Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Plaid Hat Games
Designed by Jonathan Gilmour & Isaac Vega
In Dead of Winter, you are a group of survivors in the zombie apocalypse. Each player controls several survivors, deciding how much (and how little) they contribute to the group as a whole. Every game there is a common goal that everyone is working to complete before the end of the game. But to make things a little more interesting, each player has their own secret goal that they need to complete before the game ends. If they are successful, they win the game. With this dynamic, multiple players could win, multiple could lose. More than not, though, If you are not managing your resources tightly, everyone could lose.
With everyone having their own motives in how they want to contribute to make the main goal a success, there could be a betrayer in the mist. Having a betrayer in a game is random, so you do not know if someone is trying to sabotage the group, unless you are him or her. When there is a betrayer in the game, that player does not want the main objective accomplished.
Betrayer aside, you have a lot of things to worry about and need to decide as a group. Do you worry about feeding everyone at the colony? What about the Crisis card that is happening every turn? Is the police station almost over run with the dead? It takes some coordination to get all that you need accomplished in a round.
Then come the Crossroads Cards. These are cards that may or may not trigger on each player’s turn. The Crossroads cards are usually a moral delema that the player who triggered it must decide. Other times it is a group vote. But the outcome is still a hard decision to make.
As for the components, I’ve heard some sources complain about the standees. They wished they had plastic figures for the zombies and survivors. I, on the other hand, like the cardboard. While plastic may feel and look pretty when it is all set up, it causes a few issues. First, price. If the game had plastic instead of cardboard standees, the game would be over $100. And while that is still a price I’d consider since the game is so good, it will not fit into my budget. Second, for me, is recognition. Sometimes in games, when everything is all gray plastic, every figure looks the same. Is that a zombie, or is that my guy? With the standees, every survivor matches their character card, and all the zombies look like zombies. Easy to distinguish at a glance.
Dead of Winter has quickly become a hit in my collection. I heard about it and had it on pre-order as soon as I could. When telling friends about the game, I tell then to think The Walking Dead. That gives people a good idea of what it is like. Yes there are zombies. But the game is also about the social aspects of people and how they interact with each other. Some want to help, but just are not always able to. And some are just in it for themselves.