Goblins vs Zombies Card Game Review

The industry of tabletop games, whether it’s a board game or card game is a very small market. It is very common that the designer of the game start as player then come out with their own design and self publish the game.

With the help of the internet, anybody from around the world can do it. If the game is good enough, even the community will offer some help like translating, game testing, giving some feedback, marketing, etc.

This is true for Goblins vs Zombies card game. The designer is from Indonesia and with the help of the community, the Kickstarter campaign for this game was a success with over 300 people from around the world, bought the game.

So, what is Goblins vs Zombies? How do we play the game? Can we play it in solo mode?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Goblins vs Zombies card game review, based on my experience and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Goblins vs Zombies going to be the best card game out there?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top

Overview

Game’s Title: Goblins vs Zombies
Game Type: Card Game, Hand Management, Multi Use Cards, Tower Defense Game, Solo mode, Cooperative, Competitive, Fantasy Theme
Designer: Jack Darwid
Artist: Wijanata
Publisher: Jack D Games
Number of Players: 1-3
Playtime: 15 minutes per player
Age Range: 7+
Official Website: Goblins vs Zombies (jackdgames.com)

Release Year: December 2013
Initial Price: $20

Components:
106 Cards (63.5 x 88 mm)
Goblin Cards (54)
Zombie Cards (36)
Guardian Cards (3)
Turn Reference Cards (3)
Token Cards (2)
Event: BOSS Cards (2)
Boss Cards (5)
Zombie Player Card (1)

Expansion & Accessories:
Black Dragon Cards (3)
Zombie Action List Cards (3)
Player Mats (3)
Resin Tokens (3)
Deluxe Box

About Goblins vs Zombies

The first thing that people will say after hearing about this game is that it is a reimplementation of the well known PC game Plants vs Zombies. Some part of it maybe true.

I guess I will be comparing the two of them a lot in this article. Hopefully that could give a better understanding about this card game.

Both of them are a tower defense game where we will be trying to protect our house from an endless streams of zombies. In this game, instead of a plant, we are going to be the Goblins, trying to protect Goblin’s village.

Unlike the PC game where we have 5 or 6 rows of lawn that we can plant, we will only get 1 column to place up to 3 Goblins at a time. However, it is still possible that we have to deal with several zombies at the same time. So, that one thing already make this card game a more difficult one.

The way to play is by doing hand management of cards. These Goblin cards will have a cost to play by discarding the other cards in our hand. We maybe need the first card now but to use it we will be discarding the card we may need in the next round.

That is the kind of consideration we will be experiencing in this game.

There are 24 types of Goblin that we can play in the form of deck of cards. Like Plants vs Zombies, there are some that very basic, just to shoot the zombies, some that can slow the zombies down. Some also can be very powerful but one time only like a bomb or the Jalapeno in Plants vs Zombies..

On the other hand, the zombies has their own decks as well and we will be randomly draw and face. There are 17 different zombies. Like in the PC game each type of the zombies have some attributes that make them unique from one to another and we may need certain type of Goblins to deal with them.

This card game also use a small element of multi use cards for both the Goblin cards and the zombie cards. The other side of these two cards will have a basic goblin and zombie respectively. While we then have the option to choose which Goblin to deploy the Zombie adds another variant for the zombies.

Goblins vs Zombies can be played solo or with multi players. There are even 5 different modes, where we can play competitively or cooperatively. Players can even play one as Goblin and the other as the Zombies.

The game also comes with 3 different bosses, each with 2 difficulty settings. Within just a small box, the game can offer a lot of replay value or replayability.

A BIG GAME IN A SMALL BOX, which has been like the motto for Jack Darwid, the designer when designing a game. So far he has self published three of his games and the Kickstarter campaigns for each of them has been successful.

Jack Darwid is also known for publishing free games on his website or BGG forum that we can print and play. His signature is the D series. If the game has a “of D” as part of the title, like Adventure of D, it is probably designed by him.

Also, sadly, Goblins vs Zombies is out of stock currently and Jack has expressed to me that he has no plan to reprint this game. Jack always only print his game for the Kickstarter backers, probably with a few extra.

Fortunately, there is a print and play version that we can try on the Kickstarter page for Goblins vs Zombies.

Components

While Jack Darwid did offer some upgrade pack for Goblins vs Zombies, the base game that we need to play is just deck of cards in a small paper box. As if we are buying a deck box that can fit in 100 cards or so but this one still fits the small rulebook as well.

The game uses some tokens but to fit in this small box, the designer choose just token cards that we can cut into smaller pieces. The nice thing is that they also include the plastic bag for the tokens later.

The size of all the 106 cards is 63.5 x 88 mm, except for the 2 token cards which is 63.5 x 63.5. I don’t think anyone would need to sleeve the tokens though.

The problem is that this small box will not fit all of the cards if we sleeve them. We may need to boy a bigger deck box, let alone if we want to include some promo cards.

My Ultra Pro deck can fit all of the 104 cards with sleeve (Sleeve Kings) but not the rulebook and the token cards. For the rulebook, we can just keep the digital file but for the token, there is a deck box with a compartment at the bottom where we can store some tokens.

The Rulebook

I understand that the designer wants to keep the game as small as possible. Which is why the rulebook has the same size as the cards so it can fit in to the box. It has 32 pages excluding the cover of the book.

My copy comes with a black and white version of the rulebook. The cover has colors though. We can find the digital version from the official webpage for Goblins vs Zombies or use this link (PDF). The format is a bit different if we want to print ourselves and keep it in the game box.

Here is the table of contents based on my copy of the rulebook.

Overview and Components (Page1)
Gameplay Setup (Page 2-3). Table setup for 2 player and Mode A – Training
About Goblin and Zombie Cards (Page 4-7). General explanation for attributes of each card with illustration.
Tokens and Red Bordered Cards (Page 8).
Mode A – Training (page 8-9): Solo or Multiplayer Mode.
Setup (Page 10). Starting hand, Step by step for the illustration on page 2 and 3.

Gameplay (Page 10 -20). Explanation for 5 Phases each round.
Winning and Losing Condition (Page 21)
5 Modes of Play (Page 21). General Idea for each 5 Modes to Play
Mode B – Last Stand (Page 22). Solo Mode
Mode C – Survival (Page 23). Multi Player Competitive Mode.
Mode D – Boss Modes (Page 25 – 28). Solo or Multiplayer against The Boss. Detailed explanation for 3 Zombie Bosses and 2 Difficulty settings.
Mode E – Goblins vs Zombies (Page 29 – 31). 2 Player Competitive Mode, one as Goblins and the other as Zombies.
FAQ (Page 31)
Credits (Page 32)

Well it is a common problem when any designer tries to make the rulebook as compact as possible, some of the information may need further explanation. The  FAQ definitely can answer more than 4 questions.

There is no detailed information for each kind of Goblin and Zombies. The designer admitted that he should have added at least the explanation for the icons.

At some part of the rulebook, the further explanation can be found from the example but still not directly state the rule. Hopefully this article can help explain everything we need to know about Goblins vs Zombies.

Token Cards

This is another attempt to make the game as compact and portable as possible. Instead of using cardboard or other kind of components, Goblins vs Zombies uses paper tokens.

Each card contains 9 square tokens that we need to cut them. The red ones with the numbers are DAMAGE TOKENS. We will be placing this on either Zombie or Goblins to indicate how much damage we have inflicted on them.

The token cards themselves have 63.5 x 63.5 mm as the size. However, the size for the tokens are smaller which we can discard the white border around the tokens. I suggest cutting them using paper cutter, not scissors.

There are 6 1-Damage Tokens, 3 of each 2-Damage, 4 Damage tokens, and 10-Damage Tokens. The other three or the blue ones are SLOW TOKEN.

In the game, some of the Goblin can inflict a freezing effect similar to the one on Plants vs Zombies game, as it can slow the Zombies down. However, in this card game, this will only slow the FAST ZOMBIES into regular one, not slowing down the already regular one.

Also, the one that can inflict the freezing affect can only target one, not multiple zombies. Which is why these 3 tokens  are enough.

The way we use in the game is just we place them on the card, either Goblin or Zombie. Sometimes, we don’t even need to place them at all because with just one hit, and we can already kill the Zombies or the Goblins got killed.

If that happens, we only remove the card into the discard pile. Other times when we want to add more tokens because the character has suffered more damage, I find it easier to just switch the tokens. For example from 1-Damage into a 2-Damage token.

We might want to keep the tokens organized on the table to speed up the game. I think originally, these tokens has long box form instead of square like the one I got.

If somehow we lose these tokens and need replacement, we can just use other game pieces like cubes, etc. That will require a lot if we consider each of the cubes is worth 1 hit point. It will be helpful if we have like 5 different color of cubes which we can assign 1, 2, 4 and 10.

Alternatively, we can just write on a small piece of paper a number and create these 18 tokens. This could be a good idea for those who don’t want to cut the paper tokens.

The designer offered an upgrade pack which include some tokens made of resin to replace the paper one. Check out the Expansion and Accessories section below.

Turn Reference Cards

The game is referring these as Turn Reminder Card. Since this game is for 3 player, we get 3 cards of these.

It displays a list of 5 phases we need to go through each player’s turn. Below each phases there is a summary of what can happen during the phase.

Here are the 5 phases that will happen during each player’s turn.

1st Phase: GOBLIN ARRIVAL. Assemble up to 3 Goblins at the gate. Discard 2 Goblin cards to either give 1 Goblin Card to another player or let that player draw 1 from the deck.

2nd Phase: GOBLIN ACTION. Activate one action of each Goblin in the field.

3rd Phase: ZOMBIE ACTION. Activate the action of each Zombies in the field, twice for Fast Zombies. No action for Zombie that will arrive this turn.

4th Phase: ZOMBIE ARRIVAL. We draw 1 Zombie card from the deck and place the card on Graveyard Area of our field. If it is an event card, we then resolve it and discard the card immediately.

5th Phase: THE SUN. We draw 1 Goblin card from the deck and for each Flag Bearer in our field, we draw 1 more Goblin card. The hand limit is 9 cards.

The card also use the green color for phases that will be carried by Goblin and the black color for phases that will be carried by Zombies.

While I think the cards do a great job reminding us about how we play the game, it’s not like we need it at all. Maybe we just need to read it first before we start playing the game again but after that, most of the time, we will not check the card for the rest of the game.

The card also serves another purpose. At the right side of the card, both sides has TREES icon. In the game, the zombies will start from outside the village and move through 3 area or 3 row in each player’s field before they can enter the village.

The first area is the Graveyard Area, then the second is Trees Area and the last one is Village Area. So, the TURN REMINDER CARD also signify the second row or area in the field.

It is not a must thing to do but it is recommended since the game is just cards with no board. Those three rows play an important role in the game. We have to know exactly how far the zombies are before they reach the village.

The designer uses the back of these three cards to acknowledge the Platinum and Gold level sponsor or backers of the game. All of the three cards use the same design.

Guardian Cards

These are cards that depict a dragon on each. So, apparently, the Goblins have some kind of dragon pet that can help them protect the village.

It is like the last resort. In the Plants vs. Zombies game, the dragon is like the lawn mower. They will only activate once when a Zombie manage to enter the village.

After killing some of the zombies, we will have to flip the card, which indicates there will be no dragon for the rest of the game. But we get another chance to prepare our Goblins again for the next wave of Zombies.

