When you think of Miniature games, you think Warhammer or Xwing. Two people staring out across a battlefield mat with their armies doing the same. What you don’t think of is a brutal survival game with a neutral third-party where killing each other is the secondary goal with not getting eaten being the primary.
But that’s what you get with The Walking Dead: All Out War. You are a group of survivors who are just trying to continue being survivors while looting supplies from the environment. It is a PvP game in the sense that you are competing with your opponent to be the one who collects the most supplies while avoiding the zombies.
My miniatures-game-playing roommate Adam and I sat down and got a game in to see what it was like and I’m here to tell you it’s both unique and fun.The combat is simple with the zombies being both the source of your anguish and potentially your tools for victory. You build your team of survivors using characters from the original comic. Each character has a point value that they add toward your limit of 100 based on how strong they are.
Their stats change with special abilities or traits as well as how many and which dice get rolled when they perform specific actions. They even have a trait called Nerves and this is how well they handle the stressful situation of surviving during the apocalypse. The worse their nerves, the more random their reactions can be (Random is bad in these games, you want to plan) So you better make sure you manage the stress carefully and take care of your fragile little lambs like a good Shepard.
Each round, players take turns activating their survivors, moving them around the map, searching through cars and such to find supplies, shooting zombies and sometimes purposefully making noise to lure zombies away from valuable areas. After everyone has been activated, Zombies will automatically move forward and attack the closest survivor in their “Kill Zone” which is a circular disk used to measure the aggro-range of the zombies.
Then an event card is drawn and, depending on the current threat level of the game, causes effects to happen. Mostly spawning more zombies or causing the existing ones to be more aggressive than usual. Partial control of these events is given to the players with priority given to the player with initiative. Initiative is the first player to activate that round and is passed back and forth each game round. So you will want to plan ahead for the rounds where you get to go first and control the outcome of some events.
Overall the game is solid and looking at the Wave 1 expansions, it offers a lot of variety to how you build your team and plan your strategy. Gameplay wise, the only thing I had issue with was the climbing mechanic. If you want to climb over a car or obstacle, you have a 50/50 chance of succeeding or failing. And if you’re trying to climb for survival, failure could very easily mean your death which is what happened to BOTH Rick and Carl (My team) in this game.
Aside from that, I had a lot of fun and the game is definitely worth exploring with some friends you don’t mind hitting over the head with a baseball bat.