This War of Mine: The Board Game

1-6 players, Cooperative , Story Based, Action Management

Designers: Michal Oracz, Jakub Wisniewski

Artwork: Pawel Niziolek

Publisher: Awaken Realms

Overview

A grueling take on average people trying to survive as a horrific civil war ravages the land (and people) around them. 

Length/Win Condition

This game runs LONG. Don’t expect to fully finish a game in one sitting as it will usually take an entire day if you are doing well. Much shorter if you run into some bad luck. It says it takes around 2 hours for a game but I feel that is being super generous. Every game I played I ended up saving my progress and continuing the next day, more on this later. To win……ohhh to win, if only. This game is tough and that is putting it lightly. You have to survive all the chapters and each chapter is comprised of a number of event cards. Each event card is comprised of a single “day” in the game time from which you must survive. Not only that but just surviving through all the chapters isn’t enough if you hope to get the best ending for the characters, I’m not going to spoil anything but suffice it to say it is HARD. There are a bookoo of characters to choose from as well (over 10) and they each have an interesting back story as well as story arcs throughout the game. 

Components

This game comes chock full of components. Only 4 dice that are used for battle and rolling to see what extra supplies you might find when out scavenging. TONS of cards. The board comes labeled to show where specific draw piles of cards are placed which is awesome. Makes setting up so much more simple. On top of that there are little cardboard tokens showing food, weapons, parts, status effects, medicines and so on. There are also little plastic pieces that represent wood and gears and little blue plastic marble looking doohickies that represent water. There are also minis! You get a mini for each different playable character in the game and they are actually pretty detailed. All the components are of a higher quality and are sturdy enough. The one downside to the components in the game are the 2 plastic ziplock bags it comes with. As I mentioned earlier the game has a “save” feature to allow you to stop playing and pick up again later on. To do this you must place most of your cards and components you have collected into the included plastic ziplock bag. Now these bags are cheap. Just your basic plastic bag you would get at a grocery story. For a game that you will for sure be saving as often as you play you would think they would have included a more premium baggie to save your stuff. 

Box/Storage

The box is your pretty typical affair but it does come included with an insert to hold everything securely even when stored on its side. It also doubles as a holder for the hundreds of components when you are playing so you don’t worry about having to sort through everything and can just reach into the appropriate spot to grab what you need. 

Visual Appeal

The artwork looks good on the cards. They basically took the computer generated art from the videogame this is based on and printed it on the cards from what I can tell. The art on the board looks the same showing the insides of the house. Once the game is setup it is rather eye catching what with all the different card draw piles all over the board. 

Rulebook

The rulebook is…..different than what you are used to. The game is setup in such a way to teach you the game without actually telling you the rules, if that makes sense. Basically you follow along each section of a full day in a journal and it explains what you need to do during that day very vaguely. There are certain spots in this journal that shows you a number which leads you to the other book of stories (which is basically this really thick choose your own adventure style book). In that book there are “advanced rules” that are the actual rules of the game BUT you can’t just go through this book and read those. Oh no, it would take forever to find all those advanced rules that are split up amongst the other stories. So you have to, over time, discover those things as you play. So needless to say starting out playing this is kinda complex if you are used to learning via a rulebook. You will probably always keep the journal close at hand to make sure you don’t miss anything because just the slightest misstep in this game can spell disaster. 

Table Presence/Game Board

I talked about the game board a bit earlier with all the draw piles all over it. But basically you have draw pile spots for everything from things you can build in your shelter to locations you can visit to the loot piles you will scavenge from. There are also cards laid out over specific rooms in your house that you must clear out to find what loot they hold like rubble piles and furniture. The board is double sided with one side meant to be played by more advanced players and the house setup is a bit different. It alters the rules a tad on a few things so once you learn the basic gameplay then flipping the board and playing on that side would create a different experience which adds to the replayabilty of the game. The board is a pretty good size so it will take up a good amount of table space as well so be prepared for that. 

Table Talk/Fun Factor

I had a ton of fun playing this…by myself. Playing more than 1 player I….just don’t seeing this game working, however with the way it’s meant to be played multiplayer I could see it creating a decent amount of table talk, at least I can see how the developer would want it to. The choices you need to make in the game are at the very essence of survival and will more than likely impact you on a deeper level than you are used to when playing a board game. You will make terrible choices, choices that are meant to challenge you on what exactly you would do to survive. This game is an eye opener no doubt about it. 

Optimal Player Count

Solo far and away solo. The way the game is setup to be played multiplayer just sounds very boring to me. You are meant to use the journal to take care of things throughout the day but have to pass the journal around so that player can make that decision, after some table talk to discuss said decision that is. The problem is that this is all stuff that can easily be done by one person and it almost feels like the multiplayer aspect was tacked on. You would think that each player would get to control their own person/mini but nope, everyone controls them all. It’s just a weird co-op setup. All that said I can say this is one of my favorite solo board games, In my top 2 easily. 

The Fuzzy Llama Silver Seal of Distinction

Final Thoughts

As far as a solo experience goes this one is hard to beat so if that is how you like to play boardgames I highly recommend this one. Setup time is about par for the course with advanced board games however with the insert it shouldn’t take THAT long. A lot of the chance in the game has been removed in favor of just making better decisions such as what to build and what resources to conserve, however there are still dice to be rolled and cards to be drawn so there’s that. TONS and TONS of story elements in this game to discover so no two games are alike in that aspect. All in all for a solo story driven experience I give this game top marks.

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