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In war, not everyone is a soldier.
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This War of Mine is a survival sim from Polish developer 11 Bit Studios. Civil war has broken out in an eastern European nation called "Graznavia" between the Grazni-dominated government and a separatist movement led by the country's Vyseni ethnic minority, leading to a siege of the capital city "Pogoren". Amidst shelling and snipers, the civilians of the city are caught up in the damage wrought by the fighting. Unable to flee due to the siege, as potential targets for trigger-happy fighters on either side, they must scavenge for food and medicine to survive the twisted hell that the city has become.

The game is available on GOG Dot Com and Steam.

As of April 28, 2015, the game was updated with a custom scenario editor and a custom survivor creator.

An expansion called This War of Mine: The Little Ones was released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 29th, 2016. It allows players to include children as part of the survivors, and revolves around the challenges and difficulties children and their carers face during wartime. It was later released on PC and Mac on June 1st 2016. On November 15th 2017, This War of Mine: Stories was released, featuring Father's Promise, the first of three planned DLCs with a heavier emphasis on storyline.

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In 2016, a boardgame version of the game was crowdfunded on Kickstarter by Awaken Realms. The game has been since delivered to backers and has gone to retail.


This War of Mine contains examples of these tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A-F 
  • Ability Required to Proceed: Sometimes getting into the right places requires the right tools, like a lockpick or pry-bar to bypass locked doors or open locked cabinets, or a saw to cut through iron bars. Other tools, like a shovel, are not required to bypass things like fallen rubble blocking a corridor, but can greatly expedite the process of clearing it, which is important because time is finite.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Quite a few for playability purposes. Healing wounds is frustratingly slow by video game standards, but much, much faster than real life. Carrying capacity is impressive and even a full load doesn't seem to slow you down. Franko the merchant can carry many ordinary humans' load worth on his person. All resources are abstracted, for instance all medicine works against all sicknesses and all ammunition works for all guns. Some forms of resource production, particularly plants, is ridiculously fast, you can grow vegetables in 72 hours. You do not have to worry about hygiene, using the bathroom or laundry. Eating a full, cooked meal will sustain you for up to two days. Despite the fact that the base has a stove and not central heating, the heat from the stove is perfectly evenly distributed in the house; so you basically have one temperature indoors and one outdoors. All this is acceptable, as adding realism in these matters would make the game a lot less enjoyable.
  • Action Survivor: Most of the survivors are this, at best. note  Even at their best they are mostly working with Improvised Weapons and just as frail as anyone else. Special mention goes to Anton note , Cvetanote , Zlatanote  and Pavlenote  as the game specifically says they don't have the skills needed to survive a war.
  • After the End: Technically during the end, and the "end" is particular to one metropolitan area, but this trope is still played thematically if nothing else.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Lower an NPC's health in a fight to a certain level, and the NPC may cower from the survivor s/he is fighting, begging and pleading for dear life. It's up to the player whether or not the NPC will live.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Bandits and almost all soldiers are this. None of the bandits have any redeeming qualities, and they always boast of their atrocities or of bullying innocents. With the exception of killing a single soldier, there's no moral penalty for killing bandits and multiple soldiers in a single day. Only a few soldiers will refuse to perform amoral actions because they truly believe they're here to protect the people.
  • An Axe to Grind: An axe is primarily useful for deconstructing furniture, which can yield a lot of usable materials, but its application as a weapon is obvious.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Another survivor will occasionally pay a visit to your shelter to barter, and at night you can visit some places where you can swap items with other nominally friendly survivors. For this reason, it is often a good idea to produce items with strong trade value, even if other things are more needed, because it will allow exchanging something the shelter survivors can produce but do not need with something they cannot produce and do need. Also, once various workshops are built, certain raw resources become much more valuable to salvage; one can even buy, for example, raw tobacco or sugar off traders to convert into cigarettes or moonshine to profit on the next trade. Just don't expect a large mark-up without Katia/the Insurance Agent (better bargaining), Bruno (moonshine with less resources), Marin (makes many things with less resources), the Pharmacist (medicine with less resources), Henrik (cigarettes in greater numbers), or the right buyer. Sometimes you can end up selling a product at a price lower than what it cost you to buy the ingredients.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: You can craft makeshift furniture for your shelter, which besides any aesthetic appeal has plenty of uses. Survivors need beds to rest in, chairs for sitting, barricades for patching holes in walls, and various work benches and resource generators.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Despite the game in general being Nintendo Hard and emulating War Is Hell, there are a few things that give the player some reprieve:
    • Some starting groups appear greatly unbalanced but are really less-so than they seem. If you start with Cveta and Anton, both of whom are considered the weakest characters in the game, you would easily think that the game is now badly unbalanced against you. However that starting set also provides you with extra beds, tools, and has neighbors help you out early; so it is at least not so unbalanced as you would think. Without knowing that you'd have to be really brave to be shafted with those two! This also applies to the scenarios with Zlata and Emilia, neither of which are capable of defending the shelter, and Marko all on his own.
    • Franko makes periodic visits to the shelter, so it's fairly easy to predict when he'll come by next, allowing the survivors to decide what to grab more easily.
    • As Stories is more plot-driven than the main game, it offers the option to restart from the day before if everyone dies.
  • Anyone Can Die: More like everyone will die, even if you do not take risks, and especially if they do. Your scavenging specialist might get a face full of buckshot just for showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time. Alternatively, you can stab an old couple to death, become suicidal, and kill yourself the next day. Even the weather is trying to kill you.
  • Armies Are Evil: While individual exceptions exist, identifiable combatants should be assumed dangerous and best avoided, if only because they are well-armed, because in the middle of a civil-war battlefield identifying Friend or Foe is difficult, and because trigger-fingers get itchy under that kind of anxiety. The fact this is the fighting they are part of, regardless of how justified, is why the civilians are having such a hard time sympathizing with them. Absolutely no soldier in this game is sympathetic, however.
