When the guys over at Ambush Alley Games sent me a copy of their new game, Ambush Z, I was initially sceptical. Not at the quality of the product. Having read, reviewed, and loved, the original Ambush Alley game, I knew this would be a quality publication. However, I had to wonder if throwing a few zombie rules into Ambush Alley really warranted a full new game and the $20 sticker price?

How wrong I was. Although Ambush Z uses the same basic mechanics that have helped make Ambush Alley so popular, it is, in fact, a wholly different game. Whereas the original game focused on groups of trained soldiers manoeuvring quickly to bring maximum firepower to groups of insurgents, attempts to use these same tactics in Ambush Z will quickly result in the soldiers being torn limb-from-limb. You see, in Ambush Z, every time the soldiers fire, more zombies appear. Not only that, the more zombies that appear the tougher they become and the harder they are to kill. Things can get out of hand in a hurry.

So, instead, the soldiers (or cops, or zombie plague survivors) must move quickly and quietly. They must hold their fire until just the right moments, focusing on zombie groups that are directly in their path and hopefully slipping past the rest. It is very much a game of cat and mouse.

Although these rules probably could have been crammed into a small supplement, the authors luckily decided to take it one step further. They have included rules for no less that four different “breeds” of zombie, not counting zombie dogs. These zombie types include rotting corpses, the classic slow zombies, the more modern fast zombies, and “Dexters” which are like zombie masters. The inclusion of Dexters allows the game to be played on more than one level. In these games, the zombies act more like a co-ordinated force. These games tend to result in more firepower, as the living attempt to take out the Dexters before they are surrounded.

Included along with all of these new rules is a simple, but compelling storyline. Basically, the first world came out of the zombie plague all right, but the third world is a mess, which neatly explains why special forces are often dropping into zombie infested areas. The game does betray its origins a little in that 2 of the 4 sample scenarios are set in occupied Iraq!

Although the Ambush Z rulebook does repeat some of the basics of the original, it is mostly new and necessary material. Once again I was thoroughly impressed with this product and fully recommend it to anyone who thinks they might have even the slightest interest in running zombie games. Also, Ambush Z has very strong solo play capability.