Playing Twilight Struggle: The Cold War 1945-1989

20170528_181227.jpgThis weekend Judy and I decided to bust out Twilight Struggle and throw down some Commie vs Capitalist action. We managed to get two games, each winning one. The first one was a complete shutdown. Judy playing the Soviets locked down the Middle East, Africa, and most of Asia before I could contain the Red Menace. The game was over in the Early War. The second game was a brutal back and forth that slowly turned my way(U.S.) in the Late War causing Judy to concede early due to it being way past our need to wake up at 5 am for work bedtimes. I accepted her surrender but with two turns left I felt like she was still capable of pulling a win. So, right now we are 1-1 and itching to get some more games in.


Twilight Struggle is such a fantastic game that days after my last play I still think of strategies and actions I could have played differently. It captures the frenetic reactionary nature of the cold war, where the powers didn’t directly go at each other but play an endless game of back and forth through influence, political maneuvering, and sometimes covert and overt military action. The game simulates the action perfectly. One minute the U.S. is focusing on protecting Israel from the Arab League when a slew of revolutions turn South and Central America into Communist hangouts thanks to Fidel and his buddy Che. 20170528_213954.jpg

What’s great about Twilight Struggle is that it really hits the complexity and setup sweet spot for us. It’s a  fast-paced strategy game with a lot of depth but manages to be easy to learn, teach, and set up. We can open the box, set up the chits, mix some beverages, and start playing in about 10 minutes.

I plan on writing a detailed review in the near future covering some of the really cool features. I also ordered Labyrinth: The War on Terror, a game I have been wanting to play for a long time. And of course, I have a bunch of other games that need to be played taking space on my shelf like the amazing Sekigahara.

So, if you haven’t played Twilight Struggle, do so, you won’t regret it. And if you are a fan, please recommend games that play the same so I can add them to my list.

3 thoughts on “Playing Twilight Struggle: The Cold War 1945-1989

  1. If you’ve got some downtime (i.e. a longer train ride) and want to get your brain moving instead of just watching Youtube or something, the Twilight Struggle app does a remarkably good job of crunching that massive game board, tokens, and cards into a great tablet game. So far, I’ve yet to beat the AI and haven’t ventured into the head-to-head player pool.

    In terms of a two-player game like Twilight Struggle – epic, good payoff on the big time commitment, great production values, asymmetrical play, sweeping story arc – look no further than War of the Ring. I’ve spent many a happy afternoon trying to cast the One Ring back into the fires of Mount Doom, or using my Orcs, Urakhai, and Saruman to thwart the Fellowship’s efforts to do the same. But it’s absolutely not historical…

    CIA Vs. KGB is a small two-player game that is a highly condensed 15 minute version of Twilight Struggle. It, by necessity, makes the history more abstract and less dense and specific than TS, but it’s full of tension and suspicion and a fantastic two-player filler if you like Cold War history.

    Stay well,

    Liked by 1 person


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