$30.00
Recommend
23 
 Thumb up
 Hide
48 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Twilight Struggle» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Worst CDG rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Joseph Courtight
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'll be honest. Twilight Struggle is my least favorit of all CDG.

So for those which do not know a card driven game is one were players get a hand of cards and play one card on their turn. The cards generally have a command value letting you perform a number of actions from a list or play the card for an event and the text listed on the card itself.

I acquired this game based on its reputation. For a very long time the TS was rated number one on BGG. I think it earned this rating mostly due to theme. Most of the people alive today lived through the cold war and therefore it has a stronger connection than older conflicts. Such as Here I Stand or Successors. Far less people understand the 16th century political balance than the cold war. Additionally, being two players does not shrink its audience.

However a game does not get to be number one on pure nostalgia.

When it captures is the stress and paranoia of the cold war. It hits the mood perfectly. One thing which really helps is the idea that you have to make choices which you know will suck for you. Many times all your moves are bad and you just have to make the least bad move. This is great assuming you are okay with intensity in games.

Let me explain. When you play a card it can be for command points or for the events. The events come in two categories: those that benefit the Soviet Union and those which benefit the USA. If you play a card for the command points and it belongs to your opponent he/she can activate the effect anyways. I love that feeling of dread you get on your own turn. Now why would you play such a card then. Well, simply put you can only burry a few events and even if you do the card deck is small enough that it will only delay it. This gives a bit a paranoia especially considering how powerful the events are.

Your opponnents turns are equally as stressful for them and yes there are times when you do have legitment good moves to make.

Finally the Defon level is brilliant. You need to be militarily active, but not too military active or you will destroy the world.

Now let's talk about the negatives of such a system.

Certain events are going to happen and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Nothing at all. For example the US can forget about Cuba before Fidel. Any attempt to influence the island is likely pointless for that card. If you want to influence Cuba to the US you need to get the event overwith asap. In general it's not worth the effort.

A similar card system was used in Labyrinth. However, in labyrinth events generally have conditions which you can attempt to make false ahead of time, thus avoiding them. And while it is possible to minimize the events/make them worthless many feel unavoidable.

Do not get me wrong events add flavor and are neat to see them come into play, but this game is not an alternate world history kind a game. It has a strong scripted feel.

However all the complaining about the events aside, what really kills the game for me is not the events, but the fact that there is almost nothing besides the events. Most other actions in the involves putting influence on the board. You can either put influence on the board, based on the number of command points or they can roll a dice and to shift around some influence or once per hand you can discard a card to the space race and maybe get a point.

If you look at the Virgin Queen, Here I Stand, Successors, Strike of The Eagle, Labyrinth or any coin game you will see that there are options beyond the cards. In fact I'd say that there could be a game without the event cards. But instead of TS enhancing the game with the cards. The game is the cards.

I cannot recommend this game to anyone. This is my least favorit CDG of all the ones I played.

If you are going to buy this game, just know what you are getting yourselves into.

The game likes to mess with you and keep secrets from the new player and only once you memorized the deck will you be able to play for 'real'. It intense and can be stressful.

But it is the cold war albeit scripted cold war.

I think I was extra disappointed because I expected something better for such a highly ranked game.

Unfortunately I must call this the worst CDG, I've played.
14 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
There are plenty of options aside from the events. You don't just play events from your hand. There are nuances like playing an opponent's card when it's of the least damage to you rather than Space-Racing it, Space-Racing a card into the discard pile AFTER the re-shuffle, coups, realignments, etc. If you say it's just events, you're missing the bigger picture. It isn't for everyone and knowing what cards are in the deck is important, but I'll have to disagree with you on a majority of what you said. Oh, except that it's better than Monopoly - we're in agreement on that one.
32 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul M
United States
Elkhart
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
Dalek5 wrote:
...Certain events are going to happen and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it...

You lost me here.
36 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim F
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Midlands
flag msg tools
Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
badge
Ashwin in thoughtful mood
Avatar
mb
Re: Worst CDG I've played

But more importantly, is it a wargame?
26 
 Thumb up
0.07
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric C
Canada
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
Look... if you think all you do is play the events, you're not playing this game right. This didn't reach the top of the BGG rankings for nothing. Take a look at some strategy articles to get a better feel for what's allowed.

Games like Virgin Queen are sandbox diplomacy games designed to simulate a historical period. Twilight Struggle is like chess. The strategy is just SO much deeper, and I say that as a HUGE fan of Virgin Queen. TS is worth sticking with.

