|Cold War: CIA vs. KGB | Published 08 September 2009|
"The Cold War isn't thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn't sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting."
- Richard M. Nixon
It is the height of the Cold War, and the two global superpowers, vying for control of the world’s resources, each employ their own network of highly trained spies and assassins. These shadowy operatives will resort to any means necessary - dirty tricks, devious ploys, underhanded machinations, and outright treachery - to ensure their side emerges victorious. Through subtle manipulation a country’s economy, media, political machine, or military complex, these agents can see to it those foreign governments embrace the correct ideologies – theirs.
Welcome to another spotlight on an FFG staff favorite, Cold War: CIA vs KGB. Over the past several months, we’ve taken a look at several staff favorites, including Drakon, Doom, and Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation. This time, we’ve gathered intelligence on Cold War, a quick, light card game of bluffing and intrigue for two players. Playable in less than an hour, Cold War is accessible enough for non-gamers, but deep enough for the most brilliant armchair strategist.
"We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked."
- Dean Rusk
Jeremy Stomberg, Operations Associate here at Fantasy Flight Games, counts Cold War: CIA vs KGB among his favorite FFG titles. "I've always been a big fan of spy movies, television shows, and novels, like the James Bond series and MI-5. Growing up, the Cold War was on the news every night, and was all people could talk about. Then in High School when the Berlin Wall fell, it was the end of an era. Cold War is a great game as it really feels like that era. Good guys against bad guys, but they are both using the same tactics." With cards featuring gripping photographs from this tense period in world history, this swift-moving card game will have you reliving that suspense all over again.
In Cold War, each player takes on the role of the director of either the CIA or the KGB (which are identical from a gameplay standpoint) as they attempt to gain control of various countries (and the victory points listed on their corresponding cards). The VP value of these countries ranges from five to twenty, and the first player to collect 100 points wins.
"We don't propose to sit here in our rocking chair with our hands folded and let the Communists set up any government in the Western Hemisphere."
- Lyndon Johnson
To win control of a country, players take turns drawing cards from a shared deck of “Group Cards,” which come in one of four categories: Military, Media, Economy, and Politics. These cards each have a number, and players must keep adding them to their play area until the sum of these numbers equals a value on the contested country, without going over. Some players have compared this aspect of Cold War to Blackjack, but Cold War offers a number of additional strategic options. For example, each type of group card has its own special effect, and can be “mobilized” (tipped on its side) in order to execute that effect, including the ability to discard your opponent’s cards and look at the next card in the deck!
On top of this, Cold War: CIA vs KGB offers another layer of intrigue. From round to round, each player chooses an agent to put into play for his side’s cause. Each agent has a special power, so you must guess which agent your opponent will put in play while judiciously choosing your own, creating a tense experience of bluffing and counter-bluffing! For example, the “Master Spy” agent will purposely try to lose the round... because when he loses, he actually gets to claim victory! Is your opponent really having an unlucky round, or does he just want you to think so? Should you throw the round on purpose, or is that exactly what your opponent wants you to do?
Cold War: CIA vs KGB is the perfect game for a lunchtime match, or for a brief evening filler with your significant other. The compelling risks of blackjack and the tense bluffing of poker are combined, then given a dose of deep strategy and riveting historical theme. The Cold War may be over, but you can play it out again and again on your tabletop!
Cold War: CIA vs KGB is a light and quick card game of bluffing and resource gathering. Players carefully select which covert agent to dispatch to deal with various world crises and manipulate different economic, media, military, and political groups to ensure supremacy.
This is a great filler! I'm letting myself be surprised every time I play this, on how balanced and clever this game really is. Everything fits.
I picked this up at Gen Con a couple years ago and it is, by far, the best "Lunch Time" game I own. A friend and I play games at lunch while at work and this game has had more plays than any other game that I own.
I agree that the Silver Line games are under-rated. The best gaming deal I ever got was a Silver Line two for $20 for Citadels and Condottiere. They're wonderfully short and interesting games that don't crush you to death when you carry them to gaming sessions.
I love this game. The Silver Line games are so underrated. Drakon, Red November and this game. The only one that the fans dig a lot is Through the Desert, and FFG is in the process of reprinting the game. Just so you know, we're waiting (patiently).
hmm..."Natacha Tselivoskaya"??? it's not russian! %) maybe zulu?
THis is indeed a really fun two players game - and I'm usually not much fond of two players games. I'm surprised it was not that much talked about.
Rules are about 100 times shorter and simpler than those of Twilight Struggle, and the game is largely as fun.
This is actually a really fun little game. The theme is a lot more present than appears at first because of the "role-ion".