«Twilight Struggle» review

Twilight Struggle

As we know from the news and internet articles the global situation in our world is not quite stable. We see a lot of local conflicts which can lead to global conflict and World War III.

«Twilight Struggle» by «GMT Games» is about the cold war and dirty games of politicians. It clearly explains the danger of wars and conflicts and it’s really interesting to take a look at this outstanding board game.

It was designed by GMT games and by the talented team of artists and developers.

Designers are Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews. Artists are Viktor Csete, Rodger B. MacGowan, Chechu Nieto, Guillaume Ries and Mark Simonitch.

Ananda Gupta is a quite famous developer and he has some awards in board game industry such as «James F. Dunnigan Award» (2005). Jason Matthews also developed «1960: The making of the President» and he has won«James F. Dunnigan Award» too (2005).
Twilight Struggle - Collector's Edition

Inside the box

This board game has two versions to play. It is basic game and deluxe. Here we can see the difference in components between these two editions.

Basic edition

  • Two hundred and twenty-eight full colored counters;
  • 22″x34″ full color cardboard map;
  • 103 event cards;
  • 2 six-sided dice;
  • 1 24-page rulebook;
  • 2 full color player aid cards.

Watch the unpacking video on YouTube

Deluxe edition

The game also has deluxe edition. It includes restyled map, revised rules and many other features for comfortable game play.

  • Mounted map with restyled graphics;
  • Two double-thick counter sheets with two hundred sixty counters;
  • Deck of one hundred ten event cards (increased from one hundred and three);
  • Revised rules and player aid cards;
  • Revised setup and text changing for card number ninety-eight «Aldrich Ames».

Upgrade stuff for the users of the previous game includes the following content:

  • Mounted Map with revised graphics;
  • New card decks;
  • Updated Rules & Charts.

Buy Deluxe Edition on Amazon

Each card has a symbol to indicate which superpower is associated with its Event. So here we see:

  • Cards with a Red star on them only are connected with the USSR;
  • Cards with a White star on them only are connected with the US;
  • Cards with a split Red/White star on them are not connected with either side.

Twilight Struggle Board Game


Twilight Struggle is a two-player wargame which shows the intrigues and mysteries of the superpowers – the Soviet Union and the United States. The whole world is very tense because these two titans can blow up at every moment. The game begins in the ruins of Europe. The two new “superpowers” are preparing to rule the world after the Second World War. During the game play there are some interesting features like «Space Race» and forcing the nuclear war. If the DEFCON status reaches 1 the game ends immediately for all players.

This game is all about the balance. You will have to minimize the effects of bad Events and figuring out the right mix of long-term strategy. Here are a few key points that are essential for good playing in «Twilight Struggle»:
Twilight Struggle - Early Wars Cards

It is essential to calculate when to play a card that will trigger an Event that is detrimental to your superpower and then diffusing the effects of that card through clever use of Ops Points.

Each superpower can discard card(s) of a certain Ops Point value to try to advance in the Space Race each round. By advancing, the player can gain both victory points and/or special abilities, as well as get rid of a card that would trigger a particularly nasty opponent’s Event.

This game is mostly a struggle for the US player. US players must not get discouraged. Just like in the real Cold War, the Americans are up against a Red Tide and they have to stick it out for the long war.

Twilight Struggle US Domination


Many people on different forums say that the rules in this game are very difficult to understand because of the cards system and turns. Let’s take a look at the map, turn system, cards and what conditions are required to end the game.

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. Europe is divided into two sub-regions, Eastern Europe and Western Europe. Two historically neutral countries (Austria and Finland) are categorized as being in both Eastern and Western Europe. Asia also contains a sub-region, Southeast Asia. The country spaces that comprise a region share a map color. Sub-regions have shades of the same color.

Twilight Struggle USSR Domination

The cards are divided into three piles: Early, Mid, and Late War. The first three turns are for the Early War, the next three are for Mid War, and the final four turns are for Late War. Events from the late war will not take place early in the game. Also Early War cards will not take place in later process.

