$18.00
GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters: 66.14

4,648 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
29.3% of Goal | 28 Days Left

Support:

Ryan Hopkins
United States
Huntington Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
So, I would call myself an advanced beginner of TS, having played it several times F2F, and having imbibed theory's theories from Twilight Strategy. Even so, this game seems to me to be one that one can only truly mastered over many, many plays over a long period of time, which means that although I understand what I want to do, I'm not always great at executing.

And so, my fellow BGGers, I beseech you to help me get better at this game by critiquing my moves and ridiculing my strategy in real-time over the course of a game that I am playing online with a friend. Being the busy family men that we are, we are playing at a leisurely pace, and so I should have ample time to record my moves and explain what I was thinking, and then you can tell me where I went astray or pat me on the back when I stumble into a brilliant move. Okay? You in? Still there?

So, here is the story so far. I am playing the U.S., and we are playing +2 ops to the U.S. My opponent is probably at the same level as I am and so it should be an interesting game. (I do not believe that my opponent is active on the forums, and so I think that there is very little chance that he will stumble upon this thread, but just in case - Will, if you're reading this, STOP IT, close the browser and make your move.)

Starting U.S. Hand:

Europe Scoring
Five-Year Plan (3)
Independent Reds (2)
Blockade (1)
Olympic Games (2)
Formosan Resolution (2)
Korean War (2)
Captured Nazi Scientist (1)

Not a great hand. Not many ops, not many great headline options, and I'll need to play Korean War, because I need to hold Blockade. Should be interesting.

Starting Setups

Nobody is trying to be a hero here, and we both go with a "standard" setup. I go 4 West Germany, 3 Italy, with both of my +2 into Iran. He puts 1 into East Germany, 4 into Poland and 1 into Yugoslavia.

Turn 1 Headline

I don't have many good options here, I think about headlining Captured Nazi Scientist, I think about Korean War even to just get it out of the way, but I need the ops. So, I decide to headline Europe Scoring. I know that this is a bit risky because he might play a card that allows him to put influence in Europe, but my rationale is that I've got a lot of things to do during Turn 1, including making inroads into the ME and Asia, and I'd rather not also have to worry about also building my position in Europe during Turn 1, particularly as I don't have many cards that help me with board position in Europe. Sure, he could play a card that allows him to place influence in Europe, but the damage at this early stage, I reason, would likely be minimal.

So, USSR headlines Socialist Governments, and takes two from Italy and 1 from the UK. +2 VPs to the Soviets.

So, what do you think? Did I make a mistake headlining Europe scoring, given the options?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Hopkins
United States
Huntington Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Turn 1, AR1

My opponent plays NATO (4) to place influence: +3 into Italy (taking it to 1/3), +1 into Afghanistan. Interesting move, which opened up the door for me to coup Italy on my AR1, which I did with Five Year Plan, rolling a 5(!) and making Italy 2/0.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Hopkins
United States
Huntington Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Turn 1, AR 2

USSR uses Special Relationship, which does not trigger due to the 1 influence that he removed from Socialist Governments, to place 1 in Syria and 1 in Afghanistan.

So, here is where I think I made my first real mistake. I was seduced by the availability of coups in Early War scoring regions, but there weren't many coup, and especially Battleground targets, and so I used Independent Reds to coup Afghanistan, which only gave me a 50/50 chance to remove ops. Was that worth the chance with a 2 ops card? I don't know.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Sachs
United States
Williamstown
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
mbmbmbmbmb
I too would have headlined Europe Scoring. He only had a 1/3 chance of having Soc Govts. Losing 2 VP isn't too bad ... would have been worse if he'd been able to get a non-BG and take Europe domination.

Why do you need to hold Blockade? You can pitch 5YP to it. Yeah, you're low on ops.
2 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Valentine

Texas
msg tools
mb
That's worse than "not a great hand." That's a bad hand. I like your HL and AR1. I dislike your AR2. Couping a 2 stability country with a 2 op card is not an efficient use of ops. Sometimes you risk it because it gives access or you need the mil ops or some other reason, but that's not the case here. So many things to do on AR1 and you have so few ops.

Your biggest danger is getting couped out of Iran. So, you need an influence in an adjacent country. I also like to move to Malaysia so that I can take Thailand if/when defcon drops to 3. So, I'd probably favor Olympic Games, 1 influence to Iraq (some might prefer Afghanistan, but I favor battlegrounds) and 1 to Malaysia.

I'd also consider triggering the Korean War on AR2 and then adding 2 influence, win or lose. Alternatively, you could take SK directly and then space the Korean War later in the turn.

You're right to decide early what you're doing with Blockade and I agree with holding it. You need the ops and you're likely to draw a Soviet 3 next turn to discard to it. The downside to holding it to next tun is that you won't be able to hold cards next turn to keep them out of the turn 3 reshuffle. But, that's all kinda speculative. On Turn 1, I maximize ops.

