Daniel Skjold PedersenDenmark
As I type this I have the Lou Reed classic playing in my head. "Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo".
Game design is more mundane than a walk on the wild side but this year's Spiel in Essen, Germany is going to be wild.
It will be my 5th consecutive Spiel. I drove in as a noob in 2013, and though no publishing deals came out of those initial meetings, I met so many friendly and welcoming people. I was energized. It spurred me on. Thank you!
Each year since has felt like a step up, or rather into being a genuine part of the board games world.
13 Days, A Tale of Pirates and Gold Fever was signed around Spiel '14.
Frogriders, 13 Minutes and Shaky Supervillains at Spiel '15.
Iron Curtain and more unannounced and secret stuff at Spiel '16 (Panic Mansion in between).
This Spiel is going to be wild. Asger and I have five brand new games releasing, and then there is 13 Minutes and Frogriders from just earlier this year. And let's not forget 13 Tage - German 13 Days - which is a big deal. That is a lot of games to demo and support. With only five days until the show kicks off I can feel the anticipation building. I look forward to seeing my games on the tables all around the halls and in particular the smiling faces above the tables. Throughout the week we will be at publisher booths helping out as much as possible. Do come by and say hi! Also, we'll go to Motel One in central Essen on Friday night to hang out and play some games.
I try not to look to much at the above schedule because I fall into the trap of thinking "well this surely looks like a fun and relaxing time". I vouch for fun, but relaxing not so much. One major part of why I go to Essen is left out: the meetings. All 23 of them.
This Spiel is going to be wild. We have meetings Wednesday through Sunday with little time to rest in between. I am glad I know the shortcuts between halls, and where not to go to avoid major congestion. And now suddenly the Air Berlin bankruptcy is a major hazzle. We had to re book our return transfer which means we'll be leaving earlier than anticipated on Sunday which means we had to push even more meetings into already busy days.
If you see a blonde Scandinavian running around in the halls like a madman it is probably Asger.
This Spiel is going to be wild. We'll pitch 9 new prototypes. In the lot there are children's games, family games and games for the more experienced crowd. I feel like talking about a few of them that excites me the most right now.Milky Way Resort is a rewarding points combo game of sending tourists to destinations in space. It's a humorous mix of retro and futuristic with a gameplay that has proven engaging for both casual and experienced players.
Winds of Magic is the first in a series of games that tie card drafting and movement together. On offer is a puzzly core experience I have not seen in other games.
Rising Sands is our next big box game with sandtimers. This was on top of our to-do list as soon as the street date for A Tale of Pirates was confirmed.
Offroad Rally is the last game I will talk about here. It's a racing game that takes over the entire tabletop space. Offroad plays up to 8 without dragging (though chaos is a guarantee). And there is a solo mode with AI opponents each with their own personality reflected in the gameplay.
To everyone going to Essen next week: have a good time and take care. Remember that gaming is for everyone.
Asger & Daniel are two boardgame designers from Copenhagen. Neither of them are superheroes, yet both of them are sidekicks... On this blog they catalogue their designer diaries. There will be overall process oriented diaries, and there will be nitty gritty game design component fetischist focussed diaries. If any of this sounds interesting to you, subscribe. As of October 2017 the following games are either released, or to be released very soon: A Tale of Pirates, Panic Mansion, Iron Curtain, Gold Fever, Flamme Rouge, Frogriders, 13 Days, 13 Minutes and Ramasjang Rally. And then there are all the 2018 and 2019 titles we are forgetting or cannot disclose... :P
Archive for Daniel Skjold Pedersen
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:14 pm
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Iron Curtain - 250 plays and counting. How to measure replayability behind the Iron Curtain
29 Sep 2017
Iron Curtain is a short and brutal microgame cramped with tough decisions in a 20- to 30-minute time frame. You play as the U.S. or the Soviet Union, map out the Iron Curtain to your advantage, and control the most countries and regions on your side of the curtain.
Playing Iron Curtain well is no easy ride. We have made an effort to include as many interesting and tricky decision points as possible in the slight twenty-card framework. You will play cards that aid you greatly, but also open new opportunities for your opponent to take.
The journey that began 13 Days ago
Before I continue let’s pause for a minute. I feel this is the time to thank all of you who played 13 Days, our first Cold War game, and shared the love and wonderful stories. I can positively say that Iron Curtain (and 13 Minutes) would not have been today had 13 Days not been so well received. We are immensely grateful. This is why we design games so thank you all.
