After years of deteriorating relations and China’s first nuclear test, forces of the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union clashed along their long and porous border. The Ussuri and Amur Rivers’ possession remained uncertain between the two nations and were a source of friction. Following a military buildup on both sides of the border, tensions spilled over into a several sharp skirmishes. While full-blown war was avoided, the fighting led directly to the People’s Republic of China’s interest in rapidly normalizing relations with the United States.
Time: Mid War
Removed after event: Yes
This is like an amped-up version of Nixon Plays the China Card, in that you are presented with two very unappealing choices.
There are really two options to this — either you can just fork over the China Card face-up, which is bad for all sorts of reasons, or you can give the US 4 influence, knowing you can only repair 3. The latter is better if the US doesn’t have a face-up China Card, i.e., you played the China Card earlier in the turn.
Regardless of the path you chose, triggering this event basically means the loss of Asia or the China Card, rendering you very vulnerable to DEFCON suicide. As a result I almost always send it to space.
The main appeal of Ussuri River Skirmish is that Asia is very difficult to flip. This event coupled with the China Card is therefore one of the few ways to swing the region in your favor in the Mid War if it has yet to be scored. 5 Ops is enough to flip any uncontrolled 3-stability country or any non-overcontrolled 2-stability country. I usually target Thailand first, then Pakistan/North Korea/South Korea, depending on which I control.
Although Ussuri is a powerful event, it’s also easily parried with a 4 Ops card. Therefore, you want to time Ussuri so that the USSR either can’t respond to it (late in the turn, when he has used up his high Ops cards), or must hand over the initiative in order to do so (i.e., headlining Ussuri or playing it on AR7). It’s even better when you can headline Ussuri River Skirmish on top of an AR7 play that already de-stabilized Asia, because then the damage is hopefully irreparable in a single Action Round.
You can also just play Ussuri for the China card, which I often do if I need to hold an extra card this turn (and would therefore like to play the China Card), take away a safety outlet for the USSR, or if Asia has already been scored.