13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis board game
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis board game

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

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Overall Rank: #1019 | Trending Rank: #1718

For thirteen days in 1962, the world stood at the brink of atomic destruction as the United States and Soviet Union faced off over missiles which had been placed in Cuba.  Would the USSR back down and remove the missiles?  Would the US push forward with a full invasion or send bombers towards targets within the Soviet Union?  Who would blink first?

13 Days is a game recreating the tension of those two weeks as players play cards which shape political events around the world. Will you spread the crisis to Berlin and Turkey? Will you take your case to the United Nations or play everything through the media? The choice is yours, but be careful—push your opponent too far and you can trigger World War Three, ensuring that the next war is fought by sticks and stones.

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User Ratings & Reviews

  • Twilight Struggle lite. The main focus of the game revolves around manipulating Defcon Status and bluffing your opponent. The mechanics are initially extremely counter-intuitive, and teaching the game to new players in a way where they're having fun already in their first game is a definite struggle™. Once everyone knows what they're doing, this is a reasonable substitute to Twilight Struggle -- especially if you're short on time.
  • I have so much love for this game. I think the partially hidden objectives are such fun and the fact that if you play too aggressively you end up either having to spend the next round undoing it all or you trigger a nuclear war: it is an area control that makes you think very carefully about what area you want to control and prevents a runaway leader (not that someone can't win by a lot of points but more that you never go into the last round certain who will win) I also love that you aren't just playing a card to benefit you but trying to limit how much that card will benefit your opponent. My only criticism is the box could easily have been 40% smaller and it would have made it a brilliant travel Overall, I cannot recommend this enough as a 45 minute 2 player game.
  • This seems to play like a very light version of Twilight Struggle. Enjoyable if you want the TS experience without all the setup and length of play.
  • TRADED: 12/2018 (Math Trade for Broom Service) GAMEPLAY Billed as Twilight Struggle in under an hour, 13 Days lives up to its name. Players play cards to either build up influence or trigger an event. If it is an opponent’s card, the event triggers for the opponent. If a player places too much influence they increase one of the three defcon tracks which can spell disaster for the world but mostly just the idiot who pushed the world into assured nuclear destruction. THOUGHTS I like 13 Days but not as much as all the positive reviews made me think I would. It can be incredibly frustrating to do anything meaningful due to those damnéd defcon tracks and sometimes you plain forget and—poof!—there goes civilization. The game hinges on misdirection and bluffing while trying to outmaneuver your opponent. All that sounds great but I don’t get the feeling of tension or excitement, which is a me-problem, not a game-problem. This is a game I’d like to play from time to time but I don’t know if I need to own. PROS -Board art is great and the cards, with their real-life photos, completely draw me into the theme. -Lives up to its billing of TS Lite: plays quick and has a lot of the same difficult decisions. CONS -Sometimes you just get a bad hand of cards and you’ve got to choose your secret goal from the Political Track or Personal Letter.
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One of our favourite 2P games (which I harp on about constantly) is #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis - it has plenty of crunch for such a small game, takes 5 minutes max to set up, less once you know what you are doing: it's one deck of cards to shuffle, put the board out, put about 10 tokens/cubes in very set places and you are done. Only decision is who will be the Soviets and who will be the US.

I think I do really enjoy sci-fi, not necessarily based on an existing IP just games that allow for the weird and the wacky. Histroically based games, especially when they are more specific like #Gùgōng or #878: Vikings - Invasions of England or #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis where someone has taken a very specific event or time period and created a game to recreate it.

Got in games of #Jixia Academy and #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis with my partner: Jixia academy is a new one for us, the aim is to get the majority of cards and as such 'support' of the various characters. It has a wonderful mechanic of whereby you pick a group of cards to be played but you opponent gets to decide who gets what making it feel very tricky to know what to play as you are both trying to second guess each other.

13 days is still one of my all time favourite 2P games, never fails to be interesting and tactical with some really fun decisions.

My partner and I have really enjoyed #The Fox in the Forest Duet which is also specifically for 2P but a cooperative. The artwork is gorgeous and it is a nice relaxing game to have on the go but the decisions always have a little tension because you are hoping your partner has the right cards to match. It also has a nice dynamic of trying to win some tricks but also specifically lose some (by the right amount).


Also, we love #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis as a competitive 2P game for camping/holiday trips or it's little sister #13 Minutes: The Cuban Missile Crisis which is not as good but small enough to play in the airport. Both have some fun decision making processes. I would recommend 13 Days first and if you enjoy that then get the smaller one for on-the-go travels.

#13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis is one of our favourite 2P games, it plays pretty quickly but has a great amount of bluffing and decision making in that short space of time.

I remember you enjoyed #Champions of Midgard? I would recommend #Great Western Trail or #Architects of the West Kingdom as somewhat similar but distinct games that might be up your alley.

I wrote up a bunch of thoughts for the designer, I will find them and post them here. It is shaping up to be one of my favourites, have some incredibly fun aspects to it.

Our favourites are probably #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis#Azul, #Flamme Rouge, #The Fox in the Forest Duet, and #Valley of the Kings: Afterlife, not necessarily in that order. My partner is relatively new and not massively into games so we tend to keep things pretty light.

How about for you?

I have greatly enjoyed introducing board games to my partner over the few years, she previously had no experience with board games, and I don't know that she will ever be as into as I am but there have been a series of greatly enjoyable moments:

  • Playing #Revolver with a bunch of western soundtracks playing in the background making 'pew pew' sounds at each other for hour.
  • In #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis her meta-gaming by using the threat of nuclear war (and therefore end the game early, something she knows I didn't want to happen) as leverage.
  • Both of us being too stubborn in #Archipelago to give up our resources if the other wasn't going to and so both losing the game on turn 2.
  • Realising she is actually incredibly sneaky when she trounced me in #Cry Havoc with some very under-handed manoeuvres. 

It has been the first time I have been entirely involved in someone's journey through the hobby and has been a real education in 2P games as I hadn't ever really played them before.

Are you still wanting 2P games for when your friends come over?

If so:

#13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis - our favourite 2P game, lots of decisions to be made as you are working with the cards you are dealt, plenty of bluffing and the decisions you make early in the game have ramifications later on, good or bad. It's also great as you are never out of the game even if you mess up early.

#Valley of the Kings: Afterlife we really enjoy that as a 2P game, has minimal direct interaction but is really nice and the artwork is great.

#The Fox in the Forest Duet recent edition but a really pleasant and pretty cooperative game

#War of the Ring (Second Edition) I don't own it but me and a friend have played a bunch and it is a joy everyone, would be great for a couple if you were both into it as it is a long game but worth every second and great to play with the same person multiple times

If I do I will, I have been admiring it for a little while, I also really enjoy games with some historical grounding. If you ever get the chance I would recommend #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis as a lighter Twilight struggle: same feeling but only 45 mins to play and all the cards are events from the cold war and the rulebook contains basically a short history essay on the events of the crisis which is cool.


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