CIA Created

CIA CreatedCIA Created


In an effort to bring to a close the inter-service bickering that marred U.S. intelligence during WWII, President Truman created the United States’ first independent agency capable both of intelligence analysis and covert operations. Its 40 year cat-and-mouse game with its Soviet counterpart, the KGB, would be the stuff of legend, and one of the hallmarks of the Cold War.

Time: Early War
Side: US
Ops: 1
Removed after event: Yes


As a DEFCON suicide card, this card is a problem.  Because it allows the US to conduct Operations on your turn, if DEFCON is 2, then the US can coup a battleground (specifically, a Mid War region battleground due to DEFCON restrictions) to lower DEFCON to 1 and lose you the game.

The only easy way to get rid of this card is in the Early War, if you are fortunate enough to draw it before you have influence in a Mid War battleground.  Then you can play it whenever you want (preferably as the last card in your hand, but if you delay too long the US may play Fidel!), and even at DEFCON 2 it won’t cost you the game.

If you draw it and you do have influence in a Mid War battleground, well, then you’ve not got a lot of good options.  You can play it on AR1 if DEFCON is still 3, allowing the US the coup and revealing your whole hand.  You can take advantage of Nuclear Subs to get out of it, since then the CIA Created coup won’t lose you the game.  You can space it if you are under Brezhnev Doctrine.  You can play it with UN Intervention, but then you can’t hold a card to next turn, and you might need to do that if you’re dealing with other bad US cards.

Unlike Lone Gunman, I do not usually hold this turn to turn, waiting for a better chance to discard it.  I usually just play it on AR1, because there are too many things that can cause me to discard a card from my hand, which would lose me the game if I don’t have the China card.


Because of how bad it is for the Soviets to draw this, I always play this for Operations before the Turn 3 reshuffle.

In the Mid War, between Turns 3 and 6, there’s still a chance the USSR will draw it if I play CIA for Operations.  So I’ll usually play it for Ops.  But if I have literally no other headline choice, or if I desperately need to conduct some Ops / drop DEFCON in the headline, then CIA is a good choice for the headline.

If I draw it on Turn 7, though, then the USSR isn’t ever going to draw it, and playing it for the event is strictly superior to playing it for Ops.  I will usually headline it (though there are tons of great US headlines at this point).

This card means that I’m willing to trigger Fidel on Turns 1 or 2 because it’ll make CIA unplayable if they draw it.  On Turn 3 I’ll probably space it unless I know the USSR is still holding on to CIA and has no other influence in the Mid War regions.

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49 Responses to CIA Created

  1. MagiusPaulus says:

    This card was the end of a lot of games i played (including a mistake of my own). In my area there are a lot of people who play like once in a month and only played a few games in total. this card is easy to forget till the unfortunate actually happens.
    Mostly when such a mistake is made, i’ll just let them take it back because the game is too much fun to end in such an immediate way, but on tournaments it’s game over of course!

    On a sidenote, i personally hate to play Fidel on turn 1 or 2 and if circumstances allow me, i’m happy to keep it and space it in turn 3. There is of course the possibility that you know for certain that the USSR player must play the CIA in turn 3 (since you haven’t seen it played before and you don’t have the card in hand), in which case playing Fidel on your 1st AR is perfectly fine.

  2. ddddddd says:

    As US, I don’t think I would ever be tempted to headline CIA (before AR7). The card just causes the USSR *so* many problems if he draws it, especially if I was lucky enough to play it for Ops in Early War and we are into the Mid War.

    In the Mid and Late War, the US player starts to really garner a collection of hand-size reducing cards (Grain Sales, Nixon Plays, Ussuri, Terrorism [if you draw it], 5Y Plan) and a USSR Defcon Suicide is a real possibility, if he holds CIA/Duck & Cover/Grain Sales/Tear Down etc.

