Aldrich Ames Remix

Aldrich Ames RemixAldrich Ames Remix

1985 – 1994

The first known successful penetration of the CIA by the KGB, Aldrich Ames compromised hundreds of CIA operations and provided information that resulted in the execution of 10 US sources. The CIA spent years looking for another explanation for the leaks—in particular the possibility that the KGB had bugged CIA headquarters. Ames’ motivation was not ideological, and he and his wife enjoyed the extravagance that his $2.5 million in bribes provided. Ames first walked into the Soviet embassy in 1985. At that time, he oversaw the analysis of Soviet intelligence operations in Europe.

Time: Late War
Side: USSR
Ops: 3
Removed after event: Yes


A phenomenal headline.  In some ways it is even stronger than the original Aldrich Ames (see below): Aldrich Ames Remix still retains DEFCON win possibilities (it is usually an instant win if the US is holding Lone Gunman), and even if you don’t get to win by DEFCON, you do get to discard the best US event in their hand (ideally a scoring card) and see the US hand for the rest of the turn.  All in all, it makes Aldrich Ames Remix one of the best USSR headlines in the Late War, especially since it’s almost impossible to backfire or be mitigated.


This is typically painless if you play it in your last action round, and in fact is probably a boon as you can use it to discard a strong USSR card (or even a bad scoring card), reminiscent of the USSR Five Year Plan trick.  It is not advisable to play Aldrich Ames Remix before your last action round.

Aldrich Ames Original

The original version of Aldrich Ames, included in pre-Deluxe Editions of the game, is a 4 Ops USSR starred event with the following text:

US player must display his/her hand. USSR player then orders the US player’s cards.  US player must play hand in that order.  US player may not play The China Card for the rest of this turn.

I don’t recommend playing with the original Aldrich Ames, the simplest reason being that it is hugely time-consuming as the USSR will likely spend quite a while planning out their turn to calculate the best possible order of the US cards.  It also cripples the US decision-making for that turn and is a generally unpleasant experience (especially if it ends the game).

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24 Responses to Aldrich Ames Remix

  1. SnowFire says:

    “Ames first walked into the Soviet embassy in 1995…”

    …where he found in the rubble documents related to the decision of the Premier to start a nuclear war because they couldn’t tell fact from fiction in the US plans, and believed that Reagan was crazy enough to start the nukes himself. Stricken with this knowledge, he resolved to take up the offer of the visiting Centaurian, who let Ames use his spaceship’s Temporal Modulator to travel 10 years back in time. Knowing that his actions would never be understood by his countrymen, and that becoming a spy for the Soviets was only to prevent the onrushing doom of the world, Ames fearlessly stepped to his destiny, wondering if he could somehow cause the USSR to collapse via spying for it before the terrible Armageddon in ’94…

  2. spuddddddd says:

    Such a cracking event for the USSR! Surely a candidate for the “key event for you to draw instead of your opponent” award — Glasnost would be worth a mention in that category.

    • Charles Martel says:

      Voice of America would be #1 on that list.

      • ddddddd says:

        Well, certainly it’s a no brainer for the USSR — straight to space, no questions asked. A good reason for not space-ing too liberally early on as Soviets. But Ames can be a game winner.

        • Charles Martel says:

          VOA is the only card in the game that is never, ever played for ops, by either side. One side always plays it for the event, and the other always spaces it. That’s not true of any other event.

          • pietshaq says:

            I guess you’re wrong. Scoring cards are also cards that are never, ever played for ops, by either side 😉 On the other side, either side sometimes neither spaces nor plays VoA for the event. Instead, they just use it to discard from Quagmire/Bear Trap.
            To be honest, I’ve never seen played John Paul II Elected Pope for ops.

            • Charles Martel says:

              Okay, well, besides scoring cards, willing discards, and forced discards, I think it’s the only one. I’ve definitely played John Paul II for ops as the US, because the Soviets had massive overcontrol of Poland, and as the Soviets, because I had massive overcontrol of Poland.

          • theory says:

            Technically, Grain Sales to Soviets should be the least-Opped card, because by definition it is always better for the US to play it for the event, and when was the last time you saw a USSR willingly play Grain Sales?

            But yes, it is clearly GSTS or VOA.

            • Charles Martel says:

              Soviets could theoretically play GSTS with an empty hand at little cost, which they could not do with VOA.

            • pietshaq says:

              I once had board when I played Grain Sales for ops as USSR as the last card in my hand because it was the last AR in the game (Aldrich Ames plus doubled Terrorism cut US hand) and I saw that no matter what, US cannot change scoring with 2 Ops while USSR, given the opportunity of the last control-break, could.

              Technically US should never play GSTS for Ops.

          • Alsadius says:

            I know I’m necroposting hard here, but I just saw VOA played for ops. (It involved UN Intervention, naturally.) And reading this post as it happened, I couldn’t pass up the concept of mentioning it.

  3. Eruantalon says:

    The point is – GSTS is defcon suicide card – USA can coup MidWar Battleground, thus droping Defcon to 1 and ending the game. They cn do this even if USSR’s hand is empty, as they can conduct operations with op value of GSTS itself.

    • discomute says:

      Forgive my inorance but how is this a Sefton suicide card with lone gunman?

      • Yeah – this makes no sense……

        • It makes sense if corrected to : “Aldrich Ames Remix still retains DEFCON win possibilities (it is usually an instant win if the US is LEFT holding Lone Gunman)”. I.e if the US has LG and one other card left, discarding this other card will (if defcon is at 2) lose the US players the game.

          • Gabriel Pope says:

            If the US doesn’t have the China Card, then discarding a card means that they must play every card in their hand by the end of the turn. So if they have Lone Gunman and don’t have any way to safely get rid of it (which the USSR can see), then they wind up forced to suicide on AR7.

  4. Derwerner says:

    Question: If I play Aldrich Ames as headline, can I (in case my headline goes first) nullify the US headline? Because technically the US headline is already played and therefore not ‘in hand’ (this might be my answer, but I’m just checking).

  5. Pingback: Wargames | Twilight Strategy

  6. Dr.Manhattan says:

    imagine how annoying it is when the US has Defectors though, and the USSR was silly enough not to realise he got to look at my headline first. And even more silly to casually say “yeah this is a really bad headline for you, unless you have Defectors… oh look there you do have it, DAMN IT”

  7. JC says:

    There was a Play The Experts game that Brian Reynolds played in which his USSR opponent played both Colonial Rear Guards and Voice of America for ops in the same turn. I can’t recall what dire liabilities he had in his hand, but it was really the best he could do. He allowed the US to surprisingly get very little out of it.

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