Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thousands of horror films couldn't possibly be wrong

Low budget horror movies are a pretty incredible genre when you think about it. Nowhere else is the cheapness and silliness of the product not only forgiven, but a major selling point. There are thousands of horror films out there, but the fan base seems to have an insatiable appetite for more, regardless of the films' relative sameness and heavy reliance on a hadful of overused clichés. In fact, identifying and reveling in those very clichés seems to be a large part of the genre's charm.

Which brings us to Grave Robbers From Outer Space, the first in Z-Man's now out of print line of B-movie card games. We've already reviewed two other games in the series, Bushwhakin' Varmints and Cannibal Pygmies, but to summarize: players use cards representing common horror movie characters, locations and props to construct a movie, and attack their opponent's movies using creature cards, with the hope of knocking out their opponent's characters. Whoever has the strongest movie when someone plays one of the two "Roll the Credits" cards is the winner.

But I don't think the game play actually matters very much.

What matters is that it is a reasonably entertaining game that lets players interact with the beloved clichés of low budget horror films. It doesn't necessarily poke fun at them so much as it celebrates them, since it is the familiarity of those creepy med students, dumb jocks, vampire hunters and shuffling zombies that make low budget horror such a surprisingly safe refuge from our mundane existence.

Rating: 3 (out of 5) The game itself is mediocre, but the world it describes is fun to visit.

Date played: February 1, 2014

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