The third Cold War game
When 13 Days came out it was branded the Twilight Struggle filler game. I used that moniker myself not knowing if it would come back to haunt me one day. I still don't know.
13 Minutes that released this spring is the 13 Days micro game. It boils down the experience of brinkmanship in a box.
Following this line of thinking Iron Curtain could be said to be the Twilight Struggle micro game. I may be going out on a limb here. Again. Time will tell. Iron Curtain shares some game concepts with the 13 Days/Minutes but it very much has an identity of its own.
Different game, same Cold War
I asked around on social media for topics to discuss in this diary, and the question that came up the most was how we decided to make Iron Curtain different from the previous Cold War games. Three games in fairly short succession beg that question.
The short answer is: There is no “13” in the title.
The artistic answer is that Iron Curtain by intent has a distinct look with more vibrant colours and layout. The message we are trying to convey is that this is not 13 Days II… or III… or whatever! We hope Iron Curtain will stand on its own legs and be judged on its own merits - good as well as bad.
The game design answer is that Iron Curtain offers a different core experience from the other games. I will highlight two key experiences below that were design goals of ours from the outset. There are more but I will leave that for you to explore.
1st design goal - Building the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain has a proper in-game geography, something that wasn’t present in 13 Days/Minutes.
Cards double as actions and as key countries during the superpower struggle. When you play a card it immediately goes to the table next to countries of the same region. As the game progresses the world map is built one country at a time.
How you build the world now matters a great deal. When you want to expand your influence later on you are limited by your current presence on the table. Except for certain events you may only move into adjacent countries. Some countries are within easy grasp while others will take a much greater effort to reach.
This is a feature you may – no let me rephrase - this is a feature you should use to your advantage. How so? Be the first to drop two or more cubes onto a country to control it and create a temporary safe heaven behind that line to drop cards at. Play the first card of a new region so you have the freedom to put that card where you have easy access and your opponent does not.I love how the “map” looks different each time you play
2nd design goal - Adding doses of suspension and agony
In Iron Curtain there are no scoring cards as you may be familiar with in Twilight Struggle or hidden agendas as used in 13 Days. In fact every card is a potential scoring card.
A region scores when all cards of that region are played to the table. So should you play early to jump ahead in that region, or wait to control when the scoring will happen? Or maybe abandon the region entirely and discarding the card at the end of the round? Managing and sequencing your hand of cards is the single greatest challenge you will face in this game.
What all this means is that you will see scoring approach. All over the table. At once. You are constantly trying to pre-empt your opponent’s moves in say Africa and Europe, but at the same time you want to put pressure on them in the Middle East and Asia. But the card you want to play only allows the use of 2 cubes so what to prioritize?!There are three Asia cards. Asia scores when all of Japan, Vietnam and Pakistan are on the table. And again at the end of the game
250 plays and counting - a playtester's perspective
We always intended Iron Curtain to be a highly replayable micro game with layers of depth. A game you can play over and over and still learn new tricks.
The question is: How do you measure replayability? How do you know if/when you succeed? This would be the perfect moment for me to derail the designer diary and go on an analytical rant, but I won't. Instead a sat down to talk to Sagad Al-Serjawi a most dedicated playtester who has played an insane amount of games of Iron Curtain.
You could say I am turning this designers’ diary into a playtester’s diary.
Daniel: Hi Sagad, thank you for joining this designer diary. So tell me how many games of Iron Curtain have you played?
Sagad: I don't know! I stopped counting after 250 games. I played with everyone from friends to family to strangers at a bar one time. You can say I got addicted.
D: Why do you think you went on to play such a huge number of games?
S: It's a fun game and no turns are the same. There is always a new challenge to figure out. The game takes place during the Cold War and you can really feel the pressure from your enemy, whether you play the USSR or the US you will always find new ways of winning (or losing).
D: Do you prefer to play a particular side?
S: Hmm I'd say US for no particular reason. Both feel balanced.
D: Do you recall a cool move you made during a game?
S: Well my friend had taken Cuba and invested a lot of energy into holding it. I was playing USSR and got the Brazil card at the right moment so I could use the ability to remove his cubes from there. Making it possible to enter.The evolution of the Algeria and Poland cards from early prototype to finished card
D: With all those plays did the experience change over time?
