Boardgaming is one of my passions. I am lucky enough to have a small group that gets together each week to play at a cafe, and to travel to Germany each year to play with other great friends. I thought I would, from time to time, talk about games I love. This time, we start with a brand new game.
1960 – The Making of a President is a game of the Kennedy-Nixon election. Certainly, one of the most interesting elections in our nation's history. Each player plays one of the candidates on a board of the 50 states. The mechanics of the game are actually relatively simple. Each turn you will play 5 cards from your hand. These cards might be events that help you or your opponent, and will also give you action points to campaign in states, control the media, or take the lead on a particular issue.
The game plays relatively quickly for it's genre (we bang out a game in less than 2 hours now..), is very attractive (the cards have various photos of the events in question, and the components are all first rate) and is always close (the mark of a good 2 player game.) Everytime we have played, it has felt like it was going down to the last turn.
The game models real elections in that the candidates are mainly fighting over the 7 or 8 big states (especially Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.) It also models the 1960 election in that it's very possible for Kennedy to steamroll Nixon in the debate with a few cards. Oh, and you can bet that Mayor Daley will do everything he can to make sure Illinois goes blue!
Playing this game has made me read books about this fascinating election. It's taught me all sorts of random things I never would have known (Nixon pledged to visit all 50 states during his campaign, which turned into a logisitical nightmare, he also hurt his knee and had to take a few weeks off.)
The key to the game is its intricate balance. Each decision in the game is agonizing, with the very real possibilty that you will be helping your opponent as much as yourself with any given card.
I highly recommend this game, as long as you have someone who is willing to play with you. A great 2 player game. Surprising depth and strategy in a less than 2 hour package. Nothing wrong with that!
PS – If you are a boardgamer at all, I suggest you visit the site I linked above. boardgamegeek is the best site for boardgames on the web. It's the IMDB of boardgame sites, with information for any game you can think of (even Candyland for Laurence..)
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