While each of these 3 cards for each player serve the same function, they have different dragons as the illustrations, a red, a green and a blue dragon.  Sadly, the color doesn’t mean anything.

The card says:

When a Zombie in your field ENTERS, destroy that Zombie then, destroy one Zombie on each area in your field. However,  the Dragon cannot destroy the zombie with B icon, which indicates as the BOSS. Then we need to flip the card.

Based on that explanation, that means not every Zombie will be wiped out by the dragon. Only up to 4 zombies. The dragon will destroy one from the Graveyard area, one from Trees area, and two from the village area.

If it turns out there are more than 2 zombies in the village area, we may still lose the game. Or, the other surviving zombies from the other two areas can then enter the gate because there is no Goblin to protect.

Which is why, we need to prepare how exactly are we going to use this dragon. We can decide which Zombies to kill. The word Destroy means it doesn’t matter how many hit points that the zombie has. It is a no brainer to target those the stronger ones with several hit points.

Of course, that is not always the case. There is also a chance that the surviving zombies can have special attribute like flying that we can only deal with specific Goblin. The flying one is usually weaker but then again, we may not have the resources to deploy the right Goblin.

So, this dragon feature give the game a lot of things to consider. Even if it is just one time per game.

These GUARDIAN CARDS also serve another purpose just like the turn reminder cards. This will signify the Village area of our playing field, with the house blue icon at the right side of the card.  I guess, thematically, the dragons wait right next to the village gate.

Zombie Cards

These are the Zombies that we have to deal with most of the time when playing Goblins vs Zombies. There are 36 cards for this category that come with the game. 5 of them are Event Cards which will be discussed further in a bit later.

So, out of the 31 cards, there are 15 different zombies with 2 copies each and 1 zombie type with just a copy. Jester Zombie is the only one with a single copy. Below is an example of zombie cards.

Each card will display the name, the HP (Hit Point), Type, Special Abilities, Dice for Randomizer and The Action list, aside from the illustration.  That is one side of the card.

The back side of the card display something similar but all of the card display the basic zombie, regardless of what they have on the other side. What it means is that in the game, when a zombie comes to the village they always start as the unique one.

However those zombies with special abilities can be turned into a basic one using a unique skill of certain Goblin. Other ways for the game to use the basic zombies are for reinforcement or back up zombies.

Like in the Plants vs Zombies, there are zombies that can suddenly add more zombies in the field. One of them can call up to 4 basic zombies. Luckily, the basic zombies are very weak, slow, no special abilities but they can still overwhelm us.

Based on their type, the zombies can either be Ground (G), Flying (F), or Invisible (I). The one with the letter G is basically the most common one or the regular zombies with 25 out of 31 cards. Most Goblins can attack them.

For the Flying one, or with the letter F, there are 4 cards that come with this type. The Sorcerer and the Wizard Zombies, two of each. To deal with them, there are only 2 Goblin types that specifically are meant to deal with them, the Wind Mage and the Archer.

BOMB, POTAPULT, ROCKET and TRAP, which can target any kind of Zombies can deal with the Flying ones.

Without the right Goblins, these Flying zombies can easily pass the field. The sorcerer can even enter the village and we will immediately lose the game.

The last type is the Invisible zombies. Actually only Ninja zombies are fit in this category, with 2 card each. Just like Flying, most of Goblins can’t attack them at all. They can sneak in to our line of defense and ambush us.

For this, the only way to deal with them without sacrificing is to use Goblin that can attack any kind of Zombies. This includes BOMB, POTAPULT, ROCKET and TRAP.

Those are the type for regular zombies. There is one more type and it is for the BOSS. All of the Boss has B letter and some Goblin action will not affect the Boss.

The only way to deal with Ninja zombies, other than let them have their way is to flip the card by using the SHAMAN GOBLIN. Not because of the Invisible type but because Ninja has Armor or shield icon as their special trait or characteristic.

So, other than the three type of zombies, zombies can have special characteristic or traits which we can find the icons at the bottom left corner of their card.  They can have up to 2 abilities.

Here is the list of abilities.

Quick or Fast (with Lightning Icon). Zombies with this abilities can do two action in a row. There are 11 zombie cards that have this trait. Only 3 of them have no additional trait.

Steel (with Shield Icon). Zombies with this trait is vulnerable to be flip by Shaman Goblin. There are 10 zombie cards that have this trait.

Leaf (with Leaf Icon). Zombies with this ability is vulnerable to be destroyed by Firecracker Goblins. Only four zombie card that have this trait.

Other than that, there are still 8 zombie cards with none of the mentioned traits.

At the top right corner of each card, there is a dice number or DICE RANDOMIZER between 1 to 3.  The Dwarf Zombie has one additional action which depends on this dice value.

The way it works is, we usually will see the top card of zombie discard pile which will display a dice value. This will determine what happens to Dwarf Zombie. Other use of this dice value is as randomizer to choose the BOSS.

Because of this dice attribute, not every copy of Zombie cards is the same. The two cards of the same Zombies will use 2 out of 3 dice values.

Then at the bottom row of each zombie card, we can find a list of action that they can do while in the field. As mentioned before, the field has three areas or three rows, graveyard, trees and village area.

The action list will tell us what is the possible action the zombie will do in each area. Some of them can do two different action at a time or one of the two conditional actions. They will always try to activate the first one but if the conditions aren’t met, they will do the second action.

Some of the zombies can also have one extra action that will activate just once right after we draw their card and play to the field. If they have this extra action, the action can be found right below their name.

Zombies that have this are Jester, Ninja and Pirate.

Zombie Event Cards

There are 5 EVENT cards that will be included into the Zombie deck. If we play with the BOSS MODE, the game comes with 2 EVENT: BOSS cards. So, these 5 + 2 cards also have the basic zombie at the back side.

We will not know exactly when these events will come out to play. It’s like just another Zombie cards.

The event card is going to tell us the extra thing we need to do or suffer aside from just play another zombie to the field. Three of them will definitely make the game more difficult but the other two can help players a bit, assuming they came out at the right time.

Because the randomness of the zombie deck, it is possible to get these event cards in a row, one after the other. Playing in multiplayer mode is definitely will have the advantage of mitigating getting two or even several cards in a row.

At the front side, the top right corner, each of them also have a dice randomizer.

The EVENT card for THE BOSS is slightly different. They don’t have the randomizer. In fact, these two cards will tell us to look at the top of the Zombie card discard pile and see what the dice value that the card has.

This Dice value will then decide which of the 3 BOSSES we are going to face against for this game session. Also, we will only use one of the 2 EVENT: The BOSS cards because one is for the EASIER BOSS and the other is for the EXPERT or HARD BOSS.

So, we already know the difficulty for the boss but we don’t know for sure, which BOSS. Of course, we can just use house rules and choose exactly the BOSS ourselves. The card is just to tell us when the Boss is coming out.

Unlike the other EVENT cards, there is a recommended setup so that the Boss card will not appear before certain number of Zombie cards. The setup also depends on the number of players.

However, it is still possible that after or before the Boss card, it is another event.

Zombies Action List

We can find the explanation for each action’s keyword from the rulebook, page 15 to 17. Here is the list.

ATTACK. The zombie deals 1 damage to one of the Goblins in the field. If there is more than one Goblin, we can choose which Goblin will take the damage.

Since Goblins always stay at the gate, most Zombies have attack command while on Village area. Only Elf Zombies will first attack before moving starting from the graveyard area.

The Elf Zombie is the only one that has ranged attack. This one will attack even while in the Graveyard area.

ATTACK WALL. Only Gladiator, Monk and Thief Zombies have this command. They will always attack the Goblin Wall. If there are none, they will activate the second command which will let them enter the village.

AMBUSH. Just like ATTACK, deal 1 damage but in this case, the Zombie will target the Goblin with highest cost to deploy. If there is a tie, we can decide which Goblin will take the damage. Only Wizard and Ninja zombies have this and they either has the second action that will activate with this action.

The interesting thing about AMBUSH is that it forces us to think twice before deploying a stronger Goblin with higher cost. Because most Goblins will have only 1 HP, regardless of how expensive the cost.

Shielding any Goblin with cost higher than the Shield itself will defeat the purpose. Instead of targeting the Shield, AMBUSH action will target the Goblin. We will lose the Goblin and the Shield.

The WALL is not going to work against AMBUSH, if there is other Goblins with higher cost to deploy.

BACKUP (X). Zombie with this action will deploy more zombies to the field, on the same area as the summoner.  X means the number of cards.

What we need to do is we take the Zombie cards from their discard pile and put them in the field face down. That means, the BASIC ZOMBIE side is facing up. We only take what is available from the discard pile.

Zombies that can do this action is ZOMBIE SQUAD, which will deploy 4 basic zombies in the trees area,. Then there is the JESTER ZOMBIE which will call 1 basic zombie while in Village area. and the EVENT: THEY ARE EVERYWHERE! card.

BACKUP (1 ON EACH FIELD). This one is intended for multiplayers where each player has their own field to play. Just like the BACKUP (X), we will take the card from Zombie discard pile and put them as basic zombie one for each field.

Like the previous action, we only take what is available from the discard pile. If there is not enough card, the active player will decide where to put the basic zombie.

This action is available from the WARLOCK ZOMBIES and the EVENT: THEY ARE EVERYWHERE card.

ENTER. This is the action where zombie will enter the village. If we still have the Guardian, then we activate the Guardian action. Otherwise, GAME OVER.

Not every zombie has this action. We might want to check out which, because it can be a big deal that can save us. Jester, Ninja, Wizard and Zombie squad are those that we can be less worry about.

EXPLODE. This action is specific to Wrestler Zombie. What happens is that the zombie will destroy all of the Goblins and the Wrestler himself. If there are no Goblins, he will not explode but instead activate the next action, which is ENTER.

FLEE. The Zombies with this action are Wizard, Ninja and the Zombie Squad. What it does is that we simply discard the Zombie to the discard pile face up, removing any token on them.

So, we might need to sacrifice our Goblins to deal with any of them but they will not do ENTER. Something that can make us less worry about and probably just focus deploying Flag Bearer Goblin.

FLIP. This is specific to Ninja Zombies. What it does is, it will flip the card themselves into a basic Zombie. Any tokens on them previously will be removed and will not be carried over when they become the basic zombie.

MOVE. Almost every Zombie will have this action, especially on outer areas. It let the Zombies move from outer area closer to the village gate. Any area can have any number of zombies.

REINFORCEMENT.  This action is only available on the three event cards, THE HOPE!, WAIT WHAT? and WHAT’S THAT SMELL? event. What it does is, we draw 1 card from the zombie deck and put the new card face up on the Graveyard area.

This will be done after resolving the event and discard the event card. There is a chance that the next card is also an event card. We will have to resolve again and draw another card.

WAIT. Dwarf Zombies, both the regular and the hero or Boss Dwarf zombies have this action. What it means is that the Zombie will do no action this turn.

However, to activate it, it depends on the dice randomizer from the top of the card of the Zombie Discard pile.

The other zombie that has this action is WIZARD.  This one will keep waiting until we let any Goblin to be ambushed.

That is all of the possible action that can be done by Zombies mostly the regular troops. The Bosses will have more special actions.

Details for Every Zombie Cards

BARBARIAN ZOMBIE
HP: 3
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: none
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 1 & 3

An easy one as well. We can defeat this with just a Slingshot or Rock Thrower Goblin.

