Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Walking Dead Card Game... Not that cheap and certainly not cheerful!

Walking Dead the Card Game by Cryptozoic Entertainment

As I’m not the greatest fan of the T.V show The Walking Dead I was unaware of this game but on my recent jaunt to town for Free Comic Book Day I spotted this on a shelf, and wanting to buy at least something on my visit, thought I’d give it a whirl.

The box art is what you would expect from a media tie in game, a generic shot of the hero looking, in this case, moody and determined with his revolver while standing in an apparently grey world devoid colour. I know the show isn’t a riotous colour-fest but this game could be easily overlooked with the drab box.
The blurb on the reverse reveals that the game is based on a game called ‘6 nimmt!’ by Wolfgang Kramer, winner of a fistful of awards including the Spiel des jahres (Game of the year), one of the most prestigious accolades in board/card gaming.

The rules are presented simply and are easily understood, the book itself is a simple four page affair explaining the two game modes, Survivor and Hero.

The cards are where this game falls flat on its brain munching face!
They feel good, that’s at least one good point, they shuffle well and feel as though they will stand up to a decent amount of play but that is where the praise ends.
The card art just looks like basic DVD rear cover screen grabs of various zombies. Of the 104 zombie cards, numbered from 1 – 104, there are only five different images. This being a 6 nimmt clone that is understandable as it is one of the game mechanics but the pictures chosen are awful! The one you see the most of (76 of them to be exact) is of a rotting woman’s face and it’s far from the most appealing card considering it is the most common. The other four are of larger groups of shufflers and are equally drab, but not as bad.

You'll see a lot of that face on the number 42 card!

The 6 hero cards are, again, effortless screen captures from the show with the exception of Rick, the main protagonist of the show for those not in the know. Ricks card is the laziest piece of crap I have seen in a game for a long while. It features the self same image that is on the box cover, the rule book and the card backs! Yes, the card backs. This means that the card has the same bloody image on both sides! LAZY!
Considering the quality of Cryptozoics other efforts, games the likes of the DC Deck Building game, Food Fight, the World of Warcraft trading card game and Penny Arcade: Rumble in R’lyeh, this game seems like a poorly put together, phoned in effort. It may be a slightly modified version of an existing game system but they could have put a little more thought into the look of the damn thing! It plays well but the lazy copy and paste approach to the appearance damages it.


In stark contrast to the previously stated ‘Google Image Search’ approach to the art the gameplay is really good! Especially the more players you have!

Hero Mode
Each player has a hand of 15 ‘Walker’ cards and one hero card and the aim of the game is to have the highest value of walker cards when the players are all out of cards.
In the centre of the table four walkers are placed in a vertical row to serve as your starting cards and each turn players play either one or two walker cards onto one of these four rows. The cards played must have a higher numerical value than the card before it in the row unless you do not have a card higher than any on the table, in which case you must play a lower value one onto the current highest value card.
The hero cards are used to allow you to place a card at the beginning of a row once per game instead of the end
Once a row would have the sixth card played onto it, the player takes the five existing cards and puts them to one side (these will be used for scoring at the end of the game) and the sixth card becomes the first in a new, replacement line, so on and so on until all players have no cards left, at which point the players count the bullets on their captured/killed cards and the highest wins! Simple yes?....No! The game has a remarkably simple concept but has a tactical element that will have some thinking multiple moves ahead!

That bland its like a holiday in a retirement home laundry room!
Survival mode
This is the closest the game comes to the original 6 nimmt. Each player has a 10 card hand and the cards are played in the same manner as before but his time the aim is to take as few of the cards as possible, or at least the lowest scoring cards possible ad the hero cards are not used.
Once all 10 cards have been played by each player the bullets are counted and the fewest wins.

I am aware I may not have explained how well the game plays as it is a very simple game but it is quite enjoyable, just let down brutally by the appallingly lazy aesthetic choices made, hence I’m giving this game 4/10. I would happily give it 6 or even 7 but the appearance is so lame that I can’t even justify a 5. A good example of a lazy tie in, if you see it for a couple of pounds (or currency of your choice!) pick it up but don’t pay full retail value, it just isn’t worth it, buy 6 Nimmt instead, at least that won an award!

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