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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Non-decision autoplay cards rss

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Alex
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For me, one of the greatest strengths of TS is that there isn't a single card that is always gonna be played as an event or OP. Its tactical prowess and the board evolution makes it so that there's never a 100% answer on how a card should be played.

Of course, there are cards that will be played in the same fashion 95% of the times. This is a thread to discuss them and check out If I'm missing out on some possibilities or just playing suboptimally. For example, I tend to use a lot of events in late war.

I realize some cards are basically there to make a hindrance if they are activated by your opponents. Also, that there's a need for balance between strong/weak events. Nothing wrong with that. I just want to try and identify them.

NEUTRAL:

Nuclear Test Ban: Had to use it once for the event to avoid a CIA defcon suicide. Other than that, I've never seen that for the event, not even for a 20 scoring win.
Summit: Maybe as a really odd headline, and even so it's a liability. I'd put it at 98% OPS
Wargames*: It's an autoplay depending on the circumsntances. But's that also the purpose of the card.

Junta: It's gonna be a very weird hand if you don't have a good use for the event rather than OPs. If the board is so as you don't need the event, then you were probably gonna win anyway. But I suspect this is one card that many good players may reserve for OPs...
Latin American Death Squads: I see this could be a viable headline. But have you ever used it in your last 20 games, for example?


WHITE, PLAYING AS US
NATO*: This was designed to place a removable early war 4, I think.
Formosan Resolution*: One of the most inconsequential cards, IMHO.
Independent Reds*: Come on. Not even for trying to disable a Romania dependant domination. I'd rather influence one mediterranean country.
Colonial Rear Guards: I can't remember any play where I needed this 2 points elsewhere rather than playing 4 in africa/SEasia
Grain Sales to Soviets: Maybe the most obvious event autoplay.
The Voice of America: Autoplay 99% for me.
The Iron Lady*: One of the weirdest cards when it comes to event and opponent interaction.
North Sea Oil*: Giving up 3 OPs for an 8th round in the LW? In practice, I've never found a viable way to headline it. Have you?
“An Evil Empire”*: I've only played it in the Late War Scenario, where Flower Power is active and you may start with 3 war cards in your hand.

very unsure about these ones.

Star Wars*: Barring an empty discard pile, I'll tend to play it for the event. If it was 3OPs instead of 2 maybe not.
Marshall Plan*: For me it's almost an autoplay in early war. 7ops, not giving USSR the chance to draw it later, etc. But I could see many players putting those 4 OPs to better use. How often do you use it for OPs?
East European Unrest: A war-stage dependant card. Early war always for OPs, Late War... I usually play it for the event no matter what. Could be swayed on this one.
Tear Down this Wall* : I always think i've got a good use for the event, but I suspect I may be very wrong.


RED, PLAYING AS USSR
Comecon: I once opened with the Comecon trap for the Lulz. Do you ever see it for the event? It's the USSR NATO.
Warsaw Pact Formed*: A mirror for EER. OPs early war and a Late war play basically decided by Poland cards / TDTW.
Decolonization: CRG mirror.
De-Stalinization*: googoo
Flower Power*: I wouldn't play it for the event even if I was at -18.
U2 Incident: I give it 96% OPs use. Would you use it for the event just to climb to -18/-19 but not -20? I think I wouldn't.
Aldrich Ames Remix*: Too powerful to save the 3 OPS

The Reformer*: An autoplay for me 95% , but I think I may be playing it very wrong. Or just playing Europe plain wrong
 
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Matthew Miyares
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Some commentary/responses:

Nuclear Test Ban/Summit: I've seen enough games where the USSR drives up the score to -17 and can't quite shut the door to respect VP-granting events. They are not efficient, granted, but if you see that most scoring cards are in the discard pile, know that your opponent has breathing space to turn things around if you don't hustle for all the VP's you can get.

Junta: Agreed here. Really depends on how the Scoring Cards got distributed in the deck, but I think the only situation I'd use this for Ops is to affect Final Scoring in a region that needed the help more. You always have to evaluate the potential VP swing of the moves you make.

Latin American Death Squads: No, I guess I haven't used it. It might be a decent defense against Nuclear Subs, if the USSR managed to get ahead in S. America.

NATO: There's an argument to be made for removing a "safe" card for the USSR from the Deck. I rarely regret not triggering it, though, until I lose Italy to a lucky Brush War. Which had admittedly happened only twice.

Formosan Resolution: There's another thread with my thoughts; I wouldn't play as US, but if the USSR plays it, it's an opportunity to break an Asia BG tie.

Independent Reds: Makes a nice Combo with Truman Doctrine. Remember, Romania is worth 1 extra VP to the US due to USSR adjacency. Though, if possible, I would rather use it on Czechoslovakia, to set up late-game realignments of E. Germany and Poland.

