The Walking Dead (Stern 2014)

General thread to discuss the new game from Stern, The Walking Dead!

I went through the same process with this game as I did with the 2013 Sterns. For the first month or so, I hated playing the games because I felt like I was peeing up a rope to get anything done. The first couple times I played it, I was really unimpressed, particularly with the physical layout and even more so with having no options to short plunge away from the pops. It felt like no matter what I did, I’d run from the rail to SDTM. However, with time, I came to overlook a lot of those things. It’s generally fun, while I don’t believe it is, nor will it be a hit like their other titles.

Stern needed something big after Mustang IMO, as a lot of people didn’t particularly care for that game, at least in the Pittsburgh scene anyway. I felt that using TWD was a pretty focused target on a small subset of people who enjoyed pinball and the show, but it worked out for them, so who am I to judge their marketing practices? I had never seen an episode of the show, so It didn’t jump out at me, but I had never watched BSD, The Shadow, or Last Action Hero until after I played them, and I kind of wish I had left it that way. I digress.

In terms of rules, they’re still pretty confusing to me and have Keith Johnson-ish objectives in terms of wanting to stack as much as you possibly can before heading into Prison multiball. With that said, I like the way it stands now with a less deep ruleset than games such as LOTR or ACDC but has enough going for it that it isn’t a complete bore.

The best aspect of this game is by far the dots. I remember broadcasting in Florida and someone triggered the animation of the guy getting his head cut off and what was left of his tongue was flopping around the DMD. I was kind of floored by how brutal it was.

On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this game a 7.5.

I just can not get into this game after playing it quite a bit. The right side of the playfield is so completely awkward in so many ways. It prevents getting a ton of flow going because every shot feeds in there, and then of course the feed out is just a disaster. I can’t stand playfields where the ball just dribbles out in whatever direction. I’ve gotten used to figuring out how to manage it (usually with a wack on the right as the ball is coming down the rail) but it is still just exasperating a lot of the time. The LE with the popup ramp is even worse from a flow perspective, you get bicycle girl and throw the ball under there and it comes right back in your face.

I also really hate the focus on the bash toys, with not a ton else to do on the game. I know the rules are early so I hope they open up some reasons to play the rest of the game. These bash toys also seem particularly prone to not registering hits, which makes it even more exasperating. There are good scoring opportunities from starting the modes off the drops, but I’ve found them super hard to hit with any kind of consistency.

Finally, I despise the theme. I watched the first two seasons of the show and just hated it, and while the dots are executed well from a technical perspective, I just am not into the whole blood and gore zombie thing. I just find it kind of gross and icky.

So for me this game is kind of a bomb, which sucks because I’ll probably be seeing it in tournaments for quite a while.

If you are really into flow games, TWD is lacking for sure. Give it a chance though its a great game. I think with complete rules it will be one of Sterns best. Similar to how MET ended up turning out.

As far as rules and strategy are concerned I would consider blood bath into prison into well. I know it sounds like a bad idea but, check this out. On mine you typically get two for one when you shoot the upper two drops. I also end up picking up a few prison letters by accident hitting the drops. So its possible to light bloodbath in 6 shots. Blood bath alone is terrible but, its the only MB that has an add-a-ball. My ideal situation is to have bath ready then work on prison and well progress with focus on prison. I start either bath or prison, most likely bath first. Bath has a crazy long ball save and during ball save time I try to bring in prison, which starts more ball save. Then, bring in well when my ball save is getting low for another ball save relite. Now if everything went according to plan, you have two more ball saves/add a ball each time you complete the drop target bank. Its insane how long you can keep the ball save alive by chaining together all the MB(except crossbow). I like the tension created by needing to bring in the other MB to take full advantage of ball save time. I really like that bath is the only MB with add a balls too. I didn’t at first until I started using this strat. Oddly it doesn’t seem a whole lot more risky than going straight up the middle to prison. Its definitely more of a qualifying strat than a match play strat but, if everything works out and some good mode points were scored during all the commotion you should have a score close to 100m.

