Game Review – Texas Hold’em with ZOMBIES

Texas Hold’em has always been an iconic game throughout the years. Whether it is in a western saloon or a high stakes casino, this timeless game has always been about playing your opponent rather than playing your hand. That is, until you throw in Zombies into the situation! Texas Hold’em with ZOMBIES (THZ) is for players ages 10+ (or 18+ if you are actually gambling) and can house anywhere from 2 to 8 players. In addition to a custom deck of playing cards, the game also includes a TON of cardboard poker chips, 30 zombie pogs (more on this later) and over 50 item cards that aim to change the way this classic gambling game gets played.


{I’d first like to point out that this review doesn’t cover the basic rules of Texas Hold’em, but rather it highlights the nuances that this game brings to the table.}

THZ comes with some handy reference cards (in addition to the dozens of poker chips) shown above.

The game starts like any normal game of Texas Hold’em, with the exception that each player also gets five “Item Cards” in addition to their original hand of two playing cards. Item cards come with stipulations, both when that card may be played (pre-dealing, during the dealing, afterwards, etc.) and how long that card’s effects will last. Item cards can range from weapons, armor, and pretty much anything you might find useful in the event of a zombie apocalypse. The item cards have a variety of powers, anywhere from protecting you from zombies as well as attracting zombies to other players.

Cards are then dealt and bets are placed as in regular Texas Hold’em; cards are then revealed and the winning hand gets all of the chips (as in regular Texas Hold’em). Once the winning hand has been established, the type of hand that won is then allocated other enhancements (e.g. you may receive more item cards as a result of winning) in addition to winning the chips. This is where the zombie part comes in. All losers of that hand receive one zombie pog (unless you had some sort of item card in play that prevented this).

As you can see, the artwork done on each card is of very high quality.

Any spade or club card that was part of the winning hand counts as a zombie pog, issuable to whomever, at the discretion of the holder of the winning hand. After this point, any of the losing players who did not fold during the previous hand have an opportunity to buy an additional item card (price equal to the current big blind). At this point, players must now resolve their zombies with their item cards. Any zombies you’re not able to resolve using item cards are then disposed of for the price of the small blind (per zombie) for that round. As with most poker games, the big blind and small blind get bigger with each subsequent round. It’s important to note that there is a great deal of item card variety in this game, so there are a lot of “gotchya!” moments. As the blinds get bigger, getting rid of zombies become more expensive; and eventually, one will walk away with all of the chips, zombie free.

The Goods

THZ definitely puts an interesting twist on regular Texas Hold’em. Having item cards to enhance your chances of winning (or hurts others in the process) is a great way to bring a traditionally very adult game back down to a less intimidating level. Those of you who already know the rules to the base game will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly the game is to pick up. Sure, you may have to take a bit of time to explain the game to someone who isn’t familiar with Texas Hold’em, but the added rules and dimensions this game brings is well worth it.

Pictured above are various item cards to be used during, before, or after each had.

Though the game comes with everything, what you’re really paying for is the masterfully illustrated artwork found throughout the game and the item cards/Zombie Pogs. You likely already have playing cards and poker chips, but the ones that comes with this game help encase the whole “zombie apocalypse” experience. The most important point to remember throughout this whole game is that the basic rules are the same as before – the one with the most chips wins. There extra components add more depth (and fun, in my opinion) than the traditional poker game, but the ultimate outcome is the same.

Wrap Up

Texas Hold’em with ZOMBIES take the traditional poker game and turns it on its head by adding the timeless theme of zombies into the mix. While the basic rules remain, the extra item cards and zombie pogs through in a great deal of variation that will intrigue regular poker players, while bringing back those of us who might have previously been turned off by the original. The zombie artwork is amazing, and the box is almost overflowing with components. Whether you’re a poker aficionado, or looking to rekindle an old flame, the new take on this timeless classic will fulfill both appetites. If you’re interested in THZ, be sure to check out their pages on  Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Until next time,

THZ’s new rules and components to this age old favorite is compelling. The added complexity it brings to poker and the excessive amount of components included in the box are the main factors that contributed to its Meercat Approved rating.

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