Ben Kyo
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This will be in turn-by-turn instalments. There are a lot of session reports here, so I don't know if it will be of much interest to anyone else, but at the very least it might help me improve my game.

Benkyo rating 1890 USSR
Opponent rating 1811 US at +2



Hand looks OK, coup Iran, score ME, hold US/Japan, or maybe Blockade. Nothing I really like as a headline, but I decide to take a chance on the Cambridge 5, reasoning that even if they fail a little hand knowledge can't hurt.

Headlines:
Red Purge
Cambridge 5 hits nothing.
Oh dear, time for damage control.

AR1:
De Gaulle, Iraq 0/3*
It hurts to blow my best Europe threat on such a weak move, but I need ME scoring out of my hand and I don't want to risk everything on a coup with NTB.
Defectors, Afghanistan 2*/0
Happy that he took the Afghanistan detour. With any luck I won't suffer a T2 Asia Domination.

AR2:
ME Scoring
Marshall Plan, Turkey 1/0, Greece 1/0, Spain/Portugal 1/0, France 1/0, Canada 3/0, West Germany 5*/0, Italy 4*/0
Ouch. Europe Domination is a given. I only have access to one Asia battleground...

AR3:
Special Relationship, France 2/0, South Korea 1/1
CIA Created, South Korea 2/1
Here's my chance, he walked into this war...

AR4:
Korean War, roll 6, success! South Korea 0/3* MilOps 2, VP -2
Romanian Abdication, France 3*/0, Romania 0/3*

Now I'm torn. Blockade for an Afghanistan coup, or into Israel, or for the event? My opponent seems to be playing very defensively for a Red Purge turn, and has no scoring cards. The Korean war was excellent, but I need something else to go right this turn. Almost any discard other than Socialist Governments would be good right now - it seems likely he has one or two problem cards, so anything to restrict his hand could be useful and potentially deny him a strong finishing coup. I'm anticipating a play of Vietnam Revolts with a Vietnam coup on AR6.

AR5:
Blockade, US discards Socialist Governments
Ouch.
Duck and Cover, Pakistan 0/3*

And now it's time for the coup.

AR6:
Nuclear Test Ban, coup Pakistan, roll 4, 0/0 DEFCON 4 MilOps 5
Indo-Pakistani War, coup Iraq, roll 5, 0/2 DEFCON 3 MilOps 2


Well, it could have been worse. The war went well, Asia looks good as long as I draw one of the three cards that will get me in there. Europe is a lost cause. Happy with my play, although an AR1 NTB coup of Iran would have been amazing if I could have somehow guaranteed that roll of 4. Perhaps I should have played NTB instead of De Gaulle in AR1, for Iraq 0/3* Afghanistan 0/1? De Gaulle for the event would have been very nice, but then at the time I had no way of knowing I'd get my MilOps from the Korean War...



VP -3
DEFCON 4
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King in Green
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*chews popcorn* I look forward to seeing how this one played out!
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Ben Kyo
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Buggrit. No way into Asia, no UN intervention, Europe Scoring to rub salt into the wound. Containment is about the only positive. Nasser might help me sew up the ME, but that's already been scored...

I was tempted to play Europe Scoring as my headline, but figured there was no harm in hoping for a forced play of Suez Crisis. Since my opponent doesn't have anything in Malaysia yet, if I headline Nasser, and play into Libya, it may look to my opponent that I have a surefire way into Asia, which might make him hesitant to coup in AR1? Seems worth a shot. No Nazi Scientist, so I'll space EEU early and hold US/Japan again, still waiting for UN and/or Asia scoring.

Headlines:
Nasser
Egypt 0/2*
Asia Scoring, VP from -3 to -4
Awesome! He obviously doesn't know that Asia is his for the taking, so he suspected that I have a way in. I get 1 VP instead of losing 5-6.

AR1:
Olympic Games, Libya 0/2*
NORAD, coup Libya, roll 3, 0/0 MilOps 3 DEFCON 3
Oh well, so much for keeping DEFCON low. The dice have helped me out though, which is a relief. I need to make the next coup count, and Panama looks like the best target.

AR2:
COMECON, coup Panama, roll 5, 0/3* MilOps 3 DEFCON 2
Truman Doctrine, Malaysia 0/1
Nice coup result, he finally makes his move in Asia. Now I'm faced with a dilemma. I could play conservatively, as I usually do, and space EEU. It's my only way to get VPs right now, and I want to get it done before he gets his space program going. However, with no way into Africa, Asia, or South America, I need to do something drastic. I decided to fork Pakistan and South America.

