Gameday First Play – This War of Mine: The Board Game

Posted on by Jesta

“In modern war… you will die like a dog for no good reason.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

You will enter this experience as a group of civilians trapped in a besieged and conflict-ridden city, enduring many hardships that often test the essence of humanity.

During day time you will take shelter in a ruined tenement house, which you will care about and manage by: removing rubble, searching through various rooms (often behind barricaded doors), you will build beds, improvised workshops, stoves, tools, water filters, small animal traps, you will cultivate an improvised vegetable garden, fix the tenements’ shelled facilities, reinforce the security of your shelter and should winter come, you’ll try to keep it warm.

Upon nightfall, your main duties will consist of guarding your shelter and what little possessions you can accumulate against bandits and raiders. Those in your group fit for such a task will use the cover of the night to carefully explore dozens of the ever-changing locations scattered throughout the dangerous city in search of all the things that a person needs to survive (materials, food, meds, equipment, etc.). On your way you will meet tens of characters, each with a unique story (residents of the locations you visit, thieves, bandits, soldiers, war victims, refugees, neighbours, traders and members of local communities), each encounter is a potential, unique adventure.

If you’ve played the computer game version of this you know what to expect. You’ll feel awful, you’ll do awful things and then you’ll die.

The board is laid out to look like the starting house in the computer game. Different sections all doing different things. They have cards to represent inaccessible areas, areas you can loot, areas you’ve upgraded etc…

Excuse the lighting, it was a nice day outside 🙂

You also have a number of character cards. Each character has an ability, a few stats and some things they miss from their normal life that will make them miserable. Our party had cravings for Caffeine and Cigarettes.

You also have a number of tokens to track Hunger, Fatigue, Misery, Illness etc You know, cheery normal stuff.

It’s important to know that this is a co-op and everyone controls all characters in a democracy… The current active player passes around the table and they have the final say in what happens.

A round is played over Morning, Day, Dusk, Evening, Night and Dawn…

The Morning you draw and resolve an event and the Day is where you assign characters to areas in your “safe”-house to search, dig rubble to gain access to more areas and build things. Building will give you access to more stuff such as a Weapon Crafting bench or even the most useful item in the game, a bed 🙂

In the Dusk phase characters need to eat or drink and will increase in hunger and/or misery.

In the Evening phase, you assign characters to Sleep, Guard or Scavenge. Sleeping will reduce Fatigue, Guarding/Scavenging will increase it.

Once you assign each character to their Evening Phase, you Scavenge if possible.

There are 3 locations out ready to Scavenge, each with a different number representing how far away they are. Once you have chosen the equipment you’ll take with you, you draw a number of Encounters depending on which location you went to.

Then, you resolve them one at a time.

These cards have you experiencing various things but in general, they give you the ability to gain or lose resources. Your characters have a number of items they can carry and once the deck has expired you choose what you bring back with you from the stuff you found.

There are also times when you increase your noise level and occasionally you need to roll over that noise level and if you don’t you attract people… people are bad.

While you have a party out and about, after taking their actions, you have to deal with a Night Raid on your makeshift home.

For each Character assigned as a Guard, give them a Weapon from your supply if they have one and get ready. You draw a card from the night raid deck and resolve it.

At Dawn, the Scavengers return with their goods. you assign Bandages and Meds to those you think need them and draw a fate card.

This card will have some actions to resolve, including healing people with bandages or curing people with meds. They may also trigger your characters quirks/addictions.

Complete all the event deck and missions to win, die and lose.

Positives

A good conversion from digital to physical, all of the main parts are there and when I did something in this game it reminded me of the computer version.

Nice art and components. I know this is enhanced slightly due to the Kickstarter but the art and design is all good.

Everything is terrifying as it should be. Weapons are rare, ammo is rarer, food is almost non-existent and every threat or potential threat is a serious SERIOUS problem.

The story the game was telling was very strong.

I didn’t give many specific examples in my description of the game and that’s because it didn’t really last long enough to get any. We played poorly and deserved to not last long 🙂

Negatives

Due to doing so bad I didn’t see much of the game.

Summary

I really REALLY enjoyed this and I look forward to hopefully a few more plays and surviving a bit longer and see more of a story.

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