image © Mantic Games
Article updated: 2021.02.08
The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set is a miniatures wargame from Mantic Games. It was first produced in 2016.
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Boardgame set: The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set, Product Code: MGWD001, Set type: Board game base set (Game base set), Series: The Walking Dead, Rules: The Walking Dead: All Out War, Company: Mantic Games, Production: 2016-2017-
Designer: Mark A. Latham
Range: The Walking Dead: All Out War (Modern), Species: Human & Undead human, Scale: 1:56 (28mm / 32mm), Proportions: Realistic, Size: Various, Material: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (Soft plastic), Priming: Primer is not necessary
Assembly: One-piece, Sprueless, Posing: Medium, Paintjob: Unpainted, Base: Integral flat base, Sculptor: ?
"All Out War is a game of fast-paced, head-to-head skirmishes in the world of the Walking Dead. Assemble a group of your favorite characters from best-selling comic series, kit them out with a variety of weapons, items and abilities, and battle to achieve dominance in the Walker-strewn Atlanta cityscape. Experience first-hand the desperate struggle for survival faced by Rick and his companions as you negotiate constant threats from both the living and the dead. This is gaming as it should be – fast, furious and fun!"
"This box contains everything two players need to get right into the action, including fully-assembled, highly-detailed plastic miniatures, dice, tokens, quick-start rules and terrain including burnt-out cars and barricades. In a world where danger is ever-present, how will you survive?"
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image © Mantic Games
Contents - Components
1 Quick-Start Guide
Free Gaming Mat
4 Cars (card)
6 Barricades (card)
9 Supply Counters (card)
1 Threat Tracker
1 Kill Zone/Blast Template
1 Range Ruler
1 Initiative Counter
10 Activation Counters
10 Health Counters
6 Survivor Cards
1 Walker Reference Card
15 Event Cards
16 Supply Cards
8 Equipment Cards
6 Red Dice
2 White Dice
1 Blue Die
1 Black Action Die
1 Yellow Panic Die
2 Mantic Points
image © Mantic Games
Contents - Miniatures
1x Rick Grimes Plastic Survivor Miniature
1x Carl Grimes Plastic Survivor Miniature
1x Derek Plastic Survivor Miniature
1x Patrick Plastic Survivor Miniature
1x Liam Plastic Survivor Miniature
1x Sandra Plastic Survivor Miniature
1x 12 Plastic Walker Miniatures
All miniature supplied assembled but unpainted
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The game is a somewhat abstract set of rules to simulate raids when two warbands try to plunder the same area, while zombies are wandering around.
Opening the box
Everything is in the box you'd need to play a zombie apocalypse game - an abandoned road playmat, cardboard car tokens, and a couple of miniatures to use. To show the minis through a little window on the box cover was a clever idea.
The cards are in plastic bags that can be closed by a self adhesive strip. The different kinds of cards are different in size, so it's very easy to separate them.
The box is a bit large, the contents would fit in a much smaller box.
The proportions of the miniatures are a bit strange - their body is mostly normal, but their heads are big, and they also have proportion similar to the heroic scale. If they were more childish, they would look almost like a chibi proportioned miniature.
I usually dislike miniatures that are frozen in a very distinct moment, for example throwing a grenade, so the frightened pose of Liam didn't really fit my taste at first, but as his only special ability is that he is afraid of everything, I feel the pose is justified.
Reading the rulebook
There are two booklets in the box - the quick start rules with two tutorial scenarios, and the proper rulebook for the game, with one more scenario. The quick start rules are a great way to be introduced to the rules, even if you play it solo against the zombies, controlled by the system.
Mantic Games: The Walking Dead: All Out War - Quick Start Guide: The basic rules you can download from the Mantic Games website.
Text: The text is easy to read. I think the language is easy to understand even for those who've learnt English as a second language.
Setting: There's practically no setting info in the game. If you don't know the Walking Dead comics, you'll understand nothing of the setting. There's no explanation what happened to the world, and nothing about the zombies themselves. If you do know the setting of the comics, you'll be surprised by the changes, for example dead people in the game immediately turn to zombies after they die, while in the comics it took several hours, if not more.
Rules: The rules look easy to follow and I've felt I understand most of them for the first read-through, or at least I'll know where to look them up. There are several examples of play that help you through any confusion. The only problem is that the game looks like it tries to approach a realistic simulation, but several rules are abstract. For example Rick can lower the Threat, and that would be a fine rule, but that means calming the zombies somehow. Also, if Carl wears a hat, he can come back even from deadly wounds. However if he loses his hat, he'd die from those. Neither of these rules are close to reality.
Information: While I can't be sure but I suppose the rules give you mostly everything you need to know about playing The Walking Dead, without the need to know further wargames. There are some assumptions though that you know what an Activation counter is, and you know how to use that.
Getting into your first game should be extremely easy, as there are introductory scenarios, and even solo play options, so you won't even need an opponent. Although I've kept browsing through the quickstart booklet during my first solo game, in the end I've managed to play it close to the rules as presented there. The problem is that the quickstart booklet misses some important parts and overlooks others, so a better editing might help a second edition version to present a better guide.
The area you'll need for playing is quite large compared to the gaming mat - you'll need place for the character cards of the warbands, the several card decks, and the Threat marker. As the playing area is small, and the exact place of the miniatures is important, I recommend that you roll your dice outside of the playing area.
Compared to Zombicide, the game runs more bland, less random - however, as The Walking Dead is competitive, this is probably to achieve a more balanced game. In Zombicide an unlucky draw of card can end the game immediately. In The Walking Dead you are only finished if you make some serious tactical mistakes. Even though the event cards could provide more variety than Zombicide, there's so few of them during a game, it doesn't provide the same excitement as the Zombicide spawn cards.
The scenery provides some difference from Zombicide, as it gives you tactical decisions. This makes your position on the map is important, unlike in Zombicide.
There were two things I didn't like. One is the Defense - in combat there's an option of Attacking and Defending, but I think it just complicates an otherwise straightforward game. The other is that there's too many wounds a character has, and loosing some doesn't affect the actions of the character. Even the player is unaffected, as there are no rules that would give you worse victory points if you lose a character or too, so you could play to game to the last man standing, if it has enough packing space for the loot.
One thing I have overlooked is the keywords for equipment and event cards. It wasn't covered in the quickstart rules (nor in the rules section of the rulebook), so I didn't use any rule not printed on the cards themselves.
Feeling of the game
This is a wargame about rowing bands of raiders fighting each other amidst a zombie apocalypse. Although it doesn't give the feeling of the Walking Dead graphic novels, it's a good ruleset nonetheless, even without the zombies.
Although the game works, I feel it still needs tweaking to make it perfect. I hope there will be a second edition of the rules available as a free download in the near future.
The special dice are a good addition, it's easy to use them, although they are easily replaced by normal dice, just like any special dice based on d6s.
Who will need this product?
The fans of the Walking Dead comics, or even fans of the AMC tv series might like this game. For them, I'd recommend cooperative gameplay, although at the moment it's not really supported by the basic set. Future supplements could add some solo or cooperative scenarios.
The fans of wargaming or role-playing in a zombie apocalypse could like it. It's heavier in rules than Zombicide, but it's more tactical. The rules are more comparable to Zombicide Season 3 - Rue Morgue, that also features tactical rules and competitive play.
Gamist players might dislike the randomness of the game, but it's not more random than Zombicide. I feel that gamist players would enjoy the game the most.
Narrativist players might dislike the fact that there is only one scenario, and the game doesn't provide any kind of narrative.
Immersionist gamers might dislike the abstract rules that takes the game away from reality.
Simulationist gamers might dislike the fact that you can't repeat the same action twice in a row, or that the zombies can cover the whole playing area in one turn, while humans can't do the same while running the whole time.
In the end it looks to me, there's no single target audience for this game, but the game gives a solid bases, to create a good ruleset with some house rules.
If you want to get a proper skirmish wargame set in the zombie apocalypse, The Walking Dead could be a good choice.
If you are into modern wargames, and you are not against paper mats and flat cardboard scenery, The Walking Dead: All Out War is worth it's price even for the components.
Rules: The system also works fine in any modern setting, post-apocalyptic (Mad Max), or even in low-tech futuristic ones (Firefly, maybe?), even without the zombies. However the event cards give some tactical options, so instead of zombies you could use any kind of shambling, stupid enemies - slow mutants in a post-apocalyptic game, alien wildlife or robots gone haywire in a futuristic setting.
Event deck: Could be used a basis for random effects for bystanders or wildlife in other miniatures wargames.
Miniatures: The survivors can be used for modern and futuristic games as 1:56 scale (28mm/32mm) miniatures. Some survivors carry melee weapons, they could be used as historical or fantasy minis too. The zombies can be used for any game, although their clothing makes them ideal for modern or futuristic games.
Scenery: Can be used for any modern or futuristic game.
