Sep 12, 2020
The Same Only Smaller
I'm not sure what I was expecting from 13 Days: the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. I had heard that it was similar to Twilight Struggle, but I wasn't prepared for how similar it is -- the two games are virtually identical in their game play. They both use the same core mechanic of cards being allied to one side or the other, and being played either to place tokens on the board, or for an in-game effect. They both use a scoring system based on the number of locations each player controls in a particular region. They even both have the same theme: the Cold War between the United States and Russia that lasted from roughly 1945 to 1990.
The only thing different about 13 Days is the scale, both thematically and mechanically. Where Twilight Struggle covers the entire cold war and can take 3 hours or more to play, 13 Days focuses in on a particular event (the Cuban Missile Crisis), and plays in 30-45 minutes. The production value is a little bit higher, with better graphic design and nicer components (wooden cubes instead of cardboard counters), but with games taking less than an hour to play, 13 Days feels rushed and anticlimactic, with no time to really soak up the theme.
Rating: 2 (out of 5) 13 Days is in every way a shorter, lighter version of Twilight Struggle, a game that doesn't need to be shorter or lighter.