As a sage and scribe, I've spent nearly a century plotting the destiny of humanity. For me, life is literally a game. Your life, anyway. The globe is my board and humans are the pieces that I shuffle around from square to square.
But there are times that even I tire of the game of "Humanity" and need a diversion. When that happens, I often engage my fellow scribes in other games with lesser stakes. The types of games you can set up on a table and complete within a few hours.
I assume that is why I've been tasked with reviewing certain Post-Apocalyptic games with you Ardoon. Given that Autumn has arrived and the world is dying soon, I elected to review one of my favorites: Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter is set in the near future, in a winter soon after a zombie apocalypse. These are your more traditional zombies, very hungry but not particularly fast. You and other players (up to 5) find yourselves stranded in a large, single story building (the compound) that has waaay too many windows and doors. It is, of course, winter, and you lack food, medicine, weapons, ammunition, electricity, fuel, warmth, and just about everything else. To make matters worse, your waste - of all types - is building up inside the building, making it an unsanitary and depressing place.
Within the compound your duties are simple enough: continue boarding up the windows to keep the zombie horde out and to clean up waste. Winning the game - which is very difficult - will require you to leave the safety of your squalor and to visit nearby buildings to collect various goods. There are a variety of mission cards and your exact mission will change each game. In addition to the group mission, each player has a private mission, which often conflicts with the group mission. Which means that you play along with everyone else as long as you can, but the entire time your scheming to achieve you own, secret goals.
This is so very much like real life...
You play the role of two characters that are pre-designed for the game. One is your primary character and the other is your trusty sidekick. If you die - or rather, when you die - you can continue the game by selecting one of the unused characters. A downside is that you loose all your goodies - guns, food, fuel, or other shiny objects.
In addition to fighting zombies, you're also fighting depression (there is a morale metric), zombie infection, starvation, and frostbite. You scurry about the cold, zombie-infested wasteland, trying to collect whatever it is you need to achieve the group's victory conditions, in addition to your own, if possible. The odds are really stacked against you and you should expect to lose several games for every one that you are lucky enough to win. But in the zombie apocalypse, even losing can be fun, if it's done in a spectacularly grisly manner!
There are several good play-throughs on YouTube which will give you a feel for the game. It's one of those games that gets a lot of replay, which can't be said of all the games you Ardoon purchase. You know, the ones that have great box art but zero playability? Rather like the Minoan civilization that we opted to terminate a few thousand years ago. They were wonderful artists and craftsmen but oh-so-dull. We did much better with the Greeks.
In any event, if you haven't the time or birthright to control humanity, and you're anxious to experience the apocalypse before it actually arrives, a you will find Dead of Winter worth your time.