This War of Mine
At GDC, we had a chance to check out 11-bit's This War of Mine, which brings new perspective to life in a warzone. We're used to playing as the heroic soldier, mowing down countless, faceless enemies. This War of Mine puts us in control of the powerless refugees.
Since GDC, 11-bit has refined some of the game to reinforce the theme. In previous builds, you could get rewards for evil acts like stealing. The team has removed those incentives, and put in detrimental effects that take a mental toll on the survivors in your group.
This War of Mine keeps resource management at the center, and you'll need to manage your food, medicine, and crafting materials to keep everyone under your care whole. Knowing who to give a precious bed to overnight, whether to give food to a passing stranger (who may then join your group), and which location to scavenge at night are all smaller decisions that add up quickly.
At its heart, This War of Mine is a point-and-click adventure game. The set-up and encounters are randomized, and you'll have new survivors in your team with each play. Unlike many games in the genre though, This War of Mine tells a story that is personal to each player and playthrough.
A new addition is the biography system. As characters go on scavenging expeditions, meet new people, and encounter new tragedies, they'll react to them. Their biographies will be updated with new perspectives on the events.
Playing This War of Mine reminded me of classic worker management tabletop games like Agricola. You'll never have enough time or resources to do everything you want, so making smart choices to maximize your success is crucial.
You'll probably feel like you're losing as the game progresses, but really that's the point. 11-bit's game isn't about winning. It's about surviving.