DWARF ZOMBIE
HP: 12
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: none
Action: WAIT, MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK / ENTER (Village)
1 time Action: none
Dice Number: 2 & 3

This is a powerful one, even if we use the BOMB, TRAP or ROCKET is not enough to bring him down. Interestingly this one is the only few that use the dice randomizer value feature of the game.

Instead of just killing and discarding any Zombie, when there is a Dwarf, we might want to make sure that the Dwarf will choose to WAIT. This will be even more interesting when we play multiplayer because the discard pile is for everybody not just the active player.

ELF ZOMBIE
HP: 3
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Leaf
Action: ATTACK / MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 2 & 3

This is one of the two Zombies that have Leaf as the trait. Firecracker is the solution but there is no guarantee we will have that Goblin when this one come into play.

This is also the only one with ranged ATTACK. The Elf zombie will attack any Goblin even while in the Graveyard area. It is pretty easy to forget about this one while we already have a handful of zombies near the gate.

Big Thrower Goblin can be the answer but he is so expensive. Rock Thrower or Ice Thrower is probably the better way to deal with this. Otherwise, Elf Zombie will just stay in the back, killing the Goblins one by one.

FIGHTER ZOMBIE
HP: 5
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Steel
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 1 & 3

This one is a bit stronger than regular Zombies but not a fast one. Big Shot Goblin can defeat him alone but we need to deploy him right away. It will not work if there are already nearby Zombies.

Big Thrower Goblin is a good one but with the same cost, we might as well just use the Bomb or Rocket.

GLADIATOR ZOMBIE
HP: 4
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Fast, Steel
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK WALL / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 2 & 3

This is not as tough as the Knight because this one only need 4 points of Damage. But since we will need a WALL to stop him, then this can be more problematic.

JESTER ZOMBIE
HP: 3
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Fast
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), BACKUP – 1 (Village)
Special Condition: If Jester Zombie deals any damage, put it on Graveyard area of the player’s field.
Dice Number: 1

I guess this is like a bonus character. Jester Zombie is not that strong but if we don’t destroy him immediately, he will keep calling more zombies right in the same area which could be overwhelming for us.

He is also fast, so even if we can hit him and push him back to the graveyard area,  he will immediately return to the village area the next turn. Any Ice Goblin that can slow him down is what we need.

KNIGHT ZOMBIE
HP: 8
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Fast, Steel
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 2 & 3

Not as strong as Dwarf but this one can be a problem as well. Using the TRAP GOBLIN is probably the safest bet. We can use SHAMAN but then there is no guarantee on getting the Pepper.

Any Ice Goblin that can slow the Knight down is essential. If we want to destroy him with just regular attack.

MONK ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Fast, Steel
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK WALL / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 1 & 2

It is either we try to destroy this one or have a GOBLIN WALL ready at the gate. Otherwise this will just sneak through the other Goblins and we will lose the game.

NINJA ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: INVISIBLE (I)
Traits: Steel
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), AMBUSH + FLIP / FLEE (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 2 & 3

We can attack this one with any regular Goblins. Unless we have Goblins that can attack any Zombies or SHAMAN Goblin, we will have no choice but to let him hit one of the Goblins.

Luckily, if there is no Goblin, Ninja will just FLEE. But, there is no way we let the gate empty just for the sake of Ninja. We will want to draw more cards with the Flag Bearer.

I think the trick is to use SHIELD Goblin to protect one of the Flag Bearer. That way, if Ninja is about to AMBUSH, he will take down the Shield, instead of the Flag Bearer because the Shield cost higher.

The next thing to do then is to prepare at least a Slingshot to take the basic zombie down. Or we can just use WALL.

PIRATE ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: none
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: BACKUP (1 EACH FIELD)
Dice Number: 1 & 2

This is also an easy one. The problem is only in multiplayer mode where he will call one basic zombies to other fields. Especially, if there are already too many zombies in the field.

SORCERER ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: FLYING (F)
Traits: none
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 2 & 3

This is one of the FLYING type, with the Wizard is the other one. Sorcerer will not harm any Goblins but we could suddenly lose the game.

Sorcerer will keep moving towards the Village and enter, ignoring most of the Goblins. Either we use Wind Mage to destroy this one, Archer to Flip. Or, we use all of the Goblins that can target any Zombie, like Bomb, Trap, Rocket and Potapult.

THIEF ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Fast
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK WALL / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 2 & 3

This is one of the zombie that makes us want to keep the WALL ready. Thief is also fast. Even with the slow token, this one can still sneak through Goblin’s line of defense and make us lose the game.

Luckily Thief is not that tough. Two hits from Ice Shot will be enough.

WARLOCK ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: none
Action: BACKUP 1  EACH FIELD + MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), ATTACK / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 1 & 3

This is like the Jester Zombie. Warlock is weaker but he will keep calling more zombies before he reach the village area and attack the goblins himself. This is also the one that become stronger for multiplayer mode as he call more zombies for each field.

For cooperative multiplayer mode, we might want to have at least a Twin Xbow Goblin. That way, we can kill the reinforcement but still hit the Warlock.

WIZARD ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: FLYING (F)
Traits: none
Action: AMBUSH + FLEE  / WAIT (Graveyard or Trees)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 1 & 3

This is another one beside Ninja that has AMBUSH action. It is also a FLYING type but luckily, Wizard will not even move to the village area, let alone entering.

The annoying  part is that this Zombie will keep waiting until we let the Wizard AMBUSH one of the Goblin. Then, after AMBUSH, Wizard Zombie will just FLEE.

We can use the same trick of Shielding the Flag Bearer to deal with this. Wind Mage will destroy this Flying type but the Archer will only Flip the Wizard.

The 2 HP is practically meaningless because once we flip it, it will only have 1 HP as a basic zombie. I’m not sure if there is a way for the Wizard to immediately arrive on Trees area when entering the field.

WRESTLER ZOMBIE
HP: 2
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Fast, Steel
Action: MOVE (Graveyard or Trees), EXPLODE / ENTER (Village)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 1 & 2

This is actually not a strong one but it will be a trouble when there are already other Zombies in the field. We can easily beat him if we deploy the Goblin right after this one come into play.

Interestingly, we may just sacrifice our Goblins if Wrestler is the only Zombies in play, like the Flag Bearer. We just need to have one Goblin and let him explode and he will not enter.

Of course it will be different if we already use some Shield for the Goblins. I assume this will only destroy himself and the Goblins but not the other Zombies in the same area.

ZOMBIE SQUAD
HP: 5
Type: GROUND (G)
Traits: Leaf
Action: MOVE (Graveyard), BACKUP – 4 + FLEE (Trees)
1 time action: none
Dice Number: 1 & 2

This is the other one of two with Leaf as the trait. If we have Firecracker, we should use it immediately. Otherwise it will be a waste trying to hit this one. Unless we have two Slingshot Goblins, with the Idol ready and no other Zombie, reducing that 5 HP is a waste.

In the tree areas, the Squad will split into 4 basic zombies with no damage at all, in thematic terms. Backup action is always less powerful if it comes early in the game.

However, if this Zombies show up one after the other, usually it is a sign that we will lose.

EVENT: HOPE!
Dice Number: 2
Action: REINFORCEMENT
Event: Each Player draw 1 Goblin Card, then must choose to play it (pay the cost) or discard it.

While getting more cards is a good thing but since we have to play it right away, even paying the cost is not going to be very helpful. There is no way we can expect this card to show up at the right time.

Chances are the time this card come into play, we will not have enough cards to play it. It will be a bit different if it allows us to replace the card from our hand.

At least, maybe we can have more time to play that card later.

I think the intention of this card was so that we can play the card we draw as Flag Bearer. That way, even though the Zombies have killed all of our Flag Bearer during the previous phase, we can still generate an extra card in Sun Phase.

EVENT: THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!
Dice Number: 2
Event:  none
Action: BACKUP – 1 + BACKUP 1 FOR EACH FIELD

Well, the player who gets this card will have to deal with 2ombies while the other player will get just 1. The problem is, the other player may already have too many Zombies in their field.

EVENT: WAIT, WHAT?
Dice Number: 1
Event: Each Player will give half of their hand of cards to Player to their right. Rounded down.
Action: REINFORCEMENT

There is no rule that specify that it has to be done randomly. So, we can choose which card we are going to give to the other player. There is also no rule that prevent us to give the same card.

This will happen in the two player mode where players will just give the card from one to another.

We will give the cards up to 4 cards. Considering that most of the time we will always short on cards, likely, we will only give one or two cards.

EVENT: WATCH OUT!
Dice Number: 1
Event: Each player chooses 1 zombie from their field and activate 1 action of that Zombie, ignoring the Fast trait.
Action: BACKUP  – 2

Luckily, we can choose which Zombies will get the extra action. Just let them move closer would be the first idea but then again, we need to make sure that we can handle them later in the next turn or two.

I think activating WAIT from the Dwarf again is possible, assuming the dice value is correct.

EVENT: WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
Dice number: 2
Event: Each player can chooses one Zombie from their field, and put that zombie on trees area of their field. We can’t choose BOSS.
Action: REINFORCEMENT

Definitely, we will want to move Zombies from the Village area back to the trees using this event. Otherwise, we are just speed them up by moving from the graveyard to the tress area. So, depending on when this card come into play, the result can be either helpful or makes thing worse.

EVENT: THE BOSS!! (Normal & EXPERT)
Look at the top card of the Zombie Discard pile. The Dice value will decide which of the 3 BOSSES we are going to fight against.
1: Elf Hero Zombie (Normal), Paladin Zombie (Expert)
2: Paladin Zombie (Normal), Dwarf Hero Zombie (Expert)
3: Dwarf Hero Zombie (Normal), Elf Hero Zombie (Expert)

As mentioned before, we will only use one of the Boss event cards, depending on which difficulty level we want to play. There is a setup rule so that this card will not come too soon.

After we get this card and find out which Boss, we will replace the card with the corresponding BOSS CARD. For Elf Hero Zombie and Paladin Zombie, the boss will only appear for the player who took the BOSS EVENT CARD.

For Dwarf Hero Zombie Boss, every player will have to face their own Dwarf Hero Zombie. After we replace the card, we continue the game and it is always the SUN PHASE and we draw a card from the Goblin deck.

Since we still have the control of which zombies we destroy first, then there is a small chance that we can figure out the outcome. But in reality, we will be too busy by that time just trying to survive.

BOSS CARDS

Goblins vs Zombies game comes with 3 BOSSES that we can fight against in the BOSS MODE of the game. The official rule is that we can’t decide which Boss but instead the boss will be chosen randomly depending on how the game goes.

Each BOSS card will have two sides. One for the NORMAL difficulty and the other for EXPERT or hard difficulty.

The EXPERT side will have stronger HP, and additional action each turn. The illustration is also a bit different. I guess the EXPERT one is scarier.

Elf Hero Zombie

HP: 6 / 9
Type: GROUND (G)
Trait: BOSS (B)
Special Power: Goblins can’t deal any damage to Elf Hero Zombie
Normal Action: Deal 1 Damage to herself then AMBUSH on each Field
Expert Action: Deal 1 Damage to herself, then BACKUP – 1 on each Field + AMBUSH on each field.

This BOSS will not move. The Elf Hero Zombie has a very powerful attack that she will hurt herself. She also has a strong defensive aura that no Goblin attack can hurt her.

