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Subject: The Walking Dead - solo session report rss

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William Smith
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This is my second time playing Cryptozoic's "The Walking Dead Board Game", and the first time playing solo. Unlike in multiplayer, there is no coming back as the undead when playing with the single player rules. If you die, the game is over.

I roll out the play mat and contemplate which character I am going to charge with the duty of braving the zed-riddled world outside of the camp to collect the four location tiles necessary to win the game. Some characters simply don't make sense for a solo adventure. For example, Shane's special ability is that once per game each player in his region must give him a random Scrounge card from their hand - clearly not a talent that will be of benefit to me on this lonely mission. After scanning the player cards, I decide on Rick whose special ability to reroll his attack die and add 2 the the roll (once per game) will surely come in handy and save my hide at some point.

With Rick set up in the middle of the camp, 2 ally tokens placed on the character card, 10 Scrounge cards shuffled with 5 dealt out to my hand, and the 4 location tiles placed next to their corresponding corners, Rick and I are ready to meet some walkers.


[Above: Rick contemplates his first move, while I contemplate a bigger table]

I don't feel a pull towards any particular area of the board, but decide to make my way northwest to the police station in the upper left corner of the board. From there, I will attempt to move clockwise around the perimeter of the board to each location in turn.

The turn sequence is as follows:
1. Roll a die and move that many spaces.
2. Resolve the space you land on.
3. Resolve any Encounter cards, one at a time.
4. End your turn.

I have some goodies in the 5 Scrounge cards that I was dealt. A shotgun (+5 attack), a handgun (+3 attack), "Giddy Up!" (+3 to a movement roll), "Sack of Guns" (+3 attack), and "Shortcut" (choose either to move your character 1 space or move another survivor up to 4 spaces - in a solo game, only the first option matters)

Feeling confident, I make my first roll. I roll a 2 and land on a "After This Encounter, Take Another Turn" space. I draw my first Encounter card and reveal "OUT OF REACH: Roll a die. Keep that many random Scrounge cards in your hand and shuffle the rest into the Scrounge deck." This is not a good start. Without a roll of a 5 or a 6, I am going to lose some valuable items. I roll a 4 - not so bad. I decide that I wouldn't mind parting with the "Shortcut" card, but wait .. "keep that many random Scrounge cards in your hand". *Sigh*. I shuffle my hand facedown, and randomly select a card. Looks like Rick just lost his handgun.

Time to get a move on. A 4 comes up, so I continue along one space west and 3 spaces north. I am now only 3 spaces away from the police station, having landed on a blank space. I draw my second Encounter card of the game and .. oh my .. "WALKERS AT THE DOOR: Strength 4: You can't play cards this fight. If you win this fight, draw a Scrounge card." Time to splatter some walker guts, but without the benefit of extra weapons, I fear that Rick is in danger here. I'll have to roll a 4 or higher to knock these badboys back. Deep breath, roll, and ... a 1. Ouch. One of Rick's allies has taken a bite and we are going to have to leave him behind. Only one ally left, and then the next bite will be for Rick. Better run.


[Above: Rick approaches the police station]

A 6 comes up on the die. Where was that 6 when I needed it? Well, that takes Rick to the police station and he can collect the location tile here *if* he can survive two encounters.

First up - "WALKER HORDE: Strength 10: If you win this fight, draw two Scrounge cards." Strength 10! There's no way I can win this fight with the die alone, unless I roll a lucky 6 (a six wins any encounter). I'm going to have to equip Rick with some arms. I play the shotgun card (+5 attack) and roll a ... 5. Phew! Survived that one. That horde of walkers is full of shotgun holes. I take my two promised Scrounge cards - an Axe (+1 attack and can be played after rolling the attack die) and a baseball bat (+1 attack and if used alone, stays in your hand to be used again).

Second up - "PERSONALITY CONFLICT: Choose one: Discard 2 random Scrounge cards OR put one of your Allies back into the Ally pool." This is a difficult choice, but I really can't afford to give up the one remaining ally that stands between Rick and painful re-animation, so I choose to discard the "Shortcut" card and the Axe. [note: this was a mistake on my part - again, the discarded cards should have been selected randomly]

Having survived the two encounters, I pick up the police station location card which grants me +1 to all my attack rolls. Nice! Better keep moving .. east now to the CDC at the top right corner of the board.

A 3 comes up on the die, landing Rick on a "Attack +1" space. This space is in a position that gives some advantage over the walkers, such as behind a fence or on top of a car. With Rick perched up atop a vehicle, I draw the Encounter card - "WALKER RAIDER: Strength 6: If you lose this fight, you suffer no Bites and discard two random Scrounge cards instead." Hmm. I've only got 3 Scrounge cards remaining in my hand, I'd better be sure to win this one. I have +1 from my police station tile, and +1 from my location. I make use of the baseball bat (+1) and suddenly wish that I still had that axe, just in case. Here comes the roll ... and it is ... a 4! 4+1+1 ties for 6 and gets Rick the win. He even gets to keep the baseball bat.

