ABM Treaty

ABM TreatyABM Treaty

1972

The Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty sought to cement the system of mutually assured destruction as the lynchpin of strategic balance. The ABM treaty restricted the ability of the two superpowers to defend themselves from nuclear strike. In theory, this made a first strike to prevent the introduction of destabilizing defensive systems unnecessary. Both nations were allowed to defend either their capital or one field of ICBMs with a missile defense system. The Soviets deployed such a system around Moscow. Ultimately, the US abandoned its system deployed in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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

One of the Big Three Mid War neutral events, along with Brush War and Junta, and easily one of the best events in the game.

Its most common use is as a free 4 Ops coup after DEFCON drops to 2.  (Somewhat ironic that an anti-ballistic missile treaty is intended to launch coups, but that’s Cold War logic for you I suppose.)  This is a pretty self-explanatory way to dramatically alter the dynamics of South America or Central America, and more rarely a way to really, really lock up an African battleground.  For the US, they get a small bonus here with NORAD.

You can also headline this to conduct operations in the headline.  Headlining it (or playing it on AR1, as USSR) gives you the chance to perform the rare Asia coup, possibly flipping Thailand or Pakistan.

Of course, being able to conduct operations in the headline is an all-around useful tactic.  The US can perform the SALT-ABM trick: use SALT Negotiations to reclaim ABM Treaty to your hand at the end of the turn, pushing DEFCON up two levels.  Then as DEFCON rises to 5 next turn, you headline ABM Treaty and get to conduct operations in Europe in the headline phase: typically a series of realignments, though occasionally you might see an Italy coup.  The USSR can do this too, but it’s a little bit trickier: first, you’re giving the US a free (albeit -1) battleground coup on AR7; second, the US might headline Defectors; third, a US 4 Ops headline would trigger before yours.  The US faces none of these problems.

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8 Responses to ABM Treaty

  1. crymble says:

    well done theory, saving your favorite till last. Id say your comprehensive, consistent and effective analysis of the game is complete. if one cant read the inventory of cards you have dissected and understand underlying strategy of the game they never will. but please be OCD and complete the set.

    Cheers

  2. klinsy73 says:

    Absolutely echo previous comment. There may not be always a correct way of utilising a card but at least we have no excuses for screwing up.

    How about a whole section on the China card? This game changing card has been mentioned in dispatches. I feel it’s worthy of a section devoted much like regions or battlegrounds.

    This site has helped expand my strategy no-end. Keep up the sterling work.

  3. Dan says:

    Just a small comment about the ABM-SALT play. It’s a cool tactic, which quickly became a staple in my games (both my plays and my opponent’s plays), but I’m actually starting to use it less because it puts regions that you are alread dominating or controlling at risk. Thanks to your advice, I have found myself locking my opponent out of Africa or S. America. On such a case, I would never really really be able to use this play – while it may turn the tide in Europe or Asia (but not both), it turns a tenuously controlled Africa and S. America into more of a deadlocked region. I can only think of using Cuban Missle Crisis, in exactly the right situation, to stop this…

    • trevaur says:

      Assuming that Defcon is at 2, you shouldn’t be worried about playing SALT and raising the Defcon by 2. If your opponent coups you in a critical battleground then you have the option of couping back. If you are the US, it’s actually good to have the Defcon at 4, because you can coup on your last AR, lower Defcon to 3 and then it gets raised back to 4 for the next turn, meaning that the USSR still can’t coup without you being able to respond. This kind of play effectively eliminates the USSR’s AR 1 coup until they decide to coup at Defcon 4, giving you the advantage of couping second.

  4. pietshaq says:

    Rules clarification question.

    US headlines Red Scare/Purge, USSR headlines ABM Treaty. What is op value of ABM Treaty for USSR?

    • OneDollarBill says:

      3 Ops.

      The American event occurs first, then the ABM Treaty Ops are conducted “as if they played a 4 Ops card.” The 4 Ops card would have its Ops reduced by one (due to Purge.)

  5. Steve says:

    The Missile Envy comments have some more good advice about this card: if it is the Mid or Late War, and Missile Envy is not in the discard (or if is is in the discard, but it is the late war and Star Wars has not been played and the USA is ahead on the space track) — be sure to headline ABM, unless you have another 4 Op card you’re willing and able to give to your opponent (USA can also play Defectors, if they fear Missile Envy). I’ve been burned a couple times by holding back ABM hoping to launch a surprise second coup at some point, only to have the USA steal it as my only 4 Op card. Losing ABM to an opponent is extremely painful and probably worth avoiding, unless you have some other, slam-dunk play in mind that cannot be short-circuited by an opponent stealing ABM.

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