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Brutal 9/10 strategy game is free on Steam, but just for a few days

This War of Mine, the harsh wartime survival strategy game, is a free game for the weekend, and cheap in a Steam sale if you like it.

This War of Mine free weekend - a man holds a young child in his arms in a dark room, light flooding through a window behind them.

Many of the best wartime strategy games on PC are about bombast and conquest, or defying greater odds to claim noble victory. This War of Mine is not. Inspired by conflicts such as the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War in the ‘90s, you control a small group of civilians doing their best to stay alive under extreme circumstances. If you’ve never experienced its punishing brand of survival, you can now try it as a free game on Steam through this weekend, with the ability to buy it at a huge discount if you like it.

In This War of Mine, your crew has minimal military or survival know-how; you’ll have to determine how they spend their days and nights, and make increasingly difficult choices for them, as they attempt to stay alive until a ceasefire is called. It’s a downbeat, punishing strategy game, but an incredibly compelling one in its relentless portrayal of life inside a warzone.

Going outside during the daytime means almost certain death, so that’s when you’ll look after your survivors, trade with nearby neighbours, or craft more gear to help you keep going. At night, you can send someone out to scavenge for goods – but you’ll have to face your own conscience as decisions of impossible weight arise.

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Do you steal from another family to feed your own? Should you try to bring in a lost soul and keep them alive, knowing how limited your resources are but with the potential to gain another pair of hands? In the throes of desperation, would you rob from those who are just trying to get by the way you are – or even kill them to help your own chances of survival?

Remastered for its fifth anniversary with a big free update including new characters to meet and interact with, additional locations to explore including those from its story DLCs (even if you don’t own them), and another potential outcome to your tale, you can play This War of Mine as a free Steam game this weekend. Even better than that, it’s going super cheap in a Steam sale, meaning you can get a copy to keep without breaking the bank.

This War of Mine is available to play as a free game on Steam through Monday January 29. If you decide you want to play past that, it’s also on sale for 85% off until Thursday January 1, meaning you’ll pay just $2.99/£2.51 for the base game or $3.93/£3.33 with its collection of four extra DLC story scenarios, each focusing on a different perspective on war.

Alternatively, we’ve rounded up the best free PC games in 2024 that you can play without spending a thing, or you can explore the history of human conflict with more of the best war games on PC.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.