    Incidentally, when I was a beginner, we used to feel that Defcon Suicide victories were a bit “unfair” – that the player should be able to undo his error and replay his go. Now we’re ten games in there is absolutely no mercy, no quarter asked or offered. Last game my opponent forgot about discarding scoring cards to Bear Trap and accidentally held Europe Scoring. I was gleeful. How times change 🙂

    • theory says:

      Well if you draw it on Turn 3, the USSR won’t draw it again until Turns 7-10. The chance that it’ll cost him the game is therefore a lot less.

      I don’t understand the Bear Trap / Euro Scoring situation. You’re not allowed to discard to scoring cards to Bear Trap, and if you have no more cards to discard you can play your scoring cards instead of holding them.

      • ddddddd says:

        Good point on the post Turn 3 play, and, to clarify the second point, it was a rookie error: I (as US) Bear Trapped him on my AR6. On his AR7 he had two remaining cards – Duck and Cover and Eur Scoring. On AR7, he chose to discard D&C to the Bear Trap (ordinarily a relieving discard for the USSR), and after I’d played my move he conceded that his hold card was Europe Scoring, and that he had lost on those grounds.

        Really, my only point was that, like you say, I could have let him “undo” the mistake, and play the scoring card for AR7, but after ten or so games, neither of us shows any mercy – in fact he confessed that he wouldn’t have shown me any had I made the error!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey, what exactly happens if you accidentally hold a scoring card?

    • theory says:

      Technically, you auto-lose.

      In practice, this just shouldn’t happen unless you were a beginner, and if you are a beginner then I’d let you take back the move.

      Sometimes, though, you end up holding a scoring card for reasons other than forgetfulness: for example, if you use Ask Not … to accidentally draw more scoring cards than Action Rounds left.

      • Userkaffe I says:

        Are there any other ways for this to happen other than “Ask not…”?

      • Zhu80 says:

        Where is this rule described in the rulebook (That holding a scoringcard = defeat)? We have somehow missed this, and played with the rule that you just discard the scoringcard at the end of the turn.

        • theory says:

          Rule 4.5, part D, in the “turn sequence” section. The game is a lot worse if you are allowed to freely discard scoring cards!

          • Zhu80 says:

            Yea, it really changes the game, and I like this rule, only problem for me is that part 4.5 only states that they ‘may not be hold’, not that you are defeated!?

            • Al Sadius says:

              Generally, doing something that the game’s rules say you aren’t allowed to do is considered cheating, and is cause for immediate loss, no matter what game you’re playing.

  4. Nick says:

    My rules, that have been translated, say “the player responisble for the reduction of Defcon is the loser”. So I would think that if the USSR player plays “CIA created” and the US player makes a coup lowering DEFCON, it’s the US player who’s losing the game.

    • theory says:

      This is incorrect and makes the game much, much easier on the USSR. The losing player is the “phasing player”: when DEFCON drops to 1, the player whose turn it is loses, not the person that “caused” DEFCON to drop to 1.

    • Tod says:

      As a beginning player, I’d agree that it seems logical that the player using the Ops to coup and hence cause the Defcon to drop should be the loser, but the consensus is that the phasing player loses.

      Sure, when the event causes the Defcon to degrade, the phasing player must be the loser. But when it provides points and the other player ‘chooses’ to coup and take the Defcon down, I don’t get how that can bring him/her a win.

      • As the ‘phasing player’, you have full responsibility over whatever the results of the card you’ve played.
        If the card allowed your opponent to start a nuclear war, it’s still “your fault”. You could have played another card, or held this card to next turn, or headlined it, or spaced it, or played the China card instead.
        Since you haven’t, you bear the consequences.

        From a mechanics standpoint, this creates interesting problems with hand management, and is one of the advantages of the US over the USSR.

        • Tod says:

          Yes, good points; the Defcon suicide cards certainly would make for hand management tension.
          I’ll just find it challenging explaining to my niece or other beginners that my choice to coup has lost them the game; might have to slowly introduce the concept.

  5. Stormdrake says:

    There is one thing I don’t get: what is the connection between Fidel and CIA???
    I can’t see how they possibly affect each other?

