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Subject: AR1 for USSR with +3 US Influence rss

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Justin Nordstrom
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Hi folks

I've been playing TS with a bonus +3 US influence (to a country that already contains US influence) at setup (this is the starting position at the WBC tournament). Assuming the US dumps all its influence in Iran (giving him 4) is it still advisable to open AR1 with a USSR coup? Am I better off returning to the older play of a coup in Italy? Or try to coup in Iran anyway (if I play a 4 Ops card I believe the USSR has a 50-50 chance of success....)

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King in Green
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At Iran 4? Go for South Korea 1/2 and Afghanistan 0/2. Make the US sweat about the wars in SK & Pakistan. Soc Gov may make Italy thinkable if you have Europe Scoring though. If the US headline is a really strong card then you may also wish to guaruntee presence in ME in case they waited on the scoring.
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Ted Torgerson
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My Coup (either Italy or Iran) if you have a card that gets you access to SE Asia (Decolonization or Vietnam Revolts) You want to get to defCon 3 and jump in there ahead of US. Of course I haven't won a game in a long time.
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Alex Drazen
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I never play with +influence, but what about playing to control Iraq and Afghanistan, and then realigning Iran at +1?

Play might be something like: HL SocGov (-2 Italy, -1 WG), AR1 coup Italy, AR2 coup Iran (what's US going to do - coup 3-stability Iraq?), AR3 take Iraq/Afghanistan, AR4 realign Iran.
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Drew Lawson
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alexdrazen wrote:
I never play with +influence, but what about playing to control Iraq and Afghanistan, and then realigning Iran at +1?

Play might be something like: HL SocGov (-2 Italy, -1 WG), AR1 coup Italy, AR2 coup Iran (what's US going to do - coup 3-stability Iraq?), AR3 take Iraq/Afghanistan, AR4 realign Iran.


The point of the AR1 Iran coup is to deny U.S. access to western Asia. As a U.S. player, if my opponent spent three action rounds flipping Iran, I'd spend my second or third AR placing influence in Afghanistan and I'd be ecstatic about my turn one prospects.
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Michael Kiefte
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alexdrazen wrote:
I never play with +influence, but what about playing to control Iraq and Afghanistan, and then realigning Iran at +1?

Play might be something like: HL SocGov (-2 Italy, -1 WG), AR1 coup Italy, AR2 coup Iran (what's US going to do - coup 3-stability Iraq?), AR3 take Iraq/Afghanistan, AR4 realign Iran.


As US, couping Iraq is often quite successful.
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Justin Nordstrom
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Wow....thanks for the response, folks. I like the idea of placing influence in Pakistan and SK, especially if I have these war cards in my opening hand. Is the coup in Italy primarily an attempt to degrade Defcon, so that the USSR could, in effect, get the last battleground coup in the middle east?
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Alex Drazen
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ajpl wrote:
The point of the AR1 Iran coup is to deny U.S. access to western Asia. As a U.S. player, if my opponent spent three action rounds flipping Iran, I'd spend my second or third AR placing influence in Afghanistan and I'd be ecstatic about my turn one prospects.


I'm well aware of the Iran coup opening. With no +influence, I almost always coup Iran when playing as USSR. But if Iran is at US 4 USSR 0, I figured the feint to Europe with SocGov means USA has to choose to either defend Europe or go for Asia. If they move into Asia after an AR1 coup of Italy, if USA takes Afghanistan, on AR2, I could put 1 in WG, 2 in S. Korea, and maybe 1 elsewhere (Iraq or Saudi Arabia, perhaps). At that point, they can either defend France, or South Korea, but not both (even a 4 Ops is at best 2-0 France, 3-2 South Korea). Defending France is vulnerable to Suez and de Gaulle. And if USA coups USSR out of Iraq at DEFCON 4, then there are no valid USSR battlegrounds for them to coup at DEFCON 3 (just Syria, so you'd need to spend an op to get into Lebanon or something).

If the USA has 4 influence in Iran at the opening from a +3 setup, I don't think you're going to stop them from taking over western Asia on Turn 1. I'd always coup Iran at 1-2 influence, at 3 I'd at least think about it, but at 4+ I'd be looking at another plan unless it was the Mid/Late war and I had dropped Quagmire on the US or something.

Quote:
As US, couping Iraq is often quite successful.


It's 3-stability, so you'd need a 4Ops and a 3+ roll on the dice to do any damage. My (inexperienced) US opponents have just placed an influence into Iraq for access (or even taken it over with a 4 ops) rather than coup it, if the opening coup of Iran fails.

