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Dead of Winter: The Long Night» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Dead of Winter of our Discontent rss

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Andrew Campbell
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TL;DR -- I'm not one for leaving you in suspense; I will get right to it. I won't quite call it buyer's remorse, but I feel this could have been significantly better.

I was delighted to see an expansion for DOW, and doubly excited to see it was a stand alone game which could be combined with and added to the original. To me, this telegraphed a bunch of possibilities. Variety, replay-ability, and the ability to have head to head competing groups, turning this into a semi-coop playable with both sets and larger groups. Some of them were realized, some are hinted at for a future expansion, and others are flat out missed opportunities.



TLN delivers on this potential in some ways:

+ We got new colony art with a different theme (Prison, not Warehouse), and the spaces for standees / tokens are in pairs, making it visually easy to count survivor pairs for the colony phase.

+ The addition of optional improvements allows the colony to differ from game to game.

+ Locations are different from before in that they have different item decks.
+ Instead of flimsy paper locations, the new locations are printed on nice heavy cardstock, printed on both sides.

TLN misses opportunities in other ways:

- Functionally the prison is identical to the warehouse. Even a minor difference, like perhaps fewer entrances with more spaces per entrance, would have been thematic and offered variety between the game boards.

- The new six locations are printed on both sides with the exact same material as in original DOW! This was a huge miss in my book. Now to mix the games, you have to do deckbuilding for your locations. Since we have new decks, why duplicate DOW locations at all?? Why not new locations?? They could have had similar distributions (or not)...why not a Sporting Goods store, Church, Campground, Factory, Military Base, Hardware Store, Renaissance Faire, Farm, Survivalist Boutique, Friendly Local Game Shop, etc, etc. Surely we could have found six new locations that could then be *merged* or mixed and matched with the original game?
If playing with other than 6 locations, a simple rule could have balanced zombie appearances, and given a wealth of variety.

Beware of Switching Theme:

"Zombie Apocalypse" has become a super-genre, comprised of different sorts of zombie stories.

Some, like The Walking Dead, and Max Brooks's novel, World War Z (not to be confused with the film of the same name) are rooted in a traditional "George Romero-esque" world were the zombies are a uniform background to a wider story which is really about humans and how they face adversity.

Others, like 28 Days Later and the film version of World War Z, showcase the zombies a bit further by making them fast, and therefore more immediate in their threat.

Still others, typically video games and films/boardgames based on them give variant types of zombies that get progressively more difficult to face. You have "Boss Monsters" and cool gadgets to get to help you level up to face those boss monsters.

To me, most of DOW is squarely in the first category. TLN's base game and first two expansions would be at home on Walking Dead. Raxxon, however, is squarely in the third category. We have sci fi teleporters, pills that can turn survivors into superheroes, and zombie/werewolf crossbreeds, barfing zombies, fast zombies, tank zombies. I'm a fan of the WWZ/Walking Dead zombe genere, personally, but I don't begrudge fans of other genres their fun. I'm just not sure how well these two blend in Dead of Winter. Raxxon doesn't feel like it belongs in the same game, at least to me. Perhaps Plaid Hat should have had a separate stand alone game in that theme and instead included colony v. colony conflict in this expansion?

In the end, I don't have buyer's remorse. I enjoy TLN, and given the chance for a do-over, I would still buy it. I packed the Raxxon bits away, and play with what is provided, but I do somewhat mourn the lost opportunities.

It would have been fun to chain games together as a campaign and "move locations" by switching non-colony locations, or have hostile colonies, each with their own local areas of 6 resource locations, competing... or piling on for an epic 12-location, marathon, perhaps with multiple "colonies" representing different safehouses.

Opportunity missed.
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Charles Fox
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One quick note on using different names on the 6 locations, it would of made some of the orginal survivors in base game useless in this expansion, ie the principal would not be good, hinderance if there was no school. I think tthat is a major reason the location names stayed the same, so any base game survivors could translate over seamlessly
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Andrea R
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I agree with this although I have a bad aftertaste where they left the names the same to integrate the cards from the previous game but didn't bother to give a mechanic/method/fix to mix them well other than "shuffle all of them and cut the deck but be careful as it might end up unbalanced"
Not talking about watering the character specific crossroads ad they very rarely will ever trigger.
And I agree with Andrew on the Raxxon part. Neat idea but a bit.. "Too much" for DoW.

This actually was for me a big disappointment and I have a bit of after buy regret but I admit is mostly related to expansion quality/easiness to implement/price rate.

Per se is not that bad but, to be an expansion, the full price payed was a bit too much for my tastes
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Jacky Blue
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I REALLY thought I'd also react badly to Raxxon. A big-time Romero fan and also a Walking Dead fan (comic & TV), I also lean towards the leaner, darker zombie experience. But I rather enjoy playing with Raxxon. I imagine I will leave it out occasionally when I want a more old-school thematic game (perhaps after a '...of the Dead' movie binge) and then pop it back in to go full-genre-crazy. I've found the postmodern zombie-meets-portal-meets-whateveryoulike thing that Raxxon does is actually pretty cool as the people I play DoW with come to zombies from very different trajectories it turns out to suit us quite well.
 
