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Subject: Non-decision autoplay cards rss

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Alex
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For me, one of the greatest strengths of TS is that there isn't a single card that is always gonna be played as an event or OP. Its tactical prowess and the board evolution makes it so that there's never a 100% answer on how a card should be played.

Of course, there are cards that will be played in the same fashion 95% of the times. This is a thread to discuss them and check out If I'm missing out on some possibilities or just playing suboptimally. For example, I tend to use a lot of events in late war.

I realize some cards are basically there to make a hindrance if they are activated by your opponents. Also, that there's a need for balance between strong/weak events. Nothing wrong with that. I just want to try and identify them.

NEUTRAL:

Nuclear Test Ban: Had to use it once for the event to avoid a CIA defcon suicide. Other than that, I've never seen that for the event, not even for a 20 scoring win.
Summit: Maybe as a really odd headline, and even so it's a liability. I'd put it at 98% OPS
Wargames*: It's an autoplay depending on the circumsntances. But's that also the purpose of the card.

Junta: It's gonna be a very weird hand if you don't have a good use for the event rather than OPs. If the board is so as you don't need the event, then you were probably gonna win anyway. But I suspect this is one card that many good players may reserve for OPs...
Latin American Death Squads: I see this could be a viable headline. But have you ever used it in your last 20 games, for example?


WHITE, PLAYING AS US
NATO*: This was designed to place a removable early war 4, I think.
Formosan Resolution*: One of the most inconsequential cards, IMHO.
Independent Reds*: Come on. Not even for trying to disable a Romania dependant domination. I'd rather influence one mediterranean country.
Colonial Rear Guards: I can't remember any play where I needed this 2 points elsewhere rather than playing 4 in africa/SEasia
Grain Sales to Soviets: Maybe the most obvious event autoplay.
The Voice of America: Autoplay 99% for me.
The Iron Lady*: One of the weirdest cards when it comes to event and opponent interaction.
North Sea Oil*: Giving up 3 OPs for an 8th round in the LW? In practice, I've never found a viable way to headline it. Have you?
“An Evil Empire”*: I've only played it in the Late War Scenario, where Flower Power is active and you may start with 3 war cards in your hand.

very unsure about these ones.

Star Wars*: Barring an empty discard pile, I'll tend to play it for the event. If it was 3OPs instead of 2 maybe not.
Marshall Plan*: For me it's almost an autoplay in early war. 7ops, not giving USSR the chance to draw it later, etc. But I could see many players putting those 4 OPs to better use. How often do you use it for OPs?
East European Unrest: A war-stage dependant card. Early war always for OPs, Late War... I usually play it for the event no matter what. Could be swayed on this one.
Tear Down this Wall* : I always think i've got a good use for the event, but I suspect I may be very wrong.


RED, PLAYING AS USSR
Comecon: I once opened with the Comecon trap for the Lulz. Do you ever see it for the event? It's the USSR NATO.
Warsaw Pact Formed*: A mirror for EER. OPs early war and a Late war play basically decided by Poland cards / TDTW.
Decolonization: CRG mirror.
De-Stalinization*: googoo
Flower Power*: I wouldn't play it for the event even if I was at -18.
U2 Incident: I give it 96% OPs use. Would you use it for the event just to climb to -18/-19 but not -20? I think I wouldn't.
Aldrich Ames Remix*: Too powerful to save the 3 OPS

The Reformer*: An autoplay for me 95% , but I think I may be playing it very wrong. Or just playing Europe plain wrong
 
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Matthew Miyares
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Some commentary/responses:

Nuclear Test Ban/Summit: I've seen enough games where the USSR drives up the score to -17 and can't quite shut the door to respect VP-granting events. They are not efficient, granted, but if you see that most scoring cards are in the discard pile, know that your opponent has breathing space to turn things around if you don't hustle for all the VP's you can get.

Junta: Agreed here. Really depends on how the Scoring Cards got distributed in the deck, but I think the only situation I'd use this for Ops is to affect Final Scoring in a region that needed the help more. You always have to evaluate the potential VP swing of the moves you make.

Latin American Death Squads: No, I guess I haven't used it. It might be a decent defense against Nuclear Subs, if the USSR managed to get ahead in S. America.

