Zombie Kidz: Evolution [Mini]

Base price: $25.
2 – 4 players.
Play time: 5 – 15 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
Logged plays: 14

Full disclosure: A review copy of Zombie Kidz: Evolution was provided by Hachette Boardgames / Scorpion Masqué.

I’ve only reviewed a handful of legacy games, which is interesting. I think my original format didn’t work quite as well for them, since I wanted to enumerate over everything and that’s just not really possible with the legacy format without spoiling everything. So, to address that, I’m just leaving out Setup and Gameplay! We love the mini-review format. I’ll tell you a bit about how the game plays but leave the rest up to your discovery! That should work pretty well. So what legacy game are we checking out this week? As you might have guessed from the title, it’s Zombie Kidz: Evolution! Let’s see what’s happening.

In Zombie Kidz: Evolution, you’re in a bit of a bind. Zombies are overrunning your school! On the plus side, class is cancelled. On the minus side, you really don’t want to get bit. Each round, zombies will come into the school and you have to push them out and lock all four gateways. Unfortunately, you’re a kid[z] with tiny arms, so you need at least one other person to help you seal that gate! As you fight off the zombies, new challenges, missions, and upgrades will unlock, and the game will keep building up! So get your friends, complete some missions, and try your best to save the school! Will you be able to fight off the hordes? Or is school out forever?


Player Count Differences

The major thing you’ll notice is that at higher player counts, you’ll suddenly have an entirely different board! The board has a day side and a night side, and one side is the two-player side. You’ll notice which one is the two-player side because it has openings between the four rooms (whereas the three+-player side closes those connections, so you can only get between rooms via the center red room or the outside). While it means that it’s harder for players to get from one place to another at higher player counts, you do only need two players to close a gateway, so it’s easier to actually get the victory condition. The challenge is that with more players, more zombies get added between turns, so if you try to do the territorial thing where everyone covers a few rooms and doesn’t move much, you run the risk of a room getting overrun between your turns and you getting locked out. Personally, I love how snappy a two-player game is. More players isn’t a problem, but I do like being able to run everywhere and do everything I need, even if it’s hard to get every gateway closed. I don’t have strong player count recommendations for Zombie Kidz: Evolution, as a result! Just a lot of fun at every count.


  • Pincer movements help a lot! You don’t really want players to all move through the same room (unless that room keeps filling up between turns). At low player counts, having players move from one side of the board to the other can clear out a bunch of rooms, which can be helpful. You just need to make sure you hit a room before it fills up with too many zombies and you can’t get in anymore (3+ zombies effectively seals a room).
  • Generally, try to eliminate at least one zombie per turn. You add one zombie per turn, so you’d like to effectively preserve the status quo of the game so that you don’t get knocked out. Plus, as you seal the gateways, you’ll eliminate the zombies in those spots, so you might be able to get ahead of the curve. Sometimes you’ll even roll a blank and spawn no zombies, which is even better.
  • Sometimes it’s better to knock out zombies than it is to lock down a gateway. If too many zombies are going to seal a room, it’s better to go take care of them and then go back for the gateway than it is to seal the gateway. That said, that’s not always true.
  • It also might be worth pushing a bit on the game to try and complete a mission rather than just winning outright. Some of the missions require specific gameplay outcomes in order to achieve them, and as a result, you might want to prioritize that over winning the game as soon as it’s possible to do so. That’s risky, granted, since you might end up losing if you’re not careful, but achieving missions lets you open envelopes faster, so trade-offs.
  • If you need to protect any room, it should be the red one. It’s critical at higher player counts since it’s the only pathway between different parts of the school (other than the outside gateways, but zombies don’t usually spawn there), but even at lower player counts it’s the way to cut diagonally across the school more quickly. If that fills up with zombies, you can find yourself pretty stuck.
  • The game has a few surprises, so don’t just assume you can always do the same thing and achieve the same outcome. It’s not just rolling the dice that might surprise you! You never know how the things in those mysterious envelopes might change the game. That said, the changes they make are generally giving you a boost and giving the enemies a boost as well, so it nicely maintains the difficulty level (but increases the complexity gradually). You’ll just need to change up your strategy somewhat if you want to stay ahead of the zombies!

