It’s all about that Base, bout that base, No zombies


I MAY have lied earlier when I said I was done with zombie games for a bit. A week or two is a long time and not really scientifcally measureable, so chances are I actually told the truth and I’m not over my sabbatical, but seriously this is my last zombie game for a while.  no takey backys

I got to play a game I’ve had my eye on for a while now and is as hard as something very hard indeed to get your hands on. (air as an e.g.) Dead of Winter.

Dead of winter is the first in a series of games by Plaid Hat, the first one is set in a colony that’s holding out against the zombies in, you guessed it a zombie apocolypse in (bonus points if you guessed it) the Dead of Winter.

It’s a semi co-operative game which with the gamers I play with means not co-operative at all. At all.  Each player starts with a secret (they might be a loner, a traitor, a something else I haven’t seen, I only played one game) and to win they need to complete their objective which may not be in conflict with the overall health of the group.


When I played I was secretly the loner so I had to complete the overall objective which everyone else had to, but when it was complete I had to be the only one alive in my group (no followers). I didn’t win btw we were swamped by Zees mid game


Each player starts with their own little group, a leader and one follower and this may grow as time rolls on. Each of the players have their own party trick, a skill at fighting and scavenging and a number which indicates how tasty they are to zombies. if you wind up in a room with zombies and you have a higher number than your companions they get eaten first. So were dealing with zombies with a descerning palate. (if indeed they have a palate left)

Each turn your group of survivors muck in and try to help the colony survive, this could be by scavenging food, fuel, weapons, building barricades, taking out the trash (it’s true), killing zombies or contributing to a group problem (well the solution to it one hopes)

The game plays a little like Battlestar Galactica insofar as there are bad things that happen every turn and sometimes as a group you have to deal with them, keeping in mind you don’t really know what everyone’s secret agenda is, so there’s a fine level of paranoia throughout.


Also like Battlestar you have a number of resouces (weaknesses) that you have to keep an eye on. Morale being the big one. It this runs to zero it’s game over man and it’s very easy for this to happen. Losing survivors and various dilemas affect it and it’s hard and costly in resources to get it back up.

All in all it’s a BIT like BS with you and your ‘team’ juggling limited resources and rearranging the deckchairs whilst keeping a storm eye for traitors in your midst. It’s brillant.

it captures the feel (I imagine) of a desperate struggle. It starts off easily enough but within a very short time you’re making hard choices and both the time I played it and the game I observed it was rock hard. it was also hugely fun.

I can see why this game sold out so quickly. If you can lay you hands on it before xMas you’re doing well and the manufactures have a lead time of a number of months before a reprint. It’s going to sell again like hotcakes. I find a lot of zombie games, slow and repetitive, not this, this is the business. The model they have for the game is going to be reused. I understand the next themed game is going to be set in space and I can see it working perfectly.

If you can get this game, get it. If you don’t like it I’ll buy it off you

It’s a winner. Now excuse me while I some followers I need to arrange accidents for (evil chuckle)



Be my Guest

As a follow on to an earlier post I’m delighted to have my first guest writer here today.  Harvey O’Brien. A lot of you will know him already, especially if you game in Dublin.  He runs with the South Dublin Gamers and UCDGamesoc.  I had the pleasure of gaming with him a few years back in his house with some of his gaming group (a great bunch of lads) and got to play a couple of games I’d never tried before.  Harvey is a real gentleman and I’m looking forward to saying hi ho at Gaelcon and getting in my gaming revenge early :).  Anyhoe, here what he has to say about a game I never really got my head around….



I love this game…

Dungeon Lords
Designed by Vlaada Chvatil
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Review by Harvey O’Brien, South Dublin Boardgamers and UCDGamesoc

Top of the BGG hotness when it broke at Essen in 2009, Dungeon Lords is Vlaada Chvatil’s fiendishly fun adaptation of the old PC game Dungeon Keeper, in which you play an evil Overlord working hard to keep your traps clean and deadly, your monsters fed and happy, and your minions in good standing while the Ministry of Dungeons looks constantly over your shoulder making sure you cover your expenses. All would be fine except for the annual invasion by pesky human adventurers, drunk on tales of your fabulous wealth (greatly exaggerated) and heinous evil (it’s all a question of perspective, isn’t it?), not to mention whatever noxious concoctions the local barman was serving them as he filled their heads with this nonsense. Worse; there are a couple of burly paladins wandering around that have also begun to hear stories, and might, just might, join the party. It’s up to you to build a better dungeon to defeat the capture the heroes. Of course then there are other Dungeon Lords doing the same thing, and there’s only so many resources to go around. How will your dungeon hold up? Will your monsters stay loyal, or stomp off across the countryside complaining about your management style to anyone they don’t eat?

This last line comes from the rulebook, which is peppered with Chvatil’s goofy sense of humour, and pretty much sums up what’s on offer in Dungeon Lords. It’s a difficult euro-style worker placement game in which you have a limited number of actions per turn and an awful lot of things that need to get done. The game is totally fair, but extremely difficult: you’re not surprised by what’s going to happen because you can see well in advance what’s coming (which heroes are coming to pillage your home, what expenses you’re going to have to cover), but that doesn’t make it easier to get things right. Timing is everything, and every choice matters. Though other players aren’t directly messing with you, if you don’t watch what they’re doing, you’ll end up in very big trouble. A couple of wrong decisions and you’ll be looking at the business end of a serious trouncing. But get it right and you have that extraordinary buzz that comes from knowing you’ve got this down.

Dungeon Lords is a brain burner, and intimidating at first. It’s like a puzzle in many ways, as you try to match your monsters, traps, and tactics to the particular party of adventurers hitting you. Mages cast spells (which you can inspect if you take the appropriate action), Priests heal (but only when you attack with monsters, not traps), Thieves disarm traps (and block damage), and Warriors are just tough and lead the party (tanking particularly when thieves and healers help them out). Paladins do everything all at once. Different monsters have different skills, different kinds of traps work well against different classes. Everything has a cost, in food, gold, or ‘evil’. The more ‘evil’ you are, the more interest you attract from the toughest heroes, and there’s endgame rewards for everything you do well, including becoming Lord of Dark Deeds (evil). There is, as the rules say, no Lord of Sucking Up to the Villagers.

This is a hugely entertaining game that is brilliantly themed in spite of being built on a very smooth euro-game engine. Every choice you make is explained in thematic terms (check out the narrative around how you get food from the village), and you feel a sense of ownership of your tunnels, rooms, monsters, minions, and imps as you build your dungeon. It’s a euro, but it generates a great sense of story, and you’re completely at the centre of it. Every decision counts, and you know when things go wrong, you were maddeningly close to being right. The art by David Cochard is great, and the whole thing has a light, humorous feel that contrasts with the razor sharp gameplay rewards your concentration with a sense of fun. It’s best with four players, which is the max, though it scales rather cleverly for three and two players as well. An expansion adding a fourth ‘season’ to the dungeon year was released, as well as a follow up companion game Dungeon Petz. Recently the card game Boss Monster has taken the core experience and transferred it both to the design of 8-bit computer gaming and to card laying, but Dungeon Lords is a masterpiece of contemporary board game design that stands alone and has proved a reliable favourite in our group for five years now. I lose a lot, but I love it.


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