For review with pictures
20 Minute Playing Time
Bang! The Dice Game: The Walking Dead (what a mouth full!) - which will now be referred to as just Bang!, is a game of zombies, bluffing and dice rolling set the the popular comic book world of The Walking Dead. If you have played Bang! The Dice Game, everything here will be familiar as this version of Bang! is an identical game, with only cosmetic differences to appeal to fans of the aforementioned comics and possibly the tv show. For those that haven't played Bang! The Dice Game I'll explain the basics.
To start each player is given a secret role card which will have one of five titles: Leader Of The Survivors, Survivors, Saviors, Hilltop and Kingdom. The role card will determine not only which side you are on but also what your game objective and victory conditions are, which remains hidden from the rest of the group until you are eliminated or have won the game, unless you are the Leader Of The Survivors in which case you reveal your card to all players. Each player is then given a character card which features one of the characters from the comic series, that will tell you your health as well as your special ability. The Leader Of The Survivors gets two bonus health (as the biggest target in the game) and always starts first. Each turn you are rolling five dice with the option of re-rolling some or all of your dice twice before carrying out the actions based on the symbols which are explained below:
If you roll a 'One' or a 'Two' you must shoot a player either one or two spaces beside you (according to the number rolled) on the left or the right and remove one of their health tokens.
Rolling a 'First Aid Kit' will allow you or another player of your choice to take a health token back, but only ever up to your starting amount of health.
Rolling a 'Walker' is always bad as it gives you one of the nine zombie heads which you have to take before making any rerolls. Once a player has taken the last zombie head from the draw pile, each player loses one health for every walker they have taken before they can return them back to the draw pile.
'Grenades' only ever come into effect if you are able to roll three or more grenades, in which you do one damage to EVERY other player and are able to remove all zombie tokens from your pile.
Lastly 'Infection' which is the one roll you don't want. Infection dice cannot be re-rolled and if you are unlucky enough to roll three or more on your turn it ends your turn by resolving the other dice immediately and losing one of your health to the infection.
After a player has rolled and taken their allotted re-rolls, the actions as listed above are carried out and the next player still alive has their turn. As players lose all their health they are eliminated from the game but still claim victory if your team is successful in winning. To win the Leader of Survivors and Survivors need to eliminate all other players, the Saviors must kill the Leader of Survivors, and the Loners must be the last man standing or only player left alive.
Bang! is a quick, easy to play hidden role dice game that's best played with larger groups. As with anytime you roll dice - you are relying purely on luck. Bang! however, brings in some strategy by mixing in bluffing elements through the secret role cards. While the roles don't actually change the way you play your turn, each one takes a slightly different approach to be successful and some roles making winning harder than others. The Leader of the Survivors is the only role card revealed making that player an instant target. You need to quickly work out who your fellow survivors are and just do your best to survive. As a Savior you will want to kill the Leader as quickly as possible and will often be okay sacrificing yourself if it takes the Leader down to secure a team victory. Often ignored for the first half of the game, Survivors spend most of their time trying to keep the Leader alive and make themselves known. Loners are the hardest role to achieve victory with, and will have to do some sneaky bluffing like imitating survivors to throw a target off their back. I enjoy playing every role as they all present a slightly different challenge.
The character cards make each player a little more unique as you will have your own ability to help you stay alive, but other than rolling dice with a bit of bluffing there isn't a whole lot more to Bang!. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it can satisfy the itch for both offerings (more so with the dice rolling) and being simple really helps Bang! to be enjoyable. There's a fair amount of fun that can be found in the guessing of everyone's role, killing your own team unaware, and there's just something enjoyable about rolling dice! Throw in some take that and press your luck moments that creep in, and players will be watching your dice rolls carefully hoping you don't take the last walker, or get the first aid kit you desperately need. It's a nice mix wrapped in a little package that's easy to digest.
Of course like any game there are some negatives, but they are a lot easier to overlook in shorter games and rarely become frustrating. Sometimes dice, seating positions and things you can't control are all against you but things can change quickly and even if they don't - it's quick to start and not a long haul to the end game. Player elimination games also run the risk of leaving players bored and waiting for a new game to start once eliminated. Bang! doesn't really remove that feeling of sitting around waiting, but at least its still possible to win once you are eliminated and has the benefit of being a shorter game that shouldn't have you waiting for too long.
As already mentioned, Bang! The Dice Game and Bang! The Dice Game: The Walking Dead are the same game. If you have one, you do not need the other as there is no difference at all to how the game plays. If you like dice games and don't have Bang!, I'd recommended getting which ever version you think will be an easier to sell to get it onto your table and played. If your friends like The Walking Dead tv show or love zombies - this is the edition to get, otherwise stick with the original dice edition.
My Verdict: BUY
Great dice filler with bluffing through hidden roles
Walking Dead edition is only cosmetic