Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

Product #PLDDOW01

Regular Price: $59.95

Special Price: $53.95

6 In stock

Manufacturer: Plaid Hat Games

Rob's Top 5 Horror Games
Holiday Gift Guide 2015


"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.

Contents:
10 Dual-Sided Main Objective Cards
25 Secret Objective Cards
10 Betrayal Secret Objective Cards
10 Exiled Survivor Secret Objective Cards
30 Survivor Cards
5 Player Reference Sheets
1 First Player Token
30 Starting Item Cards
20 Police Station Search Deck Cards
20 Grocery Store Search Deck Cards
20 School Search Deck Cards
20 Gas Station Search Deck Cards
20 Library Search Deck Cards
20 Hospital Search Deck Cards
1 Exposure Die
25 Crisis Cards
80 Crossroad Cards
20 Helpless Survivor Tokens
30 Once Per Round Tokens
20 Food Tokens
20 Noise Tokens
20 Barricade Tokens
30 Wound Markers
60 Standees
50 Standee Stands
1 Colony Board
6 Location Cards
1 Rulebook
30 Action Dice


Ages: 13+
Players: 2-5
Game Length: 60-120 minutes



STAY ORGANIZED!

  


Reviews

Not for the casual gameplayer
Okay, I'm not a game designer, and I haven't played nearly as many games as some here have played. I'm a novice, so let's get that out of the way at the start. I absolutely love post-apocalyptic/survival themes, so when my brother gifted me this game, I just knew I would absolutely LOVE it. I still suspect I would love it, if I could only get through a full game.

I've tried to play this game twice with a group of friends, and was not able to get through an entire game either time. Since we were all novices, and fairly new to the game, setup alone took 45 minutes each time. The rulebook is well written and fairly easy to understand, but the mechanics are VERY complicated. There is a lot to keep track of and it's easy to miss an element. My friends either became frustrated or they lost interest after what seemed like an eternity of false starts and trips back to re-read the rule book. I ended up apologizing for a disastrous game night both times.

The game is well made, the art and design is superb, and the backstory is detailed and compelling. If you have a dedicated group of friends who are willing to sink the time and effort into the steep learning curve, then follow one of the other reviews for advice. But if you're looking to introduce a new game for a night of casual gameplay with friends who are novices, you won't want to pull this one out of the closet.
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Review by Walter on 4/19/2018
The Dude Abides - A Board So Never Bored Review of Dead of Winter
Quick Word

I am a little sick of Zombie games, lemme just get that outta the way from the start. I traded Zombicide (without even playing it), and still have Zombie Dice, Last night on Earth, Run, Fight, or Die, City of Horror, Zombies!! + like 30 expansions (that I refuse to play) and like a few other ones I cannot think of. I don’t really go looking for new ones as I have gotten more and more into games I can play with my family and the graphic content involved in these games prohibits that. That all being said, after the initial eye roll reaction I had when this game was announced I kind of forgot about it as a whole. That is, until my brother told me he had pre-ordered it as a gift (but not from the company so I did not get my promo characters, the sadness…). Planning on selling it unopened I went online to find a review. There was one or two video reviews but I was at work and could not watch them so again, I forgot about it. The day came and the package arrived and I went online only to stumble over the Geek & Sundry video.

I called up my brothers and we played the game that night because Ashley Johnson can sell anything.

Brief Game Synopsis

In Dead of Winter players assume the roles of a colony of survivors as they attempt to live through the hellish nightmare of a long winter in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. A specific scenario the colony follows and a personal objective each player secretly holds combine together to guide the choices made each round by the group in order to a achieve a successful and happy ending to their story. The rub is, each player’s secret objective might put them in a direct conflict with another player or the colony as a whole.

The specific rules are covered nicely elsewhere (although I would just watch the video and then reference Universal Heads rules summary in the files section).

Toys With Rules

The rulebook is pretty nice to look at visually, and is laid out in a clear and logical format that makes reading through it quite easy. Despite the efficiency of the rulebook, it is still easy to miss things your first time through and as such, I recommend not only watching a gameplay example and downloading a rules reference but also playing through a round or two yourself before bringing the game out with your group.

One of the greatest things about Dead of Winter is also one of the worst things about it; there are many choices a player can make on their turn and variety of unique options and decisions to be made that it can make teaching the game quite difficult despite the – and let’s be honest here – fairly uninteresting game mechanics.

The dice allocation for your actions has been done before (but c’mon, what hasn’t) and the battle mechanics are nothing to write home about. Wait though, because I am not really complaining. I think they do their job quite well because they are streamlined and don’t really take you away from the action…once you get the hang of it anyway. And the theme and action are what sell the game and what players will get lost in.

