Gregory Bay
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1960: The Making of the President is a game of first's for me. 1960 is the first card driven game that I have played. 1960 is also the first I have played based upon the theme of a presidential election, and yes there are not many under this theme but there are a few. 1960 is also the first game that has an (estimated) 90 minute play time that my wife enjoys sitting through.

1960 is a game that proves a game can be built upon a theme with great mechanics that is absolutely enjoyable, especially for those that may not enjoy the theme. This is a point that I want to stress above all. The theme rules in this game. You feel that in every thing that you do. I am still amazed at this game when I play it, and i have found for those that think they will not or could not enjoy a longer game with a little more depth, have them sit down and play 1960.

In short, 1960 is a game that immerses the players in the election of the said year and gives them an opportunity to experience the different aspects of the campaign: traveling, debating, fighting for media, and sponsorship, all to get to the white house all in a package that is immersive and enjoyable.



Game Components & Functionality:

As can be see by the many pictures on 1960's page one boardgamegeek, 1960 has some beautiful components. Included in the awesome box is the game board, cards, cubes with a cloth bag, as well as endorsement chits, and momentum markers.

The components serve two major purposes in the game and they serve the players very well.

1. Immersing the players into the game. I am a theme nut and this game feeds my hunger. I enjoy games that land you on top of circumstances that I would never under normal circumstances experience... and I do not see myself running for political office soon.

In looking at the board players cannot but help feel they are in the midst of a political struggle. The standard red blue divisions in the states, with some a different colour today than then, all the media representation, as well as your desk and cup of coffee to strategize with your advisors between speaking engagements.

2. Streamlining and assisting in gameplay. Each part of the board serves a purpose. From set up, to mid game, and end game the board walks you through each step of the way and does it wonderfully.

To sum up this brief section on the components in one word would be to describe them as wonderful.



Rulebook: Its Effectiveness at communicating & teaching the game:

A simple description is streamlined. From components, to rules, to the applications during gameplay this game is streamlined.

Upon opening the rule book and glancing at its colourful and descriptive pages the players will feel comfortable to set up the game and to start playing immediately if not within 10 minutes of opening the game. The rule book is divided into set up, with illustrations, as well as the major game sections with illustrations and examples of play. I did not find areas of the game that I did not understand after the reading of the rule book and our first game.

I do not get to say this often but 1960 is a game after my first run through that I do not have any grey areas as far as game mechanics goes.

The game cards, the major learning curve of the game. The game's main mechanic of being card driven helps to streamline the game play but it adds one area to the learning curve of the game as far as strategy is concerned.

The cards are composed of a picture, with a campaign point value, rest cubes value, event, and flavour text. I will go into gameplay in the next section and how the cards are involved, but I wanted to make one comment on learning the game.

Where the cards stream line the learning of the game they complicate strategy by all the events that they include. Players for their first couple games will feel overwhelmed at the possibilities of what they can do because of the thought of the cards that are out there. I find a simple remedy for this is to just focus on the cards in your hand. Do what's the best with what you have right now. Really that is all you can do.

Teaching the game is a straightforward matter as the game flows through easily defined and distinctive phases that cause the game to flow. The majority of the game flows through the cards. The cards give a little direction to the new player in the points and events on the cards, but players teaching the game will have to help demonstrate some of the strategy in the game.



Gameplay and Strategy:

The sole goal of the game is to win the Presidency and this is done by controlling states which in turn give the winning player that amount of electoral votes.

The core of the game is the cards and the play of them, but let me start at the beginning.

1. The board is set up. Certain states have a number of control cubes, the blue and red cubes included in the game are used to mare control of a state for the player of the Democrat or Republican party, used to mark beginning political control of a state.

2. Also the initiative bag is "seeded," filled, with a pre-determined number of cubes.

3. Playing cards are shuffled and dealt, as well as momentum markers are distributed.

Players take turns playing a card either for its campaign points or the event. Keep in mind the goal of the game is to win the most electoral votes by carrying states. Campaign points can be used to:

1. Campaign in a state. By campaigning in a state players either place there own cube or remove another players cube. Whoever controls the state at the end wins that states electoral votes.

2. Focus on the three major debates issues. How this helps you win the game is very important. Issues do not directly win states but they indirectly help you win the election by providing momentum chits and endorsements to be described more in a bit.

3. Focus on the media. Media controls help players with certain events as well in campaigning by overcoming states with overwhelming support by the other player.

As well players can play cards for Events which bend and twist the rules of the game to allow players to do things specific to the election. Very thematic. Problems and decisions arise with the cards you have because there are going to be cards in your hand where the event hurts you where you can ill afford to be hurt. This is where the momentum markers come in.

Where endorsements and momentum markers come in.

1. Momentum markers allow players to do two things. The first is they can force the other player to play the text. When a player play a card for the campaign points and not the text the opposing player can play a marker to force the text to be played. This hurts, always. As well, a player can play two markers to avoid the text being played.

Momentum markers = a valuable commodity.

2. Endorsements win states at the end of the game with no control to the player with the endorsement, other wise it goes to the player whose colour it is. Can by handy.

Debates and the final election day.

During the first few turns players are saving one card to be saved for the debate. Again the use of cards shines by giving the players all the info right in front of them. Usually players choose a high point card with a debate that is in their favour to be used at a later turn. These cards usually always have events that help you and so hurt to be put in the debate pile. Managing cards is key in this game.

