Sitting across the table, you size your enemy up. So this is the animal behind the war you’ve been waging. All those lives lost in the middle of the worst crisis this world has ever known. And they want to talk peace? Now? After all that’s happened? Maybe they do… or maybe they’re just trying mask their weaknesses. They have to be close to the breaking point if you are…
In the Warring Colonies variant of the new Dead of Winter expansion, two teams of 2-5 players will clash over territory and resources in a colony vs. colony fight for survival. While most of the gameplay in this variant remains the same as a standard game of Dead of Winter, some key changes and additions to the mechanics make Warring Colonies a new and unique experience.
Today we’re looking at the basic gameplay and combat of the Warring Colonies variant.
Calculated Moves and Quick Thinking
The first significant changes to a standard game of Dead of Winter can be seen through the chess-like positioning of the movement phase and simultaneous turns.
During the player turns step, starting with the colony leaders (elected each round), a player from each colony will take a turn. Simultaneous turns then continue clockwise around each colony until each player has taken a turn.
Movement happens before all other actions. The two active players take turns either moving a survivor or passing, continuing until both players have passed. In addition to the colony and the 6 standard locations, players may now aggressively move survivors to the enemy colony, placing them in empty zombie entrance spaces.
During movement, players may move a survivor to a full location, but must first move a survivor at that location back to their colony. If that survivor belongs to the enemy colony, the player must first spend a bullet token (or two bullet tokens if the survivor is equipped with a weapon).
Bullet tokens are a new resource in Warring Colonies that can be utilized during movement and colony combat and represent a colony’s resources devoted to war. In addition to each colony receiving 2 bullet tokens per round, players may add to their colony’s bullet supply through abilities or item cards.
After both active players have moved their survivors, they simultaneously complete all other actions they want to take for their turns. But time is no longer a luxury. The first player to finish taking their actions flips a 2 minute sand timer. The other player now has two minutes to use or lose all remaining actions. Any crossroad cards or bites that triggered during the simultaneous actions are then resolved.
The Art of War
In the Warring Colonies variant, players do not perform attack actions against survivors. Attack actions have been replaced with a new phase: colony combat. During the colony combat step of the colony phase, a special combat will take place at each location that contains survivors from both colonies.
At the beginning of combat, colony leaders select one card from their identical 5-card sets of tactics cards. The two chosen cards are then simultaneously revealed and resolved. At this point, one of three things will happen: 1) Combat ends with survivors at this location agreeing to a temporary peace. 2) Combat ends with 1 or both colonies retreating back to the colony. 3) Combat continues on to the next steps as bullets start to fly.
If combat has not ended, each colony leader then adds 1 to her combat strength for each friendly survivor at this location (2 if the survivor has a weapon equipped), 1 for each bullet token that the leader has secretly bid, and the result of a combat die roll.
The 12-sided combat dice represent the uncertainty of battle and make even the most one-sided combats a risk for both colonies. A combat dice might add to a colony’s combat strength, deal targeted damage to enemy survivors, or even cause zombies to swarm the location. Fight at your own risk!
After all this, the leader with the higher total combat strength is the winner of this combat. The defeated leader must distribute wounds among friendly survivors at this location equal to the difference in each colony's total combat strength. This difference is easy to count thanks to the included combat tracker.
The Fight Has Just Begun
As you can see, Warring Colonies will provide new and thrilling challenges for your team of survivors that will further serve to make each game of Dead of Winter a unique and storied experience. Check in next week as we take a look at the new main objectives and crises.
Look for Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies to be available this August!