Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

(1 customer review)

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“Crossroads” is a game 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 title in this series, puts 2-5 players in a small, weakened colony of survivors in a world in which 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, they must also complete their personal secret objective, which 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! 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 their own interests!

Dead of Winter is an experience that can be accomplished only through the medium of tabletop games, 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’s best for the colony and what’s best for themselves. The rulebook also includes a fully co-operative variant in which all players work toward the group objective with no personal goals.

1 review for Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

  1. Paul Maloney

    A classic, must play tabletop game for every gamer.
    The gameplay of having your own end game objectives to be the winner that can only be achieved by working together with the other “survivors” really brings in the atmosphere of popular zombie films and shows. Want to keep some food to help you out in a future turn that’s great, but what if the colony starves and morale drops, bringing an end to the game? Is it worth it now?
    And once you’ve worked out what needs to be done to win and survive, your find out there may be a traitor in the mix who’s out for their own selfish goals and may win only if everyone else loses. Is that other player just a bad player, are they playing a long game for everyone to survive or are they hoarding resources and watching the others die? Not sure but don’t want to risk being wrong, put it to a vote and see what the other players think, them being exiled is a lot better than you being dead.
    The turn mechanics can be complex to pickup but after a few turns a rhythm sets in and the steps become easier to follow. If it’s your first game of this I’d suggest ignoring the betrayer objective card as the person who gets that not only has to learn the rules they have to be selfish and sneaky at the same time. After a few games with the same people it should be safe to introduce the betrayer mechanic.
    Managing resources, risking death by leaving the colony or attacking a zombie are just some of the decisions you will need to make, but the group only gets stronger with food and equipment.
    The action dice is a great mechanic, you can gain more or lose some, changing how you play and how useful you are as a player. And being useful is really important, don’t get voted for exile because you’re no longer useful to the group.
    I found it useful to watch one of the many play tutorials on the web for the first game, it helps with the language, the turn mechanics and also with a bit of strategy.
    Overall, a great game that should be on everyone’s “I’ve played it” list.

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