The debate serves its own turn where players get to fight for issues and by winning issues they get to put support cubes immediately on the board.

During the final two turns leading up to election players will store cards that help sway states in their favour.

Game balance.

The game is tilted in JFK's favour. I cannot describe how many times Nixon seems, "SEEMS," to be winning and then you hit the debates and election day and go, "Now how did HE win that!?" Awesome just great.

Does this ruin the game? No. JFK has lost but this happens only 30% of my games. When I play Nixon I put all I have into winning. The experience is the fun over the winning.

Hand Management.

A major portion of this game is the cards you get both good and bad. You are going to get bad cards where the events will hurt you. The struggle of the player(s) is to decide which events take priority. What you need to do right now to help push the edge. The gameplay is a constant battle of trying to get the other player to respond to you. Sometimes you can throw a card into the debate pile that will not help you there but it helps you now by avoiding a nasty card.

The whole card driven mechanic in this game sold me to others that use it. Really helps simplify the game while giving lots of depth and theme in a nice package.



Final Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoy this game. I feel like I am there. This game is intense and the 90 minute time frame goes by fast. Expect longer times in your first play or two as you learn but the game will go by fast. I have played 60 minute games.

The card driven mechanic I cannot say enough. It enables a newer player or a player that would not enjoy games of more depth because of the rules, the cards streamline the whole thing by including the rules and game mechanics on a handful of cards.

The fun part is figuring out how to get that oval office.

What say you?

...and no, I am not a crook.
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Blake Rule
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1960 is a great game. My wife and I have played a lot, and I don't think that JFK wins much more than Nixon. If you are playing as Nixon, you just have to play around the Kennedy-favorable cards. For example, when I am Nixon, I don't even try for Illinois because I know that there is a card that will heavily favor Kennedy there on election day. To win as Nixon, you just have to go after the correct states. It definitely takes playing a time or two to figure out what those states are.
I'm impressed that you've played in 60 minutes before. I don't know that we've ever played in less than 90 minutes. Usually it takes us about 2 hours.
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Gregory Bay
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I have found, and I could be doing something wrong here, but JFK really has an advantage during the debates as well as the final election based upon the cards. Depending upon circumstances and card draws JFK usually gets an edge here especially on election day when Nixon does not always get to do anything because the seed bag goes empty.

Thanks for the thoughts and input!
 
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James Megee
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Nice Review! I am playing my first game of 1960 now using Vassal, and I am playing as Nixon. The subject of 1960 MotP came up during a vassal game of Twilight Struggle.(which I own) The guy I was playing TS with me said he owns 1960 and that it is a lot of fun. SO, I downloaded the rules and we are now engaging in another 'war of wits'. I REALLY like this 1960 game and I am going to buy it on my next game order! I DO NOT like politics either! funny isn't it? that I don't care for politics yet I WANT this game of politics!

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your review. Although I can't comment on how the game plays in favor of one person or the other, and I already KNOW I will most likely lose as Nixonwhistle but; after this game, we will switch sides and then I have another chance of losing as Kennedy! Oh, by the way... I lost both games of Twilight Struggle too

Jim
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Adam O'Brien
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baymonkey wrote:



In looking at the board players cannot but help feel they are in the midst of a political struggle. The standard red blue divisions in the states, with some a different colour today than then, all the media representation, as well as your desk and cup of coffee to strategize with your advisors between speaking engagements.



My question is, how many times did you try to pick up that pencil? The art might be TOO good for that damn thing. laugh
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Adam O'Brien
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baymonkey wrote:
I have found, and I could be doing something wrong here, but JFK really has an advantage during the debates as well as the final election based upon the cards. Depending upon circumstances and card draws JFK usually gets an edge here especially on election day when Nixon does not always get to do anything because the seed bag goes empty.

Thanks for the thoughts and input!




I have never seen the bag go empty. How often are you guys taking Media actions, or campaigning in carried states?

In fact, one game I ran out of cubes in the pile, because all of my cubes were either on the board or in the bag.
 
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James Megee
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The 2nd edition now comes with more cubes than the first edition.

Jim
 
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Gregory Bay
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I have the 2nd ed. so I have yet to run out of cubes in gameplay, but we regularly see the bag go empty at the end during the election turn. I would say our media events and battling for carried states varies from game to game but is not overemphasized.
 
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Adam O'Brien
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Well, not to insult your intelligence, just to so sate my curiosity, you are putting the rest cubes into the coffee cup (and then bag) with every card played right? I have seen where people forget to add the rest cubes if they play a card for the event, or for points, or both.

Seeing as at least 75-80% of the ~90 cards in the deck will be played, and the average number of rest cubes on these cards is 1 (maybe higher since the 4CP cards are the most likely to get played as debate/campaign strategy cards), you should have more than enough cubes (at least 70 or so from rest cubes, plus the 20 you start the game with) in the bag for 9 initiative checks (once per round, max 27 cubes used), 8 election day support checks (four states per player, 3 cubes per state = 24 cubes), and miscellaneous media/carried state/candidate token support checks.

So no offense, but double check that you are playing correctly as I don't see how it is possible to empty the seed bag. I generally see 30 or so cubes left in the bag AFTER election day.
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