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Subject: Strategy for when to debate rss

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Daniel Kaufman
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I had my first play through last night and enjoyed the game. We had a question about the strategy behind when it's best to debate an issue rather than wait your turn and pull it to your side. The benefits of debating didn't seem too clear. Any thoughts on this?
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Benji
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If you are Stalin: always! (+1)

Otherwise: if someone is about to bring an important issue to his seat.
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Cole Wehrle
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We also talked about this after our play.

The other big advantage is that you could set yourself up to lock down an issue when your turn comes around.
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Jason Sherlock
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You can get a double turn by debating.

Also, it is your chance to snag an issue out of turn (which can be helpful if you have a bonus to that issue). Example: You are the UK and have a Card that gives +2 to Production Issues. The USSR just took the US production card, putting it onto the 1 space of his track. You are pretty sure that the US will move it to his track on his turn. By debating the USSR, you will get your bonus +2, which you would not get if the US chooses to take it on his turn.

There is the case of a player moving an issue to his chair. If someone doesn't debate it, the issue is locked.

Lastly, using a high powered card, such as a leader or a 5 who has bonuses, to debate an issue, can move the issue so deep onto your track that it is no longer worthwhile for another player to bother going after it again.

Edited for grammer
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Jason Sherlock
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Another, situational time to debate is to get the pass on your turn. You can use this to buy time before letting your opponents know your true intents as to which issues are actually important to you, or just let things settle out a bit before committing.

As the UK, you can get even more Machiavellian by colluding with the US to debate him with one of your 1 vale cards, effectively neutralizing the USSR Nyet ability.
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Benji
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jackalope wrote:


As the UK, you can get even more Machiavellian by colluding with the US to debate him with one of your 1 vale cards, effectively neutralizing the USSR Nyet ability.


I LIKE IT! devil

Good man, that Machiavelli, good man....
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Jason Sherlock
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Benji68 wrote:
jackalope wrote:


As the UK, you can get even more Machiavellian by colluding with the US to debate him with one of your 1 vale cards, effectively neutralizing the USSR Nyet ability.


I LIKE IT! devil

Good man, that Machiavelli, good man....


Sit down Comrade, and let me handle this.

Oh well, I guess that I really didn't have much to say after all.

Motion Carried.
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Benji
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After that stunt, i don't see you as Churchill getting through with many other motions against Joseph...angry

 
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Chris Farrell
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I think the answer is: if you're the USSR and care about the issue, almost always, just to get the +1. If you're anyone else, basically never; about the only time it matters is if someone is about to move an issue into their "chair", but even that's pretty dubious outside of using your main leader to counter an opponents' main leader. The loss of tempo and potential loss of a play at the end of the round are a big price to pay just to play a card at a different time than you would otherwise do exactly the same thing anyway.

The US & UK can collude a little bit to block the Soviets from debating - possibly useful for the A-Bomb, but outside of that, this seems very rarely useful.

The debating mechanic is not my favorite in the game. It doesn't seem that well fleshed-out; it seems to exist just to let the Soviets do their thing and be reactionary. Which is fine, but if it's going to be in there, I would have liked to have seen more stuff that takes advantage of it.
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Daniel Kaufman
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cfarrell wrote:
I think the answer is: if you're the USSR and care about the issue, almost always, just to get the +1. If you're anyone else, basically never; about the only time it matters is if someone is about to move an issue into their "chair", but even that's pretty dubious outside of using your main leader to counter an opponents' main leader. The loss of tempo and potential loss of a play at the end of the round are a big price to pay just to play a card at a different time than you would otherwise do exactly the same thing anyway.

The US & UK can collude a little bit to block the Soviets from debating - possibly useful for the A-Bomb, but outside of that, this seems very rarely useful.

The debating mechanic is not my favorite in the game. It doesn't seem that well fleshed-out; it seems to exist just to let the Soviets do their thing and be reactionary. Which is fine, but if it's going to be in there, I would have liked to have seen more stuff that takes advantage of it.


This was same feeling we got from our game.
 
