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Hookay. Were it not for Twilight Struggle, I would undoubtedly rate the game far higher. Given its incredible similarity to TS, I feel entitled to evaluate strictly in comparison with the latter--so here goes. -I like the Power Struggles, but they feel a bit swingy. -I lurve the new coup rules. -I lurve Tiananmen Square over Space Race. -I am exceedingly dubious of the pacing of the game--is it really supposed to be such a slow bleed of the Communist player? It feels almost like a siege game. -I am also dubious of how countries that turn democratic become almost 100% irrelevant until final scoring. Overall, though, the events, persons and places modeled in 1989 are less familiar and compelling to me than those in TS. In that basis alone, I am willing to say that 1989 has almost no need to exist in my gaming library. That said, I do wish some of its incremental improvements could be ported to TS.
It's a good take on the TS system. It's less tactical, mostly due to lack of DEFCON and the lack of support check restrictions. The hand management/crisis aversion premise is still there when you get dealt a handful of your opponent's cards. The Power Struggle battle system is lifted directly from Hannibal: RvC. It can develop into a fun little poker-like mini-game with high levels of "what does he think I think he think I'm going to do?" but that requires a reasonable level of familiarity and experience for both players. I enjoy this game, the thematic richness, and the intensity. It requires a different approach from TS, despite it's mechanical similarities. Not quite as good as Wir Sind Das Volk!, but I'll happily play any three of these Cold War CDGs.