Nuclear Test Ban

Nuclear Test BanNuclear Test Ban

1963 – ?

The first Nuclear Test Ban treaty owes its origins to the de-escalation process that followed the Cuban Missile Crisis. It prohibited further nuclear tests in the air, underwater or in space. International pressure for such a ban mounted in the 1950s as scientific evidence began to document severe environmental damage caused by earlier atmospheric testing by the nuclear powers. Underground testing remained an allowable methodology, but all forms of “peaceful nuclear explosions” were also banned, tightening the non-proliferation regime.

Time: Early War
Side: Neutral
Ops: 4
Removed after event: No

This event is just awful.  Most of the time, it’s a 0VP card that you would trigger for the event only when you have DEFCON suicide cards in your hand.  The fact that it raises DEFCON by two levels (usually, to DEFCON 4) means that you will usually get a Action Round at DEFCON 3 after your opponent coups from DEFCON 4 to 3.

The other corner case is when DEFCON starts off very high for some reason, at which point this is a 4Ops for 3VPs trade.  Still not great, but maybe sometimes those 3VPs can be important.

But both of these are desperation moves.  98% of the time, this is just a powerful 4Ops card whose event text you skip over.  Even in that 2% where the event is meaningful, you probably would have rather been playing How I Learned to Stop Worrying (in the first case) or Arms Race (in the second case).

That’s not to say its presence in the game is bad, or that the card needs a better event text.  It serves a niche role, but a crucial one (when it comes up).  More generally, not every event can, or should, be Red Scare/Purge or Grain Sales to Soviets: sometimes you just need to play Ops.  A game where every event was game-changing would probably be too swingy to enjoy.

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15 Responses to Nuclear Test Ban

  1. The Archon says:

    Definition of frustrating: headlining Missile Envy and pulling this card from your opponent’s hand.

  2. Dan says:

    Assuming that you have other high ops cards in your hand, doesn’t this card have potential as a headline for the Soviet player? Say DEFCON is at 3, you headline it and snag 1VP, and then you coup or realign in Europe on AR1 now that DEFCON is pushed up to 5. I’ve never done it, but I can see doing this play in the right situation.

    • David says:

      Did exactly this last night as USSR even without any other high ops card in hand. Through deGaulle, soc gov, and a de-stal into spa and gre (!) I had all the battlegrounds in europe and Italy surrounded by the end of turn 3 (Us-activated comecon and warsaw pact IPs were poured into yugo and austria). Gave up Asia, ME, and SA infulence for this blitz, and it came down to whether or not US could activate NATO or the USSR could raise defcon to 5 to realign. Did not even notice using NTB for this until pointed out by my son. Don’t need many other ops in hand when you realign at +4.

      Basically it came down to a race of playing the two 4op cards for event that are almost never used for event (NTB and NATO)!

  3. Walt says:

    This card won me the game last time I played as the USSR. I only needed 2 more VPs to win the game, I played “How I Learned to Stop Worrying” to raise DEFCON to 5, my opponent couped to drop DEFCON to 4, I played Nuclear Test Ban to win the game with its +2VP. Granted, it was the perfect combo of cards to have at the time, but the Test Ban event does have its place.

  4. Charles Martel says:

    I really think this event should just give points equal to the DEFCON level. It makes it much better.

  5. Bobo says:

    There is also once in a while, that I was playing USSR and my opponent lock down Europe with Chernobyl, and I had no choice but to active this event and realign/coup with ABM treaty….Luckily I decided to coup France thanks to de Gaulle and succeeded. USA had no enough OP to control Europe. Being a recursive DEFCON improving card is not so worthless I suppose.

  6. N3ige says:

    If the DefCon is at 4 when this card is played, does it stay at 4? Rules state that if an event make this level to raise higher than 5 it has no effect on the status (8.1.2)

  7. lambolt says:

    But what if you were forced at nuclear missile point to suggest modifying the event so that its use case would be higher than 2%. How could it be improved (keeping as close to the original theme and spirit as possible)

  8. Bill says:

    This card can help prevent a Wargames victory by keeping DEFCON high when your opponent is leading in late war and you suspect they have that card. It’s a desperate play but it can buy time.

  9. Alan says:

    “but maybe sometimes those 3VPs can be important”

    Given the aim of the gamwe is to get 20 VPs in what situation can they be not important?

    • Alsadius says:

      If you’re not going to win or lose any time soon, and the board position you get from the ops is going to give you more VPs than that in future.

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