S: It sure did. To be honest the first time I heard about Iron Curtain I did not believe it would be something for me, but to my surprise it is now one of my favourite games. The first time you play Iron Curtain everything will be a surprise. You don’t know what the different cards do and what tactics to use, so the first game is usually quite slow. Then you get the flow.
D: How many games had you played at that point?
S: After around 5 games I understood how the game is built. I began planning bluffs like placing some cubes in Asia but my sole objective was to conquer Europe. At this point I also planned what cards to throw away in the Aftermath, and where to invest influence cubes. I personally loved this state since there were still room for mistakes. The best way to learn is through mistakes. That changed at a later point.
D: How did it change?
S: Once I hit the point of mastering the game everything turned from kids play into hardcore thinking. It was 50 or so plays in. At this point I started thinking several moves ahead and knew all cards in and out. I had no room for mistakes - any little mistake could cost me the game. The tactics changed as well. You start building scenarios in your head and learn when to drop off opponent's cards.
D: Thank you Sagad, and thanks to everyone reading all the way to the bottom of this diary. Have fun with the game.
Daniel Skjold Pedersen
P.S.: If you are at SPIEL '17, swing by the Ultra PRO and Jolly Roger Games booth as Asger and I will be there to say hi and demo/sign games on Friday, October 27 at 13:00-14:00 and on Sunday, October 29 at 12:00-13:00.It feels kind of crazy that we are at three games now
Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:03 pm
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13 Minutes - scratch that 13 Days itch in 13 Minutes. How far can we push it?
06 Aug 2017
Note: This designer diary will also enter the BGG news feed shortly.
13 Minutes is a 2-player micro game with tough decision, recently released by Ultra Pro and Jolly Roger Games.
When the big brother to 13 Minutes, 13 Days, was released last year Asger and I wrote a 13 chapter long designer diary. In that spirit this piece will be 13 short almost anecdotal stories about what 13 Minutes is and how it came to be.
1. What is 13 Minutes?
The 13 second pitch is that 13 Minutes is Love Letter meets 13 Days.
2. No really, what is 13 Minutes?
The slightly longer story is that it is a 2-player micro game set at the height of the Cold War, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. In the game you want to flex your superpower muscle and dominate battlegrounds but - and there is a but - if you push your agenda too far you may trigger nuclear war, so be careful.
And did I say that you only play 5 cards per game so each decision matters a lot?
The evolution of a cover. I am only responsible for the leftmost
3. Sitting by a pool
When 13 Days was funded on Kickstarter back in July 2015 I was vacating in Italy. I celebrated by the poolside but not with a glass of red wine as you would expect. In my hand I had 13 blank cards and 13 red and blue cubes. And a pen.
Half an hour later I had figured out how to translate the 13 Days experience into a micro game setting and sketched the basic cards for the first prototype of 13 Minutes.
Designing the easy 80 percent
4. Why 13 Minutes?
The idea of making a micro game version of a political card-driven game had been buzzing in the heads of both Asger and I for some time back then. We like to push game genres into new territories. 13 Days did just that as a 45-minute distillation of some of the nail-biting and tense moments from epic political games like Twilight Struggle.
13 Minutes is pushing that genre quite a bit more. We wanted to see if it would float.
Stakes are high in 13 Minutes. This is no different from 13 Days. The game is all about brinkmanship. It is a balancing act of cunning play and a tug-of-war of brute force.
You want to dominate battlegrounds to gain Prestige, but each time you add Influence to a battleground you draw that card closer to your side of the table. Doing so is great because at the end of the game cards on your side will be all yours if no one dominates. But then again it is not great at all because all cards have a coloured DEFCON symbol. If you end the game with 3 of the same colour you have triggered nuclear war and lost the game.
6. First origin
I use my notes app on the phone all the time. A lot of that is for game related stuff. For me it is a useful tool to get thoughts out of my head but coincidentally it also allows me to track the first note I have for 13 Minutes. It goes:
"13 Days with only 13 cards (and cubes). 5 US, 5 USSR and 3 neutral.
Played cards become battlegrounds.
Command: Add influence - move card closer to your zone. Remove influence – move card away from your zone.
Suspense: Endgame reveal – you may trigger nuclear war!"
And then some more stuff that didn’t end up in the game.
