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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Variants

Subject: Red Scare / Purge Variant rss

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Tony M
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As you've read from my lament under rules, I recently got burned with the Red Scare + Quagmire combo. The USSR can be hit with the same combo using Purge + Bear Trap. As the majority of the cards in the deck are 1s and 2s, this can lead to a situation thats impossible to get out of, forcing the player to miss an entire turn.

Missing turns != Fun, and can make new players never want to play again.

Here is a variant for Red Scare that I came up with to minimize this:

Red Scare / Purge: For the remainder of the turn, your opponent must make a decision when playing a card for Ops. Either your opponent deducts one from the ops value of the card he played, or you gain 1 VP.

Basically, I am proposing is that the player who is the target of a red scare may choose to not reduce the ops value of his cards by giving one 1VP to his opponent for each turn he does not take the 1 point ops loss. This will allow him/her access to beating Quagmire/Bear Trap or Space Racing 2 point cards, but at a loss of VPs.

Thoughts ?

-T
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well its a fair variant I suppose. The problem with varying the card text is its not obvious to your opponent what the card does just be looking at it. If you have a stable partner that is ok, but if you are teaching it to newbies it is an issue...
 
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L. Scott Johnson
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You could also try a more straight-forward fix: just deduct one from the cards the opponent plays (not the ones he discards).
 
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Martin Stever
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If I were changing TS I would change Purge/Red Scare so that it could only be played in an alternating fashion. So the Russians can't eat it twice without the Americans eating it once and vice versa.
 
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Chris White
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Or you could just say that it doesn't count for cards discarded to Bear Trap/Quagmmire/Blockade/Debt Crisis (might be a good idea to throw those in there as well). If I were playing with that variant, I probably would allow it to count against Space Race plays, though- just lessen the killer combo burden for event-forced discards.
 
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butik man
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Let's resurrect this old thread from the grave and see what community has to say, mainly because I have similar proposition as the op for the Red Scare/Purge card.

Here it goes.


First let me tell you that this is an awesome game, one of the best I have ever been playing. I have fairly low experience with TS, played about 20 games with only 2 opponents for 1 year period. For the past 2 weeks I have been browsing the Rules and Variants forums to learn as much as I can for all card interactions that can happen and all the variants that have been proposed. For this limited time of playing and with relative constant group I still think I am obligated to state my opinion if I strongly think that one card could mean between great game and a broken one.
My analysis will be focused on two cards. I am asking for game designers to look at my suggestions and reply their thoughts. I thank you in advance. The cards are Quagmire/Bear trap, and Red scare/purge, as well as their killer combo.

Let’s start with Quagmire/Bear trap. This card is not broken. Although there is lots of hate for it the issue that you can be trapped for more than several rounds is quite low. More experienced players often play this card on themselves cause is beneficial to discard 2-3 very bad opponent events. Holding a hand with only 1 ops is almost impossible. Holding a hand with only few 2 ops and all others 1 ops should be player fault.

Suggested card changes:
1. When you fail a die roll apply a -1 modifier on next roll
2. Only limited numbers of actions can be lost (the numbers vary for 3 to 7)
3. You can try to roll out even when you don’t have appropriate card to discard

Personally I don’t think that this card should have any change. As I stated before this card is not broken. Sure if u loose more than a few actions can be game changer, but still it is often not a big deal.

The second card Red scare/purge is a different story. Played by itself as a event especially on headline phase is quite strong. It is not broken thought. As lots of experienced players state that played in early war its effect can be mitigated easily. But played in mid or late war and played especially more than once on the same player, can mean lots of ops points lost. In my experience I had been purged 4 times in one game and my opponent not once. Still I managed to hold till final scoring when I lost with 4VP as USA. I would call it bad luck, and this particular situation doesn't need a fix in my opinion.

The real issue comes when you need to discard a card which ops had been lowered due to Red scare/purge. Lots of cards cannot be sent to space. But who needs space all turns. The potential killer combo with Blockade can be game changer and on the verge of game killer. But this is only ONE action, and as a player you should be prepared for this. Don’t over control W. Germany before Blockade is out of the way and fix the problem as soon as you can if you manage to lose all influence there.


And now for the really killer combo with Quagmire/Bear trap.
This is a quote from twilight strategy pdf.
"The real point of Quagmire/Bear trap use is when you can tilt the odds towards you with Red Scare/Purge. Timed correctly, you can deprive your opponent of many Action Rounds in a row, and as a bonus, strand them with low Ops cards that they must hold in hand for next round. For example, if you headline Red Scare/Purge, and then spring Quagmire halfway through the turn, they might have no 3+ Ops events left. In that case, not only can they not discard to Quagmire and be forced to skip a whole bunch of Actions (allowing you carte blanche to take over the world), those low Ops cards stay in their hand through next turn as well. (If you are really lucky or sadistic, you can use SALT Negotiations or the luck of the reshuffle to grab another copy of Red Scare/Purge to do it all over again next turn …)
Accordingly, I usually trigger Quagmire as USSR. The main exception is if the US is under Containment for some reason, or if NORAD isn’t out and I desperately need the Ops. But I will often hold it for a turn or two and hope to draw it with Red Scare/Purge, because that combo can
be game-warpingly powerful"
.


EMPHASES MINE


So what can I say more? How can loosing many action rounds in a row cannot be game killer, and also as a bonus, strand them with low Ops cards that they must hold in hand for next round.
This combo is so devastating. In my limited games it came about 5 times (more USSR then US), only once it was canceled fairly quickly (only 3 AR lost), but the player was forced to discard dam good of his events. The game ended in minor defeat (US). All other times when there were more than 5 AR lost and the player was forced to hold more than 4 cards till the next round he had lost by MAJOR defeat.
The reason that Quagmire/Bear trap card has so much hate is cause of THIS COMBO and not if it’s played by itself.

For the reasons stated before it is my tough that Red scare/purge should be changed. Browsing the forums I found lots of good suggestions. The suggestions for Quagmire/Bear trap change still stands if you apply only in case of this combo. But I would like to state the suggestions for changing Red scare/purge because THIS card is the game killer and not Quagmire/Bear trap.

1. Playing in alternate fashion. If, for example, USSR has played Red scare/purge earlier as an event he can’t play it again as an event before the other player (US in this case) plays this as an event. The first play of the event can be by both players.
a. This change is a good one. But it doesn’t prevent the killer combo. It can force the players not to play this as an event till they have Quagmire/Bear trap in their hands with Red scare/purge. So it will make the game much slower and much less interesting. As soon as someone gets a hold of Red scare/purge he will hold it till Quagmire/Bear trap pass by or gets in their hands.
2. Red scare/purge doesn’t affect OPS value of the cards in hand and thus doesn’t modify the OPS of the cards for the purpose of discarding. Red scare/purge only affects cards which are actually played either for OPS or for the event (this affect space race of course).
a. This change takes care of all cards that require specific discards like Blockade. But this also makes Red scare/purge much less powerful. It also takes away the essence of the OPS modifying cards like Brezhnev Doctrine and Containment. So not to over explain I don’t like this change
3. And finally my favorite change. Give the victim of Red scare/purge an option to suspend the effect for ONE action round. This privilege can be limited for only ONCE in a turn or can be used as many time as the victim likes. The pay (penalty) for suspending the effect for one AR could be VP gain to the opponent. This can be 2 or even 3 VP. My toughs are that 1 VP is too less and 3 VP could be too much. With this change the players would almost never use this in order just to play their cards for OPS, but they might use it for discards to avoid potential game changers (almost game breakers) with blockade, and a SURE game breaker with quagmire/bear trap combo.
 
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