Annotated Game #1: Mid War

This is Part II of a three-part series. Part I, the Early War, can be found here; Part III, the Late War, can be found here.

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**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
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DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 4 Headline Phase **
Turn 4

The board at the start of Turn 4 (click to enlarge)

I’m currently at -7VP. This is not great: usually US after Early War is hoping to be within -5 or so. -7 means the USSR is clearly ahead, but at least I’m not being steamrolled.

My Turn 4 hand:

Captured Nazi ScientistDecolonizationSouth African UnrestPuppet GovernmentsDe-StalinizationAsk Not What Your Country Can Do For You...Brush WarCuban Missile CrisisMuslim RevolutionThe China Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ordinarily I like to hold Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You… to get rid of bad scoring cards and DEFCON suicide cards, and manage the other problematic events as long as I can. But in this hand, there are just too many problems for me to deal with them all and hold Ask Not … to next turn. So I’m just going to headline it now and discard all my USSR events. I’ll also discard Captured Nazi Scientists in hopes of getting slightly more Ops. A 5-card discard to Ask Not … is pretty good even if there’s no bad scoring cards or DEFCON suicide cards.

Soviet Headline Card: #38: Southeast Asia Scoring *
American Headline Card: #77  Ops 3: 'Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You... * (USA)

USA Headline Event: #77  Ops 3: 'Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You... * (USA)

The Americans use the 'Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You... card as an Event:

** The 'Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You... card is permanently removed. **

    The American player discards the following cards to be replaced:
        #33  Ops 3: De-Stalinization * (USSR)
        #53  Ops 2: South African Unrest (USSR)
        #56  Ops 4: Muslim Revolution (USSR)
        #18  Ops 1: Captured Nazi Scientists *
        #30  Ops 2: Decolonization (USSR)

USSR Headline Event: #38: Southeast Asia Scoring *

The Soviets use the Southeast Asia Scoring card as an Event:

** The Southeast Asia Scoring card is permanently removed. **

*** Scoring in Southeast Asia ***
  USSR: 1(Burma) +2(Thailand) +1(Vietnam) +1(Indonesia) = 5
  USA: 1(Laos/Cambodia) = 1
VPs down 4, now at -11
** Turn 4 Action Phase **

 Turn 4, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #61  Ops 3: OPEC (USSR)
      1 USSR influence added to Thailand, now at 7
      2 USSR influence added to Algeria, now at 4

My new hand:

Africa ScoringPuppet GovernmentsDefectorsCuban Missile CrisisAlliance for ProgressFive Year PlanQuagmireBrush WarThe China Card

This is a far superior hand, and a rare hand where I will focus on events:

  • I can score Africa control if I get Nigeria and South Africa;
  • Puppet Governments is going to be a key event play early in the turn to get me into South America and Nigeria;
  • I will save Defectors for next turn as a potential headline;
  • Cuban Missile Crisis is a clear Ops play;
  • It is too early for Alliance for Progress, which will earn many more VPs if I return it to the deck and let it come back later;
  • Quagmire is going to space, one because it’s an awful card to play on yourself (it gives your opponent two Action Rounds in a row), and two because it will cancel NORAD;
  • Brush War is always a nice event against an isolated country;
  • And although I normally would play Five Year Plan for the delicious 3 Ops, I know that he is holding CIA Created in his hand. Therefore I will play it for the event to try and force him to discard a card, and then trap him into losing the game by forcing him to play CIA Created. Hopefully I don’t hit CIA Created itself.

But for now, I must address this Algeria issue, since he’s broken my control. I’ll coup it and try to use NORAD either to patch up a failed coup or create a crisis elsewhere.

 Turn 4, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #40  Ops 3: Cuban Missile Crisis *
    Coup attempt in Algeria (stability 2):
      ** USA die roll = 3 (+3) = 6
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
      Soviet influence in Algeria reduced by 2, now at 2
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 3
*** NORAD -- the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
      American influence in Algeria increased by 1, now at 4

 Turn 4, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
  #63  Ops 2: Colonial Rearguards (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-3 needed): = 4 **
      No effect.

Now for Puppet Governments into Nigeria and South America. (Nigeria because if I play into Cameroon or Saharan States to get to Nigeria he’ll coup me right out immediately.) In general, with events like these that provide access to critical regions, you want to play them as early as possible so you can have as many options as possible for your subsequent Operations.

 Turn 4, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #66  Ops 2: Puppet Governments * (USA)

** The Puppet Governments card is permanently removed. **

      American influence in Brazil increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Chile increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Nigeria increased by 1, now at 1

 Turn 4, USSR action round 3
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
  #105  Ops 2: Special Relationship (USA)
     They elect to have the American event occur first.
        The event cannot be played right now.

