Review: Dead of Winter – The Long Night

Excerpt of game: Dead of Winter: The Long Night is a 2-5 player survival themed game. Players are part of a colony who must work together to survive the harsh winter, zombies and bandits. But perhaps the biggest threat doesn’t come from the surroundings, it comes from within.

Dead of Winter was probably one of the first board games that made me fall in love deeply with board games back in 2014. I had been playing games like Bang, Munchkin and Pandemic, but none were able to capture my attention for very long.

Then came along this game called Dead of Winter in 2014. It was sold out everywhere as soon as it was released. Even as a retailer, I had a hard time getting copies of it. And then, I finally got to played it for the first time in late 2014. Me and my friends lost terribly but we loved it. The experience was simply magical. We chatted after the game on what we could do better. We came together to brainstorm about new strategies and we enjoyed playing the game for the whole of 2015.

Fast forward to Sept 2016. When me and my friends knew that The Long Night was coming, we had the same excitement that we felt 2 years ago. We all chatted excitedly on what the new module changes would bring and what new zombies we will see. And then we played it. Did it had the same magic as before? Let’s find out.

First Impressions


The first thing that you will notice when you open the box is that there are lots of stuff inside. Tons of cards, tons of punch tokens, upgraded location boards, new location boards and many more. There are so much stuff that if you were to punch and set up all the standees by yourself, it would take you well over an hour.


All the punch out boards

All the punch out boards


On first glance, seasoned players might be able to tell that there are not a lot of differences in the content provided. However, this is not true. 1 thing I liked a lot in this box are the upgraded location card is that are made of cardboard, giving it a much solid feel. Also, the main board seems to have an upgrade, giving it a much sleeker look.

A minor complaint that I have would be the lack of zip-lock bags. Unlike the base set, there are only 2 zip-lock bags in this set! Seriously!? Also, there are these short zombie standees that you find in the set. I swear that they are the worst. These zombie standees are so freaking hard to squeeze into the transparent stands. The good news is that there are only about 10 of these short zombie standees.


All the tokens

All the tokens


The Long Night plays similarly to the base game of Dead of Winter, so we will focus more on the changes /upgrades here.

You will still take like forever to set up the game, just like as before. But this time round, you will realize that there are new tokens that you never seen before.

Tokens that you will grow to love are the Explosive Trap (orange explosive symbol) tokens, that wipes out all zombies in the same location once it is triggered. Then there are Advancement Tokens (hammer symbol) that are part of a new module in this game, which allows the survivors to build upgrades for their colony, like Sentry Guns.

Then, there will be tokens that you grow to hate. First, we have the despair token wounds (skull with red background). These act like wounds but can only be removed by card effects that specifically state that they can be used to treat despair tokens. And finally, the angry helpless survivor token (helpless survivor with angry face). Oh man. We all hate helpless survivors but this takes the icing of the cake really as they act as 2 helpless survivors when it comes to food count and adding of zombies.


2 New Locations (Raxxon and Bandit Hideout)

2 New Locations (Raxxon and Bandit Hideout)i


Next, we have the 2 new things that we absolutely loved in this game, Raxxon and Bandit Hideout.

First, let’s start with Raxxon. It is a pharmaceutical lab location card where strange experiments are held and new weapon prototypes are stored. I highly recommend playing this module as this is where the gold is. It is responsible for spawning special zombies like the Hunter, Screamer and many more.


Can I touch your muscles?

Can I touch your muscles?


These are not your ordinary zombies that can be killed off using card effects. You still attack it using your attack dice. However, you need to roll a 6 sided die after to determine if you managed to successfully killed it. Most of these stronger special zombies does nasty stuff to you, making it harder for you to survive.

Trivia: Raxxon is also the lab that created the hunters in Specter Ops, another game from Plaid Hat Games. 





The next module is the bandits module with their home base being the Bandits Hideout. While Raxxon module is both fun and intense, I generally find the Bandits module fun but not as intense.

Bandits are dressed like soldiers that spawn every round at random locations, scavenging resources to their hideout from the location that there were from. New players might find them generally irritating as they serve no purpose at all, except to take up space on the board and to attract zombies to your location.

The easy part about though (which can be tricky at times), is the raiding of the if you only Bandits Hideout. As all resources are placed in the location faced up, players can determine if they want to take a gamble. See a blueprint or weapon that you need? Go for it! It is a no brainer really.



The rest of the game plays pretty much the same as the original, were you use your die to move around or to clear zombies. Oh. And there is your best friend too, the exposure die. Roll a tooth and you are dead, which brings me to the last change in this game, the Graveyard.

So what does the graveyard does exactly? Nothing really. It just serves as a place to hold all your fallen survivors, that’s all. Also, it is used as a trigger in some Crossroads cards. We gotta admit that we are a tad disappointed that it does nothing more.

And that’s about all the upgrades / changes in this game! The Advancement Module, the Raxxon Module and the Bandits Module. All these modules are unique to this game, but we find that the Raxxon Module is the best and the one you should play, always! And if you are up for it, play the story objective included in this game. I highly recommend it as it gives you a backstory of everything that is happening is the desolated land.


Blue pill? Red pill?

Blue pill? Red pill?


Dead of Winter has always been a polarizing game for me and my friends. Half of them will love it and half of them will hate it. Most love it for the story. Most hate if cause it’s too lengthy and too heavy for them. For The Long Night, it will still be the same. Those who loved the predecessor will love it even more now. Those who hated it will unfortunately hate it even more now.

For me, I loved it but I would only rate this slightly higher the original Dead of Winter. I definitely enjoyed playing the new modules and stuff, which added to the challenge. The only minor complaint that I have is that some characters and weapons feel slightly overpowered. If you can look past this issue, then The Long Night is certainly for you.

So.. the most common question is, should I just get this and not the original base set? To me, it is like asking myself, if I should take the blue pill or the red pill? Both are good in their own way, so why not take both. To be objective though, it does depend on how much you would like to customize your game play. With both sets, you have more personalization and more replayability, especially when you can use the base characters in the new expansion. Take 1 game? Take 2 games? It’s your choice really.


You will love this if you… 

  • Are a fan of the original Dead of Winter
  • Likes survival themed games with lots of twists and turns
  • Want to impress your group of friends with the huge set up
  • Likes muscular zombies

TBG Rating: 8.3/10

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