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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Best and worst opening hands (and how to play them) rss

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Ian White
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What do you think the very best and worst possible T1 hands are for each side (given US+2)? Here's my stab:

Best possible USSR hand
Red Scare/Purge
NATO
Nuclear Test Ban
Suez Crisis
Decolonization
Destalinization
Defectors
Indo-Pakistani War
CIA Created

The first three are obvious -- the safest 4 Ops cards for the USSR. Having both Decol and Destal in hand is obviously a good thing. Defectors means no headline worries (could even consider holding it until T3). CIA Created can get dumped early before Decol/Destal are played. Having Indo-Pak means you can move aggressively and safely in Western Asia.

I would headline Suez Crisis to wipe out the US from the Middle East, then coup Iran with NATO (with NTB in hand for a counter-counter-coup). CIA Created would come out as soon as DEFCON hit 2 (or get held if Fidel gets played), followed by Decol. I would try to save Red Scare/Purge for next turn's headline, or just play it for the ops.

Best possible USA hand
Red Scare/Purge
NATO
US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact
Marshall Plan
Nuclear Test Ban
Suez Crisis
Indo-Pakistani War
Destalinization

Obviously, a ton of ops. I left out Containment because there are too many 4-op cards for it to be helpful. Destal in hand means a decent chance of playing T3 keepaway for this crucial card. Suez in hand makes playing into France reasonable. I'd headline Red Purge, and play Marshall Plan for the event during the turn. Much would depend on Soviet actions but with so many ops plus a Purge advantage, it'd be hard to go wrong.

Worst possible USSR hand
Asia Scoring
Europe Scoring
Mideast Scoring
Captured Nazi Scientist
Romanian Abdication
Truman Doctrine
UN Intervention
Blockade

I would consider immediately conceding if I was dealt this hand. I'm not sure how you could recover from it against a competent player. Headline Mideast Scoring (it can only get worse), play one op into Afghanistan. Play CNS for the event. Don't coup anywhere, keep DEFCON high. Play Blockade for the op at the end of the turn. Save UN Intervention for next turn.

Worst possible USA hand
Asia Scoring
Europe Scoring
Romanian Abdication
Nasser
UN Intervention
Captured Nazi Scientist
Truman Doctrine
Blockade

Unlike the USSR's worst hand, this would set you seriously back but could conceivably be recoverable. Set up with empty West Germany, headline Europe Scoring. Play one into West Germany with Blockade and pray your opponent walks into a Truman trap. Play Nasser for an Egypt coup while DEFCON is still above 2, or consider UN Interventioning him.
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Michael Patnik
United States
Pennsylvania
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If you're really convinced that the USSR hand is not playable, you can gamble.

Setup: 3 EG, 3 Pol, 3 Yugo.
HL: ME Scoring

If your opponent doesn't have EEU, Reds, Marshall or SocGov, you may be able to convince them that you plan on headlining SocGov to score a quick Euro domination. If that's the case, they'll headline defectors if they have it.

So, ME scoring eats defectors. Now go for a hail mary China coup on Italy. If successful, you will dominate Europe. Score Europe, then score Asia. CNS for the event, and the other 1ops decrease defcon as soon as you dump your scorings. You're coming out of T1 +9 (+6 for Europe, +1 for Asia and +2 for CNS maybe more depending on wars and if the US gets mil ops) and looking really, really bad on board. From here, you can try to gain as many points as possible on the space race and from denying mil-ops over the next few turns. Hold FYP if you draw it to discard a bad scoring card. Now hope to draw the de-cards and win via autovictory by scoring a huge mid-war region or re-scoring Europe.
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Michael Valentine

Texas
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ianbwhite wrote:
Worst possible USSR hand
Asia Scoring
Europe Scoring
Mideast Scoring
Captured Nazi Scientist
Romanian Abdication
Truman Doctrine
UN Intervention
Blockade


Worst hand I ever drew, playing as USSR:
Romanian Abdication
Blockade
Indo-Pakistan War
United Nations
Captured Nazi Scientists
Europe
Olympic Games
Truman

The two "good" cards different from your worst hand are Olympic Games and IPW. Couped with Olympic Games on AR1 and rolled a 2. Attempted the IP War at -1 drm and rolled a 2. My opponent headlined Containment and had bountiful ops. Needless to say, the board was a total disaster after Turn 1.
 
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N N
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At least I got scoring cards out of the way with +2 net gain.

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Jamie Pollock
Scotland
Edinburgh
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ResurrectioN wrote:
At least I got scoring cards out of the way with +2 net gain.



Oh lol, that is an horrendous hand!
 
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ray donovan
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Middle east scoring is a very good new.
That empty germany is your best option: if he moves into it AR1 you might be able to score both europe and asia before dominations and maybe have an opportunity of making a nice ar6 breaking WG+truman headline.
Im definitively taking SK as soon as possible and hope to have a draw in asia in the next scoring time.
 
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Alex
Canada
Candiac
Quebec
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On my last game, as the US, I got :
CIA Created
UN Intervention
Truman
Naser
Decolonisation
Korean War
Independent Reds
Fidel

Completely lost for options I ended up headlining CIA. In restrospect, trashing Truman would probably have been a better option.

Anyway, I was lucky enough as my opponent had 2 scoring cards and did not play Blockade altough he had it.
 
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ray donovan
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mpatnik wrote:
If you're really convinced that the USSR hand is not playable, you can gamble.

Setup: 3 EG, 3 Pol, 3 Yugo.
HL: ME Scoring

If your opponent doesn't have EEU, Reds, Marshall or SocGov, you may be able to convince them that you plan on headlining SocGov to score a quick Euro domination. If that's the case, they'll headline defectors if they have it.

So, ME scoring eats defectors. Now go for a hail mary China coup on Italy. If successful, you will dominate Europe. Score Europe, then score Asia. CNS for the event, and the other 1ops decrease defcon as soon as you dump your scorings. You're coming out of T1 +9 (+6 for Europe, +1 for Asia and +2 for CNS maybe more depending on wars and if the US gets mil ops) and looking really, really bad on board. From here, you can try to gain as many points as possible on the space race and from denying mil-ops over the next few turns. Hold FYP if you draw it to discard a bad scoring card. Now hope to draw the de-cards and win via autovictory by scoring a huge mid-war region or re-scoring Europe.

You feel like a genius if it works! But why lowering defcon quickly? He will need to coup himself for military ops so placing ops in irak instead is better no? It is his only coup target, you can wait AR6 to decide to coup again or not (if defcon still at 4 you place influences, if at 3 you coup).
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Michael Patnik
United States
Pennsylvania
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I would want to end the turn at Defcon 2 to increase the chances of starting to deny VP beginning T2. I would coup it down to 3 as soon as scorings are dumped, then if they don't get their ops, coup again.
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ray donovan
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What a coincidence i just had my quickest win ever, 20VP turn2 AR3!!!!
Versus a 1700 player on steam.


 
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