In December 1956, paroled-rebel Fidel Castro returned to Cuba to launch his revolution with virtually no political base and—after a disastrous initial encounter with government forces—a total of just 12 men. Two years later, through masterful propaganda and factional maneuvering, Castro, his brother Raúl, and iconic revolutionary Che Guevara had united disparate guerrillas and exploited Cubans’ deep opposition to their dictator Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar. Castro’s takeover of the country became a model for Leftist insurgency.
In Cuba Libre, Castro’s “26 July Movement” must expand from its bases in the Sierra Maestra mountains to fight its way to Havana. Meanwhile, anti-communist student groups, urban guerrillas, and expatriates try to de-stabilize the Batista regime from inside and out, while trying not to pave the way for a new dictatorship under Castro. Batista’s Government must maintain steam to counter the twin insurgency, while managing two benefactors: its fragile U.S. Alliance, and its corrupting Syndicate skim. And in the midst of the turmoil, Meyer Lansky and his Syndicate bosses will jockey to keep their Cuban gangster paradise alive.
Cuba Libre is easy to learn for Andean Abyss players—both volumes share the same innovative Series: COIN (GMT) system. Like Volume I, Cuba Libre is equally playable solitaire or by multiple players (up to 4)—and with a shorter time to completion than Andean Abyss. But Cuba Libre’s situation and strategic challenges will be new. A deck of 48 fresh events brings 1950s Cuba to life and includes…
- The Twelve: The first wave’s escape to the Sierra Maestra—inspirational legend or harbinger of defeat?
- El Che and Raúl: Brilliant in the field, or bungling hostage-takers?
- Operation Fisherman: Can the rebels pull off a second invasion?
- General Strike: Urban disruption or rebel embarrassment?
- Radio Rebelde: Are the masses tuning in, or just the Army direction finders?
- Pact of Caracas: Can the rebels unite?
- Armored Cars: Mobile striking power, but in whose hands?
- Rolando Masferrer: Brutal pro-government tactics—will they help or hurt?
- Fat Butcher: Can the Mob’s enforcer protect its casinos?
- Sinatra: Frankie’s Havana show a boom or bust, and who collects?
…and much more.
Cuba Libre provides up to 4 players with contrasting roles and overlapping victory conditions for rich diplomatic interaction. For 2- or 3-player games, players can represent alliances of factions, or the game system can control non-player factions. Or a single player, acting as the Cuban Revolutionaries, can attempt to topple Batista and seize power. The non-player sides will fight one another as well as the players, but too much power in the hands of any one of them will mean player defeat.