“THE WALKING DEAD BOARD GAME” (Review)Books/Art/Culture,Game and Toy Reviews,News Svetlana Fedotov
THE WALKING DEAD has proved to not only be a media bonanza, but a merchandising boon as well. From t-shirts and toys to DVDs and, of course, comics, collectors have been shelling out hard-earned cash for a piece of zombie memorabilia. It’s perhaps thanks to the recent interest in all things undead that the series has spawned not one, but two WALKING DEAD survival board games. While ghoulish versions of classics like WALKING DEAD Monopoly and WALKING DEAD Risk are on the way, the former are more popular with the strategy gamers than the casual, Friday night crowd. The more popular of the two, THE WALKING DEAD board game based on the Image Comics title (versus the AMC show), finds the player forced to scrounge for food while attempting to survive the ever growing zombie-hordes. With the tag line “Can you walk among the dead?”, it definitely brings the point home as the board slowly fills up with flesh-eaters and dwindling hope of survival.
With one-to-six players and the object is to be the first of your friends to successfully scout three locations safely. Though the box states it takes about 30-60 minutes to play, it rounded out at about 2-3 hours if played right. Every player gets a random starter character and one follower, who usually provides some sort of help throughout the game. As you progress, you can go to either a blank spot or one with resources, where if you intend to grab the objects, you will have to do an encounter card. The encounter card can range from fight zombies to rolling a certain amount of symbols on a dice with the consequences either positive or negative. Once a player reaches a location, they must either do one of the challenges listed on the location card or pick a random encounter card. Of course, it wouldn’t be a zombie game without the undead slowly gathering and giving everyone a case of claustrophobia. For every step a player takes, they must put a random zombie token on the spots they had tread with every token ranging from one-to-nine zombies.
THE WALKING DEAD BOARD GAME is a great beginning for strategy game players. The rules are clear and easy to follow and the encounter cards keep the game fresh for those whose attention spans might wander. There is also a fantastic attention to detail on the part of the game developers. If a player draws a card where the follower brings extra food or extra zombie-fighting shenanigans, you can be assured it’s a faithful representation of the person in the printed work. Also, it’s pretty fun to set up the zombies to block locations, so other players have a hard time reaching it and giving yourself a bit of advantage.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of complaints as well. The luck and random factor on the game is pretty high. From the chance zombie tokens to the random encounter cards, it gets a bit challenging to do any real strategy and ends up boiling down to hoarding supplies, praying for a favorable card, and hoping the dice rolls in favor of surviving the location challenges (though that seems how a real zombie apocalypse would play out.) It’s also easy to memorize the limited location challenges on repeat plays, and instead of sweeping through the board looking for safety, an experienced player could just go straight to where they know they could win, creating a bit of a curve. Still, THE WALKING DEAD BOARD GAME game is a fun way to spend a couple hours while waiting for new issues and new episodes.