Dread Hunger is a social deduction game that combines elements of survival, deception and a pinch of cannibalism as a crew of eight embark on a perilous journey to the Arctic in the 19th century. As if the lack of resources and the frigid conditions you’ll encounter on these dangerous expeditions don’t test your survivability enough, two crew members known as the Thralls are bent on sabotaging the entire operation. Here are five things you need to know about Dread Hunger before you embark on this devious journey of the damned.
survival of the fittest
As an explorer, you’re tasked with keeping your ship afloat and moving toward the goal while just about everything – from the harsh environment to treacherous teammates – works against you. Starving, freezing to death, and being mauled by a polar bear can all lead to an early death, and that’s before a few nefarious crew members are thrown into the mix.
To avoid being stranded in the icy clutches of the Arctic, gather fuels like coal and wood to fuel the ship’s boiler and furnace. They can be found in chests scattered across the ice, near shipwrecks, and in caves. Foraging and keeping warm are essential, so venture out during the day to hunt animals like seals and wolves and gather herbs to brew tea. The temperature drops as night falls, so the toasty galley is the safest place. This is the perfect time to cook and craft weapons at the workbench to stock up for the next day. But if you stray too far from your ship, you’ll have to leave wood and stones to make a campfire.
A full day-night cycle lasts about nine minutes, with two of those taking place during the extra cold night. It takes about 11 minutes for your hunger meter to completely empty if you don’t eat. Therefore, managing time and resources is important if you want to survive.
Hide in plain sight
Members of the crew are randomly chosen to be treacherous Thralls at the start of each game. Maintaining calm and patience is key when you are a thrall. Your teammates will be on high alert, so tread carefully while you wait for the perfect moment to strike. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to mess with the explorers, and not all involve violence. There are many ways to sabotage the expedition, such as accidentally ramming the ship into an iceberg – meaning repairs need to be made – and wasting time in emergencies when a teammate is in dire need of help. Dumping valuable supplies like food and coal into the sea drastically reduces explorers’ chances of survival. They can poison their food and even use magic to create a whiteout to disorient their prey. Alternatively, there’s still the classic approach of isolating a person and stabbing them in the back.
Dread Hunger’s expeditions rely on explorers working together over the course of a few days before they can reach their destination, so thralls don’t have to rush their game plan. Be helpful and trustworthy so you can sneak around and commit treacherous acts, and avoid suspicion by sharing food and helping others, but remember that you want to prevent the explorers’ success at all costs. With so many tricks up their sleeves, playing as a villain can really be an addicting time.
There are many ways to send explorers to Davy Jones’ Locker, but they have one chance to avoid a miserable moat – but only once! If your fellow explorers respond quickly enough to your screams, they can revive you by carrying you to the nearest bed. But if you die properly the first time, you’ll be sent to the brig in the belly of the ship. If your teammates have a lockpick, they can free you for a second chance at victory. Just keep in mind that if you die a second time, you’ll turn into a ghost, which means all you can do now is move around the map and watch the remaining survivors.
Dead players’ bodies will remain on the ground, so return to them to grab useful items. You can even butcher them for meat when food supplies are low, but this can have its downsides.
Human flesh is a hot commodity in the Arctic. Cannibals are hostile foes that often lurk in caves and will attack once they spot you. Thralls can also summon them to stealthily take out innocent sailors. As an explorer, choose to eat human flesh, and soon regular animal flesh simply won’t sate your insatiable appetite and fill your hunger meter less effectively. This forces you to feed more regularly unless you wholeheartedly embrace your twisted new diet. However, this is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it will ultimately leave you dependent on human flesh for survival.
There are no downsides to consuming human flesh as a serf. They will happily eat both animals and humans, and the latter actually keeps them warmer a bit longer. However, making love to another crew member might seem more than suspicious…
Team up with friends
Similar to other social cheating games, Dread Hunger requires players to take responsibility and make sure everyone is following the rules. As such, we found it best to play with friends first so everyone takes their roles seriously while you familiarize yourself with the possibilities of survival and see what the explorers and Thralls are capable of.
Custom games are a great way to try out different maps and play around with the different settings, and as you learn more about the game you’ll likely come across a variety of fun ways to bet and eat your friends.
Those are the basics of survival and betrayal in Dread Hunger. Now it’s your turn to take on the role of a respectable crewman or a sneaky thrall.
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