This War of Mine
This war is not about winning, it’s merely about surviving
This War of Mine is a survival simulator about guiding weary citizens through the rubble of their city. A few times per week, Franko comes to your camp to trade: five cigarettes is the going rate for a can of food in occupied Porogen. Vegetables are pricey – moonshine or jewellery – but they’re also more nutritious of course.
During the day, survivors purify water, pack homemade bullets and tend paltry gardens. At night, one person goes ‘scavenging’, gathering supplies from ruined hospitals and supermarkets, using basic stealth and combat to avoid or fend off other desperate refugees.
What you find at night affects how much you accomplish each day, keeping tension high. Randomised variables can dictate play: it’s easier to live through spring than winter, the value of tobacco skyrockets, a neighbour asks for help.
Resources are scarce and the game’s mechanics are stifling. You’re only allowed to search one location per night, even with several hours left before the curfew. This rigidity elevates the mundane – finding meat is a high point – but blunts the moral drama: stealing to survive isn’t a dilemma if it’s the only option.
Still, even when tactical play seems impossible, it evinces desperation and futility. You never experience war directly, but you learn Bruno, Franko, Katia and Pavle are collateral damage. Joseph Leray
A game that engenders empathy through the constancy, immediacy, and volume of its choices.
The red circles could be identifying rats, traders, or hostile guards. So go carefully on your night-time scavenging.