NATO: There's an argument to be made for removing a "safe" card for the USSR from the Deck. I rarely regret not triggering it, though, until I lose Italy to a lucky Brush War. Which had admittedly happened only twice.

Formosan Resolution: There's another thread with my thoughts; I wouldn't play as US, but if the USSR plays it, it's an opportunity to break an Asia BG tie.

Independent Reds: Makes a nice Combo with Truman Doctrine. Remember, Romania is worth 1 extra VP to the US due to USSR adjacency. Though, if possible, I would rather use it on Czechoslovakia, to set up late-game realignments of E. Germany and Poland.

CRG/Grain Sales/VoA: Agreed. Though Voice of America might be worth holding onto for a while if you get dealt it late game. As a T10AR7 play, it's pretty much hard to beat.

Iron Lady: I'm not in the Late War often enough to get a good read on this stuff. Just keep the VP in mind for Auto-win/Wargames.

North Sea Oil: If OPEC isn't in the Discard pile, I think this a very viable headline just for that. If you've got a good hand of events but need one extra AR to exploit the advantages given (or have a scoring card you want to set up), it's pretty good.

EEU: If the USSR isn't overprotecting their Europe Battlegrounds, punish them. Otherwise, yeah, it's war-stage dependent.

Tear Down this Wall: If the USSR controls Czechoslovakia, this event is probably not going to work so well. If *you* control it, it will work incredibly well.

The Reformer: Agreed. (As well as most of the Red Card Analyses). One thing to point out is that not only does the Reformer shake up W. Europe, it also supercharges Glasnost. The US might consider using Glasnost as a kind of ABM Treaty with a -2VP penalty otherwise.
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ray donovan
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I disagree with you on some points:

Latin American Death Squads: A good headline if there is a high risk to be defectored, if you have Che in your hand or if usa is able to see your headline.

Formosan Resolution*: underestimated imo.

“An Evil Empire”totaly disagree with you, i will definitively play it as event turn8 if flower power is in effect.

North Sea Oil*Allow you to score e region on Ar8, can be huge in some situations. Can be extremely powerfull Turn10. Almost a must event if OPEC is in the deck and will score big.

Flower Power* Can have a huge value if played turn4, but at an expensive price. Considering it as event if i have a very strong hand at the beginning of the middle war.


My 2cent: I think usa players are making somes recurent mistakes:
-playing bear trap for event too often
-not often playing late war event that gives/deny VPs
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Kris Wei
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Cards 100% event:
Capture Nazi Scientist*
Grains Sales to Soviet
Aldrich Ames*


Cards 0% event:
Formosan Resolution*
NORAD*
Comecon*


Flower Power* and NATO* are headlines to decrease the hurt of Missile Envy if you have a only 4, and also provide vp/protect Italy.

Marshall Plan* is a locked event in Turn 1, such as De-stalinisation* in early war. But if they survived in later turns, might not 100% be evented.

Any strong cards affect a single region might be used as operation in a Euro-war(usually 4:1, fighting in W/E. Germany) scenario, but you're right generally.

Edit: sometimes it's only playable headline, such as a following hand:
NATO, Marshall, US-Japan, UN Intervention, Containment, ME Scoring, Comecon, Duck & Cover. You might only play Comecon, I call this an exception of 0%.
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Michael Valentine

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Some thoughts where I kind of disagree with you.

LADS can be an excellent headline in certain circumstances for both USA and USSR--basically whenever you know the fight is goiing to be in Central and/or South America.

Whenever Asia is unscored and locked 3-3, I'd play Formosa if it gives domination and I have the ops/time.

For CRG and Decol, it's not that unusual in the late war that I'd prefer 2 free ops to 4 restricted ones.

Iron Lady often makes sense if you have Socialist Governments in hand and will play it.

NSO is usually good if OPEC is out and you can use the 8th round.

I'd play Evil Empire almost any time I'll play two war cards later in the turn. It's a good event if I have 1 war card I'll play (it' 3 ops for 3 vps, a good exchange in the late war), although you often don't have the time and ops for this.

Marshall is my favorite turn 1 headline, but probably played for ops more often than not after turn 1.

There's times that TDTW doesn't make a difference in Europe scoring. If that's the case and you have a good headline/don't need to drop defcon, then the 3 ops are often better.

