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What’s the Fascination With Zombies?

Also known as the Undead, Walkers, and the Infected, zombies are everywhere, and they’re downright creepy and captivating! (Or is it watching characters trying to fend off and/or become food for zombies that we’re so drawn to?) Well, either way, there is something weirdly fascinating about the notion of human survival amidst a world of walking corpses that make for considerable entertainment.

Perhaps you’ve pondered over the many questions that surround the risks of an apocalypse. Would you flee or stay put? What kind of survival gear would you need? Where would you get your food and resources? What do you do with your pets, and your elderly or infirmed loved ones? Would you have the guts (pun intended) to take down a single zombie, let alone a horde?

Whatever your take on survival, zombie culture and the apocalypse is intriguing because of the questions they pose. While we don’t actually live in an undead-infested world, how we view one, and even prepare for one (emergency preparedness is a real thing) is evident throughout our sphere of leisure and entertainment, including tabletop games.

Zombies in Pop Culture

If you’re a “dead head” — no, not a Grateful Dead fan — then you’re likely familiar with the zombies that have been represented in TV shows and movies over the decades.

One TV show that quickly rose to popularity and fame is AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, which just began it’s 9th season. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the show depicts the world and core characters from the comics, but is known for having its own divergent storyline, as well as original characters unique to the show. Over the course of the series, some have come and gone, succumbing to the realities of the apocalypse, and the remaining Survivors must decide how to carry forward what’s left of humanity.

Other shows portray zombies of varying sub-sets. “Fear the Walking Dead” is an off-shoot of “The Walking Dead”. Campy sci-fi and horror lovers may choose to watch “Z Nation”, “iZombie”, the “Santa Clarita Diet”, or “Ash vs. Evil Dead”, all of which inject a bit of comedy and satire. The undead even infiltrate non-mainstreamed zombie shows such as the fantasy-based “Game of Thrones”, and its ominous White Walkers.

Zombie movies date back to the early 1930’s. But it wasn’t really until 1968 when director, George A. Romero, released his first movie, “Night of the Living Dead”. It spawned the modern idea of zombies, putting its voodoo origins aside in favor of infections and other pandemic-induced beginnings. Since then, flicks such as “28 Days Later”, “World War Z”, “Zombieland”, “The Crazies”, “Shaun of the Dead”, and “The Girl with All the Gifts”, were born, all evolving from different interpretations and approaches to this iconic genre.

Zombies on the Table

There are a number of horror-related tabletop games that specifically focus on zombies. Elements of the undead, unnatural, and supernatural beings are a common component in horror gaming. There are varying degrees of zombie play, depending on your taste (for brains — aaanngghhh!). Some are cooperative-focused, where you and your fellow survivors have to work together to find resources and slay zombies. Others are more cut-throat (ha!), where it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves.

Board games include titles such as Zombicide, Last Night on Earth, Zpocalypse, City of Horror, and Dawn of the Zeds. There are also a number of tabletop games that encompass “The Walking Dead” TV Show and graphic novels.

For a 10-20 minute brain-eating fix, there’s Zombie Dice, where you are the zombie and must avoid getting shot and killed. Or there’s Escape: Zombie City, where you play against a 15-minute timer to acquire resources and get out of Dodge!

Fans of tabletop RPGs might enjoy The End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse, which includes an entire series (handbooks) of zombie survival gameplay. And there’s also Outbreak: Undead which uses a specific game system that was featured in Geek & Sundry’s show, “We’re Alive: Frontier”.

Apocalypse Prep Through Play

However you like to consume your zombie entertainment, there’s no denying that you’ll start thinking about your own survival in a zombie (or otherwise) apocalypse.

Maybe you disagree with how a group of survivors on a zombie TV show deals with other groups of survivors. Perhaps your RPG character lacks physical strength or efficiency in weapons, but is skilled in engineering. Or maybe your critical thinking is tested while playing a board game where you must decide who and what to take on a mission. What would you do to survive?

Put your skills and luck to the test! If zombies are your thing, join us this Halloween for the “Living Corpses” miniature wargame-style survival game, conjured up by our Denizen community. Set up over a few gaming tables, you’ll need to find resources and fend off the undead as you make your way through an urban setting. Call the store to reserve your spot!

And don’t forget we’ve a selection of zombie and horror games that you can come in and play during “Ghostly Game Nights” this month, and on Halloween!

But if you can’t join us for zombie gaming, you can always head to the nearest pub, have a pint, and just wait until it all blows over. Cheers!