The Soviets use the Special Relationship card for realignment rolls:

    Realignment roll in Brazil: USSR modifier = +0, USA modifier = +1
      ** USSR die roll = 5 (+0) = 5
      ** USA die roll = 6 (+1) = 7

    Realignment roll in Brazil: USSR modifier = +0, USA modifier = +1
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+0) = 4
      ** USA die roll = 4 (+1) = 5

A good attempt, but unsuccessful. Now I need to expand out of my South American position, while simultaneously taking South Africa to score Africa control.

Turn 4, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #78  Ops 3: Alliance for Progress * (USA)
      2 USA influence added to South Africa, now at 3
      1 USA influence added to Venezuela, now at 1

 Turn 4, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #65  Ops 2: Camp David Accords * (USA)
      1 USSR influence added to Egypt, now at 4
      1 USSR influence added to Lebanon, now at 1
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The Camp David Accords card is permanently removed. **

      American influence in Israel increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Jordan increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Egypt increased by 1, now at 2
VPs up 1, now at -10

Africa Scoring literally can’t get any better than this.

 Turn 4, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #79: Africa Scoring

*** Scoring in Africa ***
  USSR: No score.
  USA:  6(control) +5(battlegrounds)  = 11
VPs up 11, now at 1

 Turn 4, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #45  Ops 1: Summit
      1 USSR influence added to Saharan States, now at 1

Perhaps he will try to realign Algeria at +1. Now that the rest is taken care of, time for me to try my Five Year Plan gambit. Maybe this will win me the game right here.

 Turn 4, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #5  Ops 3: Five Year Plan (USA)
    The Soviet player discards the following card:
      #12  Ops 1: Romanian Abdication * (USSR)

 Turn 4, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #41  Ops 2: Nuclear Subs * (USA)
      1 USSR influence added to Nigeria, now at 1
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The Nuclear Subs card is permanently removed. **

US actions do not affect the DEFCON track for the remainder of this turn
(does not affect Cuban Missile Crisis).

Well, my plan worked, but he countered with the perfect response. Now CIA Created won’t lose him the game because my coup won’t lower DEFCON.

My current hand: Quagmire, Defectors, Brush War

I decide to space Quagmire instead of defending Nigeria. Reason being, I know he’s playing CIA next turn, so I can use the Op point from that to coup Nigeria back. Plus I want the Brush War event and to hold Defectors to next turn in case I have no better headline.

 Turn 4, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
  #42  Ops 3: Quagmire * (USSR)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-3 needed): = 2 **
      USA progress on the Space Race Track is now at Earth Satellite
VPs up 2, now at 3

 Turn 4, USSR action round 7
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
  #26  Ops 1: CIA Created * (USA)
     They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The CIA Created card is permanently removed. **

The American gets to look at the Soviet Hand:
    Coup attempt in Nigeria (stability 1):
      ** USA die roll = 1 (+1) = 2
    The modified roll does not exceed the doubled stability -- no effect.
DEFCON remains the same due to Nuclear Subs
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

The Soviets use the CIA Created card to place influence:
      1 USSR influence added to Nigeria, now at 2

Well, that was unlucky.

Now Brush War. Pakistan is a 50/50 shot and my most valuable choice. (Nigeria is also a target, but it’s much less stable and therefore much easier to affect with a coup instead.) If I am successful in taking Pakistan, it will help me defend India from Indo-Pakistani War.

 Turn 4, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #36  Ops 3: Brush War
          The target country is Pakistan
      USA success on a modified die roll of 3-6; USSR is -1
  ** Die roll: 2 (-1) = 1 -- no effect **
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

Events Played: Warsaw Pact Formed, NATO, US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact, Marshall Plan, De Gaulle Leads France, NORAD, Camp David Accords

USSR battleground countries controlled = 11
USA battleground countries controlled = 10

The Soviets are 2 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
VPs up 2, now at 5

Gah.

DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 5 Headline Phase **
Turn 5

The board at the start of Turn 5 (click to enlarge)

My hand:

Panama Canal ReturnedOAS FoundedWilly BrandtOne Small Step...Nixon Plays the China CardMissile EnvyDefectorsUssuri River SkirmishCultural RevolutionThe China Card

Seems like Defectors will have to wait. When the US has the China Card, Ussuri River Skirmish creates all sorts of problems for the USSR. Whichever country he defends, I’ll take over the other with the China Card. He could theoretically repair both at once with a 4Ops, but that’s a costly AR1 play that gives me a coup. In any event, just having influence in the Koreas exposes them to NORAD.

As for the rest of my cards, Panama Canal Returned and OAS Founded is a nice way to break some USSR control in Americas. The combination of Ussuri, Cultural Revolution, and Nixon Plays the China Card means that I will likely play Ussuri, use the China Card, punt Cultural Revolution when it’s least effective, and then use Nixon to take the China Card back if I don’t need Nixon’s 2 Ops.

