Metro Seattle Gamers is running a Twilight Struggle tournament with 16 players over the next few months. The players are broken into 4 Groups of 4 players, and must play one game against each of the 3 other players in their bracket this month.
Gene (USSR) and I (USA) played our opening round game last night. The forces of democracy and capitalism defeated the Evil Empire with a score of +9 after final scoring in turn 10.
The difference was my hot dice rolling. It started with the dice off for the first bid, which I won. I bid 0 for the USSR, he went to +1 for the bad guys. The scoring by turn went like this:
Turn 1: +13
Turn 2: +13
Turn 3: +13
Turn 4: +8
Turn 5: +8
Turn 6: +12
Turn 7: +6
Turn 8: +2
Turn 9: +5
Turn 10: +9
I got a great set of cards in turn 1 and was able to convert Eastern European unrest and European scoring into temporary Dominance in Europe to build a big lead. The score see-sawed alot in turns 1 - 3, even though it ended each turn at +13.
The mid-war was much more even in card distribution. Gene was able to use Lone Gunman to find out what I was up to, and build strong postitions in the middle-East, South America and Africa. He got alot of VPs out of them, but I was able to maintain strong board postion and virtually control southeast Asia to keep the lead.
Aldrich Ames came up in turn 8, and the score briefly went down to 0. European scoring and the pro-Soviet late war cards were in my hand, so I had to mitigate the damage and space a couple of the big point cards.
(At the end of the game, the US was in box 9 on the Space Race and the Soviets were in 7. The US lead the space race the entire game, which provided a nice VP cushion for the US.)
The last 2 turns were tense because the game was so close. I had spaced Warsaw Pact a couple of times previously, and it came back to bite me late, wiping out good US positions in Poland (Pope and Solidarity) and East Germany. Gene played Red Scare on me in turn 10, and I thought it was all over, but I was able to use Star Wars to get Containment (which he had spaced) to negate the effects of Red Scare.
The key to the late game was two wars, Indo-Pakistan and Iran-Iraq, that were dealt to the US with Flower Power in effect. I won both of the wars with -1 drms, thus forcing Gene to spend cards in Asia and the middle-East to prevent the US from scoring dominance there. I was able to pick up a couple of VPs from the milops those cards gave me too, and the VPs from the wins offset the VPs lost to Flower Power.
This was a real fun game that was a brain-drainer too. It was so close the last few turns that I was agonizing over which cards to play and in what country to place infuence. The appearance of Red Scare and Aldritch Ames had a great impact in the game, but don't seem to be the game-breakers that some people claim they are (although I was able to use Red Purge in the Early War to help maintain that big US lead). The decisions on what cards to use on the Space Race, how to get your milops and the manipulation of the DEFCON track (DEFCON was at 2 or 3 most of the game) also provided a lot of fun in this game.
A demonstration that you should play your enemies starred events!
Warsaw Pact is still painful, but Containment can be played on the last Action round so it only provides a 1 Ops boost...