Getting Started: The Walking Dead All Out War

Unless you’ve lived in a cave for decades, you’ve heard of The Walking Dead – one of the best-selling comic and graphic novel series ever and one of the most watched TV series ever made. The Walking Dead All Out War is a skirmish wargame set in the comic book universe – sorry, no Daryl at this party. Released in 2016 via Kickstarter by Mantic Games, the game did gangbusters back then and sold humungous amounts of minis via that platform, then came to retail.

We’ve talked about it in some Weekly Roundups and in 2020 Mugginns wrote an introductory article for the game. Check that article out to get an idea of how the game is played, the mechanics, and how to create a group. After quite a few releases the game was sunset due to licensing issues – now the game is back and we finally get a look at how you get your hands on miniatures and equipment. This article is intended to give you an idea of how to get started and help you weigh your options when buying into the game.

But before we do that, a bit of background. Originally, this game was released in waves, sporting an expansion at its center and boosters to expand your roster. The waves were mainly centered around chapters from the comic books, but often had slight deviations or early additions among them. Due to the ‘made for order’ nature of the game – Mantic urges players to order by the end of February to avoid missing out – the minis are being sold in collections. After the collections are sold for a bit they’ve talked about making individual models available but we do not have the full details on that yet.

To give you an idea of what factions are available in The Walking Dead, here’s a list:

  • Commonwealth (soon)
  • Hilltop
  • Hunter’s Camp
  • Neutral
  • Rick’s Group
  • The Kingdom
  • The Saviors
  • The Whisperers
  • Woodbury Army

Neutral includes a ton of models – they’re available to be in any group. They do include some ‘named groups’ like The Marauders or The Scavengers, but they’re neutral and not a faction of their own. It is also possible to do allies later on with an alliance matrix – but we won’t cover that here.

The Collector’s edition

2024 Collector’s Edition. Credit: Mantic Games

Replacing the original core box, the Collector’s Edition is a great entry point. You get what was originally the core set with some survivors, a good chunk of Walkers, the rules, all the tools you’ll need and a paper mat with some cutout markers and terrain. On top of that the box comes with the scenery upgrade, which replaces the paper cutout barricades, cars and loot markers with hard plastic models. You also get the single player expansion “Prelude to Woodbury” with more Walkers and the Governor Survivor. This is also the only place you can get your hands on the event exclusive miniatures of the survivors Lee, Clementine, Scott Moon and Dale with a peg leg as well as two exclusive Walkers.

Rick and Carl should be well-known to most people even if you haven’t read or watched the series – they’re meme mainstays. Sandra, Patrick, Liam, and Derek are a little more esoteric, and indeed play a small role in the actual comic. They appear in issues 75-78, volume 13 of the compilation “Too Far Gone”. Derek leads them and is a brutal and uncaring leader, sacrificing his own group members to get what he wants.

Lee and Clementine are from the super popular (and great) Telltale Walking Dead games – these are event exclusives that were previously rare. Peg Leg Dale is your buddy Dale but after his leg has been lopped off, and Scott Moon only appears in The Governor Special (and the novel Road to Woodbury). Brian Blake is The Governor before he becomes The Governor, a really sweet model. These are all hard plastic well-detailed minis.

The dice that come with the game are special dice – they’re D6 but they have different sides that match up to abilities and results with the game, so you’ll need them to play, they’re not just padding the box with regular dice. Equipment cards are ways to build out your group – survivors don’t come with weapons, armor, or special items built-in. Supply cards are what you loot during the game – so you’ll move up to an abandoned car or shack and pick up some supplies and it could be an old gun, bandages, or a lurking walker.

The Event Deck is of particular note here – this includes the regular events that happen when you’re playing competitive (one team vs one team) but also the solo cards that you’d use for cooperative games. These are a little different and build in more challenge since you’re not shooting at other survivors. You could still play cooperative with the regular deck, it just would be a little easier. These were previously only available in the Prelude to Woodbury pack with Brian Blake. The tokens and templates etc. will be all you need to play the game – ’nuff said.

