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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Strategy

Subject: USSR T1AR2 rss

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Carlo Patek
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Assume coup in AR1 leaves Iran 0/0

US responds with Egypt 1/0, Malaysia 1/0 and Colombia 1*/0.

What is your best play for T2?
 
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Jay Sachs
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What were the headlines? What were the cards played in AR1? What's in my hand?
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Carlo Patek
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I know it can be responded by "it depends on my hand", but this is just a theoretical question

Assume defectors/olympic games headline and you don't have scoring cards
 
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Jay Sachs
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Kajo wrote:
I know it can be responded by "it depends on my hand", but this is just a theoretical question

Assume defectors/olympic games headline and you don't have scoring cards


You asked for "best play". Just labeling the question "theoretical" doesn't make it possible to answer without more information. Do I have CIA? 5YP? D&C? De-stal? Decol? Vietnam? How many ops do I have left in my hand? Did the US setup 4WG/3IT, or 0 WG? What cards dropped in the coup exchange? etc etc etc
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Michael Kiefte
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Coup Egypt, then in AR3 put 2 Inf in Afghanistan.
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Danwarr
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jaysachs wrote:
Kajo wrote:
I know it can be responded by "it depends on my hand", but this is just a theoretical question

Assume defectors/olympic games headline and you don't have scoring cards


You asked for "best play". Just labeling the question "theoretical" doesn't make it possible to answer without more information. Do I have CIA? 5YP? D&C? De-stal? Decol? Vietnam? How many ops do I have left in my hand? Did the US setup 4WG/3IT, or 0 WG? What cards dropped in the coup exchange? etc etc etc


All of this. This question is impossible to answer without more in-game context.
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joe dagostino
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I believe every question is easily answered - just not correctly, or appropriately, or even honestly.

If one took every possible situation and showed the several responses possible for each and then created an analysis that revealed some common judgements about the various responses based on several strategic approaches to the game, that would be an optimal answer to the question. The analysis based on one's experience with the game would be interesting.

It would be an interesting challenge to develop such an answer. I'm just a noob and I would really be happy to read such an answer. Purely theoretical.
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Drew Lawson
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Instead of being pretentious asses, we could engage with the question based on the spirit in which it was asked, i.e. "how would you analyze this situation"?

For me, the biggest threats are Malaysia and Colombia. While Egypt does get him access to Libya, he still has to invest the ops and Nasser is still a threat. I think that couping Egypt is definitely the wrong decision, because it gives the U.S. player immediate DEFCON-protected access to Thailand.

One line of play is to ignore Colombia on AR2 and attack Asia, probably with 1 op to South Korea and 1 op to Afghanistan. This is a little risky, as you're betting on distracting the U.S. and then getting a strong coup against Venezuela later (and timing it before they get to Brazil). However, it forces the U.S. to coup somewhere (and they have no good targets) before they can safely place into Thailand OR risk placing into Thailand and drawing a strong coup from you. If they do coup just to drop DEFCON, they've wasted some ops that could have been used more profitably, so that's pretty good. You will want to seriously consider couping Malaysia, though, if you have the ops to do so, since they've bought Thailand access at the expense of those wasted ops.

Another line of play is to go very aggressive and coup Colombia. I'm not sure a U.S. player could ignore the possibility of giving the Soviets access to half of South America before anything nasty like DeStal comes out. However, you run the risk of wasting time on a coup war of Colombia when you want to be pressuring the Early-War scoring regions. Alternatively, you run the risk of placing into Venezuela and then getting couped out. This almost forces you to coup back for DEFCON-2, which is a lot of potentially risky die rolls in a Mid-War region plus the guaranteed loss of Thailand.

Vietnam Revolts changes the calculus a bit; I think the best route (if you have it) is to play it AR2. It strengthens your coups enough that you should win out in the end, whether the U.S. tries to coup Vietnam for access denial or overcontrols Thailand and invites a BG coup. I'm sure there's a strong Decol play as well, if you have it, but I dislike using it before DEFCON-2 since I want to play at least 1 op into an African BG.

Anyway, just some thoughts from an amateur. Hopefully that sparks some discussion.
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Michael Kiefte
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ajpl wrote:
I think that couping Egypt is definitely the wrong decision, because it gives the U.S. player immediate DEFCON-protected access to Thailand.