    • OneDollarBill says:

      If USSR plays CIA when
      i) DEFCON is at 2
      ii) USSR has influence points in coupable battlegrounds (ie, in Americas/Africa),
      US player will coup one of those battlegrounds, causing the DEFCON drop to 1. As USSR is the Phasing player, the Soviets lose.

      Fidel gives USSR influence in a Central American battleground, making CIA unplayable for the Soviet player. This is noteworthy because it is not unusual for the USSR not to have any influence on Mid-War battlegrounds before this card first comes out. Activating Fidel makes it impossible for the USSR to get rid of this card by playing it normally.

      • Dan says:

        Yes, and for this reason alone the US player should gladly play Fidel for ops as early as possible. Once that happens, CIA Created becomes a serious annoyance for the Soviet player. US can always get the soviets out of Cuba later with realignment rolls.

  6. Svante says:

    I herd people that hold Fidel for an unplayable card for US, quiet like De stal/De col because it givs American accses. Intressting to hear so opponing opinions. I have tested a US tactic to deal with Fidel I call the “Bay of Pigs”: Fist put 1 influence in Cuba – then play Fidel for ops in AR7 into Haiti and Nicaragua. Ether I get a Battleground coupe + some C. Am. axess or I can easily realign Cuba. It is a bit costly but it has also given me some success.

    • Al Sadius says:

      The problem with that plan is that the big advantage to knocking out the Fidel influence is that it denies Russia access to Central America, but if you have 1 influence in Haiti and Nicaragua, it’s trivial for them to do some tiny coup with a weak card and win their way back in – even a 1-Ops card will get them back in on a roll of 2+. So you’ve burned 3 ops placing influence, plus probably 2 more on realignment, to take Haiti and Nicaragua and dispose of a fairly innocuous event card. To really get anything out of it, you should probably then take Cuba, for another 3. Is *Cuba* really worth 8 ops?

  7. k says:

    If US draws CIA created on the first turn (and does not have smoething better, like Marshall Plan to headline it), what do you think of headling CIA and using operations to place 1 influence in Pakistan or Afganistan?

    • trevaur says:

      Woa, I just came here to ask the exact same question. Strange how it would happen within 2 days of you when the last post in here was 4 months ago. I’m just wondering the overall strength/viability of this play and how to respond to it as the USSR.

      • XXXXX says:

        This is why TS is so great (like this website :-P), there’s not just one way to play. It’s a good first turn headline for sure.You just have to choose with ” Because of how bad it is for the Soviets to draw this, I always play this for Operations before the Turn 3 reshuffle.”

      • voodoochile78 says:

        Me three… It seems like headling this as the US in AR1 and putting points into Pakistan allows you to completely nullify what is considered the strongest USSR play – the Iran coup. You have now seriously shored up your position in both Asia and the Middle East.

        • Al Sadius says:

          True, but it means Russia will probably come back with an Italy coup AR1, which can really mess up Europe for you if it goes well. Then probably a Pakistan coup AR2, since you have no good targets to drop DEFCON with, and maybe Iran AR3. It’s not a bad US play, of course, but the Russians have counter-moves here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Won’t that allow USSR to easily coup pakistan?

    • k says:

      Maybe it will, but you then have the option to coup Pakistan back or strengthen your position in Iran and put influence in Afghanistan.

      • OneDollarBill says:

        I dislike giving Pakistan away this easily. If US does coup back and fail, nothing stops USSR from couping Iran too. Indo-Pakistani War in Soviet hands also messes this plan up nicely.

        However, as CIA kindly forces USSR to show his hand, you can see whether or not the USSR has the cards to outplay you. Even if you couldn’t put the IP in Pakistan/Afghanistan, the knowledge over USSR plans on the first turn is indeed a nice advantage. Therefore I do like the idea of doing a sneaky headline with the card.

        However, usually getting a quick start with a stronger headline is preferable to spying with CIA.