  • Artificial Brilliance
    • Patrol routines will get more complicated if you get caught sneaking around but manage to escape. An example of this is the Warehouse: the first looter you see will start patrolling the basement which he never does on your first visit. Guards will also spend less time standing idle, making it more dangerous to sneak through their routes.
    • People will start to get suspicious if they see too many opened doors or hear too many strange sounds. They will eventually become alarmed at your presence if you keep being careless.
  • Artificial Stupidity: An easy method of dealing with evil and armed hostiles is to have them chase after you and lure them towards a hiding spot. If you're careful enough to get them to lose sight of you before you hide, they'll pass by your last known location and set themselves up for a deadly back stab.
    • In a lot of cases, if you have the assault rifle, all you need to do is take up a defensible position where you can only be approached from one direction, and start shooting. The mooks will run into your bullets. They might even all take the same path, turning their team into a conga-line of death.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: A very basic one that can be Hand Waved several ways, but the radio is depicted as only supporting Short Wave, Medium Wave (aka AM Radio) and Long Wave on its dial, yet it's picking up FM stations.
  • Asshole Victim: Certain survivors will have this reaction if one of them kills a bandit or a military sniper that had been killing civilians while scavenging... however some other survivors will worry that they are Not So Different.
    • Counterpointed with soldiers that did not commit any atrocities. While some survivors will show positive reactions to any soldiers being killed, others will question if the soldier truly deserved it or if he had been drafted against his will.
  • Back Stab: This is a very crucial attack for dealing with gun-armed hostiles. However, only a few characters can instantly kill with a back stab without alerting nearby guards. It can be performed by getting close enough behind the target or waiting for them to get near a hiding spot you've entered. Can be performed with a knife or hatchet, and a few characters can perform it with the shovel and crowbar as well.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Your scavenger can be this if s/he manages to rescue people held hostage by bandits.
    • Survivors that arrive at your shelter can be this, depending on the situation. Full of survivors with low inventory spots? Boris or Marko will brighten up your day! Need someone to help build or defend the shelter? Pray that Roman or Marin show up.
    • This can rapidly escalate with some luck and a revenue generating base. You can go all-out Punisher, rescuing the innocent, and exterminating the monsters with extreme prejudice. Just be careful about accidental karmic backfire.
  • The Berserker: Roman. Given that he's The Cynic, he'll start lashing out at his fellow survivors if his morale gets low enough. On the flipside, he's extremely effective in combat, capable of killing even the toughest enemies with ease, and is extremely adept at defending the shelter. Needless to say, keeping his morale in check should be a high priority.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The conflict between the Vysena separatist rebels and the Graznavia military. The rebels' refusal to surrender is what is causing the city to go under siege and the suffering of the civilians, and they seem reluctant to share their supplies with the civilians, only bartering with them at best. However they refuse to attack civilians when they are running low on supplies and are miles better than the military, whose snipers shoot civilians indiscriminately, regularly commit atrocities towards them as well and are the ones maintaining the blockade around the city.
  • Book Burning: A non-political variant. Using books as fuel for cooking or heat is an option, but is considered a last resort because of the morale boost a character gets from sitting in a comfy chair and reading a book.
  • Break the Cutie: If everything goes WRONG, characters can become "Broken", where they refuse to take actions, feed themselves or rest, and can end up killing themselves, attacking other survivors, or just leaving the shelter.
  • Breakable Weapons: Justified, as most of the weapons and tools the survivors use are improvised and MacGyvered together out of other objects. Unsurprisingly, they do not last long after heavy use.
  • Broken Bridge: While someone can be sent out to scavenge nightly, not every place is accessible all the time, as the intensity of the fighting shifts around town; and some places get blocked off due to combat. The survivors have to do what they can to find other sources for salvaging during this time. Even winter can complicate things by isolating areas with heavy snowfall.
  • Cap: Inventory type: each character can only carry so-much at once, and some can carry more than others. This is important when scavenging, as the player will need to make some hard decisions about what tools and weapons s/he brings, and what to pick up. Fortunately, the Player Headquarters has no such limit, making bartering at the HQ, for cheap but bulky supplies using expensive but small items earlier scavenged, a very useful approach.
  • Children Are Innocent: The main theme of The Little Ones port release, even in war children are still children. More-so in this video, where the child's imagination of his father as a super-hero in contrast to his less than stellar acts and morally muddled environment.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. While hiding behind doors, hallways and furniture will prevent NPCs from initially spotting you, if they see you in the process of hiding, their bullets will still reach you all the same, though you will take reduced damage.
  • Crapsack World: Harder to get more crapsack than living in a war zone.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Partly averted with player-controlled survivors, who will limp when they're critically wounded during a scavenging trip but can still run normally. Sometimes averted with enemies as their movement speed will also decrease when injured enough (they may even stop moving when critically injured). This doesn't make them any less dangerous, as they can still counterattack in melee combat.
  • Crocodile Tears: When injured enough, an enemy will beg the player not to finish the job. When it comes to bandits and soldiers, sparing them will always bite the player in the ass later on, whether it be rejoining the fight or alerting other enemies, and they won't hesitate to counterattack melee attacks. It's best to shoot them in the face.
  • Crowbar Combatant: The homemade pry-bars are meant to pry open locked doors, dressers, and cabinets, but are also useful in a pinch for clubbing someone.
  • Cycle of Hurting: It is possible to be in a situation where you have no supplies while every playable character is too sick or wounded to go out scavenging and everyone will either die of disease, bleeding out or starvation.
  • Cycle of Revenge: If a character is killed while scavenging, certain survivors will respond by swearing to make the ones responsible pay. It is possible to revisit the location your survivor was killed to exact revenge.
