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Subject: US Defcon Suicide rss

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bob lawblaw
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Is an unavoidable defcon suicide possible for the US player before Terroism/Aldrich Ames enter the deck in the late war?

1 hold card + 1 space card = you need 3 (defcon suicide cards in their hand + hand size reducers) to lock somebody into an unavoidable suicide (also they can't have the China card to bail themselves out). Through the mid war this is definitely possible against USSR with a pool of CIA, D&C, 5YP, and Grain Sales.


As a corollary, with Tear Down and KAL-007 (Terrorism can also work for the US as well) coming in with the late war deck too, it certainly seems easier to get the Soviets to push the button than the US. Intentional design?
 
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Jay Sachs
United States
Woodinville
Washington
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Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
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I think you're right. The US could be far enough along the Space Race and/or Red Scared so as to be unable to space any card. However, the only forced DEFCON degraders for the US available through midwar are Lone Gunman and WWBY. The latter is spaceable even if under Red Scare, so the US can hold LG.
 
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Josh Avery
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I think it's close to impossible. I could imagine some unlikely scenarios. Suppose the USSR purged you and managed to recover it with SALT on the same turn and do it to you again, while you were too far into the space race to space a 2 op card. If you were holding both Lone Gunman and WWBY, you'd be stuck. But in that case, you could presumably have dumped Lone Gunman when he played SALT. Or--same two cards in hand--if you were purged but at the end of the space race track where you needed a 4 op card for the space race. But it seems pretty nigh impossible to be that advanced on the space track during the Mid War. I've never seen it anyway.

A more likely scenario would be that you do a risky play of Ask Not, drawing WWBY while already holding Lone Gunman and having already played something on the space race. But that isn't unavoidable and is probably a bad play.
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Alex Drazen
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Massachusetts
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exegesis wrote:
A more likely scenario would be that you do a risky play of Ask Not, drawing WWBY while already holding Lone Gunman and having already played something on the space race. But that isn't unavoidable and is probably a bad play.


I think I have found a "forced" sequence, but it does require the USA to have bad luck on its first Quagmire roll.

Turn 3 - 7

DEFCON rises from 2 to 3

Prerequisities:

USA at Lunar Orbit (or even farther) in the Space Race track

USSR headlines Quagmire

USSR holds the China Card

USA does not have Ussuri River Skirmish, and USSR does not play it for ops

USA does not have How I Learned to Stop Worrying, and USSR does not play it to set DEFCON to anything other than 2

USA does not start the turn with WWBY or Lone Gunman

USSR cannot be stuck with too many USA DEFCON degraders

USA has at least two 3 Op cards for Quagmire rolls

USSR HL: Quagmire
USA HL: DEFCON degrader (DEFCON to 2)

USSR AR1: Salt Negotiations, event (DEFCON to 4) to take Red Scare
USA AR1: Fail Quagmire escape roll

USSR AR2: Coup with D&C (DEFCON to 2) or HILTSW for event (DEFCON to 2), etc.
USA AR2: Succeed Quagmire escape roll

USSR AR3: Red Scare, event (-2 to all US ops, minimum of 1)
USA AR3: Ask Not, drawing Lone Gunman & We Will Bury You


Now the USA cannot space WWBY (because it has become a "2"), but cannot hold both it and Lone Gunman. They also cannot drop WWBY to Quagmire, because it's already come and gone.

It's also not "forced" in the sense that the USA doesn't have to play Ask Not (an alternate would be if USSR played it on AR4 or if the USA drew it due to Five Year Plan, but the USA still doesn't have to discard anything to it), so they would need a hand of terrible enough cards to want to do that, and a reasonable enough expectation that drawing from the deck would be worth it at that point.

 
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Michael Valentine

Texas
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exegesis wrote:
Or--same two cards in hand--if you were purged but at the end of the space race track where you needed a 4 op card for the space race. But it seems pretty nigh impossible to be that advanced on the space track during the Mid War. I've never seen it anyway.


