Monday, October 31, 2016

They're here

It is Halloween, the most iconic time of the year to watch scary movies.  One of the scariest I remember is the 1982 classic Poltergeist

Really, I just wanted that classic line - it really was creepy then.  Of course I'm talking about Mantic's new game, The Walking Dead: All Out War.

The kickstarter is now shipping (which means at least two weeks before it gets here) - I'm not expecting it quickly because Mantic shipped me a demo copy of the retail version on September 19th, and it took 5 weeks to finally arrive on October 25th.  And they wonder why we call it snail mail.


While there are already many unboxing videos out there, as you might guess I prefer the written word and pictures - if anything so you can peruse at your leisure.  So if you want non-moving pictures of what comes in the box you are in the right place!

box front
I find the box interesting in that they decided to do a cutout in the lid to show off five of the actual figures.  This is a nice feature, allowing some of the product to speak for itself.  High quality satin finish and strong box, though I can't help but wonder if the whole in the lid will cause problems storing the game later ( especially if you decide NOT to keep the plastic tray ( especially once you start buying boosters and expansions, and want to fit more 'stuff' into the box.
box back
The back is nice, and shows off all the contents.  I like how Mantic always puts a little spin on the graphic for number of players - this time it looks like Carl is having a go at the game while wearing his dad's hat.

I do find it a little disappointing when Mantic does not include a joke in the copywrite text.  I did not originally realize they did this, but once I found out I look for it on every package.  Being a licensed property they may have not been allowed to do it here, which is, to me, the only acceptable reason why the box does not have one.
open the lid
Opening the box, and there is a tray of minis, cards and dice.  This is not the first time I had seen the game, si I already knew that once you took the minis out of the box it was a bit of a challenge ( think a jig-saw puzzle with no picture on it, just blank pieces) to get them back in the correct place.  So I took a sharpie and numbered each figure under it's base so I could easily put then back where they belonged.

The nice thing about the tray is it makes it much harder to mispack the minis, as you can easily see an empty spot.  It also protects them from warping in storage and delivery.  The tray may be a bit unwieldy for play however ( I almost never keep these trays in my board games - instead putting dice and pieces in zip lock bags and tossing the tray in the recycle bin.)
card decks
There are actually three sizes of cards in the game, each wrapped and the n place on the tray.
dice
The game comes with 11 dice.  I'm not generally a fan of custom dice, however here it allows for varying degrees of chance - the blue die never misses, the white has a single miss, and the red have two.

I'm not thrilled about the black 50-50 die - in the playtest and demos I've done some things just become too difficult ( i.e. frustrating for the player) - especially the 50℅ chance you CANNOT cross a barrier - is it really THAT hard?

A couple (the pair of white dice) were stuck together and took a bit of putting to get loose ( I've heard about this happening for other people as well).
beneath the tray
Underneath the tray is a shrink bundle of rules, tokens and play mat.  This is nice as again it is hard to mispack things when already pre-assembled.
flyer
So what is in the shrink wrap?  On top is what I thought was a 'standard' add for their games, with a place to collect Mantic points.  However looking at it, it is just all this game, describing some of the future expansions and boosters, as well as the minis that will be available via Mantic Points.
flyer back
This is actually worth keeping for more than the points, as I feel that the expansions and boosters are what is going to make this game live or die, so it us nice seeing a list, and being able to know what you can get.
Quick start rules
Next are the quick start rules.  They walk you through first a single player scenario, then a full 1-1 game.
Full Rules
The full rules are, well, all the rules.  What I feel is missing however are scenarios.  Between only having the ne basic scenario, and the very limited selection of survivors, I feel the game suffers and doesn't yet have much replayability.  With 12 zombies, that is enough for a 180 pt game, yet the box set has a total of only 225 points of survivors and equipment (i.e. a 110 pt v 115 pt game MAX).
play mat
I think Mantic changed their minds about not including a play mat in the game, whic to me is great.  If they want to push this towards board gamers ( with the pre-assembled miniatures) then you need a 'board'.  (Yes, there are board games without a board).  Saying you just need this size area with terrain puts this way out the board game space.
counters 1 front
There are twosheets of counters.  One has the threat tracker, initiative token, 7 supply markers, a barricade, a car, the game ruler, activation tokens and Dale's RV.  This very thick cardstock, and looks to be quite durable.  While I will get acrylic counters because I like them more, it is not necessary, and these should last.
counters 1 back
The back side of the counters.
counters 2 front
The other counter sheet has three more cars, five more barricades, two more supply counters, health counters and the kill zone template.
counters 2 back
The back shows the back of the kill zone, which is the blast template.  The numbers on the back of the terrains are the values used when calculating terrain based on points.
Survivor cards
The survivor cards give stats and point values.  Nice quality.
Walker and event cards
The walker stat card is the same size as the event cards.  You draw an event each turn, and the effect is based o. The current threat level - the higher the level, the worse the event.  I like how the artwork on each card goes from clean to dirty to pool of blood - nice touch.
Equipment and supply cards
Equipment cards are what you buy for your survivor group, supplies are what you find by searching in the game.

