Introducing Article 27: The UN Security Council Game

I'm a big fan of social deduction games and of negotiation games. So when I came across Article 27: The UN Security Council Game, billed as a streamlined and quick negotiation game, it had my immediate attention. Then I noticed that it was highly praised by some of my reliable GeekBuddies who share my gaming tastes. I knew enough that I just had to try this game!

The fact that one of my children recently participated in the United Nations Youth Association also added significantly to my interest. The United Nations Security Council is certainly not an over-used theme, but one that feels fresh and different, and provides the perfect context for a negotiation game. And given the recent experience of one of my children with a UN event, I knew I wouldn't need to twist their arms to play - they were keen as soon as they heard that there was actually a UN themed game.

I'm happy to say that after all these high expectations, Article 27 didn't disappoint. So let's find out more about this Stronghold Games title, which first appeared in 2012, and caters for 3-6 players!



COMPONENTS

Box

This game impresses from the outset, starting with the box. It's a large square shaped box, and feels solid, and more importantly: heavy! At the United Nations we're expecting to deal with some heavy duty issues, of course, and the weight of this box tells us that we're getting components to match! The cover artwork features a cartoon depiction of the UN in full flow, complete with some amusing cartoon stereotypes for various countries that will appear in the game.



The back of the box gives us our first look at the components, as well as a list of the items that come with the game, and an introduction to the game's theme. The game is set in the not-too-distant future where the UN Security Council features six permanent members. We'll be playing one of those countries, negotiating and bribing in an effort to swing things our way for the all important vote!



Component list

Here's what you get with the game:
● 1 board
● 6 player mats
● 6 player screens
● 108 influence point tokens
● 36 player marker tokens
● 30 issue drawing tokens
● 6 secret agenda tokens
● 12 voting tokens
● 30 issue discs & stickers
● cloth bag
● wooden gavel
● five minute sand timer
● instructions



See, there's good reason that box felt heavy!

Board

The main playing board immediately screams quality; it's extremely solid, well constructed, and colourful.



The board represents the United Nations in session, and is divided into four main areas:

The Secret Agenda Scoring Chart is at the top, and will be used to track proposals that are passed, which will award bonus points to players at the game end, depending on which of the six secret agendas they are going for.
The Five Issue Areas are designated by colour around the board, indicating the five issues that the UN will make decisions about: Peacekeeping (blue), Trade Sanctions (green), Diplomatic Sanctions (black), Humanitarian Concerns (yellow), and Nuclear Non-Proliferation (red).
The Table is the semi-circular area on which a token representing each of these issues will be placed, to be potentially proposed by the acting Secretary General.
The Floor is the central area in which the Secretary General will place the issue tokens that he is proposing as part of a proposal to be voted on.

Player mats/screens

There are six player screens, one for each country in the game: England, Russia, Germany, United States, China, and France.



There are also six identical player boards, and the screens fit on the boards nicely. On the front side of the screen, these boards are used to record bribes made by other players, while on the back side of the screen these boards will hide the issues players are trying to get passed and their influence points.



Excuse me for a moment while I just gush about the components again. First of all, the artwork is humorous and deliberately light hearted - see this post from the publisher to explain some of the amusing stereotypes intended in the artwork. Secondly, the quality is outstanding - the player boards are extremely thick and solid, and you can't help but be impressed by the production quality here!

Player markers

Each player will get six small markers corresponding to their country, that they'll use on the player boards of other players as visual indicators of any bribes they are currently offering them.



Influence points

Influence points will determine the game winner, and you'll need them for offering bribes. You will earn them through getting the right resolutions passed, i.e. proposals corresponding to your issue tokens and to your secret agenda. Influence points come in three denominations: 1s, 5s, and 10s.



Issue drawing tokens & bag

The issue drawing tokens are identical in size to the secret agenda tokens (below), and are made out of sturdy cardboard. They effectively represent your short term goals. There are six identical tokens corresponding to each of the five different issues, i.e. 30 in total.



A wonderful and luxurious looking black cloth is provided so that players can draw these randomly; each round you'll secretly get five of these and place them behind your screen, to indicate which issues you want passed and which ones you don't.



Secret agendas

These tokens effectively represent your long term goals. Each player will get one at the start of the game, which will potentially earn them bonus points at the game end depending on how many proposals corresponding to that secret objective will be passed (1 = 1 point, 2 = 3 points, 3 = 6 points, 4 = 10 points, 5 = 15 points). The six different secret objectives are indicated by different symbols, which represent things like power, innovation, peace, justice, prestige, and wealth.



