Student Bodies: A game of running faster than the next guy!

Recommended Age:14+
Play Time:90 minutes
Players:2-4 (option for 5th)
Contents:1 3ft Game Board 28 2.5” Character/Zombie Standees with stands 174 Cards 1 Custom imprinted die 5 Character Sheets 104 Tokens 22 Obstacle Tiles
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What do you do when most of your school has turned into zombies? Push your “friends” down and escape of course! Student Bodies is a zombie survival game with a fun twist. You can actually attack or push other players and the zombies in order to escape. It makes for a really fun and interesting game!

Smirk and Dagger Games is an interesting company. They make games specifically so you can “stab your friend in the back”. I mean it is only a game after all…(I’d evil grin if I could here). This type of game appeals to me…not that I’m evil really it’s just that I am really good at being evil in games. I’m always the traitor (seriously 10 our of 12 times I was a chosen as the traitor!) and any game where someone can end up being evil is one I usually end up being that person…and I tend to win.

Some people have their game types like dice (the Diva)or cards (my husband and the Gentleman) but mine seem to be this sort of game. I love Student Bodies, not only for the ability to push your friends and be sort of evil but because there is even a better twist…if you die you become a zombie! This is the evil I’m good at =D.

banner (1)Before I get carried away on how being a zombie is awesome let me tell you about the parts of the game. The game board is your standard game board material. Sturdy and fold-able and laid out like a high school complete with exit doors and a lab. Ok that last part wasn’t standard…but you knew that right?

The cards are all standard card material and can tear so be careful. The artwork is fun and shows various scenes of whatever the card is doing. So if it says “Push” it shows one of the main characters pushing someone or something. It is also well done and not too gory but at the same time creepy enough to make you not want a zombie to be close by.

It reminds me of a comic style and I love the zombies have no eye color at all! I really like the artwork and find myself admiring it no matter how often I play…but I like art…and zombies. The Stamina, Corpse, Beaker, Door, Locker, Obstacle, Dead Player, Lunch Box, Bocce Ball and Health tokens are all made out of the same material as the character, zombie and smart zombie tokens. I THINK it’s called chipboard…but it’s that cardboard-that-isn’t I keep talking about.sndstudentbodiesreview (9)

The Character sheets are made out of a nice type of paper with a gloss finish and are double sided. We’ll get to that. These can be torn so be careful. In fact they are made similar to the cards. Overall the game is very well made and of course has my favorite feature. Spots in the box for everything! I do love an organized game box…no I don’t have OCD.

The game is recommended for ages 14+ and I think that is due to content and back-stabbiness…which makes sense. BUT if your child can handle zombie themes, some bloody tiles and zombies, and possibly getting killed in the game than they should be fine. You can always leave out the part where you go against other players and instead either choose to help or at least do nothing to hurt them.

My son is 6 (7 in Oct) and plays this game just fine. He likes zombie games, understands it is all pretend and we don’t pick on him too much but he does know you CAN push or attack another player. We only do sometimes and not often…and usually let him go first and we make sure it won’t get him killed. I’d say in another year he will be pushing my person down into zombies and winning. Now you probably want to know how to play…so here it goes.


Be the first (and only) one to get to the Science Lab, find an antidote and get OUT of the highschool. Only ONE will make it!

Alternate Objective:

Yes there is another way to win…first that other twist about the game…If you die in this game before you get the antidote you become a smart zombie and get to try to kill the other players! How awesome is that! The objective for any player that turns into a zombie is to kill the other players in order to win. All smart zombies would win in this case instead of just one. I LOVE games with twists!

You do not get to keep playing if you die after you get the antidote. You found the cure, took it and therefore cannot be a zombie…you’re just dead and out of the game. Sorry…sucks when that happens. Especially if you opened the exit doors and were 5 spaces away!


Setting up the game sounds confusing and complicated but it isn’t and after you setup one time you do that “OOhhhOOohhh” and just get it. Well you might get it before that but I did the Oh thing and got after I set up once…but it wasn’t THAT hard at all really.sndstudentbodiesreview (4)

First open the board game where everyone can reach everything…or as close to that as possible. Find the Science Lab and Fire doors and put them into the black stands then place them in their spots on the board. Now shuffle the Hallway deck and randomly draw 2 and set them aside.

Shuffle the Exit deck and randomly draw one but place it face down in the exit area. Do the same with the Science Lab cards but place one card face down in the Lab. These will be flipped and set up once someone opens the doors. Put the rest of all 3 decks away as you only need these cards from them. SO many possible setups!

