Annotated Game #2: Mid/Late War

This is Part II of a two-part series. Part I, the Early War, can be found here.

** The Mid War cards are added to the deck **
************************************************************
**              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)

The score is currently at -3, which is OK for the USSR but not great.

My hand:
Lone GunmanAlliance for ProgressOne Small Step...CheShuttle DiplomacySummitKitchen DebatesFive Year PlanOAS FoundedThe China Card

I don’t have much in the way of headlines. Che is a great USSR event but one that is not worth triggering right now.

Of the US cards in my hand, OAS Founded is the most irritating. But Five Year Plan is a good way to dispose of it: if I play Five Year Plan with just OAS Founded in my hand, I effectively have 3 Ops with which to respond to OAS, rather than just 1. Kitchen Debates is not a problem as I currently control more battlegrounds. Nor is Alliance for Progress, which I can dump right now for minimal loss. Shuttle Diplomacy can turn the tide of Asia Scoring, but unfortunately I probably need its 3 Ops. One Small Step and Summit are useless to me.

As a result, I headline Lone Gunman. I normally hope that the US will draw this card, but this won’t be until Turn 7 at the earliest. Plus it lets me save Brazil in the headline phase and get a sense of whether I should delay Shuttle Diplomacy for later in the turn in case he has Asia Scoring.

Soviet Headline Card: #62  Ops 1: 'Lone Gunman' * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #71  Ops 2: Nixon Plays the China Card * (USA)

USA Headline Event: #71  Ops 2: Nixon Plays the China Card * (USA)

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.

USSR Headline Event: #62  Ops 1: 'Lone Gunman' * (USSR)

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:

This is the American hand:
Muslim RevolutionCuban Missile CrisisHow I Learned to Stop WorryingABM TreatyNasserQuagmirePortuguese Empire CrumblesAsk Not What Your Country Can Do For You...The China Card

There’s nothing in here that is especially damning. Whether or not he uses Ask Not… this turn is the big question: on the one hand, it’s best when used to discard truly awful cards (DEFCON suicide cards and bad scoring cards), and none of these cards qualify (though they are certainly very bad, Quagmire, Nasser, and Muslim Revolution especially). On the other hand, Lone Gunman is already out, and I know what the rest of his hand is right now and can adjust my play accordingly. I think it can go either way depending on the needs of the turn: Ask Not has to be played early in the turn, and early in this turn the fight for South America might be too hectic to allow for it.

I will use my Lone Gunman influence to shore up Brazil so that I can coup Venezuela. I’ll coup Venezuela with Alliance for Progress, triggering the event after I use the Ops to hopefully punt the “US OPEC” for 0VP. (This is why Alliance for Progress is substantially worse than OPEC.)

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #62  Ops 1: 'Lone Gunman' * (USSR)
      1 USSR influence added to Brazil, now at 3
** Turn 4 Action Phase **

Turn 4, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #78  Ops 3: Alliance for Progress * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Venezuela (stability 2):
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+3) = 7
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 3.
      American influence in Venezuela reduced by 3, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 3
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The Alliance for Progress card is permanently removed. **

*** NORAD -- the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
      American influence in Brazil increased by 1, now at 2

 Turn 4, USA action round 1
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #56  Ops 4: Muslim Revolution (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.
      American influence in Iran now at 0
      American influence in Egypt now at 0

The Americans use the Muslim Revolution card to place influence:
      3 USA influence added to Venezuela, now at 3
      1 USA influence added to Brazil, now at 3

I am somewhat surprised he was willing to just eliminate himself from the Middle East like that, but Middle East scoring did just come out, and Nasser in his hand would have only made matters worse. Muslim Revolution is devastating, but as he shows, sometimes it is better to just bite the bullet and accept it. Sometimes it is better to lose the Middle East instead of fighting for it, losing, and losing the other regions too.

I will shore up Brazil, naturally. I don’t have enough Ops to take both Brazil and Uruguay, and in any event I have access to Argentina via Chile anyway.

 Turn 4, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #80  Ops 2: 'One Small Step...'
      2 USSR influence added to Brazil, now at 5

 Turn 4, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #40  Ops 3: Cuban Missile Crisis *
      3 USA influence added to Uruguay, now at 3

Now is the time for Che, a fantastic USSR event. It can be better than this, but this is a good enough use of it. Its ideal use is to create two threats at once for the US. Here, if successful, it will create one threat (a realign against Venezuela), and defend against one at the same time (by denying him access to Argentina). Even if my Uruguay coup is not successful, he will have to choose between Argentina and Venezuela.

