Plaid Hat Games Dead of Winter Crossroads Board Game - 14 Years & above
- For 2-5 Players
- 90 minute playing time
- Great co-op game
- Playable in 100 minutes
- For ages 12 plus
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Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game, the first game in this series, puts 2-5 players in a small, weakened colony of survivors in a world where most of humanity is either dead or diseased, flesh-craving monsters. Each player leads a faction of survivors with dozens of different characters in the game. Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition - but for each individual player to achieve victory, he must also complete his personal secret objective. This secret objective could relate to a psychological tick that's fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Certain games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group's goal, but don't get walked all over by a loudmouth who's looking out only for his own interests! Dead of Winter is an experience that can be accomplished only through the medium of tabletop games. It's a story-centric game about surviving through a harsh winter in an apocalyptic world. The survivors are all dealing with their own psychological imperatives, but must still find a way to work together to fight off outside threats, resolve crises, find food and supplies and keep the colony's morale up. Dead of Winter has players making frequent, difficult, heavily- thematic, wildly-varying decisions that often have them deciding between what is best for the colony and what is best for themselves.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
We started the game with the "We need more samples" objective. This objective requires you to roll a die every time after you kill a zombie, and if you roll a 4, 5, or 6 you get a "sample". 15 samples and we win the game (if we complete our secret objectives of course).
Game begins. For the first couple of rounds, things were going incredibly well. Zombies were dying, samples were being collected. A couple of us said, "I can't believe we are going to win for once!" but did we speak too soon? Then, a crisis appeared, we needed more medicine. Contribute one per player or multiple locations will be overrun! Several players contribute during the round, no problem, we have this easily. End of the round and we check the crisis... There is two food in the pile... every non helpful item negates a helpful one... We don't have enough medicine. Both the library and police station are overrun. Instantly 5 survivors are killed and our morale drops from a very comfortable 6 to 1. To say the group was in shock at this turn of events would be a fair statement. But wait, one of these items was from the gas station! there is only one player with a survivor at the gas station... Betrayer!
A new round begins, the first player calls for a vote to exile the player who caused so much havoc. The vote passes and he is exiled! The game continues with four non exiled players in a desperate bid to somehow keep morale from falling to zero and collect the rest of the samples (while somehow, some way, achieving our secret objective). One death and the game is over. Every roll for exposure is fraught with tension, every move second guessed and analyzed. Should you go there? Is it worth the risk? The betrayer continues to work with his group of survivors outside the colony, still trying to achieve his own mysterious goals.
Finally, the last round ends. We have done it! Somehow, we made it through to the end with 1 morale still intact! Oh yes, one last colony phase. Let's get that out of the way so we can claim our well deserved victory! (for those who have completed their secret objectives) Step 1, pay food... pay food... No! NOOOOOO!!!! In our mad scramble for victory, how could we possibly have forgotten food on that last round? A collective groan rises as we realize what we have done to ourselves. So concerned about morale, so focused on every move, we have forgotten to feed ourselves! A starvation token is added... Morale drops to zero... The game is over and everyone has lost.
But wait, not everyone has lost... A quiet chuckle is heard... The betrayer...
The betrayer reveals his objective. 5 survivors are killed throughout the game, something he accomplished long before.The betrayer has won.
Without a doubt the most tense I have ever been playing a board game, and I was honestly ecstatic that the betrayer won. He couldn't have played it better.
10/10 would be betrayed again.
Since people seem to be reading my review, I would like to add one tidbit. In this game, when you are exiled, you have to discard the original secret objective you were given and draw an "Exiled" secret objective. The original objective in this case was "5 survivors are killed and the main objective is not completed." The exiled objective (and there are quite a few and they are very varied) was "5 survivors are killed."
The amazing thing about this to me is that it was the same as his betrayer objective, except that it removed the "main objective must fail" portion. This means that it was possible in this instance for EVERYONE to win had we not forgotten to feed ourselves that last round. That kind of blew our minds when I mentioned that after the game was over.
Anyway, I have finally won a game of this! It is really a great game.
My initial play through was with four players and it was kind of funny because we had to collect samples (recommended by the rules for first time players) and it started off pretty good. No one seemed to be trying to screw us over and we were all convinced that no traitor even existed. We were getting lucky and rolling well (to determine if we found samples on zombies we'd killed) up until the very end when suddenly we found we didn't have enough food...and Our luck ran out on the rolls...then several were bitten and started dropping like flies...
My only other complaint is in how to "win" the game. Basically, just surviving doesn't make you a winner (as a group). You have to survive AND complete your secret mission. Don't complete both? You don't "win". Out of the four of us, we all did manage to survive but only one of is was able to also complete their secret mission and thus the winningest winner (the rest of us only winners in our own minds) walked away truly triumphant.
I guess that's not really a "complaint" as it didn't make the game "bad"...it just made us realize that you have a lot to manage as a group and while SOME of us CARE about trying to feed survivors, take out the trash, keep the zombies at bay and just get through it all (!) OTHERS are out to collect books or weapons.
Get the game, it really is fun.
This combines all the golden qualities of the Battlestar game and other zombie games which focus exclusively on fighting but balances both out so it feels satisfying and useful to slay the undead but the focus of the game remains on making or breaking alliances. And yes you CAN exile people, but you'd better hope they're traitors or you might have lost valuable allies who could turn vengeful!
Some games claim to be 'storytelling' games but you don't get moreso than this. The Crossroads cards, the unique looks to all the survivors and the different crisis scenarios give you all the fuel you need to invent all manner of personalized tales surrounding the diverse characters and their misadventures during a frigid apocalypse.
This is complex but user friendly which indicates a studio who really did put this sucker through the play testing ringer until it ironed out all the kinks.
Well worth it if you have a group of friends with broad imaginations who enjoy intrigue and the horror genre!