Maybe I'm not playing experienced enough players, but I almost never see coups in 3 ops countries, and the sample games I've seen online also don't show them happening often either.

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Drew Lawson
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alexdrazen wrote:
ajpl wrote:
The point of the AR1 Iran coup is to deny U.S. access to western Asia. As a U.S. player, if my opponent spent three action rounds flipping Iran, I'd spend my second or third AR placing influence in Afghanistan and I'd be ecstatic about my turn one prospects.


I'm well aware of the Iran coup opening. With no +influence, I almost always coup Iran when playing as USSR. But if Iran is at US 4 USSR 0, I figured the feint to Europe with SocGov means USA has to choose to either defend Europe or go for Asia.


My point was that your proposed opening doesn't force the U.S. player into any hard decisions. They can spend AR1 responding to you in Europe, and then they can take Asia and accomplish other goals while you spend three entire ARs setting up an Iran realignment that may or may not even be successful.
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Michael Valentine

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I would tend to coup Italy if Iran is 4/0 and I have a 4 op available (not China). If Italy is 3/0, then I've got a 2/3 chance to wipe out USA influence. And, with no coup back and no adjacent influence, I will be able to take it, prevent USA Europe domination for the game, and set myself up for Europe domination. I think defcon 4 is generally favorable to the USSR as it makes the USA hesitant to move to either Pakistan or Malaysia. If I have a card for SE Asia access, I coup again somewhere. If not, I concentrate on placing influence into countries like South Korea, Iraq, and France, and if Italy was successful, Spain and Greece, and I hope to get SE Asia access next turn before the USA forces the issue.
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Michael Valentine

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Paul Harding wrote:
At Iran 4? Go for South Korea 1/2 and Afghanistan 0/2. Make the US sweat about the wars in SK & Pakistan. Soc Gov may make Italy thinkable if you have Europe Scoring though. If the US headline is a really strong card then you may also wish to guaruntee presence in ME in case they waited on the scoring.


Not a bad play. I'd probably save the 4 op for a big coup though and just play 2 into Afghanistan.

The big problem with this play though is the USA responding by playing 3 into Pakistan. Soviets could coup Pakistan with the China Card (which is a big loss if forced to use on T1), but USA still has the edge with the last coup. Coup Pakistan with a 3 or 4 op and USA has an even bigger edge. If Soviets happen to have IPW, which is only a bit better than 1/4 chance, I'll risk the 1/3 chance of losing the war.
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Alex Drazen
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ajpl wrote:
alexdrazen wrote:
ajpl wrote:
The point of the AR1 Iran coup is to deny U.S. access to western Asia. As a U.S. player, if my opponent spent three action rounds flipping Iran, I'd spend my second or third AR placing influence in Afghanistan and I'd be ecstatic about my turn one prospects.


I'm well aware of the Iran coup opening. With no +influence, I almost always coup Iran when playing as USSR. But if Iran is at US 4 USSR 0, I figured the feint to Europe with SocGov means USA has to choose to either defend Europe or go for Asia.


My point was that your proposed opening doesn't force the U.S. player into any hard decisions. They can spend AR1 responding to you in Europe, and then they can take Asia and accomplish other goals while you spend three entire ARs setting up an Iran realignment that may or may not even be successful.


If they spend AR1 responding to me in Europe, then they didn't go into Asia. And with 4 US in Iran, quite frankly I don't think it's even reasonably possible to stop the US from expanding into Asia, so I'd say the best bet is to try to get South Korea, Europe domination, and strengthen the Middle East.

Playing into Afghanistan at DEFCON 4 just means US can coup it. I suppose you can keep counter-couping but someone's going to lose out on that eventually.
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King in Green
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If the US coup Afghanistan and fails then then the USSR can take Pakistan. If the US coups Afghanistan and succeeds too well for the USSR to counter-coup then at least taking South Korea forces the US to expend the ops to take 3 battlegrounds while the USSR attacks elsewhere. Taking Afghanistan at least gives you access, so there's no real choice not to put ops there at some point. Influence in Afghanistan allows other fancy plays too, like breaking control of WG or Italy (if at 2 for some reason) to get access to France while simultaneously placing influence in Pakistan. At least give the US a hard choice to make somewhere! surprise Given the early war advantage the USSR has the US *should* have trouble somewhere...

