just dripping with more theme and more stuff. If you’re into Zombies, dice rolling and a game that poses a challenge, I’d recommend, Run, Fight or Die!

Review copy kindly provided by Grey Fox Games.

Note: I apologize for the lack of images. I didn’t want to rip them from another reviewer. I will add more when I get a chance.

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