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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How to win as the US? rss

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Kevin Thatcher
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Played my first two games of TS last night via Bruce Wigdor's wargameroom.com program (highly recommended, by the way). My opponent was a relative newbie as well, having played a couple of games previously.

Our first game I won as the Soviets at the beginning of turn 3. Since it was over so quickly we played another game after switching sides. My US lost the game at -15 VPs at the end of the game.

Granted I had Red Scare/Purge played on me as a headline 3 times, but it just seemed as if I could never get things going as the American player (with the exception of the space race). I pretty much steamrollered the U.S. when I played the Soviets as well.

What kind(s) of strategy(s) do experienced players use to win as the U.S.?
 
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Philip Thomas
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Hi Kevin. I suggest you check out the two threads on US strategy in this forum already- they should give you some ideas. It is quite tough for USA before the Late War, but they should gain during that period.

 
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Kevin Thatcher
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Thanks. I will check out the threads.

I actually was pretty even with the Soviets through the middle of the game and expected things to get better in the Late War deck. Unfortunately, I got hit with two Red Scare/Purges in two out of three turns in the middle/late war period. That pretty much neutered anything I could do (as well as preventing me from discarding cards through the space race).

Kind of frustrating as through the first 5 turns or so I thought I was holding my own pretty well.

Side note: West Germany ended up with a total of 27 influence on it (ended up being uncontrolled).
 
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Allen Doum
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Kevin Lee Thatcher wrote:

Side note: West Germany ended up with a total of 27 influence on it (ended up being uncontrolled).


Where's the Truman Doctrine when you need it.
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Daniel Val
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Kevin Lee Thatcher wrote:
Granted I had Red Scare/Purge played on me as a headline 3 times,


I think that really made the difference, because you could be up to -21 Ops lost due to that card (3 turns x 6-7 rounds), although on the average it will be less (16 points or so). Not only that, the USSR always has the initiative, so he can always do a coup in a battleground and has the option to take control of countries, and therefore have the advantage for controlling it. Some cards in the late war may be able to balance this (although remember the soviet player has some very good ones too!). Chernobyl can be determinant if you want to take over Europe for example. The Iron Lady will also reduce Soviet pressure (no more Socialist Governments). And East European Unrest is superharmful in the end (-6 influence, Ouch). So hang on in there, and don´t get desperate! And if you lose, remember it was a great ride! Or blame it on luck (a big factor in this game, indeed)

Another factor to consider is drawing too many scoring cards. Sometimes you draw 3-4 of those and the lack of Ops for that turn can really put you in trouble. Not much you can do though
 
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Allen Doum
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I think that the most common thought in this game when a player picks up their hand for a turn is:

"How am I going to survive this?"surprise

Drawing 3 scoring cards generally means that you want to play 1 or 2 of them ASAP. That will usually mean a lost opportunity to rack up some VPs, but if a region isn't going to get any better before you have to play it, then it will probably get worse.

Worse, IMO, is to draw mostly 1 and 2 Ops cards. If you don't have the Ops, then you can't really compete. A 1 Ops card can't even be used to break control in a country. You start to look real hard at those Events. In my last game, the best things that happened for me for 2 turns in the Mid War were the Events my opponent was forced to play.

That I ended up winning, as the US, was due to the fact that it was his first game.

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Bruce Bernard
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OK - I'm posting this here rather than under the US strategy threads because the question is "How to win as the US?" I think the answer comes down to not making any mistakes and being very lucky. I suggest bidding for sides as set forth in the rules. I think this is the only way to even up the odds without changing the game itself, which is great fun to play, but somewhat frustrating to play as the US. I think it is worth giving up 2-3 points at a minimum for the USSR, and possibly more.

I have played 17 games so far and here are some interesting stats: USSR won 11 games (65%)(9 on turn 7 or earlier (53%)). Against my strongest opponent, it gets more lopsided: the USSR won 8 out of 10 games (80%), with 5 of the 8 ending on turn 7 or before. US only won 2 games before turn 7 (12%), 2 on turn 8, and 2 on turn 10. The US victories on turn 10 were both by 1 point, without regard to the bids. So the odds of an early US win are sllim indeed.

One of the US victories on turn 8 was against a newbie and should be somewhat discounted. Another of the close US victories was largely due to the US player (me) luckily drawing "One Small Step" twice and playing it at very opportune moments. The 2 USSR victories on turn 10 were by 3 points and 20 points. So for the 17 games, the raw victory point totals are USSR: 203 US: 82

The more you play this game, there are more subtleties in the card play that become apparent. But among equal players, the stats seem to bear out a strong USSR bias that can only be evened out by bidding for sides.
 
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Jim Crimmins
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I have come to similar conclusions... that strong USSR players are very very tough to beat, especially if you don't get lucky as the US... and if you're unlucky, then it's virtually impossible. A bidding system is the way to go with experienced players imo. For all the US tactics laid out here, the Russian players can follow and derail them with good play. If the Russians get lucky with early card draws, the US is in dire straights, and turn 4 auto-victories are not uncommon. I still think the 'fun factor' is high, but the US side is very frustrating sometimes, when you do everything 'right' per se, and still lose, sometimes by a large margin. A bidding system would offset this problem somewhat.
 
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Philip Thomas
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One thing you can do is give the USA 5VPs at the beginning and then remove the 5 VPs from the USA when the game ends (if the game ended because of +20, it hasn't actually ended!).

I have tried this once or twice with a novice USA player- it does make for a longer game.

 
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