Saturday, November 7, 2015

Systems Saturday - Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game (2014)

My regular gaming buddies wouldn't get together on Halloween but most were available for a First Sunday event at Lake Geneva Games the day after, so that's when John introduced us to Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game (2014).  The game is cooperative with the potential for someone to secretly being working against the group.  If found out, they can be exiled, but even then they can still do damage.  However, they secret victory condition might also be to seek redemption if exiled.  It's a game with a lot of twists and turns.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
"Crossroads" is a new series from Plaid Hat Games that tests a group of survivors' ability to work together and stay alive while facing crises and challenges from both outside and inside.
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.

The game seems to have a lot of legs for replayability.  It's not a push over, so that alone means most scenarios can be challenging more than once.  It's get a great balance between crisis, resource, and people management, so there's plenty to consider with every step but it doesn't feel overwhelming, even though the tension levels rise constantly.  This is definitely a game that could hit the table regularly around here.

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