Mantic is one of the most interesting miniatures companies on the market today, as they never fail to take a cool franchise and create a rather fine game out of it. Their take on the popular Walking Dead franchise was to pretty much re-define miniatures skirmish gaming. The result was All Out War, a game that was fun, tense and scary in equal measure.
Their latest offering is Here’s Negan, also from The Walking Dead franchise. Based on the spin-off comic of the same name, it’s a re-imagining of the traditional ‘Dungeon Crawl’ board game. However, rather than delve into a dungeon to kill goblins and steal treasure, you’re clearing out a prison during a zombie apocalypse. The biggest treasure you can gain in this game is the approval of Negan, the much hated tyrant from The Walking Dead franchise.
Oh yeah, you don’t play Negan in this game; he’s the bogey man, constantly lurking with his baseball bat looking to beat you up for falling to deliver. The result is a game where you have to work together to take out the zombies, but you’re also desperately trying to rack up enough points so Negan doesn’t come and end you. Each scenario has many choices in. Some of those are tough in a fun way. For example, do you rescue another character from the zombies, knowing that in doing so you’ll fail to secure some part of the mission? Or do you abandon your buddies, knowing that you need that win in order to not get beaten up by Negan?
Much like similar games, your character can get bit, and this adds to the fun and tension. In essence, Here’s Negan is the adventure board game version of All Our War, and uses clever game design to make this genre of games unique. It’s more fun than Zombicide, simply because it’s more dynamic and has the world’s simplest sort of betrayal mechanic. (By which you mean everyone has good reason to betray you at any time, even your fellow players.)
The components are rather fun. In addition to the high quality miniatures you’d expect from Mantic, there’s an attention to detail with each piece that just makes the game easy or more fun. For example, the board tiles are numbered in such a way that it’s really easy (and logical) to put together the various missions. The cards are well laid out and substantial enough for repeated play. The various dials and counters contrast in such a way that you can figure out the state of play at a glance. Heck, the first player token is a tiny replica of Lucille, Negan’s infamous baseball bat.
THE WALKING DEAD: HERE’S NEGAN! / DESIGNER: MARK LATHAM / PUBLISHER: MANTIC GAMES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW