Posted on November 28, 2014, Phil Hornshaw This War of Mine Review: PTSD Simulator
On the twelfth night of the war, Pavle was killed.
Technically, Pavle was looting. A former footballer, quick on his feet, he had been the obvious choice to sneak into a warehouse in search of food and bandages. Katia, another of our group, and been shot by a sniper two days earlier while helping a man trying to bring medicine back to his sick baby, and her wounds were growing worse all the time. She wouldn’t last much longer.
The warehouse had been occupied days earlier by a group of thugs armed with assault rifles and lacking any qualms about shooting anyone they didn’t like. Pavle got pretty far into the warehouse and had found the stuff we needed to save Katia — but one of the men stumbled on him at the last moment, and he couldn’t flee the gunfire.
The next night, Katia bled out.
We were two, then: Bruno, the cowardly cook, and Cveta, an old woman who had come to our door asking for a place to stay, and who had nowhere else to go.
It was growing colder every day and our bombed-out tenement would be drafty at best. The food was gone, and we had no traps to catch animals or gardens to grow vegetables. We were desperate, and so the next night, Bruno took a knife and set out to find food.
He happened on a small house where an elderly couple lived with their son. They’d been well-off, relatively untouched by the war, and inundated with supplies. Facing starvation, Bruno sneaked in through the basement, picked some locks, and headed into the house proper. The way was barred by the son, standing in a hallway.
We needed food. So Bruno stabbed the son in the back, killing him instantly.
The man’s elderly mother came down the stairs then, and screamed in protest. Panicked, Bruno stabbed her too, and then killed the husband before he could intervene. Suddenly, the house was quiet. Quickly, Bruno picked up the food — which was in abundance — as well as anything else he could carry, and disappeared into the night. I felt shame as I pilfered the quaint house and returned to my own shelter. But I had food, and we would live a few days longer.
When Bruno entered the shelter, he sat down heavily on a pile of debris, put his head in his hands, and wouldn’t move. Neither would Cveta, and on both their character cards, the word “Broken” appeared beneath “Hungry” and “Tired.” Neither would respond to commands, or to the man who came banging on the door, begging for help.
This War of Mine is a game that gets bleak in a hurry.