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Iron Curtain Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pederen
Artists: Jessica R Tyler, David Prieto
Publisher: Jolly Roger Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Want to make nail biting decisions that might cost victory of the Cold War? Iron Curtain is a game where you make political decisions for either the US or USSR.  Will you lead your country to sweet victory, or bitter defeat?


Rules and Setup:
Each player will get their color of cubes. Blue being US and red being USSR.  The starter card will be used to start the game and each player places 1 influence cube on top of it.  The score track is set up by placing it near by with the marker on the middle yellow area.  If a player makes it to the end, or 8 points over the other player, they win. If a player never is ahead by 8 points, the game ends when all cards are played and final scoring will take place.

There are 18 cards used in the game, each player starts with 5 cards each (you will play 4 and the leftover card will be left for the ‘aftermath’ when final scoring. There are 2 rounds with 4 turns each.  The USSR team will decide who starts the beginning of the game, in the second round, whoever is behind will decide who starts.

On your turn you will place a card from your hand expanding an active region, or if it’s the first card of its region, anywhere adjacent to an already placed card.  You will do a quick check to see if that was the last card played for that country.  If it is, you will do regional scoring.  This step will occur more in the second half of the game than the first.  Regional scoring will give points to whoever has the most influence on each country, and whoever has the most countries in the finished region.

You can then do your action from the card you played.  If it’s a card with your flag on it, you can choose to do either the event text, or the command action.  The event text are all different on each card, and you will execute what it says.  The command action will let you add the number of cubes shown on the card to any card you are either already on or any card you are adjacent to.  You gain control of a card by having 2 cubes more than your opponent.  If your opponent has control and you want to place a cube, you will have to pay an extra cube to do so.  If you play a card that doesn’t have your flag on it, the opponent will do the event text action, and you will then do the command action.  When all cards are played aftermath scoring and final regional scoring is done.  Whoever has the most points wins.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme is made rich in the game. It’s a 2 player game of 1 vs 1 resembling a war.  Each card has an action on it that connects to the country and connects to the history of the Cold War.  The mechanic used is heavy on area control as you can only place cubes on cards that you are on already or adjacent to.  A big part of strategy is blocking your opponent with area control.  hand management is used as you need to know which card to play for the best result at the best time.

Artwork and Components:
It's hard to tell you it the art and components are bad or good as this is a micro game and there isn't much of either.  The art for the game is straight to the point as the cards just show the information you might need.  It's cool how they show the region and then magnify the country on the card.  Components are standard card stock and wood cubes.

The Good:
High strategy game for a fast small game.  You might think you have a strategy down, but next game your cards are different and are placed on the map differently. You will have to adapt strategies with what cards you are dealt.

The Bad:
The theme is war, and the mechanics don't really make it a true war game feel, as you don't feel like your killing anyone or anything.  Though it's more of a political game as you need to influence certain countries to get good actions.

Final Thoughts:
For the size of the game, you might be surprised how much text I have included in this review, but it just means that the game is more complex than just playing a card.  Also, this game is the best micro game I have played.   Each time you play it changes because you will be building the board as you go and playing cards in different orders. You have to weigh options of giving your opponent and extra action by playing their card, or deciding to play it early because it might not affect the game at that point.

Players Who Like:
If you need a game that is complex, fast, and simple then this is a great game for you.  This would be a great game to have when waiting for others to arrive to play games, or when the wives are talking and not playing games anymore, you can get this out to play it while they talk.  If you are interested in Cold War, or historical games, this game would be a great addition to your collection.

I am giving Iron Curtain an 7 out of 10 super meeples.

Check out Iron Curtain on:


About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up.   He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games.  Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.
Iron Curtain Review Iron Curtain Review Reviewed by Brody on November 13, 2017 Rating: 5

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