Year Published
# of Players
1 − 4
User Suggested # of Players
Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players
(26 voters) [poll]
Mfg Suggested Ages
Playing Time
180 minutes
User Suggested Ages
14 and up
(7 voters) [poll]
Language Dependence
Extensive use of text - massive conversion needed to be playable
(10 voters) [poll]
(32 voters) [vote]
Primary Name
Cuba Libre
Alternate Names
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ObjectID: 111799
Description Edit | History

In December 1956, paroled rebel Fidel Castro returned to Cuba to launch his revolution with virtually no political base and—after a disastrous initial encounter with government forces—a total of just 12 men. Two years later, through masterful propaganda and factional maneuver, Castro, his brother Raúl, and iconic revolutionary Che Guevara had united disparate guerrillas and exploited Cubans’ deep opposition to their dictator Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar. Castro’s takeover of the country became a model for Leftist insurgency.

Castro’s Insurgency

Following up on GMT Games’ Andean Abyss about insurgency in modern Colombia, the next volume in the COIN Series, Cuba Libre, takes 1 to 4 players into the Cuban Revolution. Castro’s “26 July Movement” must expand from its bases in the Sierra Maestra mountains to fight its way to Havana. Meanwhile, anti-communist student groups, urban guerrillas, and expatriates try to de-stabilize the Batista regime from inside and out, while trying not to pave the way for a new dictatorship under Castro. Batista’s Government must maintain steam to counter the twin insurgency, while managing two benefactors: its fragile US Alliance and its corrupting Syndicate skim. And in the midst of the turmoil, Meyer Lansky and his Syndicate bosses will jockey to keep their Cuban gangster paradise alive.

COIN Series, Volume II

Cuba Libre will be easy to learn for Andean Abyss players—both volumes share the same innovative GMT COIN Series system. Like Volume I, Cuba Libre is equally playable solitaire or by multiple players up to 4—and with a shorter time to completion than Andean Abyss. But Cuba Libre’s situation and strategic challenges will be new. A deck of 48 fresh events brings 1950s Cuba to life and includes …

• The Twelve: The first wave’s escape to the Sierra Maestra—inspirational legend or harbinger of defeat?
• El Che and Raúl: Brilliant in the field, or bungling hostage-takers?
• Operation Fisherman: Can the rebels pull off a second invasion?
• General Strike: Urban disruption or rebel embarrassment?
• Radio Rebelde: Are the masses tuning in, or just the Army direction finders?
• Pact of Caracas: Can the rebels unite?
• Armored Cars: Mobile striking power, but in whose hands?
• Rolando Masferrer: Brutal pro-government tactics—will they help or hurt?
• Fat Butcher: Can the Mob’s enforcer protect its casinos?
• Sinatra: Frankie’s Havana show a boom or bust, and who collects?
… and much more.

New twists match the COIN Series system to the situation in 1950s Cuba:

• It’s the insurgents who build lasting capabilities, while the Government is limited to fleeting bursts of momentum.
• The Syndicate’s bases are Casinos—expensive to build, but so important to Cuba no army will destroy them.
• Syndicate special activities include calling in the “muscle” of Government troops and police to protect mob assets.
• Stacks of Syndicate cash awaiting launder can fall in anyone’s hands—even the corrupt Government’s.
• The Government has its own terror tactic—reprisals—and can skim a portion of Syndicate profits.
• The eroding US Alliance with Batista overshadows all Government actions, not just through aid levels but also through the day-to-day ability of troops and police to operate.
• Even if Batista flees, the struggle may not end—the counterrevolutionary government may even become stronger!

Multiplayer, 2-Player, Solitaire

Cuba Libre provides up to 4 players with contrasting roles and overlapping victory conditions for rich diplomatic interaction. For 2- or 3-player games, players can represent alliances of factions, or the game system can control non-player factions . Or a single player as the Cuban Revolutionaries can attempt to topple Batista and seize power for themselves. The non-player sides will fight one another as well as the players, but too much power in the hands of any one of them will mean player defeat.

More COIN Series Volumes to Come

Andean Abyss and now Cuba Libre present a game system on modern insurgency readily adaptable to other conflicts, particularly those featuring the interaction of many sides (thus the name COunterINsurgency Series). A rich and under-represented history of guerrilla warfare beckons, as modern insurgency offers virtually unlimited, under-gamed topics for the COIN Series. Volume III is A Distant Plain—Insurgency in Afghanistan. Future volumes will include Fire in the Lake—Insurgency in Vietnam, Bush War—The Fall of Portuguese Angola, Long Hard Slog—The Iraqi Insurgency, and more.