An early prototype when events were all symbols
7. Why so obsessed with the number 13?
As any designer can tell you working under constraints often bring creativity. We set up constraints for ourselves all the time. Sometimes arbitrary (e.g. what if you couldn’t talk?), but most often from experience (e.g. is that rule necessary?) or production concerns (e.g. we need to limit the components to one deck of cards.).
With 13 Minutes the framework was integral to the core idea. How could a micro game in the world of 13 Days ever have anything other than 13 cards and 13 cubes to each player?
8. Building a political world map
The “map” in 13 Minutes is an abstraction – but an important one. It serves two main purposes.
First of all it underlines the global nature of the crisis. In the beginning there is only Cuba – one battleground on the table. As you play cards and do actions those cards become new battlegrounds. Though Cuba is still the most important battleground (double Prestige points) you’ll learn that your resources are limited. You will have to pick your fights with care.
9. A living DEFCON track
Secondly, the “map” is an evolving DEFCON track. Controlling cards left and right is not a problem until you consider the implications.
You are walking a tightrope. Too strong actions in one area may tip you over and be the final push to nuclear war.
10. How Cuba was born
Looking at the game now one would think that the Cuba card – the one facedown card – was introduced to the game by flipping a card to hide information. Actually, what happened was the reverse. In the beginning all cards were played face down to hide their DEFCON colour. It was sort of a memory game inside the game that was totally unnecessary. Losses due to nuclear war would come at a higher rate in those early playtests and players did not appreciate the lack of control. The obvious solution was to play cards face up, and thus Cuba was born to retain some uncertainty.
Notice all the facedown cards on the table. Cuba is everywhere and nowhere
11. The devil is in the detail
What I am most proud about in the game are two details that enhance the core experience of brinkmanship.
I) The player who dominates the most military (orange) DEFCON cards at the end of the game gains 1 extra Prestige. It is a little reward worth going for. But there is one extra orange card in the deck so the odds of going broke on the DEFCON is considerably higher. Value and risk go hand in hand.
II) The Cuba battleground awards you 2 Prestige. Another reward you should fight for. But then Cuba will likely go into your sphere of influence and push you to play a more cautious game. Here again value and risk go hand in hand.
12. So did we push it too far?
The first reviews suggest no. This is both pleasing and upsetting.
Pleasing obviously because we want to make games for an audience that is larger than two.
Upsetting because a part of me wanted to cross over that threshold. At least all this has sparked a new project that used to be a standing joke with us – 13 Seconds.
13. How to play
Are you tired of reading rulebooks?
Dan King also known as the Game Boy Geek has done an most excellent Rules School video. I point all new players towards his instructions.
Sun Aug 6, 2017 9:48 am
- [+] Dice rolls
When you take a look at the 13 Days gameboard you will find the 'round order' box just above the defcon area. Look for the white piece of notebook paper. Why is it there and not only in the rulebook? Because you shouldn't have to open the rulebook when you come back to 13 Days after a couple of months playing other games. Plus it also adds to the accessibility of the game for new players, as they don't have to reference the rulebook to the same degree for their first plays. Obviously all assisted by a number of other minor cues built into the gameboard.
As much as I love reading rulebooks for fun I hate actually having to do so during a game. As soon as you are familiar with 13 Days, the round order will provide you with the needed information to play. Simply follow the seven phases step by step.
Thinking about it seven phases sounds like a lot for a simple strategy game like this. We could easily have pooled them if the goal was a lower number. It wasn’t. Our goal was to communicate in the form of a to-do list (hopefully an enjoyable one!). One of the phases is as simple as: move the round marker one step forward...
Here is another to-do for you1) Take a look at 13 Days on the Kickstarter page. We are 350 backers and counting. The campaign ends on July 2nd and this is your best bet to get the game. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1649598142/13-days-a-ga....
2) Spread the word if you know somebody who would love playing 13 Days.
3) Thumb reviews and pictures on this site to raise awareness of 13 Days in this great community.
4) Subscribe to our blog. It will live on after the 13 Days campaign (two more games are to be released just this year). https://boardgamegeek.com/blog/4588/sidekicking
Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:15 pm
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I sat down to write about the round track on the board and why it is there. Then I realized that was the wrong question to answer. I should be talking about what it represents and why the game is divided into rounds at all.
