Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Walking Dead All Out War Solo Game Review

I've had a few games of The Walking Dead All Out War now and am really enjoying it so I thought I'd post up a bit of a review.

I have the Core Game, the Prelude to Woodbury Solo Starter Set, the Days Gone Bye Expansion and the Deluxe Mat. The components are all top quality. The miniatures look excellent straight out of the box...lots of detail, no mold lines and ready to go. The booklets and cards are made with thick, good quality paper and cardstock as are the punch-out tokens and scenery. And, of course, there are plenty of illustrations from the comics. The only exception to this superb quality, perhaps, is the dice or rather the choice of symbols on them which I find a bit uninspiring...but they serve their purpose well enough.

In the solo game you take on the role of one or more Survivors kitted out with a variety of pieces of equipment which gives you a total points value. You then gather a number of Walkers (worth 15 points each) that come as close as possible to that points value.

Brian 'The Governor' Blake ready for some Solo action!

You play on a 20" square area with normally around 14 points worth of scenery in the form of cars, barriers, buildings and other assorted obstacles. The Victory Conditions can vary from Scenario to Scenario but in the games I played this consisted of collecting a number of Supply Tokens before the Threat Level reached Maximum. These Supply Tokens once 'Searched' allow you to take a card from the Supply Deck which usually means a useable piece of equipment but sometimes means an unexpected encounter with a hidden Walker! Beware!

A basic solo Set-Up

There are four phases to the Turn Sequence. The first is the Action Phase. First of all, each Survivor must make a Panic Check. If the current Threat Level is higher than the Survivor's Nerve then a Yellow Die must be rolled resulting in a variety of negative effects to the Survivor.

A player can perform two actions...Move, Shoot, Search, Hide, Make Noise, etc. When you Move you can choose to Sneak (4') or Run (8') which has the downside of creating Noise. When Noise is caused, the closest eligible (i.e. not in Melee or Prone) Walker within 10" of the source moves in a straight line towards it. If this brings them into contact with an item of scenery then they stop. If it brings them into contact with a Survivor then they are now engaged in Melee.

Luckily, most of the Walkers have run into obstacles and stopped!

Of course, this can be used to get the Walkers moving in a certain direction or, more importantly, away from a certain location. Other Noises...notably gunshots...cause Mayhem which, instead of drawing the closest eligible Walker, draws every eligible Walker within 10" and raises the Threat Level by one.

Threat is an important concept in the game which really ratchets up the tension. The Threat Level starts off at All Quiet but quickly rises during the game. In a Solo game the Threat Level is increased by one every turn but can be further raised by various actions and events. The higher the Threat Level the more dangerous everything gets!

Things aren't looking good for 'The Governor'

Next up is the Encounter Phase. In this phase you use the Kill Zone template to see if any Walkers are within attack range of a Survivor. If so they move into Melee with that Survivor. You then draw an Event Card. These cards affect the game in a variety of ways from moving Walkers or introducing more of them to increasing the Threat Level. And the higher the Threat Level the worse the effects on the card.

The Melee Phase is next. If there is any Melee, the Threat Level is increased by one. Combats are resolved by rolling a number of dice equal to a combatant's Melee characteristic plus any weapon they are using. Or the Survivor can choose to use Defense but successfully defending from an attack can never do damage but only Push Back a Walker.

A single Walker has one Red Die in Melee but each additional Walker attacking you increases the number of Red Dice...two Walkers means a total of three Red Dice, three Walkers a total of five Red Dice, and so on up to a maximum of five additional Walkers. Victory in Melee results in a Push Back of 1". The difference in scores is the damage done to the loser. When a Walker takes any damage it immediately falls Prone.

Down but not out!

In addition, if a Headshot (! on the Die) is rolled, the Walker is removed from the game or the Survivor is Bitten which means that at the end of each turn the Survivor must make a roll on a Black Die and if the Shield symbol is rolled then one additional Health is lost.

Three Hits and a Headshot!

Yeah...those two Walkers just got straight back up!

Finally, there is the End Phase. In this Phase a Black Die is rolled for each Prone Walker with a Shield result meaning the Walker stands up. And, as mentioned before, a Black Die is also rolled for each Bitten Survivor. Victory Conditions are checked and if not reached a new round is begun.

In conclusion, I have to say I love this game! It really captures the ever-increasing tension of being out amongst the Walkers...and it's pretty deadly. Games take maybe an hour...though, to be honest, I lost was that much fun. And I have yet to win a game. But I am really looking forward to having many more games to try and do so!  

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