Creak….. Creak….. Drag…. Thump, Drag….. Thump. The noise grows closer as you hear ragged breath emanating from whatever is getting closer. You peak through the slit in the door frame and see a human forming moving closer to you. Limping along, it is misshapen you can tell from the back light. Trying not to make a sound, the hair on the back of your neck stands up as you know something isn’t right. A chill runs down your spine as it just keeps coming. How does it know you are in there? You feel around for anything you can find as a weapon, trying to not make a sound. Finally it moves in the light coming through a window from the moon.
Hollow eyes stare at your location, flesh hangs from its face and hands. Dried blood covers its clothes and it skin is grayish, rotted and you can start to smell the stink of a…. dead body. Suddenly, you notice more figures moving your way…. The same slow gate, and you realize they are there to help you. Panic rises and your breath grows shallow. What are you going to do, it’s almost at the door. You feel something round, wooden… a bat? You grip it tight, waiting for it to open the door.
Publisher: Van Ryder Games
Game Designer: A.J. Porfirio
Artwork: Gary Simpson, Aaron Wong
Players: 1 – 2
Ages: 14 to adult
Playing Time: 30 – 60 Minutes
Game Mechanics: Co-operative play, Card/Battle Driven, Campaign
Contents: Zombie deck (55 cards,) fate deck (41 cards,) six character cards, 50 tokens, 3 scenario cards, 2 turn reference cards, 1 zombie ability reference card, scenario book and rule book.
Suggested Retail Price: $30.00
Parental Advisory: Theme not safe for kids however, there is no blood or gore. The card art is the only real issue here.
If I am Going Down… by Van Ryder Games is the first DCG (Dying Card Game) at least that I know of on the market. What does this mean? It means you will die playing this game. No two ways about it. That is definitely a new marketing position if I have ever seen one. Being a able to play as a solo or a co-op with another play is a nice new twist as well. Also a nice feature is the fact that is scenario driven. You can play with or without the scenario book and even create your own scenarios.
In If I’m Going Down…, you place cards in set pattern and battle zombies as they move closer to you. Each character cards has unique abilities and operates better with certain weapons than others. You start the game with 3 items/weapons and can search for more on your turn to upgrade so to speak or ditch weapons which are no longer of any use. Most of the zombies are generic but some have special abilities that make it harder to kill and some pop up right next to you. The object of the game is to see how many zombies you can kill before they finally kill you.
When I first played this game, I found it to be fun but something that could very easily get old quickly. The first game I played was about 60 minutes and then I found a couple things I was doing wrong with not paying enough attention to the symbols on the zombie cards for effect. Then I played again right after that and the game never ended. Two hours in. and I am killing everything in site over and over again. I finally had to leave for a meeting otherwise I could have been there a very long time.
If I’m Going Down… is a well thought out game for the most part. It’s a bit of very cool and a bit of meh. I can see where A.J. has a great head for game design. He did extremely well in designing the components. The resources cards are double sided and very easy to understand and give you all the info you need while playing. The rule book is very well done. The scenarios are well done as well and the fact that you can create your own help with re-playability if you want to invest the time. Otherwise, this doesn’t have a ton of re-playability. It does suffer from the feeling of just going through the motions doing the same thing over and over again. However, it’s a very solid effort, with a few different zombies thrown in, and maybe a variant that increases the overall decision making, then this game becomes a whole lot better. Right now it’s basically a hack and slash card game that has great potential.
The other issue I had was the character movement. Can they? It isn’t listed as an action yet it is referenced in the rule book. I figured it should be an action, so I used the same movement as a zombie. One space per turn. This needs to be clarified unless of course I missed it.
Like I said before, the components are well done both in ease of use, structure and materials. The art work is good, but could be better. Being the first game, I am sure budget may have had a bit to do with this. A.J. included a spacer on the back of the rule book to help keep the card rows straight. That was a great idea to be included. There were a lot of little touches A.J. thought of that many designers and publishers don’t.
Over all, If I’m Going Down… is a decent game that is best suited to people who are zombie fanatics, love solo games and really like hack and slash. It’s not a must have game, but it isn’t bad either. It’s a very solid first (I believe) effort from Van Ryder Games. Based on what I have seen here, I am excited to see what else they bring to the table as they show great promise for future games.
I am giving this game 6 out of 10 stars.
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