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1989: Dawn of Freedom» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Czechoslovakia and the reds? rss

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Kristofer Östen Karlsson
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Hey!
I just started playing this awesome game, but I'm a long time fan och TS, and me and my bestest TS-buddy feel right at home.
Contrary to most players though, we've found that the communist has a very hard time winning. No doubt this will even out with time and experience, but that's been the feeling so far.
Now to the actual topic:
I've been thinking about which countries are geared towards who. And it seems that Czechoslovakia is really hard to keep, in the long run, for the commies. Hear me out and let me know if I'm missing something:

All things equal, Czech Writers and Charles Uni are clearly going to the democrat. Between the starting INF, Jan Palach Week, and Helsinki, what can you do as commie, right?
That means that the worker triangle in Czech is really really important to take, and hold. If the democrat takes it, Prague will never be less than +/- 0 for Support Checks, given that DEM holds Charles and Brno, and COM holds Plzen and Ceske. Very dangerous and susceptible to Gorby, Inflationary currency, or raw power and lucky rolls.

So, we've established (I hope) that COM needs to take and hold the worker triangle Brno, Bratislava, Ostrava in order to not completely lose his footing. Let's look at the triangle, shall we?
It seems, the geography there is also heavily slanted towards DEM rule:
The democrat will most likely eventually take the Catholic Church - if not through starting INF then through Papal Visit.
He'll also easily take Katovice in Poland (good luck taking and holding that space as communist).
That means that the very same mechanics are in play in Ostrava as in Prague - communist Dice roll modifier will, in the long run, never be greater that +/-0. If, however, the democrat take Ostrava, he's got +1DRM in Bratislava and can then in a relaxed manner enjoy his domination if he feels that's enough, or roll up Brno on at least a +1. If he so chooses he'll be at the gates of Prague, holding all the other battlegrounds, and rolling, at the very least, on a neutral DRM.

Maybe not all of this will happen, maybe it's not even likely all of it will happen, but my point is -
The COM player will almost always have to settle with a maximum of +/-0DRM, while the DEM player will almost always have at least a +/-0DRM.
And that advantage, over time, will translate to a lot of topplings in Czechoslovakia.

So, what to do about Czech as the red player?
Take the triangle and hope that DEM never gets an opportunity to assault Ostrava?
Any suggestions and criticisms are welcome!

/
Kris
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Chris Linneman
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In the long run, the Democrat certainly has the advantage in Czechoslovakia. The Communist should attempt to time the scoring to his advantage if possible. Don't forget that because he controls Praha he has an advantage when performing support checks in the student and writer spaces. If Helsinki is in play, of course he must be frugal with these, but well-timed support checks in the student and writer spaces in Czech is particularly effective due to their status as BGs.

Even more so than in TS, timing the scorings to your advantage is important in 1989 (since they recur less often and award more VPs in general). Yes, the Democrat will likely take Czech in the end, but if the Commie can reap some VPs from it first, he should be happy.
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Philip Jelley
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It depends on when the countries are being scored; Poland and Hungary, then Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and lastly Romania. If the Democrats get some good Polish cards the Communists should go strong in Hungary. In relation to Czechoslovakia the Communists can fight for it or simply concentrate his resources elsewhere, which would be my preferred strategy.

In Bulgaria and Romania the Democrats can find it difficult to get an early foothold and if the Communists can sew up the VP boxes they will be difficult to defeat there. They can also build up support in East Germany, where they can be very strong until the late game.

If they want to strengthen the Communist position there the triangle around Prague is good as it can link up with Communist boxes in East Germany. Thumping the Students and Intellectuals is fairly simple until the Helsinki Accords event.

Philip


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Max DuBoff
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QBert80 wrote:
In the long run, the Democrat certainly has the advantage in Czechoslovakia. The Communist should attempt to time the scoring to his advantage if possible. Don't forget that because he controls Praha he has an advantage when performing support checks in the student and writer spaces. If Helsinki is in play, of course he must be frugal with these, but well-timed support checks in the student and writer spaces in Czech is particularly effective due to their status as BGs.

Even more so than in TS, timing the scorings to your advantage is important in 1989 (since they recur less often and award more VPs in general). Yes, the Democrat will likely take Czech in the end, but if the Commie can reap some VPs from it first, he should be happy.