Issue discs

For each of the five different coloured issues, there are six wooden discs, featuring each secret agenda once. Each round one of these will be revealed face up for each issue, and the secretary general will be able to propose that particular issue; naturally if it corresponds to your secret agenda it will be in your interest to get those ones passed!



Voting tokens

Each player will get a "Yes" voting token and a "Veto" voting token. The game is named after Article 27 of the UN charter (quoted here), which outlines the rights of the permanent members of the Security Council, including the power of vetoing (which is represented here by the X token).



Timer

In turns players will become the Secretary General who decides what issues are proposed that round. Each round consists of five minutes, and that's what the sand timer will keep track of.



Mention should also be made here of Stronghold's free digital app, which offers a 5 minute countdown timer for each round (including `gavel taps' at each minute, and appropriately thematic background noise); you can also use the app as a customizable timer for other games.

Gavel

But perhaps best of all is the gavel that the Secretary General gets to use to commence and conclude a round of negotiations - it's made of solid wood, and is arguably one of the all time best game components ever!



Instructions

Finally, we get an instruction book, which consists of just under a dozen pages. You can download a copy of it here:

Article 27... final rulebook



GAME-PLAY

Set-up

With the main board in the middle of the table, the wooden issue tokens are shuffled and placed face down on the section of the board corresponding to their colour. For 4-5 player games, before this placement you reveal the one or two secret agenda tokens that weren't selected by players, and remove the wooden issue tokens corresponding to those secret agendas. All 30 issue drawing tokens are placed in the cloth bag.

Each player gets a player board and screen from one of the six countries, along with the matching six player markers corresponding to their country. You also get a random secret agenda, a "yes" and "veto" voting token, and 12 points of influence to start with.


Starting items for a player

Overview

The basic idea of the game is that players are representatives of the (six) countries in the UN security council, voting on resolutions in an effort to score points depending on which issues are part of adopted resolutions. During this process you'll negotiate with other players, bribing them if necessary, especially the player who is Secretary General that round, to try to get certain issues included or excluded, and to try to get other players to support or oppose the proposed resolution.

Everyone will get opportunity to be Secretary General once (twice in a three player game), and that player will make a proposal using the five wooden issue tokens available that round (one in each colour). The negotiations last a maximum of five minutes, and players can promise bribes or try to persuade issues to be added or removed from the current proposal. At the end of negotiations, a vote takes place, which requires a majority of players to vote in favour of to carry. Abstaining makes a proposal less likely to carry, and a "veto" makes it fail, but comes at the cost of 5 influence to do.

The player with the most influence at the end of the game is the winner, and influence points come from one of four sources:
● short term goals: for issues passed in a round which correspond to the five issue tokens you have that round
● long term goals: for issues passed in the entire game which correspond to your secret agenda token you have from the game start
● bribes from other players
● having a Proposal pass when you are Secretary General


Complete setup for 6 players

Flow of Play

Each round consists of four phases:
1. Setup
2. Negotiating
3. Voting
4. Influence payouts

Phase 1: Setup

New Secretary General

Everyone gets one opportunity to be Secretary General, who gets the gavel, determines what is included in the current proposal, and controls the length of negotiations. This position rotates in clockwise direction at the start of every new round.

Issue drawing tokens

Each player secretly draws five issue drawing tokens from the cloth bag and places them on their player board behind their player screen, in the order they were drawn. These indicate how your country feels about these particular issues, and the degree to which you want them to be proposed and pass or not. At the end of the round if a particular issue was in a passed proposal, you'll get or receive the amount of influence for that issue as indicated by the matching token(s) on your player board.



Issue disks

Now one issue disk from each colour/issue on the board is flipped and placed face up on the "table" area of the board. Make sure that you don't have three or more with the same secret agenda icon, reshuffling them if necessary. These will have icons on them corresponding to the secret agendas, so it's in your interest to have issues passed with the icon that matches your personal secret agenda. A 5 point influence token is also placed in the central "floor" of the board - this will go to the current Secretary General if the current proposal is passed.



Phase 2: Negotiating

Making a proposal

The Secretary General now chooses one or more of the five face-up issue disks that he wants included in the initial proposal, and moves them from the "table" to the central "floor" area, and then taps the gavel and flips the five minute sand timer to indicate the start of negotiations. These disks make up the current proposal. He and he alone can move particular issue disks off the floor and back to the table, or add new ones, as negotiations proceed.