So, essentially, the key to deal with this boss is just to survive for 6 or 9 of her turns. The other player’s turn who doesn’t have her in his field doesn’t count.

HP of 6 or 9 may not be much if we are the one dealing the damage ourselves but this will take forever.

With the AMBUSH action, she will try to take down the Goblin with the highest cost to deploy, on each player. Maybe the trick of Shielding a Flag Bearer can work here too.

Remember that the other player will suffer the damage not on their turn. So, the other player will have to consider the extra damage later.

It is probably a good thing if at the end of the other player’s turn, they no longer have any Goblins. Or they should just consider it that way.

Do not deploy any Goblins too soon. I mean like deploying the TRAP while the zombie will arrive in the next turn.

On the other hand, the active player with the BOSS in their field should just activate this BOSS action as the last. Just let the other zombie do their action before the Boss.

We may not be able to hurt this BOSS but we probably need the BOMB or ROCKET Goblin to deal with the zombies, especially in the expert one.

Using the SCREAMER can buy us more time but at the same time, the Elf Hero Zombie stops hurting herself as well. I guess the trick is to use the SCREAMER on other players. The active one will need the POTAPULT to send other Zombies to those with the Screamer.

PALADIN ZOMBIE

HP: 9/ 14
Type: GROUND (G)
Trait: BOSS (B)
Special Power: Bomb and Rocket can’t damage Paladin Zombie
Normal Action: Put the top card of Goblin deck under Paladin Zombie. If there are 9 cards under Paladin Zombie, all players lose.
Expert Action: Put the top card of Goblin deck under Paladin Zombie. If there are 9 cards under Paladin Zombie, all players lose. If the top card of Zombie discard pile has the dice value of 3, REINFORCEMENT on each field.

This BOSS will not move towards the Goblin as well. The Paladin will only give us 9 turns or we will lose the game. We need to deal 9 or 14 damage within that time.

In 3 player mode, assuming each player can hit the Paladin, we only need like 3 or 5 turns each. The bigger problem with Paladin is that he may take some of the essential Goblin cards under him.

While Bomb and Rocket will not work, technically, the TRAP can still hurt this boss but unfortunately, Paladin will not come closer.

There will still be some zombie troops approaching so, if we want to hit the Paladin, we can’t rely any Goblin that will only attack the nearest one. We have to give Rock Thrower and Ice Thrower to the BOSS field,.

The Twin Xbows will work but if we deploy the Goblin in other field. The moment we get this card, we have to keep it until the boss shows up or make sure we can hand it over to the other player.

Assassin may not work against any BOSS but this one is essential to beat the zombie troops while the other Goblin can damage the Boss.

Screamer is also essential here to buy more time. We need to use him for the player with the Paladin.

Dwarf Hero Zombie

HP: 13 / 17
Type: GROUND (G)
Trait: BOSS (B)
Special Power: FLIP Guardian cards in your field
Normal Action:
1. If the top card of Zombie Discard Pile has the dice value of 1, then WAIT
2. MOVE (Graveyard and Trees area)
3. ATTACK / ENTER (Village area)
Expert Action:
1. If the top card of Zombie Discard Pile has the dice value of 1, then WAIT
2. MOVE (Graveyard and Trees area)
3. ATTACK WALL / AMBUSH / ENTER (Village area)

For this BOSS, each player will have to face one BOSS in their field. To win, all of the players have to defeat the Boss in their field.  So, maybe this one is easier if we play with lower player count.

Most of the Goblin cards with special action only have two copies in the game. We might want to plan a different strategy for the third player.

Unlike the other two bosses, this one will also move forwards, deal damage and eventually enter like regular zombies. The rulebook says that the Dwarf Hero Zombie is the stronger version of the Dwarf Zombie. Which is why the set of action is similar.

The HP is very big compared to the other two Bosses. However, we can hit this boss with Rocket or Bomb. Since he also moves, Trap can be a powerful one but cheap.

Essentially, if we can hit this boss with 2 of the heavy hitter Goblins, we can take him down. But then again, there is no guarantee that we will get the card and if we do, some of them are very expensive to deploy.

We also need to try how to make this boss do WAIT action.

Luckily all of the 3 Dwarf Hero Zombie Bosses have the same dice value to activate the WAIT ACTION. We can still choose which Zombie to activate their action first.

The normal mode of this Boss is just like the regular Dwarf Zombie with 1 extra HP.  We also can’t Flip them with Shaman as both the boss and the regular Dwarf don’t have the steel trait. So, we can treat him like regular zombies.

For the expert difficulty, the action is a bit different. Having Wall is probably essential. Otherwise the AMBUSH action can hurt some expensive Goblins.

Zombie Player Card

Even though we are playing Goblins vs Zombies, mostly as Goblins, there is a variant in this game where another player can compete as the Zombie Player. This card serve that purpose.

The card has two sides One as VICTOR, the ZOMBIE KING. and the other as ZOMBIE QUEEN. It really doesn’t matter, the stats and how the game works are the same, just a variant. Here is the detail.

ZOMBIE KING / QUEEN
HP: 11
Type: GROUND (G)
Trait: BOSS (B)
Special Power: If the Boss get attacked by either the Rocket and Bomb Goblin, the damage is reduced to 0 but the Zombie Player will discard all of their cards.
Action: Zombie Player can choose either DRAW 2, PLAY 1 + DRAW 1 or PLAY 2.

How we play this mode is almost the same as regular mode. Except that in ZOMBIE ARRIVAL phase, the Zombie Player will decide how the regular Zombie will come out from the card in their hand.

The Zombie Player doesn’t have their own field but instead, this card stays in the Graveyard area of the Goblin Player. Once the player deploys the zombie, the regular zombies will action just like the regular mode.

So, it is basically, just less random order of regular zombie coming out.

Goblin Cards

I should have talked about this first but the last components of the game is a deck of Goblin cards. Goblins vs Zombies game comes with 54 Goblin cards with 23 different Goblins. Not sure why the rulebook says there are 24.

All of the card has the same back side design that also works as FLAG BEARER which can let the player draw more cards. So, it’s like the Zombie cards, with the basic zombie at the back, this Goblin cards are also a multi use card system.

It’s the main consideration in this game. Whether we play the card to generate more cards or to activate the action to attack Zombies or defend ourselves from them.

Some of the Goblins have the exact ability to deal with specific type of Zombies or the situations. Hand management of these multi use cards is the main game mechanism of Goblins vs Zombies.

All of these Goblins only have 1 HP except for the WALL which has 3. Some of these Goblins are also a one time only.

They will be destroyed and we discard the card after we activate their action.

The number at the top left corner of the card is the cost to play the Goblin. We play by discarding the other cards in our hand. So, each of these cards has another use, as a payment to play the other cards.

The problem is that we can only have up to 9 cards at a time. So, each time, we will have to consider which Goblin to play and which to sacrifice. Should we keep the cards without any purpose, or discard it but risking that it will take a while before we get that card again.

There is the name at the top, and the Action that the Goblin can do at the bottom part of the card. At the top right corner of the cards there are some dots that indicates how many copies of this same Goblins that comes with this game.

I’m not sure if the icons at the top left corner of the card is useful. Instead of just smaller version of the illustrations, they should have bigger icons to represent the cards. Or, just remove it completely, replaced for the cost icon right below that.

In general there are two types of Goblin, the regular green and the BLACK GOBLINS. The Black Goblins have darker green not just from the illustrations but the background of their name.

Everytime we play Black Goblin, they will always in sleep mode. We need to wake them up first before they can do any action. There are 5 Pepper cards, which are considered as another Black Goblins cards that we can discard to wake them up.

It is similar to mushroom and coffee plants in the Plants vs Zombies game.

Unlike the other cards in this game that use horizontal orientation of the card, the Goblin cards use the vertical one. I guess it is because we play them in our hand while the other type of cards just mostly stay on the table.

If we want to sleeve just some cards so we can still fit all of the cards in the box, these Goblin cards are the ones that need the most.

Details of Every Goblin Cards

Rocket
Cost to Play: 6
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Deals 8 damage to one zombie of each Area in our field that we choose.

This is one of the heavy hitter, similar to Jalapeno in Plants vs Zombies. It can clear out up to 3 Zombies. But it is really expensive to play.

We need six, and with  the Rocket himself, that makes 7 cards in our hands. That means we only have to other cards and hopefully one of them is the Wall.

Maybe this will be good at the start of the game, where we can easily generate cards we need and the Zombies don’t have the fast trait.

This is also one of the Goblin that can target any type of Zombies, not just Ground type. If there are Invisible or Flying that we can destroy with the Rocket, that is something we need to consider.

Bomb
Cost to Play: 6
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Deals 8 damage to each of the zombies of the chosen Area in our field.

This one is like the Cherry Bomb from Plants. vs Zombies game as it can destroy all of the nearby zombies. Like the Rocket, this one is also very expensive.

The situation where we are going to need this is when we have to face any zombies that can call for backup. Like the Zombie squad which they can become 4 basic Zombies.

Another good way to use this one is when we can hold the Zombies in the village area, probably with Walls. The Bomb can then wipe all of them away.

This one is also a heavy hitter and can target any type of Zombies. We can take out a very strong Zombies with higher HP like the Knight, Squad, Fighter and Dwarf.

Big Thrower
Cost to Play: 6
Number of Cards: 1
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Deals 2 Damage to a single Ground type Zombies.

I think this is the only Goblin with just a single copy in the entire deck. The cost to play is very expensive while this one can only target a Ground type Zombies anywhere, not just the nearest.

Maybe this one is ideal against the boss because the boss usually stays in the back. If we can also use the Shot Idol to increase the damage, this one can be very powerful.

However,  this become a risk when we have to fight against zombies that can AMBUSH. This one is certainly the target. If that happens, this Big Thrower still only have 1 HP.

Of course, it depends on the situation but most of the time, to have enough cards to pay 6 is very unlikely. I think this will end up going to discard pile right away.

Compared to Ice thrower which only has a cost of 3, can only hit 1 Damage, but inflict slow token. We can deploy two of them with the same cost which means 2 HP.

Twin XBow
Cost to Play: 5
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: None One Time
Action: Deals 1 damage to a nearest Ground type Zombies in our field and deals another 1 damage to any single zombie in other field.

This one works best in multiplayer mode. The second damage will not happen if we play in solo mode which makes this Goblin too expensive of what he can do.

This is like the two headed Pea plant in the Plants vs. Zombies game. He can shoot the other way but can be a waste.

The best part of the second damage to the other field is that it can target anywhere. Ideal against Zombie at the back like even the Boss.

So, this one gives a flexibility of which Zombie we want to target. This Goblin only deals damage the nearest in our own field. I guess handing him over to the other player can be a better choice, depending on the situation.

I wish the solo rule will let this one attack twice. Even if it is still just the nearest, but we can still deal damage to multiple zombies.

Big Shot
Cost to Play: 5
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Deals 2 damages to one nearest Ground type Zombie in our field.

In my opinion, this one is also too expensive. If we have a choice between the Big Shot or Big Thrower Goblin, I think I would rather go for the Big Thrower. We pay extra card but it gives a freedom to choose the target.

Between this and other light hitter like Slingshot or Ice Shot, maybe I would go for the cheaper ones. The cheaper one with about half the cost, do half the damage but still the same HP. i would rather go twice with the cheaper than once with the big one. Again, this still depends on the situation.

Potapult
Cost to Play: 3
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Choose a zombie from our field but not the BOSS and throw the zombie to any graveyard area of any field.