Twilight Struggle has ten turns. Each turn take part between three and five years. At the beginning of the game each player receives eight cards from the Early War deck. A turn in Twilight Struggle has the following structure:

  1. Improve DEFCON Status
  2. Deal Cards
  3. Headline Phase
  4. Action Rounds
  5. Check Military Operations Status
  6. Reveal Held Card (Tournament only)
  7. Flip “The China Card”
  8. Advance Turn Marker
  9. Final Scoring (after Turn 10 only)

Turn phases

Deal Cards: Soviet player begins. Each player is alternately dealt a card to bring their hand to eight cards. From turns 4-10 each player’s hand is increased to nine cards.

Headline Phase: Each player must choose an event from their hand to be played. The event with a higher operations value takes place first.

The Action Rounds: The cards represent a different event that took place during the Cold War while a handful are used for scoring.
Twilight Struggle - Updated Cards
Check Military Operations: Each turn both players must engage military actions equal to the Defcon Level.

Flip the China Card: China is abstracted with a powerful card called the China Card. It begins in the USSR player’s hand but, once played, is handed over to the US player.

If neither side has achieved victory of any kind by the end of turn 10, then every Region is scored as if its regional scoring card had just been played (these new VPs are added to the current score). Southeast Asia is not scored separately: it is included in the Asia scoring calculations. Every Region’s score must be calculated before final victory is determined. Reaching 20 VPs does not result in Automatic Victory during scoring at the end of turn 10; however, Control of Europe does grant automatic victory to the controlling player, regardless of scoring elsewhere.

Once all regions have been scored, victory goes to the player who has accrued most VPs. If the VP marker is on a positive number, the US wins; if the VP marker is on a negative number, the USSR wins. If the VP marker is on zero, the game ends in a draw.

Twilight Struggle Korean War Card

Similar games

As we know «Twilight Struggle» has only one or two player modes. It has a lot of similar games with 4 and even more players like «Here I stand», «Virgin Queen» (both 6 player), «Cuba Libre», «Andean Abyss», «A Distant Plain», «Fire in the Lake» (all 4 player). If you ever heard about these games you will definitely like «Twilight Struggle». Also there is a game called «Risk». It has 2-6 player game modes and it’s quite thrilling and remarkable. You should try both of these games!

Here I stand

Here i Stand
Here I stand on Amazon

Virgin Queen

Virgin Queen
Virgin Queen on Amazon

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre
Cuba Libre on Amazon

Andean Abyss

Andean Abyss

Andean Abyss on Amazon

Fire in the Lake

Fire in the Lake
Fire in the Lake on Amazon


Risk on Amazon


Let’s take a look at the questions about this game. It’s rather complicated so there a lot of er in game play process and misunderstanding in cards. Here we can find some answers for the most frequent confusions.

Q: Some say that the first edition of this game had a large amount of errata immediately following publication. Is this true?

A: Sort of. Most of the errata are nothing more than inconsequential, spelling errors. The major exception was the setup for Australia, see the rule errata below.

Q: Is there a list of the errata available online?

A: Check the Twilight Struggle BGG

  1. “Chili” — The nation of Chili is more commonly known as Chile; we apologize profusely to that beautiful country and traditional US regional ally.
  2. Saudi Arabia — Its stability number should be highlighted in red. It is a battleground country.
  3. People’s Republic of China — That’s “Republic” not “Replublic” which is some new, scary form of government.

Q: My opponent says that the card is not available for play at the beginning of the game. I say it is available to the USSR player which is why it is placed face up on his side of the table. Who is right?

A: Your opponent is 100% wrong. It begins play face up and in the control of the USSR player.

Q: Does this count as a space race attempt?

A: No the limit is for the playing of Operational cards on the Space Race. Events affecting the Space Race do not count as a space race attempt.

Q: The card says that you only gain the victory points of the second box entered. Does this mean that if you land on a space that does not have victory points, but instead a printed benefit that all you gain is to jump up in the Space Race?

A: No, if the second box is a benefit box and you are the first player to that box you gain the benefit. The card’s text was only to prevent players from attempting to gain cumulative victory points from multiple boxes.

«Twilight Struggle» online

Twilight Struggle Online
Nowadays it is popular to launch some games in Kickstarter or another crowd funding resource and this game is not an exception. Now it’s time for you to help GMT team to bring this game to you online.



«Twilight Struggle» has a lot of educational elements during the game play. For example, you can learn a lot about conflicts, presidents, famous persons and etc. But the most interesting is the game play and all this maps of the world and etc.

So, if you have a dream to rule the World and defeat your enemies this game fits perfectly! You can buy it on amazon, just click on the link and enjoy.

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