This was my third PBEM game of TS, all against the same opponent, and was the only time I beat him. Having said that, I consider this to be my first “real” victory seeing as how it’s my first win against someone I just didn’t explain the rules to. I didn’t do to well our first two games (I blew up the world in one and had to concede a loss in the other) but I did my best and gained some good experience and put it to good use for one final go. BTW, this session report assumes you’re familiar with what the various events on the cards are.
I’m playing USSR and I start of by placing 2 influence each in Poland, Austria, and Yugoslavia. US responds with 4 in W Germany and 3 in Italy. His Defectors headline cancels out my Romanian Abdication. I open up the action rounds with the US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact and use it to take control of Poland, Syria, and Iraq. Us responds with a 4 OP card of his own and grabs some countries in the middle east along with one in Afghanistan. An important lesson I’ve learned in the previous 2 games was when to pick your fights. With that in mind, I throw down Mideast Scoring and no one gets points.
US continues with some clever card playing, giving me the DeGaulle Leads France event but taking it away with a realignment roll, continues by removing my influence in Iraq, and luckily fails the roll in E Germany. I play The China Card for 5 influence in Asia, and he uses Independent Reds to take Pakistan. I coup it like I’ve never couped before and roll a 6. Pakistan is mine. He tries to do the same on his next turn but rolls a 1. The rest of the turn we both focus mainly on getting influence into Asia and a few in Europe for good measure.
Turn 2 headlines are Containment and Warsaw Pact Formed. After shoring up some East Europe countries I use COMECON to coup Iran and roll a 5, giving me control. Next he grabs some more countries in Europe and I’m right behind him, placing influence in Bulgaria and Hungary. Some more clever card play from the US as he plays Nasser and immediately coups Egypt, successfully keeping the country influence free from both sides.
Since his turn was effectively ‘a pass’, I take the lead with Decolonization and get my foot in on Southeast Asia as well as S Africa and Angola. US plays The China Card to strengthen his position in Asia while I respond by controlling Thailand. US is running out of time and makes a play for Europe, nabbing two countries while I respond with just getting one. Too late though, US is forced to play Asia Scoring, net VPs at -7. I pass my turn with the 1st of many failed Space Race attempts and he finishes up the turn with Europe Scoring. Net VPs -6.
Turn 3 headlines are Korean War and Suez Crisis. Nice of him to give me an event, as useless as it may be. I manage to fail by rolling a 1. Using my event to weaken his position in Europe I then play Europe Scoring, this time he doesn’t even get a point. US uses NATO for some Mideast influence. Feeling shut out of the fun I play another Decolonization, this time spending all the influence in Africa. I’ve now got a huge lead there and he can’t keep me out of the key battleground countries in the Middle East. The US grabs Egypt while I use my new paths to take Libya. He responds with Independent Reds for OPs, giving him a slight influence advantage in Israel.
I then manage to fail another Space Race attempt while he shows me how it’s done with Captured Nazi Scientist and regains some ground on the VP track. Romanian Abdication nets me another European country while he fails his Indo-Pakistani War event. I use the Truman Doctrine to control Algeria and he uses the event on the only country available to him, Finland. He ends up the turn with Vietnam Revolts and spends his influence on the Philippines and Indonesia.
Turn 4 headline is interesting because I play ABM Treaty to his Duck and Cover. Even though I have the opportunity to give him one less VP than he expected I decide to do what I was planning in the first place and use ABM Treaty to coup Panama. I roll a 3. Net VPs at -1 from his headline and DEFCON is at 2. In hindsight, I probably shoulda grabbed Costa Rica too but I play Central American scoring anyways. Net VPs at -3. US waits to see what I’ll do by playing and succeeding on the Space Race with South Africa Unrest. I pass too by playing Red Scare/Purge on him (on thing I learned from my past two games with him is he’s very good at containing my progress by waiting to see where I focus my attention, and then eliminating my gains). He passes yet again with Nixon Plays the China Card and puts the VP marker back to -1.
I decide to make some progress and try to throw him off by spreading influence in 3 different scoring areas. I play Alliance For Progress (no VPs for US, haha) and put one influence each in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Lebanon. He coups in Colombia with his reduced Ops from Red Scare/Purge and removes my influence but fails to gain any. I realize I shoulda had Burma under control by now and do so now. He waits to see where I’m really gonna try and gain ground by doing the Space Race again but fails this time. Not learning my lesson, I put influence into Colombia again. Then he throws down the Bear Trap, which I manage to fail after discarding Nuclear Subs. I’m forced to pass my next round and he uses his back-to-back turns to take control of N Korea. At least I get the China card back. And besides, before the Bear Trap I was disappointed that I couldn’t hold on to both UN Intervention and Summit.
