Recommend
29 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis» Forums » Reviews

Subject: 13 Days of Twilight Struggle - A Maddest Hatter Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Alea jacta est
United States
Wesley Chapel
Florida
flag msg tools
No matter where you go, there you are.
badge
Preserve Our Wildlife!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


My general preamble on a review is that you check out my profile. You’ll get a crude idea of what I like and dislike in games as well as be able to see what I’ve rated other games. From there you put this current review into a bit more perspective. I also won’t go into detail about the rules as there are already great threads/videos that do that. My goal here is just to give you a personal opinion on the game.

...Make sure you get to the end of the review before passing judgement as I contradict myself along the way for the sake of chronological exploration of the game. That being said…let’s go



13 Days. Spoiler alert - I love this game! It’s easily one of the best 2 player games I have ever played. I was able to play a friend’s copy. Many, many times. It has earned the coveted 10 rating from me. And that’s an honor shared by very few games for me. I had zero build-up from this game. I had no idea what it was like. I had never played Twilight Struggle. I played this game knowing nothing more than what I read on BGG. It was one of those rare moments in a gamer’s hobby where the game sucker-punched me right in the sweet spot. In a great way.


What kind of game is it?

I have no idea. I have never played anything like this. It’s a euro in that it has cubes and placement. It’s an area control game as you’re trying to gain a majority of presence in board areas. It’s a card game because it’s main mechanic is cards. There is luck due to the fact that it’s card driven, yet the luck can largely be mitigated through skillful play. There is a very present element of deduction that permeates the game. There are a lot of ways to end the game, even unintentionally. There is no possibility of “runaway leader” as it truly is impossible to lock a win before the last round of the game unless you draw very unlucky in the agenda phase of the last round of the game, So, I don’t know how to classify this game. It’s like nothing I have ever played. It has so many different mechanics going on that you’d think it would be a hot mess, or that one mechanic was so powerful that it nullified another. That’s just not the case. This game has a LOT going on. And it’s very balanced in its awkward asymmetry of cards. Yet, all of this serves to make a near perfect game experience for the time invested in a single game of 13 Days. So – I don’t know how I would classify this. Probably area control if nothing else.




Component Quality:

The components are nearly perfect. The box is an overly-sturdy cardboard box with a very modern look. Graphic design is fantastic. The cubes and wooden tokens are standard fair – which is to say they are functional and familiar to anyone who uses cubes. There is six cardboard chits that are excellent quality and serve the purpose without ambiguity. The cards look fantastic. The design is great. Card text is clean and easy to read sans some (important) errata as found here on BGG. The board is also fantastic and exceptionally well laid out and functional for the game.

…But wait, you said, “nearly perfect.” What’s not perfect? The card quality is abysmal. It’s the one caveat to this otherwise perfect game. The card stock is just a few grades above common paper in thickness. I had read that the kickstarter copies actually came with sleeves. This suggests to me that this problem was acknowledged prior to production. I’ll go on the record as saying that, since Ultra Pro’s name is on the box itself, one has to wonder if it was almost intentional. Ultra Pro hoping to cash in on sleeve sales as a result of the oddly inferior card stock quality relative to all other components. I know this seems cynical at best, but I can’t understand why the components are all far above par for quality while the card stock is so inferior. In any case, it’s the one Achilles heel in this game for me. Maybe future production runs will address this issue. That being said, decent sleeves will fix the problem. The issue is that sleeves are almost required due to the card stock – which increases the cost of the game a little.




The 13 Days Experience:


I was on the edge of my seat for every single game of this that I played. It’s truly a tug-o-war between the two players. There really isn’t any downtime for the non-active player as she really needs to pay attention to the play on the board. You can be committed to a strategy, but you often times need to adjust. We typically play a full game in 30 to 45 minutes depending on how analytical and tough the decisions are. Often times the game comes right down to the very end phase, sometimes the Aftermath scoring to decide the victory. Or even a tie in which case the owner of "The Letter" wins...again an innocuous in-game card that can give you the game - or lose it. There are a few sneaky ways to push your opponent into nuclear war and end her game, or shore up your chances for victory in the end up building up the Aftermath pile. There are so many things to consider on each turn that the game remains tense from beginning to end.


Replayability:

I’d say the game has a large amount of replay value. I’ll know for sure with many more games. There are very few components to this game. You’ll know all the cards and their effects/abilities after a few games. Yet, the game only gets better once both players become familiar with all the cards and events. This allows for a far deeper game (knowing the cards instead of reading/discovering them each play). Much in the way a game like Star Realms offers a deeper game once you know the cards, 13 days shares that same quality.


