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Subject: Will 1960 fade into obscurity in 2012? rss

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Ender Wiggins
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1960 in the year 2011?

You can't argue with the success of Jason Matthews' gem from 2005, Twilight Struggle, which is solidly perched atop the BGG ranking charts in the #1 position. But what about his 2007 game, 1960: The Making of the President, which also features a strong thematic card driven element, and shares some mechanics with its older and more successful brother? It's one of those games that caused a great deal of noise when it first appeared, cropped up on many geeklists, was the subject of many reviews, session reports and discussions, and even won the International Gamers Award for best two-player game in 2008.

While it's still enjoying a rank of #46, which puts it solidly in the BGG Top 50, it does seem be fading away from the public eye. Consider the fact that not one single review for this game has been posted in the last twelve months - a whole year! And as for session reports, well in 2011 there's been one so far - and that's one that disqualifies itself by its title "Not really a session report..."! So what's happening - are Jason Matthews' Kennedy and Nixon starting to be forgotten?

Maybe it's time to put the spotlight on this clever 2-player game for a bit, to give it some more time in the sun with the help of another session report. This account relates my introduction to 1960: The Making of the President, with the help of my friend Scurvodsky, who owns the game and was kind enough to teach it to me. I'd been looking forward to try this game for a long time, and I wasn't disappointed.

Kennedy defeats Nixon

I played Kennedy, and Scurvodsky played Nixon. It's certainly a two-player game that offers a unique experience, and we had a blast playing, despite the fact that Nixon suffered a heavy defeat.

Some of the key states quickly swung in Kennedy's favour, and for most of the game he was able to retain his advantage, despite Nixon's attempt to manipulate the public with the help of the media. Kennedy's decisive win in the debate was the final nail in Nixon's coffin. Our final count had some discrepancies, but the support for Kennedy was so sufficiently overwhelming that a recount was unnecessary, and Nixon politely conceded.

Final scores
Ender: 353
Scurvodsky: 192


Early stages of our game

1960 in the year 2012 and beyond?

This particular session took us over two hours to finish, which was a shade on the long side, but all in all it was a terrific experience. What really surprised me is how closely the mechanics of the card driven game fit the theme. This is truly superbly done! The photographs and flavour text also really add to the political feel.

My pal completely concurs - here's his positive assessment in his own words: "This is one of the games I enjoyed the most even though I got crushed in a landslide defeat! I do really like the card-driven mechanic - using your cards for a variety of functions."

As an aside, ever wonder about the Democrat coffee cup that caused the coffee stain on the game board? Yeah, that was us in the above-described game! Here is that cup that did spill the coffee:


The Democratic coffee cup that made the coffee stains on the game board

So what do you think the future holds for 1960: The Making of the President in years to come? Granted - the fact that an online league over at wargameroom.com is in its fourth year of operation has to be a positive indication. And with over 5000 owners, it has to be sitting on the shelf in many a gamer's closet. But is it starting to collect dust? And what does the future hold in 2012 for this game - will it hold its own in the BGG Top 50 in the next year, or will it fade away? Share your thoughts!
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Dennis Bingham
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Ender, it's funny that you write this session report just now. I've been looking through my CDG (Card driven games) and my search returned quite a few but it was only when i got to 1960 that i stopped for a moment.

I thought for a moment and i HAD NEVER PLAYED it. I bought it, punched it, read the rules....and put it away never to be played. I had played Washington's War, Twilight Struggle, Hannibal and aquired Labyrinth lately, but simply forgot to play 1960. And as you can see, CDG's are the games with the core mechanic i like most in games.

I think i' just gonna do just that though now. Play the game.
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Jason Lewandowski
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Just played yesterday morning.

My opponent
Tom Kruse
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playing as Kennedy won, I believe the count was something like 265 to 257.

It is a great game!
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Aaron Percival
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A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
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Being a huge fan of Twilight Struggle, I recently picked up 1960 and have played through a few times. I have to say, even though the game differs quite a bit in strategy and thinking than TS, I really do enjoy it quite a bit.

I also downloaded the Vassel module, and it looks to be done quite well. I'm always looking for online play, if anyone is interested.

Contrary to the sentiments of the OP, I hope this game can gain momentum, rather than lose it, as I feel the replay value has to be similar to the of TS and other CDGs (PoG, Labyrinth)
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Mark Gage
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I like 1960, but maybe coming so closely on the heels of its' big brother Twilight Struggle has kept it down a little bit. Matching up the two games, I think that TS is simply more compelling -- battling over control of Europe, the Mideast, and Latin America generates more tension than battling over Ohio, and the threat of nuclear holocaust produces more gravitas than the threat of media influence.

