- Øivind Karlsrud(oivind22)Norway
UnspecifiedAvatar: My two sons
There are plenty of reviews for this game already, so I won't give an overview of the rules, I'll just stick to my opinions of the game.
First of all, I love the idea of using cards for operation points or as events. It gives you flexibility, hard decisions and lots of historical flavor. Here I Stand uses the same mechanic, with the difference that in Twilight Struggle your opponent gets the event anyway, if you play one of his events for operation points. I think this is a very elegant way of making sure most cards will eventually get played as events.
The game is designed to make players act historically, not to be a simulation. Three examples: First, it is an area control game, with regions being scored at certain points (when one of the players plays the scoring card for that region). This gives players the incentive to grab for territory in regions they think/know will be scored soon. I think this abstracts all the irrational (in hindsight) reasons USA and USSR had for doing what they did. The second example is the way the game confirms the domino theory by requiring that players have influence in a neighbouring country before getting influence in a country. The domino theory may have been wrong, but again the game makes the players act historically. The last example is how the events confirm historical biases. Fidel Castro may not have been a USSR puppet (at least not if USA had acted differently), but in the game the Castro card gives USSR control over Cuba. With hindsight, we know many communists were not directed from Moscow, but the game confirms how things were understood at the time. The game tries to recreate an alternative but plausible history, not to analyse it.
The game gives a lot of historical flavor for quite low complexity (in rules, not in gameplay). The rules are actually easy enough to teach to your non-gamer friend, if he/she is interested in the cold war. I think the important thing is to let your friend play it as much as you, because knowing the cards is a major advantage. This is probably one game in which you should stick to one or a few regular opponents, rather than teach it to everyone you know.
Most importantly: The game is fun. It may be too early for me to say, but I think I can see why it is number 1 on BGG. It is a very accessible game, with lots of historical flavor and fun gameplay. Personally, I think there are a couple of games I like slightly better (Here I stand is one), but they are not as accessible as Twilight Struggle.
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