Rick Pagliarulo
United States
Brighton
Massachusetts
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I playtested Dead of Winter at PAX East, and really enjoyed it! The components were very impressive, and I really dug the Crossroads mechanic. A little while after playing, though, I began thinking about the personal objective cards that our group received, and realized that none of them really seemed to lead to any tension between the group members. From what I can remember, I had a personal objective card that was something like "have at least 5 barricades on the colony and have one gas card in hand at game's end." The other players had cards that were pretty similar in nature.

Regarding the barricade-building, we didn't hit a point in our game where reinforcing the colony seemed like a bad choice, so achieving this goal was pretty straightforward. As far as the gas card, refraining from playing one only seemed to put myself at risk, as I'd then have to roll for exposure when moving. We had a crisis card that required gasoline cards to be played, but between the five people in our group we did not have trouble passing the crisis even with me withholding one card.

So, I'm not sure if I came into the game with wrong expectations, if our group just had a really good stroke of luck regarding the cards and personal objectives we drew, or if the scenario we played was designed to be a bit easier than the others. I was thinking that the personal objectives would influence a player to take an actions that might look counterproductive to everyone else in the game, thus leading to suspicions that the player might be a traitor. The result, though, was that we all felt pretty confident that nobody was a traitor, and we pretty much all achieved our personal goals in a timely manner.

Any input would be greatly appreciated! I'm very tempted to put in an order for this right now, but the lack of tension I felt from the personal objective cards in my playtest is causing some hesitation.
 
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Brandon M
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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“Games give you a chance to excel, and if you're playing in good company you don't even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.” ― Gary Gygax
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Here is a scenario for you:

---------------------------------

Your secret objective is to have medicine cards (3, I think) when the main objective is met. So you spend a few turns digging through the hospital deck.

Even with a good amount of digging you only pull 4-6 med cards.

Then, your team mates take some hits.

"You have some medicine? My survivor is about to die."

Then, a couple crisis cards in a row need medicine cards.

"Rick has been at the hospital for a few turns, he can take care of this."

The more you say no to these situations, the more it looks like you are a traitor, hording all of the meds and letting the team die and morale drop.

This is made even worse if there is a real traitor and they are actively poisoning the group against you.

"Rick, has all the medicine from the Hospital and he put nothing in on the last crisis. Nothing guys! I want to call a vote for exile."

-----------------------------

Sure you may have less tension if everything fall right, but a subtle traitor can make those minor counter productive choices for the sake of an individual objective look like utter betrayal.
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Dan Licata
United States
Bel Air
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Did you guys win the game? Everything I've heard is that there is tension during the came, I hope you just had a lucky one.
 
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Brandon M
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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danlicata wrote:
Did you guys win the game? Everything I've heard is that there is tension during the came, I hope you just had a lucky one.


I played 10+ games during the playtesting period last year. There can be an easy game now and then (no traitor & the crisis cards, goal, and individual objects all gel), but the majority of our games (~9) were either a loss where we clung together just long enough to fail in spectacular fashion, or a win/loss that came down to a couple card plays.
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Rick Pagliarulo
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Brighton
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Thanks for the feedback, Brandon! Hearing input from someone who has had much more extensive experience with the game, it sounds like we had a really fortunate (or unfortunate?) run of luck between our card draws and our personal objectives. The scenario you described earlier is exactly the kind of tension I was hoping to get out of the game.

We were also pretty lucky with our rolls to kill zombies/collect samples (the main objective), so perhaps we would have hit some tense moments if we had to survive for a few turns longer.

Thanks again for your feedback! It certainly has made me feel less concerned about the game and the kind of situations it will produce more often than not.
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Dan Licata
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Bel Air
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JBMoby wrote:
danlicata wrote:
Did you guys win the game? Everything I've heard is that there is tension during the came, I hope you just had a lucky one.


I played 10+ games during the playtesting period last year. There can be an easy game now and then (no traitor & the crisis cards, goal, and individual objects all gel), but the majority of our games (~9) were either a loss where we clung together just long enough to fail in spectacular fashion, or a win/loss that came down to a couple card plays.


Excellent thanks! I heard that there is a lot of tension but completely understan that things could work out differently. I'm so looking forward to this game, the shipping date can't get here fast enough.
 
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JonnyRotten
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Montpelier
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Everyone else in the thread pretty much covered it.

Building barricades IS good. Building barricades instead of doing something more important may not be. Maybe you are doing it because of your secret objective. Maybe you are doing it because you are the traitor and you want to waste actions. Maybe you are doing it because you are the traitor and your secret objective needs X barricades. You kind of get that thought creeping through your head with almost everything each player does...

We've come a hairs breadth of exiling a perfectly innocent player because of one or two shady things they did. Those moments are tense and great!
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I H
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I feel a similar concern to the OP. For the record, I dislike Pandemic and Last Night on Earth but love Battlestar Galactica and The Resistance.

I played BSG in a group with a couple of new players recently and the amount of advice and instruction made it feel way too co-op (and slow) for me. With regular players, we tend to play much faster and with far less discussion of options (and with consequently more post-action accusations).

I do have a preorder in for Dead of Winter, but from what I've seen and read of DoW, it seems to lean much more toward the co-op side and much less toward the deduction/secret role element, despite the personal objective cards.

Is DoW perhaps not for me, based on my above concerns? I'll note that the theme itself is not compelling to me either (both the Friday the 13th/Summer Camp and Alien-Thing/Space proposals are much more attractive).
 
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Jack Fleming
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It skews much more towards BSG than Pandemic/Last Night on Earth. As you can never be sure if you can trust the person who's giving you advice. They may be the trader or even a non-trader that is trying to manipulate you into helping them accomplish their private goals.

Games with new players are going to be a little more advice and instruction filled than games with experience players, but I think the mechanisms in Dead of Winter are much clearer, simpler, and easier to understand which should cut down on this.
 
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Keith Dennard
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Winchester
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I had the opportunity to play three game of this at Hoop and Stick Con in Ohio, and I think the personal goals add a great deal of tension, but it can depend on the scenario.

In one of our games, we played a scenario that required us keep providing food for the large group of dependent colonists. We just had to survive for a certain number of rounds. I, however, had the goal of ending the game with a certain amount of food in my hand, so the entire game I was playing to help the colony while keeping enough food for me, I wasn't an actual traitor, but at one point, I had to let the colony starve because I wanted to keep my food for myself. I felt tension throughout because I couldn't let them know that I was holding back food that would help the rest of the group.

I think the game offers a lot more theme and opportunity than a straightforward co-op.
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