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Subject: Great Fun, a Solid Success! rss

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Jonathan
United States
Maitland
Florida
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My friend Katie and I sat down recently to give Twilight Struggle a whirl. This was our first game, and I had read the rules over a couple of times to get a feel for the game. Katie went into Twilight Struggle cold, although she has played other card-driven games like Hannibal, so the mechanics were fairly familiar to her. We were both impressed with the rules; it took maybe ten minutes to explain to an experienced CDG player how Twilight Struggle worked. For our first game, Katie took the USSR and I took the good old USA.

The Early War period did not go well for the United States. Katie had a hand full of Soviet events, while I had…a hand full of Soviet events. Partly because I had so many killer Soviet cards, and partly with the help of captured Nazi scientists I rocketed (ha ha ha) ahead in the Space Race. This was the the one bright spot for America in the otherwise dreary early war years. Katie very quickly solidified her grip on Eastern Europe, and made a grab for power in Asia as well. South Korea was taken over by Soviet-backed coup, and thanks to De-Colonialization, Katie also very quickly got a death grip on a string of Southeast Asian countries also. Things even looked bad in the Middle East, as US influence in Israel was taken away through card play. I struck back by launching an astoundingly-successful coup in Iran. Using Iran as my base of operations, I quickly reclaimed almost all of the Middle East for America. I’m not complaining, but I seemed to draw the lion’s share of scoring cards this game…Katie rocketed ahead in victory points.

In the mid-game, the Soviets were hovering around -15 VPs which is close to an auto-win for them. I had to do something fast. The “Ask not what your country can do for you…” card is just phenomenal, it allows you to discard as many cards as you like and re-draw. This helped me immensely, but things still were grim. I made a serious error by holding onto the China card when I had East Asia scoring in my hand, ensuring Katie got far more VPs from the play of the scoring card then I did. I did have a card that would give me VPs based on the number of South American battleground states I controlled, so my best bet was to grab a bunch of these countries up fast, then play my card. Katie, however, had other ideas. When she saw me drive into South America, she countered with a vengeance. I played The CIA is Created, which let me look at Katie’s hand to see she had Central American Scoring. A disastrous coup in Mexico sealed my fate, as the play of the Scoring card pushed Katie into the victory point stratosphere. Victory went to the Reds…this time.

Our game clocked in at just over 2 hours, with ten to fifteen minutes spent explaining the rules. If Katie hadn’t bashed my head in so abruptly, I could see the game going on for another hour or so to its conclusion. We both had a high opinion of Twilight Struggle when we had finished. I enjoyed the (losing) fight for my life, and Katie liked the new direction this CDG seems to be going in. We both loved the historical atmosphere that Twilight Struggle simply drips with. Both of us remarked how much like cold warriors we felt when, seeing the enemy power placing influence in a far-off and hitherto unimportant country, we simply had to start placing influence of our own to counteract our foe. Despite some silly editing errors, I feel Twilight Struggle is a big success for GMT, and for its two first-time designers. I live in Washington, DC, where just about everyone is interested in politics in one way or another. Twilight Struggle seems to me to be a good, fairly simple game that I could easily teach to someone not familiar with war or area-scoring games. The highly-evocative cards and the setting should make it irresistible to anyone who was a poli-sci major. I look forward to springing Twilight Struggle on my non-gaming friends. I can't wait to play again!
 
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Philip Thomas
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Yeah, this is a great game!meeple

Coup in South Korea is pretty unlikely to suceed...unless she used the China card. If she used the China card, she could just have put 5 influence there straight off the bat!

Loss of Israel is expected, its worth putting influence in Lebanon or Jordon so you have something in the middle east when the ballon goes up.

Presumably she had made a coup in Iran first? Or did she just put 1 influence there?
 
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