COMECON rarely may be better for the event than ops in the late war. As I recall, Pazderski played it for the event in the game against the BGG forum.

I've headlined WP in the early war many times, although usually when I had no good headline choice. One thing I think twilightstrategy.com gets wrong is the emphasis on the USA triggering this event and the USSR not triggering it before the late war. Sometimes plays of EEU leave EG and Poland vulnerable and would require ops to repair. Sometimes you're in a country count race with the USA for Europe domination. As USSR, I'm happy when the USA plays this card and frees me from worrying about EG and Poland until the late war. As USA, I'll try to space this in the early war rather than play it if I can spare the ops.

Reformer depends on board. If it's only 4, then there's times that 3 free ops is better.

ETA: One other card not mentioned that is almost never played for the event is Ortega. Although I did have a game recently where I used it as the event. Was fighting it out in Central America for country count and wiped out USA influence in Nicaragua and couped him in Honduras.
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Alex
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Love hearing from many good players. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

It seems I underestimated NSO heavily. But I usually can't afford to play all my late war cards. There's at least one USSR event that I'll need to take to the next turn. On top of that, if you haven't seen Aldrich or terrorism, well, this puts it in the 90% OPS for me.

LADS. As I said in the first place, there's no such thing as an autoplay in TS (maybe wargames). There are many reasons to headline this, yes. But in practice, I just don't see many competent players doing it. Even less in an AR.

It seems Formosa is the most controversial card! I'd say that it's difficult to commit to a 2Ops event + 3 ops + the compromise of not playing the China card. But all of us have suffered from an Asia domination costing us the game.

Regarding EEU in early war, even the IA from the app opens with 4-4-1 and dumps some Comecon/Warsaw into BGs, so it's gonna be hard finding an USSR player that doesn't overprotect. Fringe case: maybe you want to cut access to Italy/Greece. Then again, I don't see how that's gonna be worth more than 3 free ops In early war.

Didnt place Ortega in the list because messing with Centroamérica country count is always gonna be a choice you have to weight. The same case you propose, for example. Not that uncommon at all.

I was surprised to see Kris placing NORAD at 0%. If I'm loaded, I may very much consider triggering it as the US. If you draw quagmire, you may have something that messes up AR1 scorings and the USSR headline for the whole game. Not a 0% for me. Would you include it in the "not much choice" cards?
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King in Green
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LADs is useful in many situations. For example as the USSR you're in Panama but not in South America. Usually 'walking' through Colombia is risky, but with LADs in play you are very likely to win any coup war, or at least make one prohibitively expensive for the US.

Reagan Bombs Libya rarely seems to pay for itself, it mainly acts as a deterrent for the USSR not to Brush War Libya if there's extra influence there!
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Marcus Straßmann
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zosete wrote:

I was surprised to see Kris placing NORAD at 0%. If I'm loaded, I may very much consider triggering it as the US. If you draw quagmire, you may have something that messes up AR1 scorings and the USSR headline for the whole game. Not a 0% for me. Would you include it in the "not much choice" cards?


I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

OK, definitely something that would cause a facepalm with experienced players, but a good demonstration of what NORAD can do nonetheless ;-)

My 2ct

Marcus
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Gary Weis
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MacStrass wrote:
I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

How did you coup Italy as USSR with DEFCON at 3?
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R Cook
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incinerator wrote:
MacStrass wrote:
I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

How did you coup Italy as USSR with DEFCON at 3?


I assume AR1 coup of a battleground country in another region, defcon drops to 2, activates NORAD and allows you to flip Italy. It's an example of why NORAD can be v powerful. Be interested to know why a top player like Sankt never plays it for the event as USA.

For me the only card that you always play for the event is Grain Sales as the USA. I can think of scenarios where you might play any other card for ops or the event (albeit some being very unlikely).
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Marcus Straßmann
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Bertwald wrote:
incinerator wrote:
MacStrass wrote:
I can't say that I'm a very good player, but the most impressive use of NORAD was displayed to me as USSR after an AR1 coup that let US change Italy from 2-4 to 3-4, followed up by Truman.

How did you coup Italy as USSR with DEFCON at 3?


I assume AR1 coup of a battleground country in another region, defcon drops to 2, activates NORAD and allows you to flip Italy.


