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Dead of Winter The Long Night game box featuring zombie in profile and images of characters surviving the zombie apocalypse in the background
Dead of Winter The Long Night game box

Dead of Winter The Long Night the board game has been raised from Plaid Hat Games by Isaac Vega & Jon Gilmour so it can shamble its way into your horror trove of game night mayhem. Reeking of gory details and zombie-apocalypse subject matter, Dead of Winter contains adult themes and is recommended for 2 – 5 players ages 14 and up. It’s a strategy-based descent into the dark and terrifying night of the living dead.

The game includes a myriad of story-centered survivalist themes based upon cards drawn and players’ reactions to those cards. Players work towards the benefit of The Colony and their own ends to craft grittier and more believable scenarios. The cast of characters is large; players choose between characters drawn at random and gain more as they find outsiders. Various characters are better suited to different tasks and some of them are outright deadly, crazy, or both.

A selection of Dead of Winter characters waiting to join the frey
Dead of Winter characters in waiting

Players’ can choose to have their characters stay in The Colony and reinforce the place against the undead assault or risk life and limb to go out into the big scary world in search of supplies. They can move between locations, search, barricade, attack zombies or other characters, contribute to The Colony’s needs, clean waste and help deal with the current crisis. Gameplay is largely based upon drawing cards for characters, items, crises, and crossroads featuring specific actions that activate when the criteria are met. Dice are rolled and spent to determine whether player characters can fulfill certain actions. Another special die is rolled to determine exposure when traveling between places, to see if you are wounded, bitten or suffer from frostbite.

Montage of various game locations including the Hospital, Grocery Store and Graveyard and The Colony objective, contribution and crisis sections
Montage of various game locations and The Colony objective, contribution and crisis sections

Win conditions are based upon meeting the overall objective, drawn or chosen from a deck of cards specific to this, as well as individual players fulfilling their ends, drawn individually from another deck. Players’ personal goals may or may not work towards the overall objective and can even involve betraying The Colony. If a Betrayer is in your midst, those in The Colony need to figure it out and exile that person quickly lest they succumb to all manner of hardships.

I give Dead of Winter The Long Night 4.0 Cthulus.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoy Dead of Winter and planned to review it on Haunted MTL since I first started reviewing games here. The game is complex and involved for all that it’s easy to learn, and I love how the story changes every time you play. The characters & situations are believable and the art is fabulous. The game does tend to run long though, and some scenarios are much longer and more involved than others. Some characters are better balanced depending on what tasks you are trying to accomplish, and this can be excrutiatingly frustrating if you just aren’t drawing well.

But if you can’t get enough of our own Haunted MTL David DavisThe Dead Life and want to immerse yourself in the full zombie experience, then this is the game for you. The Long Night expansion has more characters and scenarios and doesn’t have to be played with the Raxxon Pharmaceutical location or bandit add-ons. This makes it a versatile addition to the original Dead of Winter game that can be played on its own as a standalone experience – you don’t need the original (in fact, we don’t even have that one, just The Long Night).

Crossroads card art
Crossroads card

You can find Dead of Winter The Long Night on Amazon here at the link below. Remember, as an Amazon affiliate, we get some $ back from purchases if you buy from any of our links, so Cthulu says shop away… Escape the summer heat and crank up the a/c for a zombie-apocalypse board game night – you’ll be glad you did. Because it’s oh so much cooler among the dead…

Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist residing in Kansas USA. Weigel utilizes a wide range of media to convey her ideas, including assemblage, drawing, fibers, installation, jewelry, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video and writing. You can find more of her work at: https://www.jenniferweigelart.com/ https://www.jenniferweigelprojects.com/ https://jenniferweigelwords.wordpress.com/

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The Sinking City Review: Sunken Lovecraftian Lore

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The Sinking City is an open world third-person shooter developed by Ukranian developer, Frogwares, and published by Nacon. In this game, you play as a private investigator who has come to the city of Oakmont. In this half-submerged city you hope to find the cause of your maddening dreams and the mass disappearances plaguing the city.

Inspired by several H.P. Lovecraft stories, The Sinking City is a love letter to Lovecraftian lore. However, it takes the time to condone problematic themes in Lovecraft’s writings which is always appreciated. It has a massive open world that lets you explore the haunting world of a city driven partially mad. The neighborhoods are painstakingly designed and the found objects tell an enrapturing story. Riding a motor boat through flooded streets was mesmerizing. I also am fond of the novel detective mechanics. Even if they are a little basic, they are still interesting and tell a good story. 

A screenshot of gameplay from The Sinking City, showcasing a great character model.

