The second part of the US strategy to rebuild Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) became synonymous with the West’s opposition to the Soviet Union. An oft repeated maxim for NATO’s purpose captures it nicely: “NATO was created to keep the Soviets out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

Time: Early War
Side: US
Ops: 4
Removed after event: Yes


NATO is a pretty terrible event and therefore a great card to draw, given the scarcity of 4 Ops in the Early War.  It’s especially nice to play as soon as possible, before Marshall Plan / Warsaw Pact are triggered, but even if you trigger the NATO event it’s still a nearly-free 4 Ops.

If you do draw it after Warsaw Pact / Marshall Plan has been activated, then you should make sure you don’t plan to Brush War Italy or play Special Relationship before playing NATO.


I have never played this card for the event as the US.  The coup/realignment restrictions are pointless because DEFCON restrictions already prevent nearly all coups and realignments in Europe.  Brush War immunity against Italy is sometimes nice, but most of the time you should have Spain / Greece / France anyway, which provide de facto Brush War immunity.

NATO’s only real impact comes with Special Relationship in the Optional Cards, because it gives Special Relationship a substantial boost.  Even that, though, is still not worth giving up the 4 Ops.

What this really means is that you should try to play Warsaw Pact or Marshall Plan as soon as you can in the turn, so that the USSR cannot simply play NATO with impunity.  They’ll still play it, of course, but at least they’ll give you the Special Relationship boost for it.

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13 Responses to NATO

  1. DeDaan says:

    I saw the US playing it as an event againsty me once. In turn 1 I started with the COMECON trick, kicking him out of West-Germany. I succeeded in taking France, Spain, Greece and Austria and at the start of the Mid War I was planning to Brush War him out of Italy or use How to learn to realign. However, in round 4 my opponent headlined NATO to prevent all these nice plans. Still waiting for my first Europe Control victory 😉

    This story also proves that discussions about wothless cards in the game are useless. Each card can be game deciding, even if we’re speaking about very rare situations!

  2. Patrick says:

    Recently, as the USSR, I had control of Spain, France, Austria, East Germany & a Defcon of 5. I was realigning in Italy and West Germany at a +3. NATO was headlined on the next turn. Then Pope John Paul, Solidarity and Tear Down This Wall. In the early war it doesn’t matter, but on turns 7-10 it can really screw you because it applies to all of Europe, not just Western Europe. If the US player manages to flip Poland while NATO is out, you’re toast.

  3. pietshaq says:

    Rules-clarification question.
    NATO works. UK is at 5/1. I am USSR. I play 2Ops card for realignments and attempt to realign UK. I roll unluckily and after first roll UK turns to 5/0. Can I make another roll against UK at the moment?

  4. pietshaq says:

    Thank you, and not that rare.
    If I have 3/0 in France as USSR and have to play Special Relationships, I usually take ops first and spare them to turn 5/0 into 5/1 in UK to avoid US control break in France.
    Your answer brings me with another question but this will go under Cuban Missile Crisis 🙂

  5. Dan says:

    I finally saw the US play this card for the event. It was late war and he got it by headlining Missile Envy. He feared that I had Brush War, which I actually did, and he held Special Relationship. I had to deal with something else on AR1 so didn’t Brush War Italy (I also could not imagine at the time that he would actually play this for the event). He played NATO for the event, which saved him in Europe but cost him domination in Asia since I was successful in Thailand, and then played special relationship for the even to snag the 2 vp and place ops in east Germany.

    I don’t like the play, but saw it happen this one time. Ended up winning with 24 point after final scoring…

    • theory says:

      I think you might have misplayed it a little bit. Missile Envy pulls an event and triggers it immediately — then you have to play Missile Envy on your next action round. So what should have happened is that Missile Envy triggers NATO in headline phase, then USSR AR1 must be Missile Envy for 2 Ops.

      • Dan says:

        Ooof, I knew that. I must be remembering this wrong. He must have just played it outright. I remember him playing it and commenting how ridiculous it was.

  6. JR says:

    a newbie question: I am USSR, I have been dealt NATO before Marshal Plan or Warsaw Pact. If I play NATO, does the event occur even though the criteria are not met?

    Thanks! I really enjoy this forum…

  7. Sergei Anderson says:

    This is the silliest card in the game. NATO was an incredibly influential factor in the Cold War (and today!) and yet it barely matters in game. All all the cards in the game, NATO is the one that most desperately needs a rework.

    • Sergei Anderson says:

      That it needs other cards to be triggered and can be cancelled in France and W. Germany adds insult to injury. At the very least it should also be triggered and never cancelled by other events.

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