Survival of the Fittest: A Preview of Bullets and Teeth

Bullets & Teeth

Currently on Kickstarter, this take-that card game is set in the zombie apocalypse. Outrun your opponents to be the last player standing.

Gameplay

The goal of the game is to be the last player still alive. One player is chosen to take the bait card and he takes the first turn. There are two decks. One is the Bullets deck from which players draw five cards each at the start of the game. The other deck is the Teeth deck.

On your turn, you draw one card from the Bullets deck and draw another card from the Teeth deck. A Teeth card will either be a zombie, in which case you add it to the horde area in the center of the table, or a location. There can only be one location active at a time, so if you draw a new one, you play it, discarding any previous location. Locations always have rules affecting different aspects of the game and usually make it harder to survive. Some zombies also have special abilities that you must follow when adding them to the horde area such as drawing more Teeth cards or taking the bait card if you do not currently have it.

After drawing the Teeth card, you may play from your hand. Each Bullet card is one of three types. If you are not currently the bait, then you may only play one card on your turn. However, if you are bait, you may play as many of one type of bullet card as you choose (unless you have the duct tape card, which allows you to switch card types).

Once you are done playing your cards, if you are bait and it’s your turn then the zombies in the horde area attack you. If you have not killed or stopped them from attacking you, you die and are out of the game.

Whether you survived or not, if you are bait, at the end of your turn you pass the bait card to the player on your right. After your turn, regardless of whether or not you are bait, play passes to the player on your left.

The game continues until there is only one player left alive.

Bullets & Teeth cards

Review

Built on the premise that all you have to do in order to survive the zombie apocalypse is outrun the other guy, Bullets and Teeth understandably is full of take-that opportunities and throwing your opponents under the bus.

The bait mechanic is original and fun and you certainly feel the pressure when you have it. Some of the Teeth cards you can play when you're not bait will also add more zombies to the horde, which can seem like an excellent idea until the bait card comes around to you and you’re suddenly faced with battling a boatload of zombies. Situations like this lead to some of the best moments of the game and are a large part of what makes it so much fun.  

If you’re unlucky enough to have a bad draw, it is possible to be out of the game on your first turn if you’re bait, which can certainly be frustrating. A house rule of being able to mulligan in those circumstances avoided that issue for us however, and the game is so quick that you’ll be back in and playing another round soon enough. (Update: the publisher has confirmed that a mulligan rule will be included in the final version of the game.)

There are a lot of zombie games out there, but it’s a theme that never gets old and on top of that this one really does feel fresh. Each game is fast and light. If you’re a fan of take-that games, check it out on Kickstarter.

Pros: Quick gameplay, the bait mechanic is different and fun, great for take-that fans

Cons: Players can be eliminated very early due to bad luck (but this will be fixed for the final version)

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.