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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Dead of Winter

This game must be doing very well, because my LGS owner was telling me how he had ordered 20 since October last year but so far, he had only received 2. After playing it, I can sort of understand why. 

So what is Dead of Winter about? It's yet another zombie game where you play a bunch of survivors against an endless horde of zombies, but unlike Zombicide, it's a lot more...tactical? Challenging? It definitely plays very differently as zombicide is more of a beer and pretzel game and once you get the right equipment, it becomes a walk in the park at times. Dead of Winter however is all about objectives and managing crisis. In general, there are a lot of things to consider when playing DoW, unlike zombicide. Simply because there are so many factors that can end the game involuntarily. If players morale drops 0, the game ends; and there are a LOT of things that can reduce morale in this game, if the round timer reaches 0, the game ends. 

To give a short summary of the gameplay, players play as survivors that are holed up together. For each game, there's a specific General mission that has to be carried out for the game to end (although having everyone killed off tends to end the game pretty fast as well). And then there are specific mission cards that each player has that details their own win condition. This is usually in addendum to the General mission cards. For example, the specific mission cards may say "You win if a) the main mission objective has been completed and b) you have 2 fuel cards in hand" etc. There's also a betrayal mission objective where a player may win if morale in the colony drops to 0 and he has fulfilled certain objectives. There may not be a traitor in every game as the number of actual non-traitor mission cards will outnumber the traitor mission cards. 

Travelling is fairly simple in this game. You just select a location and you're there. In general, distance is a fairly abstract concept in this game. You can search at all non-colony locations in the game, and you'll generally need to because most of the missions will require items from non-colony locations. Everytime you travel (or attack zombies as well), you will need to roll an exposure dice. This is sort of the major RNG element in this game as the d12 has a fair number of nasty conditions on it; one of them being an instant death/zombie infection condition. That one is just brutal as your survivor just instantly dies and then any survivors at the location he is at must either a) take a test to see if he's zombified as well and if so, spread it onto the next survivor or b)kill himself to stop the infection. 

Play continues in a clockwise rotation, and after each player has finished their turn, then the round comes to an end and certain things happen. First you check if you have successfully completed the current crisis. If not, morale drops. Then you spawn zombies at each location if there's a survivor and check if that survivor is eaten. Then you check if the main objective has been completed. 

Overall conclusion? Dead of Winter is fairly brutal as a game and it seems like being a traitor is probably the easiest way to go since it seems pretty hard for non-traitor survivors to win the game. Otoh, one of my favourite games is DungeonQuest; the game where turn1, your adventurer walks into a swinging blade trap and dies. So yeah, I'll probably be playing this game a fair bit.