  • Dangerous Deserter: The player may encounter a house full of soldiers who have deserted, and are very hostile to intruders. It turns out they're kidnappers and their hostage died due to negligence, but they decide to demand ransom anyway.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Everyone in your safehouse has a tragic story to tell about each's own experiences before coming to the shelter.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Having to watch a survivor waste away from illness and/or injury and not having any medical supplies to help them will really drag down the rest of your party's morale. And the moment they die is usually the same moment where the others become emotionally broken. The only person who can be the least affected by this is the one who goes out on scavenging duty.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Sneaking around or storming a bandit-occupied warehouse, or dodging a sniper's bullets, is a good way to get a careless survivor killed... but it often leads to a motherlode of resources, without the guilt that comes from stealing the possessions of innocents.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Naturally, this game was pirated. But then a member of the dev team posted 10 Steam keys in the comment section, along with a message that basically said "It's okay, we understand that some people can't afford this game due to whatever reason. We just ask you to keep spreading the words."
  • Disk One Nuke: If you can get the rapist scenario at the Supermarket, then the place can be one. Just Back Stab the soldier with the knife equipped as soon as you open the door and kill him (you may have to stab him twice) then loot his corpse (an assault rifle, around 20 bullets, and a free Moonshine) and the entire supermarket is yours for the taking as no one else will be there to scavenge the place. Since you get this by saving a woman from rape, it also counts as a Karmic Jackpot.
    • The Garage is a location that's discovered pretty early. The trader there has an ailing father and trading even just a bandage or a bottle of pills (which are items you probably won't use too early) can net you an ax alongside other items. This really expedites the crafting process because you wouldn't have to craft a level-two metal workshop and you get an amazing wood surplus, which means you wouldn't have to prioritize the heavy material on your scavenging runs.
  • Dream Team: You can form one with the scenario editor after your first playthrough. For example, you could select the Supreme Chef (Bruno), the Handyman (Marin), The Scrounger (Marko) and the good bargainer (Katia) and face fewer issues starting off.
  • Driven to Suicide: Any survivors that delve too far into depression without any respite will eventually take their own lives.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • One of your neighbors can ask you to help bury her husband, despite the fact that mourners are sniper bait. This is treated as a good act and will appear in the epilogue.
    • On your first visit to the Looted Gas Station, you can find the body of a man who was killed when the station was shelled. Visit again and you'll run into another man standing over a fresh grave.
      "He didn't deserve to become crow food. Nobody does. Take care of yourself."
  • Dump Stat: There's combat ability, backpack size, movement speed, and empathy as primary character stats. Needless to say, empathy is often seen as the Dump Stat, since it doesn't take much to improve survivors' morale, or it's more prudent to steal with a lower empathy stat. While these individual stats cannot be modified, it does put a number of characters focused on One Stat to Rule Them All (such as Marko and Roman) in the top tier. Only one survivor with a high empathy stat, Boris, is immensely useful (while Zlata is average and Cveta is a Tier-Induced Scrappy).
  • Early Game Hell: Most of the difficulty depends on how much stuff you can bring back to the shelter. Starting with characters that have small backpacks really makes it hard to decide on what to scavenge and how it should best be used. That said, the early game is rarely impossible to survive. Your characters start fed, healthy or occasionally slightly sick or slightly wounded. There are relatively rich and risk-free pickings available in early game (including some in your house). The trick is to use early game effectively to prepare you for mid and late game when you get hit by resource shortage in the relatively safe locations, crime spree, winter and sickness.
    • Special mention, Marin / Boris / Emilia: “You have both the best builder, and the best carrier on your team. Surpise! We’re starting you in the middle of winter with an un-upgraded heater. Shelter raids start on day 2.” Emilia makes for a terrible guard, because the game knows you want Marin to sleep and Boris to scavenge at night.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If you manage to survive roughly 45 days until the ceasefirenote  and manage to have enough Pet the Dog moments, and not murder innocent people, everyone who survives gets a happy ending.
  • Effortless Achievement: Most achievements can be earned by building basic, but essential tools such as the radio and beds. The more challenging ones involve getting a survivor back from the brink of severe injury, sickness, or depression, but a few scenarios already have someone start that way.
  • Enemy Chatter: Most NPCs you encounter when scavenging have dialogue. Bandits and soldiers will talk about the evil things they've done, while other NPCs just reveal how well (or not) they're holding up. Dialogue can also telegraph patrol paths.
  • Eternal Equinox: Dawn (the end of the night phase) is always at 5 AM. The daytime phase always starts at 6 AM, and the night phase at 8 PM.
  • Everybody Lives: Difficult, but possible. You even get an achievement if none of your survivors died before the ceasefire comes.
  • The Famine: Thanks to the siege, no new food is entering the city, and everyone hordes what little supplies they have. Picking over the ruins for what edible scraps can be found is necessary, and people (including the players) can be driven to do desperate things by the need to find enough to eat to live one more day.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: During the day, if you've run out of things to do for your survivors, you can skip the rest of the daylight hours and head straight to night. If a character is in the middle of performing an action as you fast forward (such as sleeping), the action will complete as if time had passed normally.
  • Final Solution: The Grazni government's attitude against people of Vyseni ethnicity is apparently intolerant to the point of conducting genocide as an acceptable means to an end.
  • Final Death: Quit-scumming aside, if one of your survivors dies, the rest just have to carry on. If everyone dies, the run is over.
  • For Want of a Nail: Failing to have a bottle of medicine can be the difference between staying an honest, decent person and going out at night to rob a struggling hospital, or risking one's life to rob heavily-armed bandits. The line between the player and the random bandits outside is very fine.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: This actually becomes a gameplay mechanic when it comes to emotion levels; The Optimist is much more eligible for mood swings than The Cynic, and the more emotional characters are better at curing depression.