Your complaint about "not being able to stop your opponent's events" is a common one, but it's one of the most interesting parts of this game. You're right that Cuba very likely will go to the USSR at some point, but WHEN it goes can matter a lot. Deck management/hand management is a huge part of this game - it's a little hard to grasp when starting out.
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
flag msg tools
I will play as the Atreides, Bene Gesserit, Emperor, Fremen, Guild, or Harkonnen.
badge
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
Your review is highly emotive, and no one can challenge the sincerity of your feelings, but I would assert that your opinions are not based on a substantial familiarity with the game.

Dalek5 wrote:
For example the US can forget about Cuba because it will be lost to Fidel anyways.


This was the first comment that struck me (and others on this thread), because it simply is untrue.

As a previous commenter pointed out, if you are the USSR and you hold Fidel, you may or may not use it to play the event. You may choose to use it for its 2 OPS, reseeding it in the deck in the hopes that the US finds it later.

If you are the US holding Fidel, you might very well choose to use the OPS and give Cuba over to the USSR at first. However, that doesn't foreclose trying to win it back later. Furthermore, a very common response is for the US to play the card, event first, and then use the OPS from the card to realign Cuba back to neutral. If the US is successful in this endeavor, the card is permanently removed from the game, and the USSR no longer has a foothold in Central America. This can have an effect on the mid-war for the USSR that ranges from merely annoying to devastating depending on how play is going. The range of possibilities is wide.

Based on this one example, my sense is that you really haven't fully explored the subtlety of Twilight Struggle and that getting beaten by a far more experienced player soured you on the prospective strategy.

Don't misunderstand me: I'm not suggesting by "soured" that you were a sore loser; rather, I think you mistook the disparity of experience between you and your opponent as a proxy for there only being one or two good strategies for any given card, which is simply untrue.

I would commend you to try this game about 10 more times and to look deeper.

39 
 Thumb up
0.32
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
Dalek5 wrote:
For those of you which are preparing to scream in the comment board, just know that it is a better game than monopoly.

You're a brave man!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shawn Garbett
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Will Provide Statistics for Data
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
Some of the things you didn't enjoy go away with more plays, i.e. you will learn to mitigate events in many of the ways others have mentioned.

One of the things about Twilight Struggle is there is this feeling that every option is bad, and you're picking the least bad. Occasionally you get a gleeful moment with just the right card, but it's quickly spoiled by an adriot play by your opponent. There is this press of events coming at you. To get Ops from an opponent's card you have to suffer the event. A coup may fail on a dice roll. One wrong move, and the world could enjoy a long nuclear winter. All of this strongly evokes the theme of the cold war. This isn't for everyone, and not everyone is going to enjoy the crazy negative tension. This is okay. I get the sense from your review that even learning the game and moving past these misunderstandings, you would still not enjoy it for this reason.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Katuska
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
BoJack Horseman wrote:
the myriad ways

Someone actually used "myriad" correctly? Never.

+1
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Courtight
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
I should probably just hide from this review, but thanks to everyone which is civil.

For those of you reading the review and saying I lack understanding of the strategy you are proably right. I do not understand the strategy.

I played the game six times (once with the late war setup). Only on the 5th time did I survive as the US till latewar and not loose in the early war as either side.

My experience concisted of the following:
I played the got kill by some event of doom.
Tried to minimize the event of doom next game, just to get killed by a different one.

My real criticisms is that there is no game without events. I have never really been concerned with were to put influence or when do attempt a coup and when not to. I spend the entire game of every game doing damage control on events and wonder when to play said events. Events seem to be the only thing that matters.

To use the chess analogy. Its like playing chess and person teaching you explains how pawns work and then tells you hey there are other peices behind them. Do not worry about them you'll learn them after about 20 games or so.

After rereading my review I think I was harsher than nessessary and will probably tone it down at this afternoon when I am not writing half-asleep.

The reason the review is so harsh is because I expected so much better from this game, being number one for so long. But instead it is my least favorit CDG. Which makes me very sad.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moshe Callen
Israel
Jerusalem
flag msg tools
designer
ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
badge
μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
As others have pointed out, your review does not reflect an understanding of the game. Many of your criticisms are simply factually wrong.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
Dalek5 wrote:
I should probably just hide from this review, but thanks to everyone which is civil.
Please don't hide, you're entitled to your opinion

Dalek5 wrote:
My real criticisms is that there is no game without events. I have never really been concerned with were to put influence or when do attempt a coup and when not to. I spend the entire game of every game doing damage control on events and wonder when to play said events. Events seem to be the only thing that matters.
This 'damage control' and the constant feeling of 'all my options are poor but some are less poor' combined with 'when can I get rid of this event in the least damaging way' is the part of the game I like. It feels thematically appropriate to the Cold War, in my opinion.
It could be that this constant firefighting simply isn't your cup of tea, and that's perfectly ok.

