The board game version of miserablism sim Frostpunk was funded on Kickstarter in under an hour (opens in new tab), proving there is definitely an audience for a tabletop game where players struggle to survive a seemingly endless winter, with or without turning to child labour, religious extremism, or other extreme measures to keep the fires burning. It eventually raised €2,496,308 (around AU$3.9M).
Unlike the videogame, the board game is co-operative, with up to four players in charge of a steampunk city trying to outlast an ice age. What the two versions share is that you have to balance each decision made in the name of survival with how the populace will react to it. Adding sawdust to meals to make the food supply last longer will have consequences, but so will putting everyone on starvation rations.
Frostpunk: The Board Game comes with a heap of tiles, markers, tokens, and boards, as well as cards to represent different events, laws, scenarios, expedition results, weather, technology, and more. Your citizens are represented by wooden meeples, with different ones for workers, engineers, automatons, and, yes, children. There's also a plastic Generator Cube Tower that sits at the centre of your city and is over 22cm (8.6 inches) tall.
It's the work of designer Adam Kwapiński, who also created Nemesis, Lords of Hellas, InBetween, and Heroes. Based on what players have said, it's no more forgiving than the videogame version, and you can probably expect to fail a decent amount of the time, whether due to sickness, starvation, low morale, or even your overworked generator exploding.
There's also an expansion called Frostlander, which adds an even harder difficulty option, with more cards for various decks and luxurious wooden versions of the game's markers and tokens.
Frostpunk: The Board Game is available in Australian stores now, with Frostlander to follow. It'll set you back around AU$200.