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Subject: No idea how to play Twilight Struggle rss

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Jared Green
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My wife and I recently picked up Twilight Struggle Deluxe Edition, but we have not a clue at all how to even make a single game happen. We've read the rules and all the how to play's online, but we still can't figure out how to even make one game win/lose. All we understand is putting influence points down and taking them away with cards and we kind of understand the action rounds and that's it. We're massively stumped and feel like we're missing something huge here because we can't even get one game going to try and learn. The best we can figure is to just keep placing influence points around the board but this leads us nowhere.

Please help
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Derek Thompson
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Jared360 wrote:
My wife and I recently picked up Twilight Struggle Deluxe Edition, but we have not a clue at all how to even make a single game happen. We've read the rules and all the how to play's online, but we still can't figure out how to even make one game win/lose. All we understand is putting influence points down and taking them away with cards and we kind of understand the action rounds and that's it. We're massively stumped and feel like we're missing something huge here because we can't even get one game going to try and learn. The best we can figure is to just keep placing influence points around the board but this leads us nowhere.

Please help


Do you know someone nearby who can play it with you, or can Skype with you while playing on VASSAL? The absolute easiest way to learn is to be taught in person by someone else.
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Max DuBoff
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If you really have no idea, try playing a game online. There are multiple ways to do that (VASSAL, WGR, etc.).
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Alex H.
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Can you tell us a bit more? What games do you usually play? What mechanics do you and don't you understand? Is it that you don't know what you should aim for, in other words, why you are placing influence?
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Dr Who
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MD1616 wrote:
If you really have no idea, try playing a game online. There are multiple ways to do that (VASSAL, WGR, etc.).


you are just making it more complicated
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Max DuBoff
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DrWhoWho wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
If you really have no idea, try playing a game online. There are multiple ways to do that (VASSAL, WGR, etc.).


you are just making it more complicated


No, because he seems to have tried everything possible on his own, so he could use help from someone else.
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Björn von Knorring
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Where do you live? I can help you play a tutorial-game on wargameroom.com and help you along the way. PM me if interested.

I live in Sweden so that CET-time.
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Dr Who
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MD1616 wrote:
DrWhoWho wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
If you really have no idea, try playing a game online. There are multiple ways to do that (VASSAL, WGR, etc.).


you are just making it more complicated


No, because he seems to have tried everything possible on his own, so he could use help from someone else.


do you honestly think if he can't figure out the game, he will be able to figure out vassal?
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Andy Andersen
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There are 73 video reviews of Twilight Struggle on the game page
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Brandon M
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Okay. Here is my quick run along the surface of this deep game. If I don't cover something in detail, the rule book covers it.

FIRST THINGS FIRST
Round = one card play in the "I go, you go" cycle.
Turn = Playing through/mostly through a hand of cards.

This is sort of backwards (at least to me) with how I used these words to describe games, but is fairly standard in the war games realm.

There are 3 main ways to win the game.

1) Reach 20 points in your favor at any point in the game, and you win.

2) Have the most points at the end of the game (after round 10 and end of game scoring)

3) Have Control of Europe when it is scored (see scoring).

So, how do you score points?

4 main ways

1) Military ops - If your opponent doesn't fulfill their ops requirement and you do (or at least more than your opponent) you will gain points. This happens at the end of every turn

2) The Space Race - Some spaces on the space race track will award points

3) Card effects - some cards will score a player points

4) Scoring Cards - This is where the bulk of your points will come from. There is one for each region of the map and they recur throughout the game (except Southeast Asia scoring)

So, how do scoring cards work?

The scoring card award points if you meet one of the following criteria:
-Presence (having enough influence to control one nation in that section)

-Dominance (controlling more battleground (purple titled) countries than your opponent & controlling more countries total than your opponent & controlling at least one non-battleground country)

-Control (controlling all battleground countries and more total countries)

You also receive 1 point for

-each battleground country you control in the region

-each country you control adjacent to your opponent's nation (eg Mexico next to the USA or Poland next to the USSR)

So, how do you get control of these countries?

Influence! Every country has a stability value (I think that is what it is called) (the number next to the country name/title). In order to control any country, you must have influence in that country equal to your opponents influence in that country plus the stability value. The influence markers are two sided (red/white or blue/white) so that while the country is not under your control, you have the white side up and if you do control the country, you have the color side up.

Influence is manipulated in one of 4 ways:

1. Card Effects - easy enough, do what the card says

2. Place influence - Using a card's ops value, you can place influence into a country (1 ops per influence into a country that isn't controlled or under your control, 2 ops per influence into a country your opponent controls)

3. Realignment Roll (as many roll offs as you have ops, see rules)

4. Coup (one roll, augmented by the ops value, see rules)

Where can you add influence?

