What do they say about the game?
Experience tense Cold War suspense in only 45 minutes.
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis is a nail-biting, theme saturated two-player strategy game about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Your fate is determined by how well you deal with the inherent dilemmas of the game, and the conflict.
1) Will you push to gain prestige at the risk of escalating the crisis to global nuclear war?
2) How do you best manage your hand of cards to further your own plans while depriving your opponent of options?
Work out these dilemmas in order to emerge as victor of the Cuban Missile Crisis after thirteen suspenseful days.
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis is a meaty filler utilizing the card-driven game mechanics. Rich with history, yet accessible to gamers with no prior knowledge of the crisis. It is targeted specifically at catering to two groups of gamers: the enthusiasts that just don't have the time they used to and the curious newcomers that are scared off by the heavy commitment and long play times of the classics in the genre.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, was a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union concerning Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. Along with being televised worldwide, it was the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.
In response to the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961, and the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to agree to Cuba's request to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter future harassment of Cuba. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Fidel Castro in July and construction on a number of missile launch facilities started later that summer.
An election was under way in the United States. The White House had denied charges that it was ignoring dangerous Soviet missiles 90 miles from Florida. These missile preparations were confirmed when an Air Force U-2 spy plane produced clear photographic evidence of medium-range (SS-4) and intermediate-range (R-14) ballistic missile facilities. The United States established a military blockade to prevent further missiles from entering Cuba. It announced that they would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba and demanded that the weapons already in Cuba be dismantled and returned to the USSR.
After a long period of tense negotiations, an agreement was reached between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a U.S. public declaration and agreement never to invade Cuba without direct provocation. Secretly, the United States also agreed that it would dismantle all U.S.-built Jupiter MRBMs, which were deployed in Turkey and Italy against the Soviet Union but were not known to the public.
When all offensive missiles and Ilyushin Il-28 light bombers had been withdrawn from Cuba, the blockade was formally ended on November 20, 1962. The negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union pointed out the necessity of a quick, clear, and direct communication line between Washington and Moscow. As a result, the Moscow–Washington hotline was established. A series of agreements sharply reduced U.S.–Soviet tensions during the following years.
This is a beautiful box, look at the earlier picture, its dripping with theme in the form of photgraphs from the era and event. It plays 2 players only, ages 10 and up, which is a difficult one, i think olivia could grasp the mechanics, but the cards can be wordy though she is only 7. Plus there is the Theme, the Cuban Missile crisis does not exactly get a lot of coverage this side of the Atlantic, even though i find it, the cold war and the Atomic Age extremely interesting. You will be pleased to know however you do not need a deep understanding of the event, in fact you do not really need any, the mechanics in the game are so solid you can play it that way with no worries about history, thought its always nice to know more.
so whats inside this lovely box??........
Well you get some goodies, a bag of wooden tokens, some card ones that need punching out, a ncie folded board, and two booklets.
The game ends when one player gets 5 prestige, though its not that easy as the scoring system is sliding so things can pull it back all the time. The game also ends when nuclear war happens, and this is done by the DEFCON tracker. If at any time you have 3 of your defcon markers in the Defcon two position at the end of your turn (you can adjust the markers in your turn with the right cards) then nuclear war is declared, same as if just one of your markers ends in DEFCON 1. The player who initiated the nuclear war loses, though in reality of course everyone would have lost.
At the start of each turn 3 cards are dealt from the Agenda deck to each player. Then they decide the one they want to focus on and discard the other two. Though you must place your flag (the little tokens that came in the box) on ALL the agendas you received that turn, so your opponent will have an idea where you may go, but then its all down to bluffing and maneuvering from then which is a mechanic i really enjoy. It forces yo to think about how and when to play your cards, bluff, or not, plenty of options.
Early in turn 1, the USA has drawn all 3 Cuba cards as agenda so the USSR knows something is going on in one of the Cuba battlegrounds, but cant be sure which one. Cuba is of course such an important part of the game, that the Atlantic and two Cuba battlegrounds are linked so scoring on them works on the amount of them you dominate. The USSR has the United Nations, Berlin and the military DEFCON track. The DEFCON tracks are dominated by scoring higher on it, as in being closer to nuclear war, so its brinksmanship that wins the day there, though of course yo then have to try to bring it back down, and scoring is done on the difference between you and your opponent.
An example here as things are getting tense of the USSR scoring an agenda, they get the difference in influence points, so for Turkey they get one prestige and would move the score tracker at the top one to the right.
THis game does not take up much space as you can see, so is perfect for popping round a friends house for a "quick game" and in this case it honestly is a quick game, once you know what you are doing you can potential get through games in half an hour or less. The scoring track sliding means that its very difficult for you to be totally out of the game, as things can change with agendas, and early pushes that then become late game domination. It is only played over 3 rounds, but that doesn't feel like its not enough, it gives youa great feeling of dictating play, through the moving of your influence cubes. To me they had become different things, as i moved an Armour brigade into Berlin, or put out newspaper reports on how much i was doing to avoid war and its clearly the evil other guy who wants a fight, sending subs to the Atlantic, i felt IN the game, like i was looking at a map on the wall in my presidential office. I loved it, its a tough balancing act to keep pushing where you need to , and not over inflate the DEFCON track, but that really adds to the appeal of the game.
Its excellent, im a big fan of this game, and highly recommend it, even if you do not know about the subject matter, the mechanics of the game will draw you in, and you may find yourself wanting to know more then!
If i had to find a downside, it would be the cards, they are very thin and im not sure how much repeated play they will stand up to, certainly with sliding them under the board at points and regular shuffling, so i decided to sleeve mine after the first play.
It may be a small box, but its a big game inside. It has an RRP of £34.99 and will provide many many hours of fun, so head on over to your local game store and grab a copy, if they don not have it, ask them to get one! you will love it, and if you are a history nerd and fan of the Atomic age like me, you may also want to cuddle it a bit.