Final Thoughts

As I said at the beginning of this review, a solid well-earned 10. Before playing this game I had never seen anything like it. I loved this game so much I pulled the trigger and bought Twilight Struggle. Normally the idea of a 3-hour game flat-out disgusts me. I played competitive chess for years and years. One of the biggest problems I have with chess is a “short” G90 is still close to 3 hours. For me personally, life is too short. I’d rather have variety. Twilight Struggle recently received a 10 rating from me. I love that game. I did myself a huge disservice by avoiding that game all these years. I won’t extol the virtues of Twilight Struggle as its legacy is well documented and there is nothing I could say about the game that hasn’t been said already. It's a great game and better late than never to the party for me.

What I can say about 13 Days after playing Twilight Struggle is it shares most of Twilight Struggle’s core mechanics. The win conditions are identical save the different values (5 VP in 13 Days vs. 20 VP in TS), and the mechanic by which nuclear war happens is very different, but idea is still there. The way the cards work is almost identical. In fact, if you have played TS before (seems most have) then this game should be very quick to pick up. Different enough to offer a very unique experience when compared to TS, yet similar enough that a TS player will likely enjoy it.

I’d also say that if you don’t like TS, then 13 Days may still be the game for you! Though there are many similarities to TS, 13 Days is very clearly a game unto itself. The play time is generally about 45 min (versus approx. 3 hours in TS). I think, due to 13 Days' simplicity relative to TSS, 13 Days is far more accessible game than TS to the overall gaming community.

13 Days was a strong enough game that I decided to try Twilight Struggle after years of proudly shunning the game. TS takes FAR more time to familiarize yourself with and even have a chance of winning against better players.

In conclusion, 13 Days is a grand slam for me. For a non-TS player, read my above review and make your decision to play/not play the game based on that assessment. If you’re a TS player you owe it to yourself to at least try it out. It’s a honorable and top-notch nod to TS.

My rating for 13 days is easily a 10. I look forward to many more games of this!



40 
 Thumb up
1.13
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Janik-Jones
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
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
badge
Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Outstanding review of simply a stellar game.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You wrote:
What I can say about 13 Days after playing Twilight Struggle is it shares most of Twilight Struggle’s core mechanics. The win conditions are identical save the different values (5 VP in 13 Days vs. 20 VP in TS), and the mechanic by which nuclear war happens is very different, but idea is still there. The way the cards work is almost identical.


I reply:
I have heard this from many. I question its accuracy. What are the similarities in "core mechanics", apart from using your event when your opponent plays a card with your event on it?

For example, areas are controlled via a totally different mechanism. The stability of each area is rated in TS and does not exist in 13 Days. The way an opponent's influence is challenged is totally different. In TS influence spreads with a chaining mechanism which is absent in 13 Days.

I put it to you that understanding the rules of TS in NO WAY prepares you to understand the rules of 13 Days and that is because they are totally different in their core mechanisms.

Where are the similarities?

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alea jacta est
United States
Wesley Chapel
Florida
flag msg tools
No matter where you go, there you are.
badge
Preserve Our Wildlife!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
da pyrate wrote:


Where are the similarities?



Seriously? Yes, if you tske a purely cynical approach you could point out all the ways that the two games differ. But from my point of view (it as, as mentioned from the start, a personal opinion) the similarities are obvious and many. Moreover they are often intentional. But we all have our own opinions. In this case our opinions are very different.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maddest Hatter wrote:
da pyrate wrote:


I put it to you that understanding the rules of TS in NO WAY prepares you to understand the rules of 13 Days and that is because they are totally different in their core mechanisms.

Where are the similarities?



I also wrote that this is my personal opinion. If you fail to see any similarities between TW and 13 Days then I respectfully disagree. You could post a counterpoint in your own review of the game.


Can you explain the similarities here?

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alea jacta est
United States
Wesley Chapel
Florida
flag msg tools
No matter where you go, there you are.
badge
Preserve Our Wildlife!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
da pyrate wrote:
Maddest Hatter wrote:
da pyrate wrote:


I put it to you that understanding the rules of TS in NO WAY prepares you to understand the rules of 13 Days and that is because they are totally different in their core mechanisms.

Where are the similarities?



I also wrote that this is my personal opinion. If you fail to see any similarities between TW and 13 Days then I respectfully disagree. You could post a counterpoint in your own review of the game.


Can you explain the similarities here?



Nope. I already did in the review and you disagreed. You're just going to have to accept that someone has a different opinion than you. It's not the end of the world.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I respect your right to the have a different opinion.

I have mentioned some ways the core mechanics are quite different.

Let's have an intelligent discussion.

I am interested to know the rationale behind your opinions.

You seem unwilling or unable to backup your opinions.

That is disappointing as it means I can't take your opinions seriously.