    • The Realist: Marko, Pavle, Katia, Christo, Henrik, Forester, Photographer
    • The Cynic: Roman, Bruno, Emilia, Computer Expert, Insurance Agent
    • The Optimist: Zlata, Boris, Cveta, Psychologist
    • The Apathetic: Marin, Arica, Anton, Irina, Police Officer, Pharmacist

    Tropes G-O 
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The Central Square has four traders, but sometimes their economy settings are bugged. You can clear out their entire inventories, picking up tons of food and several extremely valuable medical items, for the price of a single bullet. However, this has been fixed with the recent patch.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: The more optimistic characters are more hesitant to kill bandits and soldiers, believing that even they didn't deserve to die. Everyone else, however, believes otherwise.
  • Good Feels Good: Taking generous actions might expose the survivors to danger or expend their already limited resources, but most characters will generally get a big boost to their contentment for doing so, which can leave their outlook positive for days.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Killing certain characters doesn't count as a 'bad' action, like the sniper team, the rapist, and various bandits and evil soldiers.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: If a survivor has no other weapons on him/her, the survivor can resort to using fists. However, fists are by far the weakest way to fight, rarely succeeding when performing stealth kills and almost always losing a struggle if the opponent is armed with an actual weapon. Roman is actually capable of beating someone to death if he attacks while hiding.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: After killing a guard in a bandit hideout or at the Military Outpost, if you come back the next night, the remaining people don't put up extra security of any sort. Especially noticeable with the Military Outpost, which only has one entrance; and after killing the two guards at the entrance, no one else in the outpost will take his/her position.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • One of the game's achievements, Street Art, requires the player to seek out and stand near 10 graffiti images located on 10 different locations. Some graffiti are not easily visible, requiring careful eyes, though the achievement description is devoid of any hints, leaving it to luck your first time.
    • The game has no tutorial, leaving players to scramble on what to do and how to do it. There's some icons to guide you, but the rest relies on your instinct. Arguably justified, as it simulates how normal civilians are suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar situation and expected to make a mad scramble just to survive.
  • Half Truth:
    • Don't expect much when you go to a location with "Lots of Food"; you'll only find enough ingredients to last at least 1-3 meals.
    • The percentage indicator of an area shows you how much stuff is left there to scavenge. Locations that are not 100% percent cleaned-out but no longer have any food, materials, weapons, medicine, or parts, will only have Wood, Basic Components, Coffee, Herbs, Tobacco, Cigarettes, and Alcohol which are not counted as important materials that are necessary for survival.
  • Harmful to Minors: Defied as much as possible. The survivors let the children know about the situation, why going outside is dangerous and they teach them things such as cooking or crafting simple items, but they will never let a child scavenge or guard the fort. The survivors do as much as they can to keep the children safe and innocent as the war rages on, but there is only so much they can do against sickness, raids and death.
  • Headbutting Heroes: The survivors often have conflicting personalities and ideals, but Roman and the Forester are the only survivors that will actually fight with others (especially when in a bad mood and usually with men), which will result in either them or someone else getting wounded.
  • Hero of Another Story: Several. The groups of survivors that ask for help, the father of the Abandoned Cottage and the families in the Ruined Villa, Quiet House and Small Apartment.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The father of the Abandoned Cottage has a simple but tragic story: His two daughters were murdered by the very same looters who had already robbed them on their first encounter and then delivered revenge on every one of them in return. Ashamed of the fact that he failed to protect his daughters and feeling no positivity from killing the looters, he buried his pistol and decided to disappear without a trace after realizing that he became a monster.
    If you're reading this - Don't look for me.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Partially. Anarchy, for the most part, is in full effect. Expect raids and murders. Also, expect hero moments, helpful neighbors, and barter.
  • Honorary Uncle/Aunt: War orphans refer to the survivors they've imprinted on as an aunt or uncle.
  • Hope Spot: Sometimes the radio will announce that a ceasefire is coming soon, only to tell you a few days later that it's been canceled.
  • Improvised Weapon: Most things characters can use as weapons are improvised, often crafted themselves. Even a gun is likely rebuilt from a damaged gun someone discarded and repaired, firing bullets make out of spent shell casings that have been repacked.
  • Infant Immortality: Children can't die. Instead, they leave the shelter when things get too hard.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Scoped Rifle is one of the more ammo-efficient firearms in the game due to its heavy damage, great accuracy, and long range. The catch is that you can only find them on Snipers or in the Military Outpost, and at close range, it doesn't do much damage at all.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: You'll find none of the survivors are interested in one another, regardless of the circumstances or starting scenario.
  • Interface Spoiler: If you have enough experience with the game, you can guarantee any announcement of a ceasefire coming soon on an early day is a lie.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Characters out scavenging have to deal with their inventory cap, and juggle what they bring with them and what they try to take back. While all items only take up one "slot" in the inventory, bulkier items have lower quantities that can "stack" in a single slot. For example, a character can carry ten sugar cubes in one slot, but only two wooden boards in the same amount of space.
  • Item Crafting: A major gameplay component is creating makeshift things, like beds, stoves, and tools. All of these things require materials which must be scavenged from the world, traded for, or made from other things.
  • Justified Tutorial: Or rather, lack of tutorial. All the better to illustrate the fact that most of you were just normal civilians suddenly thrust doing things you've never done before, scrambling just to survive in this hellhole.
  • Karmic Jackpot:
    • If you go to the supermarket, you might encounter a soldier attempting to rape a woman. He'll certainly have a better weapon than you at this point, but if you intervene anyway and successfully kill him then you get an assault rifle (a very powerful weapon), 20 bullets, Moonshine (a great trading item), the ability to loot the store unimpeded, and a morale boost for most or all of your survivors. See Disk One Nuke above.
    • Clearing "Evil" locations of inhabitants results in practically no morale penalties and allows one to loot the entire map without consequences. They tend to have tons of supplies just ripe for the picking.
  • Kick the Dog: You cannot see at a glance if someone is a bad guy, but if you spy and eavesdrop on a bad guy for a while he will soon reveal what type of person he is through dialogue or actions.
