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Subject: Stupid Noob Question... rss

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Mike West
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I just bought TS in the sale on iOS and tbh, i'm having a bit of trouble understanding what the hell my strategies should be.

In short, i'm drawing a lot of 1 & 2 cost cards and the Soviet AI is getting a lot of 3's. This means my Coups and Realignments aren't going very well and they are gradually taking control of the board. How do i combat that?

I also have a scoring card for Asia in my hand, and the opponent has 2 in Thailand and 1 in Vietnam and i have 2 in Malaysia. I play a 2 out of my hand as a coup, to try and take on Thailand, but the only locations i can coup are in Europe, have i misunderstood a coup rule?
 
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I'm sure folks with much more experience than me will chime in, but a couple of basic things based on what you've said:

If you are getting low ops cards, there often isn't much you can do about it, but you may want to pay closer attention to your events to see if they give you better value.

A big part of this game is mitigating the bad events; i.e. even if they damage you, you should play them at a time when they are least beneficial to your opponent. Pay special attention to starred events, since playing them on your terms means your opponent won't have the chance to play them on his.

Coups and Realignments are great in certain circumstances, but for the most part you should be expanding your territory by using ops to place influence. Most games I've seen placed influence with approximately half their moves, used events (most of which place or remove influence)for maybe a quarter, and had coups, space race, and realignments fill the remaining quarter.

You should be able to coup any country that your opponent has influence in, barring Defcon restrictions. If Defcon is at two, you can't coup in Asia, but you can't coup in Europe either, so I'm not sure why that wasn't an option for you.

Finally, check out twilightstrategy.com for a lot more in depth discussion on specific cards and general tips.
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Brad Engels
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Just providing a few brief replies, the early game will be more difficult for the US player (by design) so your early game will be more "damage control".

Independent of that, if you draw a scoring card it's only a good idea to "push" in that region if you have high-ops cards to run out ahead of your opponent; otherwise you should instead try to play the card with minimal benefit to your opponent (both of these approaches are related because you're trying to do the MOST GOOD for yourself...it's just that doing yourself the most good does not always equate to trying to score points, it could be restricting what your opponent scores).

Lastly, DEFCON restricts where you can coup:
5 - You can coup anywhere
4 - You cannot coup in Europe
3 - You cannot coup in Europe or Asia
2 - You cannot coup in Europe or Asia or Middle East
You can always coup in Africa, South America, Central America

Couping is potentially a very efficient way for you to manipulate the board to benefit your standing, so it's definitely a strategy to "protect" your influence by controlling the DEFCON to limit your opponent's ability to coup you within important countries like Thailand. The simplest way to control the DEFCON is to coup in battleground countries, because whenever this happens DEFCON degrades downward toward '1'.
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Mike West
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Thanks for the help.

I remember trying out T&E a few times and never drawing any red tiles, meaning i was generally screwed each game. Is it possible in TS to constantly draw low scoring cards and therefore have a disadvantage vs the other Player, if so, don't people get annoyed by that?

For a game ranked so highly i'm also surprised there is so much dice rolling for coups etc, failing due to constantly being unlucky is not particularly enjoyable. I've rolled 3 x 1's in a row, whereas the AI has managed a 4, two 5's and a 6 in their last attempts. And yes, i am trying to concentrate on regions with lower values so the attempts are easier.
 
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Kristian Thy
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Gothnak wrote:
Is it possible in TS to constantly draw low scoring cards and therefore have a disadvantage vs the other Player,


Of course. That's how randomness works.

Gothnak wrote:
if so, don't people get annoyed by that?


Only if they don't understand that that's how randomness works.
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Mike West
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turbothy wrote:
Gothnak wrote:
Is it possible in TS to constantly draw low scoring cards and therefore have a disadvantage vs the other Player,


Of course. That's how randomness works.

Gothnak wrote:
if so, don't people get annoyed by that?


Only if they don't understand that that's how randomness works.


Yes, thank you for that...

What i mean is, in many more serious games like this, each player has their own balanced deck. One turn i may get 1's, but i know i'll get the 3's later and catch up. That is still random, but over time it is much fairer.

Randomness in games does not always equate to long term imbalance.

e.g. I gave up playing Settlers of Catan until someone introduced the Dice Deck, then it became a much better game, still random, but a fair randomness.

