The Walking Dead: The Board Game is a no-brainer

Walking Dead board game

The Walking Dead: The Board Game
Designer: Cory Jones
Publisher: Cryptozoic Entertainment
Players: 1-4
MSRP: $39.99

A little luck can go a long way. In Monoploy, the classic game that depicts the malicious wonders of Capitalism, the first player to land on a few good spaces is probably going to win (I say probably because sessions of Monopoly usually end when everyone involved collectively agrees that someone is the obvious winner). You’ll watch your lucky friends become wealthier each turn as you hope for evasive dice rolls that merely delay the inevitable. Disrupting their greedy monopolies is not an option. In The Walking Dead: The Board Game, unlucky players get their revenge.

Pick your character (the females’ abilities are as bad as their personalities on the show), reach each corner of the board, and head back to camp to win. Most spaces have you fighting against random zombies and your hand of cards, filled with crossbows, shotguns, and baseball bats, represents players’ dwindling supplies. Some weapons are better in certain situations, but these zombies are tough, so equally tough decisions are necessary for survival. Each encounter gradually reduces your limited supplies making each bout meaningful. Dice rolls for movement and attacks dictate your fate and your supplies act as insurance against bad luck. Surviving these odds is improbable. Casualties are inevitable.

walking dead pic

Death comes with a flesh start. Players unable to stay alive respawn as zombies that try to kill the other survivors in order to win. Zombies can navigate the sewer shortcuts inaccessible to humans, coordinate attacks with another undead player, bolster the strength of random zombie encounters for other players, and a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Zombie cards enable confusing actions that are both scantily and sparsely explained (because each card needed to have a massive screenshot from the show), leading to minor confusion. Regardless, all of that resentment you had towards players in your previous life manifests itself in cold-blooded retribution that works wonders both mechanically and thematically. Games progress with feelings of uncertainty and fear of what will show up. As the more-fortunate players accumulate more resources, the dangers become more intense.

The Walking Dead is a game of either beating or escalating the odds, but even the undead, as they punish those who have outdone them, will be quietly rooting for the lone survivor. More so than a captivating character, these are people you truly care for.

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