  • Let's Play: One by Das Bo Schitt of The Gmod Idiot Box fame, done to gauge his fans' reaction to him doing LPs in a more down to earth manner compared to other LPers out there.
  • Min-Maxing: Now possible with Update 1.3, which included a scenario editor. Cue Marko, Katia, Marin, and Bruno starting out with just the easiest missions available.
  • Mood Dissonance: The weather report on the radio typically sounds upbeat. For instance, if the weather's warm, that radio station will tell listeners that it's 'a perfect day for a walk in a park!' Given that the radio often mentions Pogoren as an aside, it's fairly clear that the broadcaster is not local and is unaware of the extent of how bad things are within the city.
  • Multiple Endings: The epilogue is determined by several factors such as the condition of your survivors and their actions.
    • Good: Happens when a survivor sees the end of the war with a lot of good karma.
    • Mixed: Happens when a survivor sees the end of the war with insufficient good karma.
    • Rejected: Happens when a survivor asks to join your party but is turned away. Being forced to fend for themselves will always result an uncertain fate.
    • Ran Away: Happens when a survivor leaves the shelter after being mistreated for too long. Running away doesn't always end well for them.
    • Bad: Happens when a survivor sees the end of the war with too much negative karma.
    • Died: Happens when a survivor gets killed or succumbs to wounds, disease, starvation, and hypothermia.
    • Suicide: Happens when a survivor does not get consolation after a mental breakdown.
  • Mundane Luxury: In this setting, any luxury counts. A cigarette, even a crude home-rolled one out of inferior herbs, can make a huge difference in the mood of a character (if a smoker). Same goes for a pot of coffee, or home-distilled booze, listening to a guitar, or even just sitting in a relatively comfy chair to read a book. In addition to improving character's moods, these items have substantial trade value and securing them gives the opportunity to barter for other things.
  • Must Have Caffeine and Must Have Nicotine: As mentioned above, some characters really need their coffee/smokes to relax.
  • Nintendo Hard: Resource scarcity means that most players have trouble finding enough food just to survive the second week.
  • No FEMA Response: Averted and justified. There was a mass evacuation at the very start of the siege, but the fighting has prevented further evacuations or much outside aide getting through.
  • Odd Friendship: While every survivor has shades of this with his/her peers, Roman and Katia stand out because they're one of the two pairs that the player can begin with, despite their conflicting points of view.
  • One-Hit Kill: Attacking a person from behind or from a hiding spot with a melee weapon can immediately end the victim's life, though it's not always guaranteed. Arica, Roman, and Boris are special in that whenever they attack from the rear with any melee weapons, it's a guaranteed kill.
  • One-Man Army: Given that only one person can scavenge at a time, any of the survivors can be this, as any could clear small groups in one night. Typically, this is attributed to Roman and Police officer for their combat proficiency, Boris for his health pool, and Aria for her stealth.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Backpack size is an extremely important stat, since it greatly reduces the amount of visits needed to scavenge for essential supplies. When it comes to dealing with bandits and soldiers, combat ability is also this, as it allows more flexibility to kill enemies in one strike.
  • Optional Stealth: Locations that features guards or outright malicious NPCs may require stealth and careful planning if one intends to steal without having to resort to head-to-head combat. With the right gear, fighting your way through is possible, but killing often incurs morale penalties and having an entire house of armed men swarm you at the sound of gunfire is not always the best idea.
  • Original Character: Can be made as of Update 1.3 with the survivor creator. The game even supports custom profile pictures!
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     Tropes P-Z 
  • Parental Substitute: Anytime your survivors have a war orphan with them.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Opportunities abound.
    • Repeatedly stabbing the rapist at the Supermarket, even as he begs for his life.
    • Going out of your way to track down and chop up the snipers in the Construction Projects, after said snipers have spent the war murdering every civilian they see.
    • Shooting every stinking thug in the Brothel, even after they try running away.
  • Penultimate Weapon: The assault rifle has medium-heavy damage, good accuracy, and versatile range. It would be the best weapon if it didn't use 2-3 bullets per firing which wastes precious ammo.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • A dead NPC will disappear along with all the items they were carrying. This is especially important if the person you killed is a guard and you were chased off by another one that was alerted by the killing: You lost a good opportunity to get a weapon, ammunition, and probably some body armor. You can prevent this by taking all of the belongings or transferring them to a stash for later retrieval.
    • If several weeks pass before you visit a location or in between visits, you may notice that some loot may be missing. Other scavengers are implicitly visiting your same spots, so unless you pick the place clean, some goods may be lost if you wait long enough. This often happens during the material crisis.
  • Player Headquarters: The player's shelter, where the survivors rest, keep what belongings they can find, and find a little companionship.
  • Pre War Civilian Career: Every character has a backstory and, with the exception of Roman, a former militia soldier, none has any combat experience, such as Anton, a mathematician; Cveta, a school principal; Marko, a fireman; Marin, a handyman and workshop owner; Katia, a reporter; Pavle, a star soccer player; Zlata, a musician; Emilia, a lawyer; Bruno, a cook with a TV show; Irina, a gardener; Boris, a warehouse stock boy; and Arica, a cat burglar. Some have improved abilities, such as using less resources to craft food or items, greater stamina and carrying capacity, extracting better deals, better stealth, and so on.
  • Random Number God: Every game is a new experience because many of the things are randomly generated.
    • Your starting characters are randomly chosen which, depending on their skills, will make the early days easy or hard. Patch 1.2 (December 2014) has removed this with a character selection screen, though a "random" option still remains as a possibility and is mandatory on the first playthrough. Patch 1.3 brings the possibility of your team consisting of just Marko.
    • If you're super unlucky, you'll start the game in winter which means your characters will start succumbing to hypothermia-induced sickness. Thankfully, your shelter already has a heater, but it's a hard struggle to find lots of wood and to balance it among keeping the heater on, building things, and reinforcing the shelter. It's an even harder struggle to upgrade the heater to provide more heat for less fuel.
