First off, let me start by saying that I am a very big fan of the AMC tv show for The Walking Dead. The show is very good at drawing you into the plot line and I find myself upset that it's only an hour long each time I watch an episode. I have not read the graphic novel for it, so I cannot compare the two.
That having been said, I did want to point out that I was disappointed in the game at first. After having played it a couple more times, it is growing on me.
It is a simple game and is very easy to learn. You can choose two variations.
There is team mode for 4 players. Two people choose to be a zombie (walker) and two people choose to be a survivor. For team survivor to win, you must collect a memento from each of the four main locations from the first season. Once you have all four, between the two of you, one of you needs to make it back to camp alive. The zombies need to kill both of you in order to win.
For 1 to 4 players in competitive mode, you each choose a character and then try to collect a memento of each of the main locations from the first season and then make it back to camp alive. First one to do this wins. The first two people to die become walkers. When two people have become walkers, the game reverts to team mode.
The game plays very simply. Roll the dice, select where to go, try to fend off the encounters you have. If you survive, you repeat this process on your next turn. You have weapons and abilities (called Scrounge cards) to assist you in fending off the encounters by adding to your die roll for your final result. You also have allies that you can sacrifice so that you do not become a walker. Each human character has a once per game special ability they can also use. The walker players have their own cards that can either cause an attack or encounter or take away from the survivors. The walkers also move around the board. It is very easy for the walkers to make life extremely difficult for the survivors.
The test play that I did first was very difficult. My character died after the first three encounters due to bad die rolls. It was frustrating. The rules also say that once the deck of Scrounge cards is gone, you're done and that's all you get. The fact that you only start the game with 10 per player makes that very rough. I found that I was using them very heavily for each encounter and yet I still died very early on.
We tried another test game only using a house rule that the Scrounge cards get reshuffled but the allies are still a set number and once they're gone, they're gone. The rationale for this is that living humans are a dwindling resource but, due to the lack of living people left in the world, the supply of weapons should be a lot bigger than that if you know where to look. This rule made it a little easier to try and survive, but the humans still lost fairly quickly and not even half of the locations were collected.
The first four-player game I played went much better. We all started off as human but a short while later two people had already died and come back as walkers. The walker deck is brutal and the last two humans died fairly easily after that.
The second four-player game I played was the first time I could see that it was possible for the humans to win. Through good use of the cards, the humans actually collected quite a few locations before the first two walkers appeared and created team zombie. It was a close race but team survivor actually took this one.
Overall, I was disappointed in the game at first as I was expecting it to be much closer to the tv series. The game grew on me later and I see that in and of itself it can be enjoyable. Re-playability would be higher if there was a larger variety of encounters and weapons. After about halfway through the encounter deck, it gets repetitive. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that there will be expansions that incorporate encounters from future seasons.