TS -- really really great.
1960 -- really really good.

With their similar mechanisms, the two scratch the same itch, and I find that 1960 only comes out when playing with opponents who avoid anything that is suggestive of a wargame, which is a pretty limiting window.



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bestia immonda
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I think the theme is quite boring and most of the events are obscure/dull from a non USA citizen point of view, but I think from a pure gaming perspective it is an improved TS.
Yeah, it will fade into obscurity IMHO.
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Ender Wiggins
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Percy0715 wrote:
Contrary to the sentiments of the OP, I hope this game can gain momentum, rather than lose it

Note that I did not state that I hope that 1960 will lose momentum or fade into obscurity, but just raising this as a question. In fact, based on my single play I think that this game has a lot to offer. In my original post I was simply making the observation that it seems to be disappearing off the radar to some extent.

I actually don't know whether its ranking has been going up or down in the last year or two. Can anyone help us out by sharing how its ranking has fared in recent times, or what its peak position in the BGG Top 100 has been?
 
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Christopher Incao
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EndersGame wrote:
Percy0715 wrote:
Contrary to the sentiments of the OP, I hope this game can gain momentum, rather than lose it

Note that I did not state that I hope that 1960 will lose momentum or fade into obscurity, but just raising this as a question. In fact, based on my single play I think that this game has a lot to offer. In my original post I was simply making the observation that it seems to be disappearing off the radar to some extent.

I actually don't know whether its ranking has been going up or down in the last year or two. Can anyone help us out by sharing how its ranking has fared in recent times, or what its peak position in the BGG Top 100 has been?


Current Monthyly Stats from "BGG Top 50 Statistics : from 01 Nov 11 to 01 Dec 11" Geeklist

Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:46]

Ranking : from 45 to 46 = -1
Highest Ever : 11 (diff. to current = -35)

Rating : from 7.505 to 7.500 = -0.005
Highest Ever : 7.860 (diff. to current = -0.360)

Votes : from 4726 to 4776 = +50

Owners : from 5343 to 5395 = +52

Plays : from 8731 to 8794 = +63
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Aaron Percival
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A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
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EndersGame wrote:
Note that I did not state that I hope that 1960 will lose momentum or fade into obscurity, but just raising this as a question. In fact, based on my single play I think that this game has a lot to offer. In my original post I was simply making the observation that it seems to be disappearing off the radar to some extent.

I actually don't know whether its ranking has been going up or down in the last year or two. Can anyone help us out by sharing how its ranking has fared in recent times, or what its peak position in the BGG Top 100 has been?


Apologies if you misunderstood my statement. I wasn't suggesting that you hoped 1960 was losing momentum; I was hoping that the sentiment you expresses in the OP, that 1960 was losing momentum, was not true because I quite enjoy the game and have trouble finding f2f opponents where I live.

Although 1960 isn't a war game per se, it is a nice game to introduce typical Euro gamers to the CDGs genre, with the hopes of getting them to play TS and, if lucky, PoG or other wargames. That's my plan here, since most of the gaming community are Euro gamers.
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Todd Woodward
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Is there a list of this style of games somewhere? Or does Dennis's list cover it?
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Albert Rubrum
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The interest in this game is not fading in our house.

Since we got 1960 a year ago we have played 40 games. They all have been interesting and fun and we still see surprising results when election day is over. For example in our last game I managed to win even if my opponent had endorsements in all 4 regions. It was the first time we saw that and I think it speak well for the variety of approach a player can try.

1960 was our first, and for now is our only card driven game mainly due to the fact that it is the only one that have been translated in french.

But 1960 has to live in the shadow of Twilight Struggle and that is a place where it's hard to catch a glimpse of light.

I sure hope that the authors of 1960 will come with others CDG as interesting as this one and I also hope that game editors will publish translations in other languages.
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Matt Thrower
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1960 is incredibly weak compared to Twilight Struggle (which is my favourite game).

I have a very "meh" review of it here, although it is only off two plays so it's not really a fair assessment. But I wasn't sure it was worth many more plays:

http://fortressat.com/index.php/reviews-toc/172-1960-a-year-...