    • It is also possible for an outbreak of crime to occur as early as your first week, forcing you to have to survive nightly raids while you're still trying to craft kitchen knives for defense.
    • Locations will become inaccessible on certain nights due to heavy fighting. And some locations are inaccessible if another location is revealed (i.e. Central Market and Sniper Junction. Only one of these two will appear and the other will not per game).
    • Some locations have more than one event that will happen and only one event happens per game. One example is the Supermarket: you either get the rapist scenario, or the three-man scenario. One is difficult but if done correctly, will reap the best rewards. The other one is an easy scenario, only that it's a race against the clock to stop them from looting your precious loot.
    • There's always a probability of your shelter being attacked by other people during the night. When it does get attacked, the outcome is calculated by this formula (Shelter security + number of people on guard + weapons available / quality and quantity of attackers). Also, the probability and severity of an attack is low at the beginning of the game but as you get into the mid to late stages of the siege, potential attacks on your shelter will get more frequent and more dangerous. This problem is further exacerbated by random outbreaks of crime where the likelihood of attack is significantly increased for a few days.
    • Fighting is considered a last resort because the combat system is determined by whatever numbers are rolled on an attack action.
    • In every playthrough, at least one character will be either sick or wounded and require nursing back to health. Often, there will be one of each.
    • There are three variations of the Hotel: One description has the place inhabited by a friendly trader, the other has it inhabited by a group of sadistic kidnappers, and the last one has it as the hiding place of an insane conspiracy theorist.
    Someone moved in there recently, and spread the news that he was willing to barter. Maybe he has something useful to us?
    Presently occupied by some armed thugs. Screams are sometimes heard coming from the building. It's best to keep away from it.
    The looters have already taken most of the things of any value, but they could've missed something. Some harmless lunatic is said to be living there for the moment.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Your scavenger can encounter a rapist while scavenging the supermarket. Killing him raises the group's morale, but the inverse happens if you fail to do it.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Quite literally, the player can build and set out traps for small animals, usually rats, to be used as food. However, they require bait that could also be used to get food, and they have an unpredictable time to catch anything. Often several traps would be ideal, but that requires ever more resources to build them, turning even this into a difficulty.
  • Refining Resources: A core part of the Item Crafting system. For example, food can be eaten raw, but if combined with water and fuel at a stove it will satisfy more hunger, thus stretching the food supplies a little, and adding vegetables to the mix will enhance this further. Many other basic resources can be combined (with the right tools) to produce more advanced resources that have more utility and value.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: A huge weight on the player is almost perpetually never having enough to feel comfortable. Food is always in short supply, and often so is water. Basic construction materials are hard to get enough of and there is always some small demand for them that makes stockpiling enough of them for major upgrades difficult.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: When the rebels take the school some of them discuss the actions of their cause. One of them reminds the other that they aren't monsters and must refrain from crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Was one of your group members killed by a gang of thugs while scavenging for supplies? Feel free to gear up, return to the location where they died, and slaughter every last bandit in the area.
  • Robbing the Dead: Any NPC killed is lootable, often yielding nice weapons or precious items. You can also loot the dead body of one of your own survivors should you revisit the location that they were killed at. Note that NPCs that are killed must be looted immediately as their bodies and items will vanish by the next day.
  • Ruritania: The civil war takes place in a country known as Graznavia. Some of the flavor text and character names suggest it is somewhere in Eastern Europe, in an obvious reference to the Bosnian War.
  • Save Scumming: Averted. The game has only one save file which is automatically overwritten after every night. This save limit forces players to live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of the game which, in turn, forces players to be more cautious as it increases the tension and fear of making a potentially life-threatening mistake. However, exiting and reloading the game prior to the save point will reset any random encounters and any actions during the Night phase to the point of the previous save.
    • Played straight however, in regards to random events across the day. For instance, Franko's inventory is decided when he arrive at your door, instead of the start of day. If Franko does not sell anything useful for you, you can reload to randomize his inventory. And as mentioned, daylight random events can be reset as well; sometimes you can get Blago or Zyhu on the same day. In addition, extra survivors who join your cause are also randomized, so if you get Cveta, you can reset the day and try again.
    • Also played straight in using Alt F4.
  • Scavenger World: With supplies from outside cut off by the siege, plenty of abandoned or bombed out areas, and the complete breakdown of civil authority, those still in the city have to scavenge and scrape for what they can to get by.
  • Schmuck Bait: In Old Town, a lootable pile is left out in the open right next to a graffiti sign warning of a sniper. Trying to scavenge the pile will almost certainly reward the player with a bullet wound for his/her troubles, and the sniper in this area fires in quick enough intervals that it is almost impossible to finish looting without being interrupted by another bullet. If the player does succeed in looting, they will be disappointed to find that the pile only yields a handful of material and wood most of the time.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Certain survivors will simply leave your safehouse when things turn dire. More cynical survivors will even take some of your supplies when they leave.
  • Sex Slave: The women in the brothel are actually unhappy volunteers who are forced to do favors that they didn't agree to. They have no choice but to put up with the degradation or else they won't have any protection or a reliable source of food and medicine. If you needed a good reason to rob and kill the men there instead of trading with them, this is it.
    "Bastards! They can't treat us like this!"
    "I was told that I'd only have to dance..."
    "Fucking animals. We've got to think of something..."
    "They told me my little girl would be fine if I worked hard."
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The shotgun is a superior replacement for the handgun as it uses one bullet per firing and is deadly at point-blank. The catch is that it has the slowest rate of fire and does scratch damage from long range. Expert players have found that the hatchet+shotgun combination is very good as it lets you safely finish off an armed enemy that doesn't die from a vicious axing but gets knocked too far away from you to quickly follow up with another melee attack.
