Shambling Along… Stupid Users: Beta Review
- # of Players: 2-4
- Playtime: 15-20+ Mins
- Ages: 13+
- Designer: Matt Jacobs
- Publisher: Dent Ventures LLC
- Price Point: $24.00
- Kickstarter Page
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this game to review.
Stupid Users: Beta is another entry into the Zombie Apocalypse genre of tabletop games. Like other zombie games, players face a horde of half-decayed, and half starved, undead. Unlike other zombie-themed games
What I liked
- Not as overtly violent as a lot of zombie media
- Very tongue in cheek
- Easy gameplay… once you decipher the rules
- Asymmetrical Gameplay
What I Didn’t
- The Rules for the prototype are a bit confusing.
The goal of Stupid Users is not to survive an unending mass of rotting foes. Nor is it to be the last person standing. No Stupid Users is a race to see who can recruit ten minions first OR gather the four beta pieces first. This is the goal for uninfected and infected alike. This kind of flies in the face of zombie dogma, which states that when it comes to zombies the first order of business is to stay alive. It also states that zombies are typically mindless. That isn’t the case with Stupid Users. With Stupid Users, you could very well find yourself a leader of the fetid masses.
Ring Master of Conformity
The main antagonist of Stupid Users: Beta is Der Magicker, a being who seeks to dominate the rotting, walking corpse of humanity using either force of arms, by way of being the first to gain 10 minions, or through technology, by collecting the four BETA, which allows total domination of the world’s zombies, pieces first. In terms of gameplay, Der Magicker is an A.I. that challenges the players at the end of each player’s turn. Unless, of course, that player has already interacted with him during their turn.
Every Man, Woman, And Zombie for themselves
Standard Operating Procedure
Gameplay revolves around either stealing or destroying your opponent’s minions or items, and preventing your own minions, or items, from being stolen or destroyed. Standard Take-That components give you most of your defensive, and some offensive, options.
Are you being followed?
There are two types of minions in Stupid Users. The first doesn’t really do anything by themselves. Their value comes when you have enough of them to activate your special ability, if you are uninfected, or to purchase stronger minions if you have joined the ranks of the undead.
The second type is much more direct in their usefulness: They give you bonuses. For instance one card will prevent you from becoming infected if you have it in your army. Others give attack bonuses or defensive options.
It’s the apocalypse… somewhere
While Stupid Users has some “disturbing” art, the actual gameplay is rather nonviolent. You rarely interact with each other’s avatars, and even when you do it is never to deal damage. Even the rank and file zombies never actually directly attack Player Characters and only destroy minions and items or prevent you from performing certain actions on your turn.
Preserving your individuality
One thing I really enjoyed about Stupid Users was that each avatar has a special ability that is unique to them. As long as you are uninfected and have three, or more, minions of your color this ability is active. This ability is extremely powerful, ranging from extra damage to being unable to be infected. Of course, if you lose that third minion or become infected…
You don’t look so good…
The modern zombie, as opposed to the voodoo zombie, is a shambling, moaning, ravenous biohazard whose bite carries a fate far worse than death. Starving undeath. Stupid Users: Beta continues this tradition in a rather unique and fun way. Once a player is infected the game changes. Instead of holding cards in your hand for later play. You now play each card as you draw it, just like Der Magicker. You also lose that three-minion special ability.
But now… Now you command the undead. Instead of randomly drawing more powerful minions, infected players can recruit zombies directly from Der Magicker’s army, rather than kill them. And these zombies pack a punch.
Stupid Users: Beta is not a typical zombie story. Instead of a mindless horde attempting to devour all who cross their paths, you have a blend of more traditional zombie lore and the modern zombie. The zombies here are not just eating machines, they are in many ways hapless victims under the control of Der Magicker for his unholy plans. Or under the control of a Player for their unholy plans. And this makes Stupid Users: Beta a bit more unique than many of its siblings.
My one complaint about Stupid Users is that the rules, as written at the time of this writing, were written and laid out in a confusing manner. This caused a serious problem when my group tried to play the game for the first time.
Stupid Users: BETA may have a bug or two, but the underlying system is stable.