The Walking Dead Board Game
Please be aware this game might not be suitable for all gamers. The game contains graphic and gory images from The Walking Dead TV series on AMC.
This 1-4 player game that runs in less than hour is based on the hit AMC series The Walking Dead. The show’s events and characters are woven into a challenging gaming experience. Having read the comic book series and watched the tv show makes it easier to be immersed in the game’s story elements. However, no prior knowledge of the series is necessary to play the game.
Cryptozoic’s The Walking Dead Board Game appeals to a larger audience. It’s light mechanics and connection to a mega popular tv series make it the kind of game that will bring new gamers to table.
The game remains true to form in that the zombies usually win. Like the television show the characters are in a dire situation with very few resources. They will have to decide how much assistance to give to the other players.
But beware! This zombie game has a unique game mechanic. Those who don’t survive the zombie onslaught can come back as undead and hunt survivors down.
Players select a character and start off in the center of the board called Camp. Each player starts off with 2 Ally Tokens, a.k.a. zombie meat shields. If you’re overcome by zombies Allies can take the hit instead.
Starting from camp, players will roll a die and try to get their character to each of the four corners of the board, where they will collect a special location tile. Each tile will give the player a bonus ability.
Along the way they will have to draw from an encounter deck and find resources, like weapons, called Scrounge Cards. When facing off with a zombie or other challenges, success is determined by a die roll. Players can modify the outcome by adding Scrounge Cards to the fight.
When players lose a zombie attack the game is not over for them. They come back to torment the remaining survivors as a Walker – pay back time!
The goal of the zombie players is to attack until there are no survivors. As a non-zombie player the goal is to successfully collect all 4 location tiles and make it back to Camp.
Now you might be thinking…
Wait, a role-and-move game? That can’t be good.
Yes, it is a game where a die is rolled to move your pawn. However, the path is not linear and you choose to go forward or backwards along the different paths.
Is this just a race to the four corners and back again?
Seeing opponents attacked by zombies keeps it interesting and there are choices to be made along the way. Choices such as, should I keep my teammates alive or let them be turned into Walkers?
Letting other players turn to Walkers early on is really chancy. With Walkers in play the chances of survival goes down quick.
Because this Walking Dead* game is based off the television show it benefits from the stunning imagery taken directly from the show. The award winning special effects zombie makeup featured on the components is striking.
One of the unique components is the game board made from playmat material. Opinions are really divided whether the rubberized material is an innovation or digression. On the downside the mat maintains that odd rubbery smell common to all playmats.
Why the rubberized mat a great idea:
It is virtually indesctructable. It wont warp or peel apart like some games with boards do. The die doesn’t fly off the table, it plops nicely onto the rubbery mat. The only downside is that the mat is stored in the box rolled up, so one edge tends to lift a bit off the table when you first lay it out.
Who would enjoy this?
When playing in competitive mode, coming back to the game as an undead Walker is awesome and makes for some good laughs. An often overlooked mechanic is the subtle shifting of allegiances as players turn into zombies.
It’s best to play this game with a sense of humor, laughing at the misfortunes of your opponents as they struggle to survive. This is not a deep strategy eurogame where you’re always in control. There is a fair amount of luck and the encounter deck could feel repetitive for some. As the box suggests this game uses visual elements of the tv show, which is loosely connected comic book story.
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