Despite that, Ben/Brian Chee, the Tiger, my mentor, Dave, and I made our way to Gamesaurus Rex and rented the game.
It’s one of those box games with loads of counters because there are so many characters to choose from. However, setting up was quite straight forward after playing a round or two:
- Choose your scenario, and choose if you want to go normal or hardcore
- Draw your individual player objectives
- Each player gets four random characters, choose two among the four you have been given
- Decide which character will be your leader, and place your character and objective cards around your playmat as labelled.
- Each player gets 5 starter items.
- Place all playable characters in the colony.
- Set up your morale and time counter.
- Set up zombies and other requirements according to the scenario you’ve chosen.
- Decide your first player marker.
The Game We Played
Perhaps we were influenced by watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop before playing this game, this game was us suspecting everyone else of betrayal from start to finish. It was pretty hilarious, to be honest.
When playing Dead of Winter, there are a few things to take note of apart from your main objective and individual objective. Those are:
- Feeding the Colony – 1 food counter feeds 2 people. You lose 1 morale for every starvation counter you collect and it accumulates)
- Clearing the Trash – You can only clear 3 trash cards per die, and having more than 10 trash cards in the colony.
- Round Crisis – Every round brings a new crisis on top of our objectives to solve, failing which to do so has certain consequences.
- Crossroads Card – The player on the left of the active player has to take a Crossroads card and activate it if its activation requirement was reached. It gives the game a richer story.
- Overrunning – If a space cannot hold anymore zombies after the zombie phase, the character with the lowest charisma dies. And when a character dies, you lose one morale. You automatically lose once you get zero morale.
Dave decided that we should start with a short scenario first, and we got the scenario, “We Need More Samples”, where with each zombie we kill, we’d have to roll to see if we could get blood samples to find a cure. I started with Sparky the super-awesome Stunt Dog goldie, and Janet Taylor, the Nurse.
Our second scene was, “Raiding Party”, where we had to finish drawing from two location item decks before our time ran out. I started with Olivia the Doctor, and Edward White the Chemist (We lovingly dubbed him Walter White because he could turn meds into weapons). I seem to have an affinity with the characters in bioscience and healthcare during play.
I am a fan of board games which let you tell your own story or give you a good amount of opportunities for role-playing. As we concentrated on our individual and group objectives, the urgency of zombies, hunger, and morale threw us further into our characters. Anxiety was rife, but we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
So far, we’ve only gone through with 2 short scenarios. Looking through the longer scenarios and the objectives for exiled players only got us more excited to play this game again. Do note that this game might take a while, but in Eldritch-Horror-honesty, you won’t feel the length.
Gameplay Winners: None of us won completely.
The first game we played had all of us losing because none of us fulfilled our individual missions and we went to 0 Morale even before we could cash in the blood samples we gathered.
The second game we played had us fulfill the main game objective, but with none of us fulfilling our individual missions. Needless to say, the betrayer lost as well.
Dead of Winter is published by Plaid Hat Games. To find out more about this game, click here.