Recommend
30 
 Thumb up
 Hide
14 Posts

Cold War: CIA vs KGB» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Quick Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Udu Wudu
badge
Udu Wudu
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cold War is a 2 player (only), fairly light weight card game that is based on the post WWII US/Soviet cold war. Players either play the US side (CIA) or the USSR (KGB). This is an overview of the game. I left out small details, since I am not trying to regurgitate the rules.

At the beginning of a turn, an objective card is turned up (there are 21). This objective card will be the focus of the turn. Whoever wins it will gain the allotted VP's. The first player to gain 100 VP's wins. Most Objective cards represent a country.


Then each player secretly selects an agent from his deck (there are 6 per player). Any agent can be selected except the one that was played last turn (or any other agents that may be on leave or terminated). Each agent has a special power, which will be later revealed and resolved after the (apparent) winner of the objective has been determined.


Next, players vie for the objective. By doing so, each player in turn either draws a card from the group deck (24 cards; all 24 cards are always reshuffled to form a new deck at the beginning of each turn) OR activates (mobilizes) a group card in his possesion. When a card is mobilized, it has to be readied to be used again.

Each card has an influence number. Your goal is to get as close to the influence number on the objective card without going over (if this happens, your agent is terminated). The player closest wins. Ties are broken by the bias icons on the objective card (top right corner). You can only have a certain number of influence cards based on the population number on the objective card. The powers of cards allow the following:

Military: destroy a card, either your own or an opponent's card
Political: give a card to your opponent or take one from him
Economic: Ready a mobilized card for use again (or do the opposite to your opponent)
Media: secretly look at the top card and either take it, leave it or discard it.

All of these powers are valuble and the key to winning an objective is using these powers very cleverly.


After the objective winner has been determined, each player reveals his agent. They incur certain powers, sometimes only if you win the objective. The Master spy is the trickiest because he allows you to take the objective if (and only if) you lost the objective. This means every turn that your opponent has an available master spy, you have to keep this in the back of your mind. The final winner of the objective gets the VP's

Overall, I have really taken a liking to this game. It is small and thus makes a great travel game. The rules are well-written. Though not an overly complex game, there is a lot of interesting game play options with regards how to use the group card special powers. Selecting the right agent at the right time is also an important factor. The Master Spy adds a bluffing element to the game. The cards are nice quality as are the 3 game poker-style chips. Though I have only had this game for a relatively short period of time, I suspect it will have a high replayability factor.

Any negatives?
1. I like the box and everything, but the oversized agent cards fit rather awkwardly
2. Both sides' agents have identical powers. This means that both sides play identical to one another. It would have been interesting if each side had agents with unique powers.


Currently, this is one of my favorite new 2 player card games and I easily give an 8 to 8.5.

Thanks balsamo for the nice photos





13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dave de boer
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This game meets with unanimous approval from all the people I introduce it to. The game is rich with opportunity for clever plays to crow over or be dazzled by. It has currently outpaced most of my other light two player games, such as Roma, Hera and Zeus or Blue Moon, as the 2 player game of choice. The quality of production is very high for a game that really doesn't have a lot of pieces. I'm glad to see another review, because I think this game doesn't get the attention it merits.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Udu Wudu
badge
Udu Wudu
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Exactly on all accounts
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
flag msg tools
badge
Handsome devil huh?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review Dan. I love the game too, but wanted to point out one thing you didn't touch on much. I think the game mechanics totally fit the theme. The game fits the theme to a tee.

Please look me up on JSP for a game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Udu Wudu
badge
Udu Wudu
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for pointing that out Yoki; you are absolutely right. The theme is more than merely "pasted on." The mechanics do indeed fit the theme rather well.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Steak Fairy
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
flag msg tools
Games? People still play games??
badge
Specious arguments are not proof of trollish intent.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your review. I initially enjoyed the game, but quickly dismissed it as almost entirely trivial. I would have much preferred the version you nearly suggest--different sides have different agent capabilities. That might (very hard for me to be sure) have kept the game fresher for me somewhat longer.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Webb
New Zealand
Christchurch
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'll have the join MisterCranky in calling the game simplistic. I'd love to find out that I'm missing the point, but so far the Influence phase of drawing group cards is sadly lacking in strategy. Yes, you have to wonder if the Master Spy is in play and will make the lower influence win, but the best you can really do is decide what you think and go for high or low influence (probably high since all the other agents favour high influence). Drawing groups and using their powers seems fairly obvious and we felt the game was playing itself. Am I missing something? Please explain if I am. I wondered if having some cards in your hand would help or if some kind of draw two and offer-one-to-your-opponent mechanic would add the feeling of tension and control that we are missing.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
0,07 Geek Gold
Italy
flag msg tools
Vendo tutta la collezione, clicca sul mio profilo per prezzi e disponibilità
badge
Vendo tutta la collezione, clicca sul mio profilo per prezzi e disponibilità
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Guys,
you helped me to decide to buy this game. I love espionage and was searching a game could meet this taste... thanks :D
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Tuxford
Australia
Wollongong
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
rwebb wrote:
Drawing groups and using their powers seems fairly obvious and we felt the game was playing itself. Am I missing something? Please explain if I am. I wondered if having some cards in your hand would help or if some kind of draw two and offer-one-to-your-opponent mechanic would add the feeling of tension and control that we are missing.