Soviet Headline Card: #75  Ops 2: Liberation Theology (USSR)
American Headline Card: #76  Ops 3: Ussuri River Skirmish * (USA)

USA Headline Event: #76  Ops 3: Ussuri River Skirmish * (USA)

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #76  Ops 3: Ussuri River Skirmish * (USA)

** The Ussuri River Skirmish card is permanently removed. **

      2 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 2
      2 USA influence added to South Korea, now at 2

USSR Headline Event: #75  Ops 2: Liberation Theology (USSR)

The Soviets use the Liberation Theology card as an Event:
      2 USSR influence added to Panama, now at 2
      1 USSR influence added to Mexico, now at 1
** Turn 5 Action Phase **

 Turn 5, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #59  Ops 4: Flower Power * (USSR)
      1 USSR influence added to South Korea, now at 4
      2 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 5
      1 USSR influence added to Mexico, now at 2

The fact he played into Mexico as well communicates to me that he’s got Central America Scoring. By giving up South Korea, he costs himself with Asia Scoring in the long run, but I think this is the right call. Otherwise, I would have couped Mexico or Panama, and then he would have had to work a lot harder for Central America Scoring.

In fact, I briefly consider fighting for Central America, but decide I would rather have South Korea instead. (Interesting tidbit: the difference here between taking North Korea and South Korea is that North Korea scores an extra +1 on each Asia Scoring, but South Korea lets the US headline Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 in the Late War, one of the best headlines around. I think he made the right call by defending North Korea.)

 Turn 5, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #6  Ops 4: The China Card
      5 USA influence added to South Korea, now at 7

 Turn 5, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #37: Central America Scoring

*** Scoring in Central America ***
  USSR:  5(control) +3(battlegrounds) +2(adj. to USA)  = 10
  USA: No score.
VPs down 10, now at -5

Naturally. Delaying any longer might mean that I would dislodge him from a battleground, meaning he would have to either retake it or defend a non-battleground to get Domination. Much easier to just score the Control and deny me Presence.

This means I get a nice little coup. I will seek my revenge against Nigeria. I will use a small Ops card, and since I might want to use OAS Founded or Panama Canal Returned later, I choose Willy Brandt because it’s currently a harmless event as I already overcontrol West Germany.

 Turn 5, USA action round 2
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #55  Ops 2: Willy Brandt * (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Willy Brandt card is permanently removed. **

      Soviet influence in West Germany increased by 1, now at 1
VPs down 1, now at -6

The Americans use the Willy Brandt card for a coup attempt:
    Coup attempt in Nigeria (stability 1):
      ** USA die roll = 2 (+2) = 4
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
      Soviet influence in Nigeria reduced by 2, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 2
*** NORAD -- the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
      American influence in Venezuela increased by 1, now at 2

Not a great result, but good enough.

 Turn 5, USSR action round 3
DEFCON Level raised to 3

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #57  Ops 4: ABM Treaty
    Coup attempt in Brazil (stability 2):
      ** USSR die roll = 6 (+4) = 10
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 6.
      American influence in Brazil reduced by 1, now at 0
      Soviet influence in Brazil increased by 5, now at 5
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 4
*** NORAD -- the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
      American influence in North Korea increased by 1, now at 3

Well that was bad. Now the two of us are contesting South America as it is the only Mid War region left to be scored. As discussed earlier, I will use Cultural Revolution now, since the -1VP is way preferable to handing over the China Card (even just holding onto the China Card and never playing it is worth at least 2VP, since whoever holds it at the end of the game gets 1VP).

 Turn 5, USA action round 3
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #58  Ops 3: Cultural Revolution * (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Cultural Revolution card is permanently removed. **

VPs down 1, now at -7

The Americans use the Cultural Revolution card to place influence:
      2 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 2
      1 USA influence added to Chile, now at 2

 Turn 5, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #46  Ops 2: How I Learned to Stop Worrying *
      2 USSR influence added to Uruguay, now at 2

I need a non-battleground for Domination, now that I can no longer get Control.

 Turn 5, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #80  Ops 2: 'One Small Step...'
      1 USA influence added to Chile, now at 3
      1 USA influence added to Colombia, now at 1

 Turn 5, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #24  Ops 2: Indo-Pakistani War
  Pakistan invades India...
     USSR success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USA modifer is -0
  ** Die roll: 2 -- no effect **
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

A lucky break for me. Since I have a chance to breathe, I will take back the China Card from the USSR, which is both strong in its own right and also limits his ability to get rid of DEFCON suicide cards.

 Turn 5, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #71  Ops 2: Nixon Plays the China Card * (USA)

** The Nixon Plays the China Card card is permanently removed. **

    The US receives the China Card, face down, from the Soviet player.

