Watergate - A Five Second Board Game Review

M Updated August 08, 2019
 
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Watergate - A Five Second Board Game Review

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Watergate is yet another entry into the “Twilight Struggle but filler” camp that is really popular for some reason, but it is the first I’ve played that really escapes the shadow of its lineage. All of the cards are interesting, powerful, or both. They are evocative of the event being portrayed. When I play as Nixon and my opponent calls my cards “BS” it feels both true but also immersive. This makes the history exciting and it does that by not being afraid of letting individual games be swingy blowouts. That’s not to say the decisions don’t feel impactful; that needle is somehow threaded as well.

I was introduced to Watergate two weeks ago and I am ready to jump in for my tenth play. This game has a lot of opportunities to improve mastery by learning the cards and doesn’t feel overwhelming to do so since there are only 40 cards total and a handful of them are similar effects. It has something for the history buff as it has a wonderfully curated history section in the rulebook. It even has something for power gamers as each move is exciting and evocative. There are few people I know to whom I would not heartily reccomend this game.


Mason Sokol
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Mason plays games and has opinions.

Articles by Mason Sokol

Associate Writer

Articles by Mason Sokol

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ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #300615 09 Aug 2019 12:17
I'd like to try this.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #300617 09 Aug 2019 12:34
I don't get this genre. I mean, I get the motivation, but I am a firm believer that at least some of the tension in a longer game is generated by your events in the early game unfolding later in the game.

The thing I do get about the other entries in this genre are trying to tone down the card knowledge factor a bit. Card knowledge is such a big deal in TS it's almost not worth playing between two players with really significant experience differences. That has to be considered a major weakness.
MasonSokol's Avatar
MasonSokol replied the topic: #300620 09 Aug 2019 13:22

Gary Sax wrote: I don't get this genre. I mean, I get the motivation, but I am a firm believer that at least some of the tension in a longer game is generated by your events in the early game unfolding later in the game.

The thing I do get about the other entries in this genre are trying to tone down the card knowledge factor a bit. Card knowledge is such a big deal in TS it's almost not worth playing between two players with really significant experience differences. That has to be considered a major weakness.


I’m going to be honest, I don’t really get this genre much either but this one extremely elevates it, don’t tell Michael but my real rating is a 4.5 ;)

The board combined with the pictures actually keeps context going throughout the game. If I lock down Alex Butterfield, Im deprived of one of my high action point values AND if I did it as nixon now the Post player will ignore that side of the board or if the Post locks him down now Nixon has to pay attention to that side of the board. Everything butterflies through the game in ways that similar entries into the genre don’t achieve.

This is in stark contrast to something like Fort Sumter or 13 minutes where you just feel like you are playing a limp game of tug of war where the impact of previous turns is that the seesaw is a little skewed to start the round.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #300625 09 Aug 2019 19:31
Glad for the comparison, I was going to ask about it vis a vis Fort Sumter
Yugblad's Avatar
Yugblad replied the topic: #300715 13 Aug 2019 17:37
You've made me want to check this out in more detail - mark me as intrigued.