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Subject: Bookshelf Games Review rss

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Lawrence Spode
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Theme: Rock Solid. The game covers the Cold War that followed WWII. You would be hard pressed to find a game where mechanics match theme so well. The game promotes an atmosphere of tension where you are continuously forced to choose the lesser of two evils while you struggle for dominance. This seems to hold true to the era the game recreates.

Components: Cheap but Expensive. Unfortunately the components are horrible. The cards are fine. The influence tokens are simple tokens which are perfect for their function. The board is cheap but works. The art work is pretty much old photos from the time period which I like. The really big problem is the price. This game is VERY expensive for the physical components that you are going to get. The saving grace however is the…

Gameplay: Outstanding and Tense. Fortunately the gameplay contained in this game more than makes up for the quality of the components. Twilight Struggle is a card driven game. The game begins with cards themed around the early war and as the game progresses you shuffle in cards from other mid and late war. Players will draw a hand of cards each round. They will then take turns playing the cards. Most cards will have a value in the top corner and an event on the bottom. A player will get to spend the operational points to perform actions or use the event if the event favors the active player. If the event favors the opponent the active player will get to use the points and the event occurs. This will make for some very difficult decisions. There is an escape, when a card is too bad to play, with the space track. This is an interesting mechanic where a player can get rid of a card that would hurt them in exchange for a small bonus but this can only be done once per round. Another interesting aspect of the game is that scoring cards are mixed into the deck and the player that was dealt the card will get to choose when to play it as long as it is during the same round it was dealt. Except for the first game (in which I dominated my friend Paul) the games have been very close all the way to the end.

Replay Value: Through the Roof. This game will take a couple rounds to learn but I don’t think I will ever be able to master it. There are enough card combinations and the game is so intense that once learned it will keep you coming back.

If I were forced to flee from unnamed communists invaders with a group of high school students in a truck preferably driven by Patrick Swayze to start a renegade troupe similar to the werewolves of post WWII Germany would this game serve to raise our spirits as we plotted the liberation and reconstruction of our home? Yes

Drink Recommendation: For this game I recommend chilled Kettle One Vodka straight out of the bottle. The fact that it is from the Netherlands compliments the tension that remained in Europe after the cold war. When you are drinking it cold straight out of the bottle it is hard not to picture Siberia. I believe this will aid the theme of the game well.


edit: grammer and added to blog
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Jeff Thompson
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Subhuman wrote:
This game is VERY expensive for the physical components that you are going.

Luckily when it comes to GMT games you aren't paying for the physical components, but the game.

People! These things are a lot more complex to design than, oh every single game to the left of this message. (Except for maybe Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage)
 
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Lawrence Spode
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Tompy wrote:
People! These things are a lot more complex to design than, oh every single game to the left of this message. (Except for maybe Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage)

I don't doubt that this game was a bear to design but I dont think that is the reason for the cost. I think it costs this much because dedicated wargame companies have such a limited corner of the market that they are not able to mass produce games the way others do. A company like Fantasy Flight can spend a long time developing a game like TI3, pack it full of minis, and sell it for the same price because they know that they will attarct wargamers, eurogamers, fans of American style games, and several random people who will see it in comicbook stores.

GMT however will usually only print 1 run of a game meaning they need to cover costs and pull a profit at the first shot. Which is fine. I would have perfered to have paid an extra $5 retail for a nicer board though.

I hope it came through in the review though that I love this game and feel that the gameplay makes it worth every cent of a rather high MSRP. High being compared to gaming as a whole. For wargames its right on par.
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Steve McIlhatton
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I'd love to see them put out a deluxe board.. I'd happily upgrade

The one component that really stood out to me in terms of high quality was the box.. goddamn but that's some meaty cardboard.. shame they didn't use the same kind of stuff for the game board
 
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Ken Shin
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If they come out with a deluxe board, will you need more cards and counters or can you use the ones you already have from the second edition just on a newer board?

Also, when you are talking about the price, are you referring to the retail price or prices online which is usually $35-40.
 
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Lawrence Spode
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I am refering to the MSRP. A am looking at the price as cost vs physical components. You will get your money's worth out of this game. Just know what to expect when you open the box.


I don't think there is going to be a deluxe edition. I am hoping we will see another collaberation by Gupta and Matthews.

edit: I just saw that Matthews is working on a new game 1960: The Making of the President that looks like it may share some properties of Twilight Struggle. I'm certainly going to keep my eye on that one.
 
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Jeff Thompson
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Innocent Bystander wrote:
I'd love to see them put out a deluxe board.. I'd happily upgrade

GMT games generally come with a paper map.

They provide Deluxe Maps for some of these games. These Deluxe maps are exactly the same as the map found in the Twilight Struggle box.

So for games I really enjoy, Paths of Glory, For the People, etc., I always pony up the $20 for this Deluxe map.

Lawrence, I agree with your thoughts on why GMT games cost more than FFG games. There is still a wide gap between war games and euro games and the people that play them.

I would like to amend Lawrence's drink recommendation as I always like to pick a drink per side. Russian vodka for the USSR player. And for the American I think a good American Ale like Goose Island's Honker's Ale or Sam Adams might be a good choice. If you want to represent the workers of America, perhaps it's time to break out the High Life. But then the cost of the game might make the High Life a contradiction.


 
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Peter Rich
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Re: Bookshelf Games Review: Is $57 Really Too Expensive?
Actually, as counterintuitive as it may seem, if you to the Economic History Resources website at http://eh.net/hmit/ and punch in the $57 price for today to see what that price would have been in 1975 or the 1980s, taking various measures of inflation into account, you will find that "Twilight Struggle" and other GMT games are priced at not much more than the SPI or GDW games that were unboxed and had even cheaper paper maps, no matte counters (and were not nearly as excellent graphically, as well as lacking cards)yet soldfor $10-15 or more in the mid-1970s and $19 or more in the 1980s. Avalon Hill games came with mounted mapboards (not everyone likes them) but were even more costly.

In addition, you can save $$ on GMT games by P500ing them or buying through discounter such as Boulder Games. At those prices, GMT games are a great value for your gaming dollar.
 
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