 Turn 5, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #1: Asia Scoring

*** Scoring in Asia ***
  USSR:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
  USA:  3(presence) +3(battlegrounds)  = 6
VPs up 1, now at -6

My hand: Panama Canal Returned, OAS Founded, Defectors, Missile Envy

Since North Korea is just sitting around uncontrolled, why not play into it? I plan to hold Defectors to next turn (same reasoning as earlier) and OAS Founded, in case I need it; I also plan to play Panama Canal Returned on the final AR to create some problems for the USSR to deal with re: Panama. So I use Missile Envy.

 Turn 5, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
      2 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 5

 Turn 5, USSR action round 7

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #3: Middle East Scoring

*** Scoring in Middle East ***
  USSR:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
  USA:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5

This must have been an awful hand for him, since he had three scoring cards. I go ahead with my plan to create a little Panamanian crisis for him.

 Turn 5, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #64  Ops 1: Panama Canal Returned * (USA)

** The Panama Canal Returned card is permanently removed. **

      American influence in Panama increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Costa Rica increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Venezuela increased by 1, now at 3

Events Played: Warsaw Pact Formed, NATO, US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact, Marshall Plan, De Gaulle Leads France, NORAD,
    Camp David Accords, Willy Brandt

USSR battleground countries controlled = 10
USA battleground countries controlled = 15

DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 6 Headline Phase **
Turn 6

The board at the start of Turn 6 (click to enlarge)

My hand:

OAS FoundedJuntaArab-Israeli WarDefectorsPortuguese Empire CrumblesBear TrapBrezhnev DoctrineRed Scare/PurgeWe Will Bury YouThe China Card

There are two obvious headline candidates: Defectors and Red Scare/Purge. (Junta, too, is ordinarily an awesome headline, but in this particular situation not as strong as Defectors or Red Scare/Purge.) Typically, in this situation, I would headline Defectors and headline Red Scare/Purge next turn: this is because we’re on Turn 6, and I want Defectors to make it back in for the Turn 7 reshuffle.

But when you also have Bear Trap in the same hand, the potential for abuse is just staggering. Played together with Red Scare/Purge, it is absolutely crippling to discard 3+ Ops cards. More importantly, there’s a very real possibility you’ll end up just having to skip Action Rounds if you run out of 3+ Ops cards to discard. I once won a game after falling behind -18, because a combination of repeated Red Scare/Purges and a never-ending Bear Trap cost my opponent 19 (!) straight Action Rounds.

There’s an art to the timing, though. The earlier you play it, the more effect you can get (i.e., the more rounds your opponent might be forced to skip), but the later you play it, the more likely it is that he will have no 3+ Ops cards to discard.

As for the rest of the hand: We Will Bury You will likely be unplayable, but is an easy Space Race. Brezhnev Doctrine is readily taken care of by playing it on the last Action Round. Junta has potential: I can play it into Costa Rica and realign him out of Panama, where he cannot get back in. And Portuguese Empire Crumbles will be easy to manage and dispose of. Hopefully I will be able to hold Defectors for next turn …

Soviet Headline Card: #54  Ops 1: Allende * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

USA Headline Event: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
      -1 to Ops value of Soviet cards this turn (minimum 1 OP)

USSR Headline Event: #54  Ops 1: Allende * (USSR)

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #54  Ops 1: Allende * (USSR)

** The Allende card is permanently removed. **

      Soviet influence in Chile increased by 2, now at 2
** Turn 6 Action Phase **

 Turn 6, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #39  Ops 3: Arms Race
    Coup attempt in Zaire (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 1 (+2) = 3
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
      American influence in Zaire reduced by 1, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 2
*** NORAD -- the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
      American influence in Chile increased by 1, now at 4

I decide it’s a little too early for Bear Trap, and instead look to kick the USSR out of Panama with Junta before I am couped out of Colombia. I get to roll at +1; if I succeed on the first roll, I can realign Chile at +2 and negate Allende.

 Turn 6, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #47  Ops 2: Junta
      American influence in Costa Rica increased by 2, now at 3

The Americans play the following card for realignment rolls:
  #47  Ops 2: Junta

    Realignment roll in Panama: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +1
      ** USA die roll = 3 (+2) = 5
      ** USSR die roll = 2 (+1) = 3
      Soviet influence in Panama reduced by 2, now at 0

    Realignment roll in Chile: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +0
      ** USA die roll = 2 (+2) = 4
      ** USSR die roll = 2 (+0) = 2
      Soviet influence in Chile reduced by 2, now at 0

 Turn 6, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #112  Ops 3: Che (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Colombia (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 1 (+2) = 3
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
      American influence in Colombia reduced by 1, now at 0
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 4
The coup is successful: the USSR may make another coup

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #112  Ops 3: Che (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Costa Rica (stability 3):
      ** USSR die roll = 1 (+2) = 3
    The modified roll does not exceed the doubled stability -- no effect.
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

A bit unlucky for him, but it wasn’t really the time for Che.