AR3:
EEU, Afghanistan 2/1, Columbia 0/1*, then E. Germany 0/3*, Poland 0/3*, Romania 0/2
UN Intervention, De-Stalinization, Pakistan 3*/0
As I expected, and I'm in South America! Romania to 0/2 is an interesting choice. My chances of a UN play of US/Japan just plummeted, but it looks like I forced him into a pre-reshuffle play of De-Stal, so maybe he has no other 3s or 4s to spare. I mean, I wouldn't blow the China Card on Pakistan right now, but he seems to think I might. I should play to control Venezuela next, and Fidel is the only card that can do it, but I decide to be a bit greedy, assuming he can't afford to coup Colombia in AR4.

AR4:
Fidel, Venezuela 0/1, Lebanon 0/1*
Suez Crisis, space, roll 6

AR5
:
Europe Scoring, VP from -4 to 1
Arab-Israeli War, Thailand 1/0, Jordan 1/0, roll 6, War Success! Israel 0/1, MilOps 5, VP from 1 to -1
These wars have really helped me out. 4 VPs and 6 influence swing. I opt for repair in AR6.

AR6:
Containment, Libya 0/2*, Iraq 0/3*
Vietnam Revolts, Thailand 3*/0, Laos/Cambodia 1*/0, Vietnam 0/2*


I suppose he did have an awkward hand, but I'm surprised he didn't hold De-Stal. I guess he figured he had nothing better to headline than Asia, which was lucky for me.



Again, not a bad result, given my lack of any way into Asia. Asia Scoring was painless, the war helped, De-Stal is in the discard without Blockade, and I got into South America. Can't think of anything I would have done differently, but Venezuela is looking a bit vulnerable.
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Ben Kyo
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He got Captured Nazi Scientist, Decolonization, and Warsaw. Africa is going to turn blue... On the other hand, I have the 4 OPs to coup S. Africa, and I got Five-Year Plan, which could well take the sting out of Asia or Europe scoring if I draw one. I'm going to have to use the China Card if I want to take advantage of UN Intervention and hold Five-Year Plan, which means spacing Duck and Cover, preferably before he has a chance to use Captured Nazi Scientist. Nothing to headline other than the Cambridge Five, again.

Headlines:
Red Purge
The Cambridge Five hits nothing

Again? That's going to reduce my OPs by 5, and changes a potentially strong turn into some simple consolidation. Get enough influence into South America to prevent Voice of America from kicking me out, maybe take Saudi Arabia or make a path to Cuba... and get the first chance at the space race if I can. I only have 3 OPs to coup S. Africa, but I'm not going to get a better shot at it and there's still a 50% chance of a useful result.

AR1:
UN Intervention, US/Japan Mutual Defence Pact, coup S. Africa, roll 2, MilOps 3
Nuclear Test Ban, India 3*/0, Angola 1*/0
Damn... and he has a strong hand too. I can expect 1 to 3 zero OP turns, for CNS, maybe space Decolonization, maybe a second space, but I expect he is not short of OPs. No leeway to push anywhere and I may need all my OPs in defence, so it's time to get the spacing done.

AR2
:
Duck and Cover, space, roll 1, success, VP from -1 to -3
Captured Nazi Scientist, VP from -3 to -2

AR3:
Formosan Resolution, Venezuela 0/2*
Decolonization, space, roll 2, success

AR4:
Independent Reds, Brazil 0/1, then Romania 2/2
Warsaw Pact, Zaire 1*/0, Algeria 2*/0, then E. Germany 0/5*, Poland 0/5*, Yugoslavia 0/1

AR5:
The China Card, Costa Rica 0/1, Brazil 0/2*, Venezuela 0/3*
Socialist Governments, space, roll 4
If I'm going to lose in Europe, Asia, and Africa, I guess I need domination of South America, Middle East, and Central America...

AR6:
NATO, Nicaragua 0/1*, Sudan 0/1*, Saudi Arabia 0/1
NORAD, Botswana 2*/0, Saudi Arabia 1/1


First unknown hold card. No idea what it might be - another space candidate, Truman, Defectors, CIA?



Surprised he didn't coup on AR6 - I gave him two good targets, which in retrospect I probably shouldn't have done(?) Still, it worked out, and I get a bonus 2 VP. A dull turn, with both of us simply consolidating our respective regions. My position is looking pretty desperate though - the US has +5, +5, +6 in regions to my much less stable +4, +7, +4, and is ahead in space. I'm going to need some nice draws and friendly dice.

VP from -2 to -4
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Kris Wei
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A well-typed and detailed report, thanks for the great work.