I still wouldn't call that "unavoidable defcon suicide" because the USA could have avoided defcon suicide by headlining WWBY.
 
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Josh Avery
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Right, I had also thought of the Quagmire as a way that the US would be unable to dump Lone Gunman while SALT was played.

Perhaps the above could be considered "forced" in the sense that even with smart play you could get trapped. That is to say, would it really be a smart play to headline WWBY there? The sequence is highly unlikely, after all. True, that isn't force in the absolute sense, but you have in a true respect been forced by circumstances. What can you expect of anyone other than to make the best play available?

I feel like we are about to wade into competing notions of freedom and determinism.
 
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Michael Valentine

Texas
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exegesis wrote:
That is to say, would it really be a smart play to headline WWBY there?


Very well may be. You should know that you're a Red Scare headline away from defcon suicide in that situation. Since we're supposing you're at the end of the space race but not yet to the Late War, it's likely turn 7. So, assuming this highly unusual situation ever occurred, if you're really paying attention, you probably should realize your opponent has Red Scare. And, if I have both WWBY and LG, I can't space a 3 op, and I know my opponent has Red Scare, then I'm almost certainly headlining WWBY.
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Josh Avery
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Yes, that's fair enough. Might be right.
 
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Carlos Santos
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MichaelVal wrote:
exegesis wrote:
That is to say, would it really be a smart play to headline WWBY there?


Very well may be. You should know that you're a Red Scare headline away from defcon suicide in that situation. Since we're supposing you're at the end of the space race but not yet to the Late War, it's likely turn 7. So, assuming this highly unusual situation ever occurred, if you're really paying attention, you probably should realize your opponent has Red Scare. And, if I have both WWBY and LG, I can't space a 3 op, and I know my opponent has Red Scare, then I'm almost certainly headlining WWBY.


Although unlikely to happen this scenario is perfectly possible and playing WWBY on the headline phase is actually a good move.


As for the original poster question, in a way the US is not forced and placed under an unavoidable defcon suicide situation before late war. The US will only be in a defcon suicide situation following their previous plays.
In other words if the US doesn't play cards like Ask Not they won't get in to trouble BUT they will eventually play such events or, most likely, get the event from a USSR play and take the opportunity to use it (obviously they can choose not to discard any card but chances are they'll discard at least one card).

As for the Ask Not card, the US will most likely play it early on the AR to avoid serious USSR events such as LG and WWBY, by discarding one of those you're making sure you don't get stuck with those 2 suicide cards in hand. The USSR on the other hand will play it as later in AR as possible to give less chances to the US, since the less cards they have the less cards they can discard.
Ultimately if the US plays high-risk they can even lose the game, for example if they discard 2 cards with only 1 AR remaining and draw 2 scoring cards, but this should be unlikely to happen since it's a very risky move for the US and under normal situations this will be considered not a risky choice but a bad move on their part.
 
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Mark J
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I pretty much defcon suicided myself as USSR recently. In Turn 2 had a hand that included CIA Created, 5YP and Duck and Cover. Defcon started at 3. I didn't look at my hand carefully enough and put myself in a situation where Defcon 1 wasn't avoidable after doing a coup in Iran.

If I had the same hand and in the headline phase the US was able to do a coup to drop defcon to 2 then how would I avoid defcon 1?

Can't ever play 5YP or Duck and Cover so one needs to be held and the other sent to space. But CIA still results in defcon 1. So you go with 5YP early and hope you don't get unlucky? What if you also had a scoring card? Now 2 of those 3 have to get played.
 
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Jay Sachs
United States
Woodinville
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Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
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DiploGuy wrote:
I pretty much defcon suicided myself as USSR recently. In Turn 2 had a hand that included CIA Created, 5YP and Duck and Cover. Defcon started at 3. I didn't look at my hand carefully enough and put myself in a situation where Defcon 1 wasn't avoidable after doing a coup in Iran.

If I had the same hand and in the headline phase the US was able to do a coup to drop defcon to 2 then how would I avoid defcon 1?


There are no early war events other than CIA that would let the US coup in the headline.
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