Obviously, I will use Che on Colombia first, then Uruguay.

 Turn 4, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #112  Ops 3: Che (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Colombia (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 3 (+3) = 6
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 4.
      American influence in Colombia reduced by 1, now at 0
      Soviet influence in Colombia increased by 3, now at 3
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5
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 Uruguay (stability 2):
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+3) = 7
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 3.
      American influence in Uruguay reduced by 3, now at 0

 Turn 4, USA action round 3

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

I now opt to realign Venezuela, on the theory that I will likely be successful, and he will not have enough Ops to simultaneously take back Venezuela and also take Argentina.

Given that I have Shuttle Diplomacy, two 1 Ops cards, and then my Five Year Plan / OAS Founded plan, I must use Shuttle Diplomacy. Hopefully I’ll still be able to avert Asia domination when it comes.

 Turn 4, USSR action round 4
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
  #73  Ops 3: Shuttle Diplomacy (USA)
     They elect to have the American event occur first.
Play in front of US player.  During the next scoring of the Middle East or Asia
(whichever comes first), subtract one Battleground country from USSR total,
then put this card in the discard pile.

The Soviets use the Shuttle Diplomacy card for realignment rolls:

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

    Realignment roll in Venezuela: USSR modifier = +2, USA modifier = +0
      ** USSR die roll = 3 (+2) = 5
      ** USA die roll = 6 (+0) = 6
      Soviet influence in Venezuela reduced by 1, now at 0

    Realignment roll in Venezuela: USSR modifier = +2, USA modifier = +1
      ** USSR die roll = 5 (+2) = 7
      ** USA die roll = 3 (+1) = 4
      American influence in Venezuela reduced by 1, now at 0
Turn 4.5

The board at the middle of Turn 4 AR4 (click to enlarge)

However, my plan backfires. In retrospect, this was a not-insignificant risk that I should have planned for. But now the US can use a 4 Ops to take both Venezuela and Argentina, and what should have been USSR domination of South America has turned into a dead heat (and likely US domination).

 Turn 4, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #57  Ops 4: ABM Treaty
      2 USA influence added to Venezuela, now at 2
      2 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 2

Now I have two turns of 1 Op plays. Although I’m in danger of being realigned out of Brazil, my 1 Op won’t do anything. Probably the correct move here would be either to pressure South Africa, build up Chile, or go for Middle East control. (I could also realign Venezuela, but I prefer realigning with more Ops rather than risk a null result.) But I play into Nicaragua instead, on some vague theory of achieving Central America domination. Maybe I can scare him into thinking I have CA scoring, but I think this is a dubious move in retrospect.

 Turn 4, USSR action round 5

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

 Turn 4, USA action round 5
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #15  Ops 1: Nasser * (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Nasser card is permanently removed. **

      Soviet influence in Egypt increased by 2, now at 2

The Americans use the Nasser card for realignment rolls:

    Realignment roll in Brazil: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +1
      ** USA die roll = 1 (+2) = 3
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+1) = 5
      American influence in Brazil reduced by 2, now at 1

This was a very lucky break for me.

I use my Kitchen Debates to move into South Africa, knowing that Portuguese Empire Crumbles will get me Domination by getting me the SE African States. In retrospect, again, Chile or Iran is probably the right move here, since who controls South Africa won’t affect Africa Scoring at the moment.

 Turn 4, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #48  Ops 1: Kitchen Debates * (USA)
      1 USSR influence added to South Africa, now at 1

 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): = 3 **
      USA progress on the Space Race Track is now at Earth Satellite
VPs up 1, now at -2

With my final play, I do the Five Year Plan/OAS Founded trick. Depending on where he adds influence, I can choose to respond to it, or just use the 3 Ops to take South Africa. Since he places one into Chile, meaning I can’t get Chile with my 3 Ops, I place into South Africa instead.

 Turn 4, USSR action round 7
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
  #5  Ops 3: Five Year Plan (USA)
     They elect to have the American event occur first.
    The Soviet player discards the following card:
      #70  Ops 1: OAS Founded * (USA)

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

      1 USA influence added to Panama, now at 2
      1 USA influence added to Chile, now at 1

The Soviets use the Five Year Plan card to place influence:
      3 USSR influence added to South Africa, now at 4

 Turn 4, USA action round 7
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #52  Ops 2: Portuguese Empire Crumbles * (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** 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 3

The Americans use the Portuguese Empire Crumbles card for a coup attempt:
    Coup attempt in Nicaragua (stability 1):
      ** USA die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 6.
      Soviet influence in Nicaragua reduced by 1, now at 0
      American influence in Nicaragua increased by 5, now at 5
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 2
DEFCON Level raised to 3