But may not that helpful - the US player is obviously superstitious with Red Scare and made at least 5 mistakes in first 3 turns, also his Asian strategy is a mess.
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Ben Kyo
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sankt wrote:
A well-typed and detailed report, thanks for the great work.

But may not that helpful - the US player is obviously superstitious with Red Scare and made at least 5 mistakes in first 3 turns, also his Asian strategy is a mess.

Thanks!

In that case it has been helpful for me, at least. Now I just have to search through turns 1-3 to find those mistakes. I think I can spot about three of them... =)

While genuinely high-level play is more instructive, I imagine that for less skilled players like myself there are lessons that can be learnt from games at this level too. I'm finding it interesting to reconstruct my opponent's hand, which is something I haven't done before.
 
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Ben Kyo
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A nice hand I can make some headway with. Jump ahead in the space race for a 4 VP swing, alliance for 0 VP, space colonial rear guards, hop into Chile and secure South America control, get 4-5 VP for OPEC, fill Cuba... My main fear is Missile Envy, but I can't afford to play in fear, so I decide to headline "One small step", as the only part of the plan that really has any urgency behind it.

Headlines:
"One small step...", VP from -4 to -6
Sadat Expels Soviets, Egypt 1/0

Losing Egypt is a shame, especially with OPEC to be played, but I can't afford to retake it with Africa in it's current state.

AR1:
Alliance for Progress, coup Zaire, roll 5, Zaire 0/5*, MilOps 3, DEFCON 2
The China Card, Mexico 2*/0, Angola 2*/0, Egypt 2*/0

I'm expecting maybe Cultural Revolution and Nixon, and no other 4 OPs for the turn. Nothing that requires a response though.

AR2:
Colonial Rear Guards, space, roll 2, success
Kitchen Debates, VP from -6 to -4

Kitchen Debates for VPs at this point in the game is a kick in the teeth, but I'm doing OK for VPs and I'm happy with anything that leaves me free to pursue my turn in peace.

AR3:
Allende, Chile 0/2
Europe Scoring, VP from -4 to 1

1 out of 2 down, just have to hope I draw Asia Scoring.

AR4:
Eastern European Unrest, Saudi Arabia 1/4*, then E. Germany 0/3*, Poland 0/3*, Yugoslavia 0/0
Special Relationship, France 5*/0, VP from 1 to 3

Europe locked down tight.

AR5:
OPEC, VP from 3 to -1
Nixon Plays the China Card

OK, that surprised me. Perhaps he just had a really weak hand.

AR6:
Fidel, Cuba 0/3*
Olympic Games, coup Nicaragua, roll 3, Nicaragua 2*/0, MilOps 2

AR7:
"We Will Bury You", Chile 0/3*, Argentina 0/2*, Haiti 0/1*
Summit, coup Colombia, roll 2, Colombia 0/0, MilOps 3


OK, that's a low OP hand. Probably unimpressive hold cards too. It made sense to play for VPs and tread water. Surprised by the Colombia coup - Haiti could have been more effective - but I suppose the promise of an immediate 2 VP buffer was more appealing.



The world is looking a lot redder after T4. South America is sitting pretty at 10 VP and Africa is a coup from a kind of stability. Central America looks a bit shaky. I'm hoping to draw Asia Scoring, coup Angola, and coup Nicaragua. I'll be able to see his headlines, but I'm very vulnerable to CIA and Grain Sales draws. Cultural Revolution or SALT could be life-savers, and I hope to be lucky with the next two space rolls. Perhaps I'm cutting it a bit too fine with the DEFCON risk, but I figure I can always sacrifice an AR1 coup if necessary, and headline knowledge can be amazing.
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King in Green
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Interesting, I think I would have kept China over 5YP but I understand why you took the risk. US player should have been in Cameroon long aeons ago.
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Ben Kyo
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Paul Harding wrote:
Interesting, I think I would have kept China over 5YP but I understand why you took the risk. US player should have been in Cameroon long aeons ago.

Obviously there are lots of ways you'd want to do things differently, but if you could change only one US AR, which one would you have used to enter Cameroon? T3 AR5/AR6 to Cameroon, Saharan States, and somewhere? it looks like he didn't have the ARs or the OPs to really do it any earlier. This kind of thing is hard for me to spot when playing as the US.
 
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King in Green
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Hard to generalise when I would have done many things differently but for example on AR6 Cameroon & Mexico give domination, Nigeria access, and stop a no-presence domination. Wonder if US hold was Destal...?
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Ben Kyo
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A good hand! Probably headline Missile Envy, space Shuttle Diplomacy, pick up some VPs from the Middle East, push hard in Africa, and finish with Five Year Plan to neutralise Asia Scoring. I kind of hoped to be able to play SALT for the event, but that turned out to be naive (and led to what I consider to be my first real mistake in the game).

