The dead are walking and hungry for brains. Shutter the windows, barricade the door and load your shotgun.
Oh, and this round draw three and play two.
"Zombie Fluxx," a card game from the appropriately-named Looney Labs, is based off the popular and zany "Fluxx," an ever-changing card game that begins simple and ends up insane.
"Zombie Fluxx" takes the base game one shuffling step forward, adding in iconic images from zombie and horror movies and a new kind of card to liven (pardon the pun) up the mix.
"Zombie Fluxx" was named "Best Card Game" at this year's Origins Game Fair in Columbus and has been a top seller for Looney Labs since it was released in 2007.
The basic game of "Zombie Fluxx" is the same as regular "Fluxx." Players have four main kinds of cards - Rules, Goals, Actions and Keepers. Actions force players to do things; Rules change or add to the rules of the game, such as hand size or the number of cards played and drawn each turn; Keepers are items placed in front of a player; and Goals determine what a player has to do to win the game, usually based on the Keepers in-play or out-of-play.
But Andy Looney, owner of Looney Labs and creator of "Fluxx," said a game based on zombies needed something extra, some sort of mechanic to represent the threat of the undead.
"Originally zombies were going to be Keepers, but that didn't really fit with the theme," he said. "At the end of the day, zombies are not Keepers because you really don't want them. I had to create a whole new kind of card for the game."
Enter the Creeper. Creeper cards can move between players, and there are certain ways to "kill" zombies in the game, but for the most part a player gets stuck with a Creeper. Most Goals of the game don't allow the player possessing the Creeper card to win, reflecting those unfortunate enough to be turned into or pinned down by zombies, Looney said.
"The Creeper cards really change how the game is played. There is a whole new level of strategy we really weren't expecting when we first came up with the idea," he said.
So why take a relatively light and carefree game like "Fluxx" and turn it into a game about zombies?
"I don't like zombies," Looney said. "I've never been much of a horror fan myself. It was the people around me who kept saying 'We've got to do zombies!' So I did."
Looney said he didn't do much research to prepare for the game, but did refer to a few classics of the zombie genre.
"I sat down and watched 'Night of the Living Dead,'" he said. "A lot of my design was based off that."
Afterwards, "Zombie Fluxx" seemed to take on an un-life of its own, he said.
"It was a very rapid production," Looney said. "The actual production of the game probably took around three to four months."
The addition of the Creeper cards also has become a feature of some new "Fluxx" variants, and likely will be a part of any new "Fluxx" games in the future, he said.
"Our upcoming 'Monty Python Fluxx' also will use the Creeper cards," Looney said. "Generally they prevent you from winning unless the Goal says you need them to win. It just adds an extra twist to the game."
"Zombie Fluxx" contains 100 cards and retails for about $16. For more information on "Zombie Fluxx" or other Looney Labs games, visit www.looneylabs.com. For more game reviews and discussion, visit my blog at http://merb101.livejournal.com.