Now my trigger finger gets itchy and I gamble on the Bear Trap, hoping he’s out of 3+Ops cards.

 Turn 6, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #44  Ops 3: Bear Trap * (USA)

** The Bear Trap card is permanently removed. **

On the next action round, USSR player must discard an Operations card worth
2 or more and roll less than 5.  Repeat each USSR player phase until successful
or no appropriate cards remain.  If out of appropriate cards, the USSR Player may
only play scoring cards until the next turn.

 Turn 6, USSR action round 3
The USSR discards the following card because of Bear Trap:
    #73  Ops 3: Shuttle Diplomacy (USA)
    Bear Trap ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 2 -- The Bear Trap is over!

Darn. Incidentally, this was his last 3Ops card in hand, so if I had waited a bit longer …

Time to take Zaire and Panama.

 Turn 6, USA action round 3
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #13  Ops 2: Arab-Israeli War (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.
        The event cannot be played right now.

The Americans use the Arab-Israeli War card to place influence:
      1 USA influence added to Zaire, now at 1
      1 USA influence added to Panama, now at 2

 Turn 6, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card for realignment rolls:
  #69  Ops 2: Latin American Death Squads

    Realignment roll in Venezuela: USSR modifier = +1, USA modifier = +1
      ** USSR die roll = 3 (+1) = 4
      ** USA die roll = 4 (+1) = 5

Probably should have done this last turn, but hey, North Korea is still open. I should grab that as well. I use the China Card because I have no good 3 or 4Ops card to play to take North Korea. The extra Op goes to Colombia, as I still need a non-battleground for Domination in South America.

 Turn 6, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #6  Ops 4: The China Card
      3 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 8
      1 USA influence added to Colombia, now at 1

 Turn 6, USSR action round 5
The Soviets play the following card for Ops:
  #68  Ops 2: John Paul II Elected Pope * (USA)
They also play UN Intervention to cancel the American event

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #68  Ops 2: John Paul II Elected Pope * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Colombia (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+1) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 3.
      American influence in Colombia reduced by 1, now at 0
      Soviet influence in Colombia increased by 2, now at 2

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #32  Ops 1: UN Intervention

Since he’s under Purge, I would probably win the coup back-and-forth on Colombia. Here I give up Defectors, because my hand is Defectors, Portuguese Empire Crumbles, Brezhnev Doctrine, OAS Founded, and We Will Bury You. Portuguese Empire Crumbles doesn’t give me any Ops, since I need to use it to defend against itself; Brezhnev goes at the end of the turn; WWBY is unplayable, and I’d like to save OAS for a rainy day. So I’m going to hold WWBY and OAS, and play Defectors.

 Turn 6, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #102  Ops 2: Defectors (USA)
    Coup attempt in Colombia (stability 1):
      ** USA die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 6.
      Soviet influence in Colombia reduced by 2, now at 0
      American influence in Colombia increased by 4, now at 4
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 2

 Turn 6, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #2: Europe Scoring

*** Scoring in Europe ***
  USSR:  7(domination) +3(battlegrounds)  = 10
  USA:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
VPs down 5, now at -11

Time to take care of Portuguese Empire Crumbles. I don’t want to space this and see it come back in the Turn 7 reshuffle.

 Turn 6, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #52  Ops 2: Portuguese Empire Crumbles * (USSR)
      2 USA influence added to Angola, now at 3
The Soviets use the USSR event played by the USA

** The Portuguese Empire Crumbles card is permanently removed. **

      Soviet influence in SE African States increased by 2, now at 2
      Soviet influence in Angola increased by 2, now at 2

 Turn 6, USSR action round 7

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #48  Ops 1: Kitchen Debates * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Colombia (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 3 (+1) = 4
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
      American influence in Colombia reduced by 2, now at 2
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The Kitchen Debates card is permanently removed. **

      USA controlled Battleground countries = 17
      USSR controlled Battleground countries = 10
  ** POKE! ** POKE! ** POKE! **
VPs up 2, now at -9

And as the last play, I play Brezhnev Doctrine harmlessly. I solidify Nigeria and Zaire, as 1-stability countries can be flipped with a 3Ops. I also take the UK, for no real good reason other than I think Special Relationship might make a comeback, and with NATO in effect it’s pretty good.

 Turn 6, USA action round 7
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #51  Ops 3: Brezhnev Doctrine * (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Brezhnev Doctrine card is permanently removed. **

All USSR operations cards increase their value by one (+1) for the remainder
of this turn (Maximum of 4).