US Headline:
Grain Sales to Soviets

That puts a spanner in the works. No good response to this one, but at least I didn't draw it. As long as he doesn't hit Five-Year Plan I'll be OK. "We will bury you" is gone, so there's no risk in Missile Envy.

USSR Headline:
Missile Envy

Headlines:
Grain Sales to Soviets, Five-Year Plan, coup Argentina, roll 5, Argentina 2*/0, MilOps 3, DEFCON 2
Missile Envy, Muslim Revolution, Egypt 0/0, Iran 0/0

Well, damn. I lost South America control, the chance to coup Africa, and now Asia is going to get scored. On the other hand my Middle East Scoring just got a whole lot better. I could play it now for 8 VP! However, I didn't want to give Iran back, and I figured that losing a couple of VP here and forcing the US to scrabble for presence by filling Jordan would pay off in the long run with stable Domination/Control of the Middle East and the potential of extra OPEC VP.

AR1:
How I learned to stop worrying, Iran 0/2*
Missile Envy, Jordan 2*/0, Israel 1/1

AR2:
South African Unrest, Egypt 0/2*
The China Card, Israel 5*/1

So this was, I think, my first significant mistake in the game. I was still looking at SALT as a potential event, and had forgotten that I was lacking in MilOps. SALT for influence, and a later play of South African Unrest for the event would probably have been better. Still, I got the China Card back. With that and Grain Sales gone, my risk of a DEFCON loss just plummeted.

AR3:
Asia Scoring, VP from -1 to 4
Latin America Death Squads, Uruguay 2*/0

South America could go 50/50 if I'm not careful, but I need to get the scoring done.

AR4:
Middle East Scoring, VP from 4 to -2
De-Stalinization, space, roll 5

There it goes...

AR5:
Shuttle Diplomacy, space, roll 6
CIA Created, coup Haiti, roll 1, MilOps 4

I can't afford to fail space rolls, but seeing CIA discarded and a failed Haiti coup more than makes up for it.

AR6:
Truman Doctrine, coup Nicaragua, roll 5, Nicaragua 0/2*, MilOps 1, then Romania 2/0
Our Man in Tehran, South Africa 3*/0

AR7:
SALT Negotiations, Argentina 2/2
Brezhnev Doctrine, Argentina 4*/2, Malaysia 2*/0

My second mistake? In retrospect I should probably have played Peru and Colombia, but my reasoning was that I simply needed adjacency to Chile, and I wanted to make a later Latin America Debt Crisis a threat while neutralising the US AR7 play. Losing Brezhnev was a shame.


Playing CIA for an OP and using the China Card - he must have at least one problem card. I'm beginning to think he's holding Lone Gunman.



Lost South America control, gained in the Middle East in a big way, and got the China card. Leaving South America without domination was foolish, and the US position in Africa is looking more stable with a key card gone and South Africa filled (but still no play into Saharan States). On the other hand Central America is safe.

VP from -2 to -1

After sankt's comment, and reviewing my own play, I'm beginning to wonder if this game looks like a comedy of errors and basic play to skilled players in the BGG audience. Oh well, at least I'm learning something, and it felt like a tense game at the time.
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King in Green
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SALTing 5YP back to discard Asia could have been interesting...
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Paul Edgar
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Wow - thanks for the play by play commentary. This is great!

Can't wait for the next turn
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Ben Kyo
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Paul Harding wrote:
SALTing 5YP back to discard Asia could have been interesting...

Yeah, taking the gift of 8 VP for the ME and SALTing 5VP would no doubt have been a strong turn, especially with the pressure of S. Africa unrest added to the potential of an Angola coup. I probably should have given the whole turn a lot more thought after the headlines upset everything.

Thanks Paul_Edgar_au =)
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Another solid hand. My only problem is that there are four totally different things I want to achieve with it. Junta is the strongest headline and could make Central America scoring amazing, but I'd be gambling on a roll of 4+, and if I don't coup Angola I'll lose 5 VP. I want to space, and I would really like to make a strong push on France with both the events and OPs necessary to do so. From experience, if I save De Gaulle some other crisis will arise and I won't get around to France anyway. So I resolve to do things in this order - forget Mexico for now, either score Central America or put pressure on South America in the headline, coup Africa, hopefully net 4 VP with the scoring cards, then if I get the initiative I'll push hard into France. Forget spacing and hold Panama.
There are a whole bunch of unpleasant US/neutral events that could trip me up, but hopefully I have the OPs to weather them.

