This War of Mine: The Board Game is a really in-depth cooperative action point allowance game that follows a small group of people defends their home from all sorts of threats. Based during a war, finding food and resources to survive is only the start of the adventures to come.
What do you get?
This War of Mine comes with a massive story book, rules, plastic figures, dice, cards and plenty of tokens. The add-ons just expand on these parts adding more events, story and characters.
How does it work?
The story book has so many intricate parts to it. Really, this game is about going to various locations and then the random story events that will happen immediately. It’s almost like a game of luck in some regards. Your crew of people need to be sleep, be alert to defend your territory, go out and gather as well as do chores around the house. It’s odd how the focus is on the house occupants but most of the bigger wider exciting events take place outside that realm. There is a smart day and night cycle that ultimately determine time gone by and of course, gradually people need to eat and sleep to regain health and wellbeing. It’s hard to tell you about the enemies because typically it’s not men with guns that are the immediate threat, but they could arrive. It’s the book of secrets that changes the game and a bad dice roll is all it takes for someone to leave.
Is it any good?
On paper, I absolutely love This War of Mine. The idea of it is really compelling to me. There is also a large appeal in playing a single player game or a co-op experience. I actually have a bit of issue with the rulebook however. It doesn’t focus on specific rules but makes you play through the first day following it page by page and then giving examples of how to deal with situations. This was fine for the first day but I found it very confusing to navigate it for day 2 onwards. I’m sure it’s all covered but not in a conventional sense. Rulebook aside, the game looks great and things seem pretty straight forward with progression.
On my first game I wasn’t aware how urgently I’d need food and sleep and meds and my balance was way off and my team quickly failed. I decided to retry it immediately feeling like I have a renewed understanding of how the game will act towards you. My second attempt went better but not by much as I had one of my guys going out gathering supplies get seriously delayed and someone got seriously ill. This game is really depressing. It feels like you are waiting to die from almost anything. This of course is part of the theme and the computer game it’s based on. The book writing is brilliant. I almost wish that the game was more about that than the micromanagement of the game board and its many crafting system pieces.
There was a few times where I felt a little overwhelmed with options and I think some streamlined simplicities should have been added because as a solo player, there is often way too much to take in.
The rules are pretty straight forward but there are so many little parts and every phase with every person feels like it has its own set of rules, not to mention overall events changing things or bits in the book that alter what is going on. In general, I found this game really overwhelming, and I like my big games.
As a solo experience, this is really big and I can’t help but feel that they missed a trick for a co-op experience to elevate it. It would be good to play with some friends and give other people some tasks to remember but there are no secrets to keep and no one becomes any one player.
This War of Mine sticks rigidly to the computer game source material for better or worse.