CRG/Grain Sales/VoA: Agreed. Though Voice of America might be worth holding onto for a while if you get dealt it late game. As a T10AR7 play, it's pretty much hard to beat.

Iron Lady: I'm not in the Late War often enough to get a good read on this stuff. Just keep the VP in mind for Auto-win/Wargames.

North Sea Oil: If OPEC isn't in the Discard pile, I think this a very viable headline just for that. If you've got a good hand of events but need one extra AR to exploit the advantages given (or have a scoring card you want to set up), it's pretty good.

EEU: If the USSR isn't overprotecting their Europe Battlegrounds, punish them. Otherwise, yeah, it's war-stage dependent.

Tear Down this Wall: If the USSR controls Czechoslovakia, this event is probably not going to work so well. If *you* control it, it will work incredibly well.

The Reformer: Agreed. (As well as most of the Red Card Analyses). One thing to point out is that not only does the Reformer shake up W. Europe, it also supercharges Glasnost. The US might consider using Glasnost as a kind of ABM Treaty with a -2VP penalty otherwise.
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ray donovan
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I disagree with you on some points:

Latin American Death Squads: A good headline if there is a high risk to be defectored, if you have Che in your hand or if usa is able to see your headline.

Formosan Resolution*: underestimated imo.

“An Evil Empire”totaly disagree with you, i will definitively play it as event turn8 if flower power is in effect.

North Sea Oil*Allow you to score e region on Ar8, can be huge in some situations. Can be extremely powerfull Turn10. Almost a must event if OPEC is in the deck and will score big.

Flower Power* Can have a huge value if played turn4, but at an expensive price. Considering it as event if i have a very strong hand at the beginning of the middle war.


My 2cent: I think usa players are making somes recurent mistakes:
-playing bear trap for event too often
-not often playing late war event that gives/deny VPs
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Kris Wei
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Cards 100% event:
Capture Nazi Scientist*
Grains Sales to Soviet
Aldrich Ames*


Cards 0% event:
Formosan Resolution*
NORAD*
Comecon*


Flower Power* and NATO* are headlines to decrease the hurt of Missile Envy if you have a only 4, and also provide vp/protect Italy.

Marshall Plan* is a locked event in Turn 1, such as De-stalinisation* in early war. But if they survived in later turns, might not 100% be evented.

Any strong cards affect a single region might be used as operation in a Euro-war(usually 4:1, fighting in W/E. Germany) scenario, but you're right generally.

Edit: sometimes it's only playable headline, such as a following hand:
NATO, Marshall, US-Japan, UN Intervention, Containment, ME Scoring, Comecon, Duck & Cover. You might only play Comecon, I call this an exception of 0%.
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Michael Valentine

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Some thoughts where I kind of disagree with you.

LADS can be an excellent headline in certain circumstances for both USA and USSR--basically whenever you know the fight is goiing to be in Central and/or South America.

Whenever Asia is unscored and locked 3-3, I'd play Formosa if it gives domination and I have the ops/time.

For CRG and Decol, it's not that unusual in the late war that I'd prefer 2 free ops to 4 restricted ones.

Iron Lady often makes sense if you have Socialist Governments in hand and will play it.

NSO is usually good if OPEC is out and you can use the 8th round.

I'd play Evil Empire almost any time I'll play two war cards later in the turn. It's a good event if I have 1 war card I'll play (it' 3 ops for 3 vps, a good exchange in the late war), although you often don't have the time and ops for this.

Marshall is my favorite turn 1 headline, but probably played for ops more often than not after turn 1.

There's times that TDTW doesn't make a difference in Europe scoring. If that's the case and you have a good headline/don't need to drop defcon, then the 3 ops are often better.

COMECON rarely may be better for the event than ops in the late war. As I recall, Pazderski played it for the event in the game against the BGG forum.

I've headlined WP in the early war many times, although usually when I had no good headline choice. One thing I think twilightstrategy.com gets wrong is the emphasis on the USA triggering this event and the USSR not triggering it before the late war. Sometimes plays of EEU leave EG and Poland vulnerable and would require ops to repair. Sometimes you're in a country count race with the USA for Europe domination. As USSR, I'm happy when the USA plays this card and frees me from worrying about EG and Poland until the late war. As USA, I'll try to space this in the early war rather than play it if I can spare the ops.

Reformer depends on board. If it's only 4, then there's times that 3 free ops is better.

ETA: One other card not mentioned that is almost never played for the event is Ortega. Although I did have a game recently where I used it as the event. Was fighting it out in Central America for country count and wiped out USA influence in Nicaragua and couped him in Honduras.
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Alex
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Love hearing from many good players. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

It seems I underestimated NSO heavily. But I usually can't afford to play all my late war cards. There's at least one USSR event that I'll need to take to the next turn. On top of that, if you haven't seen Aldrich or terrorism, well, this puts it in the 90% OPS for me.