US Headline:
OAS Founded

Well, the only response to that is Junta. A shame Junta has to trigger first, but Argentina and Uruguay should keep him busy.

Headlines:
Junta, Argentina 4/4, coup Uruguay, roll 6, Uruguay 0/2*
OAS Founded, Uruguay 1/2, Brazil 1/2

Amazing, domination and a strong realignment threat all in one. His response is merely to take domination away again. I still have to follow through with the Angola coup.

AR1:
U2 Incident, coup Angola, roll 2, Angola 0/1*, MilOps 3, DEFCON 2
Cultural Revolution, Argentina 6*/4, Indonesia 1*/0, VP from -1 to -2

Well, at least I didn't roll a 1. His play into Indonesia is weird. I mean, he must be holding Southeast Asia Scoring, but even so, there are much higher priorities out there! Much as I'd like to play into Paraguay, the two scoring cards are lead weights in my hand, so I'm just going to shore up before scoring.

AR2:
Che, Uruguay 1/3*, Brazil 1/3*, Angola 0/2*
Cuban Missile Crisis, Paraguay 2*/0, Philippines 2*/0

Paraguay makes sense, I would have liked to get there first, but the Philippines? Southeast Asia is not worth this investment. I suppose with Brazil and Uruguay taken he might just have lacked any idea for a loose OP and decided to convert it to 1 VP.

AR3
:
Africa Scoring
COMECON, Afghanistan 3*/1, Burma 2*/0, then E. Germany 0/5*, Poland 0/5*, Romania 2/1, Yugoslavia 0/1

OK, so Asia is now under total lockdown, but he could have been pushing South or Central America, or getting his MilOps. These last three ARs have given me so much breathing room.

AR4:
Central America Scoring, VP from -2 to -6
Ussuri River Skirmish

This gives me pause. I wanted to push France, and I thought I had a good shot at it, but despite all appearances to the contrary he is not burdened with a scoring card. He's blown a bunch of strong 3 OPs already, but now he's taken the China Card. Does he have two bad hold cards? Is he saving up for "Ask Not..."? Any way I look at it, the 4 OPs on demand makes taking France unlikely. Still, if he's at all short on OPs I'd much rather push him into using some of the nice remaining US cards to defend France than let him use them elsewhere. Also, at the very least, one influence in France will be nice to have if I draw Special Relationship on the reshuffle.

AR5:
Suez Crisis, France 3*/0, Israel 3/1
Portuguese Empire Crumbles, Israel 5*/1, then Angola 0/4*, SE African States 0/2*

Looks like the push is working, but he is holding something back.

AR6:
De Gaulle Leads France, France 1/1
The China Card, France 4*/1, Turkey 2*/0

Not bad. Not only was he forced to hand back the China Card, he also wasted an OP in Turkey, so I can continue the push, which he presumably cannot answer. He still hasn't picked up any MilOps.

AR7:
Flower Power, France 4/4
Nuclear Subs, coup Uruguay, roll 2, MilOps 2

He went for the MilOps and gave up a nice card. I'm assuming he has Lone Gunman, and Liberation Theology, Quagmire, or "Ask Not". France is up for the taking! Should I have pushed Argentina instead? Probably, but I was thinking there would actually be a reshuffle - putting all the scoring cards on a roughly equal footing. Admittedly South America was the only one likely to score soon, so maybe I was being a bit single-minded.




The state of the world is looking pretty rosy for Communism right now. If scored, I'd lose 6 VPs for Southeast Asia and gain 5 for South America, but I'm 6 VPs ahead and have 16 battlegrounds to his 10. There are problems though. The remaining deck includes Camp David, John Paul, Puppet Goverments, and The Voice of America, none of which I can space. "Ask Not" is still lurking, I'm saddled with Panama Canal, and I neglected to space so I'm still two turns short of the Bear has Landed. By my reckoning that means the regions are still much as they were - South America, Central America, and the Middle East are mine, and Europe, Asia, and Africa are or will be his. However, although other commentators on the thread have already noticed, this is the turn in which my doubts about my opponent burgeoned. He had a strong hand, but I don't think he's made a single aggressive move in the entire game, he's not taking care of his obligations in a timely fashion, and he's throwing OPs around like candy.
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Michael Valentine

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I think I'd have gone for the C America vps. You had a likely 10 vps score there. Even more desirable with his OAS headline, which could cause you trouble and you would want a free ar1 to deal with. With Che, you've got a good chance to later score Africa at +2.

