Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Walking Dead Board Game Review

This Christmas amongst my scored loot for old Santy Claws, I received the Walking Dead Board Game.
There are two different versions of the game, one has art from the comic, the other has photos of the characters from the TV show. I got the latter.

The game is made by Cryptozoic Entertainment. The first thing that stood out when I opened the box was that the game board isn't a board made out of thick cardboard with printed paper glued to it. It's a rubber mat no-slip mat on the bottom with a nylon fabric print on top that is very similar to a mouse pad, only a lot larger. This makes for easy clean up, as the board is inevitably going to get dirty over time, and unlike the paper based boards, a quick wipe down with Windex isn't going to kill it. The board is soft, and there are spaces where the printed letters are slightly fuzzy, but it isn't a hindrance in any way. Think normal picture not HD  picture and I think you'll understand.

The game mechanics make for a fast play through. The object of the game is to get to all four corners on the board; the Police Station, the Department Store, the Abandoned Car Lot and the CDC Building. You can play as one of six characters: Glenn, Rick Grimes, Dale, Shane, Lori or Andrea. Each character has a Special Ability that can be used ones per game, such as re-rolling a bad roll and adding +2 to the result or moving a Survivor over a space.

You start out at the center of the board, at the Camp. Each player gets two Ally tokens that work like Hit Points and five Scrounge cards- which consist of weapons you use during game play. You roll one D6 (six sided die for those of you who don't know) to figure out who goes first, to move and to fight during Walker Encounters. Unless you land on a space that says otherwise, each turn you will draw an Encounter card and you will have to either fight off a Walker or resolve a Personality Conflict. You then play a combination of weapons (Scrounge Cards) and roll the die, adding the bonus from the weapons to the roll. If you roll higher than the strength of the Walker, you kill it. If you don't, it bites one of your Allies and they die- and you lose an Ally token. Once you are out of Ally tokens and you are bit, you become a Walker. That's when the game gets interesting.

Walkers do not  stay dead during game play, which means that once you become one, and you lose an Encounter with a Survivor, you respawn and place your game piece on the "Walkers Respawn Here" location on the board. That means that everyone continues to play the game until all of the Survivors become Walkers, or a Survivor picks up a location token from each of the four corners of the board and makes it back to Camp alive.

Once you become a Walker, you get to draw Walker Cards, which act like Encounter Cards that are played against a Survivor when you land on her space on the board. Some Walker Cards can be played at any time during a Survivor's turn to make the difficulty of a roll higher or hinder her in some other way, such as losing Scrounge Cards (weapons) that she currently has in her hand.

Scrounge Cards do not get replenished during game play. Once a card is drawn and is played, (unless it says otherwise such as the Crossbow is kept if you roll a 5 or 6) it is placed in the Scrounge Discard spot on the board and isn't used again. The game mechanic means that once you use the item, it's gone. Just like it would be during a zombie apocalypse. (Yikes.)

The only bad part about the game is that the card stock used to make the playing cards and location tokens is very, very thin, flimsy and delicate. You can accidentally scratch or tear them just by attempting to cut open the plastic wrapping that they come in. I resolved this problem by purchasing clear plastic playing card sleeves.

Deck Protector Sleeves are generally sold in packs of 50 or 100. They fit well in the 66mm x 91mm Standard Gaming Card Sleeves by Ultra PRO. The plastic sleeves make it easier to shuffle the cards so you don't have to worry about bending the corners (which results in "marked" cards and predictable game play).

Overall, my pals and I really enjoyed playing this game. If you are looking for something new to try and play with your friends, or are a fan of The Walking Dead, I highly recommend The Walking Dead Board Game.

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