Updated: Dec 4, 2019
We have pretty much lost count of the number of board games spawned by the success of the Walking Dead comic and TV series. This game from Cryptozoic was one of the first. It is showing its age, not merely in terms of the TV series characters it features but also in its mechanics. This is very much an old school game which ties in with the TV series but which feels old-fashioned in its play.
In the basic game, players each control one of six characters from the TV show. Each character has a once-per-game special ability. They must scavenge scarce resources (weapons) and allies (meat shield cannon fodder) to help them defeat the ‘walkers’ that attack them. If a player’s character is killed, they become a ‘walker’ and their role changes to attacking and defeating the other players. Of itself, this offers an interesting mechanic:
players are competing but it is also in their interests to co-operate or risk having other players turned to even more dangerous ‘walkers’. Despite this promising element, the game is let down by its dated roll and move, pick up and collect mechanic. The components too are an odd mixed bag. The neoprene map may not be a thing of beauty but it feels like a step up from the usual mounted card. The cards, standees and cardboard pieces are fine, making use of images from the TV series. It is disappointing, however, to see a non-standard six-sided die that merely has the numbers 1 to 6 printed on it in place of pips, especially as the 6 gives an automatic hit.
In recent years, Cryptozoic has built a reputation for thematically strong games built around TV and comic franchise licences. This game was one of their very first and is not in the same league as their later games.
Interestingly, the company took another crack two years later at getting a game from their Walking Dead licence with The Walking Dead - The Best Defense: a game that plays quite differently, but that is another story...