Title: Dead of Winter
Designer: Jon Gilmour, Isaac Vega
Publisher: Plaid Hat Games
My first encounter with zombies in a board game was with Betrayal at House on the Hill. While it was a change from the House of the Dead arcade game series, it was just a couple of scenarios in a haunt book of 50.
When Dead of Winter was featured on Tabletop, it reminded me of a cross between the context of the House of the Dead and the mechanics from Betrayal at House on the Hill. And believe me, I was incredibly happy when I finally got a copy of the game for myself.
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:
STORY OF THE GAME
We’re a band of survivors in the middle of a snow-struck, zombie-infested town. Forming the last safe haven known as the Colony, we are sent to complete our game-given mission, feed the rest of the survivors, and fight off as many zombies before we all meet our fate in the dead of winter.
Players: Myself, Max a.k.a. the Tiger, Dave Chua, Ben a.k.a. CharsiewSpace
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.
When playing Dead of Winter, there are a few things to take note of apart from your main objective and individual objective. Those are:
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.
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. Every dice roll had us go, “What a traitor-y dice roll.” (Thanks, Grant Imahara!) before we backtrack to what we’re meant to do at that point because we were laughing so much earlier.
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.
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.
My adventures with in urban speculative fiction.