 
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MichaelVal wrote:
I think I'd have gone for the C America vps. You had a likely 10 vps score there. Even more desirable with his OAS headline, which could cause you trouble and you would want a free ar1 to deal with. With Che, you've got a good chance to later score Africa at +2.


Even after OAS? 1 or 2 = US re-controls and he knows I have Central America scoring. I then have to contest Africa with country count alone, so -4 +2 at best, -4 +5 at worst. Rolls of 3, 4 = more AR1 OP investment needed, and only on a 6 would I guarantee AR1 control with Junta. Maybe you are right, but it seemed like a risky play to me at the time, and with the potential for a Brush War to ruin things. Of course, by going for the coup in Africa I also risked a Puppet Governments play, but again Che in reserve for that. Meanwhile I also lacked South America domination, which was my mistake from the previous turn.

When I'm bogged down by multiple scoring cards, I do tend to ignore anywhere I can think of as "safe", in order to draw my opponent off elsewhere. Maybe that's a mistake.
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OK, I admit, this threw me. My first game without a T7 reshuffle. Do better players keep track of this? Count the number of held cards from turns 1-6? It seems to require quite a bit of China Card play, and little or no effect from our Man in Tehran and "Ask not..."

Thankfully, I got "Ask not...", so the choice of whether or not there would be a reshuffle was entirely in my hands. I knew he had Lone Gunman and almost certainly had South American scoring, so there were two reasons to space "Ask not..." and superficially everything else seemed to favour that choice. Ahead in VPs, hoping to get a couple more spacings in before the DEFCON suicide cards came back from the discard, and with increased odds of forcing the US to suicide through Aldrich Ames and Terrorism, or even winning with Wargames.

This turn was going to be rough though. Defectors, Panamal Canal, Bear Trap, John Paul, and Camp David, none of which I could space, and all of which he could be fairly certain I was holding.

For my part I knew he had 9 cards out of 10: South America scoring, Southeast Asia scoring, Lone Gunman, Arab-Israeli War, Quagmire, Puppet Governments, The Voice of America, Arms Race, Brush War, and ABM Treaty. Those last five were the big guns, and he probably had all three strong neutral cards. I anticipated losing two key battlegrounds, for him to get the last battleground in Africa, score 6 VPs in Asia, maybe another 3 from Arms race, 1 from Brush War, 1 from Defectors, maybe 1 from Camp David, and maybe score SA for nothing. Meanwhile I'd just get 3 VP from space, scrabble to repair damage and probably give back the China Card. Guh. All that strength, combined with knowledge of my weak hand...

US Headline:
ABM Treaty

That could go in several different ways. A strong SA coup if he needs it, but I could respond to that with a weak realign or a China Card coup. The problem with using the China Card would be leaving myself with nothing but 2 OP cards left to respond to The Voice... anyway, Indo-Pakistan War, Liberation Theology, or Willy Brandt? I wanted to save Liberation Theology for a point in the turn when it couldn't be easily neutralised, and between Willy and the War I opted to gamble on the 1 in 6 chance of a game-changer. 1 VP just didn't seem worth it.

Headlines:
ABM Treaty, France 7*/4, Zimbabwe 1*/0, DEFCON 4
Indo-Pakistan War, roll 5, MilOps 2

Well, that was interesting. Perhaps he doesn't have SA scoring, or perhaps he plans on a 3 OP coup and/or Brush War to resolve things for him later. He is holding all the aces, after all. I decide to throw caution to the wind, and try to give him something substantial to worry about. A Thailand or Pakistan coup could succeed on a 4+, a 4 in Thailand could be kicked out by The Voice, but unlike Pakistan it could net a 4 VP swing for Southeast Asia.

AR1:
The China Card, coup Thailand, roll 4, Thailand 0/2*, MilOps 5, DEFCON 3
Arms Race, coup Brazil, roll 2, Brazil 1/2, MilOps 3, DEFCON 2

Luck is with me! He has SA Scoring and a major Asia headache, and I can shore up both regions. Although I don't want to "feed" Brush War, I need another OP in Thailand to be safe from The Voice.

AR2:
Willy Brandt, Brazil 1/3*, Thailand 0/3*
Brush War, Thailand, roll 1, MilOps 5

And my luck holds! Now it looks like a war of attrition between my awful hand and the looming threat of The Voice. Ideally I would be able to play Bear Trap and get rid of a few bad cards, but that would give him back-to-back ARs and realistically I will have to just work through my hand and be able to respond when the hammer falls.

