The Walking dead. You’re a fan of the comics. You’re a fan of the TV show. Maybe you even play the Telltale Games (we do and we wholeheartedly feel that you should too). But do you play the board game?
Well, technically you could consider Walking Dead: All Out War a miniatures game, but I think because it’s a small skirmish type game in the vein of Imperial Assault7, I’d consider it a board game. Especially since all the models are one piece, no assembly required. Of course, since they come unpainted, you could pick up a brush and paint and start painting them, in which case I’d consider it a gateway drug. Lol.
Prelude to All Out War
Walking Dead: All out War (I’ll just call it the Walking Dead game for the purposes of this post) is a relatively quick two-player game where the players take opposing factions of scavengers within the world of the Walking Dead. It has your usual I-go-you-go mechanic, but initiative order (who starts the turn) swaps between players.
Each player can activate each of his or her characters, and each character has 2 actions. The actions are your usual; you can sneak or run (which generates noise), search for supplies, and the like. Then an event card is played (usually bad) and the zombies have their turn. The zombies are ‘neutral’, following a few simple rules that an intelligent player could try to ‘game’, but can also very easily ruin your day. After that is the melee phase, where dice are rolled to see if zombies are brained or people eaten (I’m glossing over a lot of rules here), and then the next turn begins.
The Walking Dead game comes with a variable turn mechanic. The game ends after a certain ‘threat’ level, and threat is gained when certain events take place, like during a melee, or whenever a gun is fired. The objective of the game is to make it to the end with a higher number of supplies (in the possession of your characters that are still alive: this is an important caveat) than the other team. Because of that, the game can be as non-confrontational as you want it to be.
Don’t Catch the Stupidball
Of course, as per the comic or TV show such lulls before the storm usually herald a shitshow, and the game is no different. The tailing player may try to lead a last desperate melee push to wrest supplies from the opponent, or the leading player may even wish to fire some shots to maintain the lead, increase threat and end the game. But because how active the zombies are based on the threat level, and because anything that increases threat usually generates noise and attracts zombies, the gambit could just as easily backfire on you. Just in the demo game we had, Rick tried to shoot an opponent, but ended up attracting half the zombies on the board, getting mobbed behind two cars, and dying.
Like other miniature games, you use points to calculate who you bring to the game, as well as the equipment they have on them. A 100-point game (which is in the basic core set) sets up Rick and Carl (Coral!) versus 3 mooks. I think they’re technically people that were in the comics, but they must not have been important since I don’t remember them. The game itself runs about 30-60 minutes at 100 points, so larger pointage games run longer.
Just as an FYI, The Walking Dead: All Out War is trailing behind both the comics and the tv series. For example, one expansion is based off of Hershell’s farm, while another is based on the prison. The governor is also available in an expansion called ‘Prelude to Woodbury’. Each of these expansions have some special rules centered around that specific scenario, and many other characters are available in their respective boosters. So while you might be able to get Hershel, Shane and Glenn, later characters like Dwight, Abraham and the like aren’t available yet. However, there are fan favourites that are already available, like Neegan, Ezekiel and Shiva, and Michonne.
Another point to note is because the game is based on the comics, certain people that we’re used to don’t exist (or maybe don’t exist yet? I’m not sure). Carol is not the badass that she is, and Daryl, everyone’s favourite redneck, is nowhere to be seen. One good thing though is that we get TELLTALE CHARACTERS. We get Lee and Clementine as exclusive con products, and as a Telltale Walking Dead fan I will say that Lee/Clementine is more awesome than just about all the other Walking Dead characters out there.
The Walking Dead: All Out War will be available exclusively in STGCC at the Blitz and Peaces booth. Considering how people are in conventions are, I’d expect the stock for Lee and Clementine, and other popular characters like Michonne and the like, to be quite limited. Be sure to get the package set, and add on the Lee and Clementine exclusive since there’s no other way to get it. You can also get paint (if you want to paint the miniatures ) in their booth, or in the Gamersaurus Rex booth nearby. See what I mean about gateway drug?
And if you don’t know who Lee and Clementine are, PLAY TELLTALE’S WALKING DEAD SEASON 1! It’s out on steam and if you’re a Walking Dead fan you will not regret it.