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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Middle East rss

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The Docito
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I’ve been playing Twilight on playdek for a few months and I’m getting better. I generally play as +2 US and have roughly 50% success rate against all comers. I’ve followed basically guides on here and more often than not I’ve not worried myself too much regarding the middle east:
My general ME strategy is to get into Lebanon, try and get to lybia and fight over iran. More often than not I’m pretty much bullied out of most places except for Lebannon and perhaps Iran. Now I avoid spending too much ops on other areas considering challenges that lie ahead and the commitment needed to fill Israel (especially if I’ve lost the war) always seems secondary to other more pressing locations.
However I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m losing a lot of VPs in ME. It can often be scored 3 times before the final turn, if you chuck Opec as well there’s upwards of 30 VPs that I’m conceding. In the rare occurances I play as USSR I notice that US often fights a much stronger battle in ME that I do.
I’ve realised that I almost always always achieve domination in Asia and fight hard to keep it that way. But because of early losses I’m far more reluctant to fight back in ME as anything close to parity seems like a huge undertaking.
Obivously we’re speaking in general terms but what do you make of this?
Should I be focusing more of an effort on ME?
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Matthew Miyares
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Lorton
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One thing about the Middle East is that it's often the best (or only) option for Battleground Coups as the US during the Early War, if the Soviets haven't gotten De-Stal or Decol to fire. Not that you'll often have an opportunity to drop DEFCON, but it's something to look out for, if a good AR6 play has left the USSR in a pickle.

I think the best reason to do anything in the ME, though, is to force the Soviets to spend ops fighting for one of their "safe" regions, rather than position in others for the Mid-War. If the USSR doesn't feel the pressure, it can safely score less than the Maximum VP's and put pressure on the US in other regions. Granted, with Muslim Revolution out there, your position is never going to be great, but it's far from impossible to prevent Soviet Domination.

A couple of things I've noticed playing both sides: Jordan is a valuable US Pickup, as it gives both a modifier to Arab-Israeli war and access to Saudi Arabia. I've seen the US sometimes coup Iraq to drop DEFCON to 3, in order to protect Asian Battlegrounds, and if the dice favor you, that can set the Soviets on a surprising back foot. (Not sure if expert players do that, but on two occasions, I've rolled a 6 on a 4-op coup, which ended up costing the Soviets Domination on two ME scorings. Don't bank on that kind of luck, but even if you end up with 1 op there, that's huge in terms of access and setting back Soviet Ambitions.)
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Brent Bryan
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I'm certainly no TS expert, but IMHO every region is important but you can't have your way in every region. If I notice my opponent overcommiting to a particular region, of course I want to make that difficult, but if it seems I'm throwing a lot of OPS that way and not getting anywhere, its time to look to capitalize in other areas.

From a strategic point of view, the ME is important because of the opening into Asia in the early war. If I'm playing as the USSR you can bet I'm fighting for Iran tooth and nail to prevent my opponent from flooding Western Asia with OPS.

Also, as you mentioned, there are a lot of potential VPs in the ME with OPEC; another good reason to make the region a priority, just not to the detriment of multiple other regions.

Again, no expert here, just the way I see it
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The Docito
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Rackenhammer wrote:


I think the best reason to do anything in the ME, though, is to force the Soviets to spend ops fighting for one of their "safe" regions, rather than position in others for the Mid-War. If the USSR doesn't feel the pressure, it can safely score less than the Maximum VP's and put pressure on the US in other regions. Granted, with Muslim Revolution out there, your position is never going to be great, but it's far from impossible to prevent Soviet Domination.



This is a really good point. It always feels like a 'safe zone' for Russia./
How do i go about changing this?
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Michael Valentine

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I think any canned answer about the amount of importance to attach to any particular region is wrong. It's situation and card dependent. Maintain presence as USA. After that, it's impossible to say whether using your limited resources in the Mideast is better than elsewhere.
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Michael Patnik
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One thing that it took me a long time to understand is that you can often fill up Egypt and Libya on T1. An influence in Malaysia at Defcon 4 (and one in Afghanistan if you can manage it) will make the USSR reluctant to drop Defcon to 3. If you can sneak into those 2 early, it will often cause the USSR headaches, as trying to coup the ME battlegrounds and grab a non-bg is often impossible before ME is scored. Especially because doing so will probably concede a ton in Europe and Asia.

The US has the easiest path to France, Thailand, Egypt/Libya, all African BG, Panama and Mexico. The USSR on the other hand has the easiest access only to Iran and Iraq. This means that the USSR needs events and coups to gain access. Since couping a 2stab BG is not ops efficient (net avg -0.5 ops vs placing inf) often times the US can overwhelm the USSR by taking all of the cheap BG, thus making the USSR access events less powerful.

Obviously, this strategy is very hand and board dependent, however I feel that good US players do this to me when appropriate, while US players that aren't as good tend to play a slow defensive game, thus giving me more time to assemble and use the De cards/Nasser/Vietnam Revolts/Wars etc...
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ray donovan
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mpatnik wrote:
An influence in Malaysia at Defcon 4 (and one in Afghanistan if you can manage it)...

Im very reluctant to add 1 op in Malaysia at defcon 4 even if it seems to be a strong moove, I'm always scared to see ussr making a succesfull coup on it.
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R Cook
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I think USA playing to Malaysia at defcon 4 might deserve a strategy thread of it's own. It's a risk, as you might give USSR access to Thailand that he would not necessarily have but possibly necessary if you do not know the whereabouts of Vietnam Revolts, Decol and Destal. I always find it a tough one to judge.

As for general Middle East strategy for USA, I would suggest the following general tips:
- Always maintain presence
- Expand out of Iran to Asia if it survives the first coup
- Expand out to Egypt and Libya as soon as possible
- Be first to control Lebanon when Defcon hits 2
- Do not get into an ops war in any country impacted by Muslim Revolution unless the card is out of the deck
- Always be aware of the whereabouts of cards for both USA and USSR sides that affect the region
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Randy Evans
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There is also the consideration that ME is never great for the US, but usually it doesn't score big for Ivan UNLESS you get totally shut out. If you're not careful, you can quickly lose all presence in ME, and then you are in a world of hurt.
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