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Subject: Twilight Struggle vs. 1960: The Making of the President rss

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Chris Shaffer
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TedW wrote:
Do you guys see a lot of opponents events fired in 1960? I've only played a few games (against my Twilight Struggle partner) and we a) rarely even get a chance to fire an event and b) when we do, the opponent almost always preempts.

You do know that preempt happens before you fire the event, right? Your opponent has to give up two momentum markers before seeing if you would have activated the event or not. And if the opponent has more than one bad event, it's extremely unlikely there will be four momentum markers available for preemption.
 
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Just wanted to chime in to say this review was a fantastic read, plus you drew some great insights from Jason Matthews (thanks for adding your comments, Jason!).

I have played both games a few times now and I think I'm personally edging towards 1960 - several of your points illustrated why I prefer its experience over TS, though I do think TS is also a great game. Some of the compelling aspects for me are the shorter game length (or at least you know the game will take a set amount of time as compared to TS, which can take 30 minutes or 4 hours), the openness of it (I think this is what Jason was alluding to with better words than I could come up with), I actually quite like the election theme (I'm usually glued to CNN with voyeuristic pleasure when US elections are happening), and for me the quality of the components add tangible enjoyment to the game play (call me shallow, but I do like the tactile experience).

One other point to bring up, and this may just be an impression for me so far because I haven't played a lot, is that the balance between the two sides seems better in 1960 - it feels to me like you have a fairly even chance to win whether you get Nixon or Kennedy (I did read there might be a slight bias for Nixon). We all know about the USSR bias in TS, which I appreciate as a design decision but it's not necessarily fun for everyone to have to play the US and know your chances of winning a game that could go 3+ hours are 1 in 3. Others will prefer the challenge and asymmetry though. That said, I realize there are schemes to help balance the sides out (bidding for sides, adding influence, etc.).
 
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suPUR DUEper
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TheCat wrote:
TedW wrote:
Do you guys see a lot of opponents events fired in 1960? I've only played a few games (against my Twilight Struggle partner) and we a) rarely even get a chance to fire an event and b) when we do, the opponent almost always preempts.

You do know that preempt happens before you fire the event, right? Your opponent has to give up two momentum markers before seeing if you would have activated the event or not. And if the opponent has more than one bad event, it's extremely unlikely there will be four momentum markers available for preemption.

Yep. Got that.

In a typical turn I have to play six cards (two thirds of which can be played by him)

In order for him to fire an event:

I must hold one or more of his/joint events
I cannot have played the joint event for myself
It must not be preempted by a previous event
I cannot have applied it to the debates or final support checks
I cannot have discarded it through the use of an event
I cannot have discarded it via use of my candidate card
I cannot have preempted it
I cannot have played it so late in the turn that it is of no use to him
It must have at least some value to him (e.g. "In the South" is no good if there are no open states...)
He must have a momentum marker
It must be worth a momentum marker
If he is losing in issues, he may want to hold his momentum marker for next turn.

And the events that typically get played are of the weaker variety (i.e. a great one would have been avoided using one of the techniques above).

One other difference with TS is that just ducking an event this round doesn't mean you won't see it again. In fact, the more you duck in TS, the more likely you will get bad events in the future. In 1960 you rarely see an event a second time.

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AxonDomini
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denverarch wrote:
One thing you may have missed a bit is that your revulsion (which I initally shared) at triggering enemy events can also be mitigated by choosing whether he activates it first or second. I used to always avoid triggering an opponents event and now I agree withe experts: high OPS are good, period! I know enough now to set up the stage to trigger an oppoenents event, or I let him place influence first, then counter him, or if he makes a dumb move use the influence for something better

I've read that, and I believe it's true. However, I found that I simply lack the desire to take the time needed to "get" TS. It's not that I'm opposed to games that take time to develop a skill for. I've just started learning Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and it's been a great experience so far. Our first game was a total mess in terms of rule confusion and strategic cluelessness, but we at the end we were eager to try again, and by the third game we were totally engrossed in the strategic possibilities. TS, in contrast, I just found frustrating and annoying. Would more games make a difference? Very likely. However, given the length of the game and the steep learning curve I just find I'm not interested in putting in that kind of effort. A game that long and deep has to grab me pretty quickly - like Hannibal did.

I'm curious - what was it about TS that encouraged you to continue in spite of your revulsion at the forced events?
 
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Philip Thomas
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Of course, advancing along the Space race track has an important disadvantage as well as the advantages available: once you get to Step 5 you can no longer burn 2 OPs cards on the Space Race. That can really hurt... and in this light the ability to play 2 cards a turn on the Space Race isn't really very helpful, your just accelerating faster towards the crunch point.
 
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Philip Thomas
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1960's theme can appeal to non-US players- it appeals to me, although the actual details of the game are turning me off a bit.

The Cold War is a bit of a wider topic, true.

Makes me think, what about a TS variant in which Nixon won in 1960...removing Lone Gunman and Ask Not...from the deck?? Or even Quagmire, would Nixon have committed to Vietnam??
 
