Friday, March 31, 2006

Twilight Struggle (Dennis Menear)

Dennis, my consistent We the People opponent, and I also fire up this new game. This time, I am trying the Soviet side.

Setup:
USSR: Poland (2), Romania (2), Austria (1), Sweden (1).
USA: W Germany (4), Italy (3)



Turn 1

Headline - USSR: Warsaw Pact Formed. Influence in Poland (3), Romania (3), Yugoslavia (1), Czechoslovakia (1), Finland (2) USA: Europe Scoring. USSR has presence, USA has presence. USSR has 2 Battleground countries (Poland, E Germany), USA has 1 (W Germany, Italy). No change.

Card 1 - USSR: Decolonization as event. Influence in Thailand (1), Laos (1), Vietnam (1), Indonesia (1). USA: CIA Created as Event. Influence in Iran (1).

Card 2 - USSR: Asia Scoring. USSR has domination, USA has presence. USSR has 1 Battleground countries (N Korea), USA has 0. Net 5 point shift for USSR. USA: Olympic Games for Influence: Lebanon (1), Jrdan (1). Based on CIA reports, Dennis knows that I have the MidEast Scoring card, so he's going to get busy here.

Card 3 - USSR: Marshall Plan on Space Race, to no avail. USA: Suez Crisis for Influence. The UK loses 2 (3) and Israel lose 1 (0) USA Influence. USA then places Influence: UK (4), Israel (1), Jordan (2).

Card 4 - USSR: Nasser as Event. 2 USSR Influence in Egypt (2). USA: Indo-Pakistani War for Coup in Egypt, reduces USSR Influence to 1.

Card 5 - USSR: Arab-Israeli War for Coup in Lebanon. Lebanon loses 1 USA Influence (0) and gains 5 USSR Influence (5). USA: Comecon on Space Race, the USA launches an Orbital Satellite.

Card 6 - USSR: MidEast Scoring. I never had enough to salvage the situation. USSR has presence, USA has domination. USSR has 0 Battleground countries, USA has 1 (Iran). Net 3 point shift for USA. USA: Socialist Governments for Influence. I place 3 influence and he removes 3, so thec ard is a complete wash.

USA and USSR lose 2 VP for Military Operations.

At Turn's Start:
VP: 0
Space Race: USSR:0 USA:1
DEFCON: 5
China Card: USSR



Turn 2

Headline - USSR: Red Scare/Purge. USA: Defectors cancels out my Headline card.

Card 1 - USSR: NATO for a Coup in Italy. 3 USA Influence Removed (0) and 1 USSR Influence added (1). USA: US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact as Event. Japan now has 4 USA Influence.

Card 2 - USSR: DeGaulle Leads France for Influence: Italy (2), France (2). USA: Nuclear Test Ban for Influence: UK (5), France (1), Malaysia (2).

Card 3 - USSR: Formosan Resolution on the Space Race, and the USSR puts Sputnik into orbit. USA: Korean War for Coup in Thailand, which is not successful. North Korea wins the War, 1 USSR Influence in S. Korea.

Card 4 - USSR: Vietnam Revolts for Influence: Iraq (3). USA: UN Intervention with De-Stalinization for Influence: France (2), Thailand (1).

Card 5 - USSR: East European Unrest for Influence, as a wash-out. The USSR simply replaces the Influence the USA removes. USA: Fidel on the Space Race to put a monkey into space.

Card 6 - USSR: Blockade as Event. I figure better to play this late and hope his last card isn't a 3Ops event. It isn't and all USA Influence is removed from W Germany. USA: Romanian Abdication for Influence: W. Germany (1).

USA and USSR lose 0 VP for Military Operations.

At Turn's Start:
VP: -3 USSR
Space Race: USSR:1 USA:2
DEFCON: 3
China Card: USSR



Turn 3

Headline - USSR: Fidel: Cuba (3) USA: Independent Reds: Romania (3).