On a side note, your opponent should have couped on AR1, either Italy or Iran. I also dislike his 1 influence to Syria on AR2. He should infer you do not have Mideast, otherwise you would've headlined it over Europe. Presence in the Mideast can wait and Iraq is better than Syria. That op is much better spent in SK.
4 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I think I would have gone for an empty WGER setup, especially since you have neither of Suez or De Gaulle. Then you can play Blockade for no loss. I also wouldn't coup Italy, since Europe isn't going to score again for quite a while.

I'd try and play Korean War late in the turn in case the USSR fills up Japan for you. You'll likely only get one coup in the round with 5YP, unless the USSR puts influence in Lebanon.

I'd consider taking Jordan with 2-ops to make it look more like you're trying to get ME domination, and Malaysia is a priority to be ready for when Defcon drops. Maybe use 5YP to put 3 into Pakistan if it's still empty once you know you can move into Thailand.

I also quite like putting 2 into Egypt once Defcon is down too, since even after Nasser you can get take Libya (and it makes sure Nasser gets played).

I would consider playing Nazi Scientiests for points too.
1 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Haytil Reivesman
msg tools
-Headlining Europe Scoring was the right move. Given the initial setup, the worst-case scenario was that your opponent might headline Socialist Governments - and he did, and it only cost you 1 VP. (Why 2? You have 1 BG, he has 2, I'm confused...)

In Early War, you should be happy whenever you can score a region in any way that does not give your opponent Domination, even if you're behind on battlegrounds.

-I would have planned on playing Blockade and discarding "Five Year Plan" with it. You have really low ops, but I'd rather have a terrible ops first round hand than the possibility of dealing with Blockade and De-Stalinization on Turn 2.

As a previous poster said, this would have been a good time to go with a non-standard empty West German opening. Beef up Italy to 4 and headline Europe Scoring - even with Socialist Governments, you'd still have presence and a battleground, and denied the opponent domination. Then you can dump Blockade safely and not lose ops.

But what's done is done.

-Don't go into Malaysia until DefCon drops to 3. If you go at Defcon 4, he might coup - it's a risky move on his part, but with a huge payoff if successful. Don't give him that.

-I agree with a previous posted, you should play Korean War and go into Korea, whether the war succeeds or not. Normally you'd wait to see if they have US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact - but I think it's possible that you don't really have time to wait now. He might have Asia Scoring...or he might just move in himself and beat you to the punch, without waiting for the war to give it to him.

Best to lose the war now and put the ops into Korea than run the risk of losing the war later. And controlling Japan only reduces the risk by 1/3.
1 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Hopkins
United States
Huntington Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the responses, everyone! I'm already starting to see the error of my ways. @haytil, you are correct that my opponent only scored 1 VP from my Europe scoring headline. Good catch!

The game is progressing a lot faster than I have been able to report, and so I'm going to do some catching up now. My opponent has also started another thread to explain his reasoning in this same game, and so be sure to check that out, as well. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Turn 1, AR3

Next, USSR takes advantage of its lead in Asia to play Asia scoring and score a quick 5 points, for a total of +6 for the bad guys. At this point, I'm feeling like I need to turn my attention to the Middle East, and even though Defcon remains high, I only have 2ops cards and so I abandon hope of couping, and instead opt to lay down some influence, with the hope of breaking through to Libya. So, using Olympic Games, I put 1 influence in Jordan, 1 in Egypt. No way he as Nasser yet, right?

Turn 1, AR4

And here comes Nasser to wipe me out and make Egypt 0/2. On my play, I consolidate in Jordan, using Formosan Resolution to drop 1 influence there, and then I really make a dumb move. I drop 1 in Malaysia, forgetting that Defcon is still at 4 and I can be couped out of there.

Turn 1, AR5

Which is exactly what he does. He uses De Gaulle Leads France, and rolls a 5 to take Malaysia from 1/0 to 0/3. Ouch. On my turn, I realize that it's getting on toward the end of the round, there is no time like the present to fire off Korean War. So, I do. Fortunately, the War fails, and I use the 2 ops to control South Korea.

Turn 1, AR6


USSR then uses the China Card to put 2 influence in Pakistan, 2 in Thailand and 1 in Indonesia. My only card left is Captured Nazi Scientist, and even though I am incredibly ops poor, I think that the 2VP from advancing on the Space Race is better than 1 ops somewhere. So, I play it for the event, limping into Turn 2 with the USSR up 4 VP.

At this point, I'm pretty worried about my position in Asia and the Middle East. Asia will be back after Turn 3, which will come faster than I think, and I know that Middle East scoring has yet to come up and so this is where I'm going to need to focus in Turn 2.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Hopkins
United States
Huntington Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Turn 2

Score: USSR 4
Defcon: Improves to 5
(Also, I should have noted above, everyone had the necessary Mil Ops)

My Hand:

Blockade (1) (held card)
China Card (4)
Nuclear Test Ban (4)
US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact (4)
COMECON (3)
Romanian Abdication (1)
Vietnam Revolts (2)
Red Scare/Purge (4)
Decolonization (2)

Much better hand this turn, and very pleased to have drawn Decolonization. I will try for this to be my hold card to get it through the Turn 3 reshuffle, although I'm a little worried about also getting rid of Blockade, as discarding to it will reduce my hand size, But now, at least, I have the China Card, which will allow me to hold 2 cards this round. I guess we'll see how it goes.