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cfarrell wrote:

The debating mechanic is not my favorite in the game. It doesn't seem that well fleshed-out; it seems to exist just to let the Soviets do their thing and be reactionary. Which is fine, but if it's going to be in there, I would have liked to have seen more stuff that takes advantage of it.


Did you read some of the suggestions above? I thought they were pretty amazing...
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Adam Ruzzo
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Benji68 wrote:
[q="cfarrell"]
Did you read some of the suggestions above? I thought they were pretty amazing...


I don't see any difference between debating and simply waiting for your turn except for the two noted points:

1) Soviet Nyet
2) Stopping an issue from being locked by a faction

Every other case listed seems to have a detrimental outcome for debating instead of waiting.
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Jason Reid
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Bridger wrote:
Benji68 wrote:
[q="cfarrell"]
Did you read some of the suggestions above? I thought they were pretty amazing...


I don't see any difference between debating and simply waiting for your turn except for the two noted points:

1) Soviet Nyet
2) Stopping an issue from being locked by a faction

Every other case listed seems to have a detrimental outcome for debating instead of waiting.


3) Double turn if you want to lock an issue down.
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Benji
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4) "Catching" an issue in a favorable position for one of your staff members (before the next player pulls it onto his own track).
5) screwing over old Joe...


That's now 5 reasons, 2) and 3) being possibly the strongest.

How do any of the 5 have a detrimental effect on the debater?
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Wendell
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Benji68 wrote:
4) "Catching" an issue in a favorable position for one of your staff members (before the next player pulls it onto his own track).
5) screwing over old Joe...


That's now 5 reasons, 2) and 3) being possibly the strongest.

How do any of the 5 have a detrimental effect on the debater?


The main drawback to debating too often is you may have your cards run out before your opponents. If you debate, you get a chance to past on your next player-turn but of course if you debate BOTH of your opponents' card plays in a round, even passing means you are one card closer to the end of your hand than they are. That said, it is often worth it depending on the attributes of statesmen in your hand - and of course for the Soviets, the +1 nyet bonus.
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Brian Bankler
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Benji68 wrote:
jackalope wrote:


As the UK, you can get even more Machiavellian by colluding with the US to debate him with one of your 1 vale cards, effectively neutralizing the USSR Nyet ability.


I LIKE IT! devil

Good man, that Machiavelli, good man....

Which effectively gives the USSR +1 to debate using a zero card, so that the USSR can use a card on his turn and still get the debate bonus.

 
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Brian Bankler
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I think "Debate then pass" is reasonable. Debate then pass doesn't cost you a card.

The real issue is that the final play in a conference is huge and I am willing to posit that it is NEVER correct to give up the final play. (The final play cannot be debated, etc). In most cases the last play lets you swing an issue from the opponent of your choice to your side (assuming you saved a 4 card or so). This is usually enough to win outright (unless you are 3rd on # issues going into the last play, and even then you can do it if you have a tiebreaker).

Ignoring the chair, debating lets you keep an issue nearby. Suppose, for example, that the Soviets grab the A-bomb (but not with Stalin). It will end up on the USSR 5 space. If you debate it with a '3' as the UK, you probably leave it close enough that the US may grab it on their turn.

Your card play incentivizes your partner to also burn a card on it. OTOH, if you don't do that, even if the US pulls A-bomb closer, the USSR can just debate.

I think that the play for the conference isn't nearly as interesting as I'd hoped. The main decision is which issues to tug, but there are some "Meta-decisions" like this. (You can reason from the endgame to make an interesting middle game).

One reason to debate is to not load up on issues. As your third play if you pull a 3rd issue to your side, you are begging each opponent to steal one. Debating then passing (instead) keeps you from jumping out too far ahead although you could also just pull something from near your opponents chair back towards the middle.

I think these Zugzvang issues ("the compulsion to play a move") are the only real interest in debates.
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Benji
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Bankler wrote:
Benji68 wrote:
jackalope wrote:


As the UK, you can get even more Machiavellian by colluding with the US to debate him with one of your 1 vale cards, effectively neutralizing the USSR Nyet ability.


I LIKE IT! devil

Good man, that Machiavelli, good man....