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

USSR battleground countries controlled = 16
USA battleground countries controlled = 10

** Turn 5 Headline Phase **
Turn 5

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

My hand:
JuntaWe Will Bury YouAllendeAsia ScoringWilly BrandtU2 IncidentJohn Paul II Elected PopeSpecial RelationshipUN Intervention

I know he’s held Ask Not… to this turn. Perhaps he will headline it. My headline is going to be Junta, one of the three key neutral Mid War cards (along with ABM Treaty and Brush War). I will try to punt Asia Scoring ASAP, as even with Shuttle Diplomacy I’m currently not being Dominated (but will be as soon as he grabs another country or two).

John Paul II and Special Relationship (which is NATO-activated) are both somewhat problematic. I plan to space one of them for sure, and if I’m successful I will space the other too. If not, then I will use UN Intervention (though I’d prefer to save it for next turn in case I draw a worse US card).

My plan with Junta is to parachute into Mexico, which is otherwise inaccessible, and then coup Argentina. Later on, I will realign Venezuela.

Soviet Headline Card: #47  Ops 2: Junta
American Headline Card: #67  Ops 2: Grain Sales to Soviets (USA)

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: #32  Ops 1: UN Intervention
    The USA Player elects to keep and play the card.

The Americans use the UN Intervention card for a coup attempt:
    Coup attempt in Nigeria (stability 1):
      ** USA die roll = 4 (+1) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 3.
      Soviet influence in Nigeria reduced by 1, now at 0
      American influence in Nigeria increased by 2, now at 2
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 1

This was quite fortunate for me, but it does cut my hand size and leave me unable to UN either Special Relationship or John Paul II.

Since I can no longer coup, I will just realign Venezuela.

USSR Headline Event: #47  Ops 2: Junta

The Soviets use the Junta card as an Event:
      Soviet influence in Mexico increased by 2, now at 2

The Soviets use the Junta card for realignment rolls:

    Realignment roll in Venezuela: USSR modifier = +2, USA modifier = +1
      ** USSR die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
      ** USA die roll = 3 (+1) = 4
      American influence in Venezuela reduced by 2, now at 0

    Realignment roll in Panama: USSR modifier = +1, USA modifier = +1
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+1) = 5
      ** USA die roll = 1 (+1) = 2
      American influence in Panama reduced by 2, now at 0
** Turn 5 Action Phase **

The realign went way better than it should have. I will now use a 4 Ops to take both Venezuela and Panama. I need to take Panama now because he might coup me out of Colombia and then I will no longer have access. (In retrospect, I should have just used U2 Incident to place 1 Op into Panama and 2 into Venezuela, saving my 4 Ops for later. Oh well.)

 Turn 5, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #50  Ops 4: 'We Will Bury You' * (USSR)
      2 USSR influence added to Venezuela, now at 2
      2 USSR influence added to Panama, now at 2

 Turn 5, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card for realignment rolls:
  #39  Ops 3: Arms Race

    Realignment roll in Cuba: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +1
      ** USA die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
      ** USSR die roll = 1 (+1) = 2
      Soviet influence in Cuba reduced by 3, now at 0

    Realignment roll in Chile: USA modifier = +1, USSR modifier = +0
      ** USA die roll = 2 (+1) = 3
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+0) = 4
      American influence in Chile reduced by 1, now at 0

    Realignment roll in Chile: USA modifier = +1, USSR modifier = +1
      ** USA die roll = 6 (+1) = 7
      ** USSR die roll = 5 (+1) = 6
      Soviet influence in Chile reduced by 1, now at 0

Given that I no longer have access to Chile, I need to play Allende now so I can get back into that subregion. It will also prevent him from being able to take Chile in a single Action Round.

 Turn 5, USSR action round 2

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 5, 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 Cuba increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Peru increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Iran increased by 1, now at 1

Now that I have a breather, I will dump Asia Scoring.

 Turn 5, USSR action round 3

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

*** Scoring in Asia ***
  (-1 to Russian battleground total due to Shuttle Diplomacy)
  USSR:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
  USA:  3(presence) +3(battlegrounds)  = 6
VPs up 1, now at -1

 Turn 5, USA action round 3

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 1

I must respond by defending both Panama and Venezuela. Hopefully he lets up on the pressure soon so I can start spacing my problem cards.

