For our first get-together in quite a while we settled on a game of “Cuba Libre”, with Nick taking his usual COIN series side of choice, the Government bully-boy faction, while I was those heroes of the revolution, the 26July. We decided to play with the non-player flowchart option – though it probably took a bit longer than us taking 2 factions each, it certainly spiced the game up. The AI for the non-player factions seemed plausible most of the time, although as the Syndicate I would have building casinos quicker (but what do I know – see final scores below….)
The first Propaganda came up on the 3rd card and the Government got smacked down a level of support to Reluctant almost immediately, due to the fact that the Directorio AI had reduced their support with Terror in Havana on their first action. With the downgrading of U.S. backing the Government lost Aid and started to become strapped for the resources needed to perform actions with. The Directorio AI was fairly even-handed though, killing a few of my guerillas as well, which allowed the Government to get a foothold in the mountainous Las Villas area – with its population value of 2 this really is a key area for all players. I attempted one attack on it which was foiled by a combination of the Directorio AI and a government momentum card which allowed them to assault and kill my troops as it it were a non-mountainous region. This defeat allowed the Government to gain enough points for a victory just as the third Propaganda card was turned, but the Directorio had the 2nd activation on that last card, and luckily the AI dictated that they performed a Terror op on all cities, snatching the auto-victory from the Government’s grasp.
I stupidly enacted the Pact of Caracas event, meaning from now on I couldn’t change the alignment of Directorio regions nor perform any actions which would impact their troops, so this meant I had to go into new regions to try and win support – unfortunately these new regions were crawling with troops and police. I managed to overrun the economic centres in an attempt to deny the Government resources with which to buy Civic Actions (swing areas towards support and thus gain victory points), but it was too little too late. The Government was able to pass on the last card before the final Propaganda, giving them 3 resources which they used on civic actions to bring 2 cities back to active support and gaining them the win – just…Final scores Government +1, Directorio & Syndicate 0, 26July -1. I finished last behind a couple of AI Flowcharts – Che would have been disgusted!
We both enjoyed this game more than Andean Abyss, probably because the cramped board meant we had to attack each other from the outset, with the victory point scores swinging back and forth. Cuba Libre is certainly very playable with 2 players (more so than AA) and if-and-when we ever get a 3-player session together with our mate the Pope (the one in our Vassal game of Here I Stand) then this would definitely be top of my list, with the AI playing the Mob (Syndicate).