Card 1 - USSR: Formosan Resolution for Influence: Thailand (3) USA: Europe Scoring. USSR has presence, USA has presence. USSR has 3 Battleground countries (Poland, Italy, E.Germany), USA has 0. Net 3 point shift for USSR.

Card 2 - USSR: Asia Scoring. USSR has domination, USA has presence. USSR has 3 Battleground countries (N.Korea, Thailand, E.Germany), USA has 1 (Japan). Net 5 point shift for USSR. USA: Olympic Games for Realignment: Iraq (USSR Influence to 0), Cuba (fails).

Card 3 - USSR: Captured Nazi Scientist as Event to put a dog into space. USA: MidEast Scoring. USSR has presence, USA has domination. USSR has 0 Battleground countries, USA has 1 (Iran). Net 3 point shift for USA.

Card 4 - USSR: Duck and Cover for Influence: W.Germany (3). USA gains 3VP for the Event. USA: De-Stalinization with UN Intervention for Influence: W.Germany (3), France (3).

Card 5 - USSR: Marshall Plan on the Space Race to send up a Lunar Probe. USA: Five Year Plan for Influence: France (5), Pakistan (1).

Card 6 - USSR: Containment for Influence: Egypt (2), Libya (1), Nicaragua (1). USA: Indo-Pakistani War for Influence: Saudi Arabia (3).

Both sides lose 2 VP for Military Operations.

At Turn's Start:
VP: -7 USSR
Space Race: USSR:3 USA:2
DEFCON: 3
China Card: USSR


Turn 4

MidWar cards are added to the deck.

Headline - USSR: Red Scare/Purge. USA: OAS Founded: Cuba (1), Panama (2).

Card 1 - USSR: How I Learned to Stop Worrying for Influence: Cuba (4), Costa Rica (1). USA: Cultural Revolution for Influence: Mexico (2). USSR gains 1VP for the card's Event.

Card 2 - USSR: The China Card for Influence: Honduras (2), Costa Rica (3). USA: Brush War: Guatemala (1), El Salvador (1).

Card 3 - USSR: Allende as Event: Chile (2). USA: Muslim Revolution on the Space Race but the Lunar Probe dies in transit.

Card 4 - USSR: South African Unrest as Event: S.Africa (1), Botswana (2). USA: OPEC for Influence: Haiti (1), Phillipines (2). USSR gains 1VP (Egypt)

Card 5 - USSR: Bear Trap for Influence: Chile (3), Peru (1). The USSR is now under the Bear Trap restrictions. USA: Central America Scoring. USSR has presence, USA has domination. USSR has 1 Battleground country adjacent to the USA (Cuba), USA has 2 (Mexico, Panama). Net 2 point shift for USA.

Card 6 - USSR: The USSR has no 2Ops cards to discard for Bear Trap, so it plays Africa Scoring. USSR has domination, USA has no presence. USSR has 1 Battleground country (Angola), USA has 0. Net 5 point shift for USSR. USA: Kitchen Debates for Influence. The USA gets no Ops because of Red Scare, but the card will be re-cycled.

Card 7 - USSR: The USSR has no 2Ops cards to discard for Bear Trap, so it plays South America Scoring. USSR has presence, USA has no presence. USSR has 1 Battleground country (Chile), USA has 0. Net 3 point shift for USSR. USA: Lone Gunman for Influence. The USA gets no Ops because of Red Scare and the USSR sees the USA Held Card (Willy Brandt).

USA and USSR lose 0 VP for Military Operations.

At Turn's Start:
VP: -15 USSR
Space Race: USSR:3 USA:2
DEFCON: 4
China Card: USA


Turn 5

USSR finds itself in a Bear Trap as the turn starts.

Headline - USSR: Brezhnev Doctrine. All USSR cards are +1Ops for the turn. USA: Puppet Governments: Venezuela (1), Nigeria (1), India (1).