 Turn 5, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #55  Ops 2: Willy Brandt * (USSR)
      1 USSR influence added to Panama, now at 3
      1 USSR influence added to Venezuela, now at 3

 Turn 5, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #6  Ops 4: The China Card
      2 USA influence added to Cuba, now at 3
      2 USA influence added to Chile, now at 2
Turn 5.5

The board at the start of Turn 5, Action Round 5

This time I make no mistake and take Chile, ensuring USSR domination of South America. (Note how quickly, in this game, South America has swung from one side to the other.)

 Turn 5, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #60  Ops 3: U-2 Incident * (USSR)
      3 USSR influence added to Chile, now at 5

 Turn 5, USA action round 5

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

*** Scoring in Central America ***
  USSR:  1(presence) +2(battlegrounds) +1(adj. to USA)  = 4
  USA:  1(presence) +1(battlegrounds)  = 2
VPs down 2, now at -3

As the only cards left in my hand are John Paul II and Special Relationship, it’s time to look to the stars. I space John Paul first, because my position in Europe is rather precarious and I’d really like to not have to deal with the Pope + Solidarity in Poland.

 Turn 5, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
  #68  Ops 2: John Paul II Elected Pope * (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 1 **
      USSR progress on the Space Race Track is now at Animal in Space
        The Soviets may now make two space race attempts per turn

This was quite fortunate.

 Turn 5, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #65  Ops 2: Camp David Accords * (USA)

** 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 1
VPs up 1, now at -2

I could defend the Middle East, but it doesn’t really affect the scoring of the region, and besides I’d rather he not get the 2VP from Special Relationship.

 Turn 5, USSR action round 7

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
  #105  Ops 2: Special Relationship (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-3 needed): = 6 **
      No effect.

 Turn 5, 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 Peru, now at 2
      1 USA influence added to Iran, now at 2
      1 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 3
The Americans are 1 military operation short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
The Soviets are 2 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
VPs up 1, now at -1
DEFCON Level raised to 3

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

USSR battleground countries controlled = 16
USA battleground countries controlled = 11

** Turn 6 Headline Phase **
Turn 6

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

My hand:

The Cambridge FiveFlower PowerSoutheast Asia ScoringLiberation TheologySocialist GovernmentsSALT NegotiationsThe Voice of AmericaNuclear SubsTruman DoctrineThe China Card

I have several viable headlines. The Cambridge Five is the one I choose, because there’s a very high probability that he has either Africa or South America scoring in his hand. Liberation Theology is the other choice, though since I already control both 2-stability countries (and Central America scoring just came out) it’s not as important as it usually is. SALT Negotiations is a possibility, but there’s not that many great finds in the discard right now and I’d rather not let him coup me out of Thailand. Socialist Governments is ordinarily a good one, though I’m so far behind in Europe that it won’t even make a difference.

The Voice of America, as always, is a giant problem. I can either send it to space this turn, or I can try to hold onto it for next turn so that it misses the reshuffle. Nuclear Subs can be disposed of on the last AR (rather than risk the US drawing it and punishing me for a whole turn with it). Truman Doctrine makes matters worse for me in Europe, but who cares about Europe at this point. Southeast Asia Scoring I must trigger ASAP, since it won’t get any better for me but potentially another 2VP for him to claim (plus the threat of Colonial Rear Guards). People often forget about it, because it’s such a low priority compared to regions that are scored multiple times, but sooner or later he’ll remember to take Indonesia/the Philippines.

Soviet Headline Card: #110  Ops 2: The Cambridge Five (USSR)
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:
        #79: Africa Scoring
        #61  Ops 3: OPEC (USSR)

USSR Headline Event: #110  Ops 2: The Cambridge Five (USSR)

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #110  Ops 2: The Cambridge Five (USSR)
The USA has the following scoring card:
     South America Scoring
      1 USSR influence added to Argentina, now at 1
** Turn 6 Action Phase **

Spectacularly unluckily for him, he discards one scoring card only to draw another. With my Cambridge Five influence, and knowledge that he has the only outstanding scoring card, I go all-out for Argentina, the only South American battleground I do not control.

 Turn 6, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #59  Ops 4: Flower Power * (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Argentina (stability 2):
      ** USSR die roll = 5 (+4) = 9
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 5.
      American influence in Argentina reduced by 3, now at 0
      Soviet influence in Argentina increased by 2, now at 3
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 Chile increased by 1, now at 3

 Turn 6, USA action round 1
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 -2

The Americans use the Cultural Revolution card to place influence:
      3 USA influence added to Chile, now at 6

I could fight him back on Chile, but I’d have to use the China Card and he might have Ussuri River Skirmish. I decide that I’ll let him take Chile, while I dispose of some other cards that need my attention. Trading position for tempo, is in some sense, one of the keys of the game.

