Dead of Winter: The Long Night is a standalone expansion for Dead of Winter from Plaid Hat Games. Dead of Winter is a hidden traitor, survival zombie horror game like no other! The Long Night adds not only more of the same, more stories in the form of the crossroads cards and more characters, but also more items to be scavenged from the zombie infested city near the survivors colony.
The Long Night also adds Raxxon, the centre of unimaginable experiments that have nowhere now to go, but to the colony of the survivors. These experiments are no ordinary zombies; these are dangerous. Can the colony survive the appearance of the Claw, Frostwalker or dreaded Hydra? Or maybe defend against the Spewer, Reaper and the really creepy Siren? Raxxon also adds new items that could bolster or hinder survivors; experimental items and medication that could make or break survival.
More activity can be taken at the colony with the new improvements that can be built, a toilet? A DVD player? Will these be enough to stave of the round by round crises that come and lead to victory? Improving the colony might well be fun and useful to an extent, but it will slow you down and take up vital resources.
Speaking of resources, your colony is no longer alone in scavenging these. The bandits have appeared and you are now in direct competition with these to gather dwindling resources. These bandits will kill, they will take everything you have if you let them. This is a fight for survival.
The Long Night adds explosive traps, unruly helpless survivors and despair (a new type of health token). Each module of The Long Night can be used together or individually and even better you don't need to have the original Dead of Winter game, this is a standalone that can be played just with itself. But why settle for one when you can have two?
Dead of Winter: The Long Night is the epitome zombie horror survival game, where you might not be able to rely on everyone around the table. Will you colony survive the Dead of Winter?
Player Count: 2-5
Time: 60-120 Minutes
Somewhere, in the Dead Of Winter, a group of survivors huddle together, trying to restore some sense of community, hidden behind the walls of the walking dead. It’s going to be a long night. That’s the premise of ‘Dead Of Winter: The Long Night’ and it’s a fairly bleak one, as you and your friends try to build your camp up to survive the new future.
Or do they?
Dead of Winter: The Long Night - Gameplay
‘The Long Night’ is a very tight, narrative-driven, mature story, atmospherically read out by your friends as you each, in turn visit various places in search of food, supplies and weapons whilst the un-dead arrive continually, like some magnetised, wriggling wall insulation, all the while threatening to collapse the walls.
The game plays as a fine balance between risk management, economics and luck as each player works towards two separate goals: one as a group, with the other players, and a private one, which can be something as simple as a challenge, with little consequence or a much more sinister one, which will see the death of others.
Get caught and you could be facing a reversal of fortune as you’re thrown out of the colony but that doesn’t mean the end of the game for you, as you then become leader of the bandits and an enemy in earnest. And while this is (possibly) your just rewards, it’s not always deserved as you can be thrown out for acting suspiciously, even if your goal is something as trivial as hoarding food.
There are several boards in the game, the main board representing your colony whilst the others are destinations, which can be visited in search of weapons and supplies. Travelling between them, though essential, runs the risk of wounding or killing the survivor (from frostbite, gunfight or tooth-bite) nearly every time. And while there are a lot of survivors (each player starts with more than one and you gain more as the game progresses), you can’t help but feel protective over them and taking their death personally, should it happen.
There’s also a balancing act throughout as inevitably, your colony grows with both useful and useless numbers and having too many survivors means a negative impact on food supplies and all the 24-hour garages are actually closed. On top of that - each turn there’s a fresh ‘crisis’ that needs addressing or bad things happen,
So, do you deal with it on your own, as a team or rely on someone else to deal with it and hope they pull their weight? – all the while reminded by the fact that your colony mates may not actually have your best interests at heart.
For all there’s an incredible amount of zombies minis (in sturdy, colourful cardboard form) in ‘TLN’ and with some great variations too, it may come as a surprise that it’s not actually a zombie-slaying game (a la ‘Zombicide’ or the cunningly titled ‘Zombies!!!’) with the zombies themselves just providing another ever constant threat to manage, as if you needed another, all coming together to set a fairly bleak scenario, which you can’t help but feel involved in.
Survival becomes instinctual, loss becomes personal and with each turn capable of triggering a card-based narrative – that personal touch adds yet another layer to the story, to pull you in even further.
Dead of Winter: The Long Night has so much worth talking about and so much to recommend it but there’s also a sense of protecting the storylines, characters and plot twists - along with keeping them ‘in game’ like a secret. However there’s also a sense of recommending the game, similar a close friend recommending the new Marvel film with a frustrating smirk, saying ‘Just go see it.!’ like they knows something you don’t know, which feels not unlike playing the game itself.
Finally, I confess, I’ve only played ‘Dead Of Winter’ once and while I really enjoyed it, I didn’t feel it was necessary to play before playing ‘The Long Night’. Also ‘TLN’ is bigger and better made, as well as having probably the coolest character in any game I’ve played; Blue – the chimp and it also comes with an extraordinary amount of ‘stuff’ - components - so much so, once you’ve pressed all the pieces out – it’s a task getting them back in the box.
From me to you: ‘Just play it!’