||I'm going to just review Outbreak! here.
Warning, contains spoilers
To start at the beginning, it's a well laid out, easy to navigate PDF, with the information you need where you would logically expect it to be. The maps of the house are clear too. These may seem like minor things, or indeed what you would expect, but I have seen quite a few examples where this is not the case.
The atmosphere is good. With a couple of exceptions, zombie films have always been an American genre, and from the characters to the gameleader's speeches, it feels like a fifties b movie.
The cinematic feeling begins with the opening narration and carries on from there. Indeed, when the bus swerves off the road avoiding a strange little girl (and killing any unused characters) you know that you're in for one heck of a ride.
And indeed it was a veritable rollercoaster. We arrived at the House in the Woods after a quick stroll through the woods. A stroll that was only briefly interrupted by the appearance of a zombie hunter. Indeed we were feeling pretty confident when we started investigating the house. Maybe a little over confident…
Indeed, for a while, all was calm and quiet. Dare I say… too quiet? Things were going well as we investigated the garage. We found weapons to defend ourselves with… Even the zombie cook didn't worry us too much. But you've seen these films before, right? You know what's coming up…
Just before we checked out the attic, John Otto headed back to the bus to fix it up and refuel it. I know, that was a big mistake. Partially it was a case of 'Real Life Writes the Plot' because his player had to leave at that point, but even so…
It was in the attic where it all started to go wrong. Tell me, have you ever worried about grey squirrels? You might not like them, and think of them as 'rats with fluffy tails' but worry about them? Of course you haven't. You will… believe me… you will…
Belle got scratched. We didn't worry too much, and checked out the bunker. It was while we were down there that Belle… turned. I fled, scrambling through the trap door in the ceiling. I know, I shouldn't have left the poor little girl (Mary) behind…
I arrived back in the living room only to find that giving Belle the frickin' chainsaw… had been a mistake, and while we played tag around the dining table, Mary had been turning her dear little teddy bear into a grenade…
Belle chased me up into the attic. As I got near the kitchen, I got a very strong smell of gas, and also scratched. I got up the ladder and slammed the trap door. Somehow I managed to get the dormer window open and leapt across to the garage roof. Hurt, but still mobile, I dropped to the ground. Just as I did, the house went up in a huge fireball. And then I stood up. but it was too late, for I too had joined the walking dead.
So yes, we'd all died, except, perhaps for Mary, but we'd had a great time doing it, and besides, it's a zombie flick. What did you expect, that we'd drive off into the sunset?
Reading through the scenario, I realise we'd missed out on the endgame, which was a shame, because it looks good.(Zombie scouts? Oh yes.)
Alright, so it's a fun game, and it feels really cinematic, but how does it play? How hard is it to pick up the system? Almost surprisingly easy, and indeed the point of the bus crash is, apart from setting the atmosphere and getting rid of the unused characters, is as a gentle introduction to how it works. The key to it all is finding imaginative uses for the cards that make up your character's abilities and equipment. As systems go, it is both simple and flexible, and after a few turns, you'll find that it has clicked.
[4 of 5 Stars!]