Pros, Mehs, and Cons


  • The art style is super cute! It’s very kid-friendly despite being zombies. They’re not going for a horror vibe in the art; they’re going more for a like, cool and confident kids can solve any problem kind of vibe, which is great for younger players. Plus, it’s got a diverse cast with fun “weapons”. I’d watch a show about these kids.
  • The game plays extremely quickly. I mean, a loop of the core game is maybe 15 minutes? It’s definitely a game geared towards newer gamers, which is kind of ideal, but they don’t need to focus for a long time for a full game, either.
  • This is a very approachable game for the whole family. The rules are fairly simple, the core gameplay loop is quick as well! The game gradually increases in complexity, as I keep mentioning, but the gradual increases aren’t too intense.
  • I really appreciate that even losing a game helps you get closer to unlocking the next mission. That’s especially nice for a cooperative legacy game. It’s not so much whether you win or not as much as you played a game to completion. Granted, you can only complete missions if you win, so it’s still good to win; it’s just not required.
  • I also really like that while this is a “legacy” game, the game hasn’t appeared to be irrevocably changed, so far. Unless I bothered explaining all the rules changes in the envelopes, you can still play the core basic game pretty easily, without much fluff or circumstance. So far, legacy game, yes, but not one that destroys the initial or core gameplay loop.
  • Adding new rules and such is a lot of fun! They also get pretty quirky and interesting. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen so far! Like I said, it’s not really a difficulty increase so much as it is a gentle complexity increase, and that’s perfect for a game of this type.
  • I also appreciate that all of the add-ons have their envelope on them so that you can largely put them back if you’d like. That’s just nice if you wanted to pass this along or start from scratch and re-unlock things. Or if you’re just an organized person, I suppose.


  • It’s not the worst thing, but the early game is a bit basic. Thankfully, that changes a bit once you start opening envelopes. The complexity curve increases gradually, but the game remains fun the whole time.


  • I didn’t love that some of the missions are player count-specific. As we say in the business, who even has more than {INSERT_NUMBER} friends? It doesn’t mean that you can’t open all the envelopes; it just means that you can open them faster if you play with more people. I think in an ideal world, this would be a game that you have at the house and play with people who stop by, not really a game you travel with, so then you could check those off fairly quickly.

Overall: 8.5 / 10

Overall, I’ve long held that Scorpion Masqué pretty much does not miss, and this seems to hold true with Zombie Kidz: Evolution! I really like this game, and I’ve been having a blast trying the various new challenges that unlock over the course of play. I’m not as sold on some of the missions requiring certain player counts (just because I tend not to play a ton of games with a variety of player counts), but I understand why they exist; you get a fuller perspective on the game with more players. That said, everything from the diverse cast to the fun and boisterous art style to the approachable gameplay really works, here. It’s a great introduction to legacy-style gameplay for new players, and honestly, even as an “experienced gamer” (whatever that means), it’s still a super fun game to just spend ten or fifteen minutes powering through. I played a chunk of the core game over the better part of a weekend as my “wind down” game, and we loved it. I’ll be excited to check out Zombie Teenz next, to see how that compares, but what a fun time. What I love most about it is how gradually the game eases you into its complexity. It’s getting more challenging, for sure, but you’d hardly notice after fourteen games! I’m a big fan. If you’re looking for a great introductory legacy game, you’re wanting to include the whole family in your gaming, or you just want to take down some zombies, I’d highly recommend Zombie Kidz: Evolution! It’s been a great time.

If you enjoyed this review and would like to support What’s Eric Playing? in the future, please check out my Patreon. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s