Made to Suffer, coming at the end of February, is the latest offering from Mantic Games for their runaway (shamble away?) hit The Walking Dead: All Out War.
This is the last of the sets from the original Kickstater – and where Wave 5 and beyond go remains to be seen – but for now, we get a proper look at one of the iconic storylines from the early years of the comic: Woodbury.
Oh, and of course, you can win a little something for yourself into the bargain – details at the bottom of the post.
The Campaign modes in Walking Dead expansions are for me the biggest selling point, and Made to Suffer doesn’t disappoint, really capturing the feel of the narrative arc.
7 scenarios form the main campaign, and there’s enough variety to keep you playing them over – attacking the camp, the escape and so on. We revisit the rules for fighting indoors from the prison but more detailed (though not obstructively so), and likewise more detailed rules for Night fighting that build on those of Days Gone Bye, supported through new event cards. Also, the new Collapse! rule, allowing walkers to overrun scenery, is a great addition, and will help offset some of the limits of solo play and making competitive play that bit more edgy. However, we also get a generic scenario in this set, plus the addition of a significant new mechanic in the form of Objective cards.
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But if that’s not enough for you, there’s a generic scenario with rules also for expanded character development, bigger games, and group alliances. Plus, there is the addition of a significant new optional mechanic in the form of Objective cards. Taking two of these in secret to complete over the course of the game adds a fresh twist, and a whole lot of fun into the process. Strangely, it actually brings back more of a board-game feel to a game that’s in danger perhaps of expanding beyond its skirmish appeal, which is no bad thing.
As for other mechanics, there’s no recap of those whether they are directly relevant (eg Smashing) or less so (such as, say, Fire from Days Gone Bye). It might’ve been good to get a recap of some, though not surprising really. That being said, a single comprehensive rule-set must surely be on the cards from Mantic, and might’ve been a good addition to this post-KS.
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We get some great new characters in the box, giving you a core of Woodbury’s “finest”. Martinez, Gabe and Bruce are all able to support the Governor directly, and act as a coherent force. Equally, Dr. Stevens is a stand-out character, with the rare and useful Medic ability to patch up your residents. And if he doesn’t succeed, there’s some of Woodbury’s less fortunate members to tie to stakes for sport.
Equipment and supplies from this set emphasise cracking open the Woodbury armoury. There’s a whole lot of guns in this set, in both decks, but there’s still a lot of other useful items (the megaphone, Michonne’s Katana and a Cuban Cigar!) The playmat, meanwhile, gives you a great alternate urban environment that links neatly with the one from the base set, and indeed is needed for 2 of the scenarios (and for the generic, large-scale game)
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Outside of the core Wave 4 expansion box, we also get some interesting new characters and options from the boosters, not least the Governor himself. I know, but still. The two new versions of Brian Blake, (because we’ve had one already in the Prelude to Woodbury Solo Starter, ‘Before Woodbury’) ‘The Governor’ and ‘Mutilated and Merciless’ are both rightly terrifying. Though the former is a seriously tough cookie, dishing out extra white damage whilst reducing wounds he takes, it is the latter, cheaper option that is really potent. Yes, he trades his blue melee for a white, and loses an item slot (well, duh) and a health. But it’s his ability to gain bonus white and red dice that he can freely distribute to his followers that takes things up a notch. He’s a fascinating alternative to the combat heavy leaders out there, requiring much more effective use of resources – but equally, giving you many more resources to play with.
Rick, Disfigured but Determined, is now perhaps the most recognisable version of the character in print (or screen for that matter). He is an interesting choice for leader, relatively cheap at 56 points for the fact that he can distribute extra actions and give out both bonus head shots and panic dice. With a blue in shooting too, he’s no slouch (although he is missing an item slot on one side, of course). I should mention the Alice booster also, however, who comes in as a new Medic character. Now this is a booster I would recommend to anyone, and does everything a booster should: fluffy representation of character, crunchy rules that add to the gameplay experience.
Overall, how does it stack up? Well, whether you’re a fan of the comics or not, I think you’ve probably guessed by now that this is my favourite expansion yet for TWD, and if you’re looking for somewhere to go next from the Starter, you’d be well-advised to jump in here. It captures the feel and flow of one of the best storylines of the comic, doesn’t get bogged down in extra rules whilst still expanding your play experience. Well worth it.
Once you’ve done that, you can earn one competition entry for doing each of the following (maximum of 5 entries in total):
The winner will be chosen at random from all the eligible entries on Sunday the 18th of February.