Why Dead of Winter: The Long Night Is A Great Family Game

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” The problem with the Zpoc isn’t the zombies, it’s the people.”  – Anonymous

This weekend, my family and I found ourselves at the local shop looking for a new game for the family game night. After vetoing several games chosen by my children that involve building ice cream sundaes (the genre is surprisingly large),  the clan rallied around Dead of Winter: The Long Night by Plaid Hat Games. In this post, we will focus on why Dead of Winter: The Long Night is a perfect choice for your next game night.


In Dead of Winter: The Long Night players command a colony of survivors that must brave the cold and survive the zombie apocalypse. The game can be best described as semi-co-op, as colony members will work together for the primary objective as well as their own secret personal objectives. One player in the group may have randomly selected a secret betrayal card and could be working to undermine the colonies objective. During each round players will work together to avoid a crisis that typically involves searching locations for various supplies.

Gameplay and set up

Dead of Winter: The Long Night is easy to set up and does not take up to much room on the table.  We were able to set it up on our coffee table opposed to needing to use our larger kitchen table.  The instructions are well written and easy to follow,  Plaid Hat Games website links to a great how to play video. My only complaint with the video is it doesn’t include sample gameplay, luckily Wil Wheaton covered the game here.

Why it’s a great game night game.

The game does an excellent job of being thematic and it easy to lose track of time playing. Players work together to search for supplies, avoid crises, and hopefully root out and exile anyone in the group that would betray the colonies efforts. It is unknown during gameplay if there is a betrayer or who he or she may be. The inclusion of an unknown betrayer provides an element of mystery and ensures no one gets stuck playing the antagonist.

There is no player elimination if a player loses all of his or her survivors due to injury, frostbite or zombie bite they are allowed to pick a new survivor card. This is a great gameplay mechanic that ensures that if you invite some friends or family over they will not get eliminated early with nothing to do. When playing with children the lack of elimination helps keep them from getting frustrated with the game.

The colony works together in order to avoid crises and complete the primary objective, this objective is either won or lost as a group. Additionally, each player has an individual goal they must achieve, As such, each game can have multiple winners. This is a really lovely dynamic for playing with some younger players as no one is made to feel like they lost.

We played several games and each time found the experience unique and engaging.  The game is listed for 14 plus, my ten-year-old was able to pick up play with little instruction, and my eight-year-old was able to play with minimal coaching. Anyone new to tabletop gaming, looking for a party game to play with non-gamers or looking  for an excellent game for the family game night will enjoy Dead of Winter: The Long Night

What is your favorite game night games? Leave your answer in the comments below and stay tuned for more reviews.