The Gamer's Codex

The Gamer's Codex

Pittsburgh 68

Pittsburgh 68
From: GameWick Games, LLC
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Pittsburgh 68 is a new Zombie-themed Card Game from GameWick Games, LLC

The myriad of zombie games is almost exhausting and it is hard to find one that stands out these days.  Pittsburgh 68 turned out to be a rare gem, with subtle complexity and creative depth that made it quite a fun game.

The base concept is that you are making a zombie movie.  The name itself refers to zombie-great George Romero’s favorite city Pittsburgh (where his original Dead movies were all supposed to have been based out of) and the year Night of the Living Dead was released (1968).  The game is broken up into reels and this is one of many basic tropes the game uses to make it feel like you are making a zombie movie.

From the front cover:
“A Game of Shuffling Horror”

The game is played with anywhere from 3 to 13 players.  Initially, one player is considered the Zombie player (who is designated Zombie Master) while the others are considered the Survivor players.  Through play, some survivor players may change to zombie players but there is only one Zombie Master.  As mentioned, a game of Pittsburgh 68 is played in four rounds or Reels.  Each represents a phase in a zombie movie.  The overall game is more about telling the story of this movie and how well the survivors in fact survive.  There isn’t really a winner in the end as much as the end of a story. The fun in the game is not who wins but the story you create together.

There are several types of cards that drive the story.  Survivor cards are special cards that are dealt evenly out to each player until all have at least one and no more than 3.  Each survivor, like an RPG character, has 4 stats which are rolled when certain tasks arise.  The task resolution system uses two six-sided dice, and the goal is to roll under your stat.  Examples of survivors are the College Guy, the Housewife or the Kid Sister.  Each have stats ranging between 4 to 8.

The remaining cards are shuffled used to prepare the Reel Decks.  In these decks, several cards can appear.  Zombie cards are the most obvious.  They have a single strength that is used for attacks (because that’s pretty much all zombies do).  Only the zombie players can draw zombie cards from the central hand.  There are also Item Cards, which are for survivors only.  They can be what you would expect – a pistol, a bat, a knife, etc.  There are also Action Cards and there are four types of those – Plot Device, Power Play, Shuffling Horror and Sanctuary.  These create various situations or events that either hinder or help the player throughout the reel.

Each Reel has a specific number of cards and once those cards are done, the reel ends and players move on to the next.  The final reel – the Forth Reel – does not end when the stack ends, however.  Play continues one more round.

From the website:
“Thrills and chills await in Pittsburgh 68, a frenzied card-n-dice game that plays like a creepy old zombie survival movie!”

Once the Zombie Master is picked and the survivor cards are dealt, play begins by forming the 3-card central hand which represents what the players have to face or deal with in one way or another.  As cards are taken from the central hand, it is replenished from the reel deck.  In most cases, action cards halt normal play and the effect is worked out.  If no actions take place, the turn starts with the survivor to the left of the Zombie Master and goes clockwise – the Zombie Master always being last.  Players can take cards from the central hand, take actions against face up enemies (zombies or survivors, depending on perspective) or reveal new survivors (obviously survivor players only).  If a player runs out of survivors, he becomes a zombie player.  This means he takes the same actions as the zombie player, rather than the survivor players.  His allegiance now shifts.

One final aspect to note about the game are the spoints – survivor points.   These are only available to survivor players and give them an edge.  They help with strength tests, increase damage, and counter zombie attacks.  Players start with a  certain number and can gain more throughout the game.  One way is through Sanctuary Cards.  Taking sanctuary allows the survivor to rest and thus gain more spoints.

Game play is fast and fun.  If you like to tell a story or form a zombie movie storyline, this game is great.  If you are looking for a game that delineates a specific winner and loser, perhaps this game is not for you.  At Origins 2013, Larry Wickman was constantly running demos of this game and I saw nothing but smiles at his table.

In conclusion,   This is a fun game to play.  It has enough complexities to keep your attention, without being overly complex.  I am not a huge fan of the way he writes his rules but once you read them cover to cover, you understand where he is going with his thought process.

For more details on GameWick Games, LLC and their new Zombie-themed Card GamePittsburgh 68” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 18

Product Summary

Pittsburgh 68
From: GameWick Games, LLC
Type of Game: Zombie-themed Card Game
Game Design by: Larry Wickman
Art by: Stephen Blickenstaff
Number of Pages: 14 page rulebook
Game Components Included: (1) Rulebook, (1) Pittsburgh 68 Deck, (4) Dice, and (60) Spoints (Survivor Points).
Retail Price: $25.00(US)
Number of Players: 3-13
Player Ages: 13+
Play Time: Type 68 minutes

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

About the author

Ron McClung (Ron McClung)

Gaming Coordinator for all MACE events. Former writer for and Scrye Magazine.

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