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Solo Playing – The Walking Dead All Out War

At the time of penning this article we are living in strange times. The corona virus is ravaging the world and to be honest the way the year 2020 has panned out I wouldn’t be surprised if the dead started walking again! With restrictions in place it has meant that normal gaming club meet ups and playing at each others houses has become difficult or non existent. In these days where I need to play table top games to maintain my sanity I have turned to solitary gaming using The Walking Dead All Out War game, published here in the UK by Mantic Games.

Firstly let me tell you a little about the game itself and then I’ll expand on the solo play aspect of it. All Out War is a skirmish game in 28mm scale that recreates the comic book versions of the Walking Dead on your table top. If you’ve only ever watched the TV series may I suggest you give the comics/graphic novels a try, the story line has some similarities but in many cases and regards a few of the characters is certainly different. This game plays pretty fast, is not complex and really captures the theme and feel of the source material with objective driven scenarios and supplies which can scavenged. Often you will find yourself slowly becoming over powered as the threat level timer in the game advances, it can be challenging and with the event cards every game unfolds differently. The narrative during play is always very strong and is one of the things that makes the game fun to play.

To play the game solo you have two options. You can buy the standard core set which will provide everything you need to get stuck in, but you will just need to ensure you take the extra step to advance the threat tracker at the end of very turn, and everything else falls in to place. Or you can buy the Prelude to Woodbury stand alone set which gives you a solo play starter set with the rules written for solo play (essentially the same rules with the extra step) and a solo deck of event cards (which are nice but I didn’t feel essential to solo play). The prelude set has you taking the role of Brian Blake (the Governor) before he becomes the Governor and has a couple of solo play scenarios in the rules. I ended up buying both, the extra set of dice are handy and you can never have enough equipment cards and miniatures! Once you’ve played through the scenarios in these sets it is a simple task to put together your own games or if you are feeling like spending a little money then you can buy the expansion packs which add more of the narrative stories, miniatures and cards.

The solo play works by having the zombies/walkers operated by the game rules. Its very simple, if you use an action to create noise you attract the attention of the undead, if you make a loud noise like shooting or setting of a car alarm you will create ‘mayhem’ and attract more undead. The undead shamble around and the event cards can add more walkers or cause knocked down zombies to stand up, have more arrive or some other unforeseen situation will occur. All of this is happening against a threat tracker which will keep going up until you reach the end of the game. Playing multiple characters with the solo rules is no big deal and I’ve done so with ease.

painted woodbury faction characters from my own collection
From My Own Collection

As we have seen both in the comic and on the TV, sometimes the zombies are not the only thing you have to worry about and its the other human survivors that may want to steal your stuff, eat you or worse! This faction vs faction can be achieved using a freely available rules add on called ‘no one stands alone’ which is basically an AI to control the opposing faction. Armed with this AI you can now go head to head and again I must say from my experience this works very well and provided a good experience. I’ve provided the link here for the no one stands alone rules.

I’ve managed to keep myself busy with this game system during the scourge of corona. The game play is quick, painless and rewarding whilst capturing the theme perfectly. I’ve brought a few character boosters which are fairly inexpensive to add new characters to my survivors and its been fun painting up and modelling some post apocalyptic scenery. This is just me throwing myself in full steam, and its an intellectual property I really enjoy. So why not take a look, enjoy the escapism of our own apocalypse by playing in another one on your table top!

All these items are available from my web store so please take the time to have a look, if you use the promo code MATESRATES10 in the check out you’ll get 10% off your Walking Dead order and as always don’t forget to check out my Facebook page and I look forward to seeing your pictures of painted survivors and walkers. Keep safe.

Graham