Card 1 - USSR: Alliance for Progress is discarded and the USSR rolls to escape the Bear Trap. USA: Missile Envy as Event to steal We Will Bury You from the USSR. We Will Bury You is used for Influence: Burma (2), Pakistan (2), S.Korea (2).

Card 2 - USSR: Missile Envy for a Coup in Pakistan, but no change occurs. USA: The Voice of America as Event, removing USSR Influence from: Laos (0), Indonesia (0), Vietnam (0), Thailand (2).

Card 3 - USSR: Cuban Missile Crisis for a Coup in Iran. USA Influence is removed and a slightly pro-USSR (1) government comes to power. USA: Shuttle Diplomacy for Influence: Laos (1), Vietnam (1). Serious mistake on the USSR part not to renew our Influence in these countries right away; Asia is now solidly blue!

Card 4 - USSR: Liberation Theology as Event: Mexico (2), Panama (1). USA: ABM Treaty as Event. DEFCON to 3. Influence in Panama (3), Venezuela (2), Algeria (2).

Card 5 - USSR: Truman Doctrine for Influence: Libya (2). USA removes USSR Influence from W.Germany (0). USA: DeGaulle Leads France for a Coup in Angola which brings a pro-USA government (1) to power. USSR Event removes 2 USA Influence from France (3) and adds 1 USSR Influence in France (3).

Card 6 - USSR: Camp David Accords on the Space Race and Yuri Gagarin becomes the first person in space. USA: Willy Brandt on the Space Race. The USA follows with a Lunar Probe success.

Card 7 - USSR: Sadat Expels the Soviets for Influence: Iran (2). The USA Event removes all USSR Influence from Egypt and adds 1 USA Influence (1). USA: The USA is out of cards. Neither of us is clear why, but a mistake was made somewhere. We press on...

USA and USSR lose 0 VP for Military Operations.

At Turn's Start:
VP: -15 USSR
Space Race: USSR:4 USA:3
DEFCON: 3
China Card: USA


Turn 6

Headline - USSR: Junta: Brazil (2) and a Coup in Mexico which brings a pro USSR government to power (USA:0 USSR: 3) USA: Panama Canal Returned: Venezuela (3), Panama (4), Costa Rica (1).

Card 1 - USSR: Arab-Israeli War as Event and the Arabs win the war. All USA Influence removed from Israel, USSR now has 1 Influence. USA: One Small Step to leapfrog the USSR to put a man in Earth Orbit.

Card 2 - USSR: COMECON for Influence: Israel (4). USA: Ussuri River Skirmish as Event: Thailand (3), S.Korea (4).

Card 3 - USSR: East European Unrest for Space Race and the USSR puts the second person into orbit. (Had I been paying attention, I would have gone for these VPs with my first card, since I am so close to auto-victory...this was a bad mistake on my part and I almost paid for it dearly since from this point my VPs dropped steadliy!). USA: Colonia Rearguards as Event: S.Africa (2), Zaire (1), Zimbabwe (1), Thailand (4). My status in Africa and Asia is dreadful with few spots available to start changing it!

Card 4 - USSR: Portuguese Empire Crumbles as Event: SE African States (2), Angola (2). USA: Nuclear Subs for Influence: Egypt (2), Iraq (1). And the Middle East is getting bluer all the time also!

Card 5 - USSR: John Paul II Elected Pope. The USA Event reduces USSR Influnec in Poland (1) and increases USA Influence (1). The USSR plays the card for Influence: Poland (3). USA: Latin American Death Squads for Influence: W.Germany (4), Iraq (2).

Card 6 - USSR: Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You for a Coup in Algeria and the country becomes pro-USSR (2). USA: Quagmire on the Space Race and the first Space Walk is scrubbed.

Card 7 - USSR: Defectors for Influence: Peru (2), Costa Rica (4). USA: SALT Negotiations for a Coup in Peru, and the people change governments (USSR:0 USA:3)

USA and USSR lose 0 VP for Military Operations.