A game with the depth and complexity of TS seems at odds with a non-balanced randomness at first glance, i am surprised that people don't mind.
 
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King in Green
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The dice are random, knowing when to roll them is a matter of skill. Some hands are good, some are bad. Extracting the maximum amount of value from a bad hand wins games. There's a reason why the same people keep winning tournaments through all the randomness!
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Bill W
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Randomness gives it its huge replayability (a 1000 plus games isnt unheard of). The key is how you respond to the cards/dice.

The best player will win the majority of the time but Randomness gives the lesser player a chance.

Occassionally you lose through bad luck and no other reason but my experience is in almost every game I've lost and looked back at, there were play(s) I could have done differently to change the game in my favour.

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Karan R
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twilightstrategy.com
 
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Randy Evans
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After playing TS for a while, I've actually found that the most enjoyable games are those when I persevere through a hellacious string of bad luck. Also, since there are so many events, the randomness does tend to balance out over the course of a single game.
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Gothnak wrote:
For a game ranked so highly i'm also surprised there is so much dice rolling for coups etc, failing due to constantly being unlucky is not particularly enjoyable. I've rolled 3 x 1's in a row, whereas the AI has managed a 4, two 5's and a 6 in their last attempts. And yes, i am trying to concentrate on regions with lower values so the attempts are easier.

This is why Coup, Realigns, and Space Race only make up ~25% of the moves in the games I've seen. The randomness is tough to control, so players opt for the more predictable method of placing influence and playing events.

As a rule of thumb, randomness is better when you are behind in a game but not worth it when you are in the lead. Of course, as others have said, the US has a natural disadvantage in the early game, so having the USSR ahead by 0-5 points is often considered "good" when going into the midwar phase. If this happens, don't feel discouraged: you will have many opportunities to come back during the mid and especially late war.

As for randomness of the cards, there's not much you can do about it, but one thing people overlook is the held card. It's often better to play a low op card to get it out of your hand early than be saddled with it next round. Again, the real goal of twilight struggle is not to get the best cards, but to play the cards you are dealt at a time and in a way that is most beneficial to you and least beneficial to your opponent. It's more about mitigation than advancement, and there's enough randomness in the game that things usually balance out in the end.
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Brad Engels
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The other replies regarding the luck factor sounded pretty good. In my personal opinion, the game is no less enjoyable in the grand scheme due to the dice & luck, even though any given game might give me plenty of reason to complain (see here for a recent example). Based on the numbers I think others also feel the same way. I can only speculate why, so I won't. Instead I'll just say the numbers don't lie!
 
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Michael Cabral
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I would recommend going to Twilight Strategy.

Read this first and go from there. You can download the free eBook in various formats so you can read it on your mobile or tablet when you commute/travel.

https://twilightstrategy.com/new-to-twilight-struggle/

Then read the glossary to know the terms, abbreviations and vernacular of the game.
https://twilightstrategy.com/glossary/

Go to the General Strategy section and read the articles here:
https://twilightstrategy.com/category/general-strategy/

These tables indicate how many 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-Op cards in the Early, Mid and Late War. The average Early War hand should have 17.7 Ops. Subtract headline and hold card, and you normally expect to play about 13-14 Ops per turn. This increases to 19.71 Ops. Subtract headline and hold card, and you normally expect to play about 15-17 Ops per turn in the Mid War.
https://twilightstrategy.com/twilight-struggle-card-summary-...

At your convenience you can start reading about each card and how to effectively play them as the US and as the USSR side. Each side has their own strategy to benefit from the event or to mitigate the benefit to your opponent.
https://twilightstrategy.com/card-list/

I would recommend starting with the Early War for obvious reasons. Each of the Early War cards will be played or seen at least once and sometimes twice by Turn 3. As you play you will better understand how each card affects the board and/or your opponent.

A large part of the game is to minimize the damage of your opponent's events. Either by holding them in your hand, space race, or some other way that neuters the effect. Another part of the game is to force DEFCON to remain at 2 to prevent coups in valuable battleground countries and to maybe force a "DEFCON suicide" for your opponent keeping a wary eye on your own cards to prevent that happening to you. Chance elements of the game are coups, war cards and realignments. The videogame does a very good job outlining the various odds and their effects for each pip value on the die. A 4-Op card against a 2-stab (stability) country is very likely to go in your favour but not guaranteed for example.
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