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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Variants

Subject: Dusk Fight - 7 Turn Variant rss

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David Benito Richards
Spain
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DUSK FIGHT: 7 TURN VARIANT FOR TWILIGHT STRUGGLE

WHAT's THIS ABOUT


Once you know Twilight Struggle well, I wouldn’t say it is a particularly long game. A typical game between experienced players should not last more than 2.5 hours, assuming you make it all the way to Final Scoring. But, sometimes we don’t have 2.5 hours for a game of TS. Jobs, family commitments, sports, even other boardgames, do get in the way from time to time.

So I thought, well, maybe we can cut down playing time by 30% without ruining the game, so that a game can last at most 1 hour 45 minutes.
There are essentially three ways to reduce playing time, but I decided to try the one that looked most likely to work. The three are:

1-) Delete the Headline Phase (changes game mechanics too much)
2-) Shorten all turns by 1 Action Round. Changes game balance, as some cards with “full turn” effects would be less useful: CONTAINMENT, NUCLEAR SUBS, BREZHNEV DOCTRINE… In addition, this would only reduce playing time by less than 15%, which is not significant enough.
3-) Reduce the total number of turns. This seems to be the most promising possibility.

I have tried playing 7 turns: 2 Early War, 3 Mid War, 2 Late War. I have called the variant “DUSK FIGHT” because it means essentially the same as “TWILIGHT STRUGGLE” but with shorter words.

RULES CHANGES

The game is seven turns long: 2 Early War, 3 Mid War, 2 Late War.
Start with the Early War as normal. On turn 3, deal the remaining Early War cards and afterwards add the Mid War cards to the deck, dealing to the players as needed to complete their 9-card hands. Do NOT add the discards to the deck.
On turn 6, mix the Late War cards into the remaining deck.
On turn 7, you will probably have less than enough cards to deal to the players. Deal whatever cards are available. If one player would end up with 1 card less than the opponent, the player with fewer cards receives a 1 VP award in Final Scoring.

Play rounds in Turn 7 equal to two less than the number of cards held by the player with fewer cards. E.g. if a player gets 6 cards and the other gets 5, you would play the Headline Phase and 3 rounds.
If an event instructs players to reshuffle the deck, only the current Draw Deck is reshuffled. Do NOT add the discards back to the deck.

ASSESSMENT


Game play is of course essentially the same as all core rules continue to apply. There are however, significant strategic differences. The ones I have discovered are as follows:

- Early War regions. These regions will get scored ONLY once, in turns 1-3, plus Final Scoring. This does not mean you can completely forget about them, because there are still SE ASIA SCORING and OPEC to worry about. But the emphasis moves away from these regions much more quickly than in the standard game, which is also warranted by the fact that there are 30% less total Ops in play.

- Space Race. If it is difficult to get anywhere far in the Space Race in the standard game, so much more here with 30% less card plays. Significant Space Race abilities like sequential headlines or discarding a held card seem very difficult to achieve.
On the other hand, giving some kind of bonus for Space Race plays might draw too much attention to this part of the game. I have left the SR unchanged.


 
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David Gibbs
Canada
Ottawa
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One more significant difference: cards that are removed from play vs cards that are discarded -- it seems there is no longer a difference.
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David Benito Richards
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Yes, that's right. You can only get a discarded card back into play via events like "Star Wars". This variant removes the "deck management" aspect of the game.
 
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Rob Stevenson
United Kingdom
Watford
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Are you concerned about the possibility that multiple regions will never be scored until the end of the game, and the supercharging of cards that have discard related rules?

The utility of the Space Race is heightened, because you can effectively remove strong opponent events from the game completely instead of temporarily. Instead of holding "Decol" until after the reshuffle, the US player can shoot it into Space on turn 1 and the only thing that could bring it back is "SALT".

"5 Year Plan" is an even stronger end of turn play for USSR than normal as they can permanently dump a scoring card from the game.

Similarly, "Ask Not" is even more powerful for similar reasons - you can potentially eliminate all but final scoring for multiple regions.

"UN Intervention" is another supercharged card without reshuffles.



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Rob Stevenson
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Have you considered an amendment so that scoring cards that are discarded without the region being scored should be shuffled into the deck for the following period of the war?

eg. Early War Scoring cards are added back to the Mid-War deck, and Mid-War scoring cards are added back to the Late War deck if they are discarded without effect.
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