The last code update also added rules to a bunch of the modes. Some of the most lucrative modes are Arena and CDC. Arena with 2x scoring can be insane if you can get dialed into the right ramp. You get a base value for every ramp and that value goes up and increases when you make multiple ramp shots in succession. The first three are something like 1M 3M 5M oh and dont forget shot multiplier from the inlanes when you’ve got that built up. CDC used to be ramp out all day. Now ramp shots light other shots. Collecting the other shots adds value to the ramp. The rules say you should be able to collect at the ramp twice but, you can keep shooting the built up ramp value until the timer runs out which can be 3-4m x2 a shot. Riot and tunnel are PITA shots so I avoid them but, barn can be useful if you are only down a few mill. If TWD you are playing has a “nice” feed from the pops that is. I really hated that feed when I first started playing TWD but, I’ve gotten used to it and I think its “readable” once you get used to it.

Crossbow MB has hardly any code atm so def not worth going for. I was able to stack in all four though which was cool. I’m not sure why but, after all four were done the lighting effects and music kept running until I drained. I wasn’t able to pay close attention to scoring but, I think I was getting something sad like 70k for a shot. The RIOT shot is a pita when you are trying to start CBMB. Glance the prison left stand up and you get no credit for that crossbow shot. Im sure CBMB is just missing rules and will be updated.

Its a really fun game once you get it opened up. It has a similar feel to the BSD 3x MB in some ways IMO.I remember hating BSD and FT before I got into the huge castle JP and FT supers!


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How do you start blood bath and crossbow mb? I haven’t even seen those.

So blood bath is started at the drops. If you look at the drops you’ll see three inserts food, weapons, supplies and a fourth under those to show you blood bath is lit. The first time you hit a drop it will lock in food,weapon or supplies depending on which insert it lit. Once you clear the drops whatever insert will remain lit. The next time you hit a drop target you want one of the unfinished inserts to be lit. IE if you collected food you want to wait to hit the drops when weapon or supplies is lit. Once you complete all three the next drop target completion will start blood bath. Blood bath has some sad frenzy scoring thats worth zilch. It starts with 2 balls and if you complete the drops while its running it will kick out a third ball and reset ball save time. Complete the drops again and you have 4 balls and more ball save time. So basically if you chained bath, prison and well youd have a total of 5 ball saves that you can play through.

Crossbow is lit at the right ramp whenever you lock in the weapons drop target and complete the drops. Its the green LED on the right ramp. So when its lit you shoot the right ramp then all shots are lit for crossbow progress. YOU DO NOT have to make these on the fly. You can take an unlimited amount of time to plan your shot as long as you don’t hit anything other than one of the mode start shots. After you score all of the lit crossbow shots during the crossbow mode crossbow MB starts. I could see this being worth a good amount of points in the future because its difficult to get to and the CB shots themselves are 1.5M base I believe. This is the Austin Powers cannon on the premium and LE.

I have a feeling the multi-kill feature will be important later for last man standing. I imagine it will collect zombie kill shots faster and get you to last man standing(I think thats what its called) more quickly. Sort of similar to the way shooting lit shots for crank it up completion works on MET.



I’ll be honest I typically never play for the drops, because they are so far off the edge of the flipper, but maybe I’ll have to change that up. I know the drop modes are worth good points, but usually I just wait for them to happen on their own. I didn’t know about crossbow either, at our weekly tournament I was playing someone who hit a crossbow shot for 3.5M (I assume it was doubled) and I had no idea how that happened. I wish I liked the game more, then I might be more interested in digging into this stuff.

Drops are also how you qualify mode starts. More drops completions required for later mode starts etc. Give it a chance! :slight_smile:


The code update definitely beefed up the scoring and triple stacking your MBs is a must if you plan on putting up big scores.

Not to mention stacking with a multi-kill and mode start. I’m still not too familiar with how the MKs work.

I have a Pro on location with latest code. In single ball play usually when I have 1 drop target left to hit if im unsuccessful 2-3 times and don’t hit any switches the ball search will come on and reset the drop target bank. Anyway to adjust this ?


Umm… no

Does the game still consider the two targets to be collected even though they’re physically reset?

No. You have to start fresh on the bank that was in progress.

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During Horde, the flippers went dead and this screen came up. Has it happened to anyone else? What happened and why?

System crash. Never happened to me on TWD.