Robert Kirkman's the Walking dead from Z-man games is based on the comic series as opposed to the AMC TV show, but the world is the same, hordes of walkers shambling everywhere and a struggle to survive.
The game recommends 1-6 players so that's good that it can be played solo, and a game time of around 30-60 mins, which seems about right from what I have played so far. The age suggested is 13 plus, though if your young one is brave enough for the subject, and can read well enough for the encounter cards (or have them read to them) then they can join in.
The art style matches the comic from my research, though some may find it a little dull, and colourless I think it suits the world and theme well.
What's inside the box then?
we have the a4 sized rulebook, which is full colour, though of course being the walking dead, the colours are muted rather then bright. and a set of different coloured 6 sided dice.
The book is easy enough to follow, with a quick play set of rules and a full game set, and plenty of diagrams to help explain
Some like shooting frenzy are quite random, to succeed you must have 4 or more ammo in your stockpile, if you pass you can keep the card and play it later for a benefit, but if you fail you lose your ammo. These can make having a stockpile of resources very important. These are only a few, there are ones that effect other groups (players) or you may gain or lose followers to your party, there is a large variety which is good, as it will mean you will never really get the same encounter on the same space which increases replay ability.
By having the locations drawn randomly it again increase the replay aspect of the game as they will be different every time you play.
You can randomly deal these or pick your favourite one to play. Each character has a fixed starting point on the board, which is not too much of a problem, as the locations you must scout are drawn randomly each turn.
Lastly we have the followers deck. Each player begins with one randomly drawn follower, and you may be able to get more followers throughout the game from encounters. They each have a dice they add to your main pool to roll for encounters, and some also have additional abilities, such as Maggie who removes a fatigue from a member of your party when she joins, and adds a red and a green dice to your pool. Carol adds a blue and a green dice to your party and lets you re-roll a red dice one per turn. The more followers you have of course the more your dice pool increases, so they are very useful to have, and of course the more damage the group as a whole can take.
Each player gets a card to organise his followers, place his main player card and keep a track on his resources, I like this, its nice and simple and keeps thing tidy. the resources are useful, at the start of a turn food can be eaten to remove fatigue, 1 fatigue for each piece of food. Ammo adds the black dice to your pool, which is used in combat, this dice has a higher proportion of zombie kill markers on it, including the dreaded blam.... Blam still kills a number of zombies as displayed, but also the noise of it draws walkers, so you must place a face down walker token on every space surrounding you making it a risky proposition, but in theme as that much gunfire does draw the walkers to you.
Here is my player card set up after a couple of encounters, I haven't gained many resources yet, but I do have a strong dice pool.
in your turn you must move... but you can move either 1, 2 or 3 spaces, and you leave a zombie token on each space you vacate, though of course with the numbers down you never know how many there will be there. This also leads to the possibility of trying to block off other players by leaving a trail of Zombies around. You do also have to be careful to leave your self space to get by and back again, unless you want to try and fight your way through, but the board can very quickly increase in zombie numbers. When you land on a location you must try to scout it by completing an encounter. if you fail you are allowed to stay there to try again, but only on locations, not on resources.
The game continues until one player scouts 3 locations.
I really enjoyed the game once I had a handle on it, yes of course any dice game can be random, but with resource management, and some good followers you can get powerful, which stays in theme, more people to cover your back, but as above, you can still fail encounters.
There is strategy in multiplayer, are the other players going for the same locations as you? should you try and block them with zombies, or focus on a different location. There are game modes included to play cooperatively as well, which is a nice touch, and also solo which I really appreciated. I enjoyed solo mode the best, me against the board, it felt right, and played fast, so its a great game to whip out for a group, or just for you to enjoy. It may not be as tactically deep as say Imperial Assault, and there is a level of randomness with the encounter cards, but then I think the world of the Walking dead is pretty random, who knows what will be left, or around in the wake of it.
Its a good game for fans of the show, though the characters only really reflect the equivalent of early season TV ones, its a good game for solo gamers, or for a group, as it is not that hard to teach.