Contents

  • 11 Survivor Miniatures
    • Rick Grimes, Carl, Sandra, Patrick, Liam, Derek, Brian Blake, Lee, Clementine, Peg Leg Dale, Scott Moon
  • 19 Walker Miniatures
  • 11 Survivor Cards
  • Paper Play Mat
  • The Walking Dead: All Out War Anthology 2024
  • Dice Set
  • Event Deck
  • Equipment Deck
  • Supplies Deck
  • Token Set
  • Template Set and Measure
  • 6 Barricades
  • 10 Scatter Pieces
  • 2 Trucks
  • 2 Cars

Pros

Lee. Credit: Mantic Games

This box sets you up with all the essentials to play, dice, markers, etc. It also gives you a 19 Walker strong horde, which is more than enough for when games get a little dicey. The survivors in this box are also rather simple and easy to use in terms of rules, so perfect for a new player. The selection of survivors makes this box much better suited for cooperative games, complimenting well with the large amount of Walkers. The box also includes the event cards needed to play the game solo or cooperative, a favorite game mode for many fans.

Cons

Liam. Credit: Mantic Games

The low count of survivors means that this box is better suited for cooperative PvE missions, rather than PvP games. There is also very little synergy between the characters, as they mainly spring from the neutral faction, which is meant to add a few extra bodies to major factions (but can be used to create a Neutral group if you have the models). If your aim is to play against your friends immediately, know that you’ll need an extra expansion or two to do so – though this box includes everything you need to get started on that journey.

What else might I need?

There are 3D printable or MDF character dashboards out there that are affordable and work really well to keep the game organized. Most games will have four – six minis a side, so it’s not a huge endeavor, but if you like a clean board it helps.

Card sleeves are always helpful – the character cards are actually pretty large (I love it), so you’ll need some you might not be able to find at a local hobby shop. Sizes you’ll need are:

88×125
41×63
63.5×88

The Collections

The collections are Mantic’s way to pool the various miniatures from the waves into thematic bundles, that work well together. They only come with their respective stat cards and a paper mat, so you will need to buy an essential set to go with whichever collection you buy. In the original release, some boosters came with new cards for pre-existing characters. We can’t say if this will be the case or not, but we are going to go forward assuming so. The benefit of collections is that you get almost an entire faction – which has many ways in which it can work on the table – and it also gives you a sizeable force for PvP or a thematic group for cooperative PvE.

Atlanta Collection

Atlanta Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

The Atlanta collection comes with all the characters appearing in Days Gone Bye (minus Glenn, Billy, Ben and Carl and with Craig extra) and are a fantastic pick for playing the narrative missions from the Days Gone Bye Supplement. In terms of on table performance, the Atlanta group brings a few families to the table, with boosts being drawn from the closeness of family members on the board, allowing you to easily elevate some of the cheaper child characters. You will also find quite a few characters who are lacking the ability to strike or shoot, somewhat limiting their potential on the field.

As for the leaders, you get access to two variations of Shane or Rick, with each of them giving buffs to a specific characters or to high cost characters. Sadly these abilities don’t synergize well with the group that you can play, as it lacks in the specific roles there being buffed. This is to say, that the Atlanta collection is great for narrative play, but not very competitive in terms of PvP.

Note that most of these characters will work together, but Craig and Reggie are neutral – they’re actually villains. Craig is part of the Marauders, a group of hillbillies that ambush Abraham, Carl, and Rick on I-75 as they go back to Cynthiana, Kentucky to grab supplies in issue 57. It’s rough that Craig, Jud, and Andy (The Marauders) are broken up over three collections, so to get the group of them you have to buy all three. Reggie shows up very briefly in only a few panels in Issue 1 as he shoots Rick in the pre-apocalypse, claiming he’ll never go back to prison(but you will get his walker for some tragic interactions with Amy…).

These minis are hard plastic.

  • 15 Survivor Miniatures
    • Allen, Jim, Donna, Andrea, Amy, Dale, Craig, Lori, Carol, Rick on Horse, Morgan, Sophie, Duane, Shane, Reggie.
  • 8 Walker Miniatures
  • 15 Survivor Cards
  • Paper Play Mat

Miles Behind Us Collection

Miles Behind Us Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

Similarly to the Atlanta collection, this collection follows the Miles Behind Us chapter of the comics, however, it’s also missing some characters, like Susie and Rachel, but also adds in some characters from later in the comics like Negan, Ezekiel, Carlos, Andy and Ezekiel’s pet tiger, Shiva. It is also here where you will get your hands on a Glenn. The focus of this collection is the Greene Family, although they are not considered a separate faction to Rick’s group and thus can be played with Tyreese and Glenn in this expansion. Unlike Atlanta, almost every character comes with their own abilities.

