Tuesday, 4 September 2012

AAR - Twilight Struggle 02-Sept-12 and 09-Sept-12

On Sunday night we played turns one to five in our first game of Twilight Struggle, by GMT games. With the sides randomly drawn, I played the Soviets against GaryB's United States of America.

Here's how it's played out so far...


I had the Europe Scoring card in my opening hand and wanted to put pressure on Italy (a battleground country) from the beginning. Using the additional Soviet influence to control Greece and to

Turn #1

My focus for at least the early part of turn #1 was to prepare myself for The Europe Scoring card in my hand to maximise my VPs.  

Headlines - During headline I played Socialist Governments to "Remove a total of 3 US Influence from any countries in Western Europe." unfortunately GaryB played Defectors, which cancelled the event on my card.

The China Card
1.1 USSR - The China Card for a coup in Iran. I only rolled a "1", but that was enough to remove US influence there. This also gave me +4 military OPs. USA - The Cambridge Five for 2OPs in Austria.

1.2 USSR - Korean War for 2OPs in Turkey and E.Germany solidifying Europe. USA - Arab-Israeli War for 2OPs into the Lebanon and Jordan.

1.3 USSR - Vietnam Revolts for 2OPs in Italy removing US control there. USA - played Fidel to make a space race roll (failed).

1.4 USSR - Europe Scoring 9VPs (USSR) vs. 4VPs (US) a NET gain of 5VPs for me :) USA - attempted a coup in Syria with Decolonisation weakening the Soviets there.

1.5 USSR - Special Relationship (US event) for 2OPs into Iraq. Event allowed US player to "Add 1 US Influence to a single country adjacent to the U.K." with France being chosen. USA - another coup in Syria to give the US control using the Independent Reds card.

1.6 USSR - CIA created for 1OP used in Italy. The US event allowed GaryB to look at my hand of cards and play an OP which was also played in Italy. USA - Nasser for 1OP in Italy giving the US control.

END of Turn #1 - I was really happy with my progress in Turn #1 given that European Scoring had fallen into my lap. To be honest I focused on that for most of the turn and became a little blinkered to the rest of the board, Space Race etc.

5VP lead to USSR

Turn #2
I had drawn Middle East Scoring and was already in a pretty reasonable position there.

Suez Crisis
Headlines - Suez Crisis allowing USSR to remove US influence from Israel, France and UK (2). Truman Doctrine removed all USSR influence from a single European country, in the case Italy.

2.1 USSR - East European Unrest played for 3OPs used to begin to swing Syria. The US event then played out for this card and USSR influence was removed from Poland, East Germany and Finland. USA - US/Japan Mutual Defence Pact "The US adds sufficient Influence to Japan for Control. The USSR cannot make Coup Attempts or Realignment rolls against Japan." swinging Japan heavily to the US side.

2.2 USSR - Comecon, played for 3OPs, 2 into Syria and 1 into N.Korea. USA - De Gaulle Leads France for 3OPs, 2 into Canada (preparing for the NORAD card) and 1 to the UK.

2.3 USSR - Olympic Games to coup in the Lebanon and keep pressure up to take majority of VPs in Middle East. USA - used NATO for 4OPs to coup Egypt (and finally strike back in the Middle East) removing USSR control.

2.4 USSR - It was too little too late in the Middle East as I completed Middle East Scoring for a 6VP swing to the USSR. USA - responded by playing The China Card for 5OPs (all in Asia) Philippines, N.Korea and S.Korea (2).

2.5 USSR - I played the Five Year Plan for 3OPs as I had only two other cards left, neither of which would have given the US an event to play. Afghanistan (2) and N.Korea. USA - Played Blockade for 1OP in Indonesia and triggering the USSR event on the card "Unless the US immediately discards a card with an Operations value of 3 or more, remove all US Influence from West Germany." The US discarded Warsaw Pact Formed.

NORAD Satellite
2.6 USSR - Romanian Abdication for 1OP in N.Korea. USA - played the NORAD event. "Add 1 US Influence to a single country containing US Influence, at the end of each Action Round, if Canada is US-controlled and the DEFCON level moved to 2 during that Action Round. This Event is cancelled by the “#42 – Quagmire” Event." A scary card!