Flip over the Hallway cards and find the arrow pointing in on each card. Line them up next to each so the arrows line up (pointing away from each other). THIS is your layout for the game board for your current game. Obviously you game changes each time depending on the cards you draw! I love that sort of thing.

sndstudentbodiesreview (5)Now begin placing items according to the cards. If you see a Zombie circle place a Zombie token (on a black stand) in that spot and place any Corpse tokens on their spots based off of the Hallway cards as well. You might also have to place Obstacle tokens or Spawn points. These are on the back of some Obstacle tokens.

Set aside 4 zombies in the Science Lab and 4 for the Exit Hall so you don’t run out before you open those doors. Wouldn’t that be nice? This game isn’t about being nice though…so set aside the zombies. Now find the Beaker tokens and set one Antidote aside for each player then mix up the rest.

You will need a total of 6 for a 2-4 player game and 7 for a 5 player game so randomly select face down beakers until you have that number. Place all beakers face down in the Lab area and stare at them longingly while you play.

Now players can select their characters or you can randomly hand them out. However, you want to do it just make sure each player gets 3 Stamina tokens and 5 Health tokens. You should be able to tell where these things go no your character sheet so place them there now.sndstudentbodiesreview (6)

Shuffle the Main deck and then shuffle the Item deck too. Each player gets one Item card and 5 Main cards. The instructions say that each player draws these things on their first turn…or suggests it rather…but we just deal them out at the beginning. You can look at your cards but you can’t do anything just yet…setup isn’t quite over.

Now you have to set up the Zombies and the difficulty of them. Each card determines the actions taken by all the zombies on the board or can spawn new ones. They have 3 levels and a Base set that is included in every game. Level 3 is harder than level 1 but you usually end up with less of them.

First set aside the Base deck. You need all of these. Then follow the chart in the instructions to determine how many of what else you need. For example in a 3 player game (common for us since my son loves this game) you will need 3 level 1 zombies, 6 level 2 and 2 level 3 zombies. Shuffle each set individually and then draw the necessary amount from each.

sndstudentbodiesreview (3)Once you have the required amount of each set shuffle them all together and place them near the board. Put the rest away because you won’t need them this time. You should have 21 cards in your zombie deck for the current game…if not start the process over and try again.

All zombies should be on stands and all but the 8 set aside should be in the Hallway or on the side of the board ready to go. Every time a zombie spawns you take from this group  and when you kill one put it back.

If you run out feel lucky…or not cause all but the 8 set aside are now on the board trying to kill you…we’ve had that happen…it didn’t end well.

Any unused Corpse tokens are set aside face down because you might need more. Put the zombie attack die near the board and get ready for the fun!

sndstudentbodiesreview (2)Play:

Start with the owner of the game and go around the table rolling the attack die. Whoever rolls a BITE first is the first player and then continue clockwise! On the very first turn each player places their character in one of the start spaces by the Fire doors. After that the turns are the same with the following steps:

1 – Ready Items – You start with one Item card but you can get more by searching Corpse tokens or dead players. You play any items in your hand during this phase by putting it on your Character sheet in the Item spot. If you have a Weapon you must put it in the Weapon spot on the your Character sheet.

Once you’ve used an Item card this is the phase where you would ready it to be used again. (We turn a card sideways to show it was used and simply turn it back to ready it). You can only ready One Weapon at a time but you can have up to 3 Items ready.  Some items require a cost like Stamina or to Trash it in order to use them.

sndstudentbodiesreview (8)2 – Zombie Actions – Yes…zombies get to go before you actually get to do anything so try to remember that. I think that was the hardest part as most games allow you go and set yourself up for the zombies to move. Not only do they move first but you have no idea if they are going to spawn or be given an action…that makes it harder.

When it is the Zombies turn you flip over one of the cards from the Zombie deck and follow it. If it shows a Spawn symbol you get to put a Zombie anywhere on a Spawn symbol you want to…which is usually next to someone else. Then it moves or attacks if a player is right there as it gets an action.

If all zombies get 1 (or 2) action(s) they do one of the following in the following order – Stand up if they are knocked down, if they are next to a player they attack. Again the active player decide WHO…so maybe don’t be by a zombie and another player.

If they are not near anyone then they move towards the closest person (whoever the current player is gets to decide which way if they are evenly away from two or more players) and if they can’t move closer they move sideways or stay put. Player’s choice is great when you are the player.sndstudentbodiesreview  (1)

3 – Player Actions – NOW you get to take your actual turn. It seems like forever before you actually get to take your turn and you might die before you do but now is your chance to kill, get even or simply run away. During your turn you can only do as many things as you have Stamina for. Some cards require 1 or 2 and some require 0 Stamina…which helps. Movement requires 1 Stamina per space and 2 Stamina to move onto an Obstacle tile.

You can also play cards or use items to move, attack or push zombies or players. You cannot move onto a space with a zombie or another player and if you get Knocked down you have to pay 1 Stamina to stand back up. Also, while Knocked down you (edited:)CAN use cards to defend against attacks if you have any but if not you take immediate damage. This sucks when you are Knocked down first and are surrounded…I die a lot this way.

