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Subject: US Roadmap For Victory: Want Input ! rss

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Tony M
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OK. I'm branching off from the US Strategy topic because it has become a bit long. Have any players come up with a road map for victory for the USA that is consistently possible with good strategy and card play? I've been playing as the US and I consistently get smoked. Either the game has some bias towards the soviets or I cant figure out how the US should be played

It seems that a good portion of Soviet events grant influence or remove all US influence from areas, while the USA gets goofy stuff like discarding and drawing new cards or simply cards that nullify Soviet mid war events like OPEC and Flower Power.

Points can come from four places: The Map(via scoring cards), the Space Race, Military Ops(getting more when DEFCON is low), and Miscellaneous(assorted cards such as OPEC, Olympics, Reagan Bombs Libya, etc).

So, some questions:

Which of these four avenues should the US be pursuing to keep up with the spread of Soviet influence across the board ?

In which areas of the board should the US strive for Domination or Control versus just maintaining a presence ?

Should the US be relying on Mil Ops and Space for points ?

How do you keep the US Soviet spread to -6 by turn 7 so you dont have a 50% chance of being put away by War Games ?

I've stared at the cards and map quite a bit so far, and cant seem to think of a consistent way to put the soviets away. Should the US be starting with some VPs as a handicap ?

-T
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Philip Thomas
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Ok. First point is there is a Bidding variant in the rulebook to handle persistent bias among a particular playgroup. By the way, are you always wining as USSR, or do you lose that too?

Secondly, my Early, Mid and Late game strategy articles contain relevant tips for both sides.

Thirdly USA has some pretty good cards! Don't knock the discard one- you can get rid of a whole host of Soviet events that way especially if you wait til turn 7 to play it.

Your points should come from the Map, above all, because it is the big points source. However you should try to keep mil ops even and the space race fairly even- its important to get to step 2 so that USSR can't zoom ahead, and it should be easy to find a USSR event to use in the Early War. If you can get a lead in the Space Race there are plenty of benefits, but do not neglect the Map for this- and of course One Small Step is an issue. Points from cards are generally not worth the ops lost, but if the score is at -15 or worse you should take them.

Note that end of turn 7 points <-6 is not a 50% Wargames loss- Wargames may not be drawn at all on turn 8, maybe it won't be drawn this game...

Anyway, Roadmap.
1) Initial Setup: Check your cards, do you have Marshall Plan? If not 4 Influence in West Germany and 3 in Italy is the way forward. You don't put anything in France because of De Gaulle/Suez Crisis. You already control Uk so no need to place anywhere else.

If you do have Marshall Plan you can put one less influence in W.Germany and Italy, because you will get it back in the Headline Phase. Put the spare influence in Spain and Greece so you get control of them immediately (also good defence vs Brush War later on).

2) First Headline: Marshall Plan is obvious here. There are some who would have you play it for OPs, but then it may never happen and the 7 Influence is so important. Marshall Plan should be West Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Benelux, Denmark. If you don't have Marshall Plan, play a reusable event like East European Unrest or (at a pinch) Duck and Cover, or a mixed op event (Nazi Scientist is very good here).
Do not play a starred US event. You want to save these up so they appear in the next deal out, otherwise turn 3 will be stuffed with USSR events. Red Scare/Purge is another obvious one to play.

3) Turns 1 and 2: You will be playing events for OPs (except East European Unrest in some cases). Avoid Eastern Europe until Warsaw Pact has happened. Play Soviet starred events and space race Soviet unstarred events: except for Castro and Destalinisation which should be held to space race on round 3. Priority countries to take include Taiwan (helps vs Korean War) Afghanistan, Malaysia (and thence Thailand) Jordan and Lebanon. Prescence in Middle East is top priority as it is worth 3VPs (once USSR gets presence there which he can do easily. If you need mil ops you can hit Syria, probably wise to do this when Defcon has reached 3 as USSR may seek to shut the option by holding another coup in, say, Iran. Keep one 3+Ops card back in case of the dreaded Blockade. If you have Blockade play it and discard a 3 Ops so you can get rid of it from the game (obviously if you have no 3 Ops card you may have to hold it, Containment could help here). Soviet events of special note: Vietnam Revolts you should play and then hold a coup in Vietnam: it follows that you should play this if Defcon is 4 (before it is impossible to coup in Asia). Korean War you should take the influence afterwards so that if he fails the roll you can take Korea.

If you get the China card in turn 1 do not be afraid to play it in turn 2, even if Formosan Resolution is on the table. Playing it means you can hold two cards. If you don't need to hold to cards you might as well not play it as odds are you will need it in round 3. If you have a scoring card and playing would result in no score change play it! This is a win for you at this stage of the game. Even a -2 is probably worth taking rather than competing with the Soviets, particularly in the Middle East.