It never plays itself at all. It may appear simple, but a player needs to be careful of the timing of what he does. Also, the objective is not won until both players decide to pass. Will you deliberately bust to try for a miracle win or sac your Master Spy to win the objective? Is it worth risking your agent or concede the objective? If I pass now and my opponent plays, might he pick up a critical card or mobilise a group to mess you up?

CIA vs KGB is simply awesome!!! It's one giant mind-nuke!!! (putting it in polite terms...)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Webb
New Zealand
Christchurch
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You do make it sound interesting. I'll have to give it another try with a different opponent (maybe we were being too nice).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Boogers wrote:
It never plays itself at all. It may appear simple, but a player needs to be careful of the timing of what he does.


Agreed, I've never understood that criticism of the game.

Quote:
Will you deliberately bust to try for a miracle win


You can never win when you busted. You bust, the other player gets the objective regardless of agents in play. If he busted too, then neither of you get the objective, it goes on the bottom of the deck.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Webb
New Zealand
Christchurch
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Boogers wrote:
It never plays itself at all. It may appear simple, but a player needs to be careful of the timing of what he does.


Agreed, I've never understood that criticism of the game.


I'll try to explain. Maybe I'm playing wrong and you can clarify. Please take my comments as those of a novice player who admits there *may* be more depth to the game with more plays.

In CvK, we always have very few cards out. Of them fewer will be ready to act. So you have three choices: possibly use your one card that is ready, draw, or pass.

1. When you do use your card, I have rarely seen interesting choices. I my experience (which is limited), at least 70% of the time there is only one interesting way to use the card and rarely do we have more than two available to use. Of course there are usually more options, but they all depend on the luck of the draw, so they aren't tempting.

2. Draw. The 21-like aspect of trying not to bust is interesting (a face down card and no agents might even be fun). Having a military card gives you lots of flexibility. If you don't bust then you might draw something tactically useful. Then there's the hand limit for each objective, which occasionally means you are stuck with low cards and wish you had more (or that you had previously played Master Spy, too late now). All in all drawing is more interesting than playing 21. Knowing the top card(s) can be interesting, so this is a fun aspect of the game, but it's completely random and drives all the other game play (hence my feeling that the game is playing us).

3. Pass. Pass when you're behind and it seems like you played Master Spy, if you did there's little your opponent can do other than try to change the totals through Military and Political cards. Given that, if you didn't play Master Spy then, you're going to loose the round (fun). So you pass when you are ahead, about to bust, or at your hand limit. None of those reasons are interesting. And of course you can always jump back in later if your opponent gets a better total or changes your total.

As for the agents, all but the Master Spy favour the highest score under the stability. So we've never managed to get into worrying about if low scores will win the round. If it becomes obvious that your opponent is going for that, then there's still some chance they are bluffing and switching your strategy for the round is usually too difficult and risky at that point.

I think there's an interesting game here somewhere. I love Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation so I think a bluffing, risk, burn-rate game appeals to me. I'll try again.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Baron von Doom
United States
Georgia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Boogers wrote:
It never plays itself at all. It may appear simple, but a player needs to be careful of the timing of what he does.


Agreed, I've never understood that criticism of the game.

Quote:
Will you deliberately bust to try for a miracle win


You can never win when you busted. You bust, the other player gets the objective regardless of agents in play. If he busted too, then neither of you get the objective, it goes on the bottom of the deck.


Yeah, but you don't lose as soon as you "bust"; only when the phase ends by both players passing. So he's talking about busting while below the population limit and trying for a military card down the river as it were.


-BvD
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok, makes sense now. I use different terminology, "bust" means I'm over and done, while "over" means I'm over but still playing.
1 
 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.