From Card To Computer: Twilight Struggle

I’ve heard lots of good things about two-player cold war strategy game, Twilight Struggle. Admittedly, I heard the majority of those good things on Saturday night when I mentioned that the PC was due to receive a digital apaptation of the card-driven board game. Over a few bottles of Adults Only Jollification Juice, two cardboard-cuddlin’ friends became quite excitable about the intricate plotting and deviousness that occurs when superpowers go to war by avoiding directly going to war. GMT Games have taken to Kickstarter to fund the digital struggle but will people be willing to back a computerised boardgame? Could be a close thing…oh. It has $167,000 after one week, three times its target.

Ananda Gupta, co-designer of Twilight Struggle, was the lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Within, having worked on Enemy Unknown as well. I spoke to him last year and now that the cold war is coming to PC, I plan to get in touch to discuss the transfer from physical to digital.

I do like big boxes full of maps, miniatures and tokens, but I don’t have a great deal of space to keep them or to play with them. I can barely fit a Monopoly board on my scrunchy little table so I appreciate storage-friendly electronic versions of interesting games, but I also like the social side of boardgames. And, damn it, I like the weight of a die in my hand.

Twilight Struggle won’t just be a like-for-like adaptation though. With stretch goals falling in a way that cold war nuclear bombs thankfully failed to, the game is expanding on its way to the screen. There will be single player scenarios, tournaments and (provided an extra $5,000 arrives in the next 24 days) an additional space race track for great victory.

Note that the $25 pledge is the minimum for a PC copy of the game rather than Android or iOS. To find out more about the game, observe Quinns in conversation.


  1. Pacman8myGhostKart says:

    I’m a great fan of “digital apaptation” myself.

    Can’t go a night without it! :)

  2. JustAPigeon says:

    Love the board game, hope this works out well.

    Now then. I would go absolutely nuts for an official version of Android: Netrunner on the PC. OCTGN is cool and all, but I would pay real british pounds for an official computer version with all the nice artwork and a decent ui. I’d even buy the mini-expansions separately, sortof MTGO style, for decent online play with friends and strangers, tournaments and such and such. Oh god the possibilities are mouthwatering. Ey, Fantasy Flight, you there?

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      If you own it on Android, you can run it on your PC through an emulator like so.
      I’m not sure if that’s what you want though.

      • JustAPigeon says:

        Ah, no. Android: Netrunner is a card game by Fantasy Flight Games. It’s utterly brilliant and everyone should go and buy it immediately.

        Thanks for that, though :)

      • Dare_Wreck says:

        The last time I checked, Blue Stacks required you to also load an app onto your Android device so that the PC program could register under your Google account, and this extra app also loaded some other unwanted junk onto your phone. Is this no longer the case?

  3. KDR_11k says:

    Is the boardgame even available anymore? It’s certainly high on the boardgamegeek list.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      Very much so, though probably only the Deluxe edition which has the fancy board shown in the pic at the top of the story and some optional cards.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Yes, though you can also get a physical copy as part of the Kickstarter if you don’t already have it. Plus while the PC version may be $25, for $30 you can get the digital game in any format plus some promos and expansions for the physical version, if you already have one (albeit plus another $10 to ship to Europe).

  4. Ginger Yellow says:

    Can’t wait for this. Twilight Struggle is my favourite board game after BSG, to the extent I’ve created a Cold War playlist on Spotify to soundtrack it (also helps the atmosphere to have Threads running in the background)

  5. altum videtur says:

    ♪ Generals gathered in their masses
    Just like witches at black crosses
    Evil minds that plot destruction
    Sorcerors of Death’s construction
    In the fields the bodies burning
    As the war machine keeps turning
    Death and hatred to mankind
    Poisoning their brainwashed minds
    Oh lord yeah! ♪

    No game of Twilight Struggle can be complete without a Spoitify playlist that includes War Pigs.
    Iron Man optional. Hell March also optional though unavailable through Spotify.
    Edit: Jimmy Hendrix also non-negotiable

    • Eightball says:

      99 Red Balloons (of some variant or another)

      Everybody Wants to Rule the World (inspired by World in Conflict of course)

      • StashAugustine says:

        I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire (The Ink Spots)
        We Will All Go Together When We Go (Tom Lehrer)
        Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers)
        Lawyers, Guns & Money (Warren Zevon)
        Revolution (The Beatles)
        The times they are a-changing (Bob Dylan)
        Ballad of the Green Berets (Robin Moore)
        Sgt MacKenzie (Joseph MacKenzie)
        We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place (The Animals)
        Fortunate Son (CCR)
        Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire)
        Sympathy For The Devil (The Rolling Stones)
        Back in the USSR (The Beatles)
        Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner (Warren Zevon)
        Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who)
        Live And Let Die (Wings)
        All She Wants to Do is Dance (Don Henley)
        Der Kommissar (Falco)
        We Didn’t Start the Fire (Billy Joel)
        Born in the U.S.A. (Bruce Springsteen)
        Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Tears for Fears)
        The Future’s So Bright (Timbuk 3)
        99 Luftballons (Nena)
        Silent Running ( Mike and the Mechanics )
        Russians (Sting)
        Leningrad (Billy Joel)
        Radio Free Europe (REM)
        Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins)
        Rock the Casbah (The Clash)
        Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young)

  6. v21v21v21 says:

    The difficulty in such enterprises is to get the AI right, a huge task. Good luck…

  7. Scurra says:

    Hmmm. I’m not too surprised that they instantly overshot their goal, given that it was previously announced that they were doing a PC version, but then they said they were going to can it in favour of a mobile-only version (I think this was when Playdek came on board) – and the response on BoardGameGeek was quite vociferous. Anyway, it’s a very fine game that deserves its reputation, and this can only add to that.

  8. Scelous says:

    Finally. It blows my mind how few good board games are ported to the PC; it’s not like these games require cutting edge graphics or an entire cast of voice actors or something. And, a lot of board/card games are popular. Someone in this thread mentioned Android: Netrunner. These game companies need to get on the ball and start making more digital adaptations.

    • Scurra says:

      Unfortunately, it’s not like these games require cutting edge graphics or an entire cast of voice actors or something is the only thing that people (meaning game producers and mass market consumers) seem to actually care about.

  9. slerbal says:

    I really enjoyed 1960: The Making of the President (link to which uses the same systems to play through the 1960 contest between Nixon and Kennedy. It is a bloody good game and I’ve always wanted to try Twilight Struggle, but it has either been prohibitively expensive or just unavailable. I’m not sure how I feel about computer adaptations of boardgames as I adore the physicality of boardgames, but I am open to being convinced.

  10. Sidewinder says:

    As a semi-frequent boardgamer, I’m quite fond of these digital adaptations- since physical boardgames are expensive, and unless you know someone who has a copy, have no demos. I’d heard many good things about Twilight Struggle, and I’d been waiting for the PC- nuts to that, let’s call it what it is- Windows release of Twilight Struggle for a while, so when they canned it, I was kinda ticked, but went ahead and bought a physical copy anyway. I don’t regret that, I really like the game, and I can hardly blame GMT for my bad timing. I am a little perturbed by the fact that the Windows release costs more, and I worry that this’ll carry over once the Kickstarter’s finished.