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Jérôme
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supertopona wrote:
Great review, my compliments. I didn't play yet 1960 (even though its in my hot list!) but I own TS. The thing I can say is TS theme is wider and can appeal not only US players.

Agree 100%.
I have both TS and 1960, and like them both for their own merits. In 1960 most of the events don't ring any bell for me, which is unfortunate. Nixon's knee? Alright. :shrugs:
Well, at least I learn something about recent American history.
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Wade Broadhead
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What allowed me to continue was the ability to see all the amazing interactions and possibilities. The challenge of the game and teh opponent kept me glued to the game as well. Knwoing some of the cards and understanding how the game progresses really helped as well. Getting an oppponents card out of the deck is important by itself, and in later games the reshuffle has heavily favored me now in my last few FTF games.

Funny about hannibal. My friend and I are deeper wargamers and Hannibal didnt grab either of us at all. We tried twice and couldnt really understand the appeal.
 
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AxonDomini
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
I've just ordered TS,and have been left in a state of apprehension by your reviews about wether or not I'll enjoy it.I like Axis and Allies,history of the world,game of thronesmagic The Gathering and all Games Workshop stuff-any reccomendations and/or help?

Well, you seem to like strong themes, and TS definitely has that. Most people who play TS really enjoy it, and the theme is a big seller for many fans. I think there's a good chance you'll enjoy TS.
 
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Kevin Brown
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
I've just ordered TS,and have been left in a state of apprehension by your reviews about wether or not I'll enjoy it.I like Axis and Allies,history of the world,game of thronesmagic The Gathering and all Games Workshop stuff-any reccomendations and/or help?

TS isn't much like any of those games. I think you'll enjoy it anyway.
 
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evan fitzgerald
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Reedo wrote:
1960 has none of the subtlety that TS has. TS is SO much better.
So says the uppity TS player . I find the constant reference to TS as being a more richly deep game or 1960 being 'light' to be the typical gamer condescension coming through.

I have now played both games and feel 1960 is a much more enjoyable game. Why? TS seems so utterly scripted. 1st turn you must Defcon and hope you roll good for those key countries...any other play from Russia and you are in bad shape. The whole Defcon thing in general struck me as poorly designed. When open, it's a must...you really didn't have a choice. Do it now or suffer.

Couple other things people have said. TS seemed about making your hand 'suck as little as possible' whereas in 1960 I felt I was trying to make a good combination happen while mitigating any potential problems. Your play when your opponent was holding a momentum marker was much different.

From a logistics point of view - I really like the fact that all markers balance (never two colors anywhere).

oh yeah...no dice in 1960 either.
 
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August Larson
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Well, I've been on the fence about these two games. They both appeal to me, and your comparison really helped!

First, I'm a theme guy. Theme needs to be strong for me, and TS looks like it wins. Secondly, US elections bore me.

But then price comes in. 1960 is cheaper, and it has better components. But if TS's gameplay is better enough, the price is insignificant.

Then the whole thing about lighter and heavier. I REALLY like heavier games, it's just that I rarely get a chance to play them. Most of my family doesn't even like games at all, but they will play very light ones occassionally. This means that 1960 will have a better chance of getting to the table. But as I think about it more, I can probably convince someone to play TS with me once.

After all this, I'm still on the fence, though leaning towards TS simply because it looks like the game I want to play.

Thanks again for the review, and thanks everyone else for the comments that helped me better compare the two.
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AxonDomini
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My advice is to definitely go for Twilight Struggle, given your tastes. I think you'll find it more satisfying, and it doesn't sound like your family is all that likely to play 1960 either (it's certainly not very light, it's more of a medium weight) - if you buy it for that reason, I suspect you'll just end up with a game that none of you want to play.

I'm glad you found the review useful. Let us know which you pick and how it goes!
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Jeff Mays
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Thank you so much for this review (that you wrote a long time agowhistle ). I am a big fan of 1960:MotP, but have been hesitant about whether or not Twilight Struggle is right for me. Having recently found a copy at a good price, I wanted to look into it a little bit more.

Your review was very helpful in this department. And from it, I have decided that, although I do not necessarily believe I will enjoy Twilight Struggle as much, I think I may still enjoy it quite a bit (especially if I can find a zombie variant somewherezombie ).

Wonderful review. Thanks.
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Seth Brown
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Still finding this comparison review useful. I love Twilight Struggle, but my girlfriend hated it and refuses to play it a second time. However, what she hated most was having to play cards with opponent's events on them, so maybe 1960 would work for us after all.
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J. @kinson
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Awesome review, and I appreciate the detailed analysis between the two games. I've just recently purchased 1960 to analyze for a class curriculum I'm making. Based on your assessment, it looks like I will like 1960 over TS personally.
 
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AxonDomini
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I'm glad you found it useful! Out of curiousity, what class are you incorporating 1960 into?

jgatkinsn wrote:
Awesome review, and I appreciate the detailed analysis between the two games. I've just recently purchased 1960 to analyze for a class curriculum I'm making. Based on your assessment, it looks like I will like 1960 over TS personally.
 
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J. @kinson
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It's a mix of U.S. history and U.S. politics. Starting with the founding of our country and issues that were important then to now.
 
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