Game mat: Can be used for any modern or futuristic game.
Although I think the game itself works fine, there are some points I'd like to see changed.
Rulebook errors and clarifications
p7: "Cards that cause NOISE or MAYHEM will look like this:", and then shows the MAYHEM sign. I suppose those that only cause noise will show the NOISE sign.
p11: "...place an Activation Counter..." - the rulebook doesn't tell what is an Activation Counter, although it's in the quickstart booklet.
It's not clear for me when can I use the ruler to measure things. Can I pre-measure movement? Can I check the Killzone of zombies before I move around them? We play it with pre-measuring, but I'm not sure this is how it is meant to be played.
The keywords at the end of the rulebook should be also included in the game phase sections. For example the rules for Bludgeoning and Sharp should be in the Melee section, while Reliable and Unreliable should be in the Shooting section.
Cards: Several cards have the text "discard this card to...", these should have the One-Use keyword. Some could use a One-Use Action rule, so you won't need to print the "discard this card as an action to..." text. The range of weapons should be included in the descriptive text, it's a bit too small to see in the Equipment type text. Also, I don't really see the difference between Equipment and Supply cards.
Another problem is that several cards include just keywords, even though they could include some reminder of what does it mean.
More scenarios: The included scenerios quickly become boring, and the event cards won't help that. The first scenario in the quickstart guide is really just a tutorial, while the second scenario is just a pre-set version of the only scenario in the rulebook. Using the scenario ideas from Deadzone would suffice, it would make the game much more interesting.
Attack and Defend: I don't particularly like there's two options, especially as most of the time Defence doesn't give much benefits. I think it just makes it harder to decide and to remember which option you have chosen. Using an Attack / Defend marker might help the latter problem.
Go for either abstract or realistic rules: At the moment it's not clear what's the intention of the design. The ruler based movement, gridless playing area, character cards suggest a realistic game, but the Threat rules, character abilities, and some others suggest an abstract game.
For realistic approach:
- Threat: The rules now mix noise levels and the stress of the warbands. To fix this, separate noise and stress. Noise increases the chance of walkers entering. Stress increases the chance of panic. This way Rick could decrease the stress of characters, while the noise would still remain. For Rick I'd also add that he could choose to decrease the stress of both groups, or only his own.
- Character abilities: The rules now gice some abilities that are far from realistic. Some of them could be given some justification, but there are several that needs some work. An armoured hat might help Carl against headshots, but a normal hat won't resurrect people.
- Scenery: The basic rules now don't let you end you movement on top of scenery, unless it has the Elevated special rule, and even in the advanced rules it's unclear which scenery is Elevated. I recommend that even in the basic rules, every scenery barrier and car should count as Elevated, unless it has the Unstable special rule. It's hard to justify why someone couldn't stand on top of a car, it happened often in the tv series.
- Loot: The rules now let you use the items you've found immediately. I find this unrealistic - I'd recommend an extra action to check the weapon, don the armour, clean the tools.
- Getting loot from cars: The rules now let you take loot markers from any part of a car if you are in base contact with the car scenery. To fix this I suggest you either put loot in the cabin, the trunk, or on the cargo area. You can get the loot marker from the cabin if the mini is in contact with a door. You can open the trunk if you are in contact with the rear of the car. You can reach the loot on the cargo area if you are in contact with the tailgate or the cargo sides.
- Walker movement: The rules now let a human run 8" in a turn, but there's no limit for walker movement, so you can end with a walker moving twice across the board due to noise, mayhem, event and compulsory movement. To fix this I'd add an Activated marker to walkers that already moved in a phase.
- Push back: The rules now say that the loser of a melee is pushed back, but if there is no space for the mini to move back, it's the winning side that is pushed back. This basically means that every round of melee ends with the participants separated, and I can see that it's important so minis won't be stuck in melee forever. To fix this, I'd recommend some options. Pushing back is a good idea in itself, but if the winner side belongs to one of the players, you can either let the losers get away, or you can follow them with the winners. This way it's up to the winner to decide. Also, if there is no place to be pushed back, the loser gets 1 wound. Another way to change the system would be a Break Away action - if you Defend in combat, and you roll more success than your opponent, you can move 1" away from them at the end of the combat phase.
- Swapping equipment: The rules now let you swap any equipment in one action. I feel that putting on riot gear takes more time than pulling a gun. I'd recommend using some dice to finish the swap in the case of items that are difficult to swap. For example Football Pads could use any success on the red dice, while a Riot Gear would need a Special result. If you'd opt for something easier to remember, use the black dice for everything, using the similar rule for climing.