After declaring that I was happy to keep two cards from last turn he opens with CIA Created for his headline. At least I manage a successful Brush War and nab Afghanistan. I gladly reveal (show off) my hand: Ussuri River Skirmish, Muslim Revolution, Asia Scoring, Formosan Resolution, “We will Bury You”, John Paul Elected Pope, UN Intervention, and Summit. So to rub it in I use Formosan Resolution to break the Bear Trap. Unphased he spends his one OP from CIA Created and coups Sudan with a 6, and spends his first action round getting rid of Africa Scoring. Of course, I follow up with Asia Scoring. Because of these two cards, net VPs jumps from -3 to -11. Without blinking he follows up by getting rid of the dangerous Mideast Scoring, which no one scores off of. Before the dust can settle I use the UN with River Skirmish to grab Venezuela and Tunisia, improving my position for Summit.
US calmly plays Lone Gunman and shows me Flower Power, Portuguese Empire Crumbles, Blockade, How I Learned to Stop Worrying, and Fidel. I hurriedly place my free OP in Costa Rica as influence. He uses his Ops from the card in a coup on Colombia and rolls a 6. I respond with Summit and win the roll. Net VPs at -13 and opt to keep the DEFCON at 3. US tries some more clever card play, yet again, with Fidel but fails to remove him from power. Cuba is mine. I seek yet more points and gleefully play “We Will Bury You”, dropping the net VPs to -16 and the DEFCON to 2. He takes the chance to play Flower Power on himself and uses his OPs to realign me outa Venezuela and reduce my influence in Cuba to 1. I do onto to others as they have done onto me and use Muslim Revolution to remove his influence from Iraq and Jordan. The Mideast is now up for grabs but who knows when that will be relevant because the scoring card was just played.
This was a huge turn and we wind things down with him getting some countries in S America and Africa while I fail another Space Race. He also gets the DEFCON and his Military OPs up to 5 with How I Learned… and brings the score to -14.
Turn 6 headlines is his Junta to my S East Asia Scoring. We see influence in Mexico and a failed coup in panama while the score creeps back down to -16. South and Central America both see a lot of action as he spreads his influence and I drop the DEFCON back to 2 by 1st couping Venezuela and then Brazil. With not nearly a good a hand as last turn I play Shuttle Diplomacy on myself to use the OPs, securing my position in Brazil. Meanwhile, he succeeds on the Space Race, yet again. VPs back to -14. I still try and make progress in S America while he tries to correct his situation in Africa. I just don’t have the cards and throw out S America Scoring, only netting one point for myself. He retrieves ABM Treaty from the discard with SALT and I manage to fail another Space Race. He coups Panama for good measure before going back to fix Africa.
Turn 7 would be another huge turn for me, I could feel it as soon as I seen my cards. Headlines are his ABM Treaty to my Cuban Missile Crises. Going first (dang him) he successfully realigns in S Korea, Cuba, and Israel. I start off the actions rounds be taking control of Iraq and adding an influence back into S Korea. He responds appropriately by putting more influence into S Korea and one into Saudi Arabia.
Not willing to risk my good position and push my luck I throw down OPEC and get a VP each for Iran, Libya, Iraq, and Venezuela. Net VPs at -19! After all, I’m due for that Space Race, right? He doesn’t take long to crush my dreams with Central America Scoring, putting the VPs back to -15. Unsure what to do I toss out Defectors, giving him another point, and use the OPs to further harass S Korea and Saudi Arabia. He’s clearly on a roll because his Voice of America completely removes my influence from S Korea, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria to boot.
Win the game or not I stick to my plan and use Grain Sales on the Space Race. I pass.
We goof around some more with the Middle East and Africa and he strengthens his position in the Americas before we get to turn 8 and the late war cards. That’s when I know I’ve won. I drew Wargames. He opens his headline with Asia Scoring and because of Shuttle Diplomacy and his retaking of S Korea, he easily gets dominance. The score jumps up -10. Meanwhile I stall with Cultural Revolution as a headline and steal The China Card. All I need is one turn and the game is mine. After 3 tough games I’ll have finally beat him. I use Nuclear Test Ban to coup Mexico and drop the DEFCON to 2. He plays Brush war and gives me 2 VPs from Flower Power while failing to take Venezuela.
I then play Wargames, raise the VPs to -6, and the game is mine. My first real win and it’s against someone who spanked me in two brutal learning games.