If you decide to field these on the table, you’d be best suited to center the group around the Greene family, as Hershel’s leader ability let’s them reroll panic tests, making them much more durable in the long term. Overall, this collection is probably the first proper one in terms of PvP, as it gives you a decent variety of medium to strong fighters, unlike Atlanta, which has a stark divide between weak narrative characters and the more competent playing pieces. Carlos fills out the Scavengers from the initial Collector’s Edition to give you a better group when you use them. Andy joins the other Marauders split up in the different collections.

These minis are hard plastic.

  • 16 Survivor Miniatures
    • Tyreese, Carlos, Negan, Andy, Patricia, Otis, Billie, Hershel, Arnold Greene, Maggie, Chris, Julie, Lacey Greene, Glenn, Ezekiel, Shiva
  • 16 Survivor Cards
  • 8 Walker Miniatures
  • Paper Play Mat

Safety Behind Bars Collection

Safety Behind Bars Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

The next big chapter is set in the Prison. This collection overlaps slightly with the previous and next chapter, so you finally get Billy and Ben, Susie and Rachel, as well as the Woodbury survivors Eugene Coony, Harold, and Wes. Distraught Morgan from way further in the story is also included/ This is the first collection with a relatively fair distribution between two major factions and neutral fighters, meaning this could definitely be considered the 2-player collection with some proper fighting potential.

You get eight survivors for Rick’s Group, four neutral survivors in the prisoners, and three survivors for Woodbury Army. So depending how you equip the characters, it is very possible to get an equal points match going. Notable survivors are the four kids (counting as two survivors), as they are cheap and offer a free reroll to some specific characters in range. Plus, child soldiers.

These minis are hard plastic.

  • 15 Survivor Miniatures
    • Glenn Prison Guard, Susie and Rachel, Andrea Prison, Billy and Ben, Maggie Prison, Wes, Dexter, Thomas, Axel, Andrew, Morgan Distraught, Michonne, Harold Abernathy, Rick Prison Armour, Eugene Coony
  • 15 Survivor Cards
  • 9 Walker Miniatures
  • Paper Play Mat

Made To Suffer Collection

Made To Suffer Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

As alluded in the previous section, this is where we get into the Woodbury Army faction. We yet again see a pretty good 2-player starter. Despite the balance of models between the faction being  off (11 to 5), Rick’s Group comes at a much higher point cost than the Woodbury army, as it’s the classic quantity vs quality match up. Given some character’s wavering loyalties in the comics, you will find some survivors with dual faction icons, making them able to fight for either group. This is a good 2-player starter or just a way to get one of the largest factions in the game on the table.

These minis are hard plastic.

  • 16 Survivor Miniatures
    • Dr Stevens, Martinez, Bruce Cooper, Gabe Harris, Smitty, Lily, Bob, Alice, The Governor, Tom, Armoured Michonne, Raymond, Gloria, Armoured Tyreese, Curtis, One Handed Rick
  • 16 Survivor Cards
  • 7 Walker Miniatures
  • Paper Play Mat

Fear The Hunters Collection

Fear The Hunters Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

This is one of the much smaller collections, featuring the Hunters and the campaign map, something that came with their original expansion. You get another collection pretty suitable for PvP, with a six versus six if you assign the neutral survivor to Rick’s group. While this collection is noticeably cheaper than previous collections at £55, it does come with fewer minis – including only one walker.

The other issue is less clear: the Hunters originally came with some unique event cards only to be used when they are in play. It does not seem that they will be included with this collection. They still definitely play with a different style from the rest of the groups, making them a fun faction to pick up and play. This collection does help finish the Marauders group and does include some fan favorites for Rick’s Group – Rosita, Abraham, Eugene, and Gabriel who are all very useful pieces on the board.

These minis are hard plastic.

  • 12 Survivor Miniatures
    • Rosita, Chris Leader, Theresa, Jud, Charlie, Greg, Father Gabriel, Eugene Porter, David, Albert, Abraham, Eye Patch Carl
  • 12 Survivor Cards
  • 1 Walker Miniatures
  • Paper Campaign Mat

The Whisperers Collection

The Whisperers Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

This collection is where it gets spicy! It is obviously a 1-player collection, as you’re only getting Whisperer survivors. Given that you have someone else with their own group to play against, this is the collection to ruin their day. What makes this a compelling choice is the unique playstyle of the Whisperers – unlike any other group in the game, the Whisperers get to partially control the Walkers in game, essentially making it an almost true PvP, as the PvE element of the game is hijacked by the Whisperers player. But don’t get overconfident, while you can shove and direct Walkers against your enemy, they will quickly turn on you if you make too much noise, vastly limiting your choice of weaponry.  Much of the game will be spent messing with your opponent, but also carefully walking between the horde and avoiding enemy gunfire. If you want to play PvP and you don’t mind playing more strategic with snowflake-y rules, then this collection is absolutely for you. But don’t forget: don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

The Whisperers and markers are resin, while the upstanding Walkers are hard plastic.

