The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
City of Horror (Asmodee Games, 2012)
Was it a cat that just kicked over that trashcan? Or was it one of those damned zombies? You and two of your friends huddle together in the bank. You can hear screams and gunfire outside. Suddenly, you hear an explosion and the wrench of steel as the waterpower collapses! The zombie hordes are massing at the doors to the bank, and they must be sated. You begin to concoct a plan, a route of escape, and suddenly you feel strong arms grabbing you and yanking you toward the door! No! No! You're friends, the people you've survived with these past few rueful days, are throwing you out to the zombies! As the undead swarm around you there's time enough to shake your fist in fury. How could they betray you… before you got to betray them?
In City of Horror, three to six players try to survive in a terrifying city torn asunder by the undead. You and a few other survivors are all that remains, and the helicopters aren't coming for another few hours. The person at the end of the game with the most surviving characters (whose victory points tally the highest) wins! But you won't get to the top without throwing a few of your buddies down along the way.
City of Horror is played on a three-dimensional board. Each player controls several characters. Players will, in secret, play a card saying where on the board they want their characters to travel. If a location on the board is full (every location has a limited amount of characters it can hold) your character is bumped out into the center of town - which is a very dangerous place to be.
Once all actions have been resolved and zombies are added to each location, it's time to sacrifice characters. A vote is taken, in secret, at every location. If you're voted out, you're thrown to the zombies. The game becomes a complicated game of survival and betrayal; you have to hold out until the helicopters arrive, but how many of your characters will remain?
There's so much more that goes into this game. More than I could explain in the gameplay mechanics. And all those extra nuances (like foraging for food, finding antidotes, and deadly explosions) add a ton of replay value to this game. The board itself is also modular. Each piece of the board has two sides to it, with two different locations. So you can always play with different town layouts. There's also a vast array of characters you can play; each character has a special ability, from the daft old man who's worth extra points to the scary little girl, and whomever you choose for your team can truly affect the game.
Oh, this is a very impressive game. I played it a while back and it's been on my mind ever since. Replaying it, I found it to be treacherous good fun. Watch out for any fragile friendships you may have; they won't last long after a game of City of Horror. But the game rewards strategy, and the player who outright outwits his opponents is the victor. Think of it like the TV show Survivor, but with bloodthirsty zombies replacing reality TV stars.