Which is the better: This War of Mine Online or Offline?
This war of Mine is a game based on the 1992-96 siege of Sarajevo. It is not about fighting back or forming rebel groups as you might have imagined. Instead, the game is all about trying to survive in a sieged city in the context of war.
There are two types of this game you can play- This war of mine online or offline. The online version is a video game where you have to take care of a group of civilians under your care. But there is also a version of this in the form of a board game. Let’s discuss which one is the better for you.
This War of Mine: Online
This war of mine is an interesting strategy game where you control a group of civilians in a besieged city. The game does not give you many instructions on how to play. Most often, you would have to learn by playing and replaying. But activities are straightforward and easy to learn. But here is some of the story.
The city is under enemy control. People are panicking and have fled. Stores are shut down. Utilities are turned off. The utmost thing here is to survive. So your task here is to scavenge for food and supplies and keep the civilians alive and functioning. And no, if you thought it was about forming a rebel force to fight back, it’s not.
If you see a hand icon, it indicates something that you can use or loot. If it’s a pile icon, it would mean that it’s debris you can dig through. Other simple icons include ‘operate’ icons for workbenches or stoves, ‘door’ icons for opening doors, and ‘lock’ icons for picking locks. You just have to figure them out as you play, as there aren’t any instructions manuals or tooltips to explain what the icons are.
This war of mine game begins in something that looks like a bombed-out apartment. There are 2-4 civilians at the beginning. Some activities you should do are ransacking your base for supplies, building beds for civilians, setting up gardens and finding food.
Sometimes food and other supplies are easily available, or you may be able to barter them from other people. But sometimes, you would have to fight with armed militants and forces for what you want. You will risk getting your civilians killed in the fight, but through this way, you get more supplies than when you don’t take risks. Civilians get depressed when others are killed and may react negatively.
The atmosphere of the game is somber, and the sound is minimal. Mostly speech is in the form of voice bubbles. You get to control a variety of random civilians and locations. There are also many random events you must react to, like a cold spell where you have to burn more fuel to keep the civilians alive and random attacks on your base.
This game is inspired by the 1992-96 siege of Sarajevo, where civilians are faced with the tough decisions of how to spend time and money and use their resources to maintain their health and avoid falling into depression. You can only venture out at night to gather food and supplies.
The Little Ones
This war of mine comes with an expansion called ‘The Little Ones,’ which further intensifies the game. Interestingly, in this version, the war is seen through the eyes of a child. It is still the basic game of trying to survive in a war-torn city, but there are new challenges of children included in your group of civilians.
In the game, children are seen playing with toys, even playing and laughing. You have to scavenge to survive on one hand, and on another, you have to protect the children. The question is, how far will you go for the sake of the children? Will you be able to put a smile on the child’s face even in the event of war?
Two other expansions are also available called ‘War Child’ and ‘Father’s Promise.’
How much does This War of Mine game cost? Is it worth the price?
Currently, This War of Mine game costs about $14.99-35.9. ‘The little ones’ additions would cost about $15.99. The game is a way to experience real-life situations in the context of war. But some may find it too somber and uninteresting as a game. So whether it is worth the money or not depends on each person.
But I wouldn’t recommend this game due to some inappropriate content and violence. Of course, each game played is different according to the player, but violence happens very often, and players can kill off multiple innocent civilians in cold blood while they beg for mercy. This game is not only about survival but also having to resort to violence and the kind of decisions you would make in a situation.
The game also contains strong language, and there is sexual violence also implied. The game also takes about 10-16 hours to complete.
This War of Mine Board Game
The board game is a table-top version of the award winning video game. The story line is basically the same, where you are in charge of the group of civilians and have to take care of them.
During the day, you are involved in activities like building beds, removing rubble, cultivating a garden for food and trying to keep warm. During the night, you use the cover of darkness to find food and scavenge for supplies. the goal of the game is to survive throughout the war. It’s not so easy given that you could be faced with a lot of struggles to fight for food and enemy attack.
And as the saying reads on the side of the board game-“In war, not everyone is a soldier..”
Th board game can be played by a single player or up to six players. it’s all about making the right decisions and the extent you would go to in order to survive. Most of the game is about human interactions and is a broader version of the This War of Mine video game.
The board is double-sided and there are 195 cards spread across 15 decks. it requires about 45-120 minutes to play. So you must be willing to spend some time on it. but you can also save the game for later as I did and play whenever you are free.
This game would cost about $40 or more. And is it worth it? I think it’s much better than the video game version for two reasons. One is that I am not much of a fan of video games in general and two, because the board game has all the theme and storyline as the video game but minus the bad language and violence. Yes, I do not condone violence against the innocent and there are many instances where it happens in video game. True, each game depends on the person playing it, but well, I prefer the board game.
If there was any downside to the board game, it’s that it can get a bit repetitive and after three times of playing you would have memorized every card and predicted every move. There is not much of a variety in the game. But still, the game offers a valuable lesson for all those who haven’t experienced war and want to know what it’s like and what decisions to make in order to survive.
This war of mine is a game based on real-life situations in the context of war. The game is not about fighting for territory but about fighting for basic survival while protecting the group of civilians you have under your care. The game may have violent content, but it is valuable in teaching us what war is really like and what we must do to survive. In the end, what matters is the decisions you take, and once you understand that in war, there is no good or bad, but only what you must do in order to survive.
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*All pics courtesy from Unsplash.com