How To Play: Dead of Winter: The Long Night – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Master 'Dead of Winter: The Long Night' with expert strategy. Focus on resource optimization, strengthening group synergy, and adept crisis/betrayal handling. Navigate through the game's chilling challenges by combining keen allocation of materials and characters with preparedness for any treacheries that may unfold among survivors.


Welcome survivors to this vital guide on ‘How To Play Dead of Winter: The Long Night’. Before diving into the nitty-gritty of surviving this bone-chilling board game, it’s crucial to get a grip on the core rules. Once you understand the dos and don’ts, I’ll escort you through the blizzard of strategies needed to enhance your chances of victory. We’ll construct the bastion of your game plan from resource management, nurture group synergy, and arm you for crisis and deceit. So pull your scarves tight and let’s survive this long night.

What’s in the box

  • 30 Survivor cards
  • 5 Player Reference Sheets
  • 1 Colony Board
  • 20 Location cards
  • 29 Crisis cards
  • 80 Crossroads cards
  • 24 Secret Objective cards
  • 10 Betrayal Secret Objective cards
  • 10 Exiled Secret Objective cards
  • 30 Survivor Standees
  • 60 Standee bases
  • 1 Exposure die
  • 4 Tracker tokens
  • 25 Wound tokens
  • 20 Barricade tokens
  • 20 Helpless Survivor tokens
  • 20 Food tokens
  • 20 Noise tokens
  • 20 Zombie Standees
  • 90 Item tokens from various locations:
    1. Grocery Store (food, junk)
    2. School (books, educational materials)
    3. Police Station (weapons, radio)
    4. Gas Station (fuel, tools)
    5. Library (books, chance for secret objectives)
    6. Hospital (medicine)
  • 1 Rulebook

How To Play Dead of Winter: The Long Night: Rules Summary

Gather your friends, survivor. You’re about to dive into a frigid world where humanity teeters on the brink of extinction. Mastering ‘How To Play Dead of Winter: The Long Night’ ensures you’re well equipped to face the horrors together. It’s a game beautifully blending strategy, a dash of luck, and group narrative into a memorable tabletop experience. So here’s how you get started.

Game Setup

  1. Place the main game board in the centre of the table.
  2. Each player chooses a color and takes the corresponding survivor location cards, standees, and player aids.
  3. Sort and place all the item decks, crisis cards, and secret objectives nearby.
  4. Populate the locations with zombie and survivor tokens based on the number of players.
  5. Everyone draws a random secret objective; that’s what you need to achieve to win the personal victory.

Gameplay Basics

  1. To start your turn, reveal a crisis card which sets the scene’s overarching setback — everyone must work to resolve it throughout the round.
  2. Roll dice equal to the number of survivors you control, adding one. These dice will dictate your actions for the round.
  3. Take turns in clockwise order allocating dice and taking actions such as fighting zombies, scavenging for items, using abilities, or contributing to the crisis resolution.
  4. At the end of the round, follow the round summary order to spawn zombies, check waste, and feed survivors.
  5. Teamwork is crucial but don’t forget about your secret objective — even if it means making morally ambiguous decisions.

Winning the Game

  1. To clinch victory, the main colony objective must be met which is public and known to all players since the start.
  2. Fulfill your secret objective without getting exiled or losing humanity to the undead army, which means balancing communal contributions and selfish preparatory actions.

Special Rules & Conditions

  1. Be wary of potential traitors concealed among the survivors. Some secret objectives may encourage morally grey actions and potentially sabotage the main goal.
  2. Exposure to the elements and zombies can lead to frostbite, infection, and character demise—strategize cautiously before venturing into the icy wilderness or tangling with the undead.
  3. Unique crossroads cards throw narrative twists — prompting crucial decisions with lasting impacts during each player’s turn.

Best Dead Of Winter The Long Night Strategies

Master the Art of Scrounging: Winning with Resource Management in Dead of Winter

Feeling the chill in your bones while trying to survive in ‘Dead of Winter: The Long Night’ not only adds to the tense atmosphere but also emphasizes the need for sharp resource management and optimization. It’s clear from my many play sessions that whoever controls the resources controls the game. Therefore, let’s manage our supplies like post-apocalyptic masterminds.

Focusing on Essentials

  1. Firstly, prioritize the collection of food and medicine. Securing a stable food supply limits the waste of precious dice on feeding survivors, allowing for more meaningful actions elsewhere.
  2. Secondly, remember to stockpile fuel for excursions. Few things are more harrowing than being stranded at an outpost because you ran low on fuel.

