Tiny Epic Zombies Board Game Review (Gamelyn Games)


A simple, slick zombie game that fits in a small box, Tiny Epic Zombie is everything both good and bad about Tiny Epic games. As a cooperative experience, Tiny Epic Zombie provided an interesting level of challenge that ramped up throughout the game -- and it's a game that's surprisingly replayable. With competitive modes and solo modes, it has variation enough fo any group. Unfortunately, the growth of the series still seems to be fighting its format a little. 

Tiny Epic Zombies Board Game Details

Players: 1 to 5

Game Time: 60 Minutes

Age: 14+

Genre: Cooperative / Delivery

How Do You Play Tiny Epic Zombies?

In Tiny Epic Zombies, you're trapped in a mall. In cooperative mode, the goal is to get out before the zombie boss (randomly selected) kills all of the survivors. In competitive mode, zombies play against players. In fact, there are five ways you can play the game:

  • Cooperative, against a zombie boss.
  • Cooperative, against a zombie player.
  • Competitive, against a zombie player.
  • Competitive, against a zombie boss.
  • Solo.

Either way, the zombie/survivor has special abilities. On their turn, they can move three times. At the end of each move, they can perform an action (such a killing a zombie or picking something up). They can also gain weapons, which (cutely) fit directly on the meeple, just like Tiny Epic Adventure.

You get to choose a character, and each character has both a survivor and zombie side.

Players get specific directives that they need to fulfill, such as building up a gun cache, fixing a rescue helicopter, and (of course) escaping the mall. Meanwhile, zombies have special abilities -- and, oh yeah, each "character" has both a survivor side and a zombie side. Players are also running up against a time limit and need to escape the game by a specific amount of time.

Every player has a single track with "health" to the left and "bullet"  to the right. To kill a zombie at range, they must spend a bullet. If they attack a zombie in melee, they could get injured. If their health and bullet ever meet, they die (and may be replaced by another survivor, if there are survivors available). I don't like this (oh no, I have 8 bullets but 7 injuries, guess I died), but it works.

Both survivors and zombies have special abilities and can be AI or player controlled.

As players traverse the map, they also encounter special bonuses, such as the ability to pick up more bullets.

An Adorable Game in a Small Box

When you get a weapon, that weapon fits on your meeple. You can carry two weapons at a time: melee and ranged. When you get on a motorcycle, your meeple fits inside it. Same when you get into a vehicle. Tiny Epic Games is absolutely dedicated to making cute, fun to play games that all fit inside of a small box, and that's given them the ability to get really creative with the elements that they do have.

Your goals cna change from game to game, and they do require a bit of reading.

But there are problems. The setup for Tiny Epic Games has been getting longer and longer, because these games require that you build the maps out of individual cards, shuffle a bunch of decks, and place a whole bunch of tiny little tokens. Even though the games are super easy to play, they take forever to setup -- even when you already know what you're doing.

This really isn't a game failing: it's a limitation of the format itself. You can't have a set map when you have a tiny little box; you need to have cards. And it's amazing at these games can be produced for as little as they are: $20 a piece. Yet, I always find myself thinking that I would pay more to have a game that was easier to setup.

Who can hate on a tiny machete?

This isn't that significant of a complaint. There's a lot in this box and a lot of replay value, given the different game modes, the different mission requirements, and the dynamic play. Being able to choose whether you play it cooperatively or competitively really helps. Do you have an easy-going group? Cooperative it is. Do you have a group that has a tremendous quarterbacker? Make them the zombie.

Ultimately, the Tiny Epic Games tend to be hit or miss, and this one is a hit, if only because it comes with little plastic chainsaws.

Tiny Epic Zombies Board Game Review
  • PRO: Multiple missions and game modes make this an extremely replayable game in a very small box.
  • CON: The hefty setup could scare away a lot of people, and it doesn't really get any better even when you know what you're doing.