If the US can play strongly into Pakistan then things don't look that great. Best to try to draw Asia by getting access to Thailand somehow... a good Duck & Cover coup or I-P War are possible... if the US plays 3 into Pakistan it may be worth paying 2 into Pakistan to threaten the China card and get access to India... maybe they don't have a 4 ops! I suppose the Italy coup could be helpful in getting DEFCON down to 4 but if the USSR doesn't have a 4 ops then it carries some big risks.

I've seen scenarios like these come up when replaying some of the games from the online world championships, worth looking up some of them to see how the experts deal with these dilemmas.
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Drew Lawson
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alexdrazen wrote:
ajpl wrote:
alexdrazen wrote:
ajpl wrote:
The point of the AR1 Iran coup is to deny U.S. access to western Asia. As a U.S. player, if my opponent spent three action rounds flipping Iran, I'd spend my second or third AR placing influence in Afghanistan and I'd be ecstatic about my turn one prospects.


I'm well aware of the Iran coup opening. With no +influence, I almost always coup Iran when playing as USSR. But if Iran is at US 4 USSR 0, I figured the feint to Europe with SocGov means USA has to choose to either defend Europe or go for Asia.


My point was that your proposed opening doesn't force the U.S. player into any hard decisions. They can spend AR1 responding to you in Europe, and then they can take Asia and accomplish other goals while you spend three entire ARs setting up an Iran realignment that may or may not even be successful.


If they spend AR1 responding to me in Europe, then they didn't go into Asia. And with 4 US in Iran, quite frankly I don't think it's even reasonably possible to stop the US from expanding into Asia, so I'd say the best bet is to try to get South Korea, Europe domination, and strengthen the Middle East.


Again, they'll likely get into Asia on their AR2, and then they'll have two more ARs after that to solidify their position wherever they want while you place influence into Iraq on AR3 and then realign Iran on AR4. In the end, you've taken two Middle-Eastern countries that the USSR normally has anyway and done some damage in Europe, which is an area that the U.S. rarely has to worry about. In return, the U.S. has western Asia and whatever else they did on AR3 and AR4.

It just doesn't seem like a great way to respond to a 4 influence Iran.
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Alex Drazen
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ajpl wrote:
Again, they'll likely get into Asia on their AR2, and then they'll have two more ARs after that to solidify their position wherever they want while you place influence into Iraq on AR3 and then realign Iran on AR4. In the end, you've taken two Middle-Eastern countries that the USSR normally has anyway and done some damage in Europe, which is an area that the U.S. rarely has to worry about. In return, the U.S. has western Asia and whatever else they did on AR3 and AR4.

It just doesn't seem like a great way to respond to a 4 influence Iran.


Not much seems like a great way to respond to a 4 influence Iran. That's a really strong thing for the USA to have, at least until Muslim Revolution comes out (and even then, you'd have to draw it, or they'd have to draw it with a terrible hand).

Headline: Presumably a headline of SocGov isn't unreasonable.

AR1: The USSR pretty much always coups with a 4-Ops on AR1. I'd say this makes sense because if you don't coup, USA can immediately realign you at +0 in East Germany, with a good chance of kicking you out entirely. Ouch. The obvious coup targets are the 2-stability countries with US influence: Iran, Italy, Panama. Panama is silly, and Iran needs 8 ops/dice -- only a 50% chance to get the US out, and unless you roll an exact number (1/6 chance), they could easily counter-coup it right back to where it was, or better, so all you got was Mil Ops and a neutral result.

If you took Italy with the coup, the USA has the choice of either playing into France (opening up Suez and De Gaulle), or playing into western Asia. But they can't effectively do both.

AR2: If you have Duck & Cover, then I totally would play into Afghanistan for access (making DEFCON 3) if the USA didn't do so on AR1. If they're already there, I suppose a D&C coup would be OK. If you don't have D&C and USA is in Afghanistan, setting up the realign attempt doesn't make much sense, so I guess play into France/S. Korea.

If you can get a safe Afghanistan at DEFCON 3, you can then threaten Pakistan/India with China card, take Iraq/S. Korea, and do the realign at some point. It's not like the US is going to be expecting it. They can prevent it with a coup, but that's a weak coup where they didn't place influence elsewhere, so I'd take that trade.

If DEFCON goes to 2, I like to get 1-2 in Jordan as USSR to also threaten to outright take over Israel without even needing to win on the Arab-Israeli War card. Big ops investment, but it's a stronghold the USA can almost never take back.

