Stand on the Brink with Eyeball to Eyeball, A Cold War Simulation Game

Central Michigan University Press launches new live-action Cold War simulation about the Cuban Missile Crisis, crowdfunding now on Backerkit.

Stand on the Brink with Eyeball to Eyeball, A Cold War Simulation Game
10-39 Players | 1-2 Hours | Ages 14+
This is a community submitted press release.

"We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked."

Eyeball to Eyeball: The Cuban Missile Crisis is a live-action role-playing game from Central Michigan University Press that asks players to live out one of the most dangerous periods of the Cold War. The game takes 1-2 hours to play for 10-39 players ages 14 and up. It is crowdfunding on Backerkit until July 25.

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The Cuban Missile Crisis marked the peak of a particularly dangerous phase of the Cold War; a misstep on either side could have led to mutual annihilation. Eyeball to Eyeball takes place simultaneously in the halls of power of Washington DC, Moscow, and Havana, while media and international figures jostle in New York.

Players are assigned roles in each government or organization; they draw upon biographical information and primary source documents to buttress their arguments for or against particular courses of action as they role-play during the scenario. Although they are primarily seeking to convince their respective Head of State or equivalent, they must also identify allies and opponents within their own factions who can assist or undercut their aims.

The Core Workbook for Players is designed to look like a secret briefing folder.

This game reinforces understanding of a diplomatic crisis at the height of Cold War hostilities, and is a quick-paced case study of the complex nature of modern governance. Even amid the ideological clashes of Cold War superpowers, smaller nations and non-state actors could and did influence international affairs in surprising ways.

For designers Ray Kimball and Kimberly Redding, Eyeball to Eyeball is an opportunity to create a game that emphasizes the difficulty of decision-making in international crises while also being easy to pick up and play. According to Ray Kimball:

"I wanted this to be a game that people, players and Game Master alike could come to with a minimal level of preparation. With the constant pressure of time in everyone’s lives, I wanted this to be a game that you could walk up to, read your role sheet, and get right into it. To that end, we’ve tried to provide options for everyone from casual gamers to graduate seminars to have a great experience."

Eyeball to Eyeball has been played in colleges, service academies, high schools, and wargame conventions. Whether you’re looking for a classroom exercise to deepen student understanding of Cold War dynamics; a group development exercise in organizational engagement; or an engaging Cold War simulation/parlor LARP, Eyeball to Eyeball offers a unique opportunity to relive and understand the past.

For more information about the game, listen to this episode of the Beyond Solitaire podcast to hear an interview with designers Ray Kimball and Kimberly Redding.

And here are a few advanced previews of the game we recently posted on all the social medias: 

Support the Campaign on Backerkit!