This one also works best in multiplayer mode. Otherwise, we can only push back some zombies in our field. The best part is that we don’t need to wait until the zombie reach the village area.

That means, as soon as we know a zombie that can be problematic to us come in to play, we can immediately throw him away. Unfortunately, the action doesn’t deal any damage to the thrown zombie.

I guess, based on the illustration, it is not that the Potapult throw the zombies, but more like scare them away with  defecation. So, it’s like the Garlic plant just to push the zombie to other row in Plants vs Zombies.

Archer
Cost to Play: 3
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Flip a Flying Zombies in our field, or deals 1 damage to the nearest ground type Zombie in our field.

I guess the main purpose of Archer Goblin is to take down any Flying Zombies. Especially Sorcerer Zombies which they can  instantly make us lose the game.

Unfortunately, Archer only flip them, so they become a basic zombie that we still need to deal with. I guess it is a good thing that the Archer is not a one time only and can still deal 1 damage but to the nearest.

Wind Mage is the one to use if we want to immediately destroy those Flying zombies and it can target multiple zombies at a time. Considering that there are only four cards with Flying type Zombies, I think keeping the mage is a better choice.

Again, it really depends on the situation. Sometimes, all we got is the archer. Mage is cheaper as well but just one time. The main issue with the game is that the next flying zombie could happen right in the next turn or after that.

Archer is a better choice if we just start the game, and we don’t know when any of the Flying zombies will come. But after a couple of that, we can let the archer go and rely on the mage.

Trap
Cost to Play: 3
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Deals 8 Damage to a Zombie on village area of our field. We are not allowed to activate the action in the same turn we play the Trap card.

For this one, I think the illustration is a bit misleading. Somehow I thought this will only work for ground type Zombie. That is not the case here..

The TRAP can also work for Invisible and Flying. So, it is not just about Ground trap as the illustration suggests. I understand that it is a bit overkill to use the Trap on Flying which only has 2 HP each but sometimes that is all we have.

Since we are not allowed to activate right after we play the card, there is a chance that the Zombie can destroy the Trap first. In Plants vs Zombies, that could mean blowing both the plant and the Zombies but that is not the case here.

I guess thematically, the Zombies can kill the Goblin before the Goblin set up the trap. So, this trap may not work against Wizard and Ninja Zombie. Both of them can just AMBUSH the Goblin, if there are no other more expensive Goblin.

Shielding will not work as well. We will need to play another Goblin that cost as much. It still works against the Sorcerer, so we can still prevent the Sorcerer to instantly end the game.

Aside from that, the 8 Damage is very strong. Only Dwarf Zombie will need several more hits.

Ice Shot
Cost to Play: 3
Number of Cards: 4
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Deals 1 point of damage to a nearest Ground type Zombie in our field.
If the Zombie has FAST trait, we put the Slow token on the Zombie and the trait is permanently loss.

The Ice element works similar to Ice in Plants vs Zombies, to slow down the Zombies. However, here it will only work for Fast Zombies. The regular one will not slow down.

I think it is not that hard to implement extra rules . For example, they can say if regular Zombie has a slow token on them, they will only do action once every other turn.

Most of Fast Zombies can be flipped by Shaman. Only Jester and Thief Zombies will need the Ice related Goblins to stop.

I still don’t understand why this Goblin has the same cost to play as the Ice Thrower Goblin. The Ice Thrower  can hit any Zombies while this one can only hit and slow the nearest one.

So, if we do have a choice between the two, choosing the Ice Thrower is a no brainer. However, like any other card, it is situational and sometimes Ice Shot is the only one we have.

There are 4 cards of the Ice Shot. If we want to discard to play other cards, these 4 are the first to go. However, we probably want to make sure that those cards will be spread out in the Goblin deck later.

Ice Thrower
Cost to Play: 3
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Deals 1 point of damage to any Ground type Zombie in our field.
If the Zombie has FAST trait, we put the Slow token on the Zombie and the trait is permanently loss.

So, this is the one we should keep and play instead of the Ice Shot. The cost is the same but this one has the flexibility to choose other Zombies, especially in the back.

Another consideration is to keep the card for later because we constantly have to change the Goblins. Maybe at the start where there are not that many Zombies in our field, and the starting one has the Fast trait.

If that is the case, then we can use the Ice shot first and safe the Ice Thrower for later.

About a third of all the Zombies have the fast trait, like 11 cards. Having one of these Goblins that can slow down, ready anytime is somehow important.

Shaman
Cost to Play: 3
Number of Cards: 3
Type: Black Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Flip all of the Zombies with Steel trait in our field then Shaman goes back to sleep.

Shaman is one of the Black Goblins where it is not just one time. This one is also probably one of the most important Goblins to have if we want to win.

There are 3 of them which each player will want to have one. About a third of the Zombies have the Steel trait and we can easily flip all of them with the Shaman.

We can wake him up early but we need to activate the action at the right time. The effect works to the entire field so we might want to wait a little bit.

As soon as we have Shaman in our field, having a Pepper is the next thing to do so we can wake the Shaman anytime we want. Shaman also works very well with Ball and Chain Goblin as the latter can wipe all of the basic Zombies in village area.

We just need to make sure that we can wake both of them at the same time with a single Pepper.

Assassin
Cost to Play: 2
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Black Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Destroy a Ground type Zombie in our field.  This doesn’t work for the Boss.

The Assassin is very strong but for the Ground type Zombies only. This is probably like Squash plant in Plants vs Zombies game.

The Assassin can destroy even the strongest ground type Zombie, Dwarf Zombie. If we don’t have any Firecracker, Assassin is probably ideal against the Squad and the Elf. Both of them may not reach the village area and Assassin can destroy Zombies in any area of our field.

The next Zombies to take down with Assassin is the Knight, with 8 HP or Fighter with 5 HP and Gladiator with 4 HP. That is assuming we don’t have any Shaman.

Slingshot
Cost to Play: 2
Number of Cards: 4
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Deals 1 point of damage to a nearest Ground type Zombie in our field.

This is probably the basic Goblin for attacking, like the Pea Shooter Plant in Plants vs Zombies.

Like the Ice Shot and Ice Thrower Goblins, there is a  Rock Thrower for the Slingshot. Both of them have the same cost to play but the Rock Thrower has the flexibility of choosing more Zombies.

So, if we do have the choice between the two, Slingshot is the one to be discarded. If it is between the Slingshot and Ice Shot, with an extra card to discard, maybe the additional ice effect is the one to go.

Again, it really depends on situation.  Maybe we do need more cards for later action and right now Slingshot is all we need.

Rock Thrower
Cost to Play: 2
Number of Cards: 3
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Deals 1 point of damage to a any Ground type Zombie in our field.

This is the better version of Slingshot Goblin. With the same cost to play we can have the flexibility to choose any target in our field.

Wind Mage
Cost to Play: 2
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Destroy all of the Flying Zombies in all fields.

All fields, means one player can activate and destroy the Flying Zombies in the other player’s field. This could be an interesting cooperative element.

We don’t really need to have any Flying Zombies in our field. The other player may need it but at the same time, they already have a handful of Zombies to deal with.

Ideally, we might want to wait so with just one Wind Mage, we can destroy more Flying Zombies. That may work against the Sorcerer But the Wizard can just AMBUSH immediately.

Considering that there are only 4 Flying Zombies, it is not that hard to track whether they are coming out again or not.

The Wind Mage is like the Blover plant in Plants vs Zombies game.  The mage destroys the Flying zombies not just turning them into regular zombies.

The interesting thing about Wind Mage is when we play the competitive Survival Mode variant where when we destroy a Zombie, the Zombie will go to the other player’s field. That means, if we use the Wind Mage wrong, we could be the one getting that Zombies.

Firecracker
Cost to Play: 1
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Destroy a Leaf Zombie in our field or deals 1 point of damage to any Ground Type Zombie in our field.

This is very specific for the only two Zombies with the Leaf trait, Zombie Squad and Elf Zombie. Both of these zombies have the tendency to stay in the back and we will have trouble dealing damage to them with just regular attacking Goblins.

The problem is, there are 4 Zombies with Leaf trait in total but there are only 2 Firecracker Goblins. I think both of the zombies have the same level of difficulty to deal with.

For me I would rather spend the Firecracker to the Elf zombie because the Elf will simply attack from the graveyard area, taking down our other Goblin one by one.

While the Squad may have higher HP, but we do have more time to deal with them without getting any damage. But again, it depends on situation.

Wall
Cost to Play: 1
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Wall has 3 HP

Wall Goblin is like the Wall-Nut or Tall-nut in Plants vs Zombies which will not attack but just to absorb damage from the zombies, slowing them down.  In the PC game, some Zombies can just bypass these walls.

However, in this card game, some Zombies can bypass regular zombies if there are no Wall. So, this Wall become very essential to survive against Monk, Thief or Gladiator Zombies.

Somehow I think this defeat the original purpose of the Wall. The Wall that can slow down the other ground type zombies become meaningless because we tend to save them if any of the wall attacking zombies show up later.

There are only 2 Wall Goblins and there are 6 Zombies. Of the 3 Zombies, I think we need the Wall the most against the Gladiator, unless we have Shaman to flip them. Thief and Monk are relatively weaker but Fast.

Shield
Cost to Play: 1
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: None. We play the Shield by putting the card below another Goblin.  This will give an extra 1 HP for the Goblin.

The Shield is like the Pumpkin Plant in Plants vs Zombies. This will not take additional space but can increase the HP for the Goblin. So, we can actually have more than 3 Goblins in play if we have the Shield.

Unfortunately, there are only 2 cards of this Shield that means like 5 Goblins in play. One thing  we need to understand about the Shield is that they are essentially another Goblin with a cost to play.

Zombies can either attack the main Goblin or the Shield and for us to decide which one to be destroyed. Obviously, we will sacrifice the shield because if we let the shielded Goblins died, the Shield will be removed as well.

This will be very useful to protect Goblins with higher cost to play. However, that is not the case of AMBUSH attack. The AMBUSH action from Zombies will still consider the main Goblin with higher cost as the target because the cost for Shield is still just 1.

Ball and Chain
Cost to Play: 1
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Black Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Destroy all ground type zombies with 1 HP in village area of our field.

This is one of the few Goblins that can attack multiple zombies at once, probably the most. If somehow we have to deal with Zombies that has Backup Action, this Goblin can easily destroys all of the basic Zombies.

As mentioned before, this Goblin works well with Shaman who can FLIP any Zombie with Steel trait into Basic Zombies. We just need to make sure we do have Pepper and can wake them up at the same time.

Since Ball and Chain will not deal any damage, just destroy those with 1 HP, we still need to rely on other attacking Goblins. Most of the non basic Zombies has at least 2 HP.

So, even just 1 point hitter will be enough. Ideally we might want to play with other players where they can use Twin Xbow which can help us with the extra hit. That way, our third slot of Goblins can go to Flag Bearer.

Shot Idol
Cost to Play: 1
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Regular Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: None. Everytime Slingshot, Ice shot and Big Shot deals any damage to a zombie, this ads an extra 1 point of damage.

I want to say that the Shot Idol is like the Torchwood plant in Plants vs Zombies. This will take extra space but give extra damage for just certain pea shooter or in this case, the Goblins, except with no fire element.

I wish this can become like the Shield Goblin which will not take extra space but only works for one Goblin. That way, the Shot Idol can become like the Gatling Peas instead.