I will not go into extreme detail about what cards can do or things like that because that is part of the fun of learning and playing the game. If you land on a space with a Corpse token or Beaker token you can search it for free. All that means is you flip it over and get what it shows…which in the case of some Corpse tokens could be an item, nothing or a zombie Bite…which you (edited:)CAN defend against if you have the right cards…which I forgot because I have never had those cards. Ugh…I really do suck at the being alive part of this game.

sndstudentbodiesreview (10)4 – Clean Up – Once you have done everything you want or can do in your turn (and have hoped you prepared for doom on any other zombie turn) you can discard any cards you have left that you don’t want and draw back up to 5 cards. Put your Stamina tokens back to 3 and your turn is over…you survived!

During this part any player who played a card to defend can also draw up to 5 cards again which is kind of important so don’t forget to do that! Play continues clockwise until someone wins or dies…or everyone dies.

If you die after you get an antidote you will not be a zombie…but you are out of the game now and your character is removed and a dead player token gets put on the space you died. It’s your corpse…not a memorial…sorry.

Any items you had on you when you died are now lootable (is that a word?) by anyone just like any other Corpse token. Yeah…it sucks when it happens…especially when it is your 6 year old child who says “sorry mommy” as you pushes closer to the zombies that kill you…he learns fast.sndstudentbodiesreview  (2)

Now if you died BEFORE you got an antidote you are now a proud member of the undead and your goal is to kill the living…players that is. I am not, however, going to tell you how to play as a zombie…there is a lot of fun in discovering that.

Personally I LOVE being a zombie but I like being evil…in games I mean…not real life. Well…not really. Ahem…let’s learn about what happens when you open a door…that’s important.

When you are in a space next to either door you can open it for a Free action. Doing so sets the room. Flip the card sitting in it face up and lay out the Zombies, Obstacles, etc in the room. Then play as normal. Sometimes this spawns Zombies right near the door and sometimes not…it depends on the card you drew.


You win if you are the one person to get an antidote and make it out of the door in one piece. You could literally have one health left…but you’d be alive. Unless you were a Zombie…then you’re deadish and you win (along with any other player zombies) when all living players die…or get turned.

There are ways to make the game harder…if you’re crazy. You can increase the difficulty cards of zombies so you would have more level 3 cards instead of level 1 cards.

sndstudentbodiesreview  (3)You can come up with your own Lab, Exit and Hallway configurations instead of going by the cards. There is even a way to play a 5 player game…though it may take a bit longer.

I have played several zombie games, usually the survival type, and I have even played others where you can be a zombie if you die…but never one where you are NOT working together.

Student Bodies is definitely NOT a co-op game. I love that about it too! Every player for themselves! Makes for a more interesting game…even when your on the receiving end of a Push…into a horde of zombies.

This is a great game for teens and adults for game nights. Younger kids can play but like I mentioned earlier make sure they are ok with the themes and things in the game first. Play with adults a time or two before playing with younger kids…to get the being evil part out of your system.

My son is becoming more ok with dying at the hands of zombies due to a push or something by someone…but only because he can hold a game grudge like no other and WILL get you back next time.

Student Bodies is a fantastic game of zombies, survival, and the fun kind of backstabbing by your friends. All in good fun as always you have the CHOICE to simply ignore the other players or help them to their doom.


Show us your doom or evil moments! @MyGeeklings #StudentBodiesGame @SmirkandDagger

“I don’t think anyone wants to cuddle a zombie.”
~ Norman Reedus

Author: sandyz

3 thoughts on “Student Bodies: A game of running faster than the next guy!

  1. Hi! Nice article. I’m the designer of Student bodies and I thought I should correct you on one thing which might make your future games more fun.

    You CAN use cards to defend yourself when you’ve been knocked down. Goodness, you must’ve died a lot this way.

    You CAN use cards to defend the bite from a corpse.

    The difference in both of these cases is that there’s no die roll.

    To be even clearer, the thing you CAN’T do when knocked down is use Attack cards.

    Thanks for the positive review! I’m glad you liked the backstabbiness (yes that’s a word, darn it). Keep up the good work!


    1. Thanks! I actually have died a lot that way and I did forget you COULD defend yourself but I NEVER have had the cards that allow you to do that LOL. Same thing with the Corpse bite…I literally have never had those cards…I always seem to get the more aggressive cards LOL. Thanks for the reminder though! I’ll put an edit in there so as not confuse others who play. I really do have that bad of luck while playing games unless I get turned…then I’m all kinds of good at this game!

      It is a fantastic game! Love it! Thank you and you keep designing great games!

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