How To Play The Coldest Night

The Coldest Night Board Game Play Area
Copyright © 2020 Matt Halvorson. All Rights Reserved.

Step-by-step instructions on how to play The Coldest Night Board Game. This wonderful cooperative card game of survival is a treacherous yet fun ride. It has many satisfying layers and brings together many aspects of number manipulation puzzles and communication limits. It has a great theme that is something everyone can relate to. This is our definitive guide to how to play The Coldest Night.

FOR MORE: The Coldest Night Page | The Coldest Night Review | Games Like The Coldest Night | Buy The Coldest Night


HOW TO PLAY THE COLDEST NIGHT – WHAT IS IT?

The Coldest Night is a cooperative game where players take turns playing cards from their hands into a communal fire pit. If the players can successfully burn all the cards in the deck before the fire goes out, they win. But if the flames die down, or you accrue too many frostbite cards, your whole team freezes to death. Games are quick and fast-paced and as you will see from this how to play The Coldest Night guide, it is easy to learn but difficult to master.


HOW TO PLAY THE COLDEST NIGHT – STEP BY STEP

Time Needed: Approximately 20 minutes.

This is a step by step guide for how to play The Coldest Night the cooperative survival board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.

1. SETUP | Put Out Starting Fire Pit
To kick off how to play The Coldest Night setup place the three fire starter cards faceup in a row in the middle of the table with the logs card in the far left. This is your starting fire pit.

2. SETUP | Prepare Kindling Cards
Remove the three “Fire Dwindles” cards then take the remaining kindling cards and shuffle them into three piles with 15, 15 and 20 cards in them.

3. SETUP | Add Fire Dwindles and Finalize Kindle Deck
Take one each of the three fire dwindle cards previously removed and put at the bottom of the tree stacks you made. Now (without shuffling) put these three stacks on top of each other with the 20 stack (now 21 with the dwindle) at the very top.

4. SETUP | Put Out Frostbite Cards
Shuffle all the blue backed Frostbite cards and put them aside in a facedown pile.

5. SETUP | Put Out Lucky Find Tokens
Lay out a pile of all the lucky find item tokens in a pile that is easily accessible to everyone.

6. SETUP | Deal Out Cards For Starting Hands
Deal each player three cards from the top of the newly formed kindling deck to form their hands. This is secret and should not be shared with the other players.

7. SETUP | Determine Starting Player
The final step of how to play The Coldest Night Setup is just to determine a starting player. Use your randomization method of choice.

8. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 Frostbite Removal
The active player looks at their hand and see if they can remove any “frostbite” cards that they have acquired previously. Each of these cards has a number at the top. If that number matches the heat total of the fire (all numbers in the bright orange circles in the fire pit added together), it is discarded and gone forever. This can be more than one card if the numbers match, but they do need to match exactly.

9. GAMEPLAY | Phase 2 Main Phase
During your main phase you can chose to either “Feed the fire” adding in your cards, or “Scavenge” go out looking for stuff and most likely get in trouble because of it.

10. GAMEPLAY | Phase 2 Main Phase | Feed The Fire
You can play one of the kindling cards from your hand onto the fire. To do this, the black ash number on the card you want to add needs to be equal or less than the total heat of the fire which is all the number in the orange fire circles on the cards added together. Put this to the furthest most left spot on the fire.

*It can only contain up to four cards. You can add cards from your hand until there are four, it is up to you. You cannot feed the fire if you have no cards.

**When Kindle cards are added to the fire, some have special triggered effects. This most usually means to grab a corresponding lucky find token.

11. GAMEPLAY | Phase 2 Main Phase | Scavenge
Instead of playing Kindling cards, you may choose to instead scavenge in the house for more fuel for the fire. Draw the top three cards from the kindling deck. Distribute these in any combination to any players.

12. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 Clean Up | Fire Dies Down
Remove the rightmost kindling card from the fire pit and discard it and remove it from the game.

13. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 Clean Up | Check for Frostbite
After removing the rightmost card, if the fire pit contains fewer than three cards, the active player takes the top card from the frostbite deck. The card’s effect immediately activates.

14. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 Clean Up | Draw One Kindling Card
No matter what happens or how many cards you have in hand, draw one card from the kindling deck at the end of turn.

15. GAMEPLAY | Move To Next Player and Repeat
After the active player has completed their turn, move clockwise to the next player and repeat all the phases until the game ends and this how to play The Coldest Night experience comes to an end.

16. GAME END | WINNING | All Kindling is Gone
The fire has burned through the night and you have survived. Congrats, you win!

17. GAME END | LOSING | The Firepit Has Zero Cards In It
You will not make it through the night, you lose.

18. GAME END | LOSING | The Frostbite Deck Is Empty
If you need to draw a Frostbite card and you cannot, you succumb to your injuries and die, you lose.



HOW TO PLAY THE COLDEST NIGHT – KEY INFORMATION

FIRE DWINDLING CARDS

Layered into the kindling deck are three THE FIRE DWINDLES cards. Each of these cards has a heat value of 0 and an ash value of 0. When you draw a card and pick up one of these, do not add it to your hand. Instead, add it immediately to the fire pit in the leftmost position, If this makes it the fourth card in the fire pit, immediately remove the rightmost card from the fire pit and discard it. While it is in the fire pit, this card acts identically to a kindling card. After resolving a THE FIRE DWINDLES card, immediately draw another card and continue as normal. A key part to how to play The Coldest Night.

COMMUNICATION LIMITS

Within the world of The Coldest Night, your characters have no specific understanding of the way the objects on different kindling cards would burn. Therefore, you cannot discuss specific numbers such as the heat values, ash values, or special effect requirements of cards in your hand, or the exact heat total you desire the fire pit to become. You can be vague but this all is a grey area.

BOONS

GAIN effects occur as soon as you play the associated kindling card into the fire pit. Gain the corresponding lucky find token and place it in the center of the ability side face up to show what is available.

IF effects occur as soon as you play the associated kindling cards into the fire pit. immediately check the heat total of the fire pit, including the heat value of the card this effect is on. If the heat total fulfills the requirements listed on the kindling card, gain the corresponding lucky find token and place it in the center of the table with the ability side face up to show that it is available.

TARGET effects in how to play The Coldest Night occur during the fire dies down step. When you would remove the rightmost kindling card from the fire pit, instead remove a card of your choice. You can choose to remove the kindling card with the TARGET effect.

OBSTACLES

GREATEST effects in how to play The Coldest Night occur during the fire dies down step. When you would remove the rightmost kindling card from the fire pit, instead remove the card with the highest heat value. This may be the kindling card with the GREATEST effect.

BURN ONE effects occur during the fire dies down step. When you would remove the rightmost kindling card from the fire pit, instead remove the two rightmost cards.

SINGLE PLAYER RULES

How to play The Coldest Night can also be done with just one player for a solo experience with these rules. Before beginning setup, remove the seven kindling cards with an IF effect and lay them face up on the table where they are all visible. Shuffle the rest of the kindling cards and remove 14 randomly. These will not be used in the game and can be returned to the box. From the frostbite cards, remove Blue Lips from the game.

After these two steps, follow setup as normal except two things: When diving the kindle cards into piles use 8, 8 and 13 for the three stacks, and when drawing your beginning hand, draw four cards instead of three.

The backpack token us used as a draw +1 instead of a gift for the one player how to play.

During the game, as your main phase action, you can either play cards from your hand or from the face up IF effect cards from the fire pit. However, if you ONLY play an IF effect card on a turn, you do not draw a kindling card during the clean up phase. The IF effect cards do not count towards your hand limit, but your ability to play them is effected by frostbite cards your currently have in front of you.

GAME CONTENTS

  • 50x Kindling Cards
  • 10x Frostbite Cards
  • 3x Fire Dwindles Cards
  • 9x Lucky Find Tokens
  • 4x Reference Cards
  • 1x Rulebook

HOW TO PLAY THE COLDEST NIGHT – IN CLOSING

We hope you can now say you know how to play The Coldest Night. There are a few things out there similar to the game but nothing exactly like it. This title is on the much lighter side of things and something easy to pick up and so compact, played anywhere. Now that you have this new-found knowledge, get out there and check it out.

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