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Subject: NOOB!!!! rss

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Skerasco Veraii
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Hello everyone. I'm a noob to this game, have just been lent the box, never played before, don't know much about it except it's rated highly. Just wandering whether any veterans had any advice or anything about first approaching this game, or the best way to get to grips with it?
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Mattias Elfström
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Have you played any other card driven games (CDGs)?
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Chris in Kansai
Japan
Otsu
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Best would be to set the board up, look at the cards, read through the rules and have a look at some of the many playthrough videos here on the geek (not necessarily in that order though...).

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Alex Drazen
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Contrary to popular opinion, I usually recommend new players play as the USSR, with an experienced player handling the USA. You won't play a "normal" game, but it will last longer and you'll see more cards and more situations that way.

The main things you should focus on learning from the rulebook are how Operations Points work (either for influence, realignments, coups, or the Space Race), how events activate (especially starred vs. non-starred events), and how regions are scored (domination is tricky, and battleground/adjacency scoring rules are easy to miss when you're new).

The most confusing things to a new player, I think, are the following, so I'd recommend paying careful attention to the following topics. Admittedly, this is probably going to sound like rambling to you, until you actually play the game, but once you do it'll make sense

/...

* Your opponent's event on a card will "trigger" when you play it (except on the space race). You choose when they get the event, but they choose how to execute it.

* Starred events are removed from play "if used as an event," but that wording is a little misleading. The removal of a starred event also happens when your opponent's event activates when you play it (except on the Space Race), and that's a huge part of the strategy. (Note: it does NOT include when the event isn't yet playable, e.g., NATO isn't removed if the USSR plays it but you haven't played Warsaw Pact or Marshall Plan... the weird little exceptions are why you want an experienced player at the table).

* Regional scoring. Specifically, Domination scoring has a requirement that's easy to miss (control at least one non-BG country), and it's easy to miss the +1 point per battleground/opponent home country adjacency that you score in addition to the Presence/Domination/Control. Scoring is also "net" in that you find the difference in scoring and then only move the marker that much, so you can't win by having 17 VP and winning scoring of a region 6-4; you'd only get to 19 VP. Except if We Will Bury You is in effect (seriously, play with someone who's played before if possible, they can help with the weird stuff). Also remember that scoring cards cannot be held from turn to turn (if you hold one, you lose, and while your opponent can't force you to hold one, there are certain ways you can blunder into doing so).

* Reshuffles and deal rules. The discard pile gets reshuffled twice in the game (turn 3 and turn 7). Additional cards decks get added twice per game (Mid War cards in round 4 and late War cards in round 8), but you DON'T reshuffle the discards when adding cards. Also cards should be dealt alternately, starting with the Soviet player, but each player should start each round with the same number of cards (8 cards in Turn 1-3, 9 cards in Turn 4-10), so someone might get cards in sequence at the end. When a reshuffle is called for, you still deal out the remaining cards in the draw pile BEFORE reshuffling the discards (card counting is important in this game).

* DEFCON restrictions. Coups and realignments are blocked in Europe if DEFCON degrades to 4, in Asia if it degrades to 3, and in the Middle East if it degrades to 2.

(Edit: not sure why this last bit got cut off in my original post? I also had a bit about DEFCON suicide, which David has covered below)
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David Matchen
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...after 1172.

Sorry, old "Young Ones" joke. Let me finish that earlier thought.

alexdrazen wrote:
* DEFCON restrictions. Coups and realignments are blocked in Europe if DEFCON


degrades to 4; they're blocked in Europe and Asia if DEFCON degrades to 3; no coups or realignments in Europe, Asia, or the Middle East if DEFCON degrades to 2.

* If DEFCON reaches 1 during your Action Round, you can't do coups or realignments anywhere, because you'll have instantly lost the game. N.B., it doesn't matter who actually triggered the degrade to DEFCON 1--if it happens on your Action Round, it's your loss. That's why you have to be really careful about which cards you play while you're at DEFCON 2--particularly cards that give your opponents Operations points to play during your Action Round ("Oh, okay, then I'll coup Egypt. Oopsie! DEFCON 1!").
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David Matchen
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Glad I anticipated properly re: the DEFCON suicide. That's something that tends to "gotcha" new players.
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Peter Kossits
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I learned the game by downloading the solitaire rules from here and playing a few games. Certainly not the least painful way of learning, but it worked.
 
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JIM SMITH
United States
California
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I think this guys video review is excellent and thorough:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFfVqRmDLkI

And these guys played a full game and video'd it. Its clearer and easier to follow than other vids people have posted. (It also has an interesting subplot when the wives start yapping in the background):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn4vlo6aC8g

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Haytil Reivesman
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New players are probably going to want to at least be aware of twilightstrategy.com

You don't have to read the strategy about individual cards (new players would be overwhelmed!), but skimming the general strategy section is worthwhile:

http://twilightstrategy.com/category/general-strategy/

The annotated games also give a good example of how gameplay works and what kind of strategies and thought processes players will be going through once they know what they're doing:

http://twilightstrategy.com/category/annotated-games/

It's all also available as a free ebook download from that site - those annotated games can make for good work-commute reading!
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Skerasco Veraii
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Thanks guys, I'll have a look at the links, too. I've played a fair number of card-driven games so at least that's a start...
 
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Jon Snow
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Many thanks for starting this thread, and to all who responded! My copy is due in the mail any day now, and I'll have to teach it to others. The old brain isn't as flexible as it used to be--I remember most of the Event Card events from real life!

By coincidence, I recently saw a movie called The Big Lift (1950, Montgomery Clift) on Turner Classic about US airmen flying the Berlin Airlift. It really brought back the period feel. Having been to Berlin not long ago and walked freely through the Brandenburg Gate, I bought a "Checkpoint Charlie" T-Shirt to remember the alternate mind set that used to exist back then.

When the sign said "YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR!" it was serious business, as you were about to enter a completely different reality on The Other Side. Da!
 
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