LADS. As I said in the first place, there's no such thing as an autoplay in TS (maybe wargames). There are many reasons to headline this, yes. But in practice, I just don't see many competent players doing it. Even less in an AR.

It seems Formosa is the most controversial card! I'd say that it's difficult to commit to a 2Ops event + 3 ops + the compromise of not playing the China card. But all of us have suffered from an Asia domination costing us the game.

Regarding EEU in early war, even the IA from the app opens with 4-4-1 and dumps some Comecon/Warsaw into BGs, so it's gonna be hard finding an USSR player that doesn't overprotect. Fringe case: maybe you want to cut access to Italy/Greece. Then again, I don't see how that's gonna be worth more than 3 free ops In early war.

Didnt place Ortega in the list because messing with Centroamérica country count is always gonna be a choice you have to weight. The same case you propose, for example. Not that uncommon at all.

I was surprised to see Kris placing NORAD at 0%. If I'm loaded, I may very much consider triggering it as the US. If you draw quagmire, you may have something that messes up AR1 scorings and the USSR headline for the whole game. Not a 0% for me. Would you include it in the "not much choice" cards?
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King in Green
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LADs is useful in many situations. For example as the USSR you're in Panama but not in South America. Usually 'walking' through Colombia is risky, but with LADs in play you are very likely to win any coup war, or at least make one prohibitively expensive for the US.

Reagan Bombs Libya rarely seems to pay for itself, it mainly acts as a deterrent for the USSR not to Brush War Libya if there's extra influence there!
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Marcus Straßmann
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zosete wrote:

I was surprised to see Kris placing NORAD at 0%. If I'm loaded, I may very much consider triggering it as the US. If you draw quagmire, you may have something that messes up AR1 scorings and the USSR headline for the whole game. Not a 0% for me. Would you include it in the "not much choice" cards?


I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

OK, definitely something that would cause a facepalm with experienced players, but a good demonstration of what NORAD can do nonetheless ;-)

My 2ct

Marcus
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Gary Weis
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MacStrass wrote:
I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

How did you coup Italy as USSR with DEFCON at 3?
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R Cook
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incinerator wrote:
MacStrass wrote:
I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

How did you coup Italy as USSR with DEFCON at 3?


I assume AR1 coup of a battleground country in another region, defcon drops to 2, activates NORAD and allows you to flip Italy. It's an example of why NORAD can be v powerful. Be interested to know why a top player like Sankt never plays it for the event as USA.

For me the only card that you always play for the event is Grain Sales as the USA. I can think of scenarios where you might play any other card for ops or the event (albeit some being very unlikely).
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Marcus Straßmann
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Bertwald wrote:
incinerator wrote:
MacStrass wrote:
I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

How did you coup Italy as USSR with DEFCON at 3?


I assume AR1 coup of a battleground country in another region, defcon drops to 2, activates NORAD and allows you to flip Italy.


Precisely. Sorry about the confusion.
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Kris Wei
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NORAD* for event costs 5ops(3 itself, 2 in Canada), these precious ops equals France+Egypt, or S.Africa+Panama+Mexico. considering you play it in Turn 2(Turn 1? Are you mad?), even once per turn, you need to wait for Turn 7 to get the profit back. Remember, Quagmire* is a Mid-war card.

But unstable profit is not critical, the real weakness is that NORAD* conflicts with US playing mode. It's denied by usually great US headlines - Duck & Cover/Junta/Cuban Crisis/Grains. You need to deny NORAD*'s profit yourself.
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R Cook
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It's definitely better for USSR to activate NORAD for USA and it's very rare that USA would want to activate NORAD on T1 and T2. But from T3 onwards if Canada has 4 influence from Special Relationship and Marshall and you have no good / better headline, it must be worth considering? I agree it conflicts with other great USA headlines, but you are not always going to draw these. An active NORAD can be a serious weapon vs USSR.
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Fred Shugars
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sankt wrote:
NORAD* for event costs 5ops(3 itself, 2 in Canada), these precious ops equals France+Egypt, or S.Africa+Panama+Mexico. considering you play it in Turn 2(Turn 1? Are you mad?), even once per turn, you need to wait for Turn 7 to get the profit back. Remember, Quagmire* is a Mid-war card.

But unstable profit is not critical, the real weakness is that NORAD* conflicts with US playing mode. It's denied by usually great US headlines - Duck & Cover/Junta/Cuban Crisis/Grains. You need to deny NORAD*'s profit yourself.


In practice though, Norad only takes 3 uses to get that payback, as the one it adds is almost invariable in a USSR controlled country.
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ray donovan
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I once headlined NORAD turn1 on a very specific situation.
USSR putted all of his starting influences in EG+Poland.
I had norad+warsaw+comecon and no strong headline

I made a very strange setup: 4WG, 2 Canada, 1 Austria and headlined NORAD

I never tried but without ussr influences near Italy using a 4WG, 3 France and headlining defector might be fun too.
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