AR3:
"Ask not what your country can do for you...", space, roll 2, VP from -6 to -9
Quagmire, space, roll 5

OK, my thinking here was a bit muddled. I wanted to take some key locations for stability before Puppet Governments, but it was probably a mistake to give up one of my only two remaining unproblematic 2 OPs.

AR4:
Defectors, Colombia 0/1*, Cameroon 0/1*, VP from -9 to -8
Puppet Governments, Nigeria 1*/0, Ivory Coast 1/0, Ethiopia 1*/0

AR5:
Panama Canal Returned, coup Zimbabwe, roll 1, then Costa Rica 1/1, Panama 1/3*, Venezuela 1/3*
Arab-Israeli War, coup Cameroon, roll 2, Cameroon 1*/0, then war roll 4

Africa is a mess, but he must still be holding at least one scoring card. Time to play Liberation Theology since he can't afford to respond to it. I think I'm going to Bear Trap myself in AR7, which seems crazy, but it gives me the strongest response to The Voice, there's no risk of (another) Red Purge next turn, and I'll probably only really be giving up the AR1 coup to offload a bad card for "free".

AR6:
Liberation Theology, Mexico 2/2, Guatemala 0/1*
The Voice of America, Chile 0/2, Brazil 1/2, Thailand 0/1

AR7:
Bear Trap, Chile 0/3*, Brazil 1/3*, Thailand 0/2*
South America scoring, VP from -8 to -13




For a potentially disastrous turn, that went surprisingly well! The dice more than made up for the bad draw. I'm in a Bear Trap, which is never a good thing, but I'm well up on VPs and there aren't many in the Late War deck. Good chance of a Wargames win, might get Mexico if he coups elsewhere, there's always the chance of Terrorism being boosted or combined with Aldrich Ames, and Southeast Asia is the only scoring card guaranteed to come out before final scoring.
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Where's the update?! I need my fix!
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Ben Kyo
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Not a bad hand. Got my Bear Trap cards lined up, North sea oil for spacing, one half of the Terrorism combo, and enough OPs to get by. Nothing that would actually help me win though - no Wargames, no Terrorism, no Aldrich Ames, none of the cards I'd like to see to prevent a Europe control loss (Reformer, Tear Down This Wall, Chernobyl), and no Glasnost.

US Headline:
Terrorism

That makes Iranian Hostage Crisis an OPs play, leaving Marine Barracks Bombing as the only headline to create a bit of pressure. I could have gone for Iran-Iraq war to get my MilOps and a 1 in 3 chance of 2 VPs, but I figured I'd have to coup during the turn anyway.

Headlines:
Terrorism, AWACS Sale to Saudis discard
Marine Barracks Bombing, Israel 3/1

AR1:
Camp David Accords, roll 2, Bear Trap event ends
The China Card, Thailand 4*/2

Nice result for Terrorism, then a choice I immediately regretted for Bear Trap. With the hand-size reduction I have to play one of the two, and while Solidarity is out I'd rather play Camp David than John Paul at the moment, even with the 1 VP loss. The potential for my opponent to draw Reformer, Chernobyl, Solidarity, and Tear Down this Wall is very real. Thailand in exchange for the China Card? Don't mind if I do. It seems to me that he is giving up a lot to maintain Europe and Asia dominance, but Southeast Asia scoring is going to sting. He's taking a huge risk though - Aldrich Ames next turn could win me the game.

AR2:
Star Wars, coup Nigeria, roll 5, Nigeria 0/4*, MilOps 2, DEFCON 2
Reagan Bombs Libya, Mexico 4*/2

AR3:
North Sea Oil, space, roll 5
Glasnost, DEFCON 3, VP from -13 to -15, coup Angola, roll 4, Angola 2*/0, MilOps 4, DEFCON 2

If he had Glasnost, why didn't he use it to coup Thailand? Does he also have Aldrich Ames? Now I feel like there is a genuine risk of conceding Africa control, and Cameroon is the key to some stability.

AR4:
Ortega Elected in Nicaragua, coup Cameroon, roll 2, Cameroon 0/1*, MilOps 4
Solidarity, coup Cameroon, roll 2, Cameroon 1*/0, MilOps 5

Solidarity in the discard is very nice - makes my earlier discard decision much better. Still need Cameroon though.

AR5:
Iran-Iraq War, coup Cameroon, roll 5, Cameroon 0/4* MilOps 5
The Iron Lady, Thailand 5*/2, Ivory Coast 2*/0, Israel 4/1

Ivory coast is a strange choice over Israel control.

