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Subject: Some questions about this game's design rss

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Alex

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I got this game recently (the reprint) and have played 3 times so far. I definitely like it but there are some things that left me wondering, and if anybody could give me some insight and help me get why things are how they are, I'd appreciate it!

1) Last game we played (in early turn 10), my friend (playing the USSR and in the lead) smirks and says to me: "You'll hate me for this" and shoots this baffling "Wargames" card. Totally anti-climatic and strange, it just blows the game apart, giving him a win. I know some players (of which I'm thankfully not) that would not give a game a second look after being inflicted something like this. If we managed to get to the final scoring, I think I could have won (I controlled Asia and dominated Europe), and I felt quite disappointed. So my question is: what is the purpose of this card, and how do you feel it improves the game? Have any of you taken it out? Should I? If not, why?

2) What about Canada? I know it's not a terribly important country and does not have any event, but I feel it's very bizarre that it's considered a "neutral" country (as opposed to the UK and Australia, which start with 5 and 4 US Influence, respectively). Since WW2, Canada has been one of the closest allies of the US in almost every respect (the biggest exception being the current war in Iraq). Furthermore, it seems to have an awfully high stability (4) to be in such a useless place. My questions are: why is there no Influence in Canada in the beginning of the game; and mainly: why would you waste any Influence there, since you need 4 for control??? wow
 
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david funch
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1) Well, it's a late game card so it's not like you're missing out on much game if it does hit play. It always sucks when your opponent has enough points to win with that card, even before the late war. It means your opponent is just about half way to winning, which is tense enough, but the pressure of knowing that card is coming up is almost too much. Personaly, I love it. Rarely does it give the game to someone that does not deserve the win, or was likely to win anyways from final scoring.

2) I forgot Canada was even in the game till you mentioned it. Sorry.
 
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Philip Thomas
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1) Wargames sucks. However, it does need to be played at Defcon 2, which gives you some chance of avoiding it: Usually it will be USA who is hit by Wargames, because USA can normally win if it reaches final scoring. USA has a number of good cards for getting rid of enemy events withou them happening. Try to save one for late game. And of course try to keep the points above -6.

2) Canada isn't shown as USA controlled because that would give the USA another European country, destabilising the balance of power in this crucial region. I've never seen anyone occupy it, though people do occupy Norway and Sweden about which similar remarks could be made. I suppose USSR could enter via Destalinisation, hoping to get the bonus for having a country adjacent to the enemy superpower. But such a move would be very vulnerable to realignment...

I suppose they could have shown it as USA/Canada. But that might offend Canadians the other way!
 
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Allen Doum
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jellospike wrote:
1) Last game we played (in early turn 10), my friend (playing the USSR and in the lead) smirks and says to me: "You'll hate me for this" and shoots this baffling "Wargames" card. Totally anti-climatic and strange, it just blows the game apart, giving him a win. I know some players (of which I'm thankfully not) that would not give a game a second look after being inflicted something like this. If we managed to get to the final scoring, I think I could have won (I controlled Asia and dominated Europe), and I felt quite disappointed. So my question is: what is the purpose of this card, and how do you feel it improves the game? Have any of you taken it out? Should I? If not, why?


Many game have variable end game triggers. The Wargames card means that you cannot count on the end game scoring for a win if your opponent is currently ahead by enough points to win with the card. You need to stay competitive on the VP track, and not count on the time win.

Sounds like you chose not to read the deck before playing. That can be interesting the first time you play, but Twilight Struggle has some powerful events that if you are unaware of, can cost you the game. besides Wargames, look at Chernobyl. There are also the many cards that target particular countries.
 
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marc lecours
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Another card that can give the game in the late war is the Aldrich Ames card. My opponent rearranged my cards in such a way as I was forced to start a nuclear war!
 