So, there is no further explanation for this, but I assume that the Shot Idol will only work for one field but this can increase two Goblins. The problem is then we will have no other space for Flag bearer or other Goblins with that set up.

If the Shot Idol works for all of the field, then it is probably worth it to use him. Otherwise, maybe we should use the space for other Goblins and discard this card.

Screamer
Cost to Play: 0
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Black Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Skip the Zombie Action phase this turn.

Maybe this one is similar to the Ice-Shroom in Plants vs Zombies. Again, there is no further explanation but I assume this only works for the field that the Goblin is in not for other players.

The problem is that unlike in Plants vs Zombies game, there is no slowing down because of the ice effect. In general stopping the zombies can help but it doesn’t stop the upcoming zombie. We probably stop them this turn but we also make it worse the next turn.

So, it’s a bit tricky of how to make use of this. Usually, it is when we are about to activate the Guardian. That would involve planning the next 1 or 2 turns.

The Screamer is probably useful against the Paladin Zombie Boss. We can add extra turn so the Boss will not reach the 9 cards first. On the other hand, this is probably not a good idea against the Elf Hero Zombie boss.

Slinger
Cost to Play: 0
Number of Cards: 2
Type: Black Goblin
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Deals 1 point of damage to a nearest ground type Zombies in our field. This action can’t be activated if there are any Ground type Zombies in the village area of our field.

This is probably the most complex one to use. Maybe this is like the Scaredy Shroom in Plants vs Zombies where it can get scared and stop attacking when the Zombie is too close.

Only Ground type Zombies in the village area will stop this Goblin from attacking. That means, the Flying and Invisible one is okay but if either of them get flipped and become basic zombies in the village area, that will stop the Slinger as well.

That 1 point of damage is the same as from the Slingshot or Ice shot which has higher cost to play. This one has zero cost to play but we do need to have the pepper.

So, it is not really a bad deal. The question is, can we get both at the same time.

Pepper
Cost to Play: 0
Number of Cards: 5
Type: Black Goblin
Action Type: One Time
Action: Waking up all of the sleeping Black Goblins in our field.

This is like the Coffee Bean Plants for all of the mushrooms in Plants vs Zombies game. There are 5 cards in total from all of the 54 Goblin cards to wake up 11 Black Goblins.

We would probably need more for the Shaman as that one will go back to sleep but not just a one time. It is always the problem with this game.

We have the Pepper but not the right Black Goblins. or we get the Black Goblins and nowhere to find the Pepper. Maybe setting up the Goblin deck so these 5 Pepper cards can appear evenly can help make the game easier.

Also, we probably want to keep them separated by discarding again these peppers one by one.

Flag Bearer
Cost to Play: 0
Number of Cards: 54
Type: Back of the cards
Action Type: Non One Time
Action: Draw 1 extra card for each Flag Bearer in our field during the Sun Phase.

Drawing more cards is essential to win this game. Playing the Goblin cards as Flag Bearer can help generate more cards.

The Flag Bearer has no action part of the card. It is because they let us draw more cards but not during the GOBLIN ACTION phase like other Goblins. But that will only work if the Flag Bearer still exist during the Sun Phase.

Another use is that the Flag Bearer can still absorb one damage from the Zombies to prevent them from entering the village. Not that it can help us survive long after that. Who knows? Maybe the next card we get is a powerful one we need.

As mentioned in other Goblin cards, some of the Goblins are essentially weaker but have the same cost. Using them as the Flag Bearer instead of the more powerful one is part of the strategy in this game.

Aside from drawing, discarding the right card is also important in the hopes that the card will come out again sooner. This probably works more for multi players mode.

We may only see the same 3 Flag Bearer Goblins in our field. But we can decide which of those cards to discard first.

Those are all of the components to play Goblins vs Zombies card game. Two decks of cards that will get shuffled a lot, and several more cards for Player’s tableau and Boss mode and some paper tokens.

Overall, the artwork is nice but may not work for some people. But for those who don’t care about Zombies, some people say that they don’t have problem with the Zombie here.

I think the art was done by the designer’s friend so that the cost wasn’t to pay other artist.

How to Play

Now that we already know the components of Goblins vs Zombies game, it’s time to learn how to play. The game can be played in 5 different modes, from solo, multiplayer, cooperatively or competitively.

Regardless of which modes to play, the turn order is the same with just slightly twist for each mode and tweak in the setup. I think the game works best in multiplayer mode so, this section will explain how to play in that mode.

The rulebook consider this as the TRAINING MODE or MODE A.

The next video is a gameplay run through by Rahdo from Rahdo Runs Through channel.

Setup

First, we take the GUARDIAN CARD and the TURN REMINDER CARD for each player. Each player will have their own field to play and the setup is like the next picture, from the rulebook page 2 and 3.

Each player will need a space for 4 rows of cards. The top most row is called as the GRAVEYARD AREA, the second one is the TREES AREA and the third row is the VILLAGE AREA. These 3 rows are where the Zombie will start from the top, and move towards the fourth row or the VILLAGE GATE.

The Village gate or the fourth row is where we can play the GOBLIN CARDS. We place the TURN REMINDER CARD at the left most of the second row and the GUARDIAN CARD at the left most of the third row.

We can flip the Turn Reminder card if we think we don’t need it but the Guardian card has to be facing up. The side with the Dragon is facing up.

Second, we shuffle all of the GOBLIN CARDS and form a single deck place in the middle of the table where all the players can reach. We place the deck face down, so the Flag Bearer side of the card is facing up.

There will be some discarding part, so make sure right next to the deck, there is enough space for the discard pile.

Third, we draw 4 Goblin cards for each player as the starting hand. The rulebook says we are not allowed to show our hand of cards during play but we can discuss freely.

Fourth, we shuffle all of the ZOMBIE CARDS into a single deck and place the deck right next to the Goblin deck. We also place the Zombie deck face down, so the Basic Zombie side of the card is facing up.

The Zombie cards will also need its own discard pile, separated from the Goblin cards. So, make sure there is enough space for the discard pile next to the deck and any player can actually look at top card of the discard pile later.

Players are not allowed to check the content of the discard pile anytime in the game. For both the Zombies and Goblins deck. If any of those deck ever runs out of cards, we can form a new one from the discard pile, shuffle it and place the deck again facing down.

Fifth, we prepare all of the 18 paper tokens and place them in the middle of the table as the general supply. It is recommended to group them so that all of the same tokens are in the same spot. This will make it easier to pick during the game.

Sixth, we can choose the starting player randomly. The rulebook suggest the player who can say “Zombieeees” the longest in single breath will be the starting player.

That’s the setup for the basic mode or TRAINING MODE.

General Gameplay

Each player’s turn, there are always 5 PHASES, which will be done in order. These 5 phases can be found in the TURN REMINDER CARD that each player get. Here is the list.

1st Phase: GOBLIN ARRIVAL.
2nd Phase: GOBLIN ACTION
3rd Phase: ZOMBIE ACTION
4th Phase: ZOMBIE ARRIVAL
5th Phase: THE SUN

After the first player has done with all of the 5 phases, the turn is over and the next player will do those 5 phases as well to their own field. The game will continue like this until the end game criteria is met, depending on the mode we play.

The detail for each phase will be discussed further next.

Goblin Arrival Phase

In this phase, we can play the Goblin cards we have in our hand to the playing field. We can only have up to 3 Goblins at a time in the field, except for the SHIELD CARD.

To play a card, we need to pay the cost by discarding the other cards from our hand. The number of cards we need to pay can be found at the top left corner of the card we want to play.

We then place the card that we want to play in the fourth row or the Village Gate of our field. If the card is the Black Goblin card, that Goblin always start the game in sleep mode.

What that means is we place the card upside down. Once we have the PEPPER CARD and discard it, it will wake all of the sleeping Goblins in the field. Only then, we turn the card 180 degrees and they are ready to do action  in the next phase.

If the Goblin card is a SHIELD,  we place the SHIELD CARD beneath the Goblins, covering the illustration and leaving the action part of the SHIELD CARD revealed at the bottom. The next picture is the example.

We can play as many cards as we want as long as the space is available and the cards to discard are enough. Depending on the situation we might not want to play any cards at all, whether because the setup is good or we have to deal with specific Zombies, like the Wrestler.

We can leave the gate empty if we want. There is another thing we can do in this phase.

For the multiplayer mode, we are allowed to discard two cards from our hand to give another card to the other player of our choice. Alternatively, we can allow the other player to draw from the deck but we still need to discard two cards.

This action can be repeated as long as we do have the cards enough to discard.

Goblin Action Phase

This is the second phase of every player’s turn in Goblins vs Zombies. Depending on the available Goblins we have in our field, we can activate one action for each Goblin.

Black Goblins have to be woken up first before they can do any action in this phase. Just because any Goblin can do the action in this phase, it is not necessarily means we have to activate the action right away.

From the three Goblins, we are allowed to decide which Goblins will do the action first. The result can be different so it is recommended to simulate it first before we actually do the action.

Flag bearer will not let us draw more cards in this phase. That comes later.

Each Goblin can deal with Zombies differently, depending on the Zombie’s type and the position. Check out the components section of this article to find out details of what each Goblin can or can’t do.

Here is the summary of the available keywords from Goblin cards.

Another Fields: the action happens not in the active player’s field but other player’s field.
All Fields: the action will happen to the other players’ field as well
Area: The row where the Zombie is in, either Graveyard, Trees or Village
B (Yellow): Boss trait
Destroy (Goblin Cards): discard the corresponding Goblin card to activate the action.
Destroy (Zombies): discard the corresponding Zombie cards
F (Blue): Flying Zombies
Flip: Flip the Zombie card so it becomes the Basic Zombie
G: Ground Type Zombies

I : Invisible Type Zombie
Leaf Icon: Zombie with Leaf trait
Lightning Icon (Fast Trait): Zombies that can do two action in a row.
Nearest: The action only works on Zombies in the closest row to the Goblin. If there are more than one, we can choose.
Shield Icon (Steel Trait): Zombies can be Flipped by Shaman Goblin
Sleeping: Put the Goblin cards upside down
Slow Token: The Blue token
Wake Up: Turn the sleeping Goblin cards 180 degrees.
Your Field: the action only works in the field of player who activate the action

If the action let us deal some damage to the Zombies, we can place the damage tokens on the Zombie Card. When the zombie gets as many damage as their HP, we take that Zombie card from the field and put it on the discard pile face up so that the dice number is shown. Also, remove the tokens and put them back into the supply.

If there are more than one valid target, we can always choose which of the Zombie to take the damage. It is recommended to simulate all of the possible order of action because the result can be different.

Don’t forget that some Goblin’s action can affect the zombies in another player’s field.

Zombie Action Phase

This is the third phase of each turn in Goblins vs Zombies. In the first turn of the game, there is no zombie yet so we will skip this phase and proceed to the next one immediately.

In this phase, the available Zombies from previous turn will do their action. Any Zombie that just come this turn will not do any action now. So, if the action is to call more zombies like BACKUP ACTION, those zombies will not do any action this turn.

The rulebook actually has several dedicated pages to make a list of all possible Zombie action from page 14 to 19. We can also check this article in the components section.

Each zombie will do one action, except for those with FAST traits, they will do twice in a row, assuming the said zombies have not suffered any Slow token.