Precisely. Sorry about the confusion.
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Kris Wei
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NORAD* for event costs 5ops(3 itself, 2 in Canada), these precious ops equals France+Egypt, or S.Africa+Panama+Mexico. considering you play it in Turn 2(Turn 1? Are you mad?), even once per turn, you need to wait for Turn 7 to get the profit back. Remember, Quagmire* is a Mid-war card.

But unstable profit is not critical, the real weakness is that NORAD* conflicts with US playing mode. It's denied by usually great US headlines - Duck & Cover/Junta/Cuban Crisis/Grains. You need to deny NORAD*'s profit yourself.
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R Cook
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It's definitely better for USSR to activate NORAD for USA and it's very rare that USA would want to activate NORAD on T1 and T2. But from T3 onwards if Canada has 4 influence from Special Relationship and Marshall and you have no good / better headline, it must be worth considering? I agree it conflicts with other great USA headlines, but you are not always going to draw these. An active NORAD can be a serious weapon vs USSR.
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Fred Shugars
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sankt wrote:
NORAD* for event costs 5ops(3 itself, 2 in Canada), these precious ops equals France+Egypt, or S.Africa+Panama+Mexico. considering you play it in Turn 2(Turn 1? Are you mad?), even once per turn, you need to wait for Turn 7 to get the profit back. Remember, Quagmire* is a Mid-war card.

But unstable profit is not critical, the real weakness is that NORAD* conflicts with US playing mode. It's denied by usually great US headlines - Duck & Cover/Junta/Cuban Crisis/Grains. You need to deny NORAD*'s profit yourself.


In practice though, Norad only takes 3 uses to get that payback, as the one it adds is almost invariable in a USSR controlled country.
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ray donovan
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I once headlined NORAD turn1 on a very specific situation.
USSR putted all of his starting influences in EG+Poland.
I had norad+warsaw+comecon and no strong headline

I made a very strange setup: 4WG, 2 Canada, 1 Austria and headlined NORAD

I never tried but without ussr influences near Italy using a 4WG, 3 France and headlining defector might be fun too.
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Paul Thomas
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As you say, there are few "automatic" cards. There are some that I would classify as "automatic unless the game is over/nearly over," however.

Nuclear Test Ban: The primary use of this is to realign West Germany to try for a Europe Control win when NATO isn't in play and the USSR holds France and overcontrols Italy. Doesn't happen every day, but it's certainly plausible.

Summit: I've never played this for the event in a game I didn't go on to lose within a turn or so. It's usually only played when I'm desperately flailing around for VPs and have nothing to lose from DEFCON suicide.

Junta: I did once play this for ops in turn 7 of a game where I had control of both Americas regions. Obviously, I won that game. whistle

Death Squads: I probably headline this for the event as much as 10% of the time. It's best for USSR when you need a good BG coup in AR, but you can usually kind of guess when a turn is going to turn into a coup war in the Americas, and on those turns, a Death Squads headline is excellent. Alternately, sometimes your hand just sucks. (This last point is why virtually ANY event that doesn't actively hurt the player who plays it will always see SOME play.)

NATO: I've never voluntarily (read: not with Missile Envy) played this as the event. It's a 1-ops event on a 4-ops card. Very weird design.

Formosan: If you already hold Taiwan (probably because you needed it for country count earlier in the game) and the battlegrounds are 3-3, obviously you play this for the event. It's not anywhere close to unplayable. It's basically the same thing as Shuttle Diplomacy.

Reds: Occasionally you want 3 ops rather than 2.

Rear Guards: I have never played this for ops, agreed.

Grain Sales: Yes, this is a true autoplay, because you always have the choice of "playing it for ops" AFTER you see your opponent's card.

VOA: Autoplay for the event.

Iron Lady: Can be headlined to counterspell Socialist Governments when Man in Earth Orbit is in effect. Or sometimes you just want a VP.

North Sea Oil: See Iron Lady, point 1.

Evil Empire: See Iron Lady, point 2. (Also, it's surely worth it if you would be playing a war card under Flower Power!)

Marshall: Not an autoplay. Sometimes you need to play into battlegrounds instead. Sometimes you already had to play into most of Europe, and it doesn't do much.

EEU: Not an autoplay.

