Are you experiencing WDWS?
The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Many people have February 9 circled on their calendars but, until then, they are suffering from The Walking Dead Withdrawal Symptoms. While some of these symptoms — clammy flesh, receding gums, and a general malaise — resemble those of being undead, fret not; there is a solution to what ails you.
As a fan of The Walking Dead, you can get your zombie and adventure fix by playing The Walking Dead : The Board Game from Z-Man Games. Although the game is a couple of years old, it holds up well and is a great compliment to the television show.
The point of the game is to scout three locations, but along the way there are plenty of zombies (as in, an overwhelming, never-ending horde of them) and a scarcity of resources to slow you down on your way.
As you move across the board, zombies appear on each hex you’ve stepped, making retracing your path a potentially deadly experience, because when a player moves to a hex with one (or more) zombie tokens, he must fight those zombies.
Zombie tokens have a number on their hidden faces, which dictate how many zombies must be fought. Depending on your who you are, your ability will vary because the dice pool varies from character to character. Your followers (each player starts with one, more can be gained by winning certain encounters) can also affect your dice pool.
Roll your dice and count the zombie heads — this is the number of zombies you have killed. If that number equals or exceeds your challenge, congratulations, you live to fight another day. If it’s less, you have a choice: you can take damage on one of your survivors (each only gets just three before dying) or you can spend an ammo resource to roll a special ammo die.
The risk here is that the ammo die can kill a lot of zombies, but it can also attract lots of zombies to surround you. If you visit a square with a resource, you also have to take part in an encounter card, which can be more challenging than just fighting zombies. Resources are important because food can heal damage, ammo can save you by allowing the ammo die, and fuel allows you to skip over a zombie in your path.
The game can be pretty brutal and, depending on who you play with, pretty cut-throat. Some Encounter cards require you to work with others but, like the show, it’s every man for himself. Zombies fill the board quickly, and you can count on lots of fighting (and dying).
If a player loses all of their survivors (main character and followers), he’s eliminated from the game. However, eliminated players can draw a new character and start over. There are allowances in the rules book, which is shaped exactly like a comic book, natch, for solitaire play and cooperative play. Solitaire play forces a single player to scout several very tough locations, while cooperative play allows players to band together. Note: not all players in a game have to play cooperatively, three can band together while another plays alone.
I really like this game. It’s not terribly deep, but it’s a very fun challenge and quite unlike other zombie board games out there. Still, I’m not going to lie, The Walking Dead: The Board Game can be pretty tough. It doesn’t take many turns before the board is crawling with zombies and just staying alive becomes a struggle. Of course, you can always sacrifice a follower to the stinking, rotten masses. This is where the game really parallels the comic book and the television show — just when you get used to someone, they end up dying.
The Walking Dead: The Board Game is for 1-6 players above age 13 and plays in under an hour, and is available now.
Disclosure: GeekDad was sent a sample of this game for review.