  • Shovel Strike: A shovel is mostly intended for clearing out fallen rubble quickly, but can also be used offensively. It's only second to the Hatchet in terms of damage output.
  • Sinister Shiv: Homemade stabbing weapons out of a sharp bit of metal, some wood for the handle, and a few things to strap them together. They are of limited utility, but can be manufactured easily.
  • Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable: The game can easily turn into this, depending on your starting team. In particular: Zlata/Emilia/Kalina (two Mama Bears and a child). This team has no good fighters, no good scavengers, and a child whose health is going to go into a downward spiral by about day four. High carrying-capacity teams let you get away with collecting tons of materials. High combat ability teams allow you to prey on bandits, and their ludicrous stashes. The Zlata/Emilia/Kalina team pretty much forces you to target other survivor groups. Exploiting the Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic, you can have Emilia do the stuff that would normally bring other teams close to the Dispair Event Horizon, while Zlata can push the team back from the brink.
  • Smiting Evil Feels Good: Some characters will be very happy about killing bandits and murderous soldiers.
    • Attacking the Brothel is considered a good deed as killing the men that are running the place will set the women free.
    • Killing the kidnappers at the Hotel doesn't even register in anyone's bio; it's rescuing the hostage that counts.
    • Killing the soldier at the Supermarket is also a virtue, seeing as how doing so allows his would-be rape victim to escape.
    • Killing the snipers at the Construction Site also counts as a good deed. The optimists might regret resorting to violence to stop them, but everyone else thinks they absolutely deserved it.
  • Snow Means Death: It gets a lot colder in winter, and if you don't have proper heating your survivors will get sick a lot more easily. The snow can be somewhat useful, as there is an unlimited supply of it right outside your shelter that can be boiled for water, so long as you have the fuel and filters for it; without snow, you need a rainwater collector and filters to do so.
  • Stealth-Based Game: In many places, avoiding other desperate survivors or soldiers is often the best course. The player must be aware of the noise they are making, who can potentially see them, and what they can see.
  • Technical Pacifist: Optimists like Boris abhor taking lives, and the player can invoke this by bringing enemies into critical health but refraining from dealing the final blow. Civilians and some weaker bandits and soldiers will surrender, while stronger ones will keep on fighting or spew out insults.
  • Think Nothing of It: After helping a neighbor, you can refuse their reward if they turn up again to offer one (though obviously you will usually need it). In at least one case the survivors will take note of this and it will appear in the epilogue.
  • Terrible Trio: Arica / Roman / Bruno. Out of the three, only Arica has a relatively high moral compass (and even then, it's only because she's not The Cynic). Given that all three of these survivors have the relatively small backpack size of 10, stealing and killing becomes a bit more viable than straight scavenging.
  • Treasure Room: Evil locations such as the Military Outpost, Warehouse, Brothel, and kidnapper Hotel are all heavily guarded places that have the food and materials that you desperately need to survive. You can either sneak around carefully or just barge in, with armor and an assault rifle, and kill all the guards to make future scavenging trips completely safe.
  • Universal Ammunition: Handguns, shotguns, and assault rifles all use the same ammo. Pretty unrealistic, but it's already hard enough to find guns and sufficient ammo to make them useful.
  • Vendor Trash: Jewelry, which is useless aside from bartering for things you can actually use. If you get the Port as a scavenging location, jewelry can also be used to pay for passage out of the city. Herbal medicine isn't really that good as medicine at all, but is also good for bartering, especially for Matey.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The developers interviewed survivors of the 4-year-long Siege of Sarajevo to inform gameplay, even though the game itself is in a semi-generic setting. If you followed the siege of Sarajevo on the news you might recognize such things as "sniper alley", more-or-less constant shelling, Bruno having a very hard time imagining that a brutal civil war could happen anywhere but in third world countries and Pavle's comment on despite everything, women are still making an effort to look good. Also like Bosnian Moslems and Serbs there is very little real difference between the supposedly ethnic sides Vyseni and Grazni, they all speak the same language and do not seem particularly religious.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Sure giving medicine to the children's mother, letting in that random stranger, and helping pull people from the rubble requires resources or manpower. However it's usually worth it in the end.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Sure, you could steal from families trying to protect themselves, or even shank a priest and loot a church... Or run around a house thoroughly looting everything of value as an old man hobbles after you begging you to please stop. Alternatively, cruelty can become a strategy for survival. For example, that old mathematician or school principal in your group, the ones who have no survival specialty and quirky/useless abilities, and has a tiny backpack... perhaps it's best not to waste any medication, bandages, or even food, on trying to keep them alive. The other survivors will be saddened by their deaths, but ten days later when their bellies are all full on rat stew and their house is nicely upgraded, they won't even remember their names.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: But your survivors will become extremely depressed for having to resort to such measures. And you lose a set of hands for working too. Not to mention that if you manage to have your survivors make it to the end of the war doing too many cruel actions, life will only get worse for them after the war at the very least.
  • Video Game Tutorial: This game doesn't have one, leaving it up to players to figure out what to do. The closest thing to it is a Let's Play by DasBoSchitt.
  • War Is Hell: The Game. A big part of the game's Central Theme is showing that it is hell not just for the people who fight in it, but also those who simply have to live in its wake.
    Emir Cerimovicnote : War always happens at somebody's doorstep.
  • We Buy Anything: Franko the traveling merchant, who will buy anything from you except snow. Most merchants will buy anything (except snow) from you, although they might not be willing to give much in exchange for it.
  • What You Are in the Dark: How far will YOU go to make sure you have food for the day? However, even this trope is played with. The Karma Meter only affects the writing in the ending, but because Good Feels Good, being a murderous jerkbag and just taking what you want from innocent people makes your survivors judge themselves. Too much guilt and psychological trauma damages their performance.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Numerous armed bandits and soldiers have no problem whatsoever hitting and shooting at women, even unarmed ones. There are a few female bandits in the game as well. Don't hesitate to fight them like you would with any other ruthless thug.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The military really has no qualms about hurting children.