I will say games with a hidden traitor mechanic can sometimes hurt the game as they can make everything a little too difficult for the survivors and boring if the traitor is discovered. That is where the exile mechanic of this game shines. It prevents player elimination and keeps everyone engaged. I have even been involved in a game where the traitor outed themselves (although I do not remember why now but I know they had a compelling argument for it at the time) and one instance where we knew we had no traitor but exiled someone because…well, their objective hurt us and the player was prone to Analysis Paralysis so they deserved to be punished.

Boards ‘N Bits

Whereas Fantasy Flight does a simply stellar job of creating games with wonderfully rich and beautiful components that sometimes feel pasted on, the folks over at Plaid Hat Games know how to create games oozing theme that enriches gameplay in a thematic way. Dead of Winter features simply gorgeous artwork and has such an unusual cast of quirky characters that you find yourself drawn to them and playing as you think they would. Are you the grungy Mall Santa or the honorable looking Ninja or the skeezy looking Mayor or the freaking PIRATE? In most games I have played of Dead of Winter the characters physical representation somehow seems to influence the player controlling him…sometimes to funny conclusions, sometimes to infuriating choices made that hurt the colony as a whole.

I know when I first unboxed this game some of the people in my group were initially upset that there were cardboard standees instead of miniatures (the beautiful miniatures in Redwall – er, I mean Mice and Mystics may have gotten them spoiled). However, once I pointed out I don’t know how to paint miniatures and that the cardboard standees more clearly give a visual feeling for (not to mention make it easier to differentiate) the character on the board(s). Everyone not only quickly agreed but ended up talking at length about how much they enjoyed the art as new characters came out.

The bluish dice are functional as are the other card board tokens. The exposure die looks really cool and the first player knife token has resulted in a lot of silliness – not to mention Crocodile Dundee and Rambo movie quotes.

I have seen some mods to make canned food and frosted/blood tipped dice but am skeptical that they are needed as I already feel fairly immersed in the game (and am also just not very good at doing those kind of things myself).

My Thoughts

Okay, so I Loved this game. Like with a capital “L”. If I were Tracey Jordan, I would say something along the lines of, “I love Dead of Winter so much, I want to take it behind a middle school and get it pregnant”. Which is not to say the game is without its flaws. Some of the secret objectives are very unbalanced in comparison to the others and some scenarios feel a little watered down as a whole. Five player games tend to drag on a little at times and players who suffer from Analysis Paralysis can really kill the fun in this kind of game. Also, Alpha gamers can be a bit of a problem here if not checked (reminding everyone that they could be a traitor). Actually, the Alpha gamer is the same guy who suffers AP in our group. To remedy it, people in my group have the audio files on their fancy phones that they play with quotes from The Big Lebowski telling him to shut the…well, to be quiet in a very firm fashion. This is used so often that we have gotten into the habit of saying, “the Dude abides” when answering Crossroad cards.

This has created a need in our group for Plaid Hat games to step up and make Big Lebowski themed characters to add into the game as promos. Donny, Walter, and the Dude would make this game epic beyond belief. Just saying…

In fact, as a whole the gaming community should stop the never ending demand for Cthulhu expansions (although I am totally addicted to them myself) and start demanding the Big Lebowski be injected into every game. They could totally work in games like Animal Upon Animal and T.I.M.E. Stories and SpyFall and Star Wars: Rebellion…right…well….amiright?

Fine. I may be alone on this one. I don’t care, because “the Dude abides”.

Guest’s Thoughts

Obviously, Dead of Winter is not suitable for my five year old (although I suspect he would like it and be better at it then some of those in my group) so I asked a friend to share with me his thoughts:

What stands out most to me? Well, it has been a few weeks since we last played it but I remember feeling that games tend to drag on and on and <NAME WITHHELD> really killed parts of it for me because he just took to darn long. Maybe it was the volume of choices available or that we were maxing out the player count or that he just really sucks at these kind of games but I think I liked our three player run through much, much more. That weird variant (Prisoners Dilemma) you had us use was fun. I think we also used it when just you and I played.

I’ve only played a half dozen or so times now but I know we got one guy who hates the game because he finds it boring. I think his real issue is a complaint I share. I have only triggered one or two crossroads cards and he has not only never triggered one.

I also feel that when you boil away all the theme and crap, it is actually a simple game with simple choices – although there are a healthy amount of them available. But the learning curve is not support by the games simplicity and as such feels really heavy to light gamers and really light to heavy gamers.

But yeah, I like the game. A lot. I actually think about it a lot and think of fun characters and scenarios and what not I would like to add. I would give the game two thumbs up or whatever arbitrary unit of measurement you use to rate games (I don’t rate games).

