TABLE GAME REVIEW: All Wound Up

It’s hard to think of a time when about half of all board games seemed to feature Zombies, but back in 2004, when Twilight Creations’ All Wound Up first came out, they were a bit more of a novelty. So not only do we have Zombies, but we have a madcap Zombie Racing Game! With Wind-Up Zombies! Sounds great, but how does it actually play?

The official description starts with this phrase:

It’s boring when you’re dead. So, you and your deceased friends have decided to have a little race around the graveyard….” Thus begins the wackiest game from Twilight Creations yet! The players control their pawns as usual. But: the pawns in this game are self-propelled windup toys!

The key word here is “Wackiest.” This isn’t a precise game, or a game of planning and strategy. It’s a game about moving wind-up zombies around a graveyard and hoping that they go where you want them to go. The game has four wind up pawns, which are big and chunky and pretty good-looking, and four “board tile” that can be arranged in different combinations to make the course. On the tiles are the ending gate, as well as various hazards like open graves. You also add “brains” counters to the course (because of course you do), which come into play as the game progresses.

all-wound-up-tlc-3200-001-600x600The core mechanic is a card passing and bidding process. Each turn you are dealt a hand of cards which you get to pass elements of onto other players (and they onto you). The aim is to build a hand of actions you want to take – wind up card, turn cards, etc – in sufficient volume you can outbid other players to do them. In the bidding phase, the rotating “bidding player” picks an action and plays all eligible cards. But here’s the thing – you have to bid with all cards you have that are the same action, so you can be “forced” into winning a bid and performing that action.

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Once the action is decided, the winning player then does the action. There is a neat explanation on how to wind the zombies (you hold the handle, and turn the pawn, so everyone’s “1 turn” is the same) and then they’re off. They’re wobbly little buggers too, and don’t really know the meaning of “forward,” or occasionally even “stay upright,” which I guess is where the real fun of the game is. It can be surprisingly tense watching them wobble erratically around the board, although this could be frustrating if you’re after a game with much precision in its outcomes.

Brains, as I mentioned, can be picked up (or rather, stumbled over) and allow you to modify the bidding phase in a desperate attempt to control your own destiny, but as you can probably tell, there are a lot of semi-random elements in play here. This is a light-hearted, fairly quick, and not-at-all-to-be-taken-seriously game. It’s pretty fun with younger players, especially as they’re unlikely to be overly punished for inexperience and they’ll get just as much fun out of wobbly zombies as anyone else.

In the Box:

Time: 60 minutes
Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+

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Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Matt

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