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marc lecours
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These cards are designed to keep a player on his toes even if he can coast to a victory in the final scoring. FOr example, let's say the USA got control of Europe near the end but is behind on points. The USA can then concentrate on holding Europe and letting the Russians have the rest of the world. Except for that darn wargames card !
 
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marc lecours
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As for Canada, at least we are on the map. I think that the game reflects accurately the attitudes of the two superpowers towards Canada during the cold war. They basically don't think about us.

For historical accuracy mind you , Canada could have been given a similar status to that of Australia (i.e. 4 US influence at start.). This would have helped give the USA a better grip on Europe in the early war. This would be good for the game since it is widely perceived that the early game is balanced in favour of the USSR. TO compensate, it would be necessary to make one of the USA late war card slightly less powerfull.

I also have never seen anyone play any influence on Canada. But I don't mind. I would rather live in a country that does not have coup d'états and wars.
 
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Fabio Henrique
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First, sorry for my really bad english. I play this game 3 times and i like very much, but i agree with the Canadian guy.

Maybe if USA starts with 2 influences in Canada, the USA player wants to put 2 more influences?
 
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Paul B.
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Re: Canada: Never forget this is a game that intends to simulate the situations an events of the cold war. It isn't necessary nor usually even proper for such a game to be perfectly accurate on all counts. Because of the mechanisms of the game, control of Canada by the US would mean overwhelming control of Europe at the start of the game. Of course, the US player can place control markers in Canada at the start of the game if he/she likes with the few flexible points.

People have noted that Viet Nam is not a battleground country, also. Obviously, something was going on there, and there is an event card for Viet Nam, but not Battleground? What?

They playtested the living snot out of this game for years (in contrast to the lack of editing of the final production of the game for first edition) meaning those kinds of things were tried out and found to be too influential or caused 'gamey' behavior by the players that damaged the spirit of what was trying to be created.

Every time I've played I've felt a tremendous tension in most decisions and anxiety at what the next card will be by opponent, or that I'll have to play myself.

I no longer concern myself with the many missing nations (particularly in Africa), unusual lack of connections across actual national borders and so forth. The game works well in pursuit of the goal and accepting it on those terms rather than seeking to fix that which isn't broken is counterproductive.

Just play it!
 
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Jason Matthews
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Wargames was put in the deck for two reasons. First, to prevent players from coasting until final scoring if the scoring cards were already out of the deck. Secondly, to simulate the dangers of constant brinksmanship. If players perenially keep the DEFCON at 2, it might come back to bite them. I have won the game both as the Soviets and as the Americans with Wargames (though, in all liklihood the Americans would have won anyway -- but see above comments about Aldrich Ames).

As for Canada, there has been a fair amount of comment on this in the Consimworld folder. I had a card idea for a NORAD card that would have turned Canada into another UK or Australia. I just did not get a chance to test it before the game came out. Perhaps if a supplement ever comes out, we can rectify this slight to our allies to North. BTW, Canadians give TS the highest rating of any nationality on the Geek -- reason enough to give them a little more attention.
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Alex

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Thanks for all the answers.

I played a game yesterday and, as the USSR, managed to get control of Canada after putting 1 Influence in the UK. (I won)
 
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Philip Thomas
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Congratulations, we await the session report
 
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Greg Forster
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1) Come on, now, fess up. You put in the Wargames card as a cool 80s pop culture reference. The game mechanic was secondary. Right?

2) Wouldn't it be easy to balance out US control of Canada by giving the USSR more control over Eastern Europe? The Canada thing kind of bothers me a little - it "feels" wrong - but what really stands out to me is the lack of USSR influence in the non-battleground countries of Eastern Europe. The reason is the same as in Canada - there's just no game advantage to playing influence there. For that matter, Truman Doctrine and Independent Reds create an actual disincentive to invest there. Why not solve the problem by putting US influence in Canada and maybe one or two other European countries that were solidly pro-US, and balancing that by increasing USSR influence in Eastern Europe?
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