If you were born prior to 1999 then, congratulations, you have survived about four different apocalypses! It’s a major feat, knowing that you have overcome the end of the world through major computer malfunctions, flu epidemics, Mayan end-of-the-world prophecies, and some weirdo back in 2010 who kept changing the date around.
However, with the future so bright we might have to wear shades, we’ve set up our fallout shelter with some of the best training available: Board games! Some of these titles let you work together with your fellow man, or have you both fight over the last little scrap. A couple of these games let you do both, making them perfect simulators for when things go horribly awry. Sit back, enjoy your canned rations, and let’s talk about the five board games that will get you through the apocalypse – whatever that might be.
End of the World Scenario: Everything’s frozen over
Skills: Scavenging, rebuilding humanity, and not freezing to death
In Arctic Scavengers, you are part of the remaining 10% of humanity after Global Cooling has done its dirty work. In this deck building card game, you have to learn the value of scavenging for food, resources, and finding the refugees who have also survived this never ending Portland winter. The goal of the game is to have the biggest group of survivors in your gang (deck) at the end of fourteen turns. While you might win some people over with charm and good looks, most people are looking for things such as “having a lot of weapons” or “first aid supplies” or “food,” and you’ll be expected to supply these things. So, clearly: The guy with the best toys and the most friends wins. Who said society would change after the apocalypse?
Pandemic Legacy (Season 1)
End of the World Scenario: Evolving super virus
Skills: Resource management, travel, washing your hands, and getting your shots
In Pandemic – be it Cthulhu or Iberia flavored – players are tasked with finding and destroying one of four super viruses before it becomes an international pandemic and destroys everyone. Each player is assigned a role, be it Chemist or Transportation Expert, and is forced to work together to gather samples and treat the infected before things get too hairy. The Legacy version of the game teaches players not only resource management, crisis control, and teamwork, but a very important lesson: There will always be another super-duper H1Nerd1 virus right around the corner. The game evolves much like a super virus itself, shifting how things work each time you play, forcing you – a future survivor of the virus – adaptability. Also, wash your hands.
End of the World Scenario: Things went kaboom and now there’s a faction war
Skills: Resource management, combat experience, and not pissing off the Mutants Union
Maybe the apocalypse wasn’t from everything getting cold or a virus breaking loose. Perhaps, instead, your Fallout fanfiction came to life and the bombs went off! That’s where 51st State comes in. In this deck building and resource management game, you’ve become the head of a gang in the post-apocalypse. Your gang (be it the Mutant’s Union or New York) and your rivals are vying for the same thing: Enough power and control to declare yourself a state. Basically, king of the hill but with a higher chance of Radroaches. 51st State does a great job teaching players how to either become a future warlord or how to build a functioning society out of the rubble. Really, both of those are pretty solid strategies when everything’s irradiated and terrible.
Last Night On Earth
End of the World Scenario: Zombies, and lots of them
Skills: Not dying via zombie
The zombie apocalypse, as shown in Walking Dead or 28 Days Later (or TableTop), is two parts terrible and one part kind of awesome. Still, we don’t all have the engineering skills of Ash Williams or the tenacity of Rick Grimes. That’s where Flying Frog’s Last Night on Earth comes in. Featuring scenarios such as “find gas and get out of town” and “trapped in a dilapidated farm house,” this game makes a great training simulator for when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and – whoops – the dead have started walking the earth! Each turn, players move around the board collecting what they need – be it firearms, keys, or gas canisters, all while dodging and shooting at the undead hordes that surround you. If you were unlucky enough to have already turned, you STILL get some great training for the apocalypse, as you’ll also be hunting for what your new zombified self needs: Brains, brains, and brains.
Dead of Winter
End of the World Scenario: Zombies, and it’s cold
Skills: Not letting the dog die, resource management, and a healthy distrust of your fellow man
Alright, so, you’ve mastered a small-scale Zombie Apocalypse AND how to survive a frozen tundra. Now, for hard mode: both! In Dead of Winter, you and the remaining survivors have holed up in a safe house somewhere in the frozen tundra while the undead shamble around outside. If the frostbite doesn’t get you, the walking dead surely will. Unlike Last Night On Earth, which will prepare you for a mostly cooperative zombie experience, Dead of Winter throws that out the window with a mechanic that has each player trying to get a different “win” condition – one that might go against the group completely. The only person worth trusting? The dog. Because it’s a dog.
Is there an apocalyptic board game we forgot? Got a trick you want to share with your fellow future Vault mates? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: Z-Man Games
Blog Image Credits: Rio Grande Games, Z-Man Games, Plaid Hat Games, Flying Frog Games, Portal Games