Dalek5 wrote:

After rereading my review I think I was harsher than nessessary and will probably tone it down at this afternoon when I am not writing half-asleep.
I'd leave it as is. Challenging conventional opinion provides interesting discussion.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Schorfheide
United States
Houston
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Worst CDG I've played
Dalek5 wrote:
I should probably just hide from this review, but thanks to everyone which is civil.


I appreciate you writing a negative review. I don't agree with you about Twilight Struggle, but in general it's very helpful for people thinking of buying a game to get a mix of good and bad reviews. CDGs are not for everyone, and as you mentioned TS isn't for everyone who likes CDGs. I agree that TS can be a very frustrating game when playing against people of a different skill level. I mostly play against people with limited experience, so I have avoided reading anything on Twilight Strategy to keep things balanced (I'm not smart enough to deduce the best strategies without a website.)
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kris Wei
China
flag msg tools
Re: Worst CDG I've played
The most common (mis?)view of Twilight Struggle here is:

Trash Game, Purely Depend on Luck.

Now we have another.

Trash Game, Purely Depend on Events.

Laugh.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Hager
United States
Leesburg
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The game is absolute garbage when you first play it a couple of times. I got smoked by my buddy playing it when we first played, and I yelled "how the F*** is this game the top of the rankings?! I don't get it!"

Then I played a few more games and I figured out the nuances and how to minimalize damage from those events.

I'm still bad at this game. I still lose a lot online and with friends. And I love it. It's a brilliant game.

Give it a chance and the strategies and tactics will flesh out.

It is not a friendly game to the new user, and the learning curve is steep and brutal. But it's a good game.
12 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jeremy - I'm exactly like you. I suck at it and didn't really understand what the heck was going on, but I really love it now. It didn't help that it was also a theme that I really couldn't have cared less about in gaming. It's top 10 stuff for me and I consider it an accomplishment if I make it to the late war, much less win!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Kinney
Canada
Surrey
British Columbia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am probably close to 200 games into this game (between online and in person) and it still makes me feel stupid more often than not. I constantly struggle to keep my head above water.

But I just love those times where it just clicks and I have my opponent on the run - not just in one game, but two or three games straight.

The point is that this games is all about pain mitigation. Can I use Grain Sales to the Soviets as the USSR player to ditch a scoring card that would really hurt me? You betcha! So not only do I get to use 3 Ops, I don't lose a ton of VP!

Read the strategy articles. Play against people WAY better than you and watch what they do. Lose with a purpose.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Len K
United States
Westford
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
It was 50 years ago today.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dalek5 wrote:

The game likes to mess with you and keep secrets from the new player and only once you memorized the deck will you be able to play for 'real'. It intense and can be stressful.

.. exactly WHY a lot of us play TS!

1) IMHO any game that does NOT 'keep secrets from the new player' (=reward study and repeated play) isn't worth my time.

2) You mention other CDGs but I have a hard time understanding how it's possible to play any CDG well without a thorough knowledge of the deck. Yes, TS may be a little heavy on this one, but not overwhelmingly so.

3) What fun is a strategy game without constant, tense, gut-wrenching decisions? Especially one about the Cold War!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Железный комиссар
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What other CDGs have you played (OP)?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Courtight
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JohnRayJr wrote:
What other CDGs have you played (OP)?


Virgin Queen, Here I Stand, Successors, Strike of The Eagle, Labyrinth and several coin games.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
jonocop wrote:
Can I use Grain Sales to the Soviets as the USSR player to ditch a scoring card that would really hurt me? You betcha! So not only do I get to use 3 Ops, I don't lose a ton of VP!


You'd have to be under Brehznev for Grain Sales to be a 3 Op. Also, as USSR, please do that in a game against me so I can win easily on DEFCON.

Although you were probably thinking of Five Year Plan when you wrote that post.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
flag msg tools
I will play as the Atreides, Bene Gesserit, Emperor, Fremen, Guild, or Harkonnen.
badge
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dalek5 wrote:
JohnRayJr wrote:
What other CDGs have you played (OP)?


Virgin Queen, Here I Stand, Successors, Strike of The Eagle, Labyrinth and several coin games.


I think the major driving difference between Twilight Struggle and any of these games is the DEFCON mechanism. Every decision is dependent on a crucial understanding of where DEFCON is and how to avoid "1". You were right to use the word "doom" in a previous post because that's precisely what creates the tension.

