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Wir Sind Das Volk! 2+2

Released at Essen 2017, Wir Sind Das Volk! 2+2 is a fascinating expansion for the Wir Sind Das Volk! base game, published by Histogame in 2014. The title notwithstanding, Wir Sind Das Volk! and its expansion are both dual language (English and German).

The original game, for two players, represented the political and economic rivalry between the divided East and West Germany from 1949 to 1989. The game was reminiscent of GMT’s Twilight Struggle, not least in its use of cards and its asymmetry: players are trying to maintain living standards and the morale of the population but the East German player has to manage an economy in decline while the West German player has to decide how best to direct its apparent economic advantage.

This new expansion isn't just more of the same. It introduces more historic events taking place outside Germany and converts the original into a subtly different 4-player game. Added are players representing the USA and USSR. As you might expect, the US and West German players play in co-operation against the USSR and East German players. Except… Except that this is not, after all, a team game. There can only be one winner: for either of the superpower players to win, they must score more victory points than the other superpower as well as ensuring that their German client state beat its rival; for either of the German players to win, they need of course to beat their neighbour but they also need their superpower partner not to come out on top. This means, for example, that the US player needs to help West Germany beat East Germany, but the West Germans need the USSR to do better than the USA; likewise, the USSR must ensure the East Germans beat West Germany, while the East German player wants the US to beat the USSR.

This all makes for a fascinating game. For the German players, it means holding back a little so that the superpowers invested in their success are forced to divert their own efforts from the arms and space race to backing their German clients. It turns the game into one involving negotiation and diplomacy. If you like games involving such interactions, then this may well be the game for you. Remember, though, you will need the original game as well as the expansion.

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