“Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need, not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle...”
— John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Speech, January 1961
In 1945, unlikely allies slew the Nazi beast, while humanity’s most devastating weapons forced the proud Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, now stood only two. The world had scant time to sigh relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic conflicts of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged primarily not by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors.
Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-five year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight to make the world safe for their own ideologies and ways of life. The game begins amidst the ruins of Europe as the two new ‘superpowers’ struggle over the wreckage of the Second World War, and ends in 1989, when only the United States remained standing.
Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card driven classics We the People and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition. Event cards cover a vast array of historical happenings, from the ArabIsraeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967, to Vietnam and the U.S. peace movement, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of nuclear war ending the game.