END of Turn #2 At this point, even with the NORAD card in play, I felt that the USSR were too far ahead and that the game wouldn't reach the half-way point.

11VP lead to USSR

Turn #3
The discard was shuffled into the deck and I lucked out drawing the Middle East Scoring card again. Not wanting to waste any time I played it as my Headline event...

Headlines - A USSR attempt at Middle East Scoring was cancelled by Defectors! Grrrr!

3.1 USSR - Decolonization played for the event to "Add 1 USSR Influence to each of any 4 countries in Africa and/or Southeast Asia." Australia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam selected. USA - Red Scare/Purge "All Operations cards played by the opponent, for the remainder of this turn, receive -1 to their Operations value" a nasty one for the beginning of a turn for me :(

India/Pakistan War
3.2 USSR - Nuclear Test Ban played for 4OPs (NET 3OPs with Red Scare/Purge from last turn) all OPs played in Asia to wrestle control back for the Soviets. USA - Indo-Pakistani War another killer card from the US as they roll a "6" to take control of Pakistan, gain 2VPs and 2 on the military track!

3.3 USSR - I had to come back in Asia and played The China Card to coup in Pakistan taking it back from US control. USA - Independent Reds for 2OPs in Malaysia.

3.4 USSR - I was quickly running out of options and had to play the Marshall Plan (US event) for 4OPs (NET 3OPs) all going into India. The Marshall Plan event allowed the US to add 1 influence in UK, France, Finland, Austria, Sweden, Spain and Denmark. Ouch! USA - Formosan Resolution "If this card’s Event is in effect, Taiwan will be treated as a Battleground country, for scoring purposes only, if Taiwan is US controlled when the Asia Scoring Card is played. This Event is cancelled after the US has played the “#6 – The China Card” card."

3.5 USSR - Asia Scoring for a 5VP swing to the USSR. The US were just too late in there response to the Soviet build-up in Asia. USA - Warsaw Pact for a coup in Pakistan, no change though.

Duck & Cover gives US 3VPs
3.6 USSR - Containment (US event) for 3OPs (NET 2OPs) in Iran. US resolved the Containment  event, but the +1 OPs for remained of this turn would be of little use.  USA - Duck & Cover "Degrade the DEFCON level by 1. The US receives VP equal to 5 minus the current DEFCON level." giving the US player 3VPs.  

END of Turn #3 Both of us scored 5VPs each in turn #3, but it was the low DEFCON level that was worrying me as the NORAD card was in play and the US looked likely to benefit from it in Turn #4. 

11VP lead to USSR

Turn #4
I'd drawn Europe Scoring, but it would be Africa taking centre stage in Turn #4.

Lee Harvey Oswald
Headlines - The US reveal NATO as their headline "The USSR cannot make Coup Attempts or Realignment rolls against any US controlled countries in Europe." which pretty much put me on the back foot for any European scoring that round. I played Lone Gunman to reveal the US player's hand. He had the Africa Scoring card so I used my 1OP in Algeria.

4.1 USSR - I played How I Learned to Stop Worrying to move the DEFCON level to "5" and protect myself from the NORAD card in play. This also gave me 5 military OPs. USA - Colonial Rear Guards to add influence in South Africa, Angola, Zaire and Nigeria. A big play ahead of African Scoring.

4.2 USSR - Needing to get some OPs in Africa I offloaded Alliance for Progress for 3OPs (Algeria and Saharan States), but giving the US player 1VP from the event. USA - Used Shuttle Diplomacy to coup in Algeria resulting in a -1 to USSR influence there.

4.3 USSR - Europe wasn't going to get any better for me so I played Europe Scoring which was tied at 5VPs each. USA - Coup in Algeria again (DEFCON back to 3!), but no change in Algeria due to US rolling a "1".

4.4 USSR - 4OPs from Flower Power to place influence in Algeria and Nigeria. USA - Coup in Nigeria pushing DEFCON to "2" and triggering the NORAD effect to boost US influence across the board. I needed to do something about this soon!

4.5 USSR - Used UN Intervention to cancel US event The Voice of America for 2OPs (Cameron and Dominican Republic) USA - Made a mistake in playing Africa Scoring early (not enough "non-battleground countries" to take domination), but US still came out ahead by 5VPs to 2VPs.