    • You can find a message in a desk from a student saying that one of his classmates got shot by a sniper.
    • Cveta's character log mentions that her school was targeted and shelled.
    • During the day log, you can discover raiders have wounded your child while trying to take your stuff.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: As time marches on in the scenario, some of the characters can easily fall into this category. Survivors who only serve as extra hands around the house may no longer be needed in a few days, such as Anton or Cveta.

This War of Mine: Stories contains examples of:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Both endings of The Last Broadcast. Telling the truth means Malik gets shot to death by army grunts and Adem wishes to repair his equipment and carry on his legacy. Bending the truth results in Malik getting kidnapped, then defecting willingly out of disappointment from Esma, and Esma hoping to apologize for lying. In either case, Malik doesn't stick around.
  • Deconstruction: In The Last Broadcast, the idea of targeting soldiers yields consequences in that Esma and Malik broadcast about fighting the military, which gains their attention. Playing by the book when it comes to the three dilemmas results in the military considering the protagonists as a prime target, and thus, leads to Malik's death.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Malik in The Last Broadcast if you opt to tell the truth at all times. The army storms the hideout and shoot Malik dead.
  • Downer Ending: Adam finds out that Amelia died of her illness and that he was suffering from dissociative amnesia, blocking out the memory of the loss of his daughter.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Adem in The Last Broadcast joins up after Malik either gets killed or kidnapped.
  • Exact Words: Everything Father Damir says to Adam is true. Amelia didn't die in the massacre, and she is (buried) on the church grounds. Given that he can only answer at all because he would have recognized Adam, he might have been too shocked to give a more complete answer.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • For A Father's Promise, A homeless woman in the shelled school gets angry at Adam for reminding her about losing her son, because she just wants to forget what happened.
    • For The Last Broadcast, somebody visits Esma and Malik's shelter warning them that broadcasting too much vigilante messages may attract the ire of the military, and unlike the base game, they won't sit idly by.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: You can't attack anyone with a dialogue tag. Once you've gone through all their dialogue, however, they're fair game.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • One of the hobos in the Shelled School extorts Adam in exchange for information about where he's seen Amelia.
    • The military, believing the City Hospital to be a rebel front, kidnaps Dr. Jefimow (the only doctor in the hospital) and subjects him to "enhanced interrogation". One of the soldiers even tells the interrogator to "have fun" when he returns after a break. The one-armed man in the hospital also claims to have been tortured.
    • Believing that the rebels are escaping the siege via the humanitarian corridor, the military massacres a large gathering of civilians. You can find a letter implying that the humanitarian corridor was opened primarily as bait for the rebels.
  • Missing Time: At one point, Adam blacks out from exhaustion from watching over Amelia without sleep.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: The Graznavian government agrees to open a humanitarian corridor so that the seriously wounded and parents with children can leave Pogoren. As several notes and dialogues attest, this leads to a rash of civilians and rebels kidnapping children (or seriously considering it) so that they can pass as parents and escape. Subverted if you believe that the humanitarian corridor was a set-up from the start, which would make this part of the intended outcome.
  • Red Herring: The threat of people kidnapping children so they will be allowed to leave Pogoren drives the mystery of Father's Promise, but turns out to have nothing to do with the ending other than coincidentally leading Adam to the church where he buried Amelia and repressed his memories.
  • Seeking Sanctuary: Defied. You can find the remains of civilians who were massacred outside a church.
  • Take Your Time: Averted. It is possible for the ceasefire to come before you finish the plot.
  • Two Dun It: Adam's flashback shows him bringing Amelia to the Pharmacy and ransacking it, but doesn't show him murdering his brother or going to the Shelled School. Hence, it is sheer coincidence that following the blood trail from the Pharmacy leads you to clues about where Amelia was taken afterwards, as it turns out to be unlikely that these things were done by the same person.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Adam chews out the hospital staff in his diary if you oppose their decision to keep Amelia's hoodie, especially since their argument for doing so applies just as much, if not more, to Adam's situation. Subverted if you return to the hospital afterwards, as that choice can lead to someone else's death and Adam will ask himself if he was responsible. On top of that, Amelia doesn't need the hoodie anymore, so if you take it back, the other woman dies for nothing.
    • If you choose to lie in The Last Broadcast, Malik chooses to stay with the rebels and is furious with Esma for not telling him the whole truth.

The boardgame contains examples of:

  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Different types of tokens have different (dominant) colors: food and other "organic" stuff such as cigarettes and sugar are green, chemicals and medicines are yellow, crafting materials and tools are grey, and anything related to weapons is red. Also, character cards can either have a red or a black border; the first one denotes a more capable survivor, while the latter denotes the more "common" people.
  • Harder Than Hard: The boardgame is even harsher and less forgiving than the videogame. Random events will hit you hard, your characters need both food and water to survive, conditions such as hunger and disease are severely crippling (also, you cannot "sleep off" light wounds or slight sickness, which the videogame allows you to do), and die rolls govern the outcome of most of your actions. Several people, including notable boardgame reviewer Tom Vasel, expressed doubts on whether it's actually possible to win the game.
  • The Load: Cveta comes back with a vengeance. She's useless in combat, has a ridiculously small backpack of two, gets depressed fairly easily, requires you to keep a supply of coffee to prevent her from getting even more depressed, and her only useful ability is dependent on a card draw. Among the "black" characters, she's definitely the least useful.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: If you draw certain Events at the wrong time, the game might become suddenly impossible to win (you can still finish it, but since you cannot meet the victory condition, you would need some reason other than winning to keep playing). For example, one of the scenarios requires all the four starting characters to survive; drawing Rats on the first turn will result in a 75% change of at least one of them dying of starvationnote , therefore making the whole scenario unwinnable.
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