 Turn 6, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #38: Southeast Asia Scoring *

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

*** Scoring in Southeast Asia ***
  USSR: 1(Burma) +1(Laos/Cambodia) +2(Thailand) +1(Vietnam) = 5
  USA: 1(Malaysia) = 1
VPs down 4, now at -6

 Turn 6, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #69  Ops 2: Latin American Death Squads
      2 USA influence added to Chile, now at 8

My next move is a mistake. I play Liberation Theology in order to secure a future Central America domination. What I should have done instead, though …

 Turn 6, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #75  Ops 2: Liberation Theology (USSR)
      2 USSR influence added to Honduras, now at 2
      1 USSR influence added to Guatemala, now at 1

 Turn 6, USA action round 3
The Americans play the following card for Ops
  #53  Ops 2: South African Unrest (USSR)
     They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.
      Soviet influence in Botswana increased by 2, now at 2
      Soviet influence in South Africa increased by 1, now at 5

The Americans use the South African Unrest card for realignment rolls:

    Realignment roll in Argentina: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +1
      ** USA die roll = 3 (+2) = 5
      ** USSR die roll = 5 (+1) = 6

    Realignment roll in Argentina: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +1
      ** USA die roll = 2 (+2) = 4
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+1) = 5

…is defend against the Argentina realignment, made possible by the Chilean takeover. But I am stupidly lucky and get away with it. I take Paraguay to make sure it does not happen again. Oddly, I have no 2 Ops cards, I have an extra influence, and no particularly obvious place to put it. Egypt will get purged with Sadat, Yugoslavia won’t matter for scoring anyway. I choose Afghanistan, to protect myself from the US taking it for +1 VP on Asia scoring. Probably overcontrolling Venezuela would have been wiser, though.

 Turn 6, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #7  Ops 3: Socialist Governments (USSR)
      2 USSR influence added to Paraguay, now at 2
      1 USSR influence added to Afghanistan, now at 2

 Turn 6, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
  The Soviet exchanges the following card for the Missile Envy:
    #43  Ops 3: SALT Negotiations *

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
Turn 6.5

The board at the start of Turn 6 Action Round 5

I suppose the question of what to do with SALT Negotiations has resolved itself. As I must play Missile Envy for Ops, and since DEFCON is 4, I use it to coup, and Nigeria is the obvious target.

 Turn 6, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
    Coup attempt in Nigeria (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 3 (+2) = 5
  1 subtracted from die roll for Salt Negotiations, making 4
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
      American influence in Nigeria reduced by 2, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 3
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

 Turn 6, USA action round 5

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.

He must be somewhat desperate, hoping to salvage South America by any means necessary. I usually prefer headlining Bear Trap.

The question of what to discard is not trivial. The Voice of America is the obvious choice, but holding it to next turn keeps it out of the reshuffle. I end up going with the cautious choice and discarding VoA, out of concern that next turn I may draw multiple bad US cards, and then I wouldn’t be able to deal with all of them at once.

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

 Turn 6, USA action round 6
DEFCON Level raised to 4

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #57  Ops 4: ABM Treaty
    Coup attempt in Venezuela (stability 2):
      ** USA die roll = 6 (+4) = 10
  1 subtracted from die roll for Salt Negotiations, making 9
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 5.
      Soviet influence in Venezuela reduced by 3, now at 0
      American influence in Venezuela increased by 2, now at 3
DEFCON Level lowered to 3
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

South America is no longer USSR-dominated. But I know that he has South America scoring and must play it next AR. So if I break control of Chile with my 2 Ops Nuclear Subs, not only is he unable to take advantage of Nuclear Subs, he must also score South America without being able to respond to my play. In any other Action Round, he could easily repair my Chile damage, and I’d be wasting Ops, but here he is helpless to react.

This is an extremely powerful and somewhat cruel move. It can be done even outside of the final Action Round; if you can continually pressure him every turn, and if he can’t stop you from this with an overcontrol, then the fact that he has the scoring card means he has no choice but to give you the last word. It is a good illustration of how scoring cards are liabilities, especially when your opponent knows you have them.

 Turn 6, USSR action round 7
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
  #41  Ops 2: Nuclear Subs * (USA)
     They elect to have the American event occur first.

