The Voice of America

The Voice of AmericaThe Voice of America

1947

Formed in 1942 under the War Information Office, the VOA initially broadcast war news into Nazi occupied Europe. In 1947, it altered its mission to begin broadcasting into the Soviet Union. Voice of America has become one of the best known international broadcast efforts in the world. It provided a powerful outside link to the state-controlled media systems of the Eastern Bloc. Together with Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia, Voice of America became a hallmark of US public diplomacy efforts during the Cold War.

Time: Mid War
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: No

As USSR

The Voice of America is a wholly unplayable event for the USSR.  It ranks alongside DEFCON suicide cards in terms of Space Race priority; at least with Duck and Cover, you could headline it or play it on AR1 when DEFCON is still at 3.  The Voice of America is never safe for the USSR to play and never mitigatable, not even if boosted with Brezhnev Doctrine.

The event is at its worst when you just made inroads into a region and VOA eliminates you entirely: for instance, it is a perfect antidote to a Mid War De-Stalinization.  It is therefore imperative for you to try to establish footholds of 5 influence (or one country with 3 influence) whenever and wherever you fear VOA.  Losing 4 influence is tough but at least salvageable; losing access entirely can decide the game.  This means, for instance, that you cannot just rely on 2 Venezuela / 2 Brazil as your sole foothold in South America, or 1 Angola / 1 Zaire / 1 Nigeria as your sole foothold in Africa.

As US

As indicated above, The Voice of America is best when you can use it to knock the USSR out of a region entirely.  Sometimes such a situation will naturally fall into your lap; other times, you can manufacture such situations with an eye towards VOA as the knockout blow.  A couple of strategic coups and realignments can reduce the USSR down to what he thinks is a last stand, before VOA takes him out by the knees.

If you can’t eliminate access, then the next best effect of VOA is in countries where you have influence and can immediately control or threaten to immediately control.  It is a good way to simultaneously threaten two regions at once and force the USSR to choose between them.

VOA is one of the best AR7 plays.  In particular, VOA is at its most devastating on Turn 10 AR7.  If I draw VOA in the Late War, I will do everything possible to make sure that I can hold it until then for a crippling final blow.

It is somewhat athematic that VOA cannot affect Europe, but I suppose the event is strong enough without it being a quasi-East European Unrest as well.

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7 Responses to The Voice of America

  1. Ioan76_TM says:

    >It is somewhat athematic that VOA cannot affect Europe{…}

    Beyond game-play purpose I believe that is maybe intended to present the situation from “police-states” – and USSR’ european salients was much closer to this. But is this case I’d still extend this interdiction to a handfull of other non-european countries like N. Korea, Cuba and Vietnam.
    IMHO – for game-balancing purpose I’d like this card to be a cancelable event … maybe Glasnost in LateWar ( for example ) to be able to prevent it also. 🙂

  2. ddddddd says:

    I think it’s athematic because VoA was directed predominantly at Europe (and not, for example, South America or Africa). However, in TS the card is almost exclusively used for reducing USSR influence in the mid-war regions. I can see the argument for this having a Glasnost/Iron Lady-esque unplayability interaction. because it is not removed after play, it is pretty bananas when it gets played and then SALT’ed back or (even worse) Star Wars’ed back into play.

    • Ioan76_TM says:

      >I think it’s athematic because VoA was directed predominantly at Europe (and not, for example, South America or Africa).

      I didn’t contest this aspect. 🙂
      And if this card is intended to be 100% thematic it would probably give some US INF inside Eastern Europe instead of removing USSR ones ( I’d say this based on my pre-1989 memories 😉 ).

      >I can see the argument for this having a Glasnost/Iron Lady-esque unplayability interaction. because it is not removed after play, it is pretty bananas when it gets played and then SALT’ed back or (even worse) Star Wars’ed back into play.

      Exactely. I’d say that a game in which VoA is drawn twice – let’s say once by Soviet player and ( usually ) spaced and once by American player and used for event – is still quite balanced and somehow luck didn’t contribute too much. But if it get played 3 or even 4 time ( due to both SALT & Star Wars let’s say ) … removal of 12-16 INF without any way to prevent/reduce its impact is … purely and simply too much. 😦

      My personal opinion – of course. 🙂

  3. SnowFire says:

    As a comment on drawing Voice of America in the Late War… if you’re considering the hold-VoA until T10 AR7 trick, you should try to card count Alridch Ames. Terrorism and Quagmire too, if possible. If at least 2 of these 3 are still around, you should probably just use VoA sooner rather than later. So I personally am not a huge fan of trying to hold VoA from Turn 8-> Turn 10 (too easy to get Ames’d away no matter who draws it), but if on turn 9 Ames has already been disposed of and you drew Terrorism yourself, then sure, hold VoA to turn 10.

    On Turn 10 itself, Iranian-powered Terrorism on AR7 can deny the US its final play, and if Quagmire wasn’t activated already, then a Soviet play of Quagmire on their own AR7 can nicely undo whatever you planned to do on AR7, so. If you think the board favors you, maybe better to play it safe and blow VoA “early” to be sure it goes off at all. (If the only way you can win is an outrageously unfair AR7 VoA stealing Dominations, then you just need to hope for the best, of course!)

  4. pietshaq says:

    VoA played in AR7 in Turn 10 was a 12 VP swing for me yesterday. I swinged Asia from -6 (USSR Domination 4:2) to +6 (US Domination 1:2 + Afghanistan). What’s the theoretical record?

    • Alsadius says:

      Usually, the ideal situation is where the US has one BG and at least one non-BG on a given continent, and the USSR has one BG (that isn’t overcontrolled) and no non-BGs. This means one point will flip the continent from neutral (each side has Presence and one BG) to US domination and one battleground, with no Soviet presence. If the one Soviet BG is also adjacent to the US (i.e., Japan/Cuba/Mexico), that’s another +1 because you deny the Soviet player that one point.

      Asia: Most BGs are an 8-point swing, while Japan is a 9-point swing.
      Middle East: 6 points
      South America: 6 points
      Africa: 5 points
      Central America: 4 points if it’s Panama, 5 for Cuba or Mexico.

      So the theoretical maximum with this approach is 9+6+6+5 = a 26-point swing.

      However, I think you can do better in Africa. The US has four BGs, Russia has four non-BGs, and the fifth BG is contested with the US one influence short of taking the country. In this case, you remove one point from that fifth BG and go from presence to control (+5), plus you pick up a BG, for a total of +6. In the other continents this is equal (Central America), not actually possible (Middle East, which has more BG than non-BG), or worse (SA/Asia), but in Africa it’s one point better. That gets you up to a 27-point swing.

      I can’t find any better approaches than that, though. You can’t flip Europe control, because the card doesn’t affect Europe, and everything else I can think of with a bigger effect would take two points, not one. So I think a 27-point swing is the maximum possible.

      (The forum page Theory linked is currently down for maintenance, so I can’t read it to see if anyone else concocted anything better.)

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