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Andrea Cossutta
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1960: The Making of the President

The 44th US Presidential Election. To be brutally honest, it’s my first. 1960:TMOTP simulates the ebb and flow of the political tide in the run-up to the US Presidential election of that same year. Two players take on the roles of Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon respectively.

1960: TMOTP sits in a very privileged corner of the board gaming universe, orbiting around Twilight Struggle. Both games are co-designed by Jason Matthews. The argument for comparison is compelling.

The box of my 2017 GMT Games reprint of the original 1960:TMOTP is heavily laden with lots of red and blue wooden cubes, momentum markers, State Seals, over 100 cards and a large, beautiful map of the United States divided into its 50 constituent States and 4 macro-regions. Don’t waste your time looking for District of Columbia. D.C. registered voters will have to wait until the next Presidential election to cast their ballots. Hang on a second, despite housing the entire legislative and executive branches of the US Government? The oddities of American politics to a foreign observer may appear rather inconsequential, however setting the game up in a timely fashion will depend largely on how well versed you are in US geography. Expect upwards of 15 minutes if you don’t know your Indiana from your Oklahoma.

The rules are very concise, with hardly any exceptions or special cases to keep in mind. Simple, elegant, counter-intuitive and easy to digest. I can’t find the dice. We are onto something here. Give me some cards. Launch codes can wait.

The action is fast and furious. A boon if you are prone to analysis paralysis. Instead of rolling dice, you will be pulling cubes out of a bag. Unlike TS, individual turns are shorter and the order of play is variable but the total number of turns is fixed at 9. Come what may, election day is coming. Sudden death is not on the cards. I am MAD NUTS about this. Nobody is shooting for the Moon either. Access to key regions on the board is not a major cause of anguish and despair.

The game feels a lot less confrontational than Twilight Struggle. It is also a lot more accessible and forgiving to new players. With a smaller hand size, hand management is what it is. For better or for worse, events linked to your opponent do not trigger automatically when played for Campaign Points. They can even be pre-empted. The overall result is a far less scripted experience than most Twilight Struggle games. Keeping track of removed or discarded events then becomes far less important. With any luck you are more than likely to play through a whole game of 1960 without even going through the entire deck once. Reshuffles? Never heard of them. Are we ahead in the polls? The honest answer is I haven’t got the foggiest. I am having a jolly good time criss-crossing the United States and securing support left, right and centre. I am chasing Electoral votes, effortlessly but almost blindly. There are simply too many States with wildly different total Electoral votes to keep track of. That is the single most important gripe I have with the system. The feeling of not knowing with any degree of approximation where I stand in relation to my opponent in terms of Electoral votes. Bring me a calculator. The political landscape seems to have a mind of its own. The temptation to just let things take their natural course is hard to resist. Election day is finally here. Polling stations across New Hampshire open at Midnight I am told. Nice and early. Splendid.

The game is packed with good ideas, interesting interactions and choices. Thematic, historically accurate and well-researched this is yet another excellent production of an outstanding core design. Seasoned Twilight Struggle players will find 1960:TMOTP offers a nice break from the unforgiving nature of Cold War brinkmanship. Newcomers will find plenty of meat to cut their teeth on. It’s a fine cut.

The Soviet Ambassador is on the line, Sir.


Game Credits
Designer: Christian Leonhard and Jason Mathews
Developer: Christian Leonhard
Art Director & Package Design: Rodger MacGowan
Box Art and Design: Rodger MacGowan
Map & Counters: Donal Hegarty and Mark Simonitch
Cards: Donal Hegarty
Manual: Charles Kibler
Playtesters: Dan O’Brien, Simon Halder, Mike Herms, Erin
Leonhard, John Leonhard, Dani Val
Proofreading: Kai Jensen
Production Coordination: Tony Curtis
Producers: Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Andy Lewis,
Gene Billingsley and Mark Simonitch
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Mason Kirksey
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This is how to write a review, people. Well done.
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Max DuBoff
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"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
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Habeo in animo vivere in perpetuum aut mori dum conor.
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Great review! You effectively communicate the rapid-fire flow of the game and I quite enjoyed reading it.
 
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Nicolas Beudin
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is that the EXACT reprint of the ZMan/Filosofia version ? thanks
 
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Stephen Rynerson
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Ma Hongkui
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preacher95 wrote:
is that the EXACT reprint of the ZMan/Filosofia version ? thanks


There are some differences between the editions. See here for more details: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2035046/what-difference-bet...
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