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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Variants

Subject: Aldrich Ames Variant rss

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Tony M
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A nerf for those who feel he is too powerful:

"US player must display hand and declare what card the US will play next. During each subsequent US action round this turn, the US player must announce the next card the US will play on the next round.

US player may not play The China Card for the rest of the turn."

Clarifications: The US player does not have to announce a card on the final action round, as the player will not know what cards he/she will receive.

Another even weaker variant on this is that the US hand would not be revealed, simply the next card the US is planning to play is shown to the USSR.

I'm hoping this variant continues to simulate the effect of a mole in the CIA without having all the hinkiness of the original Ames that some players disliked.

Let me know your thoughts !

-T
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L. Scott Johnson
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Looks like a drastic change.

How about just "ordering" the last card -- the USSR player chooses only a card that the US player must hold (or must play last, depending on the number of actions vs. cards the US player has), with the caveat that it cannot be a scoring card.

Or use it even more as printed, but just lessen the room for "gamey"ness: The USSR player orders the US player's entire hand, and the US player must play in that order (discards need not conform to the order) until any of the following happen:

1) he cannot play in that order (via the original rule about not holding scoring cards, or any other restriction on what he must play*).
2) the US hand's ordering is adjusted in any way: i.e., any card is discarded (or taken from or added to) the US player's hand (basically any change to the US player's hand that doesn't come from the US player playing a card). Covers Missile Envy, Quagmire, Blockade, etc.
3 DEFCON is at 2 when the US player should take an action.

* Like if the USSR player plays Missile Envy and retrieves Ames -- He can order the US player's hand, but then the US player must play ME for Ops, ending the restriction on the order of his hand.

 
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Martin Stever
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If I were changing TS I would change Aldrich Ames. It's weird to see the American player way ahead, then have one card play that forces the defcon to 1 and an auto-Russian win. Maybe the change would be, "If a non-coup causes defcon 1 this turn, then the Russians lose" or "Americans can not lower defcon to 1 this rest of this turn." I mean how can the Russians react to the Americans with global thermonuclear war when the Russians are programming the Americans moves?
 
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MacGilleEathain
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MartinStever wrote:
If I were changing TS I would change Aldrich Ames. It's weird to see the American player way ahead, then have one card play that forces the defcon to 1 and an auto-Russian win. Maybe the change would be, "If a non-coup causes defcon 1 this turn, then the Russians lose" or "Americans can not lower defcon to 1 this rest of this turn." I mean how can the Russians react to the Americans with global thermonuclear war when the Russians are programming the Americans moves?


Quite. With the USSR in essence programming the USA moves, it calls into question the whole "phasing" player idea. If the USSR contrives that DEFCON 1 results from the Ames' programming, it should be the USSR who loses.

Besides which, in actuality, Ames' treachery didn't have such far reaching effects. Essentially, he ratted out key assets within the Soviet system who had been providing information to the CIA. Ames is directly responsible for the murders of these people. The fact that he did this all for money, not for an ideology, makes him doubly insidious. Because both he and the KGB acted stupidly, he was found out and will rot in solitary confinement for the rest of his days. He probably wishes he was a Soviet for, on that side, his sentence would have been more merciful - summary execution. Some irony there, methinks.

I rather like this variant, but, I think I prefer the similar variant in which the US player sets up the entire sequence in advance, exposing only the cards which will actually be played. However, any arrangement in which the USSR player knows precisely what is coming next affords a chance for that player to set the US up for a DEFCON 1 loss.
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