Let’s make a list of Zombie-themed (or virus-themed) tabletop games and discuss the best ones.
Here are some of the ones I can think of…
Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, the first game in this series, puts 2-5 players in a small, weakened colony of survivors in a world where most of humanity is either dead or diseased, flesh-craving monsters. Each player leads a faction of survivors with dozens of different characters in the game. Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game.
In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand. The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station.
City of Horror
City of Horror is a backstabbing survival-horror game. As in classic zombie movies, a shambling horde is invading the city. The goal is to survive the assault. (Un)fortunately, surviving often means sacrificing some of your fellow players to the undead…
Each player controls several characters with different abilities; these characters can move to various limited-capacity locations, which they can then barricade and scavenge for items and weapons. Critical situations, such as zombies breaking in and eating a character, are resolved using a vote.
The basic game mechanisms are the same as in Mall of Horror (also designed by Nicolas Normandon), but City of Horror differs in both materials and game play in a number of ways: the city map changes each game, twenty characters are included, they can use antidotes (or die), action cards become scarce as the game goes on, you can gain points with stuff other than surviving characters…
Last Night on Earth
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game is a survival horror board game that was first published in 2007. Players can play on the Hero team or as the Zombies. A modular board randomly determines the layout of the town at the start of each game and there are several different scenarios to play.
Zpocalypse is a survival board game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Two to four players start in a basement/fallout shelter which can lead out to several base locations or even through the tunnels to sewer grates throughout the transformable board. The survivors are trying to make it day to day in a world torn apart from the walking dead.
As in any survival game, one needs food, guns, ammo, and more. Players go out into the wasteland and scavenge for supplies, or perhaps to find a new gun or melee weapon to fend off the next zombie attack. In addition to gathering supplies, each player forms and controls his own squad – and each squad works to fortify the bases. Your walls and barbed wire won’t hold the dead for long, however, and they’re getting hungry.
Characters receive victory points for killing zombies, building defenses, and successfully completing goals. Victory points show who is soldiering on the best in this wasteland. The final tally of points determines the winner. Victory points also act as experience points for leveling up a character.
The game combines combat, tactics, resource collecting, character development, team play, and strategy towards the goal of surviving in the Zpocalypse!