Review: This War of Mine, the board game

Review: This War of Mine, the board game

Enlarge / Exploring an inhospitable world. (credit: Charles Theel)

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

This War of Mine is a giant punch to the gut. Inspired by the war in Sarajevo, the concept here tilts the notion of a “war game” on its head, presenting war not as explosions and bullets but as hunger and pneumonia. The game sets out to create a gritty experience, one of discomfort and anguish, and the good news (or the bad news, depending on your perspective) is that the challenging moral dilemmas are as compelling in the cardboard version as they were in the critically acclaimed 2014 video game.

Long is the day

This War of Mine is a cooperative experience of shared narrative. Players coordinate actions among a group of war-weary survivors holed up in a dilapidated multi-story ruin. Your people are starving, bruised, and emotionally broken, but you still need wood and pieces of machinery. During the day phase, you’ll move miniatures about the house and assign them to tasks. Perhaps you’ll expend a great deal of energy to dig up the bricks and mortar blocking the passage upstairs. Maybe you’ll search through the broken furniture in what was once a living room.

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