Which effectively gives the USSR +1 to debate using a zero card, so that the USSR can use a card on his turn and still get the debate bonus.



Not if the issue is still in FDR's chair after the UK debate.
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Benji
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Bankler wrote:

I think these Zugzvang issues ("the compulsion to play a move") are the only real interest in debates.


ZugzWang ...

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Brian Bankler
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Benji68 wrote:

Not if the issue is still in FDR's chair after the UK debate.

Which means that this is the second time the issue has gone around, at least. So in that case the USSR didn't debate the prior time, or if the UK did debate then the USSR get +1 when he tried to move the issue back.


 
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Chris Farrell
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I don't think the double-turn-lockdown makes any sense to ever do. So I (as the UK) debate a US action to move an issue onto my track, then on my next turn I try to lock the issue ... but then the USSR (or US) just debates me to prevent me from locking it, if that's what they would have done anyway, PLUS I've lost a cardplay in the vital last round of the conference. It just seems like all the advantage is with the non-debating players when we neutralize each other like this. I should add that I don't think locking an issue ever makes very sense unless you're doing it with a big move by your main leader. If an issue is already halfway up your track, spending another card to lock it down instead of just moving another issue in your favor rarely seems worth it. None of the issues are so awesome (except possibly the Global issue, which is a quick 5 points) that definitely winning 1 is better than potentially winning two. If you're just going to force someone to debate you, than maybe that was a card that they might have spent somewhere else. If nobody debates you, then obviously you wasted the card. The evaluation of what issues are worth what to whom is not going to change over the course of the conference.

I think I would find Brian's Zugzwang hypothesis more compelling if there were more issues of shared interest. But the A-Bomb is really the only issue this seems interesting for. Almost all the other issues really just pit two (or all three) players directly against each other so setting up an friend doesn't seem relevant. Honestly, I think it's probably a mistake for the UK to invest much energy at all in the A-Bomb as long as the US is prosecuting the war in the Pacific. There just aren't a ton of points at stake, and honestly the UK may not be all that interested in winning the war, given the number of points they can score relatively cheaply elsewhere (especially compared to the Soviets).
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Chris Farrell
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The threat of debate does affect how you make comparatively small moves of an issue on an opponent's track, though. You don't want to play a small-ish card to move the Global issue into the middle and set up an opponent to drop their main leader and bag that issue immediately in an incontestable debate. And you don't want to feed Stalin the A-Bomb issue.
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Mark Herman
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It is great to see this type of conversation on Churchill. I see many solid ideas and concepts that are part and parcel to playing this design well.

The debate mechanic is obviously at its simplest level just advancing an issue out of turn. However, there is a dynamic at work here that goes beyond gaining the maximum efficiency, it is also how you can control the tempo and interrupt various allied strategies or enable them.

For example, you do not always want to win a conference, but help determine who does. Something to consider in your discussion beyond the mechanical...

Enjoy,

Mark
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Adam Ruzzo
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jasonwocky wrote:


3) Double turn if you want to lock an issue down.


Can you explain how debating in this instance is different from playing 2 cards on your normal turns?

Ex: You are US, Global issue is on the USSR 1 space. They attempt to move it to their 3 space with a (2) power card. You debate with a 5 power card and it winds up on the US 2 space.

Now it's your turn and you use another 5 card to move it onto your chair. The soviets or UK can now debate to stop you or not.

Alternate Ex.: You are US, global issue on the USSR 1 space. The USSR plays a (2) power card and it moves to their 3 space. On your turn you move it to your 2 space with a 5 power card, and the soviets debate you or not. Then on a following turn you move it to your chair with a 5 power card and they can debate or not.

In both examples if anyone wants to stop you they can. In both examples if nobody stops you it gets to your chair with exactly the same cards played. The only mechanical difference in these examples is that when you take a "double turn," you can wind up running out of cards early if nobody else tries to debate your "double turn." In this case it's actually *worse* to debate.

Mark's point above makes for one more legitimate reason to debate in addition to the other two I posted above:

3) Debate the player to your left in order to allow the player to your right to get an issue they need.