Pro’s

+ Grueling choices make you feel the rich theme
+ Great use of traitor and exiled mechanics
+ Visually stimulating

Con’s

- Difficult to teach as seems more complex then really is
- A lot to setup (especially when you have no help…cough cough, Steve, cough cough…
- Downtime can be an issue (especially with higher player counts on the longer scenarios)

Purchase, Play, or Pass

Although I am sure I will purchase Dead of Winter: Long Night when it is released I would still only be able to give Dead of Winter a Play simply due to the mixed responses I have received from the various people I have played with. On a personal level, this is easily in my top 10 games but I have issues rounding up more than two other people willing to play it at a time (thank you God for the Prisoners Dilemma variant).
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Review by Keva B on 9/7/2016
Great Zombie Game
This is a great survival / resource gathering game set in a wintery zombie filled apocalypse! Players take turns moving their survivors around gathering supplies, food and weapons trying to achieve a main goal, round goal and a secret goal all at the same time. Only problem is... someone might be a traitor! The paranoia creeps in fast, as every move you make is scrutinized by everyone else. i.e. Did you just make that extra noise because you were actually looking for something or were you intentionally trying to get the zombies attention. Ah yes it gets ugly fast, as you really need to work together in order to win. I like how the zombies are not the main focus, more of a background, the main focus is trust, survival and deception.

I have yet to play as a traitor, even though all my friends think I am one every game, I have managed to call the traitor every time but no one listens and it always ends in disaster. We even have had games where a single person sacrificed himself to save everyone else and a game where no one won being unable to achieve any victory conditions, including the traitor.

Really great game and lots of fun!
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Review by marcin on 11/17/2015
Survivial...
That's what this game is about...survival. I love this game for so many reasons. I enjoy zombies, but zombies are more of a backdrop in this game. This game is about survival, and the choices you have to make to get there. The crossroads card are what really shine in this game. Although, I wish they did trigger more often, they create thematic and exciting choices that make each game different and interesting.
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Review by Brett on 10/23/2015
one of the best
Fantastic game love the traitor element and the crossroad cards
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Review by john on 10/16/2015
Play for fun not to win
Dead of Winter is a great game. It has a lot of fun qualities that make it unique, exciting, funny, and frustrating. The thing with this game, you have to play more to have a fun experience with friends than play to win. There are ways to break the game to ensure a victory so if you play with people who have to win and do anything to achieve it, than you might want to exclude them from this game. Another issue with this game is that one person who is experienced turns into kind of a dictator to what everyone else does. The game slightly balances this with having a betrayer in the group but if the dictator seems like he has a good cause than he can almost play the game by himself. I played a few games this way and it really wasn't fun. I later played without this personality type and it was a blast. The group was more focused on having fun and enjoying the experience than purposely trying to get exiled to achieve a solo victory when our demise seemed inevitable.

With the right group, the game is great. A single person, can ruin it.
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Review by Garrett on 10/15/2015
Highly thematic, tense co op game with great replayability
A post-apocalyptic zombie game dripping with tension. The mechanics work in simple and elegant way while adding layers to the game narrative (ie Crossroads card.) Will you survive the the dead of winter?
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Review by Robby on 10/14/2015
Top 10 reasons Dead of Winter hits a the sweet spot for me.
10 – It is as much fun to play with two people as it is to play with five.
9 – Playing multiple characters gives you a lot of options for your turn.
8 – The story elements and flavor text keep everyone immersed in the theme of survival.
7 – The possibility of a betrayer keeps everyone on edge.
6 – It’s a highly strategic game with a lot of rules but they are presented clearly enough that my 7 year old can run the game.
5 – The characters are plentiful and their abilities are varied.
4 – The crisis cards put just enough pressure on the group to cooperate but also leads to frustrations and doubts when someone isn’t contributing as much as the group thinks they should.
3 – The crossroads cards keep the player who just completed their turn engaged in the game because they are responsible for triggering it.
2 – Rotating the starting player each round means you’re not always the one at the end trying to clean up waste or complete the crisis objective because other’s before you have played more selfishly.
1 – The main objective cards allow for a “scratch your gaming itch” short session or a “settle in for the night” longer session.
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Review by Joel on 10/5/2015
Winter's coming! I wouldn't be caught dead out in the cold!
Wow what a game! Of all the zombie type board games out there, this is the most easy and fun to play. It comes with a lot of cards and pieces. Beautifully detailed artwork brings the game to life. Just in time for the cold weathe, Dead of Winter brings a group of survivors together to survive a zombie apocalypse. You must ration your food and be careful of traitors all while fighting off zombies. Will you live through the winter? Or will you be caught in the Dead of Winter?!
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Review by Trick or Treat Tom on 10/5/2015
Story driven cooperative zombie survival
This is a story driven cooperative zombie survival game. The crossroads mechanic is very interesting, though a lot of the cards reference characters by name and there are a TON of characters so you are frequently not doing anything with the crossroads card. This game has the best traitor mechanics out of any board game I have played. I typically don't really care for traitor mechanics in board games, but what they've cooked up for this one works out great. I do kinda wish the game would have had miniatures instead of cutouts, but at the same time I appreciate them keeping the cost of the game down by using cutouts.
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Review by Mark on 10/1/2015
Deadly Game on a Cold Night
Dead Winter is one of my favorite Coop based games of all time in which you play as your own small group of Survivors trying to live in a Zombie Apocalypse in the middle of winter. You need to manage food, barricade, kill zombies, and even keep the base clean otherwise you threaten dropping your Morale to 0, ending the game.