If there are multiple zombies in the field, we are the one to decide as well which of them will activate the action first. Again, try to simulate every possible order because the result can be different depending on the situation.

Any row or area in the field can have any number of Zombies. We would probably have to overlap some zombie cards if the table space is limited.

If any Zombie deals some damage to the Goblins, we just remove the Goblin cards from our field, put the card into the discard pile. Except for the Wall Goblin as they have 3 HP, we put some damage tokens on the card and remove them when the amount of damage is equal to their HP, discarding the card.

Each of the Zombies can have several possible actions which we can find at the bottom part of their card. They will only do the action starting from the top if the requirement for that action is met.

Otherwise, they will try to do the next one. Some Zombies can even do multiple actions within a single turn. Watch out some of the Zombies that can instantly make us lose the game.

Guardian Action

There is a chance that in the ZOMBIE ACTION phase, the Zombie manage to activate the ENTER action, which about to make us lose the game. However, if we still have our Guardian, then instead of losing, the Zombie activate the Guardian’s action.

The Guardian will DESTROY that Zombie who triggered it, and DESTROY one of the Zombie of each area in our field.  If there are multiple possible zombies, we can choose which the other 3 zombies we will discard their cards.

The Guardian can’t destroy any Boss. After that, we have to flip the Guardian Card to indicate that it is no longer available for the rest of the game. It is just a one time thing.

Which is why, we need to make sure that after the Guardian has gone, we can still survive by destroying the Zombies in the right order. Otherwise, the remaining zombies can still do the ENTER action.

If that happens and we no longer have the Guardian, we immediately lose the game.

So, when it starts to become overwhelming and we are about to activate the Guardian, we should try to simulate every possible Zombie’s action order or probably how the Goblins take action in previous phase.

We do have some controls over the Zombies and we should try to figure out the puzzle. The result can be different and we may have bigger chance to survive several turns more.

Zombie Arrival Phase

After each zombie in the field have completed their action and we still survive, we move to the next phase. Another Zombie has entered the field to play.

We draw a card from the Zombie deck and place the card face up in the graveyard area of our field.

In general, the Zombie that just came out will not do any action. However, some of them have special cases particularly Ninja and Pirate Zombies.

Right below their card’s name there is another set of action that happens only one time when the Zombie comes into play. We need to resolve it. The Ninja will immediately move forward to the Trees area and the Pirate will do BACKUP one on each field.

There is a chance that we can also draw one of the 5 EVENT CARDS. For these, we need to resolve the event and do the listed action and immediately discard the card.

The Sun Phase

This is the last phase of each player’s turn. In this phase we will draw 1 Goblin card from the deck. If we still do have Flag Bearer in our field, we will also draw one for each Flag Bearer Goblin.

These cards will be added to our hand. We can only have up to 9 cards. If we have more than that, we need to discard the excess cards down to 9.

There is a chance that the excess cards can be better than the cards in our hand. My understanding is that we are allowed to discard the less valuable cards.

In the cooperative multiplayer game, not only we need to consider the situation of our field but the other player as well. We may not need the card but we can still hand it over to the other player by discarding two cards.

Remember that the cards are multi use cards that we can use it for different purpose like to pay the cost by discarding the other cards. In this game and in longer play time, discarding in the right order so the good card can show up again faster can be very important.

That is all of the 5 phases that the player will take each turn. Once it’s done, the next player will also do the exact 5 phases for their own field.

Unless the Zombies manage to enter one of the player’s village, the game continues until the winning condition of the chosen modes has been fulfilled.

Here are the details for each mode. There will be some changes to the setup, gameplay and  winning condition.

This page is the explanation from the designer for each mode and their difficulty level.

Mode A – Training

This mode is a cooperative mode for 1 to 3 players. It is recommended that any new players should play this mode a couple of times before trying the other modes of Goblins vs Zombies.

In this mode, to win the game we just need to survive long enough until we reach a number of Zombie cards in the discard pile.

For each player count we need to have the increments of 8 Zombie cards in the discard pile by the end of the Sun phase. So, for 2 player we need 16 and for 3 players we need 24 cards.

Players can work together to reach those numbers. It doesn’t mean that each player need to destroy 8 zombies.

As a setup, the rulebook suggests that we remove the 16 Black Goblin cards from the deck. Maybe that is for the first time just to understand the regular Goblins first before using the Black Goblins which are a bit complicated.

I also suggest that giving a try with different player counts, especially between solo mode and multiplayer mode. As I said earlier, some of the Goblins have action that can only work in multiplayer mode.

Mode B – Last Stand

The Mode B is meant for the solo experience, trying to beat our own score. In this mode, we will be drawing 9 cards as the starting hand instead of 4. We will also do the ZOMBIE ARRIVAL phase twice.

That means, each end of our turn, two Zombies will come into play. The score is how many Zombie cards that we have in the discard pile.

The rulebook suggests some ranking, depending on the number of cards. Here is the detail.

0-8 Zombie Cards: SLINGER
9-16 Zombie Cards: SLINGSHOT
17-24 Zombie Cards: ICE SHOT
25+ Zombie Cards: BIG SHOT

We will win the game immediately if the Zombie deck ever runs out of cards. When that happens we get the CHAMPION rank.

That means we don’t necessarily need to destroy the zombies and put them into the discard pile. It’s just we need to play long enough so all of the Zombie cards are played in the field.

The designer said that this is the hardest mode for solo game, especially if we want to reach the Champion rank.

Mode C – Survival

This mode is competitive game for 2 or 3 players. The last player standing wins the game. The designer said that this could be a fun game to play with family or friends.

We will play like the normal mode, do all of the 5 phases. The difference is when we do destroy a zombie, that zombie will not go to the discard pile but instead it goes to the graveyard area of the next player’s field.

The exception would be the EVENT cards. After we resolve it, it will go straight to the discard pile like in other mode.

So, as the time goes by, all of the Zombies will eventually in the player’s field. If the zombies manage to enter the village of a player, that player is eliminated from this game.

When that happens all of the Zombie cards in that player’s field will go to the discard pile. The game continues until only one player left.

There will be some interesting thing in this mode. Considering that there are Goblins with action that can affect the other player’s field, like Wind Mage and Twin XBow, we can’t just blindly use it. Because, there is a chance that the destroyed zombies will go to our field.

This also means that any BACKUP action from the zombies will be less effective, at least until one of the player has been eliminated. It is because there is no Zombie cards in the discard pile. This will not affect the REINFORCEMENT though.

Another interesting thing is that we do know which Zombies are coming from the other player. But whether we can prepare to deal with them or not is a different thing.

The game will become more interesting when one of the player has to activate their Guardian, destroying several zombies right away. It will not take that long before the next player will have to activate theirs or lose the game.

Considering that even the normal mode, the game will only take like 30 minutes, this mode will be even sooner.

Mode D – The BOSS

This one is like the Mode A, but we will have to deal with the Boss and defeat them in order to win. So, it can be played as solo or up to 3 players cooperatively.

First, there will be some setup for the Zombie deck. From the 36 Zombie cards. we need to create three Packs. The first pack is based on the number of players. 8 cards for 1 player, 16 for 2 and 24 cards for three players.

The second pack is 4 random cards. In this pack, we add one of the EVENT: BOSS cards. It can either the normal mode or the expert mode. Then, we shuffle these 5 cards.

The last pack is the remaining Zombie cards. Then we will form a single deck with these 3 packs, with the Pack 1 at the top, then the Pack 2 in the middle and the Pack 3 at the bottom of the deck.

That means, for a 2 player Boss mode, the Boss card will appear between  the 17th card to 21st cards of the Zombie deck.

When we do draw the EVENT: BOSS card, the Boss will be chosen based on the dice number of the Zombie discard pile. Here is the detail.

Dice in Normal Boss Mode
1: Elf Hero Zombie
2: Paladin Zombie
3: Dwarf Hero Zombie

Dice in Expert Mode
1: Paladin Zombie
2: Dwarf Hero Zombie
3: Elf Hero Zombie

Like any other event cards, we resolve it by placing the corresponding boss card to all of the field or the active player who draw that EVENT: BOSS card. We then discard the EVENT: BOSS card to the discard pile.

We proceed to the next phase, which is the SUN PHASE after resolving that Event: Boss card.

For Elf Hero Zombie and Paladin Zombie, only the active player has the Boss in their field. All of the players will have their own Dwarf Hero Zombie in their field.

We will lose the game if the Zombie manage to enter any of the village. Or for the Paladin Zombie, we can also lose if he Boss manage to get 9 cards.

We simply win the game if we can defeat the Boss. All of the players have to defeat their own Dwarf Hero Zombie.

For detail about each Boss, check the components section of this article above.

Since we know about the setup, we can still predict when the Boss will come. We still also have some control of which Zombie cards will be at the top of the discard pile. It is not a guarantee but it is not totally random.

I think we can also use the house rule and just pick which Boss we are going to fight for the game session.

Mode E – Goblins vs Zombies

This is a dueling asymmetric game between the two players. One become the Goblin Player and the other become the Zombie Player.

The Zombie player will not have their own field but instead starts in the Graveyard area of the Goblin player’s field. We place the Zombie Player card in the graveyard area, as either Zombie King or the Queen and the player draw 3 cards as the starting hand.

The Zombie player will be treated just like another Boss by the Goblin player. In this mode, the Zombie player will only take control of the ZOMBIE ARRIVAL phase.

Instead of just drawing the card from the Zombie deck and put it straight to the graveyard area, it will instead go to the Zombie player’s hand first. Every turn of the Zombie Arrival phase, the Zombie player can either, DRAW 2 CARDS, DRAW 1 + PLAY 1 or PLAY 2 CARDS.

After the player has played the Zombie cards, the Zombies will just do their action in the next turn like regular mode. The Zombie player can play the card face up or face down and he can have as many cards as he want in his hand.

However, the Goblin player can force their opponent to discard all of the cards if they use Bomb or Rocket.

The Goblin player wins if he can defeat the Boss and the Zombie Player wins if they manage to let any of the Zombie enters the Goblin’s village. If either Zombie or Goblin deck is empty, the Zombie player also wins.

Even though this is an interesting twist of the normal mode, this doesn’t add many interesting thing to the game. In the normal game, the Goblin side has already taken too much pressure from the Zombies and this mode give something more to the Zombie.

There is not much restriction for the Zombie player. I don’t know why if either deck is empty the Zombie wins. I think this rule is actually where it can restrict the Zombie player that he has to defeat the Goblins before he runs out of cards to draw.

Even then that is not helping the Goblin side that much.

Well, that is all how we can play Goblins vs Zombies game. From the regular mode and all of the 5 possible different modes.

My Thoughts & Experience

Goblins vs Zombies will definitely give a better experience in multiplayer cooperative modes. It will probably make the game easier than if we play solo. There are several Goblin actions that allow us to help the other player.

The way that we can hand over a card to the other player by discarding two cards is very important to win the game.

The game is very tight, with just limited number of cards they need to create two set of decks for Goblins and for Zombies. To deal with some Zombies we need some specific Goblins. Sometimes it’s more like a puzzle.

The problem is that because there is still a random factor from the deck of cards, we may not get the card that we need or at the right time. By being able to give the card to the other player, that means the other player can also serve as inventory for essential cards.

When I say specific Goblins, there are still other options as how to deal with them. But those other cards can be very expensive, and not very efficient to use.

Also, with more players, I think it kind of preventing us to get the same annoying Zombies in a row. Almost every zombie cards only have two copies each.