** 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).

The Soviets use the Nuclear Subs card to place influence:
      1 USSR influence added to Chile, now at 6

 Turn 6, USA action round 7

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

*** Scoring in South America ***
  USSR:  5(domination) +2(battlegrounds)  = 7
  USA:  2(presence) +1(battlegrounds)  = 3
VPs down 4, now at -10
DEFCON Level raised to 4

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

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

************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************
** Turn 7 Headline Phase **
Turn 7

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

My hand:
QuagmireDuck and CoverMiddle East ScoringOur Man in TehranSpecial RelationshipDecolonizationCheTruman DoctrineSadat Expels Soviets

The Mid War cards I know he must have in his hand: Brush War, Ussuri River Skirmish, and Colonial Rear Guards. In addition, Red Scare/Purge was played on Turn 2 and has not yet shown up, so it must also be in his hand. I am not that affected by this knowledge, except I will hold the China Card for a bit longer until Ussuri comes out.

Special Relationship is, once again, a bit of a pain. Our Man in Tehran is a chancy event that is nevertheless something I will try to avoid playing. Sadat I will hold for as long as possible, hoping he gets impatient and tries to take over Egypt before I play it. And Che and Decolonization will be very powerful for me, so I’m overall quite happy with the hand.

My headline is clear: Quagmire. Quagmire is a fantastic USSR headline: not only because it cancels NORAD, but also because it guarantees two AR’s in a row. In particular, with DEFCON at 4, and me holding Duck and Cover, I can coup twice, or I can coup and then use Duck and Cover to place influence while dropping DEFCON to 2. I also have Middle East scoring which I might be able to score advantageously during my consecutive AR’s.

Soviet Headline Card: #42  Ops 3: Quagmire * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy

USSR Headline Event: #42  Ops 3: Quagmire * (USSR)

The Soviets use the Quagmire card as an Event:

** The Quagmire card is permanently removed. **

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

USA Headline Event: #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy

Given the choice of allowing him Duck and Cover, or Che (and therefore a free three Ops), I choose Duck and Cover.

(As a side note, I’m not entirely sure why he didn’t just headline Red Scare/Purge.)

  The Soviet exchanges the following card for the Missile Envy:
    #4  Ops 3: Duck and Cover (USA)

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #4  Ops 3: Duck and Cover (USA)
DEFCON Level lowered to 3
VPs up 2, now at -8
** Turn 7 Action Phase **

Well, I don’t have Duck and Cover any more, and I have to use Missile Envy for a coup. I will go for Iran, and hope to roll well.

 Turn 7, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
    Coup attempt in Iran (stability 2):
      ** USSR die roll = 3 (+2) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
      American influence in Iran reduced by 1, now at 1
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 2

 Turn 7, USA action round 1
The USA discards the following card because of Quagmire:
    #61  Ops 3: OPEC (USSR)
    Quagmire ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 4 -- The Quagmire is over!

Revenge of the Muslim Revolution: I rolled just what I needed, and now I can score the Middle East and deny the US even presence points. This was a huge swing for me. (In retrospect, I could have accomplished the same with zero risk by using the 2 Ops to place 1 influence into Iran. But such a move allows him the battleground coup.)

 Turn 7, USSR action round 2

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

*** Scoring in Middle East ***
  USSR:  5(domination) +3(battlegrounds)  = 8
  USA: No score.
VPs down 8, now at -16

 Turn 7, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #36  Ops 3: Brush War
          The target country is Brazil
      USA success on a modified die roll of 3-6; USSR is -0
  ** Die roll: 3 -- USA victory!
VPs up 1, now at -15
      Soviet influence in Brazil reduced by 5, now at 0
      American influence in Brazil increased by 5, now at 6
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 3

Well, this was unlucky, but it’s not a huge loss. I should have been realigned out of Brazil earlier anyway, and it was only luck that I had held onto it for so long.

Now, in fact, is a very rare and very good opportunity to get rid of Our Man in Tehran while the US does not control any Middle East country. I coup Peru with an eye towards potentially realigning Chile.

 Turn 7, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #108  Ops 2: Our Man in Tehran * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Peru (stability 2):
      ** USSR die roll = 4 (+2) = 6
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
      American influence in Peru reduced by 2, now at 0
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

 Turn 7, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
  #40  Ops 3: Cuban Missile Crisis *
      2 USA influence added to Peru, now at 2
      1 USA influence added to Chile, now at 9

With no particular urgencies on the board, I send Special Relationship to space and hope for VPs. I am so close now to autovictory that I must push for VPs as hard as I can before the US Late War advantage kicks in.

