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Two, it gives the defector a real chance for the others to let their guard down. This game plays the trust angle very well including secretly contributing to crisis as they arise each turn. A particular game about Norse mythology comes to mind — which is completely justified because it would not have been a walk in Valhalla to be a Viking. It gives you this real sense of dread with every action. Good place to get medication to cure that damn frostbite. Not much cures being eaten alive however. I still think my favourite game of Dead of Winter has to be the first one. This next point might be really small.

But the amount of dice you get is equal to the number of survivors in your crew, plus one for the player.

Dead Of Winter Festival - Sat - The Tivoli

For added spice to your life, sprinkle some secrets. One of the best parts of this game is a deck of cards called Crossroads Cards.

At the beginning of your turn the player to your right secretly reads a card and keeps to themselves the triggering event that causes the card to be read. This deck holds some fascinating scenarios and stories that add a massive amount of replayability. One element I also like in this game is that it does a really good job at limiting the power of Table Captains.

The fact that the players are also characters make this incredibly thematic. She looks too smug sending those people to their death. Part of the secret objectives I mentioned before is that they give a real flavour to your crew.

Dead of Winter Game Rules

Regardless, this extra layer of story really fleshed the world out further. The idea that you have to keep a track of morale is another interesting element. You can imagine that in the grim reality that is the end of civilisation, tensions would be high, suicide rates would skyrocket, and when people begin to lose their minds on a regular basis it might be easier to go out on your own. Coz you lost.

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Be sad about it. If you think about Firefly: The Game, what made it so brilliant was the feeling you got of flying around those miniatures matched with the rustic artwork on the cards. Dead of Winter pulls off something similar. The cardboard cutouts matched with the apocalyptic vibe of the 80s and 90s zombie movies really works. It does for me in board games what Dead Rising managed to accomplish in videogames I super love that series. I cannot imagine getting the same feelings if this game was entirely done with tokens, and miniatures would feel out of place — I had the same realisation when you compare Arkham Horror and Mansions of Madness where I actually preferred the cardboard.

Just me or does that guy with the red shirt look like Kruger from Archer? The artwork in this game is wonderful. Can I give a shoutout to whoever the hell designed the backs of these cards? The backs of the Crisis cards are legitimately intimidating, and the other cards are simple enough that you can easily determine what they are. The Crossroads card artwork gives you a real sense of dread.

Each character has a skill or ability which helps them succeed at certain tasks, and these can be invaluable. If, in the unfortunate but likely event both of your characters suffer horrible deaths, you're not out of the game. You lose any benefits they had, then simply draw a new character from the stack and start them off at the Colony. Scenario cards are double-sided: Normal difficulty on one side, increased difficulty on the other.

This increased difficulty usually involves adding more zombies to the Colony or Locations at the start of the game, along with more rounds to survive and less morale to lose. The game is difficult enough on the easier side, but if you like car-crash TV, Play Hard! But it is rewarding. The artwork is immersive, and you invest in your characters. Even Forest Plum - Mall Santa, despite his total lack of any discernible skills. You have the option to give up on him, remove him from the game, and raise the morale of the group by one point immediately.

But you don't want to! Because he looks like someone's kindly drunk granddad. In its simplest form everyone wins the game by completing the main scenario objective before the round or morale markers hit zero. Adding the Secret Objective card ramps up the complexity and uncertainty. These objectives must be accomplished by individual players, on top of the collective goal of completing the main scenario objective. This can be a very difficult balancing act. Secret objectives might require a player to end the game with three fuel and three food cards in their hand for example, and this is probably going to be at odds with helping to stave off each round's crisis, or the need to feed the Survivors at the Colony.

It means that completing the main objective makes you a winner, but if someone also completes their secret objective then they are a winninger-winner than you, turning you into a loser.


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These give at least one player goals which will certainly hurt the group, but help them win the game. With this variant comes the opportunity for heated group discussions and votes to Exile a player. Any exiled player moves all of their survivors to locations outside of the colony and draws a new Exiled Secret Objective card. From that moment they cannot contribute cards to a crisis or food to the supply You're in a horrible situation because exiling a second person immediately drops the group's morale to zero Survival really is the watchword in Dead of Winter.

The game relentlessly pursues your mind, body and soul. Every round is a fevered quest for the supplies you need to satisfy the current crisis.

You want to stay in the cosy safety of the Colony but there's no food there, no gas, no medicine. So you have to venture out, tortured by the ghost of Mike Cho - the Ninja, knowing that the Undead are waiting for you. Because you can see them! Loads of them, stacking up in front of the grocery store and the hospital.

The next Crossroads board game is Gen7, a spiritual successor to Dead of Winter.

But you need that food. You need those pills. And sometimes all you have to defend yourself is a walkie-talkie I have read and heard criticisms that Dead of Winter is the same old same old every round. With the inclusion of Secret Objectives and Betrayers, this isn't the case.

Everything quickly falls apart.

Dead of Winter: Ashley Johnson, Grant Imahara, and Dodger Leigh Join Wil Wheaton on TableTop S03E08

Is someone adding something nasty to the Crisis pile? Why do they seem to be holding so many cards so close to their chest. Dead of Winter is lot of fun, very thematic, and high on the table-talk scale. If I can give you one piece of advice before the zombie apocalypse, it's this: Be kind to Forest Plum, and tell Mike Cho - the Ninja to be a bit more careful out there!


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