On Saturday night, Pete, Colin, Mike, Jeff and I gathered for a relaxing night of board games. We started off with Settlers of Catan - great game - but the real story of the night was what must have been the most inept game of Zombies!!! ever played.
For those unfamiliar with Zombies!!!, the game attempts to recreate the plot and atmosphere of a typical zombie film. A group of desperate survivors stands in the middle of a city overrun with shambling, flesh-eating zombies; they must find a way to escape the city before they're devoured by the mindless but deadly creatures.
The players start off in the town square; each turn, a new section of the city is revealed, either a street or building of some sort. The last section of the city to be revealed is the helicopter pad. The first player to reach the helicopter escapes; the rest are left behind to their fate.
As it happened, I took the first turn. I dashed into the street to fight my first zombie. The odds of winning hand-to-hand combat with one of the game's zombies really aren't that bad; you roll a 6-sided die to determine your fate. If you roll 4-6, you win and add the zombie to your collection; 1-3, and you lose one of three bullets or one of three hearts. Once you enter combat with a zombie, you must continue until one of you is vanquished; if you lose your last heart, you die.
I promptly rolled between 1-3 six times in a row. Thus, I died right before the horrified eyes of my fellow protagonists only seconds into the game. In zombie movie terms, I had become the disposable character used in the opening moments to show just how dire the zombie threat is.
There was much laughter as I placed my token back in the starting square, symbolically introducing a new character to the game/film.
But I wasn't the only one short on luck that night. Defying all probability, each of us stumbled our way through the game, consistently rolling ones, twos and threes, with the occasional four or five mixed in. We hobbled from square to square, zombies feasting on our flesh at will. I died at least five times; most of us died three times. Mike held out the longest, but eventually he too would face the horror and humiliation of being forced back to the town square. It got to the point that I was crying with laughter, and my voice took on that high-pitched squeal of complete loss of self-control.
In the end, Jeff's third or fourth avatar managed to fight his way into the chopper and leave the rest of us sad sacks behind to a well-deserved fate. Were the story of that particular game indeed transformed into a film, it would have been as if the Keystone Kops or perhaps Pauly Shore and Carrot Top were fighting off the zombie hordes. Action heroes, we were not.