TDTW: This is very situational, not an autoplay either way. It's most useful for France realigns or Europe wins under Chernobyl, but sometimes you just want a free coup on Italy.

Comecon: See Death Squads, final point.

Warsaw Pact: I've played this as the event in the Early War before; it's worth it if it gets you a sure Europe Domination.

Decol: Never played as ops.

Destal: I might have played this for ops once in a weird Turn 1 where I got East European Unrested and had no influence to move. Or maybe I'm just confabulating that memory. It's rare, that's for sure.

Flower Power: Funny story. Yesterday I-- as the Soviets-- headlined John Paul rather than this, though that was with a weirdly terrible hand with eight white-star cards, with which I also voluntarily Bear Trapped myself, because skipping turns was better than playing many of the horrible cards I was holding. (The funny part is that my opponent headlined Defectors and countered his own Pope. Oops.) So although this would seem to come under the Death Squads principle in theory, in practice it doesn't ever seem to.

U2: I've evented this for points in the Late War. It's fine if you have UN in hand.

Aldrich: I don't recall ever playing this for ops, but sometimes you just really need 3 ops. I'm sure it'll happen eventually.

Reformer: Sometimes 4 ops in Europe doesn't really do anything.

So, the only cards I'd put in the "always event" category are Junta, Rear Guards, Grain Sales, VOA, and Decol. The common thread here is that these are 2 ops cards that automatically add/subtract at least 2 ops when played for the event, so it's pointless to play them for ops.

I would add Kremlin Flu, from the new optional cards, to this category as well, as it's basically Grain Sales 2.0. If Nationalist China is in play, it also falls into this category.

Finally, although I can conceive of hypothetical board/hand states where I'd play Brush War for ops, the card is so amazing as an event even under Flower Power that I just don't think I've ever seen it, and don't expect to anytime soon.

In the "never event" category we have only Summit, NATO, and Flower Power. Two of these are 4-ops cards with 1-ops level events attached. Summit is just weird; it would be fine to play as the event if it didn't risk randomly killing you or giving your opponent free battleground coups.
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Fluff Da Sheep
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I had a weird situation where it was better to Voice of America for ops than event.

I was holding VoA for the final play of the game; my opponent knew I had it through Lone Gunman HL. By the end of the game, he had fortified his regions to the point where VoA would hurt him less than 2 ops in Europe, which broke his domination there by country count.
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Sebastian Mankowski
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Another one I would add, although it's far more situational and dependent on circumstances, is Ussuri River Skirmish if as US I have the China card. Being able to just plop those points anywhere in Asia is great.
 
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Andrew Leafman
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I think the only cards I have never played for ops are Junta and Grain Sales. Possibly The Reformer as well.

As for bad events, I think I have only played Nuclear Test Ban and Summit for the event one time each. I once headlined Nuclear Test Ban with the intention of realigning Europe (hardly an efficient play, admittedly, but if you've got a shot at Europe Control, you've got to go for it, right?) I was forced to play Summit when it was my only hope of getting enough VP to avoid a Wargames loss. Sadly, the dice did not fall my way on either of these occasions.

As the USSR, I have never played Comecon or Ortega Elected in Nicaragua for the event. I don't think I have ever played Flower Power for the event either--though I have of course triggered it innumerable times with Missile Envy.

 
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Jorge
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I once headlined as USSR, on Turn 3, the Nuclear Test Ban; Italy had been the last Battleground standing between me and Europe Control, thus I was intending to realign it. As an added bonus, I had NATO in hand and that was really the only time I was hesitant to play it. Eventually, I realigned Italy with the China card!

This is viable in the Early War, if Blockade hits hard, as the US has no way of degrading DEFCON in the headline, barring Duck & Cover which they would hardly headline in the Early War, given the scarcity of the Ops.
 
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King in Green
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CIA can also degrade DEFCON in the headline phase via a battleground coup.
 
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Ben Kyo
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Forward 1, Forward 2, Forward 3... siege attack 5?
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Picon wrote:
Duck & Cover which they would hardly headline in the Early War, given the scarcity of the Ops.

I headline D&C as the US in the early war quite frequently. Turn 3, it provides 3 VPs for 3 OPs, Africa coup protection, (limited) Mil Ops VP protection, and no risk of Defcon suicide.
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