Iran-Contra Scandal

Iran-Contra ScandalIran-Contra Scandal


In an effort to secure the release of US hostages in Lebanon, the Reagan administration undertook secret negotiations with Iran involving “arms for hostages.” This was in violation of the stated US policy of never negotiating with terrorists. Compounding this difficulty was the fact that the proceeds from weapons sales to Iran were used to covertly fund the Contra guerillas in Nicaragua. This was in contravention of stated Administration policy, as well as laws adopted by the Democrat-controlled Congress. Colonel Oliver North and Admiral John Poindexter both were criminally indicted for the scandal, though the Congressional report concluded that President Reagan bore ultimate responsibility for the scandal.

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


Along with Che, Iran-Contra Scandal is one of the most underrated events in the game.  The reason it is so powerful (compared to Latin American Death Squads) is that the modifier applies to all US realignment rolls, including their rolls on your realignments.  So it’s not a speculative event: you headline it and then go nuts realigning the US in the Mid War regions.  Suddenly, now that even rolls are favorable, it is a lot easier to find good realignment targets.  No need to hold onto both Colombia and Brazil to realign Venezuela any more; just one of the two will suffice.


Play it on your last Action Round, though you can sometimes get away with playing it merely very late if the USSR doesn’t have time to set up a realignment.

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11 Responses to Iran-Contra Scandal

  1. Chimista says:

    It´s so true this is an underrated event. I never stopped to think about the posibilities you mentioned, thank you!
    Besides, somethin all late-war events suffer is that they appear very seldom as average, since many games don’t even reach the late-war and this makes all late-war cards much harder to learn.
    Has anyone ever tried a “random” game with the cards mixed so anything could appear from T1? Obviously this could spoil the entire balance of the game (not to mention the historical background) but could be fun

    • The Archon says:

      Apparently, others had this in mind, because (at least in the Deluxe Rules) there is a “Late War Scenario” designed by Volko Ruhnke that sets the game up to begin in the Late War to allow use of the Late War events that are typically seldom seen. I have never played it, but it looks interesting, and would certainly allow for a shorter game that implements the Late War events for learning how they work. I think this could be a better way to learn how the interaction of the Late War events than randomly throwing in all Events from the very beginning, as a number of the Late War events appear to facilitate game end.

      • spuddddddd says:

        I’ve played the scenario. It is good for balance, and does indeed allow you to play with the backend of the deck, which is nice, but it takes a long time to set it up (“1 US, 2 USSR in Bolivia; 2 US, 1 USSR in Ecuador, …”)

  2. aisforantipathy says:

    I didn’t know this applied to the US rolling on USSR rolls!

  3. BamBix says:

    This event helped me win Venezuela yesterday. Took me several tries and some of my own influence, but I managed to reduce Venezuela from 7/10 to 4/0.

  4. Brain Strainer says:

    Rules Question! Does this event temporarily cancel Rule 6.2.2 for the USA, or is it used in conjunction with the other modifiers of Rule 6.2.2? I’ve been using it in conjunction, but taking a new look makes me wonder. A drastic example would be like trying to realign France currently at (3/3) — if the USA controls 3 adjacent countries, does the USA d.r. modifier go to +2 (3 minus 1), or does it go to -1 (the event trumps rule 6.2.2)?

  5. Wisebar says:

    My opponent played SALT Negotiations at the end of the previous turn (mainly for the sneaky VP gain), so was able to headline this with DEFCON at 5. Was enough to overturn Asia Domination.

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