        • Bad Apple says:

          Placing 1 IP in pakistan would allow the USSR to coup pakistan with the china card at +5.
          Even if the US takes control of Iran in response, it’s easy to realign once the USSR controls Iraq. An interesting play for the us would be to place the 1 inf in iraq, thus maintaining access to the region. But a better use for this op would be to put into Malaysia, after the USSR coup iran, Grab Thailand with 3 or 4 ops, evening the ground on the Asia domination war.

          • Anonymous says:

            Wouldn’t you want to get DEFCON down to 3 (and make sure opponent lacks ABM Treaty) before making that play into Thailand? China Card is +5 to Asia coups, so Soviets would get 1+die roll. Even if you put 4 influence in, that’s a 50% chance of flipping it to Soviet and a 33% chance of Soviet control, making flipping it back unlikely.

  9. Ross Levine says:

    Can you clarify what you mean when you say “I usually just play it on AR1, because there are too many things that can cause me to discard a card from my hand, which would lose me the game if I don’t have the China card”?

    • theory says:

      Sure. With a DEFCON suicide card you’re sometimes tempted to hold into it between turns in hopes of something that gets rid of it. But as USSR you might be forced to lose a card for some reason (Grain Sales, Five Year Plan) and then if you’re holding CIA you are forced to play it this turn, probably now at DEFCON 2, and losing you the game. (You’re still safe if you have the China Card though.) So getting rid of CIA on AR1 is safer even though it means CIA sees your whole hand.

  10. The Reverend says:

    I just had an interesting situation happen. I was playing as US and I knew my opponent held CIA Created on Turn 3. I happened to hold Nixon Plays the China Card so I played it for the event and made it impossible for my opponent to hold CIA and won by DEFCON suicide. Another reason it’s a bad, bad card for the Soviets.

    • The Reverend says:

      And by “held CIA Created on Turn 3”, I mean he had it in his hand on Turn 3.

      • The Reverend says:

        And I should also relate that he had used UN Intervention on something earlier in the round. I really wish I could edit posts as opposed to having to reply to correct them.

        • Charles Martel says:

          How did you have Nixon plays the China Card on Turn 3? It’s a mid war event.

          • The Reverend says:

            Er, Turn 4. Man, really need to get my facts straight. Anyway, headlined Grain Sales, pulled CIA, obviously returned it. He used UN Intervention with VOA, and then the rest follows as I had poorly written above.

  11. Eruantalon says:

    His op HELD it on 3th turn, thus on 4th Nixon… was played, stealing China. BTW, I’d play CIA with Intervention for sure. Just to get rid of this terrible card.

    • The Archon says:

      Agreed. You Space VoA, and you UN CIA. All day, every day. Good play, though, to take advantage of your opponent’s foolish play.

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  14. mike says:

    I don’t completely understand why playing this card on AR1 as USSR is a sound idea. AR1 is for the Iran coup, but the 1OP makes for a weak coup, no? It seems that it only leaves a roll of four as the most ideal result, with 6 being ok and the rest being a waste. If you go for the Iran coup in AR1, don’t you want to use a 3 or 4OP card?

    • theory says:

      AR1 in general, not necessarily AR1 on the first turn. The idea is that if playing it at DEFCON 2 is going to kill you, you need to play it at a point when it is still DEFCON 3.

  15. Vasek says:

    Unless I draw the Marshall Plan, or Containement (but then it would depend on the rest of the hand) I will almost always choose playing CIA in the headline of AR1. Given the importance of the 1st round for the rest of the game, I prefer throwing this spanner into the USSR pressure of the early war. One additional US point in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt or Malaysia (depending on USSR hand) will make a big difference for the spreading of influence in the early war, which is better than the potential difficulties for the USSR in the mid-war, which may or may not materialise depending on a number of factors…

  16. Daliman13 says:

    How can you space a 1Ops card?

  17. im in a nasty situation, advice needed:

    im the ussr, its turn 2, ar6 and have cia created and defectors in my hand.

    Which card should i dispose off and how?!

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