Cody & Dracula check out The South Shall Rise Again

Cody: Dracula! Hey there, Dracula.

Dracula: Blah! Blah! Blah! Oh, it's you Cody. I thought I warned you kids to stay away from my home!

Cody: Sorry, Dracula. The fact is, Justin and I really enjoyed reviewing Fury of Dracula with you in episode six. I just played a new game, and I thought you'd be really interested in it.

Dracula: Oh, what game is that? Fury of Dracula Part II, where my brother Fredo betrays me, then I pretend to make up with him, before having somebody bite him on the neck and drink his blood during a fishing trip?

Cody: Er... no. I want to talk to you about The South Shall Rise Again, a new zombie war game from Victory Point Games.

Dracula: Zombie war game! Why do you think I'd like that?

Cody: I just thought that... well... since you're a vampire... and...

Dracula: Oh, oh, I get it. You thought because I'm undead, and zombies are undead, that I must like a zombie game! Seriously, Cody, that's the worst kind of prejudice! Vampires and zombies have nothing in common.

Cody: You both bite people.

Dracula: ….tell me about the game.

Cody: The South Shall Rise Again takes place during the American Civil War, where Union troops find themselves having to battle vengeful Confederate zombies. One to four players take on the role of Union troops who must work together to survive the Confederate zombie onslaught. First, each player selects a specific Union soldier to play like Thomas Williams or Jim McPherson. Each soldier has six pistol shots, indicated by a special marker on his card. Next, each player randomly selects a rifle, as well as a unique skill marker.

Dracula: Skill markers! If I was playing the game they'd be Kill Markers! Get it? Cause I kill people. I'm Dracula, you know. Just saying.

Cody: Uh-huh. These skill markers contain special traits like Lucky, which allows a player to re-roll a dice once per turn; Slippery, which allows a player to ignore the cold hands of a zombie attempting to grapple him; and Pugilist, which gives the player an advantage in melee combat. Each player then gets dealt one heroic action card, a card with a special ability that can be used only once during the game. Then, players must select a scenario to play.

Dracula: Oh, good. I like scenarios. That way it doesn't feel like I'm playing the same game over and over again. That's a pretty crappy way to pass the centuries. Then what happens?

Cody: The scenario instructs players how to place the various zombies on the board.

Dracula: Various zombies? What'cha talking 'bout? A zombie is a zombie!

Cody: Not in The South Shall Rise Again. You have the Zeb units...

Dracula: Ha! Zebs! A play on Zeds and Rebs! That's fantastic! Don't matter if the game is good or not, I am buying it on the strength of that pun alone! Continue.

Cody: So the Zebs...

Dracula: Ha!

Cody: The Zebs are your typical zombie shamblers, not too bright, not too fast. Then, you have the Revenants, just like the Zebs but faster- they can move two spaces per turn instead of just one.

Dracula: Okay. Now I'm a little scared.

Cody: A little scared?

Dracula: Let me put it this way, it's not raining and beneath me is a puddle.

Cody: Right. Anyway, the third and most deadly category of zombie is the Glorious Undead. They're tough, they're fast, and, oh yeah, they can shoot a rifle at the Union soldiers.

Dracula: So the game controls the zombies, I take it? So the game is cooperative?

Cody: You can play cooperative or competitive, with players competing to reach the highest score. During a player's turn, he can take several actions like move, fire, reload, or move and fire. After all of the Union players have gone, it's time for the zombies to move. Using the game's AI, the Zebs move first, the Revenants second, and the Glorious Undead last. If zombies get too close, melee combat ensues. Turns alternate until either all the zombies are dead....

Dracula: You mean really dead, not the somber mockery of death that they enjoy at the beginning of the game.

Cody: ...right, really dead. Or, the Union players win if they fulfill the conditions of their scenario. The zombies win if they kill all of the players, or if the Union players cannot complete their victory conditions.

Dracula: Oooh, but are there event cards, Cody! I love events cards.

Cody: There are. Whenever doubles are rolled with the dice in ranged or melee combat, an event card is drawn and it states whether it needs to be played immediately or kept to play at the player's leisure.

Dracula: That sounds like a pretty straight forward game, Cody. What are your thoughts?

Cody: First of all, the components and hex board are all just great. I'm constantly amazed at just how good looking and functional Victory Point Games' games are. The artwork too is a lot of fun, and succeeds in placing you in this nightmare world of a uniquely grim Civil War.

Dracula: As though the Civil War wasn't grim enough already... Am I right? Am I right, folks? Seriously, is this microphone on?

Cody: A lot of the mechanics and concepts are likewise cool. I really like how you randomly pick your weapons and traits. It gives a lot of variety to this game. The same goes for the scenarios, they're quite different, and they bring more variety to the game. The event cards and heroic action cards likewise put fun spins on this game every time you play it.

Dracula: So, you really like this game?

Cody: I do, but there are some problems with it. For instance, though the game comes with several scenarios, there is only one game board. All of the other mechanics work really hard to make sure that this game doesn't become “samey,” yet that same board out there really gets old fast. One wonders why Victory Point Games didn't include modular terrain tiles, or overlays to mix things up a bit.

Dracula: Yeah, that is kind of weird. Not new Darren mid-season on Bewitched weird, just Donald Trump hairpiece weird.

Cody: There is something else. This game is a bit light. Lovers of great strategy may be a bit turned off by The South Shall Rise Again. The mechanics and game play are pretty simple. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but those expecting a heavier experience will be a tad disappointed. That said, this game is perfect for gamers who enjoy light wargames.

Dracula: So... what is your recommendation?

Cody: The South Shall Rise Again generally succeeds in creating a fun, creepy experience that meshes two genres quite well. It's a quick, engaging game, and I like it quite a bit. It's designed by John Welch, the brains behind Victory Point Games' brilliant Cruel Necessity- see episode three. With the above caveats however, I'm gonna recommend that you try it before you buy it.

Dracula: Zebs! Ha! That will never get old!