Gaming, Gaming and Technology, OldVenue

Dice with Living Death: Tarnia Mears reviews Dead of Winter

Throw away your never-ending games of Zombie Fluxx. Don’t bother with The Walking Dead again. Give your copy of Last Night on Earth a rest. There’s a new board game about the unrelenting zombie apocalypse, and it’s actually pretty darn good.
Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative board game in which 2-5 players must complete tasks and missions in order to survive the first winter of the zombie apocalypse. The game manages to narrowly skirt the edges of zombie oversaturation by having the gameplay focus on the survivors themselves rather than the undead horde, which is a welcome change of approach. Murdering zombies is one aspect of the game. Though gathering supplies, completing missions and rooting out traitors amongst your teammates take precedence, thus separating Dead of Winter from other zombie-themed board games.
Each game has an overarching objective, and each round has a mini-objective. To add to this, players have a secret alignment card which determines whether they are working towards the benefit of the group, or looking to sabotage the group for their own gains. Players roll and spend dice to determine their actions on a turn, whether that be killing zombies, looting the town or keeping the base colony safe. At first glance, Dead of Winter may seem complicated for newbie board gamers, but anyone who isn’t scared of branching out beyond Monopoly should give it a try – if the £49.99 RRP doesn’t bother you.
Thankfully, the game has a lot of replay value for that amount of money. There are 30 different characters to choose from, multiple objective cards and a deck of “crossroads” cards that add flavour to each turn, meaning every game will play differently enough that it doesn’t feel samey. The art on the cards is also very detailed, and each character and zombie is represented by a cardboard standee rather than a flat token, which adds to the value of the game.
Overall, Dead of Winter is a fun board game with enough variety to combat the large price-tag. It has mechanics similar to other highly-rated board games such as Battlestar Galactica, The Resistance: Avalon and Eldritch Horror, so fans of those should consider giving this a try. If you’re a board game newbie, don’t let the slightly complicated mechanics put you off. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be bludgeoning zombies like the best of us.

11/11/2014

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