I cannot stress enough that I wanted to love The Sinking City. The premise and the atmosphere were everything I wanted from a Lovecraftian horror game. But, the game just fell flat. Frustratingly enough, most of the issues with the game are simple quality of life improvements. I had consistent bugs, performance issues, and visual hiccups that prevented the game from coming into its own. The enthralling environments were tarnished by enemies appearing and disappearing and character animations not functioning properly. While the character models were exquisite, the dialogue was comically tacky, once again ruining the mood. I also wasn’t a fan of the combat, which felt undercooked in its difficulty and stealth mechanics. The Sinking City feels like the alpha release of what could be an amazing game. But in its current state I found it to be semi-unplayable.

That being said, the game has an amazing mod community on Steam. They have created community content to fix a lot of the issues I have with the base game, so I recommend checking that out if you already own the game. I have also heard that the game has better performance on consoles instead of on PC, where I played it. So that may be another avenue for enjoying The Sinking City.

Another unfortunate reason I can’t recommend the game at the moment, is current legal battles against Nacon the publisher. Nacon has been accused by several of its developers, including Frogwares, of pirating their game and uploading it illegally to Steam. The legal battles have yet to be resolved, however, it is unfortunate that these accusations have happened twice now by two independent developers.

Maybe one day we’ll have a good Lovecraftian horror game. But, it is not yet that day. 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

However, in honor of Frogwares please consider donating to a Ukrainian Relief Fund as they actively fight on the front lines to keep their country safe. Additionally, consider supporting their new game Sherlock Holmes: the Awakened.

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Röki Review: Family & Scandinavian Folklore

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Röki is an adventure puzzle game developed by Polygon Treehouse and published by United Label and CI Games. In the game, you play as Tove, a young girl on a hunt to save her kidnapped brother. She must engage with creatures from Scandinavian folklore as well as her own guilt surrounding the death of her mother in order to save her brother from a grim fate.

This is a game with an immense amount of heart. From the art to the story to the sound design, you can feel the soul and care that went into Röki. And for the most part, it pays off. I invested emotionally into all of the characters as I played. I was also enraptured by the depth of the story and character interactions as the game progressed. The gameplay is similar to that of a point-and-click adventure game, where you collect items and drag them onto environmental objects to solve puzzles. The items and environments were intricate and satisfying to engage with the majority of the time. Especially in the first third of the game, I delighted at uncovering little secrets and talking with the inhabitants of the forest. When the game was rewarding, it really felt rewarding.

A screenshot of gameplay from Röki.

Despite its enchanting nature, the middle third of the game was a definite low point. As a game that took me about 10 hours to play through, about 3 of those hours were exhausting. The puzzles were especially tedious, requiring a significant amount of backtracking and/or convoluted solutions. Instead of feeling rewarded for solving the puzzles, I just felt thankful I could move on. The biggest issue wasn’t the solutions or placement of items, it was the annoyance that I knew exactly what I needed to do but had to spend at least fifteen minutes stuck in unskippable animations to complete it.

Röki is a gorgeous adventure game that immerses you in Scandinavian folklore through a combination of story and puzzles. However, if you don’t have patience for unskippable dialogue or frustrating puzzles you may want to try a different game. Additionally, I find the price of $20 a little high for how frustrating a third of the game is. But I would consider it a must-get for puzzle fans during a sale! Find Röki on Steam here.

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

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Ring of Pain Review: An Addictive Dungeon Crawler

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Ring of Pain is a rogue-like dungeon crawler developed by Simon Boxer and Twice Different. In the game, you travel through layers of a dungeon collecting loot and killing monsters. Each layer holds a series of cards containing enemies, curses, boons, and exits. As a character, you gain equipment, spells, items, and stat increases that help you defeat your enemies (or just run away better). 

Ring of Pain is a fantastic game. I received it in a charity game bundle, but it had sat untouched in my Steam library for a year. On a whim, I decided to try it out, telling myself I would play an hour or two and then review it. I ended up playing for four hours, only stopping because I had prior engagements. Every time I sat down to write this review, I instead played another couple of hours in Ring of Pain. The point of this story is not my weak will, but instead the highly addictive nature of Ring of Pain.

A screenshot of gameplay from Ring of Pain.

The gameplay had a good mix of strategy and luck, making it rewarding to succeed. There are also many viable strategies to pursue, which means there are many ‘correct’ ways to play the game and still see success. As someone who can get frustrated with rogue-likes, I liked how each run was relatively short but rewarding. This meant that I didn’t feel like I was sinking hours into gameplay that led nowhere. Also worth a mention is the absolutely stunning artwork that masters being atmospheric, creepy, and comical. 

My biggest gripe is that I wish there was more diversity of items. I sometimes felt as if I was just getting the same boring equipment over and over again. That being said, the developers have been consistently adding new content to the game since it released. Therefore, my largest issue is being addressed. 

Ring of Pain is a great game, and I highly recommend it for those who enjoy quick rogue-likes with dungeon-crawling elements. However, try another game if you get frustrated by random generation that could be impossible to surmount. 

Available on Steam for $20, I would say the price point is a little steep for the diversity of content. However, it’s a must-get during a sale!

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

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