Since the game includes the "don't win by too much!" victory conditions, it can be critical to be able to "give" VPs to another player. Spending one card to "pull" an important issue back to the center which allows another player to more easily grab it on their turn means your effectively able to spend your card plays to "push" an issue toward a specific opponent (by "pulling" it back to the center of the opponent you want to weaken).
 
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Mark Herman
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Bridger wrote:
jasonwocky wrote:


3) Double turn if you want to lock an issue down.


Can you explain how debating in this instance is different from playing 2 cards on your normal turns?

Ex: You are US, Global issue is on the USSR 1 space. They attempt to move it to their 3 space with a (2) power card. You debate with a 5 power card and it winds up on the US 2 space.

Now it's your turn and you use another 5 card to move it onto your chair. The soviets or UK can now debate to stop you or not.

Alternate Ex.: You are US, global issue on the USSR 1 space. The USSR plays a (2) power card and it moves to their 3 space. On your turn you move it to your 2 space with a 5 power card, and the soviets debate you or not. Then on a following turn you move it to your chair with a 5 power card and they can debate or not.

In both examples if anyone wants to stop you they can. In both examples if nobody stops you it gets to your chair with exactly the same cards played. The only mechanical difference in these examples is that when you take a "double turn," you can wind up running out of cards early if nobody else tries to debate your "double turn." In this case it's actually *worse* to debate.


If you are looking for a rule of thumb in this situation it does not exist. If you are saying that it never makes sense then there are more examples of how this impacts the game than those presented that are beyond the mechanical examples cited above in this thread. Factors such as what staff cards are available, or is there a staff bonus for the debate that overrides the loss of a card, or you want to block the guy to your left from debating (he has no leader) or your leader cannot advance only debate an issue, etc.

I will offer one example, but all examples of double moves are based on specifics that go beyond the mechanical dimensions mentioned in this thread. So, here is one story that I once experienced, but if you want to say that this is rare, well there are many rare situations that add up to it happens once every couple of games. I will say that it usually occurs at the close of a conference when players are down to their last couple of cards. It is in the design to create that extra bit of uncertainty and hopefully excitement.

For example, let's say the US won the agenda segment and let's say that Churchill/Stalin are inactive (previously used). Let's say its Potsdam and the US (Truman no A-bomb) wants to freeze the political situation, but Churchill and Stalin each have captured a Pol-Mil issue with none remaining.

Now we pick up the action where Churchill has one card (already played second to last card), Stalin has two cards remaining and the US has two cards. Stalin plays Budonny (five when Stalin is inactive) on the Global issue (US 3 space), US debates to keep it on the 3 space, then plays Truman to ensure capturing the issue (cannot be debated).

Why did he debate and not wait? Well Budonny would move it to the Soviet two space and the US is holding one strong and one very weak card. The US on its next play could have moved it back to the US three space. However, the US is afraid Truman without the A-bomb might be a four not a seven and if the British or the Soviets play on the Global issue with their last cards the US may not have enough juice to win this issue.

For example a British 4 play on Global followed by a debating Molotov would put the issue out of reach with a 4 strength Truman (its a 2 to 5 and I never roll dice well when it matters by the way). Since winning the Global issue is essential for a US win this double move sequence auto captures the Global issue. In addition when I did this, with all three leaders now inactive, I knew that I would win the conference on a tie using my Arsenal of Democracy national characteristic, so I did not need to go last. The US characteristic is a nuanced but powerful capability.

The US then used the Global issue to create the UN blocking either player from removing any US political alignment markers as they now have insufficient resources from the already won Pol-Mil issues to do so.

The main point is there were two different outcomes based on a number of unique factors and how you could use a double move to lock down the one you wanted.

That is a lot of detail, but there are lots of unique situations like this. Another is you are also assuming that you always want to play efficiently, so a double move might allow you to run out of cards or change who goes last to allow another player to win the conference.

It is just not a simple this makes no sense and I would never want to do it so why is it in the game. The reason is it is another tool in the Churchill tool box that I intentionally put there.

For what its worth,

Mark

PS: I am doing this from memory without a board, so like any extended example of play if I made a small error forgive my lack of time to proof read it twenty times.
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