I love a good horror movie. One of the things I love about the horror genre is the thrill & the excitement each movie has given me. Another thing I love about a good horror movie are the characters that evolve, hopefully, as the movie goes on.

When I watch a horror movie I watch the various scenes that happen. Much of the same things happen in different movies. Like a murder in the shower, a cabin, or out in the woods. And getting lost in the woods is probably the last thing you want to happen to you in a horror film.

Welcome to Nightmare Forest: Dead Run from SolarFlare Games & designer David Killingsworth. A 1-6 player game for ages 6 to adult that can be played in 15-40 minutes.


In Nightmare Forest: Dead Run you must be the first player to make it from your base camp to the road by travelling your way through a dark nightmarish forest. You can play solo or with up to five other players.

At the beginning of the game each player will pick a character to trek through a forest full of zombie creatures, hidden gear, & survivors. After characters are picked they are placed at campground at one end of the playing area. Once the campground is set two cards for each zone, zone 1 through zone 3, will be drawn & placed face-down above the campground.  The only zone that will contain one card will be zone 4, which will contain the boss for each player.

Once the forest is setup it will be time to decide who will start their mad dash through their nightmare forest. For each turn a player will start off by either deciding to roll for gear or moving into the next forest zone. If a player decides on rolling for gear they roll the dice they have. They look at the symbols on the dice & collect gear for one hit, two for two hits, keeping one & discarding the other. If at the end of a player’s turn they have more than three gear, then they must discard down to three gear cards.

If they decide on moving, the next forest zone is flipped face up. If it is a zombie then that player must engage it in battle. The player will look at the defensive value of the zombie & roll against it. If the value of the dice is equal to or greater than the defensive value the player defeats the zombie & moves into the now empty space. Once dice are used in battle or for gear that player will no longer be allowed to use those dice again. But once a player defeats a zombie they gain one die back.

When using gear a player must announce the use of that gear before they roll for attack. Once used a gear card is flipped face up to show it has been used. When used a second time a gear card is turned sideways then discarded.


Now that a player has defeated the zombie they can decide if they want to press their luck & move on to the next forest space. Or the player can decide to search for gear with their left over dice.

If the zombie wasn’t defeated then it stays & your character takes one wound point. If your character takes five wounds then they die & are removed from the playing area. There is, however, one way around take a wound. There are gear cards you can use to defend against the “counterattack”of the zombie.

When players move from zone to zone they will pick up a gear card & gain an extra die to help move the game along. The further a player moves through the forest the more dangerous each encounter gets. In zone 4 a player will meet the boss. The boss is the toughest creature a player will meet during the game. If given the chance the boss card will deal two wounds to that character. But once defeated that player escapes from the forest & wins the game.


Here are a few extra notes:

#1. Survivor cards can not be taken from a player & will not added to the number of gear carried. Each survivor does have game text where they can help you to either defend against a counterattack or they can join in on a fight against a zombie.

#2. A player may be allowed to use two one handed weapons. That player must declare the use of both & can not use another gear card afterwards during that turn.

#3. Gear cards can be thrown at an opponent that is ahead of you, unless that player is in zone 4. Yes, a player can toss a gear at an opponent. That players rolls a die. If the die comes up as a hit then a zone 1 zombie is placed face down underneath that player’s character card & flipped once that player can challenge it. This can be done as an attempt to slow down the advancing player.

This game is not difficult at all. It is fun with lots of dice rolling, my favorite, & decisions to make. You must be prepared to decide on taking that next step into moving further into the forest after a fight or staying put & maybe searching for gear if you can.

I have played it several times on solo adventuring & found it can be quick yet daunting when reaching the boss. Each time I get to the boss I roll really bad or have no gear. Saving gear & combining them at the boss is key to winning the game.


Now if you want to run a quick game of Nightmare Forest: Dead Run then you can just place one forest card per zone. Which really does cut the playing time in half.

I do like this game. It could have a little take that & does have a little bit of a “press your luck” mechanic involved. It plays rather quickly & is easy to learn. Like I have said before I am a huge fan of dice games & this is one I’m definitely adding to my library.

It is up on Kickstarter at the moment: Nightmare Forest: Dead Run & is almost fully funded. There are a lot of stretch goals to unlock & the goals look extremely fun, especially the Bigfoot Meeple.

Be careful about getting lost in a dark scary forest & game on!

-Christopher Richter

Twitter: @Boardgaming_FTW

Geeks Podcast