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If you’re a fan of the paranormal, you’re going to want to carve out about 7 hours tomorrow to watch Most Haunted Live. Broadcast on the Travel Channel from 8PM EST on Friday, June 1, through 3 AM on Saturday, June 2, the MHL crew will be taking over Eastern State Penitentiary (or E.S.P.). The event will also be extended to the Internet, with multiple streaming webcams located within areas of the ESP.

This is their first US visit (as the show usually takes place in the UK), and they’ve chosen their location wisely. The visually stunning Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA, is considered one of America’s most haunted places, and has a dark and controversial history. It also hosts “Terror Behind The Walls”, one of America’s best loved, most terrifying, Halloween Haunts. (With all profits going towards preservation of the Prison. How cool is that?)

If the show gets you eager to see some real ghosts, there are plenty of Real Haunts located throughout the US. Happy ghost hunting!

Posted on May 31st, 2007 in
Halloween Entertainment by Lauren

4 out of 5 brains
zombies!!!For the zombie enthusiast, it doesn’t take long to scrape the bottom of the zombie-themed entertainment barrel. There just aren’t that many really good movies, stories, blogs, and other web content out there. Before you know it you’re watching Day of the Dead 2: Contagium and wishing the real Zompocalypse would start. So what does a zombie fan worth his machete do when craving some fresh, heart-pounding, survivalist action? Assemble a core team and hunker down for a game of Zombies!!!

You’ve probably asked yourself at least once: what would I do if the world was being overrun with flesh hungry corpses? Here’s your chance to find out, as you and your opponents try to escape the multiplying horde of the undead, get to the whirlybird, and fly off into the sunset.

Modular horror game tiles... with a Solar Corpse Light in the backgroundZombies!!! is a hybrid CCG and board game that requires strategy, a strong stomach, and a strong survival instinct. Using a modual set of board game “map tiles” the layout of your town is different every time, creating endless variations. You and your fellow humans start out in Town Square, adding tiles and expanding your playing field at the beginning of each turn. Some of these tiles contain uneventful buildings, while others are fodder for the gorgeously illustrated “event cards”. For instance, at the Sporting Goods Store you can use the Lots of Ammo card to pick up a good amount of weaponry. Action Cards... in actionThat’s been a lifesaver more than a few times for us, and the image is probably the most gory in the pack. In the Gas Station you chuck a Molotov Cocktail and get better fighting skills for a short time. Other highly useful cards include; finding a car and discovering that The Keys Are Still In It, wielding a Chainsaw for an entire turn, and maybe the funnest discovery of all: Hey Look… A Shotgun!. The artwork on these cards, done by Dave Aikins, is amazing, and is worth the $25 price all by itself. Our first couple games were particularly long since all the players were distracted with examining the artwork.

Zombies everywhere!The ever-changing board layout also sets the stage for a variant ending. Sometimes it’s impossible to lay down all the tiles and so rather than heading to the chopper, the winner is declared after killing 25 zombies. With 100 of the little grey guys included (which some people have custom painted), it’s a fun yet formidable goal. You can also opt for variant sets of rules and/or a customized card decks to create an entirely new scenario. The customization options are really endless and so many good ideas have all ready been submitted by players. For us, that’s one of the strongest features, as it means our Zompocalypse won’t veer into predictable territory and could feasibly go on forever.

Closeup of game tilesAfter our first couple games we also noticed some downsides, but nothing too terrible. Functionally speaking, the tiles are flimsy and lightweight, so they get shuffled around a bit and frequently need adjusting to put them back into their designated spaces. For this reason, having a young kid or pet in the same room isn’t advised. Due to the flexibility of the tile placement, a large table space is frequently needed, too. Sometimes a card table will do, but often a pretty large surface is needed. (We’re thinking about making a mod where we apply magnets to the back of all pieces and then place them along wall-mounted magnet strips. Does that make us crazy?)

We tested the first edition of the game (there are many expansion packs which include new cards and tiles) and another annoying factor is the amount of devious cards: too many of them can negatively affect everyone on the board. Each player’s turn adds new zombies to the town, but many event cards “allow” you to add 5, 10, or a whole bunch of extra zombies into the mix. Not that being devious isn’t a necessary evil for this game, it’s just that too many cards are used for this purpose. When you’re running low on life and bullets (which can be a very frequent occurrence), the last thing you want is to draw card after card that would further infest your city with zombies, even if that might also slow down your opponents. As cited in another review, “The strategy of the game is hidden when you first try to play. Basically, you want to hinder all of the other players from doing well, while you hold onto as many bullets and life points at the same time”. These cards are indeed useful in thwarting the other players: there are just too many of them.

Another nitpick is obvious to us because 2 of our players are female. As we went to select our game pieces we noticed only a “shotgun guy. No big surprise, especially since horror gamers are generally male, but the action cards are decidedly male-dominated, too. Of the 50 event cards, women only appear in 6 of them and none of them include any battle. In fact, they are either cowering, experiencing Claustrophobia or a Bad Sense of Direction. It smacks of wimpy 1968 Barbara instead of adaptive, shotgun-wielding 1990 Barbara from Night of the Living Dead. Hopefully future editions will have a wider range of characters featured in the artwork and playing pieces.

Players on Board Game Geek are pretty divided on Zombies!!!, but we give it 4 out of 5 brains. The variety makes it a new experience every time, and besides the game mechanics, the theme is spot on; the action cards explore so many ideas that movies have yet to depict. For zombie fans, it just doesn’t get any better. Grab yourself some snacks, pop in some Romero, and try your hand at surviving the Zompocalypse.

Buy Online At: Twilight Creations or find a killer deal at eBay.

Posted on May 9th, 2007 in
Halloween Fun, Zombies by Lauren

in case of zombies shirt at Threadless
If you visit Threadless then you know that getting a reprint of a shirt can be a long awaited event. Some designs are just really popular and sell out quickly, but even so it can take a while to reprint. That’s why when we saw the In Case of Zombies shirt reprinted as of yesterday, we snagged a couple for ourselves. Look at all the zombie bashin’ action!

PS-This shirt may help you get ready for the Zompocalypse, but you can also increase your chances of survival by creating a Zombie Preparedness Kit.

August Update: Check out this awesome reconstructed top made from the ICOZ shirt (scroll down a bit)

Posted on May 7th, 2007 in
Zombies by Lauren
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