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Rating: 7.8 Very Good
Players: 2-2 players
Playing time: 180 minutes

Official Site: Publisher's page for the deluxe edition

Created by: Ananda Gupta, Jason Matthews, Viktor Csete, Rodger B. MacGowan, Chechu Nieto, Guillaume Ries, Mark Simonitch

Published by: GMT Games LLC, (Self-Published), Asterion Press

Alternate Names: Gleichgewicht des Schreckens, Studená válka 1945-1989, Zimna wojna 1945-1989, トワイライト・ストラグル, 冷战热斗 (冷戰熱鬥)


In 1945, unlikely allies toppled Hitler's war machine, while humanity's most devastating weapons forced the Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, there then stood only two.

The world had scant months to sigh its collective relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic struggles of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged not primarily by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors.

Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-five year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States.

The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight to make the world safe for their own ideologies and ways of life. The game begins amidst the ruins of Europe as the two new "superpowers" scramble over the wreckage of the Second World War, and ends in 1989, when only the United States remained standing.

Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card-driven classics We the People and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition.

The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. As with GMT's other card-driven games, decision-making is a challenge; how to best use one's cards and units given consistently limited resources?

Twilight Struggle's Event cards add detail and flavor to the game. They cover a vast array of historical happenings, from the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967, to Vietnam and the U.S. peace movement, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of game-ending nuclear war.

Retail Price:$62
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A complete game of Twilight Struggle includes the following:

  • One Map Board
  • Two sheets of markers
  • One Rules Booklet
  • Two Player Aid Cards
  • 110 Cards
  • Two 6-sided dice

The Game Map

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent". -Winston Churchill

The map is divided into six Regions: Europe, Asia, Central America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. A region is a group of geopolitically connected nations, normally in close geographic proximity. …

Tournament Play

These rules are optional, and are not required for 'friendly' play. They are simply offered as guidelines on conducting Twilight Struggle as a competitive tournament game.

During tournament play, all cards held at the end of the round should be revealed to your opponent. This prevents accidental or deliberate holding of scoring cards.

Any player found holding a scoring card during the Reveal Held Card phase is said to have started an accidental nuclear war, and loses immediately.

During tournament play, the Soviet player should receive the first card of every deal. The deal should alternate back and forth between the players until they have received their full hand size. …

What follows is an example of play between Chris Withers and Stefan Mecay. In this game, none of the optional cards are in play.

Additionally, the two players have bid for sides. Chris wins the bidding and chooses the Soviets. Stefan takes the underdogs, but due to bidding his US begins the game with an additional four Influence Points. These points may only be placed in countries eligible for US Influence during the game setup.

To help players follow along, the number of Influence Points in a country after the action is performed is indicated in parenthesis. The number before the slash is US influence and the number after the slash is USSR influence (US/USSR). If the number is bold and with a "C", it indicates control. …

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