pic1076878_md[1]By Paco Garcia Jaen

Ahh… the adorable, ever so vulnerable and hunter/lumberjack dependent Little Red Riding Hood… Such sweetness and cuteness, huh?

Well no. In this game she’s pretty tough and the zombie werewolves are in more trouble than they can imagine. I will admit to one thing: I bought this game because it has zombies in it. Pure and simple. I love zombies, even if they come in the unlikely shape of werewolves.

This production, from Twilight Creations, will see you helping Red Riding-hood and her sisters – Blue, Black, Yellow and Green Riding-hood (I know. Don’t get me started) find a way to Grandma’s home to deliver a basket of something tasty. Not sure there are lumberjacks to be seen in this game. Or hunters. But then, it doesn’t matter because Red Riding & Co. must have some sort of Special Ops training and carry all sorts of weaponry well tucked under their little baskets.

Ok… let me start properly here.

The game components. They are good. I mean, good! The box contains a single sided board, a deck of cards, a felt bag, bullet tokens, werewolves token, zombie werewolves miniatures and the Riding-hood siblings miniatures.

The quality of the components is beyond questioning. The board is pretty thick and has a lovely matt lamination that makes sure fingerprints don’t get easily imprinted on it. The deck of cards features the same lamination and they are lovely to handle. The tokens are thick and, although a bit on the small side and little bit fiddly to handle, they do the job well enough and detach well enough from the card spruce. The miniatures are gorgeous. Ignore for a second the rather sexist depiction of the Riding-hoods, the craftsmanship and quality of the miniatures is excellent. The wolves are just as good. Nice, strong material with plenty of detail in the face and the zombified skin, and the fact that they stand up correctly and easily, make them a job to play with. My only criticism, and this is just being picky, is that it would have been nice to see more than miniature model, rather than the same wolf replicated a couple of dozen times.

The box is pretty good too, though the compartment to separate the components inside the box could be a little bit better.

photoThe rules.

This is where this game goes downhill like a lead balloon in water (or pretty much any other liquid, for that matter). Let me put this succinctly: They are atrociously written. It took us a great deal more time to figure out how to play the game than to play it. They are little else than a collection of notes with as much coherence as a demented parrot.

The thing is that the game is pretty simple to play. Every round, each player gets an aid from the deck of aids cards. These aids will allow you to lay a forest tile, move them, replace them, etc. Once you’ve used that card’s benefit, you can move forward and fin a bullet token or fight a zombie werewolf. There are also your cards in your hand, of which you can use some to give you advantages, or give other players disadvantages, and see you through.

The illustrations in the cards are lovely, btw. The artwork throughout the game is really gorgeous and atmospheric enough.

Needless to say, the first player to reach granny’s home, wins the game. By then you’ll be in serious need of some cake. It’s not an experience you’ll want to repeat very often.

Conclusion

I must admit I didn’t like this game. But I must also admit that it was because getting to grips with it was such hurdle that, by the time we understood what we were doing, we were tired and weren’t sure if we’d been doing everything correctly. Also the game doesn’t play at its best with two players. It really needs more player for the backstabbing to actually have some fun effects. Otherwise the gameplay is shallow enough that you can predict what everyone will do.

The annoying thing, though, is that the game is not half bad. It’s inaccessible. If the rules were properly laid and explained, I would probably enjoy this game a lot.

Something else that bugged me is that the theme is thrown on it like a patterned plastic cover over a sofa. It adds a veneer of theme to the game, but the more you play it, the more you end up thinking “what’s the point of the zombie theme?”. Take that theme out and the game plays just the same, with the same atmosphere and the same fun (or lack of).

I must admit it is difficult to sound positive about this game, although it has some good aspects. The components are great quality and, with some people happy to screw the other players, this game could make the perfect entertainment for a group waiting for the pizzas (or curry!) waiting to be delivered.

If you are prepared to put up with the terribly written rules, or can find a different set of rules better written, and have a little bit of money spare to spend in a game and nothing else in the pipeline, this is a gam to go for. If you are easily frustrated by bad rules, stay away.

No. Further away.