1. To any country that you had influence in at the beginning of the round
2. Any country adjacent to one meeting requirement 1.
3. A country/group of countries specified by a card effect
4. To a country as the result of a coup (see rules)


I haven't played in a while, but I think everything I said was correct. Anyone who knows better feel free to correct me.

That is my birds eye view of how you win/lose the game. There is more to it (what to do with the different decks, how to use a card for the space race, the headline phase, cards that are removed from the game, lasting effects, how cards are either US, neutral, or USSR cards) but I hope this give you some structure to looking at the rules.
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PJ Killian
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Have you listened to this podcast? The How To Play podcast series is usually a good source of explanations. Or take someone up on an offer to teach via Skype.

If you still can't make head or tail of it, and if you're still new at gaming, it may be worth putting a pin in Twilight Struggle and coming back to it once you have a little more experience with gaming in general.
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Brandon M
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CmdrOverbite wrote:
Have you listened to this podcast? The How To Play podcast series is usually a good source of explanations. Or take someone up on an offer to teach via Skype.

If you still can't make head or tail of it, and if you're still new at gaming, it may be worth putting a pin in Twilight Struggle and coming back to it once you have a little more experience with gaming in general.


Excellent suggestion. I forgot HtP did an episode on TS.

Have you tried playing through the example of play in the rule book? Pull out the cards they say and just follow along, reading the cards and decision explanations in the rules.

I didn't do this for TS since I was taught by a friend, but I did do it for Labyrinth. It made a lot of the rules click for me.
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Heath Stockburn
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Firstly before explain a few questions:

1)Are you new to board gaming?
I ask this as the nature of your question leads me to believe you could be a little green in the board gaming world...not a problem if you are new, in fact brilliant, welcome to the hobby; but knowing your level of board gaming expertise in general will help me be more specific.
2) Is your opponent (husband/wife) new to board gaming?
It often helps to learn a new game with someone better than yourself (or so I have found).

A General guide:
Twilight, when reduced down to nuts and bolts basics is a Victory Points game card play based game; albeit a clever one.

You are trying to get more victory points than your opponent. This is accomplished by playing cards that affect the various victory point scoring options within the game.

1)Scoring Cards.
2)Military Manoeuvres.
3)Space Race.

So when you play the next time make sure you and your partner are totally focused on ONLY one massive issue.....your trying to score points.
All the mechanics of the game are geared towards this. When you are placing influence have in mind that a scoring card has to come up, and be prepared for it sooner rather than later...be aggressive.
You are placing influence to control certain regions and by doing so you will gain points for it. On your next game play towards the scoring cards only and put the other ways of scoring to one side for now. Oh and be warned the Europe scoring card gives and auto victory to whoever Controls Europe so make yourself and your partner aware of this.

Once your are cool with the scoring cards the play to use the other methods of scoring...using the space race....not doing enough military exercises etc..

Finally once you are totally aware of and comfortable with the scoring during the game then you can start to play for nuclear victory and so on and so forth...

If the is to simple for you just ignore I tried to take your question as written...hope it helps have fun.
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Max DuBoff
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DrWhoWho wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
DrWhoWho wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
If you really have no idea, try playing a game online. There are multiple ways to do that (VASSAL, WGR, etc.).


you are just making it more complicated


No, because he seems to have tried everything possible on his own, so he could use help from someone else.


do you honestly think if he can't figure out the game, he will be able to figure out vassal?


He wouldn't have to be the one figuring it out. If he plays on VASSAL, he'll be playing against someone else with rules enforcement. Not only will he not be able to break the rules, but he'll also have someone to explain any confusion he experiences.
 
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Sam Carroll
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Of the three types of operations, you should figure on:

Playing for influence frequently (several times per turn).
Possible targets: Any country with any of your influence in or adjacent to it; countries adjacent to your superpower.
Most attractive targets: Countries your opponent does not control; countries that will extend your reach (i.e. in the starting setup, the US wants to spread east from Iran. They usually can't though, because the USSR often starts by couping them out.)

Performing a coup as often as possible, which usually means once or twice per turn.
Possible targets: Any country containing your opponent's influence, subject to DEFCON restrictions.
Attractive targets: Low-stability countries; countries where you have no influence nearby; battlegrounds if you want to lower DEFCON.

Realigning a few times per game.
Possible targets: Any country containing your opponent's influence, subject to DEFCON restrictions.
Attractive targets: High-stability countries; countries where the modifiers favor you; countries where you have no influence (in case you roll poorly); countries where your opponent has no other influence nearby.

You won't go far wrong if you try to take and hold battlegrounds.
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Jared Green
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We haven't played much board games, maybe monopoly, risk, etc.

We honestly don't understand almost everything as far as how it all ties together.

