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"L'état, c'est moi."
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1960: The Making of the President
A game for 2 players by Jason Matthews and Christian Leonhard


"We can no longer afford to be second best. I want people all over the world to look to the United States again, to feel that we're on the move, to feel that our high noon is in the future."
- JFK during the televised debates, 1960


Introduction
Jason Matthews and Ananda Gupta captured lighting in a bottle in 2005 with Twilight Struggle, a card driven game that featured a shared event deck with the added twist that playing a card with an opponent's event on it triggered said event for your opponent. It was massively successful and became GMT Games' best selling game ever, with over 100,000 copies sold globally.

Jason wasn't done, and with Christian Leonhard as co-designer came up with 1960: The Making of the President (1960 from here on in). ZMan Games published the first edition in 2007.

In 2012, with Ted Torgerson and Jason collaborating on another Cold War subject, 1989: Dawn of Freedom was released by GMT.

Now in 2017, GMT games has somewhat fittingly pulled the middle Jason Matthews CDG in this set into its portfolio and re-released it with a fresh coat of paint and a few extra cards.

While there are many who would argue that these games compose a family of sorts, save for all having Jason Matthews as a designer in common, they are not at all the same.

Of Boxes and Boards
The original ZMan edition box, pictured here, had some photos of the very fresh faced looking candidates...



... as opposed to these illustrated versions of the candidates, from a distinctly later period.

The board has been given a fresh facelift, going from the "coffee ring" board of the ZMan edition...



... to the cleaner look for the GMT edition.

The cards too have been given a facelift. The original cards are very atmospheric, but the new edition's cards are easier on the eyes.

What's New?
The only major change in the game is the addition of six new cards. These give some additional variety to the game, but the basic game is otherwise unchanged and plays the same way as before.

Photo credit: John Echeverria

What Do I Think?
Given its success, it was completely natural that gamers and designers alike wanted games that were akin to Twilight Struggle, but different, much like gamers today are busily trying out different games based on the COIN engine started with Andean Abyss.

I've made it no secret that Twilight Struggle is my favourite game. I absolutely love the tension that comes with each hand, and there are definite mitigation strategies to each hand and for that matter, each card.

Like it's elder brother, 1989 has the same tension as Twilight Struggle, because the card events trigger for your opponent and they are arguably more powerful effects, especially as 1989 doesn't have the protection of the DEFCON to prevent play of certain kinds of actions in different regions of the board.

Which brings me to 1960, which I feel, and have always felt, is missing that baked in tension that Twilight Struggle and 1989 offer. It's easy to avoid events you don't like in 1960, and the basic tug of war aspect of it simply is not as compelling to me as the war of influence of the other two games.

It is a good game. It's just not one I find particularly compelling.

That said, the new GMT edition is very well done. The graphics update works well (save for the anachronistic cover images), they didn't muck with the game, the added cards are a nice bonus, and if you've been wanting to get a copy of this game, there is no better time.


Thank you for reading this latest installment of Roger's Reviews. I've been an avid board gamer all my life and a wargamer for over thirty years. I have a strong preference for well designed games that allow players to focus on trying to make good decisions.

Among my favourites I include Twilight Struggle, the Combat Commander Series, the Musket & Pike Battle Series, Julius Caesar, Maria, EastFront, Here I Stand, Napoleon's Triumph, Unhappy King Charles!

You can subscribe to my reviews at this geeklist: [Roger's Reviews] The Complete Collection and I also encourage you to purchase this very stylish microbadge: mb

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Pete Belli
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Thanks for the update on this game.

That new box cover is a weak presentation.
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S. Mileta
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Thank you. You captured the essence of this game and the reason why I like it so much: precisely due to it being less tense than TS and still historicaly thematic. TS is undoubtedly better game but for those days in which I don't have the nerve to play it 1960 comes as a perfect substitute.
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marc lecours
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By the way, I absolutely love the coffee ring images on the old board. I am very sad to hear that it is gone. It was a wonderful little touch that makes me smile every time I play the game.
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Jérôme
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Had it when it came out, played it quite some times, liked it a lot at first but my enthusiasm faded quickly. TS-light, or TS-lucky, or TS-pumpcubesontheboard. I hesitated to sell because the board and the cards were so beautiful, yet I sold it.
The new edition unfortunately doesn't look as good as the Z-man edition. That's a pity.

Thanks for the review, it was a pleasant read, as usual.
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David Janik-Jones
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For whatever reason I far prefer 1960 to TS. And I still prefer the Z-Man visual design as well. Call me a weirdo, go ahead.
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Daniel Spaniel
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I preferred the GMT reprint of 1960. It's a much prettier game, and board is easier to read. I use it to introduce CDG's to people due to the quicker play time and reduced need to know every card. Players graduate to Twilight Struggle from there. So far, this has worked pretty well.
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DaveyJJ wrote:
For whatever reason I far prefer 1960 to TS. And I still prefer the Z-Man visual design as well. Call me a weirdo, go ahead.

I loved the design on the original 1960 cards. I even printed and cut my own set of 1960 style cards for Twilight Struggle (I think they're still available in the files section).

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Brad Keusch
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pete belli wrote:
Thanks for the update on this game.

That new box cover is a weak presentation.


Really? I think the new cover is very eye catching and compelling
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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Tsaar wrote:
TS-lucky


How is 1960 "TS-lucky"? Unlike TS, there are no die rolls in 1960.
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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leroy43 wrote:
What's New?
The only major change in the game is the addition of six new cards. These give some additional variety to the game, but the basic game is otherwise unchanged and plays the same way as before.




No discussion of the rules changes?
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Mick Mickelsen
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I think the new box cover is significantly less appealing than the Z-man games version. Rodger MacGowan and his clip art strikes again. I really think GMT could get volunteers in the boardgame community to design its box covers and the results would be much better than what Rodger MacGowan produces.
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David G. Cox Esq.
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I was surprised to see a 1960 Kennedy and a 1970 Nixon on the cover.
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David Janik-Jones
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mickmick wrote:
I think the new box cover is significantly less appealing than the Z-man games version. Rodger MacGowan and his clip art strikes again. I really think GMT could get volunteers in the boardgame community to design its box covers and the results would be much better than what Rodger MacGowan produces.

Heiko Günther would be my go-to.
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Sean McCormick
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mickmick wrote:
I think the new box cover is significantly less appealing than the Z-man games version. Rodger MacGowan and his clip art strikes again. I really think GMT could get volunteers in the boardgame community to design its box covers and the results would be much better than what Rodger MacGowan produces.


I like the clip art approach a lot of the time, but I don't get the artistic choices here. I also think the map looks much worse than the Z-Man edition.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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I actually like the new map a lot better.
 
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Mick Mickelsen
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I think I prefer the new map too. I like the attempted retro artistic style. I think the problem with box cover is not with the style but with the execution. I know I sound a bit like an art critic here, but the composition is poor. Better than the cover of Triumph and Tragedy which is comically bad, but still poor.
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Stephen Rynerson
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da pyrate wrote:
I was surprised to see a 1960 Kennedy and a 1970 Nixon on the cover.


That's my only critique of the box cover. It exaggerates Nixon's agedness.
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