Of course, it is not a guarantee. But even if one player is being very unlucky to still get the same zombies in a row, that means there is a chance that the other player has a room to breathe.

The other player can focus on generating cards which can be given to the unlucky player.

Unfortunately, we will not get the same experience as what we can get from Plants vs Zombies game, which were the inspiration for this card game.  Here, we will not have time to build up our line of defenses. In the PC game, the Zombie even comes slowly and one by one in the first wave.

In this card game, we will need to constantly change our 3 Goblins defending the gate. So far I never get to the point where we can start rebuilding again.

Deploying 3 Flag bearers is not going to happen again later. It almost feels like the longer it gets, the worse it becomes.

At the same time, some of the highest cost cards seem impossible to play later. I think it is typical for any tower defense cooperative game, even though some can do it better.

If we really want to win, or at least have a better chance on winning, learning about each card from both Zombies and the Goblins is necessary. At first, it is very easy to get into assumption of how things work in this game.

For example, I thought that the TRAP card is only for ground type Zombies. It turns out, it is not. Not every Goblin cards is useful for their action but that means we know which card we should use just to pay or discard.

Some Goblin cards may seem like a waste, not efficient, but then, sometimes that is the only card we have.  And sometimes, a small room to breathe is all we need to get extra turn.

The same goes with the Zombies. Not all of the Flying ones can immediately make us lose the game. Understanding and kind of make notes of which card that already came out and not can probably help to make better informed decision instead of just dealing with randomness.

The official rule doesn’t allow us to check the discard pile. So, there is some memory element in this game and those with good memories can probably play the game better.

Discarding Goblin cards in the right order is also very important. Because somehow we will need those cards again but not piled up to each other.

That is also an issue with the solo mode. Most of the time, we will not even draw all of the Goblin cards from the deck. So, if we didn’t shuffle the cards enough and some good cards are at the bottom, we will not have the chance on winning.

The luck swing is very apparent in this game. However, this is a very fast game that we can play in 15 to 30 minutes. We can easily reshuffle the cards and play again immediately.

Most of the time, we will always play the same game. The replay value comes from the Boss and probably the other modes.

There are things that need further explanation from this game more than just the FAQ in the rulebook. We also need to read all of the examples in the rulebook. The example maybe about one element of the game, but sometimes it can also explain something about the cards that were used in the example.

Again, the game is very tight as an overall design. I think the game was a great attempt to offer a big gaming experience within a small game and a very cheap price.

If we read the discussion on the forum, the designer talked about why he needed to use just cards with limited number, even with paper tokens. This is so that weight doesn’t surpass some weight threshold that can have higher shipping cost.

The price of the game was about $20 and that includes the worldwide shipping. The designer and where they produced the game is from Indonesia, not US or Europe country. With that price nowadays, we probably only get like a micro game.

Some people may not care about it and expect higher production value even if it means more expensive game. Some may not even like the art, ignoring the fact that it helps lowering the production cost.

Still, the Kickstarter Campaign for this game was a success with over 300 backers who pledged over $12,000. This is an old game after all, but it is still a nice precedent.

Expansion and Accessories

Even though the designer wanted to offer a BIG GAME IN SMALL BOX, when he offered via the Kickstarter Campaign, some people asked for more. They  expect the game can come with a higher production value.

So, here are some the designer offered to the backers an an Upgrade Pack and add on for purchasing the base game. We can check out the detail from the Kickstarter Campaign page from back in 2013, via this link.

The designer did discuss with the backers to find the ideal final product, before actually put them into production. The discussion can be found here.

Playmats

The playmat for Goblins vs Zombies is just one sided. The designer said that it use some kind of cloth / banner material. I think the material is nice because when we do use it to play, it will not try to roll itself back again.

The art of the playing area of the playmat use some rather opaque color. Some people say that this is so the cards will stand out. Somehow, we can kind of see the pattern of the material in the opaque area.

We can set all of the three playmats side by side to create a continuous scenery. However, I don’t think that is the ideal set up for 3 players to play this game.

The size of each playmat is  39.9 x 29.9 cm. The top part where the Zombies will enter and approach can have up to 3 Zombie cards each area.

There is an extra room but when we have to deal with Zombie Squad or Warlock, we kind of need to stack some Zombies one on top of the other.

At the left side of the top portion, there are the three dedicated slot for the area signage. We may still need the Guardian but the reference card for both  turn order and Zombie action list is not needed thanks to this playmat.

The price for these 3 Playmats was $22 but the designer offered discount price if we also purchase the Tokens.

The designer said that the minimum printing size is 1 x 1 m which then become 6 of these playmats.

Resin – Acrylic Tokens

For $18, the designer offered some resin – acrylic tokens to replace the paper tokens from the base game. Like the paper tokens, we will get exactly the 18 tokens.

The square footprint size of the resin tokens are the same as the paper tokens. The thickness is about 0.4 cm with rounded edge.

If we check out the Kickstarter page, originally, the tokens were supposed to have a longer shape. I think the final product is much better.

On the forum, the designer did asked and discussed further with the backer regarding these tokens which led to higher shipping fees. I think they reached the conclusion to have smaller tokens.

To store this, the designer also included a small bag with another plastic zip lock bag for people who just want to purchase the tokens but not the entire Upgrade pack.

The deluxe box still have room for these tokens and the bag. Check out below.

The designer told me that the tokens were made by the artist or the artist’s friend, not a big company. Which is why the availability is limited.

The price for these tokens was $18. If we bundled them with the 3 playmats, the price was only $32 from the total of $40.

Black Dragon Guardian & Promo Cards

These promo cards are to replaced the three Dragon Guardians that we get from the base game. Of course we can mix and match between players.

The three Black Dragons have the same Action when a Zombie manage to enter the village. The Dragon will destroy that Zombie and we can choose an area of our field so the Dragon will destroy up to 4 Zombies in that area.

Like the regular Guardian, the Black Dragon can’t destroy any Boss. This will give a slightly different experience and planning when we want to activate the Guardian.

Most of the time, the best use of this Black Dragon is to choose the village area after we try to hold a number of strong Zombies there. We just need to make sure that there are only 5 Zombies. Otherwise, the rest will still enter the village and we will lose the game.

The price is $5 for these three cards and three more cards for Zombie Action List Reminder for each player. With this reminder card, we no longer need to keep checking the rulebook to find out what the Zombie will do for each action.

The reminder card also works as the signage for the first area or graveyard area. So, we will place this card on the table alongside the Guardian card and the Turn Reference Card.

The back side of these two cards have some scenery picture to illustrate the area. The art is nice but a bit out of style than mostly the playmat. For the Dragon card, one of them is signed by the whole team of designers.

Deluxe Box

The box has a very unique size and shape, different than any standard board games we can find. The size of the box is 31 x 12.7 x 4 cm, a long box that can fit the 3 rolled playmats, and enough rooms for bag of tokens and the base game itself.

The 31 cm long is mostly because of the playmat. The width and depth is so there is enough rooms for the base game box to fit in.

With this box, we can store all of the cards sleeved including several promo cards. I used the base game box to store the rulebook and the bag of resin tokens and the cards just in the deluxe box. We probably want to use some small elastic bands for the deck of cards.

If I understand correctly, the designer sent the upgrade pack and the base game separately. They added some foam for the empty space.

Conclusion

Goblins vs Zombies is a tower defense card game. We will have to set up a line of Goblin’s defense defending their village against the wave if incoming Zombies.

The designer is known to design a big game in small box. The entire game is just deck of less than 110 cards, with even paper tokens, making this game very affordable.

With that limited number of cards, there are two decks in this game, the Goblin deck and the Zombie deck. Each Goblin cards and Zombie cards has their own unique traits and how they work in the game.

To deal with some of the zombies we can only use several specific Goblins. Through hand management, we need to play the right Goblin cards by discarding the other cards. So, the card is a multi use. Every turn, we will have to consider which of the cards to keep and which to discard.

Each of those cards is also two sided which gives another consideration in the game. The generic side of the Goblin allow us to draw more cards which is essential to play the other cards.

The game is almost feels like a puzzle because we really need to play the right card to deal the right zombies. Understanding how each Goblin and Zombie works can really help winning the game.

The problem of this game is the luck swing, the randomness of drawing the card from both deck. We can keep getting very hard Zombies and very weak Goblins in a row. In the longer play, discarding in the right order is also as important as the hand management element.

Some people may feel like this is a very hard game, typical for tower defense style cooperative game. Luckily this is a fast game, even if we lose, we can immediately start over the game.

Goblins vs Zombies can be played both solo or multiplayer up to 3, and both cooperative and competitive. Based on some of the Goblin’s action, the game will be at its best in multiplayer. Some cards allow us to help the other player dealing with Zombies.

Even though most of the time we will be focusing on our own playing field, in multiplayer mode, there is a way to hand over certain cards. This is very important and can make the game way easier.

We can consider the other player as extra room to have more than the hand limit of 9 cards and to store some essential cards. The multiplayer mode is also a way to mitigate the luck swing of drawing very hard zombie cards in a row.

The solo mode is definitely a way to make the game harder, aside from the three Bosses module that we can add to the basic mode. Each boss mode also have two different difficulty settings.

Most of the time, we will be playing just the same game. The other mode where we can play competitively, while they give some interesting ideas but they are mostly just twist to the regular mode. They are more like mini games.

While Goblins vs Zombies may not be the best card game out there, I have to admit that regarding the design process, this is a great attempt for what they are trying to achieve.

For it’s size and price, nowadays, we will only get a micro game but this still can offer something more. Unfortunately the game only got limited print run but for those who are interested, they can try the PnP version from the designer’s website.

More Games

If this is not  game for you or you might be looking for more great games, you can try checking this article. It is my review for Rahdo Runs Through YouTube channel about board games.

I haven’t played a lot of these tabletop games whether card games or board games. Here is the list for games that I have written a review for previously.

The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game (Competitive, Civilization Building, Set Collection)
Hero Realms
 (Competitive, Card Game, Fantasy Theme, Deck Building)
Fleet (Competitive, Card Game, Auction, Fishing Theme)
Imperial Settlers (Civilization Theme, Engine Building, Competitive)
One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows (Dice Rolling, Fantasy Theme, Cooperative)
Peloponnes the Card Game (Auction, Competitive, Civilization)
Tybor the Builder (Civilization, Card Drafting, Competitive)
Villages of Valeria (Civilization, Fantasy Theme, Action Following)

Keep checking this website or the complete list here. I might have added review for more games.

Final Words

That is all I can share about Goblins vs Zombie card game. To be honest, this is not really the game for me, with the win or lose and no scoring system. I prefer a game that I can reach to the end even though I score poorly.

The reason I bought this game is because it is from a local designer but the Kickstarter campaign was a success which is very rare. About 300 people are loving this game so I would like to know how good it is and somehow try to support him.

I was about to purchase his other game, Adventure of D (2nd Edition) which is also a Kickstarter success, and the designer offered me probably the last copy of Goblins vs Zombies.

I’m sure there are other similar games now and I would love to give them a try, assuming I can get myself a copy of those games. If anybody know a better or similar games like this, please let me know via the comment section below.

So, what is your experience with playing Goblins vs Zombies? I think there are things that I missed regarding this game, feel free to post them below in the comments.

This article is just my notes of what I can find or learn from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody, whether a board game player or designer who wants to design similar game.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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