Here's an example of our "game" so far:

We both placed our setup influence points accordingly, we deal 8 cards to each other, then we choose our headline card, play it. I was US and I played Red scare/purge, from this I understand that I get 4 operation points, I had no idea how else to use these other than place 4 influence points and I placed them on Italy. My wife had Socialist Governments, she played that and took 3 influence from my West Germany.

^^^ This is where we got stuck. We don't know what to do after this other than lay down another two cards, play them, and put some more influence points down. What we don't understand is how to get out of just putting cards down, putting influence points down and taking them away. We have no idea how they relate to defcon levels, military operations, action rounds, coups, realignment, any of this.

We tried the example game and got stock almost instantly with understanding how they managed to get the points before even getting past the headline.
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Chris Linneman
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It's hard to know how to address your questions without rewriting the rules. Did you read the rulebook? I second the notion that going through the playbook and following along the play examples is a good way of cementing the rules in your mind. However, it's no substitute for reading the rules, and you should have some idea of how to play before doing this.

Keep in mind the headline phase only happens once per turn. Each turn consists of one headline phase and six to seven action rounds.

Note that on your turn you will play a card for either Ops or the event. In the headline phase you must choose to play your card for the event. Card selection in the headline phase is simultaneous, with resolution of the cards done in descending Ops order (US first in the case of a tie; scoring cards count as zero).

This means that your play of Red Scare/Purge would not give you 4 Ops; the event would be triggered, reducing your opponent's cards played for Ops by one for the rest of the turn (a very good headline, by the way). Socialist Governments says to remove 3 influence from Western Europe, no more than two per country, so your wife could not have removed all three from West Germany.

After doing this you move to the action rounds, the Soviet player always going first. So your wife would play one of her remaining seven cards, deciding whether to play it for Ops or the event. If it is an American event, when she plays it for Ops, the event also triggers (either before or after the Ops usage, her choice).

You alternate taking action rounds one at a time until each of you has taken six. Then you check if either player has accumulated less Military Operations than the current DEFCON level. If so, that player cedes the difference in VPs to his/her opponent. Then raise DEFCON by one and flip the China Card over if it is face down. Deal hands up to eight cards again and repeat.

Next you will want to learn the ways in which you can spend Ops. I suggest going back to the rulebook and reading this again. If you still don't understand, come back here and post more specifically what you don't understand.
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You may want to put this away for now. Maybe try San Juan to get a feel for multiuse cards? Or maybe Ticket to Ride?
 
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Russell InGA
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Welcome Jared!!!

First, understand that TS is not really a simple game. The rulebook is pretty long and involved.

OK... I'm going to try to give you a high level understanding of the game to hopefully give you a framework to build your understanding on.

(Rules explanation from memory - I may have some of the definitions wrong.)

The game revolves around "The Area Scoring Cards". These are "forced play" cards. You have to play them sometime during your turn or you lose the game automatically.

When a scoring card is played you score Victory Points (and if you get to 20 you win automatically!). There are 3 conditions for the card. The card will explain how to score the geographic region in shorthand. You can look specifically in the rule book for the exact definition.

You get a points based on controlling "Battleground Countries" and further if you establish full control. I believe that to control a particular country you have to have at least as much influence as noted on the board for the country.

There is another benefit to having enough influence. As soon as you establish a big enough lead to give you the required amount, it costs your opponent 2 points to place one influence marker to counter yours.

So... Using the cards for their special actions (which let you break the general rules) or using them to place influence markers you try to gain control of countries and battleground countries.

Now! You have seven some odd cards in your hand. If you are looking at a scoring card you know during the Headline Phase or the seven (+/-) back and forth actions you will take, you will have to play the scoring card! So from this you can know in what area of the map you should be trying to gain countries!

If you play your nation's type card, you can use the event or the number of Operations Points to place influence. If you play your opponent's type of card you can use it to place influence. However, (and this is one of the key concepts of the game), the bad event will trigger. (You can direct it to happen before you spend your Ops Points or after.)

Work through a game with just these few rules. (Then reread the rules for additional types of actions you can take.)

Also, the new rulebook has a example of play. I would set up a board, and replay their example of play on your board. Move the markers around as they tell you!


Good luck!!!
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Gary Logs
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Hey ya'll, I don't have this game and haven't played it but if one of you can paste an appropriate video link or AAR it might get them started. Heck even me!
 
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Håkan König
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There are a couple of play-through videos that might help you understand how things are connected. Haven't watched them myself, but I've seen a few of Calandale's videos and a more thorough discussion of the game is hard to find - some would say that he's rambling on and on and on and on...

Pensky: http://boardgamegeek.com/video/44560/twilight-struggle/lets-... (Part 1/10)
Calandale: http://boardgamegeek.com/video/31573 (Part 1/7)
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