13 Days is a fairly short game so why is it even divided into rounds? And why three of them?
Nobody has ever asked me the above questions. As gamers we take the round structure for granted, especially when the game is of some complexity. But I think it is worth asking questions like these. As a designer I do. And I will answer them here.
Hand and brain size
The practical answer to “why rounds at all” is that you cannot play a hand of 15 cards and have a reasonable expectation to understand and sequence them all. That is certainly true for a game like this where cards may be played for one of two actions, and potentially benefit your opponent. We need a cap on information and a mental break from time to time.
You can never do it all
How many cards then? We thought five were a good number so that is where we started. You play four and save one. You can do plenty of stuff with four cards but never quite enough when you consider countering your opponent’s moves and must keep an eye on the defcon. A lot of hard choices and tension comes from this very fact. With more cards on your hand I am not sure that fine balancing act would remain. At least we saw no reason to change the basic numbers during playtesting.
The story you tell
In 13 Days things happen between rounds. New hidden Agendas are selected and later revealed. The defcon track escalates towards the tipping point. The game uses the round structure to tell an emerging story and build towards the final crescendo.
You tell that story as you evaluate your position and react accordingly. The three rounds offer an early game, a mid game and a late game. In the early game your options are plentiful. In the mid game your hands are likely more tied due to the defcon tracks and decisions made in the first round. In the late game your are either defending your position, making calculated risks to turn the game on its head or making great efforts to not blow up the world while pushing your opponent in that direction. That was just an example of a typical arc. It may evolve differently in your next game but the evolving story is there for you to tell.
Fun fact: In the first prototype we drew the round track as a Soviet ship closing in on Cuba. While it later evolved into the Atlantic Battleground and specific events I still think the ship was a good handle to communicate the build-up of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:30 pm
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A scholarly endorsement
14 Jun 2015
"13 Days superbly recreates the inherent Cold War trade-off between flexing your superpower muscles and the ensuing risk of detonating global nuclear war."
Anders Wivel, Head of Studies, Professor MSO, University of Copenhagen
One of the reasons I am so happy to share my thoughts on the design process of 13 Days is because the game unites two of my interests: board games and international relations.
That is also why I drove my bike to the Political Science Department at the University of Copenhagen a sunny morning in early spring. Coming back to the place where I finished my master’s degree not too many years ago with 13 Days was thrilling. Arriving there I sat down with two professors and 13 Days laid out on the table between us. They were ready to battle it out like true Cold War superpowers. I had shared the basic premise of the game with them beforehand so I ran them through the gameplay, which was kind of an odd situation. I have teached the rules what feels like a million times and I am pretty confident I am doing a decent job, but this time it felt different being the teacher and reversing the roles from my student years.
Well, off they went and I was impressed how soon they were drawn into the Cuban Missile Crisis world chatting about important events as they appeared. No scientific detachment at all. After the game they remarked how the game really captured the tense Cold War feeling and we talked about how to incorporate 13 Days into a future foreign policy workshop.
Does anyone dare to guess how a game between two levelheaded professors ended?
Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:35 pm
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So I am finally back kicking Asger to one side.
Asger recently talked about why gaining prestige is one of the goals of the game (the other being avoiding nuclear war). I think it is time to reveal why we have chosen Agenda cards as the primary way you will score prestige. For the impatient reader the answer is suspense (a rather unsuspenseful move to reveal the conclusion, I know).
Remember that 13 Days puts you in the shoes of either President Kennedy or Khrushchev. I hope the fit is a good one. The crisis could explode anytime and be taken to specific hotspots of the Cold War. As the president you have the national interest and your own legacy to think about. And that is the Agenda cards on your hand. As the President your hands will be tied somewhat due to national politics, the opinion of advisors surrounding you and the public interest (think two-level games). And that is why you cannot pick freely among all Agendas but choose one out of the three you are dealt each round.
We wanted suspense in 13 Days. Lots of suspense. And thematically embedded into the game. What we did not want was you micromanaging your own little objective I me doing the same with few reasons to interact and counteract. As President you have your own Agenda to pursue but you need to carefully assess your opponent’s objectives as well. If you want to exit the crisis with the most prestige you cannot concede hotspots to the opposing superpower without a fight. And that is why, before you pick your secret Agenda, you first reveal the three on your hand. 13 Days is as much about playing your opponent as it is about playing the game. The game provides you with some information from where to bluff and outguess your opponent. Does he go for the obvious Agenda, or maybe a more risky alternative that you would not have guessed?
