A few years about I was introduced to Zombie Kidz Evolution. Initially drawn to it as a legacy game for kids, it quickly became one of my son’s favorite games. We’ve logged 25 plays of it and were able to open all the envelopes that expanded the game as we went.
Today we are looking at its sequel—Zombie Teenz Evolution. Similar concept but slightly different mechanisms. So, what’s different and is it worth picking up for you and your kids?
The broad strokes here are the same as Zombie Kidz—simple cooperative mechanisms, unlockable envelopes, and achievements to complete along the way. Story-wise you’ve progressed from keeping the zombies from infiltrating the school and instead you are now trying to gather four ingredients from around town to create a cure for the zombie plague.
Each turn a player will roll a die and if that zombie is on the board it will move clockwise to the next space. If it’s not on the board it will get added onto its colored sewer space. If a zombie reaches a building, it will overrun it. If the building it gets to, is already overrun, it will jump on a trampoline of sorts to the next building and immediately overrun it. If all four buildings are overrun, the players lose.
After the zombies do their thing, the player can take two actions. Those actions are:
- Move to an adjacent space.
- Defeat a zombie in your space.
- Transfer an ingredient crate between your hero and one in an adjacent space.
Your end goal is to get all four ingredients in the middle space. If you do so, you win!
After each game, win or lose, you get to add a sticker to the track on the back of the rulebook. If you cover up a number on the track you can open that envelope. These will add more mechanisms to the game, but I won’t ruin any of the surprises here. It never gets super complicated, just a few wrinkled to keep things lively.
There are also missions you can try to complete. Win a game without any overrun buildings, for instance. If you complete a mission you get to add another sticker to the track. When you complete a group of missions you earn an accomplishment badge which progresses you on yet another track and leads to unlocking even more goodies.
If Zombie Kidz Evolution is great, the Teenz version is fantastic. It follows mostly the same model but the gameplay itself is a little more interesting as you must try to maneuver the ingredients around the board rather than just beat up all the zombies. There is even a comic book of sorts at the beginning of the rulebook that continues to get added to so that the story expands as you open more envelopes.
When you are moving ingredient crates around you must pass them to or from an adjacent hero. This gives some more to think about since you can be most efficient but making a sort of assembly line to the middle space on the board, allowing the crate to be swiftly delivered.
But sometimes the zombies are just out to ruin your plans. And you must be willing to drop a crate for a bit to go bonk a zombie in the face with a vinyl record or something. I love the added depth here that makes the game more interesting without necessarily making it more complicated.
The progress track allows for 41 stickers so there is a ton of value here. You can easily play 30 games without unlocking everything. And once it is unlocked the game continues to be fun. That said, the joy of opening things does seem to be a driving force in getting this one to the table. Almost every session would have us playing multiple games until we made enough progress to find out what is in the next envelope.
Zombie Teenz seems to work perfectly for around my son’s age, I’d say 6-10 years old. But I’ve played with kids as young as 5 and as old as 14. While the game isn’t quite complicated enough that I would consider bringing it out for an adult game night or anything, it works well enough across most age ranges. And some of the missions can be extremely difficult so even a room full of adults might struggle to complete all of them.
A natural evolution from the Kidz version, if you will. The accomplishments and progress track allow lots of dopamine-releasing moments of getting new stuff. The missions in Zombie Teenz Evolution range all the way up to feeling very difficult, which can be fun to try to complete if you find yourself with more adults than children around the table.
And best of all, win or lose, you always get to make some progress. There is a ton of content and even after releasing everything, you’ll be able to continue to enjoy the game.
Final Score: 5 Stars – A perfect “big kids” game. Legacy-game envelopes give them a reason to want to play over and over.
• Progress and accomplishment tracks reward you with new content throughout the game.
• Story expands through comic-book like stickers you add as you go.
• Gameplay is still simple to learn and teach but a bit more depth than the Zombie Kidz version.
• Playable after you unlock everything, but probably won’t get played as often since the surprises are all gone.