On each turn, the player places the topmost town tile adjacent to tiles that are already face up. The new tile must be placed in a way that matches: roads must connect to roads, and so on. Most tiles are roads and road junctions, but some contain locations within the town, such as the Fire Station or Hospital. When a tile is placed, the player must also place two or more zombies on it; if it is a named location it may also hold additional life tokens or bullet tokens.
If the player shares a square with a zombie, he must try to destroy it (see below). Otherwise, he draws up to three event cards, which may be used to modify the game rules. The player may use only one such card until the beginning of his next turn.
Next, the player rolls a six-sided die to determine how far his "shotgun guy" can move. He may use some, all, or none of this movement, at his discretion. If the player moves into a square containing a zombie, he must attempt to kill it by rolling 4 or more on a six-sided die. If he fails to roll a 4 or greater, he has the option of improving his roll by using bullet tokens, or of losing a life token and attempting to kill the zombie again. This continues until either the player or the zombie is dead. If the zombie is killed, the player keeps the zombie figure to show who killed it; if the player is killed, he "respawns" at the town square with three life tokens and three bullets, but may not move further. If a square is clear of zombies and contains a life token or bullet token, a player may pick it up and add it to his own, although no player may have more than five life tokens at a time.
Once the player has finished with movement, he rolls a six-sided die to determine the zombies' movement. Each zombie can move only one space per turn, but as many zombies move as are shown on the die.
Finally, the player may discard an event card. Since each player may only discard one and use one per turn, this means the player should always have at least one card at all times.
The game is won by the first player to kill 25 zombies or the first player to reach the center square of the Helipad tile and clear it of the zombie if one is there, whichever comes first.
Players must decide whether to avoid combat and allow the other players to dispose of the zombies for them, or to strike out and collect the various items that the board and event cards provide. Once the Helipad tile is placed, the players can choose between racing to the helicopter (which will often result in death); holding back and hoping to rush in when another player dies; or ignoring the helipad entirely and trying to kill 25 zombies.
The event cards and the zombie movement phase also provide opportunities to hinder the progress of other players, and there is scope for diplomacy.
The game can take up to three hours to complete, which was a complaint of some reviewers--for shorter games, the publishers recommend that the Helipad tile be shuffled in amongst the other town tiles.
Zombies 3: Mall Walkers: This expansion adds a mall containing 16 new tiles and 32 event cards and air vent movement rules while in the mall.
Zombies 3.5: Not Dead Yet: This expansion adds new event cards. As an optional variant, players can construct their own decks of event cards.
Zombies 4: The End You've escaped the zombie ravaged streets of the city, but now, the real terror begins. Up in the moutains lies a cabin, and in the cabin and the surrounding forests, lie the pages of the Book of the Dead. If you can gather enough pages together, you could end this entire zombie mess for good.
Zombies 5: School's Out Forever!: This expansion adds a school containing 16 map tiles, 32 new event cards and "Guts" tokens.
Zombies 6: Six Feet Under: This expansion takes players into the sewers and subways. It offers 16 new map tiles, 32 event cards, 24 sewer tokens, and new sewer rules that can be played with any set. Unlike the other expansions, all of the new map tiles are shuffled into the main tile deck.
Zombies 6.66: Fill in the ____: Players can create their own map tiles and event cards using the blanks provided by this set.
Zombies 7: Send in the Clowns: Now players must deal with zombified clowns in a circus.
MidEvil: Another stand-alone game in which the players must battle skeletons in medieval times (see Army of Darkness). This game also has an expansion (Castle Chaos), with another (Subterranean Homesick Blues) released in December 2007. The tiles are marked as in other expansions of Zombies!!!, but there are no listed rules on how to combine it into the original game.
Humans!!!. This game is playable by itself but also allow you to incorporate it into a game of Zombies!!!. The game is played from the perspective of the zombies where your goal is to eat humans. These humans can also be other players.