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Cold War: CIA vs KGB» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Variable blackjack with a super-structure rss

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Thaddeus Ryan
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Or at least that's what I thought after my first game of Cold War: CIA vs. KGB. This is a two-player only game (though there is some talk on here about adding more players by adding more decks) in which players vie to win various Objectives - which might mean countries like Cuba or Turkey, or events such as the Nobel Prize or the Space Race - in order to accumulate sufficient victory points to win the game. Players win a given objective by playing a modified form of blackjack.

Each objective dictates how many cards each player is allowed to deal him- or herself and the maximum allowed value of those cards. These values are respectively the population and stability rating on the cards. It's a brilliant adaptation of an otherwise straight-forward and familiar game.

Built around the core influence game are your six agents whose abilities may kick in depending on who wins the objective. Play the Assassin to sweeten your victory by removing the opponent's agent. Play the Master Spy to win a lost objective. The event-type objectives also offer special abilities than can be used.

The strategy in Cold War is two - tiered. At the tactical level, it's playing the card(s) you're dealt to win the influence game - a feat that is often determined by luck. At the theater level it's carefully managing your agents and event objectives to pull an advantage over your opponent even when luck doesn't swing your way.

Once learned, this can be a quick game instead of a tit-for-tat battle of attrition. It's fun with a mild learning curve.
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