But the best part is not how well thought out it is or how well it was made, it's the Traitor. Even now we are all a paranoid mess around the table because while things may seem to be going fine, it only takes 1 person to screw it all up. It's a fantastic game that I would recommend to anyone, even if you're not a fan of zombies.
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Review by Bestdragon3 on 9/24/2015
Best Halloween Game Night Game Ever
I have played through 5 times now & each time is a great experience. If you're looking for the centerpiece to a Halloween Game Night session, this is it! Turn down the lights, get some mood music going & go for it. This is the gamer's version of telling spooky stories around a campfire. Play is easy & intuitive even for new players, though having an experienced player be the betrayer is almost essential, especially if most of the players are new to the gaming hobby. Miniature Market has a great price on it too. What are you waiting for?
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Review by Mac on 9/23/2015
Great Game
This game has so many variables that its never the same twice. I love playing this game. My only problem is the stand its start to break down where they are attached to the base. After multiple time of being removed and reattached.
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Review by grant on 9/17/2015
Walking Dead meets Monopoly = Give it time
You will surely warm up to the Dead of Winter; if you allow it. This is one of the first and few co-op survival games I've played. I must say the early going (1st game) wasn't the best start mainly due to rolling an instant death for my character, but once we failed the mission and started the 2nd game everyone knew how the mechanics worked and how much working together and plotting is key. In our second game we coordinated a set search group, a set attack/defend group and we were handling search areas like champs. It can seem a little difficult at first to really get into the game if you aren't a fan of zombies or survival games. All I can say is give it time ( a couple plays). We did have the benefit of playing with a family member who had played before so he acted as our moderator which helped a lot in the 2nd game kept the game flow moving and if we had any questions he was the go to guy on rules. I recommend doing a test run on the short scenarios first let everyone see how turns operate then when you feel ready move into the longer games. The $59.95 price tag here is a little high but honestly worth it and makes for a great game to play with friends and family. CAN YOU SURVIVE THE DEAD OF WINTER?
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Review by Robert on 8/10/2015
Fantastic Game. A must own.
An absolutely astounding game. Game has a medium weight, relatively easy rules and nothing to majorly complicated. Game length can be adjusted by playing different scenarios which all vary in Difficulty and length, with the average game time clocking in at a little over an hour. I could not recommend this game enough, if you liked Shadows over Camelot or Battlestar Galactica then you should look into this.
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Review by Marco on 5/25/2015
One of the best board games ever made.
I work as a professional game designer, so I know good game design when I see it.

This game was so well designed, and it shows.

One of my favorite board games ever, and I own tons of them.

This game is also VERY hard! That is part of what makes it so great: you are always struggling to survive every turn.

The COOP element just makes it a blast. Never tried the competitive component, although the game is already too hard to get any worse.

Even if you like competition, the COOP element will still satisfy. Each player has a secret object they have to selfishly accomplish while simultaneously helping the team to win. Even losers can be winners by sacrificing their win for the team.

A huge hit with everyone I've ever played it with.

Just plain one of the best board games ever made.
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Review by Ronny on 4/15/2015
NOW! GET IT NOW!!!
Wow. This is the first co-op with traitor game I've played, and it sucked me in completely! Great game play, wonderful for family night and game groups both. It can run a couple of hours depending, but it keeps even the youngest of our gamers (11) engaged the whole time. The zombie theme has been integrated well without feeling like a "zombie" game. The player cards help keep the steps straight, and play is very organic. If you enjoy co-op, mostly co-op, resource management, worker placement OR zombie horror survival, you NEED this game. I will be preordering any other Crossroads games Plaid Hat puts out.
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Review by GameChicks on 4/4/2015
Great Co-Op game with traitor aspect
This is by far one of the greatest co-op games I've played. I can't wait to get my copy.
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Review by Willrazorbacks on 4/29/2014