Nixon In China
4.6 USSR - 1OP in Guatamala USA - Nixon Plays the China Card "...If the US already has the “The China Card” card, the US receives 2 VP." They did and were boosted by a further 2VPs.

4.7 USSR - 1OP in Cuba USA - 1OP in Panama.

END of Turn #4 Momentum switched to the US this turn by a 13VPs to 7VPs margin. This could have be worse for me if African scoring had of gone to plan for MrB. NORAD card will kill me if I don't get rid of it, so not looking as rosy in the Soviet garden!

5VP lead to USSR

Turn #5
Quagmire! I'd managed to draw the card to remove NORAD, but couldn't afford for it to be cancelled. I also had two scoring cards, SE Asia and South American Scoring.

Headline - I played ABM Treaty to improve DEFCON level by 1 (to 4) and get 4OPs, which I spent in N.Korea and Thailand. GaryB played Our Man in Tehran to look at the top five cards of the draw pile. He discarded 3 cards from those selected.

5.1 USSR - Quagmire, cancelling NORAD effect and forcing the US to discard a 2+ OPs card from the next Action Round and make a D6 roll to remove the Quagmire effect. USA - Coup in Mexico, no effect.

5.2 USSR - Coup in Panama, reducing US influence there to 1. USA - Played The China Card to bump Cuban influence up to "4".

The Cuban Missile Crisis
5.3 USSR - In FIDEL I had the perfect response to the US build-up in Cuba. All US influence there was removed and USSR gained enough "2" to control it. USA - Tensions in Cuba would explode with the play of the Cuban Missile Crisis "Set the DEFCON level to 2. Any Coup Attempts by your opponent, for the remainder of this turn, will result in Global Thermonuclear War. Your opponent will lose the game. This card’s Event may be cancelled, at any time, if the USSR removes 2 Influence from Cuba or the US removes 2 Influence from West Germany or Turkey."

5.4 USSR - 1OP in Indonesia. USA - The Korean War for 2OPs triggering the USSR event. "North Korea invades South Korea. Roll a die and subtract (-1) from the die roll for every US controlled country adjacent to South Korea. On a modified die roll of 4-6, the USSR receives 2 VP and replaces all US Influence in South Korea with USSR Influence. The USSR adds 2 to its Military Operations Track." It all goes well for the Soviets and they move up 2VPs!

5.5 USSR - 2OPs in Central America USA - Successfully launch a satellite for 2VPs.
5.6 USSR - SE Asia scoring. I made a mistake here reading the card as "Asia Scoring", but still swing the points by 5VPs to 2VPs. USA - Build upon their space race success and send a chimp  into space. They can now play two space race cards per turn and the Soviets are getting left behind.
5.7 USSR - South America Scoring - no impact as no influence held their by either superpower. USA - 1OP for influence.

8VP lead to USSR

State of the War
Following a runaway start the USSR had been pegged back considerably, but still forged out a significant 8VP lead at the half-way stage. I think the US player will struggle to close this gap enough to win, but who knows what lies in the card draws ahead. From the very first turn this game gripped me and I was immersed in the Cold War theme. Loving it!

Turn #6
Headline - GaryB played Ussuri River Skirmish to claim the China card from me, face-up and ready to play. In return I played The Cambridge Five, but he had no scoring cards to be revealed.

6.1 USSR - We Will Bury You, "Degrading the DEFCON level by 1. Unless the #32 UN Intervention card is played as an Event on the US’s next action round, the USSR receives 3 VP". USA - SALT Negotiations "Improve the DEFCON level by 2. For the remainder of the turn, both players receive -1 to all Coup Attempt rolls". He also claimed the Red Scare/Purge card.

6.2 USSR - Ask Not What Your Country… played for 3Ops to gain 2 influence in Panama. The associated US event was triggered allowing GaryB to discard three cards and draw three replacements. USA - China Card for Ops to bring US to 3 influence (=USSR) in Cuba.

Everything remained tight into turn 7, but the USSR had enough VPs to win the game with the late war card Wargames! Twilight Struggle is a top game.


1 comment:

  1. I have to said I love this game but because of its length stuggle to get opponents. Like all good games the more time u invest in the game the more fun you get back.