Okay, but Thailand is only one Battleground. Without knowing what's in my hand, fighting over Malaysia doesn't seem like a good use of Ops. You've got just less than a 50/50 chancing of winning a coup war without any prior knowledge. Couping Egypt then going after Afghanistan gives you access to Libya, Pakistan, India, and Iran.
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Drew Lawson
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Thailand is the most important battleground in the game. It's in one of the highest-scoring regions (Asia has a large bonus for Domination) and it can score up to five times (three Asia Scoring, one SE Asia scoring, one Final Scoring). That makes Thailand worth 8-10 VP by itself, even before counting any extra VPs gained if Thailand is the country that swings you from mutual Presence to Domination.

As for access, you already have Iran, Pakistan, and India in this scenario. The U.S. is nowhere close, and unless they decide to actively pressure you through Jordan --> Iraq --> Iran, you'll get the Iron Triangle anyway. Even if they do decide to pressure you that way, at worst you'll lose Iran, which can be couped again if needed. So the Egypt coup really only grants access to Libya.

Now the Middle-East strongly favors the USSR at this point in the game, and even then it's pretty low-scoring (Domination nets you 3-4 VPs usually). So between Libya and Thailand, I'd definitely rather have Thailand. On top of that, couping Egypt feels like a waste since Nasser will accomplish the same thing for you, and you can always coup Libya at your leisure on T2 or T3.
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Jay Sachs
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ajpl wrote:
Instead of being pretentious asses, we could engage with the question based on the spirit in which it was asked, i.e. "how would you analyze this situation"?


Pretentious ass numero uno here.

In answer to to the question

"how would I analyze this situation"?

I would answer

"this situation cannot be effectively analyzed without further information."

I think my response was in some ways a substantive answer: "you can't come up with a good response in absence of this other info, so in general pay attention to all of it." If the OP had supplied more details, I could offer some opinions (for whatever they're worth). The OP could, then, respond with "what if ..." questions on variations of those situations. But if the OP expects the responders to enumerate various possibilities, and how to respond in each of those situations, that's A LOT to ask in a forum reply.
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Drew Lawson
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Yeah yeah. You've gotten your snarky post in; time to move along.
 
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Randy Evans
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ajpl wrote:
For me, the biggest threats are Malaysia and Colombia. While Egypt does get him access to Libya, he still has to invest the ops and Nasser is still a threat. I think that couping Egypt is definitely the wrong decision, because it gives the U.S. player immediate DEFCON-protected access to Thailand.

One line of play is to ignore Colombia on AR2 and attack Asia, probably with 1 op to South Korea and 1 op to Afghanistan. This is a little risky, as you're betting on distracting the U.S. and then getting a strong coup against Venezuela later (and timing it before they get to Brazil). However, it forces the U.S. to coup somewhere (and they have no good targets) before they can safely place into Thailand OR risk placing into Thailand and drawing a strong coup from you. If they do coup just to drop DEFCON, they've wasted some ops that could have been used more profitably, so that's pretty good. You will want to seriously consider couping Malaysia, though, if you have the ops to do so, since they've bought Thailand access at the expense of those wasted ops.

Another line of play is to go very aggressive and coup Colombia. I'm not sure a U.S. player could ignore the possibility of giving the Soviets access to half of South America before anything nasty like DeStal comes out. However, you run the risk of wasting time on a coup war of Colombia when you want to be pressuring the Early-War scoring regions. Alternatively, you run the risk of placing into Venezuela and then getting couped out. This almost forces you to coup back for DEFCON-2, which is a lot of potentially risky die rolls in a Mid-War region plus the guaranteed loss of Thailand.

Vietnam Revolts changes the calculus a bit; I think the best route (if you have it) is to play it AR2. It strengthens your coups enough that you should win out in the end, whether the U.S. tries to coup Vietnam for access denial or overcontrols Thailand and invites a BG coup. I'm sure there's a strong Decol play as well, if you have it, but I dislike using it before DEFCON-2 since I want to play at least 1 op into an African BG.

Anyway, just some thoughts from an amateur. Hopefully that sparks some discussion.


Depending on my ops strength, I might consider a coup in Malaysia as well. If successful, Johnny Yank is in a real pickle. You've got access to Thailand, and he doesn't. If he moves into Venezuela, you get a coup and now he's screwed out of Thailand too as DEFCON has dropped to 3. As the US, I probably would not play into this situation just for fear of ending up with this possible result.

What's he gonna do in response? Use 2 ips to place in Thailand? Counter-coup?

Interesting question.
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Fluff Da Sheep
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There is almost nothing you can do about Thailand in that scenario, and South America is so important that just letting the US waltz in there is like shooting yourself in both feet.

