Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 1-2
Amount of time to play: 30-120 min (depending on the scenario)
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 5-10 min
The Walking Dead: All Out War is a skirmish game that pits your survivors against your opponent’s and you both must deal with hordes of zombies. It can be played as a cooperative or solo board game too.
The Walking Dead All Out War is miniatures game based on the comic book. It can be played with two players, solo or in some instances cooperatively. You win by obtaining a certain number of supply tokens first or having more when the Threat Level maxes out. To begin you set up your armies, the terrain and the Walkers based on the scenario.
Initiative passes each turn and a turn is made up of four phases; Action, Event, Melee and End. In the Action phase you take two different actions. The main actions are move, shoot, and search.
When you move you may sneak or run. You move half as far when you sneak but don’t create noise. Noise immediately causes the closest upright Walker to move toward you. If you have a ranged weapon you can shoot an enemy. This will create Mayhem which causes every Walker within 10 inches to move toward you. Searching allows you to find supply tokens. These tokens help you win the game and also provide equipment to aid in your fight against your opponent and the Walkers.
During the Event phase Walkers that are close to a Survivor will move until they are in contact with them. The game comes with a Kill Zone template you can use to see which Walkers are close enough to engage their victims. Next the player with initiative draws and resolves an Event card. The Event is resolved differently based on the current Threat Level. Some Event cards increase the Threat Level before they are resolved. Often these cards add Walkers to the board or let you move them.
The Melee phase is when you resolve combat, but first you increase the Threat Level if any Walkers are in contact with a Survivor. Each Survivor gets a certain number of specific colored dice to roll. Choosing to defend and equipment can add dice to your pool. Walkers roll red dice (the weakest) based on the number you are fighting. The side with the most successes damages its foe. Walkers are laid prone when damaged and must be hit again while prone to eliminate. Or you must get a headshot result on one of your die. Survivors take damage based on the difference of successes the rolled versus what the Walkers rolled. When you choose to defend you cannot damage your attacker.
The final phase in a turn is the End phase. In it you check if any prone Walkers stand back up then see if either player has met the victory conditions. If they have the game is over. If not, he initiative token changes hands and you play another turn.
The Walking Dead All Out War has many mechanics you’d expect in a miniatures skirmish game. But blends them to create something unique and fun.
The components for this game are very good. The art is straight from the comic and looks awesome. The miniatures come pre-assembled and though some lack detail the majority of them are well sculpted. You can even paint them if you want. The rules are split into two booklets. One has quick start rules and scenarios and the other has more details. The Threat Level indicator is the only component I wish was better. It is a spinner and rotates a bit too freely. You can use some punch board to create a washer and tighten things up.
There are a lot of tense and meaningful decisions in this game. You need to balance getting supply tokens first with creating noise or finishing off prone Walkers. There is a race for the goal but just running to grab supplies will usually result in certain death.
Having a third faction on the board that is trying to kill everyone is a fun concept. And though the Walkers are mostly on autopilot, sometimes you can move them. So move toward your foe get them in the path of the supplies your opponent is going for. If you use them wisely they can help bring you victory.
I also like that you can play this game solo or as a cooperative. It can let you tailor the game based on your wants or who you are playing with. I might go with the cooperative mode with my son and the two-player mode with a friend.
The only downside I see is to increase the Survivors you have you need to buy expansions. The base set will keep you busy for a while but if you really like this game you will want more. The Miles Behind Us expansion lets you play through some of the comic series, adds more Survivors and a campaign mode.
If you are a fan of the Walking Dead and miniatures games you should buy All Out War. Others should definitely give it a try. It has flexible play modes, good mechanics and is fun.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 5 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 5 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6