Leveraging Locations

  1. Scout the locations efficiently. It’s not just about what you find, but also where you find it. Facilities like the grocery store are goldmines for food, which is always in high demand.
  2. Savvy players will keep an eye on the locations that offer the specific resources they’re running low on; hopping between them can be a game-changer.

Playing the Long Game

  1. Maintain a surplus; resources committed to crisis response can make or break survivor morale. Every resource saved is a step closer to surviving the long night unscathed.
  2. Finally, barter effectively. In ‘Dead of Winter: The Long Night,’ a spare piece of junk might be someone else’s treasure, unlocking potential for team-saving trades. Need a can of fuel? Offer up something tempting.

Ultimately, resource management is a balancing act. Through personal triumphs and group play, I’ve learned that overcommitting can be as perilous as negligence, striking a deliberate balance is key to surviving the long, cold nights ahead.

Mastering Group Dynamics in Dead of Winter: The Long Night

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while huddling for warmth in those strategic evenings playing Dead of Winter: The Long Night, it’s that understanding your character’s role and building group synergy isn’t just recommended—it’s essential for survival. Here’s my personal take on carving out victory through collaborative dynamism.

Identify Your Niche

  1. Take time at the start to fully understand your characters’ abilities. Spot the ways you can maximize your contribution—for instance, consider if you’re the movement expert or the bargain hunter of the group.
  2. Communicate with your teammates about who takes on which tasks. When I played as Sparky, the Stunt Dog, I focused on scouting and fetching items because of his ability to dodge zombies easily.

Plan Coordinated Strategies

  1. Before each round, discuss plans collectively. Effective collaboration comes from aligning everyone’s actions towards a common goal, say clearing a particularly infested location.
  2. Execute plays that set up your teammates. If Sarah’s next to secure resources, send someone to clear the path, for instance.

Leveraging Character Specialties

  1. Each character has unique skills. Assign critical missions based on these—like having the doctor handle medical crises.
  2. When I realized my character’s knack for killing zombies, I decided to take point in clearing locations while my buddies gathered supplies, working off everyone’s strengths.

In essence, winning ‘How To Play Dead of Winter: The Long Night’ often hinges on your group’s ability to leverage the special abilities of characters, maintain open channels of communication, and execute collective plans with precision. Get these dynamics right, and you’ll be turning the undead into the downright defeated, as I have countless times!

Mastering the Art of Crisis and Deception in Dead of Winter: The Long Night

In How To Play Dead of Winter: The Long Night, managing crises and preparing for possible betrayal are key to survival. Every decision must be crafted with the potential for treachery in mind. To flourish, you must be as vigilant and prepared for internal disruptions as you are for external threats.

Preemptive Crisis Allocation

  1. Always hold back some resources to contribute to crises, thus ensuring your colony doesn’t fall into chaos.
  2. Strategically select who contributes what, based on character abilities and current resource demands.

Predicting Betrayal

  1. Watch for suspicious behavior – does anyone seem to be hoarding cards or sabotaging missions?
  2. Communication is crucial: openly discuss group strategies to flush out any inconsistencies in a player’s story.

Betrayal Countermeasures

  1. Keep a mental tally of resources and cross-reference with contributions to spot any discrepancies.
  2. If betrayal is suspected, discreetly prepare to exile the traitor. But be careful: False accusations can be as damaging as actual betrayals.

Remember, preserving the colony’s integrity is as paramount as ensuring your individual survival. In How To Play Dead of Winter: The Long Night, the line between ally and adversary can blur, so maintain a balance between community contributions and wary independence. With proper crisis management and an eye for betrayal, you can not only survive – you can thrive.

Strategies Locked In: Survive & Thrive in the Frozen Wastelands

Arming yourself with these strategic tips, from honing your resource management skills to fostering group synergy, and staying vigilant in the face of crises and potential betrayers, will set you on a path to victory in ‘Dead of Winter: The Long Night’. Treat each session as a unique challenge that will test your decision-making and adaptability. Remember, in this game of survival and tension, your ability to anticipate and strategize against both the game’s mechanics and the possible upheaval from within your own ranks is just as critical as the luck of the draw. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the rich thematic experience that truly sets this game apart. Now that you’re well-prepared for all the horrors and surprises, gather your fellow survivors and dive into the fray. The desolate winter awaits your command!

Want to know what we think of Dead of Winter: The Long Night? Read our detailed review of Dead of Winter: The Long Night here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.