Zombie-themed games. Not only are there lots of games in this genre (many of which I have on the shelf) but there are even multiple zombie dice games on the market. When USAopoly highlighted their own The Walking Dead themed version of the popular Bang! The Dice Game, I couldn’t resist, even though I already have the Peter Jackson Games “Zombie Dice” in the glove compartment of my car.
Turns out they’re dramatically different and Bang! The Walking Dead — as I’m going to call it throughout the rest of this review for simplicity — is way more fun! It’s a dice game, but it’s also a highly competitive game of attacking your fellow survivors while trying to not be overrun by walkers and dying. Of course, not dying is always a good idea in a game anyway, but when you add the undead, well, then the stakes go up.
The base game supports 3-8 players and each is assigned a role and a character from The Walking Dead. For example, in one game I was the Leader of the Survivors and given the character Carl. Look closely and you’ll see that his darn helpful special power is that he can kill all the walkers that are near him with two hand grenade dice, rather than the usual three:
Notice also that I have two walkers in front of me (the zombie head tokens) and I have eight health “splats”, indicating I’m at full health (check the ‘8’ under Carl’s name, that shows starting health).
There are five dice in the game with biohazard, hand grenade, health, walker, attack 1-away and attack 2-away faces. You roll all five for your turn and do as the dice suggest.
Here’s Tyreese, a Savior, trying to figure out what to do:
Now Tyreese started out with 8 health splats, but only has six now, as you can see, but fortunately the leftmost die is a regain health choice. That’s easy. The rightmost die is a walker, so Tyreese will need to add another walker to his area. The other dice are the grenade (which usually is only helpful when you get three, at which point they kill all the walkers in your area) and a 1-away and 2-away attack.
Which gets to a really important point: with smaller games everyone’s trying to be the last survivor, and as more players are added, there are secret teams of saviors, survivors, etc, whose goal are to be the last people alive. So it’s a lot of attacking, a lot of trying to have everyone else run out of splats and, well, die.
With that explanation, here’s how a four player game might start out:
In this instance, notice that there are only three walkers left in the center of the table: as soon as any player takes a walker and the pool runs out, then everyone immediately gets attacked by their own walkers, loses one health splat per walker, and they all shamble back into the middle of the table. This means that Eugene is in peril: he has 3 health and 3 walkers in his area. If any of the other players force the zombie attack, he’ll be out of the game if he doesn’t address the issue!
It took a few days for me to convince my teen kids to give this game a try, but once we did play, they were hooked and not only now want to play at every opportunity (many of these pictures are taken at Starbucks!) but enjoyed playing two or three games in a row. A completely win in my book.
And best, it’s a small game, small box, easily transported and quite reasonably priced. I’d say if you have any affection for the zombie genre and/or are a fan of The Walking Dead, this is a splendid competitive game to add to your collection and, who knows, even leave in your car for emergency gaming sessions!
Disclosure: USAopoly sent me Bang! The Walking Dead for review purposes.