Perhaps that will help make up your 12-month shortfall.
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Steve M
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I'm Canadian and could care less about American politics, so this game is a must-not buy :)

Though being Canadian, I do love rooting for the US during a TS game..

Cannot.. Explain..
 
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Aaron Percival
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A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
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ececec wrote:
I'm Canadian and could care less about American politics, so this game is a must-not buy


I'm Canadian and love the game. Who cares if it's about an American election? It's a good game. Obviously, you have not played it.
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Todd Woodward
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A friend of mine pays no attention to politics whatsoever, but loves this game. The tension and constant changing of fortunes keeps both of us coming back for more.
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Adam Deverell
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I really enjoy it - a very different exerpience to TS though. I thought the theme played out well (even though the events went over my head), and although there's less to think about than TS, I think two hours for a CDG is comparatively short.

However, I haven't played it in at least two years (!) while other CDGs get a good look in, from Wilderness War to Labyrinth to PoG. One reason is ACTS (it doesn't have a module) and the other is the poor experience I had playing it on boardgamesonline.com.

Because the card plays are timed (one minute) you can't evaluate the events very well. So all cards are played on the issue track, which decides the game. I tried the issue track strategy after getting beaten up badly, and won. Unfortunately it makes for a dull (though very quick) game. Haven't ventured back - and haven't played the game again.

Must do so, I'd like to see how if my initially very favourable opinion has changed.

But I think the game will fade. It doesn't have a timeless appeal theme wise, and it is perhaps a little light for the CDG crowd.

 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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red_gamster wrote:
But I think the game will fade. It doesn't have a timeless appeal theme wise, and it is perhaps a little light for the CDG crowd.


Why would it fade, theme-wise? This has always confused me. Are people going to enthusiastically play a game about a 45-year-old election, but go all "meh" if it's a 51-year-old election? I think this is safely in the "historical" category and I don't think anyone who wasn't a fan of the theme in 2005 isn't suddenly going to feel differently now, or vice versa. (Likewise with the game play.)

I've played both TS and 1960 (and, for that matter, CM08 and Founding Fathers). They all have their area. Personally, I think that if Twilight Struggle had been designed after 1960 we would have seen a significantly simplified Twilight Struggle, but try saying that to the hardcore TS fans because ZOMG.
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Adam Deverell
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Quote:
Why would it fade, theme-wise?


I think 1960 was initially very popular because of TS's success. It promised to use a similar game engine so people leapt on to it immediately (just as many did Labyrinth and will do for 1989) as TS has some seriously rabid fans. Was it as good? I'd be just as willing to play either.

I just don't think a political game based on one election (even if it was probably the most famous US election ever) has the same appeal as a much bigger, prolonged historical event as the Cold War. Now that 1960 is several years old, I think it will be difficult to find newbies. TS, however, still attracts them. Part of this is because of theme.

I don't, however, think the theme will get old (although CM08 doesn't hold much excitement anymore), just that it lacks the punch of the cold war.

On a similar matter, I don't think Labyrinth (which I love, just as I think 1960 is great) will hold our attention as people are either jaded with the War on Terror or feel uncomfortable playing it, and 1989 will also lose ground because the period covered (1989) is so historically specific/obscure. I knew most of the events covered in TS before I played - but the fall of Communism?
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Andy Andersen
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Nice review. I think I'll pick this up.
 
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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red_gamster wrote:
One reason is ACTS (it doesn't have a module) and the other is the poor experience I had playing it on boardgamesonline.com.

Because the card plays are timed (one minute) you can't evaluate the events very well.


Do you mean Game Table Online?

It's been a while since I've played on GTO, but when I did, you could set the timer to different times or turn it off. I usually did two or three minutes.
 
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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EndersGame wrote:
Granted - the fact that an online league over at wargameroom.com is in its fourth year of operation has to be a positive indication.


I'm having a lot of fun playing in that league right now. And in the past year, I've sold two friends of mine on the game - both of whom have bought their own copies.

I don't think anything else has displaced 1960 as the go-to game for anyone with an interest in an American political theme.
 
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Ralph T
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It already is fading into obscurity, unless there is a rewrite of the rules.
Two major parts of the game are so underpowered as to be superfluous without house rules: the debates and the advertising action. Well, the debates are not superfluous, but not an viable path to victory and historically inaccurate. 1960's presidential election featured probably the most historically significant debate of the 20th century.
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bob frapples
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I would love to give it a try but can't find anywhere that has a copy.
 
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