 Turn 7, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
  #105  Ops 2: Special Relationship (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-3 needed): = 3 **
      USSR progress on the Space Race Track is now at Lunar Probe
VPs down 2, now at -17

 Turn 7, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
  #7  Ops 3: Socialist Governments (USSR)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 5 **
      No effect.
Turn 7.5

The board at the start of Turn 7 AR 5

Alas, I have no more VP-granting cards right now. Currently Che is kind of useless, since I only have one decent target (Peru). I don’t want to use the China Card, not while he still has Ussuri in his hand. So I play Decolonization, which will get me Nigeria and also allow me to threaten Algeria. Where the other Decolonization influence goes is not particularly important.

 Turn 7, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #30  Ops 2: Decolonization (USSR)
      Soviet influence in Algeria increased by 1, now at 1
      Soviet influence in Nigeria increased by 1, now at 1
      Soviet influence in Zaire increased by 1, now at 2
      Soviet influence in Indonesia increased by 1, now at 1

 Turn 7, USA action round 5

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

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

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

Oddly, he did not defend Algeria, in which case I will gladly take it.

 Turn 7, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
  #112  Ops 3: Che (USSR)
      3 USSR influence added to Algeria, now at 4

 Turn 7, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
  #48  Ops 1: Kitchen Debates * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Guatemala (stability 1):
      ** USA die roll = 4 (+1) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 3.
      Soviet influence in Guatemala reduced by 1, now at 0
      American influence in Guatemala increased by 2, now at 2
      American Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

His control of Guatemala allows him to potentially realign me out of Mexico. So I respond in turn. I use Truman instead of Sadat because Sadat actually affects scoring right now, whereas Truman does not.

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

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

      Soviet influence in Yugoslavia now at 0

The Soviets use the Truman Doctrine card for a coup attempt:
    Coup attempt in Guatemala (stability 1):
      ** USSR die roll = 1 (+1) = 2
    The modified roll does not exceed the doubled stability -- no effect.
      Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

 Turn 7, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
  #63  Ops 2: Colonial Rearguards (USA)
      American influence in Algeria increased by 1, now at 3
      American influence in Nigeria increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Laos/Cambodia increased by 1, now at 1
      American influence in Thailand increased by 1, now at 1

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

USSR battleground countries controlled = 14
USA battleground countries controlled = 10

** The Late War cards are added to the deck **
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************
DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 8 Headline Phase **
Turn 8

The board at the start of Turn 8 (click to enlarge)

My hand:
The ReformerWe Will Bury YouWargamesSadat Expels SovietsLatin American Death SquadsThe Voice of AmericaEast European UnrestSouth America ScoringAsia Scoring

I have a very terrible hand, but it doesn’t matter because I have enough VPs to win with Wargames. I choose to headline The Reformer only because headlining We Will Bury You (to drop DEFCON to 2 for Wargames, and maybe for the instant win) could potentially lose me the game if he headlines Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 (extremely unlikely). There is no rush, since it is unlikely he can get all the way down to -6 before I trigger Wargames.

Soviet Headline Card: #87  Ops 3: The Reformer * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #2: Europe Scoring

USSR Headline Event: #87  Ops 3: The Reformer * (USSR)

The Soviets use the The Reformer card as an Event:

** The The Reformer card is permanently removed. **

      2 USSR influence added to France, now at 3
      2 USSR influence added to West Germany, now at 3
      1 USSR influence added to Canada, now at 1
      1 USSR influence added to United Kingdom, now at 1

USA Headline Event: #2: Europe Scoring

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

*** Scoring in Europe ***
  USSR:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
  USA:  3(presence) +1(battlegrounds)  = 4
VPs down 1, now at -18
** Turn 8 Action Phase **

Remember back on Turn 3, when I commented that his Europe Scoring headline was a bit risky? He got away with it last time, but this time his headline is unlucky and runs straight into Mr. Gorbachev.

It doesn’t make a big difference, though. I play We Will Bury You to drop DEFCON to 2 for Wargames, and maybe he doesn’t have UN Intervention, in which case I don’t even need Wargames.

 Turn 8, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
  #50  Ops 4: 'We Will Bury You' * (USSR)

** The 'We Will Bury You' card is permanently removed. **

Unless UN Intervention is played as an Event on the US player's next round, USSR gains 3 VP.
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
The USA does not have the UN Intervention card
VPs down 3, now at -21
********************************************************
  The USSR player wins the game!!!
********************************************************

Concluding thoughts:

  • This game is a good example of how to play, and play against, unusual US opening setups. He ended up dominating Europe anyway — Truman Doctrine was much of the reason why, because even though he never played it I couldn’t get into an Ops war with him in Europe for fear of it.
  • Manipulating the timing of scoring cards is just as important as board position. South America swung from US domination to USSR domination back to US domination, but the key was that it got scored during USSR domination. Likewise, Middle East scoring wasn’t really that bad for the US, but it played a critical role towards -20 because I was able to score it when he had no presence.
  • Realignments played a significant role in South America this game.
  • A good opponent does not let up on you. Here, I had several crises/opportunities that I simply never found the time to address because the US was pressuring so hard. In an ideal world, I would have taken Iran for a Middle East control, I would have shored up Israel and made a play for Europe. But because of his pressure, I was unable to do any of those things. Offense can be a good defense in TS, by forcing your opponent to choose between creating opportunities and responding to your threats.
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20 Responses to Annotated Game #2: Mid/Late War

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why does Bear Trap or Quagmire get rid of your action round instead of discarding prior to playing cards?