The Americans use the Brezhnev Doctrine card to place influence:
      1 USA influence added to United Kingdom, now at 5
      1 USA influence added to Nigeria, now at 2
      1 USA influence added to Zaire, now at 2

Events Played: Warsaw Pact Formed, NATO, US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact, Marshall Plan, De Gaulle Leads France, NORAD, Camp David Accords, Willy Brandt

USSR battleground countries controlled = 10
USA battleground countries controlled = 17

DEFCON Level raised to 3
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************
** Turn 7 Headline Phase **
Turn 7

The board at the start of Turn 7 (click to enlarge)

My hand:
OAS FoundedGrain Sales to SovietsThe Voice of AmericaIndo-Pakistani WarLatin American Death SquadsU2 IncidentSALT NegotiationsABM TreatyWe Will Bury You

So many great cards! The headline is going to be Grain Sales to Soviets, which is pretty much the best possible US headline, period. Voice of America and ABM Treaty are going to be great events, and if I choose to I can reclaim one with SALT Negotiations. And I have only one problematic USSR card (We Will Bury You), as U-2 Incident is an auto-play-for-Ops every day of the week and twice on Sunday. One bad card is rarely a problem. Two can be, and three is often deadly.

The Mid War cards I know he has in his hand, because they haven’t shown up yet and aren’t in mine: Lone Gunman, South America Scoring, Sadat Expels Soviets, Summit, Our Man in Tehran. Theoretically, I should also know he has East European Unrest and Arab-Israeli War, because those were disposed of prior to Turn 3 and therefore should also be drawn somewhere between Turn 3 and Turn 7, but I am not such a savant to track that in-game 🙂 The Mid War cards are easier because it’s fairly easy to remember, for instance, that South America hasn’t been scored. But this illustrates that given disciplined focus, you should be able to identify nearly all of your opponent’s hand on Turns 3 and 7.

Soviet Headline Card: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
American Headline Card: #67  Ops 2: Grain Sales to Soviets (USA)

USSR Headline Event: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
      -1 to Ops value of American cards this turn (minimum 1 OP)

USA Headline Event: #67  Ops 2: Grain Sales to Soviets (USA)

The Americans use the Grain Sales to Soviets card as an Event:
  Card selected from USSR hand: #108  Ops 2: Our Man in Tehran * (USA)

Oof, the Purge (one of two cards I could not theoretically account for in his hand) hurts. Luckily I have many events I plan to play, thereby lessening its impact.

When you draw your Grain Sales card, you should almost always play it. The handsize reduction hurts just as much as playing the card, generally. The only exceptions are when playing the card will kill you (because it’s an opponent’s event that degrades DEFCON), or when you draw a scoring card (sometimes). Here, Our Man in Tehran happens to be a fantastic event at the best possible time (the card is very strong on Turn 7, because its discards are basically permanent now), so I’m willing to give up the potential Ops benefit (namely, couping in headline phase) to trigger the card.

    The USA Player elects to keep and play the card.

The Americans use the Our Man in Tehran card as an Event:

** The Our Man in Tehran card is permanently removed. **

Card discarded: #7  Ops 3: Socialist Governments (USSR)
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************

Trust me when I say this was the only bad card of the bunch. Oh well.

** Turn 7 Action Phase **

 Turn 7, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #62  Ops 1: 'Lone Gunman' * (USSR)

** The 'Lone Gunman' card is permanently removed. **

The Soviet gets to look at the American Hand:

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #62  Ops 1: 'Lone Gunman' * (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Zaire (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 2 (+1) = 3
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
      American influence in Zaire reduced by 1, now at 1
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 1
*** NORAD -- the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
      American influence in Egypt increased by 1, now at 3

A wise choice, as Lone Gunman is normally played for Ops so that it can end up in the US hand and cause DEFCON suicide. But if discarded on Turn 7, it isn’t going to end up in my hand again. So triggering the event is strictly superior than playing it for Ops.

Unfortunately his coup doesn’t really get him anywhere. Time for me to launch a coup of my own: on Brazil, as I know he has South America Scoring and I’d like to grab Control.

 Turn 7, USA action round 1
DEFCON Level raised to 3

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #57  Ops 4: ABM Treaty
    Coup attempt in Brazil (stability 2):
      ** USA die roll = 5 (+3) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 4.
      Soviet influence in Brazil reduced by 4, now at 1
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 3
*** NORAD -- the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
      American influence in Zaire increased by 1, now at 2

Not quite good enough, as he can patch it back up.

 Turn 7, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #6  Ops 4: The China Card
      1 USSR influence added to Brazil, now at 2
      2 USSR influence added to Paraguay, now at 2
      1 USSR influence added to Syria, now at 2

A critical mistake, and one that a seasoned USSR player would not make. Always leave 5 in a region when you are worried about Voice of America! The real threat of Voice of America is not just the influence loss: it is the loss of access. Here, I will use VoA to kick him out of Brazil and Uruguay, stranding him without access to Brazil. He will not be able to retake Brazil before I do. Had he instead maintained 5 influence in Uruguay and Brazil, Voice of America would not be able to eliminate him from the subregion.

It’s all the worse because he should know that I have Voice of America.