A proposal including blue, black, and red tokens

Negotiating and bribing

Depending on their long term objectives (issues that match their secret agenda icon) and short term objectives (issues that match the tokens behind their player screen), players will negotiate with the General Secretary and each other to try to include or exclude specific issue disks from the current proposal on the table, and can also try to sway them to support the current proposal or not. You can make any bribe you wish, which are made in the form of influence points, and to keep track of these bribes you use your player markers, placing the amount of influence points you are bribing along with your player marker on another player's board.


Germany is bribing to exclude the green token, while China is bribing to include the black token

Typically bribes will be in one of two forms:
Bribing the Secretary General about which issues to include or exclude: place your player marker and amount of influence you're willing to bribe on his player board in the "include" or "exclude" section corresponding to that issue colour.
Bribing other players about whether or not to support the proposal: place your player marker and amount of influence you're willing to bring on another player's board, to get them to "abstain" from a vote, to vote "Yes" for the current proposal, to "Veto" the proposal, or on the question mark icon for more complex or creative deals (e.g. with multiple conditions).



You can take or give back bribes at any time, if you change your mind, or if a better deal comes along. Any deals made are also non-binding, so another player doesn't actually get the amount you are bribing him until at the end of the round; if he didn't do what he promised to do in exchange for your bribe, he doesn't get the influence points of your bribe after all and you get it back.

Phase 3: Voting

When the timer is up or if the Secretary General decides to negotiation early by tapping the gavel (which he can do at any time), the negotiating phase is over and we move to voting. This happens by each player simultaneously revealing in their fist one of three things:
1. a "yes" vote (i.e. voting in favour of the proposal)
2. "nothing" (i.e. abstaining, and effectively voting against the proposal
3. a "veto" vote (i.e. automatically defeating the proposal, at a cost of 5 influence for the vetoing player).

For a proposal to pass, over half of the players needs to have made a "yes" vote, and there can be no veto votes.



Phase 4: Influence payouts

At the conclusion of a vote, influence adjustments are made as follows:

Secretary General: He gets his bonus five influence from the floor only if the proposal passed.

Vetos: Any player that did a "veto" vote needs to pay 5 influence for this.

Bribes: If a player followed through on what he promised as part of a deal (regardless of whether or not the proposal passed, unless that was a condition of the deal), he collects the bribe he was offered to do so (e.g. to include a specific issue in the proposal, or to vote in favour of it). If you bribed an opponent to do something and he didn't do what he agreed to do, then you get the influence you bribed back.

Issue drawing tokens: Each player looks at the issue drawing tokens behind his player screen and receives or loses influence for each marker corresponding to an issue/colour that was passed as part of the proposal. Issues/colours not included in the passed proposal are ignored. To ensure accuracy/honesty, the rules suggest showing your tokens and board to the player on your left.


The current proposal would earn this player 7 influence points

Secret agendas: Disks for the issues/colours that were part of a passed proposal are now placed face up starting from the left hand side of the secret agenda scoring chart, while disks for the issues/colours that weren't part of a passed proposal or part of failed proposal are placed face down starting from the right hand side of this chart. This enables players to see at a glance how many bonus points the secret agendas will earn at the game end. These influence points are not yet awarded, but will be given only at the end of the game.



Final scoring

When everyone has been Secretary General for one round each (twice in a three player game), the game ends. The winner is the player with the highest total of influence, which includes the amount of influence points you have accumulated throughout the game (i.e. behind your screen).


A player's final score of 49 points

As part of their final score, players reveal their secret agendas, and score the bonus points indicated by the secret agenda scoring chart; the more issues corresponding to your secret agenda that were carried, the more bonus influence you'll get.


Here the player with the Wealth ($) secret agenda would score an extra 10 points

In the event of a tie with the final score, the lowest score on the secret agenda track serves as first tiebreaker, and being Secretary General for a successful proposal is the second tiebreaker.

Variants

The rule book also includes two possible variants to try:

Easy Come, Easy Go: Players start with 20 influence, making vetoes easier to afford.

Lie, Cheat, and Steal: Players don't need to show the issue drawing tokens to their neighbour at the end of a round, but can lie about how many influence they earned that round. Other players may challenge your announced score, however. If you were telling the truth, they pay you 3 influence; if you were lying, you pay them the difference between your announced score and your actual score (up to a maximum of 5 influence).



CONCLUSIONS

What do I think?