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More Information Edit | History
  • A 17”x22” mounted game board
  • A deck of 52 cards
  • 79 dark and light blue, red, green, and yellow wooden forces pieces, some embossed.
  • 8 embossed cylinders
  • One sheet of markers
  • One background play book
  • One rule book
  • A Sequence of Play sheet
  • 4 Faction player aid foldouts
  • 2 Non-Player Aid foldouts
  • 3 6-sided dice


mb Cuba Libre fan

mb Cuba Libre fan

mb COIN series fan


Issue 27

Designer's Notes, alt-history & Variants by Jeff Grossman

5 5/8" Counters by Mark Simonitch

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Cuba Libre
First Edition
Publisher: GMT Games
Year: 2013
Size: 12.20 x 9.20 x 3.00 inches
Release Date:  
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Title | Hot | Recent
[Browse »]  [Upload File »] Language:
Pg. 1 of 2 »
4 Cuba Libre - polish rules
Nieoficjalne, amatorskie tłumaczenie instrukcji gry (bez indeksu) na język polski.
7 concise reference sheet by hecose
Reference sheet useful for quick referencing and provides a structured summary for teaching the game. If you are interested in ref sheets for other games that I’ve made (>250), a complete set is available at my boardgame blog, http://hiewandboardgames.blogspot.com/2010/12/concise-reference-sheets.html
2 Player aid in French, reworded.
L'aide de jeu décrivant les actions, mais la plupart des actions ont été rephrasés pour être plus claires. L'idéal serait plutôt selon moi une présentation des actions sous forme de carte : http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/1847331/cuba-libre Pas le temps de faire des cartes, mais la présentation sur la fiche s'en rapproche.
11 COIN Επιχειρήσεις και Ειδικές Δραστηριότητες
Εμπλουτισμένο και με κάποιες συντακτικές διορθώσεις.
10 Οδηγός κινήσεων βάσει κανόνων
Ένας οδηγός κινήσεων και πράξεων βασισμένο στους κανόνες του Cuba Libre, για κάθε παράταξη ξεχωριστά. Στο τέλος υπάρχουν γενικοί κανόνες και στόχοι επίτευξης για το τέλος του παιχνιδιού. Ενημερωμένο με μικρές συντακτικές διορθώσεις.
6 Cuba Libre - Aides de jeu en français
Avec l'aimable autorisation de l'auteur Version 2.0 des aides en jeu en Français. J'en ai profité pour recopier quelques points des règles qui nous semblaient importants d'ajouter...
7 Ayudas de Jugador - Facciones
v0.3 Corregido error (detectado por FerreRK) en la Ubicación de la operación de reagrupamiento del sindicato. ============================= Corrected mistake (detected by FerreRK) on the Location of the Rally Op for the Syndicate.
31 PlayerAids
Updated with corrections to some serious mistakes and fixed typos
10 Cuba Libre-Regeln (deutsch)
Deutsche Übersetzung der Cuba Libre-Grundregeln. Wenn es notwendig erschien (z.B. wenn auf Kartentexte verwiesen wird), steht der Originalbegriff in Klammern. Die Nicht-Spieler-Regeln schaffe ich hoffentlich zwischen den Jahren. Danke an Volko Ruhnke für die Erlaubnis, die Regeln zu posten.
11 Cuba Libre - Deutsche Spielhilfen
Deutsche Übersetzung der Player Aid Sheets, der Non-Player Sheets, Sequence of Play Sheet, Random Spaces Sheet. Deutsche Übersicht über den Propagandarundenablauf und Spieler-, sowie Nicht-Spieler-Prioritäten. Finale, fehlerfreie Version
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Board Game Rank: 496
War Game Rank: 45
Num Ratings: 778
Average Rating: 7.79
Standard Deviation: 1.27
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Linked Podcasts/Periodicals
Pg. 1
Low Player Count - Ep. 2 - I Know What You Did Last Turn
54.11 MB
Episode 47 -- Four Coins in a Fountain
75.37 MB
ET77: Revolución Barbuda Cubana en Zona Lúdica 2014
TGG Episode 55: Game Designer John Welch, Cheaty Mages, Cuba Libre, Numenera, Moonbase Alpha and More!
84.94 MB
DJ34: Entrevista a Chechu Nieto
41.09 MB
1P 047 - Cuba Libre
25.94 MB
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