De Gaulle Leads France

De Gaulle Leads FranceDe Gaulle Leads France

1958–1969

Founder of France’s Fifth Republic, De Gaulle’s role during the Cold War is generally viewed through the lens of his second presidency. While still a western ally, De Gaulle attempted to establish France as an independent voice within the confines of the western camp. He developed an independent nuclear deterrent, withdrew from NATO’s unified command structure, and criticized US policy in Vietnam. He also pursued increased trade and cultural relations with the Soviet Bloc. He sought in all things to restore France to her former place of greatness in world affairs.

Time: Early War
Side: USSR
Ops: 3
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

France is the key to Europe Scoring, and generally represents a 6VP swing for whoever takes it.  (Usually only one side can score the +4 for Domination, and the country itself is a 2VP swing.)  De Gaulle is the most powerful event at your disposal for taking over the country.

If you already control France, then there is obviously no need to play De Gaulle.  Keep him around in the deck just in case the US tries any funny business in France.

If the US controls France, then you should remember that De Gaulle’s overall effect is just 3 Ops.  If you play him for the event on an Action Round, the US can repair its effect with a 3 Ops card and you’ve gotten nowhere.  A better use of De Gaulle is to take advantage of your headline-AR1 back-to-back combo: headline De Gaulle, then play Ops into France to take over the country on AR1.  You give up the battleground coup, but it’s worth it to flip France your way.

If no one controls France, the best way to take France is by gaining access to it via West Germany/Italy/Algeria, and then using the 3 Ops of De Gaulle himself to just take the country directly.  This keeps De Gaulle in the deck.  If you can’t do this, then the headline-AR1 combo still works, but again, you’re giving up a battleground coup.

Regardless, keep an eye out for Algeria.  Even if the US triggers De Gaulle and then repairs the damage, you can at least grab a key African battleground.

As US

Regardless of the French situation, this is a great card to draw as the US.

If the USSR already controls France, that’s too bad, but then this card is a free 3 Ops, a rarity in the Early War.

If you already control France, then this is an empty Action Round, since you can repair De Gaulle’s damage with the 3 Ops.  (Note: spacing De Gaulle is not a great idea since you would rather dispose of him for no effect rather than allow him to come back and potentially hurt you more.)

And if France is empty, then you trigger the event and then pour the 3 Ops into France, making it 3/1.  The USSR is unable to control it with a single play, and thus may be wary of engaging in an Ops war if the threat of Truman Doctrine looms over his head.

The biggest concern with De Gaulle is that it allows the USSR access into Algeria.  Given the typical US Early War Ops scarcity, there’s not much you can do about this. If the USSR is distracted with other priorities, try to make sure that you take Algeria before he does.

De Gaulle becomes a serious liability if you are under Red Scare/Purge, because his Ops value no longer offsets the event.  If Purged, I would either try to hold De Gaulle until next turn, or simply accept that France is probably lost.  In such situations, it can be nice to play De Gaulle on your last Action Round, so that if the USSR wants to capitalize off of it, he at least has to do so during AR1, thus giving you a battleground coup.

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13 Responses to De Gaulle Leads France

  1. SnowFire says:

    Personally, I’m a fan of spacing De Gaulle as the US if the USSR doesn’t control France yet and you don’t have anything more pertinent to space. As you note, the downside to De Gaulle is Algeria as a consolation prize. I’d rather get up the space race track now, possibly score a few points, deny Algeria / Spain access, and then *possibly* have to worry about a Mid War De Gaulle. Special Relationship as played by the USSR and NORAD (if you have nothing better to do) can help overcontrol France a bit to discourage the DeGaulle headline, but even that isn’t the end of the world, since if disaster happens and the USSR takes France, the US can often deny the domination off # of countries.

    I’ll grant that an empty France + Truman Doctrine in hand means that you should DeGaulle every time and hope for an early Christmas.

  2. ddddddd says:

    As USA I think I’d rather get De Gaulle played and out, and then patch it up asap (with ops or, possibly, with the excellent realignment roll odds, e.g. from “Tear Down” or an improved DEFCON). My thinking is that, as USSR, I’d rather have the card in my hand, and so conversely as USA, I can stop that from happening by triggering De Gaulle as opposed to spacing him. It also makes for better US deck balance.

    As a side note, when we play the board game, we frequently end up with countries with over 8 influence in, and so have to use a combination of other influence card-tiles to represent the number – this almost always happens in France (last game was 14-11 by the end) but it happens elsewhere (once, I Brush Warred a fairly packed Pakistan and ended with 14-0 control).

    Are we playing too many influence into places, or does this happen to everyone? (Or are most people playing online?)

