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Dwar7s Winters


Luis Brüeh

Vesuvius Media


No. of Players:



G@mebox author Lutz Wildt writes about the game:

Dwarves are a hardworking bunch. The story of Snow White and the seven dwarves is a very good example for that. On the other hand, they are also strong and brave fighters, Legolas won't say a bad word about Gimli when it comes to describing his fighting power and courage in battle. Both of these two dwarf attributes play a major role in the newest offspring of the dwarf-based boardgame series by VESUVIUS MEDIA: Dwar7s Winter .

As so often, it's a game about dwarves and their enemies in which the dwarves have to defend their city from 16 different monsters that attack from all sides of the city wall. The city is divided into 5 different sections. Depending on the zone a different resource is available to collect during the game. But the inner of the city is also a fighting zone, because the city wall cannot really keep all the monsters away. As a result, each round one of the attacking monsters moves one step closer to the innermost of the city, where the castle is located. And once a monster is inside the castle at the end of a round, the game is lost for all players. But there are also other dangers the players have to confront: Nasty disastrous incidents occur almost every round and must be defeated. Only if at the end of the seventh round there are only less than four disasters active, and if there is no monster in the castle, a dwarf can win the game. Dwar7s Winter is a semi-cooperative game, fighting against monsters and disasters is the cooperative part of the game, but in the end only one dwarf can win the game. Each dwarf gains victory points for defeating monsters, contributing in the fights against the disasters and for collecting hero cards. A dwarf is a dwarf and when there is a chance to be richer and stronger than your friends, a dwarf will take it.

Unfortunately, moving is not the only thing a monster does. There are different monster abilities that hinder dwarves in the same zone, for example a monster might steal from the resources of a dwarf, or even sends the dwarf from the board back to the player's board. But what can the dwarves do against these threats? First of all, a dwarf has to be on the board to do something useful. Each round a player can perform up to five actions, and one of them is to place a new dwarf from the player board to one section of the board. Of course, you can also move your dwarves. And if they are strong enough (most threats demand more than one dwarf in a zone), they can fight monsters.

If one of the zones (forest, mine and field) is hit by a disaster, the industrious guys can no longer obtain the necessary resources (wood, food and stone) in the affected areas. However, these are urgently needed to avert a disaster or to fight the monsters. So let's see how this works: we already start with a few resources, but these will be spent soon. To get new resources, we have to play music, and for that, we must use our hand cards. We start with comparable weak cards, but new cards can be obtained as an action in our turn. Each card has a music symbol that is matching a specific landscape type.

If you play a music card, all of your dwarves in the matching landscape are joining in. As a result, you get the reward from every matching zone with at least one of your dwarves. But dwarves of the other players can also join in and will get a reward for their played music too (depending on different hero cards). This allows various agreements between players in order to obtain - as a group - as many resources as possible. After all, it's not that easy to defeat the monsters and overcome the disasters. Good cooperation is needed as more and more threats appear on the map as the game progresses. A player with his seven dwarves cannot be everywhere at once and solve all problems. Especially if you consider that in case of a successful fight or disaster solution all envolved dwarves come back on the player boards and must all be brought back to the board with an action to continue the fighting. It is of course a question of dwarf honor whether the agreements are all kept. As I said, the game is only semi-cooperative.

So Dwar7's Winter consists more or less of placing dwarves, moving them around and harvesting with them to defeat an enemy sooner or later and to free the landscape from disasters. Simple, isn't it? Actually, it would be, if there weren't the other players! Depending on the number of players almost every round a new monster is revealed and a new disaster is added, there is a lot going on on the playing field. The more or less powerful monsters march annoyingly fast every round one step closer towards the castle. A single player must consider carefully what he can do on his or her own. But you also have to think hard about how much help you need from your fellow players, because all players will participate from the benifit in case of a success. Another point to consider is how much support you can give to other players without allowing yourself to be over-benefited. Deciding whether to use your limited number of actions to buy a new Hero Card, to bring a new dwarf to the board, or to concentrate your dwarf army in the one place to fight a monster is not easy. After all, you always have to weigh the possible victory points against the threat of defeat.

I must confess that I had some problems to find a good strategy. The hope that a clever move of the dwarves and the execution of a suitable music action would bring in as many resources as possible was not really confirmed. Likewise, acquiring of the stronger hand cards did not always take full effect. On the other hand the artwork of the game is funny and the amount of miniatures on the table and the great graphics really make a difference. Although the allocation of the illustrations was sometimes a little bit confusing, because for example the resources needed to defeat catastrophes and monsters can be found in different places on the respective cards, the game is basically easy to learn. Funny or not, to win the game you must carefully choose new hand cards, and that's hard indeed in your first game. And the threats and monsters are moving forward quickly. Anyway, a castle has to be defended. Let's go on, dwarves.

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