Thoughts on Last Days: Zombie Apocalypse
I really enjoy the look and feel of this indie miniatures game from Ash Barker. It combines the best aspects of survival horror and skirmish gaming with easy access and simple rules. Like most skirmish games, each player controls a core group of figures and they, in most cases play a scenario where each player tries to accomplish their objectives while denying their opponent success (and in this game’s case, not get eaten by zombies).
Mechanically, the game uses ideas from several different systems, but rather than feeling like a cobbled together amalgam of parts, it blends the different parts into an extremely fun, quick playing game. It’s set on a 28mm scale (the same scale as Warhammer 40,000, bolt action, and a slew of other games) and is set in a modern environment. The modernity means that terrain can come from a variety of sources, and you can find accessories and other parts in unexpected places, (Diecast cars from dollar stores for the win).
With a 40 page rulebook (so far, I am sure that there are other things that might get added in before it hits an official print run), the game focuses on scenario driven play that lends itself to a campaign model without having to reinvent the system. Some skirmish games do campaign play very well (This is Not a Test, for example) but other skirmish games struggle with campaign play ( I Like Malifaux, but the game doesn’t feel right for a campaign style game). Last Days scenarios link very easily into a campaign model and the game almost feels like it wants to be in a campaign all the time.
One of the upsides of the skirmish style game is that it takes up a significantly smaller amount of tablespace than a war game takes up. With the rules suggesting a 3 foot by 3 foot playmat as the playing surface, a game can be played on a kitchen table without needing a specific, dedicated play area. It also doesn’t define a specific type of environment (I can easily see playing this game in an isolated farmstead, an urban environment, an S-Mart, the possibilities are staggering) so as a player buying into it, you can be reasonably sure that the terrain you pick up can be used for Last Days.
The other upside for a new player buying in at the 28mm scale is that there are models from a wide range of manufacturers. It’s a system neutral decision so far, as it doesn’t seem like there are any Official Last Days ™ miniatures, (yet). The breadth of that means that a player can do some very specific modeling to get their survivors looking exactly how they want.
I would love to get a better look under the hood of the system, but we’ll have to see how Ash takes it to market. I’ll cover some more detailed thoughts on the game system and how it plays next time, but I very much like the look and the feel of Last Days.
If you’re looking to check out Ash’s initial demonstration with a playthrough of the game, check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMWiRXoLhdI . Game on, Gamers.