At Turn's Start:
VP: -14 USSR
Space Race: USSR:5 USA:5
DEFCON: 3
China Card: USA


Turn 7

The USSR VPs are in great shape, but the board position is dreadful in Asia and bad in the Middle East. And all the scoring cards are reshuffled into the deck.

Headline - USSR: De-Colonization: Thailand (3), Burma (1), Malaysia (1), Phillipines (1). USA: Marshall Plan: Greece (1), Spain (1), France (4), W.Germany (5), Sweden (1), Denmark (1),

Card 1 - USSR: SouthEast Asia Scoring. It's not good, but without De-Colonization it could have been much worse. USA receives VP for Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia. USA: Nixon Plays the China Card for 2VP.

Card 2 - USSR: COMECON for Influence: Poland (4), India (2). USA: Nuclear Subs for Influence: Spain (2), Turkey (2).

Card 3 - USSR: Socialist Governments to remove USA Influence from Turkey (0) and Greece (0). USA: Brush War as Event in Brazil and pro USA forces take over the government (USSR:0 USA:2).

Card 4 - USSR: Junta as Event: Argentina (2). Free Coup in Brazil at least reduces the government's pro-USA fervor (1). USA: Arms Race and the USA gains more VPs!

Card 5 - USSR: U2 Incident for Influence: India (4), Syria (2). USA: Grain Sales to the Soviets as Event. The USA pulls Red Scare/Purge from the USSR hand and plays it.

Card 6 - USSR: Arab-Israeli War for Influence: Uruguay (1). USA: Flower Power on the Space Race and the USA fails for the second time at a Space Walk.

Card 7 - USSR: Nuclear Test Ban for Influence: Greece (2), Uruguay (2). USA: Colonial Rearguards as Event: Thailand (5), Malaysia (3), Phillipines (3), S. Africa (3).

USA and USSR lose 0 VP for Military Operations.

At Turn's Start:
VP: -5
Space Race: USSR:5 USA:5
DEFCON: 3
China Card: USA


Turn 8

Late War Cards added to the deck.

The situation is dreadful in most areas and my long-term prospects are fairly dim. But I get dealt Wargames and DEFCON is at 3. I need to gain 2VPs before I play it to win the game. This is a dicey proposition however. If I never get to play it I have Asia Scoring which will turn the VP on its head if I spend no time rectifying the Influence problem in Asia.

Here goes nothing...

Headline -

USSR: Missile Envy. I will pull a good card from his hand (hopefully) use it's OPs to run a coup in a BG country, plus know what card he is playing on Action Round 1 (Missile Envy). On Action Round 1 I can play OPEC to gain 2VP (to get to -7) assuming nothing changes in the Headline phase. Since he has to play Missile Envy on Action Round 1, he can't affect the VPs (no VPs in the next box on the Space Race and it is a 3OPs box) so I can play Wargames on Action Round 2 to win. Everything depends on his Headline card...

USA: Latin America Debt Crisis. A USSR Event that forces the USA to discard a card to avoid placing USSR influence in South America. Either he has a hand full of USSR Events or he thought it would be useful to play the card and discard Glasnost, which is what he does.

He gives me Shuttle Diplomacy for my card and I use it as a Coup in Brazil (USA:0 USSR:4) and DEFCON to 2.

Card 1 - USSR: OPEC for 2VPs (Iraq, Libya) to -7VPs USA: Missile Envy for Influence: France (6).

Card 2 - USSR: Wargames as Event. VPs to -1 and the game ends with a USSR victory...barely.


Conclusions

An interesting game. Lots of people hate the Wargames card ending. It certainly took a near-certain loss for me and gave me a win, which I suppose is the point of the card...you can never be sure.

I got close to an auto-victory and got so focused on it that I let the board position slip away and dennis would almost certainly have won a long game. Plus I got very lucky that none of the scoring cards recycled quickly!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice After Action Review. The pictures help a lot.