Turn 2 Headline

This seems like an easy choice, as I only have 1 real headline candidate, Red Scare/Purge, and so that is exactly what I play. He plays Middle East scoring, which results in no VP being awarded.

So, now with all of the Early War scoring cards having been played, I feel like I face a bit of a quandary at the beginning of Turn 2. Do I try to repair damage in Asia, or do I start thinking about Mid-War regions? Or both? Is it too early to start making inroads into those regions.

This is a definite weakness in my game - when to make that pivot to the Mid-War regions, while making sure not to neglect the Early War regions, as you know that they will be back before too long. Any advice on that front?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Hopkins
United States
Huntington Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Turn 2, AR1

So, my opponent starts Turn 2 off by forgoing an AR1 coup by playing Warsaw Pact Formed to place 1 influence in Lebanon and 1 in Yugoslavia. I use my big 4 ops Nuclear Test Ban to begin repairing the damage in Asia. I coup Pakistan. With a roll of a 5, I take it from 0/2 to 3/0.

Turn 2, AR2


USSR picks a good time to play Truman Doctrine. He places 1 influence in Yugoslavia to control it, and as Finland, with 1 USSR influence, is the only uncontrolled country in Europe, it's the only influence I can remove. With Defcon still at 4, on my turn I use another big 4 ops card, US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact, to coup another Asia battleground - Thailand - taking it from 0/2 to 4/0, with a roll of a 6. The repair job is going well!

Turn 2, AR3

The USSR finally gets into the couping business, and uses Marshall Plan to coup Iran. He succeeds and takes Iran from 3/0 to 1/0, degrading Defcon to 2 for the first time in the game. For Marshall Plan, I distribute the 7 influence, as follows: +1 Turkey, +1 Greece, +1 France, +1 UK, +1 Finland, +1 Austria and +1 Spain/Portugal. For my AR3, I try to press my advantage in Asia by playing the China Card to place influence: +3 in India, +1 in the Philippines, and +1 in Laos/Cambodia.






 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Sachs
United States
Williamstown
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
mbmbmbmbmb
AR1 and 2 seem too good to be true -- your opponent shouldn't have left you two coups in Asia. And you rolled exceedingly well.

However, AR3 I would have not yielded the China Card. There was no rush to get to India -- USSR had no access, and if he spends part of Destalinization for that, that's great. Decolonization would let him into Laos and Philippines, but only 1 op. 1 op into Laos, maybe, but he can't lock you out of Philippines with Decol.

ME is scoring next, and you just left Iran open to a 3 op card takeover.
1 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J A
msg tools
ME Scoring was headlined, but I agree that Iran should've been taken. Tracking the game in my head, he has no adjacency to India, so it's not necessary to take it right now.

Also this game is a classic example of why the USSR should not play the China Card on Turn 1 unless absolutely necessary. With it you are able to hold Decol through past the reshuffle even with Blockade.
2 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Lawson
United States
Costa Mesa
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Anders2004 wrote:
Also this game is a classic example of why the USSR should not play the China Card on Turn 1 unless absolutely necessary. With it you are able to hold Decol through past the reshuffle even with Blockade.


Yep. It's also a classic example of why you should bite the bullet and play Blockade as soon as you get it (discarding FYP in this game). If the USSR is smart and refuses to let you have the China Card that early, holding Blockade is a great recipe for getting forced to put DeStal and/or Decol back into the deck instead of dumping them on Turn 3.
2 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Grant Johnson
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
flag msg tools
Well me known for eating cookie when me don't they shout
badge
Look! He try to throw loyal fans a curve!
mbmbmbmbmb
Plan on using Vietnam as your last card play. The damage is done already that he's in Thailand, and you'll deny him any further benefits by waiting until later in the turn to use it.
1 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Hopkins
United States
Huntington Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks to everyone for all of the great advice in this thread, I've distributed some GG to show my appreciation. Unfortunately, we played this game a lot faster than we anticipated, and then both got busy with work and kids and weren't able to continue our blow-by-blow accounts. I hope to do this again when I can find a little more time.

But, not to leave everyone in suspense, I ended up losing the game on Turn 10 after a bone-headed move playing Ortega at Defcon 2, which my opponent used to coup Cuba. D'oh. In my defense, it was late and I was very sleepy. I would have lost anyway at final scoring, as I was in a pretty bad way in South America and Africa, which my huge lead in Asia would not have done enough to offset. The good news is that I learned a lot in this game and we are now on to another one. I'm sure that I will have some strategy questions that arise from that game, and I hope that you'll take the time to share your knowledge.

Thanks again everyone!!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.