We are continuing our venture into the Isaludo set of games with a standard deck of cards, this time with a zombie game. In Dead Center, you are trapped inside a cabin surrounded by zombies. Undead Kings, Queens and Jacks are clawing on your walls and banging on the windows. You are not hopeless, however: you can add support on all sides of the cabin to make it stronger, and take advantage of the fortifications in order to kill these hungry freaks.
In practical -gameplay- terms, you will shuffle your deck and draw 9 cards to form a 3x3 grid. Around the grid, you will place the court cards (zombies) face down. Then, on each turn, you will a) reveal a zombie, b) draw a card from the deck and play it in the grid, and c) try to kill the zombie that corresponds to the line you played your card in. If your deck runs out before taking out all the zombies, you lose.
To play a card in the grid, you must follow three specific restrictions: you can place it on top of a same colour card if that card is of higher value, or on top of an opposite color card if that card is of lower value. You may also place it on a same value card of any colour. Jokers have a value of zero but act as wilds, and Aces have a value of 1.
Zombie Jacks are the easiest to kill. When you place a card in the grid, if the other two cards in the same line are equal to or exceed 10 in value, the Jack zombie is out. Queens, however, can only be removed if the two supporting cards are of the same colour as the Queen (for example, to kill the Queen of Hearts, you need to play a card in a row/column in which the other two cards add up to 10 or more, and are of a red suit - hearts or diamonds. Kings are a bit trickier: the two supporting cards must be of the same suit as the King.
The game feels like a puzzle but it's not difficult to solve. I played twice and won twice. However, even though the idea behind it is clever and the theme matches the card alignment, I'm not inclined to play it again. It lacks the tension one would expect from a zombie game, probably because these zombies don't attack. They are just standing outside, waiting for you to add up the colours and the numbers. This certainly works but, for me, it isn't exciting. Oh well. At least it gave me the chance to play with my new Jonathan Burton deck.