AR6:
John Paul II Elected Pope, Poland 1/5*
Chernobyl, coup Uruguay, roll 2, Uruguay 1/2

I put the extra influence in Poland because I only had a few seconds to make the move - a nearly two years-old daughter will not be denied attention for long. Chernobyl in the discard means I need not have bothered with the over-control, and the coup of Uruguay is a total mystery to me.

AR7:
Iranian Hostage Crisis, Uruguay 1/3*, Saharan States 0/1*, Israel 4/2
Yuri and Samantha, coup Sudan, roll 3, Sudan 2*/0


Just hope the hold card isn't Aldrich Ames.



I'm 2 VP closer to an automatic victory, Wargames or Aldrich Ames could win me the game, and a Europe control loss is now very unlikely. Mexico and Thailand are back under US control, Israel isn't, and my position in Africa is more stable. The changes to the deck probabilities and the China Card seem much more significant than the (relatively) small shifts on the board.
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Alex Drazen
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the coup of Uruguay is a total mystery to me.


I'm guessing it may have had to do with realignment bonuses on Argentina? You could realign it at +0 on the map. Basically a few coin flips in a row to re-seize SA control. If he takes over Uruguay, that becomes -2. Seems weird, but that's the only rationale I can think of.

If you controlled Argentina, it would make a lot of sense so that he could realign it at +0 instead of -2 (that's a couple coin flips in a row to turn Domination into Presence, if you'll be couping in Africa)... but that's not what I see in the picture.
 
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It's very probably all over. I have Aldrich Ames, and I have a way to degrade DEFCON by 2 in one AR. The only way to increase his hand size is SALT, and the only way for him to improve DEFCON by more than 2 is How I Learned to Stop Worrying. Cuban Missile Crisis won't work as long as I have influence in Cuba, and there's no way for him to force a victory before AR7. I also know 6/9 of his cards, none of which will help him.

US Headline:
Southeast Asia Scoring

Headlines:
Red Scare
Southeast Asia scoring, VP from -15 to -9

AR1:
An Evil Empire, coup Angola, roll 4, Angola 0/3*, MilOps 3, DEFCON 2, VP from -9 to -8
Brush War, Angola, roll 1, MilOps 3

AR2:
Aldrich Ames Remix, reveal Lone Gunman, Wargames, Iran-Contra Scandal, Pershing II Deployed, The Reformer, Nuclear Subs, NORAD, discard Wargames
Nuclear Subs

The rest of the turn was played out in seconds, as a formality.

AR3:
Tear Down this Wall, space, roll 2, success
NORAD, coup Angola, roll 2, Angola 0/1*, MilOps 5

AR4:
Central America scoring, VP from -8 to -12
The Reformer, space, roll 1, success

AR5:
Special Relationship, U.K. 5/1
Pershing II Deployed, Turkey 3*/0, U.K. 6*/1, then France 6/4, W. Germany 4*/0, U.K. 5/1, VP from -12 to -13

AR6:
Latin America Debt Crisis, Argentina 6/8*, Venezuela 1/6*
Iran-Contra Scandal, coup Angola, roll 1

AR7:
OPEC, VP from -13 to -19
Lone Gunman, coup Angola, roll 1, then coup Algeria, roll 6, Algeria 0/1, DEFCON 1, Nuclear War! US loses, along with the rest of the world.

Angola, holding out 'til the very last!




Thanks to everyone that read this far. Hope you enjoyed the session report as much as I enjoyed writing it. In conclusion, it looks like I made a few mistakes, but my opponent made a lot more throughout the game. In retrospect, that sort of takes away from my victory a bit, but it felt plenty tense throughout the month of play, and I'm still quite chuffed to have come from such a desperate start to such a crushing victory. It was a very different game to any I've played previously, and I look forward to many more surprising games in the future!
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Andrew Leafman
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Thanks for posting this game! I enjoyed reading about it. A good example of how prioritizing the Middle East over Asia is often a good idea for the Soviet player--because it is less ops-intensive and scores double with OPEC.

Speaking of OPEC, could you not simply have headlined it on Turn 9 for the win? You needed five VPs and I count six OPEC-producing countries under your control. Your way worked too, of course
 
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CaiusDrewart wrote:
Thanks for posting this game! I enjoyed reading about it. A good example of how prioritizing the Middle East over Asia is often a good idea for the Soviet player--because it is less ops-intensive and scores double with OPEC.

Speaking of OPEC, could you not simply have headlined it on Turn 9 for the win? You needed five VPs and I count six OPEC-producing countries under your control. Your way worked too, of course

Cheers.

Yeah that would have worked too. I probably didn't consider that OPEC would trigger auto victory before SE Asia scoring, and fixated on the Defcon win.
 
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