So... probably coup Egypt (DEFCON 3), intending to coup Colombia once DEFCON hits 2, or Venezuela if he moves into it at DEFCON 3.
 
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Michael Patnik
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Columbia can be ignored for now for a few reasons:

- If your opponent moves into Venezuela, you can coup him there as defcon is not yet at 2.
- If the US is able to gain a foothold and starts pouring ops into SA, you can make them pay on the VP track. The early war is a dogfight for the US and they really need to avoid digging themselves into too big of a VP hole. Given that it is T1AR2, if the US is filling up SA, you're going to score even more points.
- As USSR I like to stay out of mid-war non-BG for as long as possible. I want to bleed the US for as many mil-ops as I can.
- Couping Columbia leads to a tit for tat game which basically just wastes ARs doing nothing. The USSR needs to pressure in the Early War, and couping Columbia is counter productive to that strategy

Exception: with an extremely weak hand, under RS/P or against an opponent boosted by Containment, you may want to get into a tit for tat war over Columbia since spending some ARs treading water is exactly what you want to be doing in these cases. Couping and counter couping a 1 stability non-bg is one of the best ways to mitigate damage in a turn which you are at a significant ops disadvantage. Couping a 1 stability country is essentially gaining 1.5 ops per coup. (Average roll 3.5 - 2 for stability modifier) In this case you can see that a 1ops card is worth 2.5 ops and a 2 ops is worth 3.5 ops. If you were going with direct placement, you would be at a 50% disadvantage placing 1ops vs 2ops. When couping a 1stab country, you are only at ~19% disadvantage.

Couping Malaysia can also be ruled out since it suffers the same problems as couping Columbia, except it doesn't even come with the advantage of being able to mitigate an ops disadvantage. You are essentially losing 0.5 of an op when couping a 2 stability country (Average roll 3.5 - 4 for stability modifier), thus getting in a coup war over Malaysia will magnify your ops disadvantage.

Exception: if you are holding D&C, a strong roll on a Malaysia will put the US in a terrible spot. Now they will have lost Thailand and Western Asia. Additionally, now they need to lower defcon or they lose the mil-ops VPs AND probably lose access to Egypt / Libya if you roll well. This is even worse, because they won't have any 1 or 2 stability battleground targets and so they will be wasting an AR to manipulate Defcon and gain some VPs. As a bonus, you won't even get dinged for the full 3 VPs for playing D&C, instead you will only lose 2.

So now that I've determined that I probably wouldn't coup Malaysia or Columbia, what would I do? Couping Egypt isn't the worst decision, but it will lose you Thailand. I would probably instead focus on pressuring France by placing into Italy or WG, attacking S. Korea or filling up 3 stability ME battlegrounds. The US is going to want to lower Defcon so they don't lose 4 mil-ops VPs, and so that they can claim Thailand before one of decol / Vietnam rolls around. They also aren't going to want to leave Defcon at 4 lest you get a crack at couping Italy next turn. You might as well make them do this while under pressure elsewhere and without any good coup targets.
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King in Green
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Well, if I don't have much knowledge of either hand and therefore am speaking essentially as a spectator I would deduce the following from Olympic Games/ Defectors/ High op coup of Iran / US world spread....

The US likely does not have any better headline than Defectors- e.g. ME scoring, Purge, Containment, Marshall Plan.

The US likely holds Nasser as they placed just 1 in Egypt.

The US did not coup Iraq AR1 so isn't Jarek Moc devil.

The USSR does not have any better headline than Olympic Games- which is slightly surprising- or is Defectors shy. So likely no Vietnam, no Socialist Governments, no A-I War etc.

If the USSR chose to coup Iran at 3*/0 then the USSR also likely holds Decol or Destal for SE Asia access, the US's decision to spread early also suggests that they may not have either of these cards. The USSR also likely has another high op card. In the rulebook 2006 game of course the USSR responds with Destal to a Colombia/ Malaysia move- something like Chile, Malaysia, France, South Africa is one plausible response, spread for spread with the threat of taking France or grabbing Thailand (possibly with Duck and Cover)- Decol of course would be Algeria not France and another SE Asian country rather than Chile.

If neither side has the De-cards or D&C then one would indeed predict that the USSR will attack the early war regions, trying to create scoring threats while threatening important battlegrounds. But perhaps the USSR has been reading the latest strategy guides and will space first as the US hasn't actually created a scoring threat with this move, just a positional one.
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