  • 6 Survivor Miniatures
    • Alpha, Beta, Lydia, Whisperer 1, Whisperer 2, Whisperer 3
  • 6 Survivor Cards
  • 2 Prone Survivor Miniatures
  • 4 Prone Walker Miniature
  • 6 Walker Miniatures

The Hilltop Collection

The Hilltop Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

This collection is somewhat back to basics. What’s important to note here is that despite getting nine miniatures, you only get 8 active fighters, as Maggie can’t be included twice in a group. Similarly to the Hunters collection, this bundle lacks any Walkers and thus you will need to rely on either your friends (or foes) bringing some Walkers, or purchasing the starter set.

In terms of gameplay, these were some of the latest releases before the game originally got cancelled and thus display some of the more varied special rules and abilities. Compared to the previous or next collection, they are very much a back to basics kind of collection – a good amount of medium to good survivors – held together by a plethora of abilities. They do however lack the specialised playstyles of the Whisperers or the Kingdom.

These minis are mostly resin with Glenn and Maggie on horse being hard plastic.

  • 9 Survivor Miniatures
    • Jesus, Maggie Leader, Aaron, Glenn on Horse, Maggie on Horse, Heath, Eric, Spencer, Sophia
  • 9 Survivor Cards

The Kingdom Collection

The Kingdom Collection. Credit: Mantic Games

The Kingdom is the other collection with a more unique playstyle. Unlike the Walker herding of the Whisperers, these guys come thundering in on horseback. While every faction can technically take horses as mounts for 20 pts. each, the Kingdom has a bunch of survivors with “Born in the Saddle”, automatically giving them a horse. Obviously, horses are quite loud and will draw the walkers to you, but the sheer impact and support between your survivors means you can eliminate Walkers rather quickly. However, as with the Whisperers, the important thing is to be strategic. One misplaced charge into a horde and a noise grenade from the enemy and you might lose a survivor.

These minis are all resin.

  • 8 Survivor Miniatures
    • Taylor, Gus, Kingdom Guard 1, Kingdom Guard 2, Richard, King Ezekiel, Rick Leader, Benjamin
  • 8 Survivor Cards
  • 1 Walker Miniature

Here’s Negan

Here’s Negan board game contents. Credit: Mantic Games

Here’s Negan is a complete board game that takes you on a trip with Negan as his Saviors clear out the Sanctuary, their base of operations. Negan is actually not a playable character – he has an AI, as do the walkers. He continues with you as you clear the Sanctuary and if you’re not fast enough or if he has to fight walkers himself, he’ll cause consequences for you. It’s a cooperative / competitive game as each player is trying to get the most reputation with Negan to be the end game winner, but you can’t win without working together to clear the board. It’s a great game and a ton of fun. I’m a bit biased as Negan and his Saviors are some of my favorite characters (I’m a Dwight and Sherry stan). Buying this game gives you a complete group for All Out War with their corresponding character cards as well as the board game itself.

These minis are hard plastic.

  • 6 Survivor Miniatures
    • Negan, Dwight, John, Sherry, Tara, Laura
  • 13 Walker Miniatures
  • 6 Survivor Cards
  • Tiles, tokens, cards, rules to play the board game

We Are the Walking Dead!

This was just a quick rundown of what you can expect from each of the available collections. Obviously, you can always buy multiple ones to mix and match the best characters, and superfans will buy everything. While it is a little rough that we only have the collector’s edition and not the original core box, the collections do offer an interesting entry into the game, especially some of the earlier ones.

With all that said, we hope you found this article useful. We here at Goonhammer are very excited about the return of this game and can’t wait to take you with us on this journey. You can expect a How to Play and some painting guides sometime in the near future. Once the Commonwealth is out, we will definitely be taking a closer look at them.

Questions, comments, suggestions? contact@goonhammer.com or leave a comment below.