Tighter spinner on the Threat Tracker: The spinner on the Threat Tracker moves too easily. When I grab the Tracker to move the hand of the spinner, the movement can already move the hand by a number or two.
Extra ruler: Including another ruler would help the game run faster, as each player could just hold onto their own.
Coloured base markers: The two factions of survivors and the zombies come in the same gray colour - it's hard to see which mini belongs to which group. Using coloured material, or adding base rings or markers would make this easier. CoolMiniOrNot started to use those, if the integral bases have the same size, you could use the ones from CMON.
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Aliens from Leading Edge Games: Stupid, AI controlled enemies. The system is easier, but it's cooperative. There's a lot of fan-made addition to the base Aliens game.
Dead of Winter: Zombie-themed. The system is similarly complicated, but the experience is very different.
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Mantic Games: The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set: Official webpage.
Official - Comics
Image Comics: The Walking Dead: Official website.
Evan and Shawn (for Alien Worlds): Walking Dead All Out War Part Two: Unboxing (YouTube): Contents overview video.
Fortress:John (for Tabletop Gamers UK): Mantic’s Walking Dead – Unboxing: Contents overview article.
Terrorcon Blot: Mantic Games - The Walking Dead: ALL OUT WAR - UNBOXING (YouTube): Contents overview video.
Contents overview - Spanish
Juegos y Dados: Unboxing de The Walking Dead All Out War (YouTube)(in Spanish): Contents overview video in Spanish.§
Contents overview - The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set - Kickstarter Edition
cruorangelussilicis: The Walking Dead All Out War - Kickstarter Unboxing (YouTube): Contents overview video.
Dan Cain (DeathBringa)(for The 11th Legion): Walking Dead - All Out War - Unboxing (YouTube): Contents overview video.
El H: The walking dead all out war unboxing (YouTube): Contents overview video.
Fortress:John (for Tabletop Gamers UK): The Walking Dead are here…!: Contents overview article.
misterc (for The Periodic Painting Table): Ideal Halloween plus more from the garden: Contents overview article.§
Michael Awdry (for 28mm Victorian Warfare): The Walking Dead: All Out War: Contents overview article with a comparison photo.
Random Platypus: Random Platypus Review: Mantic's The Walking Dead Game (YouTube): Contents overview video.
Ronnie Renton (for Mantic Games): The Walking Dead: All Out War Kickstarter Edition Unboxing (YouTube): Contents overview video.
Terrorcon Blot: Walking Dead Kickstarter edition (YouTube): Contents overview video.
wardy-la (for Level 2): The Walking Dead: All Out War 'Unboxing'.: Content overview article.§
Contents overview - The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set - Kickstarter Edition - French
Seb & Bertrand (for VortexZone): EDVZ : Walking Dead All Out War (YouTube)(in French): Contents overview video in French.
Contents overview - The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set - Kickstarter Edition - Spanish
Hardhead's Reviews: Walking Dead All out war Unboxing Mantic juego de mesa español (YouTube)(in Spanish): Contents overview video in Spanish.
El club del dado: Unboxing Walking Dead All Out War por El club del dado (YouTube)(in Spanish): Contents overview video in Spanish.
MINIATURAS ESTADIO WARGAME: Unboxing WALKING DEAD... ALL OUT WAR kickstarter edicion español (YouTube)(in Spanish): Contents overview video in Spanish.
Christian (for Pimp My Board Game): Walking Dead Wednesday: Prelude to Woodbury vs Core Set comparison: Comparison article between The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set and the Prelude to Woodbury Solo Starter Set.
Christian (for Pimp My Board Game): Walking Dead Wednesday: Shane and Carl: Comparison article between components The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set and the Prelude to Woodbury Solo Starter Set, and showcase of Carl, and Shane Booster, and Morgan Booster.
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Base price (The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set)(2020): 40 GBP / 45 Euro / 50 USD, Price/model: ca. 2,2 GBP / 2,5 Euro / 2,8 USD if you don't need the other components
Base price (The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set)(2016-2017): 35 GBP / 50 Euro / 50 USD, Price/model: ca. 2 GBP / 2,8 Euro / 2,8 USD if you don't need the other components
Where can you buy it?
Mantic Games: The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set: Official webpage.
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Do you have the The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game Core Set boardgame from Mantic Games? How do you like it? Would you recommend them to others? Tell your opinion in the comments!