Run For Your Lives! A Preview of Nightmare Forest: Dead Run

Nightmare Forest: Dead Run

Aw, a cute little bunny…that’s trying to eat you. As is the zombie groundhog over there and that zombie moose. It seems your fun evening of camping has turned sour and you and your friends have to race out of the forest and to safety! But where zombies are involved, it’s everyone for themselves and only one of you can make it out of the Nightmare Forest alive — coming soon to Kickstarter.

Game Play

Players are racing to be the first one out of the forest. The forest is built by laying out sets of seven forest cards, one set for each player. Each player has a character that will ‘travel’ along the set of cards, facing steadily more deadly zombies that must be fought in order to reach safety.

On your turn, you may search for gear and/or attack the next zombie blocking your way, and keep doing so until you run out of attack dice. Before each fight, you choose how many of your attack dice you want to use. You can also use weapons to improve your chances. If you roll less than the zombie’s defense, you lose the fight and gain a wound. All the dice you rolled are discarded after the fight. If you roll equal to or higher than the zombie’s defense, you’ve successfully defeated it and may move closer to the edge of the woods and keep one of the dice you rolled. If a player gains five wounds, his character dies and he is out of the game.

Players can also slow each other down by throwing unwanted gear cards at any player ahead of them in the forest. The player who was targeted then has to roll to see if the noise has attracted a zombie to her space, which she must fight before she can continue on through the forest.

Nightmare Forest: Dead Run

Review

This game really does capture the feeling of running through the woods and we loved how the forest was set up. We enjoyed how the ‘everyone for themselves’ aspect was implemented. The ability to attract zombies to other players’ locations was useful, but the fact that it cost a gear card meant you had to weigh your choice carefully. Also the rule that you could only do it to players that were ahead of you gave stragglers a nice chance to catch up.

Each die has a 2/3 chance of rolling a hit against a zombie, so as long as you’re willing to spend the attack dice, you’re unlikely to run into turn after turn of bad rolls. However, player elimination is still an issue, and we had one player spend a third of the game dead. We did like that it was possible for everyone to lose, as once only one player is alive they have a limited amount of time to make it out of the forest before everyone is declared the loser. This prevents the game from dragging on too long if too many players are eliminated.

There were one or two rules that we were initially confused by, but after contacting the publisher we learned that these points had already been clarified — so this shouldn’t be an issue in the final game.

The artwork is great, and the components in the prototype were excellent quality. Our group also appreciated that there are an equal number of female and male character cards.

We had a lot of fun with this game and everyone wanted to play it again. There were a lot of interesting strategic gambles players have to make and the press-your-luck element is extremely well implemented, while the animal zombies are fantastic and give the game a fun twist.

If you’re looking for a press-your-luck dice game that has a little bit more to it, you should definitely check out the Kickstarter campaign for Nightmare Forest: Dead Run starting January 28, 2016.

Pros: Great use of theme, nice artwork, fun and strategic gambles, feels like wandering through a forest

Cons: Player elimination, players’ location in the forest is not intuitive

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.