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Subject: Quick review of a Cold War Classic rss

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Damon Hoffman
United States
Austin
Texas
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Twilight Struggle is a card driven area control game by two American Designers, Ananda Gupta, and Jason Matthews. Of these two designers Jason Matthews is more prolific, as he also designed other games like 1960: The Making of the President, 1989: Dawn of Freedom, Campaign Manager 2008, and Founding Fathers.

In Twilight Struggle, the game covers the period from 1945 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Players choose to either play as Russia, or the United States, and through the use of clever card play will attempt to spread their political influence around the World. The game is played out over ten turns, and players get six actions each turn. It is possible to go up to eight actions a turn. The ten turns are split up over three “war” eras, the Early War is covered in the first three turns, Mid War is covered in turns four to seven, and the Late War is played from turn eight to ten. Each of these war eras has its own deck of cards, and contain events specific to the period they take place in. For example, there are events like Fidel Castro takes over Cuba, NATO is formed, Korean War, and the Vietnam War all take place in the Early War deck.

Cards have multiple uses in this game. Each card comes with a title and text, and a star in the top left corner of the card. In the star is a number from 1 to 4 which are called Operation Points. Operation Points are used to spend for a variety of actions each turn. The text on each card is unique and allows the player a one time action, and some of them have an astrix which means the card is a one time use card, which is removed from the game after its use. Other cards go into the discard pile and can come back to be used again later. If the star in the top left of the card is red then the text on the card favors the USSR, while white cards favor the USA. If the card has a split star, with both red and white, then the card benefits whoever uses the card. Each round, players need to decide whether to play a card for its text power, or for its Operation Points.

Operation Points are used to either spread influence markers around the board, or to commit Coups, which allow players to switch out their opponents influence markers for their own. Re-alignments allow players to do a roll-offs which allows the high roller to remove their opponent's markers. But players have to be careful, if they commit too many Coups they can lower the DEFCON level too far and start a nuclear war, which loses them the game. The board is a map of the World, with six regions: Europe, Asia, Central America, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Each region is made up of interlocking countries with black and brown lines. It is along these lines that players are allowed to spread their influence markers to neighboring countries across the map. Each country comes with a Stability Number, and if players can get their influence markers to match or go above the Stability Number, they gain control of the county. Players can add influence counters to countries their opponent already is in. However, if a player has control of a country, his or her opponent will have to pay two operation points for each influence counter he wishes to add, until the controlling player loses control of the country.

It is by controlling countries that players are able to score Victory Points. The Victory Point Track is on the board and it represents a tug of war. On one end is Russia with 20 points, and the United States is on the other end with 20 points as well. The victory points token is put in the middle at zero. Each turn players will be fighting to pull the marker towards their 20 points, so if the USA gains points, then the USSR loses points, and vice versa. This re-creates the feeling of the Cold War in which both powers fought through news headlines to influence public opinion in their favor. If a player is able to get the score token to 20 points on their side, they win. If players have a particularly good series of turns, it is possible for a player to win at any time during the Early War, Mid War, and the Late War. If the game actually makes it to the end of the tenth turn, then there is a final scoring in which every region in the World is scored. Whoever has the most points after this, wins the game.

Because players are dealt seven cards each turn, they can get both Russian and United States favored cards, the game becomes a very interesting challenge in trying to spin the headlines in the best ways possible. The game is more about capitalizing on your favored cards, and minimizing the damage of the opponent's cards. This dynamic, combined with deciding how to spread influence, starting Coups, and Re-alignments, gives the game a very high level of replay-ability which will bring players back over and over.

Because the event card and actions have names and images that come from the pages of history, the game actually feels like a Cold War in a box. In the back of the rule book there is a Card Histories section, in which the events on each card is described and explained in a Cliff Notes fashion. Because of the historic nature of the game, it is an excellent starting point for teaching students, in high school, or college about the major events of the Cold War. It is also great game for those of you who enjoy history, and would like to pretend your Kennedy and Khrushchev duking it out for World domination.
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Alex Rathburn
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Lame game!
 
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Max DuBoff
United States
New Haven
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"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
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Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
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PzrLehr wrote:
Lame game!

Why do you say that? I only ask because I'm curious.
 
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Derrick Siegmund
Netherlands
Heemskerk
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MD1616 wrote:
PzrLehr wrote:
Lame game!

Why do you say that? I only ask because I'm curious.

He is just seeking attention... is my guess
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dan pancaldi
Canada
Les Coteaux, Que.
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MD1616 wrote:
PzrLehr wrote:
Lame game!

Why do you say that? I only ask because I'm curious.

Don't ask. He might just answer!whistle
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Fred Finkenbinder
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Please. Don't feed the troll.
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