 Turn 7, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #74  Ops 2: The Voice of America (USA)
      Soviet influence in Brazil reduced by 2, now at 0
      Soviet influence in Uruguay reduced by 2, now at 0

 Turn 7, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #35: South America Scoring

*** Scoring in South America ***
  USSR:  2(presence)  = 2
  USA:  5(domination) +3(battlegrounds)  = 8
VPs up 6, now at -3

Of course. Better to score it now before I get Control.

I do want to take Brazil, but I have no need to until he plays into Uruguay first. So let’s take a gamble on Pakistan. My Ops are precious enough while under Red Scare that I need to conserve them to respond to the USSR.

 Turn 7, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #24  Ops 2: Indo-Pakistani War
  India invades Pakistan...
     USA success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USSR modifer is -1
  ** Die roll: 3 (-1) = 2 -- no effect **
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

 Turn 7, USSR action round 4
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
  #29  Ops 3: East European Unrest (USA)
     They elect to have the American event occur first.
      Soviet influence in East Germany reduced by 1, now at 4
      Soviet influence in Poland reduced by 1, now at 3
      Soviet influence in Yugoslavia reduced by 1, now at 2

The Soviets use the East European Unrest card to place influence:
      1 USSR influence added to Uruguay, now at 1
      1 USSR influence added to Argentina, now at 1

Now, of course, I should take Brazil. Unfortunately I can’t patch up both Brazil and Argentina, but I have OAS Founded at least to salvage Argentina later.

 Turn 7, USA action round 4
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #60  Ops 3: U-2 Incident * (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The U-2 Incident card is permanently removed. **

VPs down 1, now at -4
If UN intervention played later this turn as an Event, Soviets gain an additional 1 VP.

The Americans use the U-2 Incident card to place influence:
      2 USA influence added to Brazil, now at 2

 Turn 7, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #13  Ops 2: Arab-Israeli War (USSR)
      2 USSR influence added to Argentina, now at 3

I decide to keep fighting for Argentina. At this point my hand is: OAS Founded, Latin American Death Squads, SALT Negotiations, and We Will Bury You. I decide to perform the SALT trick as US: SALT ABM Treaty back to my hand as the last Action, raising DEFCON to 4. DEFCON then rises to 5 on the headline, where I headline ABM Treaty and get to do 4 realignments in Europe: specifically, France at +2.

So my best bet to fight for Argentina is OAS Founded for 2 into Argentina. Not the best use of the card, but I’m thankful that I didn’t need it that much this game.

 Turn 7, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #70  Ops 1: OAS Founded * (USA)

** The OAS Founded card is permanently removed. **

      2 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 4

 Turn 7, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #56  Ops 4: Muslim Revolution (USSR)
      American influence in Libya now at 0
      American influence in Egypt now at 0

Hurts, especially since I can’t get back into Libya. With my 1 Op of Latin American Death Squads, though, I can either recontrol Argentina or make an ineffectual play for the Middle East. As I know he has Sadat left in his hand, I go for the former. (Incidentally, he should have played Sadat and then Muslim Revolution.)

 Turn 7, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #69  Ops 2: Latin American Death Squads
      1 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 5

 Turn 7, USSR action round 7

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #72  Ops 1: Sadat Expels Soviets * (USA)
      1 USSR influence added to Libya, now at 1
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The Sadat Expels Soviets card is permanently removed. **

      Soviet influence in Egypt now at 0
      American influence in Egypt increased by 1, now at 1

Now time for the aforementioned SALT trick. There were tons of great candidates to draw from the discard (Red Scare/Purge, Grain Sales, Voice of America) but I like this one the best as Europe is my biggest threat: an early Europe Scoring + Wargames next turn is the most likely way I can lose at this point. Plus a higher DEFCON means more VP loss for the USSR on Mil Ops.

 Turn 7, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #43  Ops 3: SALT Negotiations *

** The SALT Negotiations card is permanently removed. **

DEFCON Level raised to 4
The USA player reclaims the following card from the discard pile:
  #57  Ops 4: ABM Treaty
The Soviets are 3 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 4
VPs up 3, now at -1

Events Played: Warsaw Pact Formed, NATO, US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact, Marshall Plan, De Gaulle Leads France, NORAD,
    Camp David Accords, Willy Brandt

USSR battleground countries controlled = 8
USA battleground countries controlled = 17

Entering the Late War at -1 is great for me, considering that the board heavily favors me. As mentioned above, my biggest danger is dropping 6VP quickly to something like Europe Scoring and then getting Wargamed before I can make up the deficit.

Turn 8

The board at the start of Turn 8

To continue to Part III, the Late War, click here.

To return to Part I, the Early War, click here.