Pure negotiation: This game is almost a pure negotiation game, so if you are drawn to games that involve negotiating, chances are very high that you'll really enjoy what you find in Article 27. The success of games like this tends to be somewhat dependent on the players you have at the table, but if you enjoy table talk and bargaining, you're set to have a blast. With your initial play you'll find that most negotiating is with the Secretary General, and revolves around influencing what issues to include in the proposal, but as you gain experience you'll discover other ways to negotiate and bribe, such as by influencing how others vote. There's room for creative negotiation, but in reality because you're bribing using the influence tokens that are scoring points, you can't really afford to do large bribes, and this ensures that things don't get out of hand, keeping things tight, and also somewhat simple. So it's a fast and accessible negotiating game, that you can even play a couple of times in a row if you're hungry for more. And virtually all of the game is about negotiating, so negotiation purists will like this.

Not nasty: Unlike some negotiation games, Article 27 doesn't encourage backstabbing or viciousness. You don't have to do what you promised, but you only get bribes if you follow through with what you said you'd do in exchange for them; if you didn't, they are returned to the player that bribed you. In addition, in most cases players are trying to find some kind of deal that will find acceptance from most players, so the game actively encourages players to work together and make negotiations that lead to a favourable outcome for more than just one player. This is one thing I really like about the game, because while I love negotiation games, I've also experienced it where backstabbing can prove very hurtful and turn a negotiation game into a very negative experience for some players. It's true that this is more of a commentary on the players than the game, but given that I'm largely playing with family-friendly type crowds and non-gamers, I want my negotiation games to be free from cutthroat levels of nastiness, and I suspect that many game groups will have a similar preference.

Matching political theme: There's a lot of negotiation games out there, with a wide range of themes, but the political theme of the UN fits this one perfectly. This game was originally intended to capture some of the secret agendas motivating political parties in the US Congress (see the Designer Diary). Despite the political theme, the game is not boring, but the theme helps make sense of what's going on. You will often find yourself referring to the issues by colour rather than name, but the game's setting still provides an excellent context for political machinations and wheeling and dealing (see this thread for some suggestions for individual real life issues to use). This is strengthened by numerous factors, such as the artwork on the board, the ability to veto, and components like the gavel, all of which help create an atmosphere that is negotiation rich. So there's a lot of theme, but not to the point where it becomes an obstacle to playing the game, and you don't actually need to understand how the UN works or have a natural interest in politics to play the game. The real feature of interest is the negotiations, but it's a strength that the window dressing of the United Nations is not just pasted on, but becomes a believable setting for the political intrigue and negotiating to happen.

Asymmetrical: I particularly love the fact that the negotiations are tilted towards the Secretary General. In other words, every round doesn't play out the same, and the round in which you are Secretary General you are playing somewhat of a different role, by getting to decide which issues are included in the proposal, and in most cases, getting more bribes. You'll usually need to really make the most of this particular round, to try to get as many influence as you can, and how you do on your turn as Secretary General can prove critical. Sometimes you may even pretend that an issue you're invested in isn't really of interest to you, to try to get other players to bribe you to include it! Or you can bluff and pretend that an issue that doesn't affect you at all is something that will hurt you and that you'll only include it if others grease your palms with bribes. The fact that there is at least one round where you're playing somewhat of a different role helps keep the game more interesting.

Conflicting goals: There are going to be occasions where the issue tokens you draw cancel each other out, or even conflict with your long term goals. This isn't all bad, because it means that just like in real life, there are going to be issues that are voted on which you feel apathetic about, while there are others that you're passionate about, and you have strong incentives to see them be adopted or defeated. I like the fact that the amount of personal interest you have in a particular proposal is variable. But it can be somewhat frustrating if the short term goals you draw conflict with your long term objective, e.g. if the issue drawing tokens you have drawn mean that the issue disks corresponding to your secret agenda actually would make you lose points that round. I've seen some suggestions about giving players some control over where the issue drawing tokens are placed, and I do wonder if a small change might help improve things here.

Bureaucracy: Not only is there a small measure of chaos due to the potential of receiving conflicting goals, but there is a small amount of fiddliness from round to round, especially doing the upkeep of awarding influence points, returning all the tokens, and assigning new ones between each round. I call it "bureaucratic fiddliness". My son assured me that this is quite thematic; he's participated with the UN Youth, and his comment was: "Trust me, it's like the real thing, which is even more chaotic, with people constantly moving around, sending each other notes!" So if anything some of the fiddliness due to minor bookkeeping reminded him of the real work of a UN meeting!

