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Twilight Struggle box image

Twilight Struggle

Twilight Struggle is a two-player strategy game set during the Cold War. Players take on the roles of the United States and Soviet Union, competing for global influence through political events, military operations, and espionage.

8.25 / 10
BGG Rating
13+
age
2005
published year
2
player count
2
Recommended player count
120 - 180 mins
play time

How Complex is Twilight Struggle?

3.61 / 5

Twilight Struggle has a steep learning curve due to its intricate rules and strategic depth, but rewards players with a challenging and immersive gameplay experience.

How much Luck is involved in the gameplay of Twilight Struggle?

1.5 / 5

Luck plays a minor role in Twilight Struggle as players have control over their own actions and can mitigate the effects of random events through strategic planning and card management.

How much Player Interaction does Twilight Struggle offer?

4.5 / 5

Twilight Struggle offers intense player interaction as players compete for global influence through political events, military operations, and espionage, with each move affecting the other player's strategy.

How much Replayability does Twilight Struggle offer?

4 / 5

Twilight Struggle offers high replayability due to the vast number of possible card combinations and strategic choices available to players, making each game unique and challenging.

Why you should play Twilight Struggle

Historical Theme

Twilight Struggle is a two-player game that simulates the Cold War era between the United States and the Soviet Union. The game is based on actual historical events and players get to experience the tension and uncertainty of the time period.

Strategic Depth

The game offers a high level of strategic depth, with players needing to carefully manage their resources and make tough decisions about where to allocate their influence. The game also has a strong emphasis on timing and players need to be able to anticipate their opponent's moves.

Replayability

With over 100 event cards and multiple paths to victory, Twilight Struggle offers a high level of replayability. Each game is different and players need to adapt their strategies based on the cards they draw and the actions of their opponent.

Easy to Learn

Despite its strategic depth, Twilight Struggle is relatively easy to learn. The game mechanics are straightforward and players can quickly get up to speed with the rules.

Balanced Gameplay

The game is well-balanced, with neither player having a significant advantage over the other. This means that the outcome of the game is largely determined by the skill of the players rather than luck.

Engaging Gameplay

The game is highly engaging and players are constantly involved in the action. There is very little downtime and players need to be constantly thinking about their next move.

Award-Winning

Twilight Struggle has won numerous awards, including the BoardGameGeek Golden Geek Award for Best Wargame and the International Gamers Award for Best 2-Player Game. This is a testament to the quality of the game and its popularity among board gamers.

Why you should avoid Twilight Struggle

Lengthy Gameplay

Twilight Struggle can be a lengthy game, with the average playtime being around 3 hours. This may not be suitable for players who prefer shorter games or who have limited time available for gaming.

Complexity

While the game is relatively easy to learn, it can be complex and overwhelming for some players. The game requires a lot of strategic thinking and players need to be able to manage multiple resources and make tough decisions.

Theme

The Cold War theme may not be appealing to all players. Some players may find the historical context of the game to be too heavy or may not be interested in the political and military aspects of the time period.

Two-Player Game

Twilight Struggle is a two-player game, which means that it may not be suitable for players who prefer games with larger player counts or who enjoy team-based gameplay.

Randomness

While the game is well-balanced, there is still an element of randomness due to the event cards. Players may draw cards that heavily favor their opponent or may not get the cards they need to execute their strategy. This can be frustrating for some players who prefer games with less randomness.

Where to find the Rules of Twilight Struggle

You can find the community-driven rules summary, player aid, etc., in the Twilight Struggle files section on the BoardGameGeek website. You need an account on BGG to download files.

Beginner Strategies for Twilight Struggle

These strategies are for players who have either not played or played one or two games of Twilight Struggle.

Understand the game mechanics

Before you start playing, make sure you understand the basic mechanics of the game. Read the rulebook carefully and try to get a sense of how the game works.

Focus on controlling regions

The game is won by controlling regions, so focus on controlling key regions like Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Try to gain control of these regions early on in the game and hold onto them throughout the game.

Use your cards wisely

The game is driven by cards, so make sure you use them wisely. Try to play cards that will give you the most benefit and try to avoid playing cards that will give your opponent an advantage.

Keep an eye on the DEFCON level

The DEFCON level is a key element of the game, as it determines whether or not you can use certain cards. Make sure you keep an eye on the DEFCON level and try to avoid triggering a nuclear war.

Plan ahead

Twilight Struggle is a game of strategy, so it's important to plan ahead. Think about your long-term goals and try to make moves that will help you achieve them.

Don't neglect the Space Race

The Space Race is often overlooked by new players, but it can be a key element of the game. Try to advance your Space Race track as much as possible, as it will give you valuable bonuses throughout the game.

Keep an eye on the scoring cards

The scoring cards are the most important cards in the game, as they determine who wins each round. Make sure you keep an eye on the scoring cards and try to control the regions that are most important for each scoring round.

Remember, Twilight Struggle is a complex game that takes time to master. Don't be discouraged if you don't win your first few games – keep practicing and you'll get better over time.

Advanced Strategies for Twilight Struggle

Keep track of the cards

As you play the game more, you'll start to get a sense of which cards are in the deck and which ones have already been played. Use this knowledge to your advantage by anticipating your opponent's moves and planning your own moves accordingly.

Use events to your advantage

Many of the cards in Twilight Struggle have powerful events that can swing the game in your favor. Learn which cards have the most powerful events and try to use them to your advantage.

Focus on the early game

The early game is crucial in Twilight Struggle, as it sets the stage for the rest of the game. Try to gain control of key regions early on and use that advantage to build momentum throughout the game.

Don't neglect the Middle East

The Middle East is often overlooked by new players, but it can be a key region in the game. Control of the Middle East can give you access to valuable resources and can also help you control adjacent regions like Europe and Asia.

Use the China Card wisely

The China Card is a powerful card that can swing the game in your favor, but it can also be a liability if you don't use it wisely. Try to hold onto the China Card until you can use it to maximum effect.

Keep an eye on the Space Race

The Space Race can be a valuable source of points and bonuses, so don't neglect it. Try to advance your Space Race track as much as possible, but be careful not to waste too many resources on it.

Be flexible

Twilight Struggle is a game of strategy, but it's also a game of adaptation. Be prepared to change your strategy if your opponent throws you a curveball or if the game takes an unexpected turn.

Remember, Twilight Struggle is a complex game that takes time to master. Keep practicing and experimenting with different strategies, and you'll become a better player over time.

Mechanics

Campaign / Battle Card Driven
Simultaneous Action Selection
Hand Management
Simulation
Dice Rolling
Area Majority / Influence
Action/Event
Advantage Token
Events
Sudden Death Ending
Tug of War
Variable Set-up

Categories

Political
Wargame
Modern Warfare