This War Of Mine Board Game

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What the game is about

This War of Mine tells the story of regular people trying to survive in a war-torn city, not the soldiers fighting. Players face very hard choices while managing hunger, illness, and unhappiness. The game aims to share the perspective of civilian victims during wartime. It presents moral struggles around basic survival needs versus retaining humanity. 

This War of Mine evokes exhaustion and sadness instead of entertainment. It focuses more on peoples’ difficult situations in war rather than exciting combat. The game tries to be emotionally realistic about the impacts of violence on ordinary citizens’ lives.

How the game works

How the game works

In This War of Mine, players control a group of civilians taking shelter in a damaged building. Each round, you need to carefully manage limited resources to keep your survivors healthy and safe. This involves clearing rubble, unlocking new rooms, constructing helpful items, and guarding against threats. To win scenarios, you must keep members of your group alive and maintain some humanity through difficult decisions. Sometimes the goal requires saving certain survivors or relationships. 

There are varying challenges in different scenarios with special rules, objectives and characters. Overall victory goes to those players who best balance survival needs with moral choices, guiding their survivors through the inhumanity of war. The game presents tough dilemmas where basic needs or desperate acts can compromise integrity or humanity.

Theme, art & flavor

The look and feel of This War of Mine is intentionally depressing. The color scheme is dark with little light. The textual content describes bleak and hopeless situations. The gameplay often ends in characters dying off. All of this aims to emotionally convey the desperate and draining experience of civilians during wartime. Players are meant to feel the weight of each difficult choice regarding survival needs versus moral decisions. Having to prioritize some lives over others takes an emotional toll, even in a game. 

While the oppressive tone can feel intense across multiple plays, it summons feelings unlike other board games. The ruthless nature of war demands painful compromises to continue on, creating a painful empathy for its victims. The immersive dreariness brings players into the perspective of those struggling to persist in unforgiving conditions.

How Does It Play?

How Does It Play?

Gameplay in This War of Mine works like a worker placement game combined with randomness. Each round, players have a set number of actions based on their survivors’ health and needs. These actions allow interacting with locations inside the shelter as well as risky searches outside at night. Finding crucial supplies often requires braving threats from aggressive intruders. 

Random event cards add challenges like shortages, cold snaps or raids. Players have to balance securing the shelter and stockpiling resources with keeping their survivors fed, warm and mentally stable. It is a constant struggle between expanding possible actions through improvements versus attending to urgent troubles and dangers. With so many unpredictable factors, surviving to the end while retaining humanity is extremely difficult. 

This creates tense decisions around resource limits, pressing troubles, and moral dilemmas. The game keeps players in a reactive state to emphasize the precarious nature of civilian life in wartime.

The Book of Scripts

The Book of Scripts is a key game component that guides most gameplay without heavy rules. When certain events occur like entering a new location or a survivor reaching a dire state, the Book directs players to a corresponding entry. These narrative passages describe the situation, options, and outcomes to resolve it. Having this reference eliminates lots of rule books and instead starts players into the action. 

The Book of Scripts handles the event possibilities and consequences so the focus stays on surviving each dramatic scene. With so many variable situations, the Book allows jumping right in to navigate struggles and dilemmas. Having a central text manages the experience this way smoothes the gameplay. It emphasizes tough narrative choices rather than complicated mechanics. 

This innovatively streamlines the challenges of war survival into compelling story entries for an immersive, thematic adventure.

What I like

This War of Mine delivers an impactful, evocative experience that goes beyond typical gaming:

  • The extremely challenging survival situations reflect the raw adversity faced by civilians in war, adding real weight
  • High replay value comes from the variety of narratives in the Book of Scripts and different playable scenarios
  • Game systems seamlessly integrate into an emotionally gripping, story-based adventure
  • Despite the depressing tone, the viewpoint shift to ordinary victims presents a uniquely human take on war

Overall, this game provides a thrilling yet moving journey by focusing gameplay on ethical dilemmas and representing the human toll of violence. The mechanics, visuals and narratives combine to share the grim reality of those trapped in conflict zones fighting for basic needs.

What I didn’t like

There are a couple potential downsides to This War of Mine:

  • Victory seems extremely hard and random based on unlucky event card draws and story entries
  • The heavy emotional tone focusing on war tragedies may not appeal to all gamers looking for fun

While the punishing difficulty and depressed mood are purposeful game features, they could be barriers for some players. Positive outcomes rely heavily on unpredictable factors, which underscores the lack of control civilians face. Additionally, experiencing the darker human impacts of conflict instead of heroism does not suit everyone’s preferences. So this intentionally gritty survival perspective could alienate players seeking entertainment over solemnity.


Since its initial Kickstarter campaign, two official expansions have been released for This War of Mine by the new publisher Galakta Games. Tales from the Ruined City and Days of the Siege add more gameplay variety. New scenarios, survivors, locations, activities, and modules are included. These build on the core survival experience in different ways. 

For example, some content expands the shelter with new usable spaces like sewers. Other additions introduce new characters like farmers to trade with. Further supplements provide more narrative content and challenges via the Book of Scripts. Everything is optional to mix and match for customization. The expansions aim to enrich the base game with more stories to tell in the ravaged city setting. 

This allows veterans and newcomers alike to ratchet up the difficulty or simply witness more of the civilian perspectives from the ongoing conflict.


Is The War of Mine a good game?

Yes, This War of Mine is considered a very compelling and immersive board game.

How long is This War of Mine board game?

Average playtime is around 1-2 hours per full scenario played as a group.

Is This War of Mine based on a true story?

No, This War of Mine is fictional but inspired by real events like the Siege of Sarajevo.

How long will it take to beat This War of Mine?

To complete all scenarios beats estimates range from 20-30 hours of total gameplay.


This War of Mine brings an emotionally heavy perspective to the tabletop. Instead of controlling soldiers, players manage a group of civilians trapped in a besieged city just trying to survive war. It is an exercise in balancing mortal needs like food, shelter, health and rest alongside moral quandaries when desperate situations arise.

Random traumatic events and grim personal costs unfold through compelling narrative entries rather than just dice rolls. The game maintains a depressing tone to genuinely communicate civilian strife versus trivializing it for entertainment. Victory is not guaranteed or even the priority – retaining humanity while surviving tests players in impactful ways rarely seen. This War of Mine forgoes fun for an unflinching, thoughtful representation of ordinary people enduring a war-ravaged existence.

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