4) Turn 3: This can be tough. You need to get Soviet unstarred events into the discard pile. Keep playing your own starred events for Ops. Of course, you know some of your oppponent's hand (the Early War cards that didn't emerge in turns 1 and 2 and that aren't in your hand). As well as keeping the big 3 primed, you may want to firm up Central America and Africa, and also SE Asia (your starting posiiton gives you access to Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia). Don't try to enter Columbia though, its just asking Soviets to take it with a coup.

5) Turns 4-6: Now your focus shifts a little. The Late War contains so many good American events that you actually want to play your starred events for their effect, so as to increase the chances of getting those great Late War events. Don't overdo it though, if you'd more benefit from the Ops you should stick with it. Of course, you still want to play US starred events.

You want the USSR to have the China Card (although playing Ussuri River Skirmish when you have it can be a gateway into the Koreas if USSR has locked them up in Early War), so he will only get 1 VP out of Cultural Revolution and you can claim it with Nixon. You should expect to lose in Africa but be coming out ahead in South America. Central America is difficult because of Cuba and Liberation Theology. Realignment is your friend vs Castro, but try to get one of the smalll countries adjacent to Cuba on your side before attempting it. SE Asia is very important. Not only is there the scoring card, but also having lots of SE asian countries helps Asia scoring. Camp David Accords should be played asap if Arab-Israeli war is not in the discard pile. Mixed starred events you should play as events, to prevent them hitting you later. "How I learned to stop worrying" can be kept for action 7 to net you 3 VPs vs typical Soviet strategy (keep Defcon at 2 and always perform 2 mil ops).
Play John Paul II as event when you get him so Solidarity can turn up. Don't be afraid to use Bear Trap as event, even if USSR discards your card he has lost an action.

Voice of America is of course a wonderfully good card. If you can find Influence in isolation you can destroy it utttery...
In the Middle East try to take Israel once Camp David Accords are signed. The rest is trouble, leave the Russians to it

6) Turn 7: Again, you know USSR cards to some extent, actually more than in round 3, though you probably can't keep count of every single one. Try to make sure you know if any scoring rounds didn't happen in turns 3-6- they will come up now! Events played now probably won't see life again, so again you won't to dump soviet events. East European Unrest should obviously be saved for a turn. You may want to push for points if you are near -6 or 0 (because if you can get positive it nerfs The Reformer)

7)Turns 8-10: You should be in the driving seat.now. Watch out for Aldritch Ames: play your best event as a headline card to avoid his baleful influence, especially if it would be a good card early in the turn but not so good later- the big example is Chernobyl!

You have strong European events now, especially if you kept Truman Doctrine alive. Chernobyl in Europe can seriously hamper USSR plans.
1 VP events are better played as OPs, even now, unless they have some other relevant benefit (e.g if Flower Power is on the table and you have some wars in your hand, you should play Axis of Evil as an event, if you have Soc governments and can't space race it, the Iron Lady is useful, etc etc). Space race the Reformer, obviously.

Best Wishes!
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Ken Feldman
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Think containment. Strive for presence in Europe, Asia and the Mid-East during the early war. Try to keep the Soviets out of SE Asia and Central America.

If the Sovs do get a foothold in SE Asia, coup, coup and coup again. Coups are your friends. Try to keep the DEFCON at 4 so you can coup a battleground in Asia if you need to.

DeGaulle can be nuisance, but he's less of a pain than Fidel.

Of course, if you have a hand full of Soviet events, start playing them on the Space Race. In some cases you may have to play a Soviet event like Decolonization. Play the event first, see where the Soviet places his influence, then use the points for a coup in one of the countries.
 
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Luca Iennaco
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tmarozas wrote:
Points can come from four places: The Map(via scoring cards), the Space Race, Military Ops(getting more when DEFCON is low), and Miscellaneous(assorted cards such as OPEC, Olympics, Reagan Bombs Libya, etc).


Military Ops can't give you points. At worst, they give points to the opponent (if you do not meet the requirements). If you do more Military Ops than required, you get no prize.
 
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Michael @mgouker
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I think he means when you fulfill your mil-ops, but your opponent does not. I'm sure you realize a card used for mil-ops by your opponent is one less used for influence placement. I find this approach works well after a card has opened a breach (such as the Destalinization card we talked about yesterday).

Edit: By the way, Philip, I think that is a pretty good guide to how to play well as the US. Good job!
 
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Tony M
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Great article, Phillip. Thanks all for the comments.
 
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