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Subject: Brief review and counter manifest rss

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Brian Train
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UNITED NATIONS

Designer: J. Michael Hemphill
Publisher: Yaquinto Games, 1982

Players: 3 or 4
Playing time: 1 to 2 hours
Era: modern
Scale: abstract

Components

1 “Album Game” box with a map of the world divided into 44 areas
1 4 page rulebook
1 sheet of 240 ½” die-cut, double-thickness counters
1 sheet of 75 pieces of play money
ziplock bags for counter storage
2 six-sided dice, one red, one white

Counter Manifest

4 sets of 57 counters, identical composition, in four colours: blue (USA), green (EEC), yellow (China), red (USSR)

1 x Vote marker
1 x Prestige marker
2 x Conventional Warfare markers
3 x Guerrilla Warfare markers
5 x Industry markers
20 x Political Influence markers
10 x Arms Aid markers: 3 x 1 PF, 3 x 2, 4 x 5
15 x Economic Aid markers: 4 x 2 PF, 3 x 6, 5 x 10, 6 x 20

12 blank counters

75 pieces of play money: $1,000 x 15; $5,000 x 15; $10,000 x 30; $50,000 x 8; $100,000 x 7

What the designer says (box ad copy):
“UNITED NATIONS catapults you into the tense world of negotiations, diplomacy and treaties as you send arms and economic aid to Third World nations. The clouds of guerrilla or conventional war constantly threaten to upset your web of influenced in the developing nations. In the end, thought, it’s prestige, not naked force that wins the game. Easily learned, UNITED NATIONS nevertheless allows for subtle, complex strategies as three or four players try to build their world prestige. Players convene Security Council or General Assembly meetings to debate, then vote on sanctions against evil aggressors in their group….This game is neither sanctioned nor approved by the United Nations.”

This is a simple game whose real value derives from the interactions between players. During the game players secretly assign a fixed (and, at least at the beginning of the game, equal) amount of economic and military aid to their choice of 40 regions in an effort to gain political influence over them, which translates into more prestige and voting power at the UN (in the advance game, this also translates into more income, which allows more aid to be given, and so forth). Confrontations between players who have both assigned resources to the same region are resolved by a simple exchange. Players gain prestige by making and adhering to treaties not to interfere with the influence attempts of other players, and lose prestige by deploying conventional or guerrilla forces to regions in order to force military confrontations. The game lasts for at least nine and as many as 12 turns (ended by a die roll) and the winner is the one with the most prestige at the end.

The advanced game adds variable player income through control of regions and random events, and building industry in client regions.

When I was taking courses in International Affairs in pursuit of a Political Science degree, almost 20 years ago, we played a game called the “Inter-Nation Simulation”. This game was developed by Dr. Harold Guetzkow of Northwestern University in the late 1950s, when political-military simulations were just getting started. United Nations, in its simplistic and abstracted approach to power politics, reminds me strongly of it in that the players spent most of their time trying to curry favour with the smaller countries through economic and military aid.
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Ron Colnar
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Actually, there are 60 markers of each color. There are 18 Economical Aid Markers, not 15 as it states above. If you add them all up, it comes out to 18, not 15. So with those extra 3, the total is 60 and not 57. And if you take the 60, multiply by the 4 colors, that gives the total of 240 like it also states should be in the game. I have the game and re-counted to make sure.
 
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Brian Train
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My review copy came to me punched, so maybe someone has skimmed markers from it and replaced them with blanks.

4 sets x 57 counters each = 228
228 + 12 blanks = 240

Brian
 
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