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Zombie in My Pocket

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Rating: 4.5/5 (50 votes)
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MatthewZombie in My Pocket screenZombie in My Pocket is the quintessential casual game: quick to play, easy to learn, solitaire and free. But it differs from the usual Jay is Games fare in one crucial respect: the platform on which it plays is not Windows or Mac or even Linux, but rather your kitchen table.

ZiMP is one of a growing number of "print and play" board games available on the Web. It costs nothing, but after printing out the four-page ZimP PDF you'll need to spend two minutes of quality time with a pair of scissors before you are ready to play. Though printing the game onto cardstock is preferable, regular-weight paper works fine too. (My copy is on some flimsy all-purpose printer paper, and although shuffling the cards and titles is a chore, the game has held up for 20 plays at least.)

Play begins with single title, depicting the Foyer of a creepy old mansion. On each turn you first move a pawn through one of your current room's available exits, then draw a new tile (such as "Dining Room" or "Kitchen") and place it such that the doorways line up. In this way you slowly reveal the layout of the manor as you search for a profane Totem hidden somewhere within. Later you can head out the back door of the house, wander the yard in search of the secret Graveyard, bury the Totem and win.

All this would be a cakewalk were it not for the Zombies. Upon entering a room you must draw a card, which may grant you an item (a machete, say, or a board with nails), increase or decrease your health (which begins at 6), or surprise you with a horde of zombies. If zombies reduce your health to 0, or if you don't reach the Graveyard by midnight, you have failed in your quest (assuming your quest isn't to personally alleviate undead hunger).

Zombie in My Pocket is short—a full game only takes 5 minutes—but surprisingly addictive; the urge to play again (and again, and again) is almost insurmountable. It's also rather easy, and you're likely to win three times out of every four. To address this, the game's designer, Jeramiah Lee, suggests two house rules: capping your health at 6 (i.e., nothing can give you a health of 7 or higher), and only gaining two health when cowering. Played this way, the game provides a considerable challenge.

ZimP has received great buzz in the board game community, and a game company intends to release a multiplayer version early next year. Until then, the free version is a fun way to hack and slash your way through a coffee break.

Download and Play Zombie in My Pocket.


Spikeyboy August 31, 2008 4:00 PM

Sounds like a pretty good idea. I'll give that one a shot for work breaks...


I have yet to play the game, but the idea of "print and play" is amazing. It means anyone can make one of these games, without expensive (not to mention closed-source) software, that only runs on Windows and Mac (I prefer Linux). Finally, free, cross-platform, games that only require a printer. I only wish I had thought of it.


Wow, why hadn't I thought to look for print and play games before? This looks simply awesome.


Hey Matthew, welcome to JIG!

I printed these out and started playing last week when I saw the review was coming. Very fun.

Hopefully you can answer this question: If you first move to the dining room and get attacked and decide to flee, can you flee to the patio? I assume not, but since it's the forced next card, I wasn't sure.

Is there a forum somewhere that people are discussing the fine points of the rules?

I found it helpful to write the attack point values on the items on the cards. I wish there was a way to keep track of the points without paper and pen. Perhaps a papercraft invention is in my future.


I'd just like to make a point here.

There is a current Tabletop Board Game called "Zombies!" that is now in its seventh installment. This game here, while interestingly unique for a flash title, is rather similar in fashion.

I wouldn't be pinning any medals on this piece.

[Edit: A couple of corrections here: 1) Zombies!! is multiplayer, ZimP is single-player; 2) ZimP is not a Flash title. -Jay]

[Edit: Despite the similarity is theme, ZiMP and Zombies!! occupy completely different gaming niches. Zombies!! can take as long as 90 minutes to complete, ZiMP is over in ten minutes or less; Zombies!! is multiplayer, ZiMP is solitaire; and while combat is really the heart of Zombies!!, the battles in ZiMP are highly abstracted. That said, Zombies!! would be a logical choice for those who enjoy ZiMP but want a longer, meatier game to play with their friends. -Matthew Baldwin]


Question, for anyone who knows the answer. Let's say that the only door is to the top of the current room. Then let's say I draw a room with only doors on the sides. Am I allowed to turn the new room to match the doors up (as I have been playing it), or do I have to redraw, or wait until I do get a properly fitting room, or what?


It says in the rules you can only flee to a room you've already been in. It would be way too easy otherwise.

I'm pretty sure you can place new tiles any way you want, so long as at least one door matches up with the tile you left.


You can turn it any direction as long as one of the doors connects to previous room's door.

If you are outside you have to line up the bushes.


Thanks, everyone. And I think I accidentally posted twice. If it's not just me, could an admin remove one of those?


I've played a board game called "Betrayal at House on the Hill" that also has the same modular board mechanic. I think these kinds of games are uber-fun!! If you liked the room exploration aspect of ZiMP, you should gather a couple friends and play Betrayal :D

I see a great potential for user-generated content in ZiMP with players creating additional rooms as well as the different scenarios they have in the forums already.


Neat! I don't know why I didn't think of checking out print and play games before.


A shame my printer's out of ink. This looks fun.


I've printed out a number of these table-top games, they are great fun for a gathering on saturdays.


This is a great game.

I have been actually carrying it in my pocket (or at least in my wallet) for about 6 months now. A great thing to pass the time with when you're waiting somewhere (if you don't mind strange looks and questions from people around you wandering what are those strange little colored squares you are lining up).


Excellent - first time I've seen a non-computer game on here, and I recently made an Aliens variant for this game too :)


One other thing.