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John Brady
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Awesome thread title
 
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Andrew Campbell
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godzilla999666 wrote:
One quick note on using different names on the 6 locations, it would of made some of the orginal survivors in base game useless in this expansion, ie the principal would not be good, hinderance if there was no school. I think tthat is a major reason the location names stayed the same, so any base game survivors could translate over seamlessly


I did think about that, and it bothered me a bit at first. The characters like the principal and the nurse could just be pulled out if you aren't using their location, although I doubt I would. The principal, for instance, is a 2+ search, so even without the school, he has a place in my band. I kind of have the same vibe about "Blue" being a Raxxon-only character. With a 1+ attack, and a very cool crossroads card, I don't mind him being in Raxxon-less games one bit. Another option is if the new locations were also number/color coded to match the original six, just let the principal's search work for location 3/yellow. Maybe the principal shops at the local REI frequently.

The harder thing for me would be how to handle certain crossroads cards. Take "Deputies" (or whatever it's called) for instance. You get to search the top 8 cards from the police station and keep all the weapons you find, but in turn have a new main objective of having to have the police station, school, and gas station zombie-free at endgame. If I don't have the police station, I suppose easy enough, the card doesn't trigger. What about if I don't have the gas station or school? I guess just say "locations 3 and 6" count?

In the end it's a game which gives lots of opportunity to tune for a specific group. I can pull the adult-themed cards. I pull other cards if we're playing full co-op, and add cards if I add modules. I rather like that flexibility. The rules around how to treat missing locations could be another opportunity for tuning.

madDdog67 wrote:
Awesome thread title


Thanks!!!
 
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Sebastiaan Kuijs
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I like the long night alot only thing i dislike is raxxon.
Seems like they didnt even tested it
 
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soak man
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Skuijs wrote:
I like the long night alot only thing i dislike is raxxon.
Seems like they didnt even tested it


It was definitely tested and went through several different versions. What it comes down to is that it is meant to be a high-risk/high-reward module. It's usually a hit or a miss for this reason. Some people love it, some people hate it, and it often can have a completely different effect on any given game. But it is a module in the end, and it can be removed or added depending on your mood or gaming group preference.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but stating that it wasn't playtested isn't based on any fact at all and is rather the opposite.

No harm, no foul, but I just don't find it a particularly useful statement to make.
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Ryan M
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A good review. I personally disagree with it, but I think it lends a unique perspective.

My own opinion of the standalone/expansion is now much more positive than when they first announced it. TLN, to me, has much more of a sandbox feel to it, if you own the original game as well. I agree it would have been nice if there was more information on how to best combine the two sets...but at the same time the two games now provide so much variety and options and choices that the "sandbox" feeling really shines and people are encouraged (and very much able) to customize the DoW experience to whatever they want. And honestly, I really feel that takes DoW to another level for me.

Sure, it can be a bit more work in terms of set-up and playing around, but for me, I typically played just straight DoW a lot. And I originally planned on doing the same with TLN and keeping them mostly separate. But after only a couple games I was already thinking about how different modules worked with different objectives, crises cards, characters, normal or hard, etc. So I really wanted to start mixing everything right away.

I think the only real missed opportunity for me is, as you say, the double sided boards being the same on both sides. I think it would have been a much cooler and more interesting "upgrade" to have the backside a "modified" location (ie. holds less survivors or more zombies). The change could have been triggered by crossroad cards. Just a thought.

But right now I am loving TLN, when originally I was questioning why they would make the decision they did. However, I do think that my viewing it as a much more customizable "sandbox" game is the real benefit. It doesn't address having to rebuy some components, but I feel like DoW now has a much stuff and replayability as my boxes filled with Eldritch Horror and all expansions. So that says something about "value" I think.
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William Roop
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I personally think of this as a "new base game" more than an expansion. Think of it this way, if the original had never been released and THIS were the one that was released, we would be talking about how GREAT this game is, and how it had modular scenarios you could add to fit your gaming style. It has everything the original has and adds a few fresh ideas to it. It just also happens to be an expansion to the original. There are other games that have taken this approach (Shadows of Brimstone Cities and Jungles to name one) that approached it this way, as 2 separate base games that happen to expand on each other. If I hadn't already pulled the trigger on the original one and this one had come out while I was making my decision, I would DEFINATELY have picked Long Night, if only for the extra options. I appreciate your opinion but judge this "base game" for what it is, a chance to reintroduce the game with improvements to new customers as well as giving the nod to the customers that brought them success.
 
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JP Trostle
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After several plays of the Long Night, I'm beginning to wonder if it is a good standalone game. With only 20 characters to draw from, it is highly likely you'll get the same lineup session after session.

I've now bought several copies of the original as gifts for friends but have yet to get one for myself (assuming TLN would be my home copy). Now I'm not so sure. As an expansion that could beef up the base, absolutely.
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