1960 – 1989
Throughout the Cold War, both left and rightwing governments supported reactionary regimes that resorted to disproportionate force when reacting to threats to that government. While this was a particular penchant of rightwing governments in Latin America, leftist governments also proved their deft use of brutality. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Columbia remain the most harrowing examples of the practice of government sponsored murder. President Osorio of Guatemala once infamously remarked “If it is necessary to turn the country into a graveyard in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.”
Time: Mid War
Removed after event: No
A somewhat speculative headline, Latin American Death Squads is most useful when engaged in a battle for Central America (as the coup targets are better than in South America). It can also be used as a prophylactic defense for one of your battlegrounds in case your opponent gets the battleground coup.
The main limit to its usefulness is that you don’t really need that many non-battleground coups. Therefore, events that allow more battleground coups by either side (SALT Negotiations, How I Learned to Stop Worrying, ABM Treaty, Nuclear Subs, etc.) all make LADS more useful, provided that South America/Central America is yet to be scored.
Just to be clear: the opponent’s -1 to coup attempts applies only to coups in the Americas, right? Seems the clear way to read the spirit of the card, but the letter of the card seems ambiguous.
Yes, the card only affects coups in the Americas. As far as I know, this kind of phrasing is actually common, as it avoids unnecessary repetition. If the latter sentence was to apply in another region (or globally), it would be mentioned separately.
Any native English speaker may feel free to correct me, though.
Yeah, it’s totally kosher English to elide the prepositional phrase ‘in Central and South America’, and in ordinary conversation such constructions are easy to interpret. But reasoning about the designers’ intent doesn’t seem to help here. You might say “If they’d meant the penalty to apply globally, they’d say so specifically,” but you might equally well say “If they’d meant the penalty to apply to the Americas only, they’d say so specifically.”
It seems to me that there’s actually quite a bit of sloppy or counterintuitive writing in Twilight Struggle—to take just one example, the fact that ‘played’ on RS/P applies to not just conventional plays but discards as well—and so I’m careful now to look up rules clarifications!
If US plays it in headline, would it degrade the effect of Junta?
I once played a game where my opponent used this card in an interesting way. He headlined it, then took non-battlegrounds in S. America in order to threaten realignments. If I had started a coup war, I likely would have lost due to LADS. I don’t remember exactly how it played out; I think I barely managed to hold on in S. America.
Anyway, it goes to show that LADS can still be useful, even if you don’t make a single coup in the Americas during the turn.