I saw the "Zombies!" comment which is unfairly demeaning to this particular game.

"Zombies!!" is a rather longish boardgame which overstays its welcome very quickly. It's campy and initially fun, but its length and ridicilous endgame/winning conditions are pretty awful. I surely wouldn't be pinning medals on that one, and it's a small wonder that game has SO many sequels; one must wonder if anyone is actually playing those games or just buying them solely because they look neat.

"ZiMP" is a completely different type of game. It's light, solitaire fun meant to be printed out and played in just a few minutes. While a shallow observer could point out many similarities between this and "Zombies!!", notably in the theme and tile-laying concept, the gameplay experience is vastly different. In fact, if you re-theme the game (and there ARE some space and pirate re-themes already available) most of the similarities end, but the enjoyment factor stays.

In a few words, it's unfair to judge a game before even getting a few basic facts right and trying it out for yourself. Especially when the game in question is available for free.


FYI, there is a Flash version available (for Mac, Windows and Linux): http://pimaster3.freeforums.org/zombie-in-my-pc-t6.html

[Correction: those are not Flash versions, they do not run in a browser, and they require a download. We cannot guarantee the source of those games, so use at your own risk. -Jay]


After playing this game a bit, I figured it would be more fun as multiplayer, so I changed the rules a bit, to make it a competition, and thus harder. The way I play it, everyone has their own game piece (to know who is where), and their own health. Players take turns, moving, drawing dev cards, whatever, and after the sequence is done, the next player goes. The twist is that the players aren't trying to save everyone, they want to be the only one alive.

So if one person enters a room, and there's already someone there, they can (but don't have to) attack the other person. If they choose to attack, the fight goes like this: Attacker's attack minus defender's attack = number of damage done to defender. If the defender's attack is higher than the defender, nothing happens. But, if the person entering the occupied room doesn't attack, the person already there can attack.

Feel free to try these rules out for yourself. It makes the game a fair amount shorter, but it makes it more fun, and it adds more replay value.


The Yeti has come home, and he brought games! \o/

Theprogram00 September 1, 2008 5:35 PM

Thanks for posting this. This is a great find.

Played a couple of times and had good fun. Good time waster.

Are there any other good print and play games?
Would love to see other reviewed here.


That's really cool, My husband recently had an assignment for his degree which involved a print out zombie game, which is very similar to this one. (he had to make it into a functioning computer game)

The first part of his assignment was to print out said zombie game and play it.. yay :) I like zombies


I'm thrilled to see you posting a free non-computer game here. I'd never heard of "print and play" games before despite being a fan of tabletop games. I'd love to see more of this genre if you find others you deem worthy. :D


Btw, for those of you who don't have some handy printer nearby, one fan of the game made a downloadable windows version of it:


It has some issues, but it's playable. Might be a little bit confusing if you didn't play the actual papery version before, though...

[Edit: This was already posted a few comments above. -Jay]


Correction: Windows, Linux, and Mac versions, sorry...


I really like the idea of JiG covering the occasional casual game that's not PC or Web-based! I remember a ton of cheap little games like these that we sold at a comic book store I worked at for years.

If you're new to the concept, you wouldn't believe how many "mini" or "casual" card and board games there are out there.


OK seriously, JiG is now officially even MORE awesome than usual... (yes, just for posting a game like this).

More specifically, this is a good game, and well worth the paper/ink to print it... of course, printing the card/tile portions on cardstock (easily found at office supply stores, or even somewhere like Target, where i bought mine) makes it much nicer. I recently played a couple of games at this while at an airport, waiting for my flight (I just used the seat next to mine for a playing surface), and it was a great way to pass the time.

Again, props to JiG for posting about such an awesome game!

Necroarkher September 2, 2008 12:57 PM

So this is free? What sucks the most is I can't play it because we don't have a working printer! I'd have to pay to play a free game! Please someone make a legit Flash version or something. I'm not trusting the download, as I trust Jay over a random commenter.


This looks fun, but the download isn't working for me. Does anybody have an alternate link?


The download link is working fine.

Try right-clicking and choose Download link target, or Save as (whatever your OS displays for that action).


Necroarkher -

Yeah I was able to download it just fine, too. And it actually plays pretty well, and faithful to how it would as paper.


"So this is free? What sucks the most is I can't play it because we don't have a working printer! I'd have to pay to play a free game! Please someone make a legit Flash version or something. I'm not trusting the download, as I trust Jay over a random commenter."

Trust who you like, but there IS a legit Windows version of this game out there. It's hella fun as well.

Go to the boardgamegeek website and look up this game, and you will find it. If you don't want to trust a few well meaning commenters on here that just wanted to let people know about the well done computer version of this game, the boardgamegeek website should lend some legitimacy to it.



I'm Jeremiah, the designer of this game, and I just wanted to thank everyone for giving this game a shot. It's had a fantastic reception, and I couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out for these zombies.

Feel free to look over at boardgamegeek.com for more print and play games, and keep an eye out for the full multiplayer version of ZimP coming out late this year.


greenfourth September 18, 2008 6:55 PM

This is a great game but I was wondering just when the multiplayer version will come out. I can just imagine playing this while waiting in line at something for a con and it'd be that much better if I could include the people next to me in it :D


you can play this online apparently:


it's a cellular version too.


May be a bit late, but there is a multiplayer version now. Everyone moves as a group but makes the fight/flee decision as individuals - with potential for bluffing and betrayal.


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