Hidden information: As the game progresses, there are some things you do know, like your own secret objective, and the issue drawing tokens that you have to work with in a particular round. But there's also a whole lot you don't know, such as the objectives that are influencing what other players are trying to do. Some will find that there's not enough calculable information to work with, and that there's too much chaos, and I can see this viewpoint, but I think that the game is quick and light enough for this not to matter much. Additionally, it can also be argued that the hidden information is one of the game's strengths, because it enables players to bluff about what will benefit them and what will hurt them, so it adds potential for an extra layer of trickery to your negotiations, and makes it necessary to try to "read" your opponents, because you can't be entirely certain what their real agenda is!

Short and sweet: This game time for this really is as short as it promises to be. The use of a sandtimer ensures that negotiations never drag on longer than 5 minutes, and even shorter if the secretary general ends negotiations earlier; often you won't need the full five minutes anyway. Allowing a minute or two of bookkeeping between rounds, this means rounds only take 6-7 minutes. With one round per player (double for three players), this means you can consistently count on no more than 30 minutes for 4-5 players and 45 minutes for 3 or 6 players. Any frustrations players may feel about the draw of tokens are compensated by the fact that the game doesn't require a lengthy investment of time, and is over quickly; getting some bad luck isn't overly painful, and you can always just play again. Considering the somewhat light-weight nature of the game, this length feels just right, and ensures that the game doesn't overstay its welcome, and helps keep it accessible and not too heavy. Most games that play in this time frame tend to be quite light, and in the case of Article 27 you feel that you are actually playing something more substantial, despite the relatively short time.

Improves with age: The relatively straight forward rules and speedy game-play almost make this suitable for non-gamer and as a lighter game that could serve as an ice-breaker. However the one downside to this is that it really does take a play to get a sense of how the game works, the kind of value to assign to particular bribes, and even the types of bribes and negotiation that is possible. What this means is that the game will shine with further plays, as you figure out creative ways to bargain (eg. bribing to end the round immediately, threatening to veto unless bribed, or working together to make a combined bribe), and to get a clearer sense of the types of amounts you should be bribing for particular things. So there is a probably a one-game learning curve, and while you'll certainly have fun playing the first time round, you'll enjoy the game even more on future plays.

Scalable from 3-6: One really nice thing about Article 27 is that it works with 3, 4, 5 or 6 players. With most negotiation games you often find that there is a fixed number of players that is required for the game to be at its best, often five players (e.g. Chinatown, Santiago), but that doesn't seem to be the case with Article 27. Most people prefer it with more players which isn't surprising for a negotiation game, because it becomes more fun when more people are at the bargaining table. We actually found that with the full complement of six players it sometimes degenerates into making a proposal that includes all tokens, netting everyone 3 influence, and that negotiations actually worked better with less players, and made for a quicker game too. But unlike some other games where's it's just not worth bothering to play unless you have the optimum number, Article 27 does work with less players too, and part of this is due to the fact that the Secretary General gives one player a unique role each round.

Outstanding components: Enough can't be said about the quality of the components. The thick cardboard player boards and screens with the amusing cartoon artwork, the beautiful board, and of course the gavel. Really, how many other board games can you think of come with an actual wooden gavel? It's so over the top, that it's fantastic. My only quibble with the components are minor ones: in the excitement it is possible to bump over the player screens; using black for the icons on the yellow stickers on the issue disks would have been a better choice than white (see suggested fixes in this thread); and I'd also have been inclined to remove icons on the issue drawing tokens altogether (and given these tokens a more unique name to avoid confusion with the issue disks). But these small points aside, you really do feel that you're getting something attractive, functional, durable, and quality with the components of this game.



What do others think?

The criticism

Article 27 isn't going to please everyone, and if you don't enjoy games with a high level of negotiation, then this is not a game for you. But obviously this isn't a crticism of the game as such, but a matter of personal taste and preference. Other criticisms tend to revolve around three things:

1. Conflicting goals: One of the main sources of criticism is that the goals/issues players are trying to achieve are determined randomly, and this will largely drive your strategy, and sometimes even inject an element of chaos or frustration. Sometimes these goals will be at odds with each other, and when this happens it removes an incentive for negotiating, and can create a sense of a loss of control. Fortunately the game is quite quick and light, so I don't see this potential weaknesse as fatal, and for the most part the game works well despite this occasionally raising its head.