I reckon the most important design decision for creating suspense was the first we settled on when we sat down to create the game: separating the Agenda cards from the deck of Strategy cards. That very decision made all of the above possible. In 13 Days you know your opponent has a hidden Agenda each round but you do not know exactly which one. This is a different dilemma from a game like Twilight Struggle where you rarely know if your opponent holds scoring cards but if he does you have a pretty good idea which one it is.
By the way, there are 13 Agenda cards in 13 Days in case anyone wondered.
Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:22 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
Playing 13 Days is 45 minutes of agonizing decisions. Much of this comes from managing the hand of Strategy cards you are dealt each round. Which cards do you play? In what order? And how do you pursue your own secret Agenda without revealing your true intentions too soon?
13 Days is a card-driven game and inherents the basic structure of card play from classics like Twilight Struggle and We the People. Cards represent events that happened or could have happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or past events that influenced the political decision-making.
You will draw a mix of cards with your own events, your opponent’s events or neutral events (13 of each of course!). You can always play a card to place/remove Influence from Battlegrounds. You may instead opt to use the event on the card for more specific and powerful actions. But the deal is you cannot play your opponent’s cards as events. However, when you play you opponent’s cards he may trigger the event himself. Suffice to say you should be careful not to play good cards into your opponent’s hand. This is the constant pressure you are under in a game of 13 Days.
Why is this dual nature of Strategy cards perfect for a game like 13 Days?1) Because the crisis was a short and intense. You only play 12 cards during the entire game. Each single one is important.
2) Because there is so much interaction in this system. What you do affect your opponent. You are not just playing cards to optimize actions and moving cubes around on a map. Just like Kennedy was not just sending some ships to the Atlantic Ocean to block Soviet ships carrying nuclear weapons. You WILL play events your opponent could very well take advantage of to win the game.
Let me end this chapter on a concession. The attentive reader noticed I wrote above that you play 12 cards during a game. That was not a typo. We tried to make that number 13 but streamlining and the better game won over dogma. You play 4 cards each round (there are three) and save one for a final scoring of Prestige at the end of the game called the Aftermath. This is our reintroduction of the final day of the Missile Crisis. More about the Aftermath in a future chapter.
Sun Jun 7, 2015 12:13 pm
- [+] Dice rolls
During a recent playtest one of the players asked me: “Why is the board for a game about the Cuban Missile Crisis a world map?” He wasn’t born in 1962 (neither was I) so I forgive his ignorance. The answer is simple: Because we want the map and play experience to reflect the fact that the crisis was global (in scope and consequences) and part of the larger Cold War context of two superpowers going toe-to-toe. The layout of the map has been made to give the illusion of you sitting around a table (which you probably do) starring at a 1960’s world map with Cold War battlegrounds highlighed (you do that as well) sweating over how to best use your scarce resources and time (though likely, I cannot promise sweating).
When Asger and I first sat down to create the game we had two components in front of us: 1) a deck of regular playing cards and 2) a very ugly A3 print of a world map. On the map we drew some square boxes to hold cubes at locations that were - or could have been - important battlegrounds during the crisis. The defcon tracks were added in a corner. Though so much has happened to the game since then the core layout of the map owes a lot to that very first sketch.
We will talk much more about the specific parts of the game board in future chapters.
Fri Jun 5, 2015 8:21 pm
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The Personal Letter card is the odd card out in 13 Days, but quite a powerful one.
At crucial points during the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy and Khrushchev wrote directly to each other to harden the position or suggest a negotiated settlement. The Personal Letter card allows you to do the same in 13 Days.
When you hold the card you may play it along a Strategy card to increase the amount of Influence you can spend that turn (+1). This is important because one extra Influence cube on the board at the right time may win you the game. But here is the catch. When you play the Personal Letter you hand it over to the opponent. The letter has been sent and now you must wait for him to return it. Now your opponent has the initiative and dilemma of when to play the card to its full effect.
During the playtesting of 13 Days it has been quite interesting to observe how some games have seen the Personal Letter card being played several times, while rarely used in others. This is not a no-brainer. You must cleverly evaluate when it is truly worth it to play the Personal Letter and when keeping it in possession is the wiser choice.
Thu Jun 4, 2015 9:33 pm
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