As many of you know, we recently reviewed the Steve Jackson Game, Zombie Dice. Around the same time one of our writers also was given Martian Dice designed by Scott Almes and published by Tasty Minstrel Games.
These games look almost Identical. Similar cans, both games come with 13 customized six-sided dice. With similar packaging and similar mechanics let’s see who comes out on top.
Zombie Dice begins with shaking the can and pulling out 3 dice. The dice come in 3 difficulties: Green contains 1 shotgun, Yellow contains 2 shotguns, and Red contains 3. As you roll the dice (chase victims) you either eat their brains, they run off, or fight back. If you get 3 shotguns, your turn is over and all your brains are lost. Your zombie dies. You can choose to stop your turn early of course, but humans are greedy….so zombies probably are too. The First player to 13 brains wins.
Martian dice begins with a player taking all 13 dice and rolling them at 1 time. The player separates out the tank die, and then chooses which of the others dice shown to keep: Death Rays to destroy Tanks, Humans, Cows, and Chicken(obviously to take back to mars and probe….over and over again). You gain points by the amount of earthlings you collect. However, if you have less Death Rays than Tanks, you lose all of your points. Just like Zombie dice you can choose to end your turn early, but only if you have more Death Rays, than Tanks.
The mechanics are similar for sure. I assumed they would be near clones and play the same. Zombie Dice, however, was the clear winner and the favorite of the 2. The real fun of these types of games is the Push-Your-Luck aspect. You have to decide before rolling each set of dice whether you want to take the risk of rolling another time. In Zombie Dice there is a clear ‘bust’. Every time you go to pull 3 more dice you’re nervous you’re going to pull a red dice, so you’re counting how many of each color dice you have rolled and whether you want to try to get more brains. Martian Dice really fell short on the Push-Your-Luck part of the game. When we were playing almost no one stopped early on their turn. In Zombies you knew if you chose wrong your whole world would explode and you would lose your points, that imminent sense of risk was lost in Martians.
The packaging was almost exactly the same other than the cover art. The cardboard cans are kind of lame in my opinion because as you open and close the cans you start to curl up the edges. This is only after about a weeks worth of use. You can’t really expect much from games with a price point like this AND including custom die.
I would say that the custom dice from Martian were better. The quality of dice were the same but the theme art was a little more detailed. The instructions are pretty straight forward, which is good since they are just crammed into a can and will probably get destroyed quickly. It may have been the mechanics, but there were less questions about game play from Zombie after reading the instructions than Martian.
Preferred Game: Zombie Dice is the clear winner. Martian Dice may have slightly better component art, but Zombies are so hot right now the theme is preferable. Even with components games are not really about art and components they about fun and playablility. Zombie Dice will keep you coming back, playing round after round. There will be shouts and curses to the gods of luck and prosperity as they slap you down and you get 3 shotguns on all green dice, causing you to lose those precious points.
If you only have enough money to buy 1 game contained in a cardboard soda can. Pick up