GTM #168 - RISK: The Walking Dead Survival Edition
Reviewed by Jane Trudeau-Smith & Philip Smith

On the Table for Two Show, we review games from a two-player perspective. When we picked up RISK: The Walking Dead Survival Edition, we were worried how this game would play for two players. However, what makes this edition interesting is that there is an additional “player” represented by “The Walkers”: Dead people who are taking over the world. Players are not just battling each other, but also the dead.

You do not have to be a fan of The Walking Dead comic book or TV series to enjoy this game! Neither of us have ever watched an episode (I know, I know), so we were concerned if this game would be fun to play for us. However, we thoroughly enjoyed this game! Philip had played the original RISK game. Jane was concerned because she never had, and was not a huge fan of war games. In the end, not only did Jane win the game, but also she loved it!

On our show, we use five criteria to rate the game - scoring 1-5 (5 being the best), so we will do the same here.

First, we like games that are easy to learn, and we can start playing quickly. RISK: The Walking Dead Survival Edition received a 4 from us. The rules were easy to follow, had many graphic examples, and were only fourteen pages long.

Second, we looked at the manufacturing of the game. This game consists of the board, red and black battle dice, leader cards, territory cards, event cards, pieces that represent survivors, walkers, ammo, guard towers, and grenades, and a tracker chip for the rounds played. All the cards and pieces were nicely made, but we had some trouble with the game board. When we opened the box and laid the board flat, two sections did not meet properly, leaving a wide gap. Our local game shop was kind enough to exchange it for us. The second one was a bit better – regardless, it did not really affect our play so we gave the manufacturing a 3.

Third, we questioned if we had fun. We gave it a 5!  We had a good time playing this game. Here are the basics of play; there are actually two game options:

Survival Mode: 2-4 players. The goal is to control the most territories and survive the zombies.

Conquest Mode: 3-5 players. Similar to original RISK, you have to control all the territories to win.

There are 32 territories on the game board, grouped into six zones. Each player gets agroup of survivors to play, and each player plays the walkers on their turn. The group cards explain your group’s special power. The setup is simple: Based on how many players are playing, you place a certain amount of your survivors and the walkers on the board in different territories. The object is for your survivors to live and control the most territories and strategic locations. Each player starts their turn by turning over territory cards to determine where and how many more walkers appear – called a "Walker Outbreak" (this reminds us a bit of Pandemic) – then places those new walkers on the board. If a walker appears in a territory occupied by survivors, an immediate battle takes place to win that territory. An event card is then drawn and resolved. The player can deploy more survivors to the board, based on how many territories/zones they occupy, and then decide to battle to gain more territories. Last, they can maneuver survivors from one territory to another they already occupy. After each player takes his or her turn, that round is over, and the round marker is moved up by one.

The event pile contains an Overrun card. Once that card is drawn, the players finish that round, play one last walker outbreak, and the game is over. Scores are based on how many territories and strategic locations you control, zone bonuses, and extra points for any ammo not used.

Fourth is the length of play. We typically like games that play within an hour, because of our busy work schedules. Even though this game took us about three hours to learn and play, we did not notice how long we were playing because we were having so much fun. We gave the timing a 4!

Last is, would we play this game again? The answer is YES! We both really enjoyed this game and would recommend it, so we gave that a 5!

So, from the Table for Two Show we give RISK: The Walking Dead Survival Edition a total of 21/25! Come watch our show at www.tablefortwoshow.com for more board game reviews!