Moving along. A 4 comes up on the die. Once again, Rick lands on a +1 space and I draw an Encounter card - "WALKER PACK: Strength 8: If you win this fight, put the bottom card of the Scrounge discard pile into your hand." I still have +1 from the police station tile, and +1 from my location. So I will need to roll a 6 to win this one. I equip Rick with the sack of guns (+3), bringing my target down to a 3 or higher. I can do that. Roll ... and .... a 3! That was close. As instructed, I pull the bottom card out of the Scrounge discard pile and put it into my hand. Sweet, Rick got his shotgun back.

Keep moving now. A 2 comes up on the die. Yet another +1 space. Draw the Encounter card - "DESERTED STREETS: Nothing happens." Rick takes a breather and eats a sandwich.

Only three spaces away from the CDC. A 5 comes up on the die. Time for two more encounters in order to win this location tile.

First Encounter card - "HUNGRY WALKER: Strength 6: If you lose this fight, draw another Encounter card. If you win this fight, draw a Scrounge card." Fair enough. I've got +1 from my police station tile, and equip Rick with the sack of guns (+3). Roll ... and .... 6. Autowin. Rick didn't need that sack of guns after all, but too late now, they've been used. I draw a Scrounge card - a rifle (+4 attack)!



Second Encounter card - "WALKER WITH ENTRAILS: Strength 7: If you win this fight, draw a Scrounge card." Looks like that rifle is going to come in handy right away. Roll ... and ... a 1 (oof!) +1 (police station tile) + 4 (rifle) = 7. Rick escapes just by the skin of his nose, and claims the CDC tile which grants him a choice - "Draw two Scrounge cards OR put the bottom card of the Scrounge discard pile into your hand." Well, the Scrounge deck is getting pretty low with only 3 cards remaining, and once it runs out, there is no more where they came from. So I make the choice for Rick and take the bottom card from the discard pile, retrieving the axe.

Now southwards to the abandoned car lot. The die comes up a 3, landing rick on yet another +1 space. With Rick hiding behind a fence, I draw the Encounter card - "RESCUE A SURVIVOR: Strength 9: If you win this fight, gain an ally." Rick certainly needs more allies, so I deck him out with the most powerful weapon he is carrying .. the shotgun (+5). I'll have to roll a 4 or more to match 9, but I have the axe as backup. Roll ... and .... 4! Rick gains an ally, bringing him back to 2 allies on his side.

Southward, ho! I roll another 4, landing Rick on a "No encounter" space.

Pushing on. I roll a 5, which is exactly enough to get rick to the abandoned car lot. Two encounters coming up.

First Encounter - "SURROUNDED: Strength 5: Each player in your region must fight. Current Player: If you win this fight, draw a Scrounge card.
" There are no other players, so it is just Rick. With my +1 to attack rolls, I'd need a 4 or higher, which I decide is a bit too chancy. Unfortunately, the weapon stock is getting low with only a baseball bat and the axe remaining. I equip Rick with the baseball and hope for the best. Roll ... and ... 3. 3 + 1 (police station tile) + 1 baseball bat = 5. Another close call. I draw a Scrounge card as directed and receive a handgun (+3)

Second Encounter - "PERSONALITY CONFLICT: Discard 2 random Scrounge cards OR put one of your allies back into the ally pool". We've seen this one before. Rick only needs to make it to the eastern (lower right) section of the board to collect the last tile, so this time I decide to give up an ally.

Rick collects the abandoned car lot tile which grants +1 to all move rolls. Handy.

At this point it occurs to me that Rick's special ability hasn't yet been used.

Off to the department store. I roll a 4, landing Rick on /yet another/ +1 space. Encounter card - "WALKER HORDE: Strength 10: If you win this fight, draw two Scrounge cards." (that would be the last two Scrounge cards in the draw pile). I give Rick the handgun (+3), so with the +1 bonus from the space he is on and the +1 bonus from the police station tile, I calculate that I'd still need to roll a 5 or higher. I still have the axe as backup, so I could get away with a 4. If I also use the baseball bat, I won't get to keep it in my hand (since it is being used with another weapon). I stick with the handgun. Roll ... and .... 3. Uh oh. That won't do. I trigger Rick's special ability and reroll my attack die. Another 3, but this time that is enough to win the fight. 3 + 1 (location) + 1 (police station tile) + 3 (handgun) + 2 (one time special ability) = 10. Just enough to walk away.

Gotta get to that department store. I roll a 4 and decide to play the "Giddy Up!" card (+3 movement) and have +1 movement from the abandoned car lot tile. Moving 8 spaces, Rick lands directly on the last location on the mat - the department store. Two encounters follow.

First Encounter - "DESERTED STREETS: Nothing happens." (yes!)

Second Encounter - "WALKER PACK: Strength 8: If you win this fight, put the bottom card of the Scrounge discard pile into your hand". Rick only has an axe and a baseball bat left. I equip him with the baseball bat. I roll a 3. 3 + 1 (police station tile) + 1 (baseball bat) = 5 .. even if I use the axe, it isn't enough to take down the pack of walkers. Rick's last ally takes a bite, and is a goner.