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22 Responses to Annotated Game #1: Mid War

  1. Blaze says:

    hey theory, can u explain why at 7 turn USA 1st round DEFCON improved to 3 letting u coup moment later? i thought only moment DEFCON can improve is the start of the turn [which occured] and due to events [no DEFCON changing occured as far as i can say].

    • theory says:

      It’s just that I played ABM Treaty for the event. Wargameroom, for whatever reason, prints the notification of the DEFCON rise before it prints the notification of the event being played.

  2. Jean says:

    This is a great write up and I’m learning a lot! One question though, why does DEFCON increase to 3 on Turn 5, USSR Action Round 3? I must have missed something.

  3. ddddddd says:

    This is a great annotated game; thank you for being so lucid with your logic at each step!

    I love the line “…But when you also have Bear Trap in the same hand, the potential for abuse is just staggering.” 19 Action rounds is immense – the other day I Bear Trapped three or four AR’s out of my opponent, and it was decisive!

    • theory says:

      The key is that once you Red Scare Purge + Bear Trap someone and they run out of cards to discard, they don’t discard the rest of their hand (save Scoring Cards, which they play). No, they have to hang onto those cards. So when you are RS/P Bear Trapped, and then next turn get Red Scare/Purge headlined on you again, your hand is already filled with cards you can’t discard. And when you see Red Scare/Purge get pulled out of the discard with SALT to be played one more time, that’s when this kind of 19 AR abuse comes from.

      • ddddddd says:

        Nice, true. I am rubbing my hands together with glee imagining the look on my friend’s face when he gets on the receiving end of that!!

        Thanks very much for such an in depth annotated game. If there are any others of yours around I would be most interested in reading them – notably a USSR game.

  4. Bobster says:

    This is really useful to read, as a new player of TS. Many thanks for putting it all online.

    I have a question about your choices on turn 6 here. Why did you invest so much energy into South America and Africa, when the Europe Scoring card was out there? Did you consider trying to prevent him scoring Domination in Europe? Thanks for your sharing your thoughts 🙂

    • theory says:

      There was no way I could have swung Europe Domination. He had a massive lead in total countries; I’d have to grab a lot of non-battlegrounds AND hope that he somehow doesn’t respond. And the battlegrounds are too stable to flip.

      • Bobster says:

        I can see it would be tough to get Euro-Domination for yourself.

        I was thinking about preventing USSR’s Euro-Domination. E.g. by taking control in Greece/UK, and disrupting his control of France/E.Germany.

  5. Zachary Zhang says:

    I have to say that US player here wasn’t unlucky at all in this game. I belive that in TS, dice roll luck is simply a small part of luck factor and its damage is easy to repair with skillful play. On the other hand, card draw luck is what really matters and is what decides the game outcome between equally competent players. In this game, you drew De-Stalinlization early game and then drew puppet governments in turn 4, not to mention almost all the key US midwar cards ended up in your hands(Ussuri, VOA, Grain Sales, OAS, Bear Trap etc), as well as several important neutral & Soviet cards.

    • theory says:

      You’re very correct. But the luck that is most obvious to people — and the one complained about the most — is the dice rolls, and believe me when I say I’d love to roll terribly in exchange for drawing beautifully.

  6. Dang says:

    Can you please explain this?

    Turn 6, USA action round 3
    The Americans play the following card for Ops
    #13 Ops 2: Arab-Israeli War (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.
    The event cannot be played right now.

    why is the event unplayable?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don’t under stand the plan outlined at the start of turn 5 regarding how best to sequence China, Ussuri, Nixon, and Cultural Rev. It seems to me that the most powerful sequencing is play China, play Ussuri (which gives you China face up), play China again, play Nixon (thereby retaining China for the next turn). Then, depending on the game situation, play Cultural either the first China card play (giving him 1 VP in exchange for 3 ops) or spacing it.

    I am a new player so I am interested in learning why you would not do this sequence. Thanks.

    • theory says:

      It’s because the active Ussuri effect is very strong. When Asia is contested, being able to drop in four influence (not just four Ops, four influence) is a very powerful move and can usually flip at least one battleground.

  8. Kyle says:

    There is a bit of a formatting problem on this page both for Mozilla and Chrome (updated versions as of today). The turn descriptions in places are greatly condensed and require scrolling side to side which makes reading difficult.

  9. pietshaq says:

    “Theoretically, I should also know he has East European Unrest and Arab-Israeli War, because those were disposed of prior to Turn 3 and therefore should also be drawn somewhere between Turn 3 and Turn 7, but I am not such a savant to track that in-game”
    Practically, you have played Arab-Israeli war on Turn 6 😀

  10. pietshaq says:

    “Theoretically, I should also know he has East European Unrest and Arab-Israeli War, because those were disposed of prior to Turn 3 and therefore should also be drawn somewhere between Turn 3 and Turn 7, but I am not such a savant to track that in-game”
    Practically, Arab-Israeli War was drawn on Turn 6 and you have played it 😀

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