    • theory says:

      It’s actually much worse for the target if they have to do both, because then they are “losing” multiple cards per round and definitely unable to hold a card until next turn.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another awesome read, thanks!

  3. trevaur says:

    On turn 4, I think you seriously screwed up in South America. You should have easily been able to gain domination, but instead ended up with only Brazil, which was easy to re-align, and both of you had equal access to Chile. I think your re-align attempt on Venezuela had seriously poor timing, and I’m interested to hear how you justified it over simply dropping 2 influence in Argentina. If you had done this, you would have guaranteed yourself Argentina and Chile and had a chance at taking one of either Brazil or Venezuela. What you did was high-risk, and even if you had succeeded you would have ended up in either the same situation (if he opted to re-take Venezuela), or a worse situation (if he opted to take Argentina, thus putting pressure on Chile and just generally having a better position than you in the entire region). I’m assuming that you did what you did because you were worried about getting re-aligned out of Brazil at +1, but that would be fairly risky on his part considering that he had influence in Brazil himself which could get knocked out, and he would have to take control of the country outright from that realignment considering that you would still have access to it via Venezuela. Plus, even if this succeeded It would have resulted in you having Chile and Argentina against his Venezuela and Brazil, which is a perfectly fine gamble considering the risk that he would have to take to achieve it. I think your decision would be bad even if he didn’t have a 4 ops, but it’s made all the more worse considering that you KNEW that he had ABM Treaty.

    • theory says:

      My Venezuela realign was clearly a poor move. My logic was that if I take Argentina, then he realigns Brazil and gains direct control of it by knocking out 4 influence of mine. Then even if I take Chile, we are merely even on South America. I doubt I would have been able to get SA domination.

      My plan was therefore to realign Venezuela to 0/1, and then he will likely take Argentina, and I’ll take Venezuela for Domination. But of course, by eliminating my own influence, which was clearly a big possibility, I just give both up.

      I think the difference is: Argentina placement = SA even (with his ABM lurking in the background), whereas the realign has a chance of getting me to SA domination if I get Venezuela to 0/1. But the odds were low enough that I probably should have just taken Argentina.

  4. Tables says:

    Minor correction: On the last turn, you said you headline “We Will Bury You” when you meant play it.

    Really enjoying this blog, it’s an interesting, if somewhat different, read to the DS blog.

  5. David says:

    Great report! Very interesting to follow your moves, decisions, threats and responds to those. This might seem like an awkward request, but I would like to see an annotated game report where you loose.

    • Anonymous says:

      This one was close. If just one of the those bad rolls and/or the space rolls did not go his way, he could have lost this game. A really good game played by two experienced players.

  6. Pingback: Annotated Game #2: Early War | Twilight Strategy

  7. Ken says:

    Both of the annotated games have been very well written and really capture the feeling of very tense matches! They’ve also me a great insight into things I didn’t understand previously about the game.
    Hoping to see more in the future! 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great annotation for us new players. On Turn 5 AR3 Asia scoring, why doesn’t US have Dominance? It says USSR has 3 and 2 battlegrounds (due to shuttle diplomancy) and US has 3 and 3. So, US has more battlegrounds and controls more countries. ? What am I missing? Thank you for the help.

  9. jebmak says:

    Hi! Thank you for the rundown of the game!

    I’m a completely new player, why did this happen?

    Turn 6, USA action round 6
    DEFCON Level raised to 4

    Thanks.

  10. meshuggah42 says:

    Will there be any more annotated games in the future?

  11. meshuggah42 says:

    Will there be any more annotated games in the future? These are so intriguing to read. 🙂

  12. Zosete says:

    UN intervention cannot be played during headlines even if it’s through grain sales and for ops. Should have been returned to you hand. I guess WGR can’t account for everything.
    By the way, that makes holding UNI as the US one of the very rare cases when you may want to play grain sales in an AR instead of headlining It. Maybe I should ask this in the card discussion.

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