Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
This was Randy's and my second game of Twilight Struggle. In all, it took us about two-and-a-half hours, as we were a lot more familiar with the rules. It also didn't feel that long; if you are surprised by the time after playing a game, then you must have been enjoying it. I really enjoyed this game!
Of course, I also won it, which may have something to do with the matter.
In our first game, Randy had played the USSR and won in final scoring with an 18 point victory. This game, it was my turn to play the USSR.
The early game was marked by a definite struggle for control over Asia and Europe, with coups and operations being played in force in both places. I used the China Card early for 5 Ops in Asia, thus gaining control of both South and North Korea. Meanwhile, I also started to take territories in the Middle East, and use that as a basis for taking parts of western Asia. One major factor in the game was that Randy never got a good foothold in the Middle East - I didn't control all of the battleground countries, but Randy didn't control anything at all, thanks to a couple of nice coups.
The struggle for Europe was focused around Italy, with both of us taking control of it as the game progressed - I held it for most of the game, but Randy's Americans took it back towards the late game.
Throughout the middle game, we basically ignored Africa. As seems standard for these games, Randy rolled pathetically for coups and great for the Space Race - leading most of the time - while I was great at coups and terrible at the Space Race. There was no counterpart to the great control of the Americas by the US like we had in our last game; instead, both sides took various countries there - but Europe and Asia remained our major battlegrounds.
Scoring was moving in my direction; I spent a lot of the middle game at around 10 victory points, with Randy unable to capitalise on his conquests. Randy was doing one thing right, though: any time he discarded a card from my hand - which was quite often - it was something very beneficial to his side. Whenever I got a rare chance to do so, he'd discard a low-value card with my event on it... which then wouldn't be triggered. Argh!
In the late game, Africa finally got some attention, but not much. I managed to get "A Small Step" and finally caught up in the Space Race. "Flower Power" was beginning to irritate Randy, but not as much as it irritated me in my first game - it only gave me two points, as he was able to make speeches and play other cards to just discard all the War cards he had gained. A run of good US events tipped Europe and Asia decisively in his favour... I lost control of Italy and Poland. (Italy and France by this stage had about 10+ influence from both of us in them... big battlegrounds indeed!)
However, the score was still in my favour, although I dreaded final scoring. Then came the win card... War Games if I could just get the DefCon to 2 (that shouldn't be hard), I could play it and win for being 7 points in front. In fact, I was on 11.
Randy, the annoying person that he is, played Missile Envy as his headline card, and stole my War Games! No!!!
Unfortunately for Randy, I'd had a back-up plan: Middle East Scoring, which I'd played as my own Headline card. My utter domination in that region was worth 9 points. Oh dear, it seemed that the USSR had won. Had you considered where you were going to get your oil, Mr President?