Duck and Cover

Duck and CoverDuck and Cover


The US Congress passed into law the Federal Civil Defense Act, in reaction to the first Soviet tests of nuclear weapons in 1949. Duck and Cover is perhaps the most memorable of a variety of civil defense efforts to raise awareness of nuclear attack. Ironically, such films may have assisted in increasing the possibility of nuclear war by making the possibility of such a conflict “thinkable” by the general public.

Time: Early War
Side: US
Ops: 3
Removed after event: No


One of two excellent Early War US events for the USSR, the other being Five Year Plan.  As the USSR, you will frequently find yourself in a position where you want to  simultaneously place influence but also drop DEFCON down to 2 to prevent an American battleground coup.  For instance, you can headline De Gaulle Leads France, and then follow it up with Duck and Cover to take France while simultaneously dropping DEFCON down to 2.  If you had instead used some other 3Ops card, the US would at least be able to respond by couping one of your battlegrounds.

Alternatively, it is sometimes more important for you to coup a non-battleground than a battleground, but you still don’t want to give the US a chance at one of your battlegrounds.  For instance, a common Turn 3 AR6 play by the US is 1 influence into Colombia, reasoning that on the next turn, you must either coup Colombia (thereby allowing him to coup one of your battlegrounds) or coup a battleground (thereby allowing him access into Venezuela).  Respond to this dastardly play by couping Colombia with Duck and Cover, thereby denying him both a coup and access to Venezuela.  Similarly, a US player that has put all his Middle East eggs into the Lebanon basket can be couped out easily with Duck & Cover.

Finally, when DEFCON is high (generally only on Turn 1), the USSR can use Duck and Cover to drop DEFCON by two levels in one play.  Timed correctly, this can effectively shut the US out of an opening coup altogether.

It goes without saying, though, that Duck and Cover is a serious liability for the USSR if DEFCON is already at 2.  It is unplayable and one of the DEFCON suicide cards.  Luckily, it is easy to play on the Space Race.


Generally played for operations, though later on the DEFCON drop and 3VPs makes for a strong headline by denying the USSR its coup and earning a sizable chunk of VPs to boot.  It is slightly risky to headline in the Mid War, because the USSR can headline We Will Bury You (or, more rarely, Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 in the Late War), dropping DEFCON to 2 and thus causing you to lose by thermonuclear war.

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17 Responses to Duck and Cover

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just got this game and I am really enjoying it. I don’t get the US Cloumbia play detailed on this page. Why would a decision to coup in Columbia allow for another Coup elsewhere?

    • theory says:

      Couping non-battleground countries (like Colombia) does not drop DEFCON.

    • Anonymous says:

      couping in Colombia, as it is a non-battleground, doesn’t drop DEFCON. Thereby, if the soviet round was on DEFCON 3, it will remain on DEFCON 3 for the American, allowing them to Coup on Middle East, Africa, or American’s battlegrounds with impunity.

  2. fairgr says:

    The US player should carefully consider the ramifications of headlining this card before doing so. Sometimes the USSR coups during AR 1 not because he particular wants to, but because he doesn’t want to allow the US a coup. In that case, headlining this card effectively allows the USSR to take initiative in an area of his interest without losing ground elsewhere.

  3. Chris F. says:

    “Finally, when DEFCON is high (generally only on Turn 1), the USSR can use Duck and Cover to drop DEFCON by two levels in one play. Timed correctly, this can effectively shut the US out of an opening coup altogether.”

    I understand there are normally three battleground coups on Turn 1, so how would this work?

  4. trancospil says:

    Hi! I´m new to the game.
    Is it so bad for US to headline Duck and Cover on AR1 Turn 1 to prevent Italy coup?
    This way US could concentrate their first efforts in Asia…

    • theory says:

      It is not worth it. You need the 3 Ops more, and generally the USSR will not be couping Italy anyway. If anything, headlining Duck & Cover forces him to coup Iran.

      • trancospil says:

        Thank’s. It’s understood and it makes sense.
        Up to date, I’ve only played two games against the same soviet oponent and both times he started couping Italy. After that, I must decide whether to spend my Ops to recover control of Italy (if possible) or spread from Iran into Afghanistan (wich I guess is better than controling Iran cause USSR will coup it in his next AR, same case for Pakistan).

        • Anonymous says:

          Your next move should depend on how successful the coup was.
          2+ influence left – nothing to do here, control iran & afghanistan
          1 influence left – put 1 in Italy, 1 in Iran, 1 in Afghanistan. If he coups Iran then counter-coup, odds are on your side. When you have breathing room you can add 1 more to Italy.
          0 influence – put 1 in France, the rest in Asia. If he takes Italy, respond by taking France, if he coups Iran then coup it back.

          If he ends up with influence in Italy, you’ve got a problem. Now you need to decide to take France and maybe still lose domination, or control Iran et. al. Personally I’d let Europe go at this point and focus on Asia, but an argument could be made either way. If you do abandon Europe, make sure to overcontrol W. Germany and hold a 3+ ops card every turn until blockade comes out.

      • DanielB says:

        But then he’ll coup Iran, dropping DEFCON from 4 to 3, and the USA gets the last coup. So if the USA has a 4-op card that he doesn’t mind not playing the event for, it makes some sense.

  5. Janusz_Wójciak says:

    Some other interesting D&C moves:

    – In case of failed Iran coup place 1 Inf in Afghanistan and move into Pakistan with D&C
    – Similarly in +2 (might be good move in +1 as well). Take Afghanistan, coup Iran and in case of failure use above solution.
    – Headline Vietnam Revolts and Coup Iran with D&C; pretty risky even at +1, at +2 very risky.

  6. gamer says:

    What would you do with this as USSR on Turn 1 – if you use it on AR1, then it is only 3 ops for coup on Iran and US will get last battleground coup of the turn.
    But if you use it later then it is more VP for the US.

    • theory says:

      I wouldn’t use it on AR1. I would coup first and see what the US does before using it in response. Sometimes I just save it to Turn 2, a turn where I often have no good coup targets and want to lower DEFCON without couping.

  7. comrade7 says:

    How giving US player 3 VPs can be an “excellent” event? Most of the time this card is a pain in the neck for soviets and often you’ll find yourself shooting D&C to space because first coup is usually much better then D&C+De Gaulle combo. Giving away 3 VP for denying BG coup afger 1 INF to Colombia in R6 T3 is a ridiculous idea, considering how many ways there are to enter South America for soviets mid-war.

    “D&C as an event” might be useful for soviets but it very much depends on current situation. It definitely doesn’t deserve to be called an excellent event for soviets.

    • Brainstrainer61 says:

      Because having the card in your hand means it’s not in the opponent’s hand, and you can play it under your control. As USSR, I had “Europe Scoring” and “D&C” on Turn 1, gambled that I could put pressure on him with several IPs by Headlining “De Gaulle”, took France and Spain on AR1, and was able to play it later in the turn at DEFCON 5. My “Europe Scoring” at the time played gave me 6VP (I was hoping for 5VP). Someone else may have played “Europe Scoring” in Headline; it just depends on what’s in your hand and your style of play. It’s always good to have options.

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