But even if you don't like the realign idea, nobody's shown me anything here that would actually get the USA out of western Asia if they start with 4 in Iran. And in my games (against mostly new players) the USA keeps trying to punch west through the Middle East, which is why I'm so gung-ho to take Iraq early if I can't get them out of Iran.
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I haven't seen any strong players doing East German realigns early. It's not an efficient use of ops. Lowering DEFCON to 3 to get Afghanistan is probably saying goodbye to Pakistan, Thailand, & India unless that 1 extra op is really going somewhere special. The key is whether the USSR has an access card for SE Asia- Vietnam, Decol, Destal, even a lucky Cambridge 5. If not then Asia may be tough and trying to keep the US at bay at DEFCON 4 till turn 2, dumping the Asia scoring card early, or storming Europe may become better strategies.
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Robert Woodham
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Anything but a AR1 coup is a bad idea. You need to think of defcon as a resource; if it's at defcon 5, the first person is getting 2 battleground coups, and the other person is getting 1. Italy is usually the most obvious choice.

In general, the WBC scenario is proven to be imbalanced, and the +3 ip rather than +2 also reduces the variety of dominant openings, which makes it much, much worse than +2 US and optional cards.
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Drew Lawson
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Dexter099 wrote:
Anything but a AR1 coup is a bad idea. You need to think of defcon as a resource; if it's at defcon 5, the first person is getting 2 battleground coups, and the other person is getting 1. Italy is usually the most obvious choice.

In general, the WBC scenario is proven to be imbalanced, and the +3 ip rather than +2 also reduces the variety of dominant openings, which makes it much, much worse than +2 US and optional cards.


Nailed it.
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steve sherbert
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In 90% of the games I have played (pretty much every opening except the rare COMECON trap), both players make coups in Turn 1 AR 1, meaning DEFCON is down to 3 by the beginning of AR 2. The USSR obviously should coup the middle east in this situation, to restrict the USA from this option on their AR. With a bit of luck (e.g. 2 successful USSR coups and 1 failed USA coup), the US will be nearly wiped out of the Middle East by this point! I find that in normal circumstances, i.e., barring an emergency, USSR should be couping battlegrounds whenever possible to reduce DEFCON and restrict the US's actions.

The same logic holds for the US's Turn 1 AR 1. If the US doesn't coup here, and places influence instead, they are leaving South Korea WIDE open for a coup that they cannot respond to. Often a failed coup is still a plus because it lowers DEFCON (and gets you Mil ops!). I would never expect a half-decent player to leave Asia wide open for a USSR coup Turn 1 AR 2.
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A coup in South Korea? That seems rather inefficient, especially with the innumerably invincible Northern forces ready to swoop down upon the soft Southerners. It also allows the US to go through Malaysia to Thailand, the most valuable country in the game.
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Kristian Thy
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Yeah, couping South Korea is essentially giving Thailand to US, unless you have Vietnam Revolts.
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Steve Spiker
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The answer is to still coup, with a 3-ops or 4-ops. The best case is wiping out and placing influence in Iran; a middling case will still reduce US influence, making it easier to coup in the future.

A smart US player will take Afghanistan in this scenario, but if DEFCON stays 4 they'll stay out of Pakistan. If they drop DEFCON elsewhere (Iraq/North Korea), take South Korea. If the US player didn't go into Afghan, it may be worth it to immediately re-coup Iran and aim for the knockout blow.

Even with the US +3 advantage, their list of priorities in the Early War is longer than the USSR's so the point is, as always, to keep the pressure on. However, I've found that the +3 (or even +2 for that matter) places much greater significance on Decol and Destal. Having one or both of those cards will greatly benefit the USSR; not having either gives the US a clear advantage.

Those looking to balance the game might look into those cards. Maybe it's making Decol non-recurring, or making Destal a Mid-war card.
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Wait, what, WBC increased US influence to +3 now? Sheesh... that seems a lot
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Riku Riekkinen
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TandooriChicken wrote:
Wait, what, WBC increased US influence to +3 now? Sheesh... that seems a lot


WBC & ACTS tourneys have never used anything than +3 after they gave up bidding.
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Oh. Haven't been there myself (obv), but have been using +2 thinking that was the "tournament standard."

EDIT: So I went to WBC website and read tournament report from last year's championship, and apparently USSR won 37 of 62 games with +3, but optional cards were NOT in use. Riku, do you think this accurately reflects balance at those parameters or could people have been playing US better?
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