COIN has tremendous replayability even with one card play at a time (two, if you count being able to see the next card) because the board state and eligible players are going to be different every time. But you also don't have this constant sense of impending doom. Mind you, the tension comes from anticipating how the other factions will sneak ahead of you five moves from now, but unless a Propaganda/Winter/etc. card has come up, you're not worried about impending doom all the time.

I've not played Successors or Strike of the Eagle. I have played Ed Beach's HIS and VQ, and those are quite interesting because you are always going through a reset phase (wintering). Even though the points sort of slide around, as in COIN, you can see your opponents making a stepwise march toward victory and you have time to plan and readjust.

In Twilight Struggle, the better player will march toward victory (±20) faster (usually), but either has the chance for a powerful comeback on points and/or to play (or by playing) the cards right to force unnatural choices to avoid DEFCON doom.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
O.Shane Balloun
United States
Bellingham
Washington
flag msg tools
I will play as the Atreides, Bene Gesserit, Emperor, Fremen, Guild, or Harkonnen.
badge
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
p.s. No one here is going to fault you for not liking Twilight Struggle—especially if you are replacing it with such other heavy stellar games as in your preferred CDG lineup. If I went over to your house and you prohibited me from suggesting Twilight Struggle but you suggested any of those other CDGs, I'd be thrilled to have another heavy game player in my circle of friends.
12 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
S. Mileta
Croatia
Zagreb
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Very grateful to OP for his opinion because it stresses one fundamentally interesting relation: that between expectations and rankings. The part of your post where you describe first impressions vs expectations is gold - precisely what I was asking myself at first (why is this the best game ever designed?), albeit with less acid because I adored the theme even among all the frustration. It was the first game I ever bought (not played), and although I never felt sorry for that, I didn't really appreciate it until some 30-50 games played, Twilight Strategy twice read and many classes tutored by experienced friend.

TS is certainly one of the best strategy games ever designed, with plethora of options and intricacies (otherwise numerous leagues, championships, online communities, rankings and dedicated strategy book every player MUST read would not exist).

That said, it is not the game you would take to present the hobby to anyone, it is not gateway by any means, it's a lot harder to play properly than usually perceived by experienced players who are not thinking of the rules and cards anymore because they know them by heart. So if someone came to BGG for the first time, saw TS being dominant in the 1st for a long time and bought it - I'm certain he/she would be at least puzzled. For new players it always plays the same, DEFCON will often end their games prematurely (which almost never happens to experienced players), they often will feel powerless and frustrated... It's not lavishly produced or flashy by any means, it takes a long time to play if you manage till the end, it feels constrained... and Soviets always win of course.

The thing with TS is, it seems, that unlike many other games, if you are not particularly connected with the theme (and do not enjoy simulation of stress and damage control it provides) you cannot really enjoy it until you are at least semi-experienced player... Of course, becoming one is a big part of enjoyment. This game requires dedication, not as a truism often said of many games, but more so than others. There is a different point of view here: one would expect Puerto Rico, or even family style Aricola in the top rankings, as well as 7 Wonders... one would even expect Legacy as it is an experience different style and rank of players can share. Legacy being number 1 above TS is on the other hand rather silly occurrence from any strategic gamer's perspective - and those are in majority here right?

I am also a big fan of HIS, but I do not play that game as a CDG strategy but almost as a role-play, historically evocative experience (not denying it's strategic potential), primarily because it requires 6 people for 9 hours and I don't ever play online. When I play TS however, I now mostly play chess and the satisfaction comes from the "moves", not so much from evocative situations as in first couple of games (although we still do some commies vs. freedom fighters trash talk). I think there is a big difference there, notwithstanding mechanical similarities in card play.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wilbur Whateley
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be.
badge
Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's interesting to read some people saying you aren't entitled to an opinion on whether you enjoy a game unless you have played it ten or twenty times.

This is the mindset of the competitive abstract game player, who values games in terms of strategic depth and how long it takes to become skillful at manipulating the game's extremely abstract mechanics in order to beat someone.

I play wargames for flavor and interesting decisions about moving and fighting pieces on a map. I can generally tell if I like a game within a few turns of the first game. The idea I should play a game I don't like ten times before deciding whether I like it, is absurd to me. It's like saying I should not walk out of a movie that really offends me, or not pour a bad tasting beer down the drain.

I don't need to be an expert at a game to know whether the experience of playing it is enjoyable or not. And neither does the OP.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
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.