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Subject: Roland's 20-point review rss

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Roland Wood
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My reviews are based upon my own experiences with the games in question and although I do state my opinions as fact they are purely anecdotal. The wonderful aspect of my review format is that people may respond and add alternative experiences in the specific points. I highly encourage this as my goal is to help people decide if this is the type of game that will drive them crazy-good or crazy-bad.

For a complete explanation of my ratings and the points: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1658869#1658869

Game: Twilight Struggle

Random Factors: (High) Blind drawing for your hand of cards, dice rolls for coups, re-alignments, and space race. There are many ways that luck can help or hinder you in this game.
Strategy: (Moderate) Global scale with highly abstracted "battles" for influence control of countries. Good depth of pregame planning options available for how you want to play out the game but due to random factors things get tactical pretty quickly. You can't afford to ignore your opponent and stick to your chosen path to victory.
Tactics: (High) The game is card driven and very action-reaction oriented. The way scoring works forces players to be very aware of what their opponent is doing and countering it if possible rather than just doing your own strategy.
Tension: (Complete) If you enjoy angst and tough tough choices in a game this is your baby.
Brainburn: (Moderate) This is less true as you become more familiar with the cards as is the case in any CDG. There are a ton of options to consider in this game each time it is your turn.
Analysis Paralysis: (Moderate) This can be a bad game for people prone to this especially if they are not yet familiar with the cards.
Interaction: (High) The cards you play to help you will usually also help your opponent. This game is very much an action - reaction -counter-reaction and so on type game. It is not side-by-side solitaire by any means.
Confrontation: (Complete) Its a war game.
Downtime: (Low) Its two-players and designed to go quickly once both players are familiar with the cards.
Rules: (Moderate) Rules are okay. I am good with rules and I needed to read through them three times to get everything. The game isn't terribly complex with most of the complex rule exceptions being handled by the cards you play. It did seem tough though to find answers to questions as we played it. Recommend you learn from someone who knows it.
Components: (Low) I know this company really likes to remind us that intellectual property is part of the cost of the game. It must be most of it based on component and board quality. You will greatly benefit from plexiglass when playing this.
Theme: (Complete) I was born in 1969 and so only really remember the tail end of the cold war. It was still chilling to play the game and remember how scary it all was. My Dad was born in 1945 and was blown away by the deck of cards he looked at (not a gamer, sadly) This game will suck you in and make you relive the cold war.
Gateway Suitability: (Trace) Don't do it unless the person is a history nut. Even then, play Risk or Axis and Allies with them first. For a non-gamer there is just too much going on here.
Spouse Suitability: (Trace) She has asked me about it a couple of times but never agreed to play and has no real interest in the theme. Maybe your wife is different...
Fun Factor: (High) A fantastic tense journey through recent history (sometimes ours sometimes some alternate universe's) I love this game and win or lose always feel a sense of fulfillment and that "gamer buzz" that great games give you after an evening of playing.
Replayablity: (High) The random factors help this game play differently each time. The tension is there each time.
Setup Pain: (Trace) The game is a snap to set up. It involves your first tactical choices....
Length/Pacing: (High) Sure this is a long game but it feels the right length as you play. It is epic, encompassing roughly 40 years of history. The early, middle, and late stages of the game are clearly marked and the game progresses well through all of them (provided you get that far) The pacing of the game gets even better once both opponents know the cards.

2 players: Best. Its the only way to play.
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Paul
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Very nice format for a review...quick and pointed.

Well done!
 
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Jonathan
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Quote:
Gateway Suitability: (None) Don't do it unless the person is a history nut. Even then, play Risk or Axis and Allies with them first. For a non-gamer there is just too much going on here.

I've got to disagree with your statement. I've introduced TS to non-gamers at least 4 times. It's always been a big hit. Granted these were intelligent people with an interest in the Cold War, but I wouldn't say TS is much more complicated then say, Axis and Allies.
 
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Dane Peacock
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I like this format too. Plus it gives an opportunity for people to respond on the points. I imagine that this type of review, combined with opposing opinions in the responses, will be very valuable for readers looking to buy the game.
 
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Roland Wood
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jmw23 wrote:
Quote:
Gateway Suitability: (None) Don't do it unless the person is a history nut. Even then, play Risk or Axis and Allies with them first. For a non-gamer there is just too much going on here.

I've got to disagree with your statement. I've introduced TS to non-gamers at least 4 times. It's always been a big hit. Granted these were intelligent people with an interest in the Cold War, but I wouldn't say TS is much more complicated then say, Axis and Allies.

Glad you have had better success than me. I only tried it twice and neither were history buffs. So we'll say from both our anecdotal evidence that it is a toss-up as to whether a nongamer friend is going to warm up to it cold turkey or not. I'll up the rating to trace...
 
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Scott Kelton
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From my experience, i think it mostly depends on how interested a non gamer is in the theme. The two people I introduced the game to who were history buffs, were sucked in by the theme and reliving the cold war. Both were older and had experience part of the cold war. The people I introduced who were not older nor history buffs did not get sucked in.

My thought is that the theme is so strong that it will suck in a nongamer who is interested in the theme.

I also want to say that I also appreciate this format of review.
 
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William Wood
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Not bad, but it could use a quick summary of the game; otherwise, this isn't so much a review as an editorial, a sort of "grading by Roland" exercise (not that there's anything wrong with that, I suppose).

By "Spouse Suitability," you really mean "Roland's Spouse's Reaction," since you don't assess the game as a general "spousiness," whatever that means; you might want to broaden your scope.

I've had good success with this as a gateway game, since the premise is unique and intriguing (although maybe only for 30- and 40-somethings).

PS: I'm not buying this 20/18 point dichotomy; dig up two more points, man!

 
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David Trent
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Really like the format of your review. I was able to read the whole thing easily. I usually get bored and move on to other things.
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Roland Wood
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mst3k4ever wrote:
Not bad, but it could use a quick summary of the game; otherwise, this isn't so much a review as an editorial, a sort of "grading by Roland" exercise (not that there's anything wrong with that, I suppose).

By "Spouse Suitability," you really mean "Roland's Spouse's Reaction," since you don't assess the game as a general "spousiness," whatever that means; you might want to broaden your scope.

I've had good success with this as a gateway game, since the premise is unique and intriguing (although maybe only for 30- and 40-somethings).

PS: I'm not buying this 20/18 point dichotomy; dig up two more points, man!


Since we are probably related somehow (Wood ancestors of mine migrated out of Canada as Mormon pioneers in the mid 1800s)I will dig up another point or two...

As for spouse...I can only go by my wife (yes, only the one) and you all have to decide whether that is helpful or not. I encourage people with spousal success stories to post them to this thread so that a broader picture might be painted.

As for summaries...blech. Sorry but the best I could bring myself to do would be to state "There are great summarizations of the rules in other reviews here on BGG and I encourage you to read those...yadda yadda" But everyone who writes these type of non-summarizing reviews always makes that statement and I didn't want to be cliche...
 
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