2. Lack of viciousness: As far as negotiation games go, it's also somewhat friendly, because it rewards players for working together and trying to come with proposals that benefit as many players as possible. As a result the game has attracted some criticism from gamers who prefer their negotiation games to have more viciousness. People who enjoy negotiation games with sparse rules that strip everything down to bare negotiation, as this one does, but prefer a stronger screw-your-neighbour element, typically stated a preference for more nasty games like Intrigue. But this mostly a matter of preference, rather than a flaw in the game's design, and in my home at least we prefer a game where there's negotiation and bartering without the level of conflict and confrontation becoming too high.

3. First play bribe amounts: A final potential criticism is that on your first play it can be hard to get a sense of what things are worth, and not knowing the relative value of bribes can also lead to a poor initial impression. This has some merit, but just means that the game shines best upon repeated play, with experienced players. Fortunately it plays quite quickly, that it doesn't require a huge commitment of time to get some experience with the game under your belt.

The praise

Naturally those who don't enjoy negotiation games to begin with, didn't warm up to this one either. The majority of those who do enjoy negotiation games, however, gave it high praise, with positive comments such as the following:

"This is absolutely, bang for the buck, one of the best, fastest-playing negotiation games. Love it." - Clyde W
"Good streamlined negotiation game." - Scott Almes
"This game is great! Totally accessible and fun for both gamers and non-gamers." - Kris Wiggins
"This fired pretty much all other negotiation games from my collection. The best part about it is the rigorous schedule that keeps arguments tense and rapid." - Brad Metz
"Absolutely amazing !!!" - Fiorenzo Sartore
"Very nice and short game of negotiation. As usual, Stronghold Games produced high quality components." - Ludovic Roy
"Love this game. The rules are simple and easy to teach, but it is very exciting and suspenseful." - Jade van de Luitgaarden
"Very elegantly designed pure negotiation game, and plays quick to boot." - Jared
"A pure negotiation game without extraneous Euro rubbish, better than "I'm the Boss" because it lacks the cards, better than Cosmic Encounter because it's pure and more consistent." - fateswanderer
"Wonderfully overproduced (yay gavel!) negotiation game that also takes about half the time and feels much less mean/manipulative than most games in the genre." - James Torr
"Great negotiation game! Surprise hit in my eyes." - J. M.
"I really enjoy negotiation games and this is a very very good one. Each player has to balance his short term goals against his long term goals as well as what is happening between the other players." - Jon D
"Quite chaotic, but this game's fun is in the personal interplay." - Luiz Cláudio Duarte
"A rarity: a pure negotiation game with next to no screw-your-neighbour element. Very engaging, with a time limit to your negotiations, it's also one of the simplest negotiation games, making it a very good gateway for larger groups." - Marcin Mościcki
"Probably the best pure negotiation game I have played. Game length is just right for what it is and the components are fantastic." - Jordan K
"So much fun arguing and negotiating in such a short time. Fantastic with 5-6." - Louis Mazza
"A lovely, fast, pretty negotiations game." - Jakub Polkowski
"It's a fun interactive game like Chinatown or I'm The Boss!" - Skippypat Wilz
"A good game entirely about negotiation and bribery. Works very well. Theme is excellent although the goals are kind of abstract." - Alan Stern
"Great introduction to negotiation games. Also, bonus points for having a big wooden gavel to pound on the table." - Adam Thyssen
"An almost minimalist negotiation game with lovely components. Plays surprisingly quickly, too." - Drew Hicks



Recommendation

So is Article 27: The UN Security Council Game for you? The game does arguably have a couple of minor flaws, such as the potential bad luck that can put a spanner in your long term plans as a result of the issue drawing tokens you get. But in the end, the game is light and quick enough that this doesn't really matter, nor will it always be a factor. Where the game really shines is that it provides a negotiation experience that is satisfying and works, with a convincing theme, without requiring an intense, complex, or lengthy play time. And all this in a package that is outstanding on a component level! Fans of negotiation games will definitely want to check this one out!

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Stephen Buonocore
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Awesome review, man! Just great, as always!!

Thanks,
Stephen M. Buonocore
Stronghold Games LLC
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Pat Smith
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Great review! Thorough and very helpful.

Thanks for taking time to put this together!

Pat Smith
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Dan Baden
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Indeed. Thanks!
Dan
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Wendell
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
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Never heard of it - but on my radar now. Sounds interesting.

As for "conflicting goals" being a criticism of the game, it's about geopolitics and the United Nations. Geopolitics and the UN without conflicting goals? Not gonna happen.
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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I hate Ender's reviews almost as much as I hate Richard Ham. Any money that leaves my wallet because of these two ... I never hear the end of it from my wife. You are a very bad man, sir.

Oh! Another cool game I need!

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