Agreed. I'll add that it depends on how much the Communists wants to spend on Czechoslovakia. If they start early, the Communists can secure the worker triangle and occasionally take the Church. The main reason your logic falls, however, is that you assume the Democrat will easily hold the north. Jan Palach Week is usually a relatively weak card whose effect can be reversed (since, as Chris noted, Praha is a nice modifier), and while Intelligentsia can help the Democrats in the Writers, it's still relatively easy to support check. Czechoslovakia is a region that can go either way.

Also, just play a bit more. Everyone thinks this game is unbalanced after a few plays.
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Kristofer Östen Karlsson
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Ok,good to see that I'm neither way off nor right on the money!
I actually don't think the game is unbalanced, just that we're instinctively playing the COMs like TS - contesting every country, and falling behind. Hell, I still feel irrationally uneasy throwing card on Tianamen for fear of not being able to later.

Prague is a nice modifier for Charles alright, but then again so are the Writers... Are you seriously telling me you've played a lot of games (like some significant percentage, say over 30%) where Charles Uni and Czech Writers have been in Com control for scoring, and further?
If so, we've definitely been playing the commies sloppily.
Then again, I kinda see what you're saying:
If you can get Charles in one SC on a 0DRM, then you have a +1 in the writers, and after that Charles is protected from two sides.
Although the Writers are Dem-controlled, and Charles is overcontrolled with 6 INF, it takes 8 just to get it to zero. Two SCs using a 4op card might get a nice communist overcontrol in the University, and barring a re-SC by the democrats, a SC in Writers with a +1?

Would that do it? Is that how you usually do it?
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Max DuBoff
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I can't say I have stats on how often the Communists infiltrate the Student Writers spaces, but I can tell you that it's not particularly rare.

I can tell you, however, that 1989 is much more asymmetrical than TS is. The Communists can afford to give up some countries if they're strong elsewhere, whereas the Democrats need to mitigate Communist scoring when they're not on top in a region.
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Kristofer Östen Karlsson
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Awesome, I've been kind of dismissing Charles as a lost space for the Commies. Although I still think that all things equal, the dem takes it, it's nice to see you don't "have" to give it up.
About the asymmetry, I know, that's why I am giving so much thought on how to retain control, and where.

My last game was the first I won with the Commies, and in that game I threw Poland scoring on T1 AR1 for zero points, and kept St. Nicholas in my hand until turn 6 I think. I got Leipzig and kept the Dem contained in all of East Germany almost the entire game. But when I played Hasselhof for the win, I had to overprotect Prague with like 7 inf for fear of my opponent getting Control in Czechoslovakia.

Given my limited experience, I would say that Bulgaria and EG if you can keep St. out are the safest bets for scoring big.
I've had bad luck in Hungary, but it seems kind of 50/50 cards and position wise.

Well, this has gotten to be about a lot more than Czechoslovakia by now, though.
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Ted Torgerson
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1. Overcontrol (control +1 SP) is more important in 1989 than in TS. It protects against Gorby, Consumerism, etc. It also protects against Scare Tactics in Power Struggles. If you are going to make Czech your fortress of Communism you have to really lock down the worker triangle.

2. The Helsinki VP penalty calculus is different for Czechoslovakia because both the students and intellectuals are battlegrounds. You can make up the VPs for Support Checks through bonus VPs from Domination or even control, and drawing the extra cards in the power struggle. Basically if you are just going for presence in Czechoslovakia you should probably not make the Support Checks, but if you are trying to score big there then keep cracking down if the Scoring card is not in the discard pile.

3. A neat trick if you hold Czechoslovakia Scoring, is to play Kiss of Death as the 7th AR, make support checks in Charles University and, if successful, the Czech writers space, then allow the Dem event to take place, forcing play of the Scoring Card before the Dem can Support Check back into those spaces.
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Bruce Wigdor
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If there is no Helsinki Final Act, the student and intellectual spaces usually stay in Communist hands because of the positive Support Check modifier given by Praha. Even with Helsinki, those positive Support Check modifiers sometimes make it worth the VP price, because the Communist can sometimes gain tempo when the Democrat tries to take the space back with Support Checks of his own.
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