Have you thought of running for President?


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Asger Harding Granerud
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Early Flamme Rouge prototype
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, how did this escalate to DEFCON 2 so fast?

My opinion is that the core experience of TS is the CDG mechanism. This is the bread and butter of the game play. And that is the same in 13D. Now what you use those cards to manipulate differs. There is area control, but not identical. There is DEFCON management, but not identical. There is bluffing but not identical. There is short vs. long term investments, but again... not identical. I could probably go on a little longer, but rather have you find out yourself and disagree, than find out who is 'right' on BGG

However, grogging the CDG mechanism is also the hardest part for new players, and thus experience with said concept is a massive advantage if learning the other.

I'm really glad you liked the game Doubly so as it introduced you to TS! And what a fantastic review. Made my day!

Regards
Asger Granerud
8 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Asger and welcome to the discussion. For the record I play both games and think each is excellent in its own way.

Thank you for your insightful comments.

I can see where you are coming from. Our differences may be semantic. I see the similarities you mentioned as being conceptual rather than mechanical.

Regardless, the game is excellent and your comments add to my understanding of the game.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alea jacta est
United States
Wesley Chapel
Florida
flag msg tools
No matter where you go, there you are.
badge
Preserve Our Wildlife!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Its fine to disagree with a review, but don't you find it a bit tactless to hijack a thread and insult the reviewer because he won't enter into an "intelligent" discussion with you?

Once you start insulting me and taking an antagonistic perspective you lose credibility.


6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maddest Hatter wrote:
Its fine to disagree with a review, but don't you find it a bit tactless to hijack a thread and insult the reviewer because he won't enter into an "intelligent" discussion with you?


Go write your own review. That woukd be nice.




More than tactless. Possibly rather rude.

If you read any of my 253 reviews you will see that I always respond politely, answer questions and try to explain and clarify when people wish to discuss.

Read them and you may learn.

Have a nice day.


2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anthony Aurelio
United States
Apple Valley
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
You are coming off as very hostile. I think the reviewer is just stating that 13 days feels very similar in gameplay. Just chill they are just games
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aaurelio wrote:
You are coming off as very hostile. I think the reviewer is just stating that 13 days feels very similar in gameplay. Just chill they are just games


I started off interested and polite.


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Asger Harding Granerud
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Early Flamme Rouge prototype
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
da pyrate wrote:
aaurelio wrote:
You are coming off as very hostile. I think the reviewer is just stating that 13 days feels very similar in gameplay. Just chill they are just games


I started off interested and polite.




But that is the thing

You may have intended that, but you can clearly see two people disagree with your self evaluation above. I'm not passing judgement but the written word is easy to misunderstand. You author a message, 1000 people hear it, not all understand your intent. I try to focus on what I can do as the author to minimize such misunderstandings. Send me a PM, and I'll happily point out where I think (not know!) it went off kilt.

Happy gaming!

Regards
Asger
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your kind offer. It's not necessary. I think I will get over the emotional scarring...eventually.

shake
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I came here for the review because I'm interested in the game, and I got a whole reality television moment in the comments section.

I like everyone's comments, as it brings to light the humanity of this world (and hobby). We're all different people, and sometimes we can't help but act from our particular lenses, experience, worldview, biases, etc.

It's about patience, and seeking to understanding. In the end, it sounds like one person sees similarities in broad brush strokes where another sees dissimilarity in the details. Neither is wrong, just different lenses.

Good review, btw. Can't wait for this game to reach general distribution.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Dietz

Illinois
msg tools
As clarification,

13 Days's specs were contracted with the printer just before Ultra Pro took control of Jolly Roger Games. The card quality was the best that I (as a one-man company) could do with the budget I had for the game.

When UP purchased the company, it was too late to make a change, so the decision was made to include sleeves with the games to 'make up for it'. It was most definitely NOT an effort to drum up sleeve-sales. That's a promise.

When the game reprints, I believe the intent is to increase the cardstock quality.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alea jacta est
United States
Wesley Chapel
Florida
flag msg tools
No matter where you go, there you are.
badge
Preserve Our Wildlife!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jimdietz wrote:
As clarification,

13 Days's specs were contracted with the printer just before Ultra Pro took control of Jolly Roger Games. The card quality was the best that I (as a one-man company) could do with the budget I had for the game.

When UP purchased the company, it was too late to make a change, so the decision was made to include sleeves with the games to 'make up for it'. It was most definitely NOT an effort to drum up sleeve-sales. That's a promise.

When the game reprints, I believe the intent is to increase the cardstock quality.



Fair enough. Its a small issue since it can be overcome with sleeves, but sure looked curious. Thanks for taking the time to clear it up.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.