Star Wars

Star WarsStar Wars

1983 – ?

More properly known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, President Reagan announced this radical departure from the Cold War doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” in a live television speech to the American public. The initial concept for the “space shield” was developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by Dr. Peter Hagelstein. Notionally, it would create a series of space based satellites powered by nuclear reactors that would create an impenetrable field to block Soviet ICBM’s. While scientifically sound on paper, the concept was never successfully engineered. Later iterations involved “smart pebbles” and missile based interceptors. SDI is frequently credited as one of the factors that convinced Gorbachev that the Soviet Union could not keep up the Cold War.

Time: Late War
Side: US
Ops: 2
Removed after event: Yes

As USSR

The USSR doesn’t usually want to advance too far ahead on the Space Race track, but this is the best reason why it might want to keep ahead of the US.  If activated, then by definition, this is close to the worst possible US event for the USSR because it gives the US the choice of any event in the discard.  Even putting aside the DEFCON suicide cards, the possibilities are too many to list.  I have never seen a discard pile safe enough to play Star Wars as the USSR.

You can try to space something else first, so that the US is not ahead of you in the space race, allowing you to play Star Wars safely.  But if you fail, then you can’t send Star Wars to space, so it’s a big risk to take.

It goes without saying that if you are ahead on the Space Race, you should play this for Ops as soon as you can before the US overtakes you.

As US

An astonishingly strong event, adaptable to just about any board situation.  If I’m holding it, then I keep it until I have a particularly strong event in the discard that I want to trigger.  Sometimes this means another event in my hand — being able to play East European Unrest or The Voice of America twice can be game-ending.

If the prerequisite isn’t met, however, I usually give up on the card quickly.  It is rare to overtake an opponent on the Space Race once they are more than a single box away (One Small Step being the main exception).

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18 Responses to Star Wars

  1. Anonymous says:

    Couple questions about this card. If as thr US you headline it, can you use it to grab the Societ’s headline card (for example red scare/purge)? If so, can you only do so if their event has a higher ops value and is therefore triggered first?

    Also – more of a red scare/purge question I guess – if you headline RSP, can you then star wars to play it again and give the soviets -2 to all cards for the turn?

  2. Anonymous says:

    RSP/Star Wars for RSP/SALT/RSP/Bear Trap would be pretty hilarious, if impractical. If I had the cards to do it, I might, since it takes out 3 Soviet ARs, and his action rounds are at -1,-2,-2, and -3 ops.

  3. BamBix says:

    In theory, soviets could use this as HL in turn 7. If the USA has a 1 op headline or scoring card, star wars resolves without consequence, as the discard pile is empty! It’s still a risky gamble: if US plays a 2 op or higher, it occurs twice, which can be devastating. Still, if you know the opponents HL via space race, you could pull it off (but it’s unlikely that USA is ahead then).

    Similar if start of turn 7 US headlines a scoring card or removable event and USSR headlines a useful repeatable USSR event. As I read the card, if USSR then plays Star Wars in AR1, US is forced to repeat your event, since there is no other card in the pile.

    Am I interpreting the rules correctly? Either way, such occasions would be rare.

    • BamBix says:

      Ah, in my enthousiasm about finding loopholes I had forgotten about the ‘late war’ part. Still, it could be possible after a late war reshuffle 🙂

  4. Stephen says:

    i suppose it could also be a good strategy to discard how I learned to stop worrying, if your soviet may trigger. Pick it up, set the defcon to 1, insta-win, right?

  5. Ektorakos says:

    I don’t see in the guide above that SW may be played to revive War Games and end the game to The US player immediately

  6. Ektorakos says:

    to US player’s favor I meant

  7. I think the reason he hasn’t mentioned using Star warsto grab Wargames or How I learned to stop worrying to win the game is because the list of possible incredibly strong combinations and instant win cards is too long. If you mention Wargames then you’re obliged to include We Will Bury You, Duck and cover, CIA, Grain Sales, Soviets shoot down KAL-007… etc. which would all make you win by DEFCON suicide. As written in the article itself…

    “Even putting aside the DEFCON suicide cards, the possibilities are too many to list”

  8. Anonymous says:

    What if there are nothing but Soviet events and scoring cards in the discard pile (unlikely, but not impossible; for example, it’s AR7, US headlines a starred event or scoring card, then a few Soviet cards got played in AR1 and AR2, then the USSR plays this in AR3)? If the Soviets play this card, is the USA required to select and trigger a USSR event?

  9. lambolt says:

    why doesnt the USSR normally want to be ahead on the Space Race, my wife is obsessed with mopping up the big VP slots on the space race when she plays and uses them to good effect.

  10. Felix says:

    Hey, I think it was asked before but not answered.
    What happens if there are only USSR events in the discard pile and the USSR plays Star Wars? Does the US player has to trigger an USSR event or can he just choose to choose none?

  11. spuddddddd says:

    OK, so I’m fairly sure I’m missing something here, but does the US player *have* to select and play a card from the discard pile?

    For example, if in Turn 7, Defcon is at 3, and USSR headlines We Will Bury You and US headlines Star Wars (and is ahead on the space race) then is the US player forced to play wwby from the discard pile? (thereby losing the game through defcon suicide) or is he allowed to opt not to choose/play any card.

    It’s a fringe example, which would never happen in reality (why would US headline Star Wars when there’s nothing in the discard?!) but still – any clarification welcomed!

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