    • You’re probably overspending.
      Once a power has control of a stability 2 country (assuming no overcontrol for the moment), you need 3 Ops to get a tie with him. He can than spend a 2 Ops card and be back in control. (Same math applies to 4 ops / 3 ops play). Basically, you’re spending more than him, and giving him an op advantage for every turn you do this.
      To get away with this, you need a massively more powerful hand, and even in this case, you should consider that you’re basically reducing this advantage by paying double for the first influence point – if you were to play these massive op cards in places where you pay 1-for-1, perhaps you would have gotten a bigger advantage then a single BG?
      Also, some countries are very risky in this regard, as they’re horribly vulnerable to events: everything in Europe for Truman, most of the Middle East for Muslim Revolution, Any potential war target, unless you control sufficient surrounding countries, which includes everything 2-stability or lower for Brush War.
      This is all scoring card dependent, of course, but if you’re not sure that he has the card in hand, you could be bleeding ops, while he uses his weaker cards to restore control, thus gaining advantage for the remainder of the turn.

      • SnowFire says:

        Though as a brief follow-up, ops wars are fine if it can swing a domination of a region and you have the ops-heavy hand to actually win it. So something like ops-warring over France / E. Germany / Poland (post-Truman / Warsaw Pact) can be just fine if it sends the hugely powerful Europe dom over to you and you think you can win it.

        The other note is that ops wars are the safest to get into when your opponent is Red Scared / Purged, or, in Asia, when you have the China Card (or both!). A Purged USSR is not really going to be able to defend, say, N. Korea from 4 ops knocking it to 3/3 when you have the China Card and another 3-4 ops card ready, and that can get you an Asia dom / deny the USSR’s dom / get +1 humiliation points for the border.

  3. ddddddd says:

    @AzureD – OK, maybe we are overspending then, although I should say that the control (of France in this case) wasn’t always his. It swung back and forth at least twice, and ended with USSR (me). A few of the “control breaking” influence didn’t cost 2 either, thanks to NORAD/De Gaulle. Having said that, however, I guess you are right and perhaps we are both overspending to deny the opponent Europe-dom.

    @Snowfire – Yes, that makes sense, especially if you have the scoring card/know it is about. Last game I got Purged four (!) times, and couldn’t compete in Ops wars at all.

  4. Alex says:

    As US, if DeGaulle is in my hand first turn (which seems to happen a lot to me), I don’t put any influence in France at the start of the game. This gives me more to shore up Italy/Greece or even get some influence into Austria. If DefCon is at 5 on my AR1, I’ll use it – I lose no influence and USSR only gains one. This influence can be realigned almost immediately, and if you get lucky you’ll get 1 or 2 extra rolls to use wherever. If the DefCon is below 5 (likely), you can use it as your AR7 play. This creates a pretty good dillemma, but also gives you the chance to get Truman Doctrine in your next hand, which means you can get in an Ops race and then nuke their influence. Even if you don’t get Truman, it gives you time to react.

    • theory says:

      You don’t even really need to do that. If you play the 3 Ops of De Gaulle into France after allowing the event to trigger, then you’re at 3/1 and the USSR can’t take it over with a single Ops play. And most USSR players will be hesitant to pour in influence for fear that you have Truman Doctrine.

  5. You mention that “Usually only one side can score the +4 for Domination” – is there any situation where both countries can achieve domination in Europe? I thought one player’s domination was mutually exclusive to the other’s. Or does it mean that only one side will typically dominate Europe throughout the course of the game?

    • The Archon says:

      The “+4 for Domination” refers to the jump from 3 VPs for Presence to 7 VPs for Domination (with 2 VP for control/denying control, for the “6 VP swing”). You are right that Domination is mutually exclusive in a giving Scoring Card play. In this case, I think theory is referring to it being very difficult for Domination to swing from one player to the other over the course of the game (the more likely scenario being a lucky Europe Scoring Card play after Domination has been broken), So your second question is correct.

    • theory says:

      What I actually mean is this (and forgive me if I was unclear):

      Swinging France usually means either converting Domination-Presence to Presence-Presence, or Presence-Domination to Presence-Presence. This is a 6VP swing (4VP for Domination, 2VP for the battleground). Unlike in some regions (like Central America), swinging one battleground rarely means swinging Domination-Presence to Presence-Domination (which would be a 10VP swing: 8VP for switching Domination, 2VP for the battleground).

  6. Pingback: Duck and Cover | Twilight Strategy

  7. Prowler says:

    One interesting combo for the US with De Gaulle is the following: IF the US is under the benefits of Containment, IF France is empty (0/0), AND you hold DE GAULLE, then: You play DE GAULLE, applying the event first; France becomes (0/1). Then you get 4 Ops, which you invest in France, and take control of the country (4/1). You get rid of a 3 Ops Soviet event, and take control of an important Battleground. The only downside is that you give the Soviets access to Spain/Portugal and Algeria. The corollary of this for the USSR is not to play CONTAINMENT in your last AR if you suspect that the US holds DE GAULLE and France is empty. If this combo has not been named before, I would call it “THE IKE – CHARLY COMBO” (

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