Of course what everyone really wants to see are the miniatures.  And I'll get to them.  But I have to get this off my chest first.

The game needs more survivor choices in the main box.  It is fairly disappointing to have 4 pretty much unknown survivors with Rick and Carl. And it just breaks the whole theme to go Rick against Carl - in fact Rick even has a special rule about Carl!

There simply needs to have more variety and numbers.  Yes, the first expansion and boosters add eight more survivors, which can give you more variety, but the eight new ones are all basically on the same side.  The scenarios in the expansion may help (though from people who have received their kickstarter - several of the scenarios require survivors that are not yet available (2 for Glen, who won't be out until the phase II shipments, for example., but should be in the base game.

I've read the comics ( well up to #158), and I realize there are not a lot of antagonists before Woodbury - but that expansion is still quite a ways out.  Throwing in more survivors, both from "the group" and their enemies will only allow people to customize their groups much more, giving much more variety and more replayability.  I think the kickstarter edition may do that, but the retail version seems to fall short.

Ok, on to the miniatures.  First are Rick and Carl.  I really think the quality of these is excellent - quite a lot of detail for single piece 'gaming' miniatures.  Carl's hat does make it difficult to see his face, but that is to be expected.  Some people during the kickstarter were complaining that they seemed 'chunky' - especially Michonne.  I see it as a stylistic difference, and I like it.  Especially when I've had some miniatures in Mars Attacks break because the legs were just too thin.
Rick and Carl
Derek and Liam.  The scavengers were only in four episodes, and even then didn't do much.  Liam was in only a couple of panels - and is in the pose where he is being pushed out the door into a group of walkers.

I can see all the people lined up to get these figures :-).  I did not realize that they didn't show up until issue 75 even - so way after the governor  and his entire crew.  They are some nice models though (and for a plastic mini who is about to get eaten, Liam has nice buns :-) ).
Derek and Liam
Patrick and Sandra are more capable than Liam, so are a little more interesting.  Again no fault with the models themselves though.  I hear they paint up wonderfully.
Patrick and Sandra
There are twelve walkers in the base set.  These are even better sculpts than the survivors - each is full of personality.  One is obviously a waitress with an apron on - and I like the woman in the pantsuit (what would it take to make that Hillary Clinton?)  It is also interesting to me that half of the walkers are actually women - equal brains for equal shambling I say.
Walkers
A couple of walkers have broken ankles, dragging their feet behind them.  A nice touch, as well as some of them having lost arms.
more Walkers
I like the woman on the left - who I am going to paint up in a hospital gown (explains why she has no sloes on.    The one on the far right is missing part of her jaw, and it makes the face look a bit confusing, though a good paint job might be able to clear this up.
and even more Walkers
So that's what is in the box.  Really nice miniatures and high quality components.  The rules seem solid for what I've been able to go over and play (all of once against myself) and demo.

What the game lacks are
1) scenarios
2) more survivors
The addition of both of these would greatly increase the replay factor of the game - as it is you barely have enough models to make two 100 pt teams - it would be nice to be able to make several different 100 pt teams that could play against each other out of the box.  A good example of this is Deadzone 2nd edition - the box set comes with more than enough miniatures on each side to make a variety of teams to try, and starter boxes do as well.

Perhaps the kickstarter version will be better since it includes a lot more survivors and walkers.  We'll have to see if Royal Mail takes five weeks to deliver that too.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

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