Now what, I wonder. I've lost the second encounter. Do I have to draw two fresh encounters, or just try again on the second encounter? Do I have to walk off of this space and return to it on a later turn? The rules aren't clear on this subject, and the FAQ at the back of the rule book doesn't help any either. I consult the game's BGG entry and scan the forums - and see no answer there, either. I decide that the logical way to proceed here is to attempt the second encounter again - after all, that walker pack is still .. well .. walking - or walk away. Feeling a bit discouraged about Rick's chances of winning this fight (needing a six), I decide to walk away.

A 5 comes up on the die, which with my +1 movement from the abandoned car lot tile lands Rick on a "Draw a Scrounge Card" space. Could this turn the tide? I draw a shotgun (+5). Sweet. Encounter card - "WALKER RAIDER: Strength 6: If you lose this fight, you suffer no Bites and discard two random Scrounge cards instead." I certainly can't afford to lose two of my only three Scrounge cards.

I equip Rick with the baseball bat again and roll a 3. 3 + 1 (baseball bat) + 1 (police station) = 5, still 1 short. Rick employs the axe for another +1, driving it clean through the center of the walker raider's skull, and walks away alive now carrying only his baseball bat and shotgun.

A 4 comes up on the die, +1 from the abandoned car lot, and Rick is heading west again to try again at the department store. He stops one move short (the abandoned car lot tile specifies that "You *may* add 1 to your move rolls" and rests on a "No Encounter" game space.

A 6 comes up on the die, and Rick moves into the department store.

First Encounter: "WALKER WITH ENTRAILS: Strength 7: If you win this fight, draw a Scrounge card.". Sheesh. With the baseball bat, I'd need a 5 or higher. I suck it up and equip Rick with the shotgun, hoping the next encounter will be easier. Roll ... and .... 6! Autowin, and a waste of a shotgun shot, but Rick blows the walker to bits. I draw the last remaining Scrounge card and receive a handgun (+3).

Second Encounter: "WALKER HORDE: Strength 10: If you win this fight, draw two Scrounge cards." Oh, come on! I have to pool all of my resources here - handgun and baseball bat. 3 (handgun) + 1 (baseball bat) + 1 (police station) = 5. I still need a 5 or higher to win this fight. Dammit, I'm really missing that wasted shotgun right about now. Roll .. and ... 6! Unbelievable, two sixes in a row. Rick wins the fight and collects the department store tile, but is now left weaponless and needs to make it back to camp. The department store tile grants Rick one ally.

Running back to camp. A 2 comes up. A "No Encounter" space.


[Above: Egads, a giant walker kitty. The horror!]

Still running. 5. Rick lands on a +2 space, climbing up to the top of a building for better advantage over the walkers. Encounter card - "SURROUNDED: Strength 5: Each player in your region must fight. Current player: If you win this fight, draw a Scrounge card." Well, there are no other players, and there are no more Scrounge cards, but somebody has got to put these walkers down. Nothing to equip. With the +1 modifier, I need to roll a 4 or higher. Roll ... and .... a 4! No joke.

Two spaces from camp. Even if I roll a 1 here, with the +1 movement from the abandoned car lot, the win is a lock. I roll anyways. 3. Rick walks safely into camp, a bit beaten up and having lost some friends along the way, but successful in his mission to return the four location cards back to camp.

A win, thanks largely to some lucky rolls.

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Michael Kefauver
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Good session report! I wasn't sure if you were going to make it there for a bit.

I do find it odd, though, that a single gun (Shotgun, rifle) is better than a sack of guns. One would think that, unless you're hitting the walkers with the sack, having a bag full of shotguns and rifles would be better than one.
 
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William Smith
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Thanks

Yeah, that puzzled me a bit too. I came to terms with it by deciding that even if you had a sack of guns, you could really only use one (maybe two, but with less precision than one) at a time anyways. I think they just wanted to add some variation to 'handgun'.
 
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Matt Hyra
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From the rules on Locations: If you survive both of these Encounters, you gain that corner’s Location tile.
Survive just means you, Rick, don't die. It doesn't matter how many Allies or Scrounge cards you lose from losing the fights. As long as your character doesn't die from the 2 Encounters, you get the Location card.

Excellent Report! And seemed like a nice, tense game...

Matt Hyra
Cryptozoic Entertainment R&D


drawk wrote:
Now what, I wonder. I've lost the second encounter. Do I have to draw two fresh encounters, or just try again on the second encounter? Do I have to walk off of this space and return to it on a later turn? The rules aren't clear on this subject, and the FAQ at the back of the rule book doesn't help any either. I consult the game's BGG entry and scan the forums - and see no answer there, either. I decide that the logical way to proceed here is to attempt the second encounter again - after all, that walker pack is still .. well .. walking - or walk away. Feeling a bit discouraged about Rick's chances of winning this fight (needing a six), I decide to walk away.
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William Smith
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Thanks for the clarification. For some reason my mind insisted on reading that as "win both encounters" rather than "survive both encounters"
 
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ryan jenkins
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For the solo session i made up a rule,that Shane's special ability changes, to pick up a random card from the scrounge dicarded pile.
 
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