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Subject: Newbie rule mistakes -- don't make these rss

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Robert Ahearne
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Recently my 18-year-old son found Twilight Struggle (while browsing games at PAX East), and said "We must play this." I had known about the game for a few years, but hadn't bought it because I failed to notice my son had reached the point where he had the attention span for an involved four-hour game. Kids grow up fast. My son is a history buff, so the game is right up his alley.

We've played it twice now (first my USA victory, then a stunning draw after a huge USSR lead). Here are the rules we got wrong (at least, the ones we noticed), which I am posting so others may avoid.

I list the correct rule, followed by our mistake:
1. Coups only degrade DEFCON if they are in a battleground country. (In the first game, we degraded DEFCON for every coup. We had very few coup attempts & were puzzled by the Nuclear Subs card).
2. After the 2nd country advances to a Space Race square which grants a power, *neither* country can use the specified power. (We were both dumping 2 cards into Space Race for most of the game.)
3. Headline events occur in Operation Points order, with the higher Op value event occurring first, and Scoring Cards occurring last, the US winning ties. (We always performed the USSR event first.)
4. The Southeast Asia scoring card is an unusual one, in that it is removed from play after scoring. (We scored it twice.)
5. "Free" coup attempts granted by an event do not give Military Operation points, although non-free ones do.
6. Realignment rolls never add influence. (Basically we altered influence for a realignment like a coup, even for the defender. As you might guess, we always preferred coups to realignments, especially after we learned #1).
7. Bear Trap and Quagmire always cause you to lose at least one Action Round, as the action specified by the card replaces your normal action round. (Too much about that here.)(We thought the card's actions were basically in addition to your normal Action Round. As you might guess, after playing such a card once, we never played it again.)
8. If for any reason, the opposing player is able to degrade DEFCON to 1 during the phasing player's Action Round, the phasing player loses. (This is extremely embarrassing, as it is a fundamental principle of TS, but somehow the first time around we missed it.)
9. Placing 1 influence on an enemy-controlled country costs 2 Ops points. (We were spending just 1. Domination was nearly unheard of.)
10. You can't chain influence. Influence you place by the normal means of expending Ops points has to be in countries you were in or adjacent to at the start of your Action round (I placed Malaysia then Indonesia when I was only present in Thailand.)

So really -- we haven't played Twilight Struggle yet. We look forward to doing so. My son, a socialist at heart, says the workers of the world will triumph.

EDIT: Corrected correct rule on #5.
SECOND EDIT: Added #9.
EDIT AFTER 3rd PLAY: Added #10.
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Ben Kyo
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elcoderdude wrote:
5. Any coup attempt granted by an event does not give Military Operation points, unless the card explicitly says it does.

I think this is backwards. You always get MilOps for coups, unless they are "free coups", which a) do not give MilOps, and b) ignore Defcon restrictions.
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michael dorazio
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Number Eight is the most gamey aspect of TS for me. Luckily, I enjoy the pressure of working under the threat of CIA Created, Lone Gunman, etc., but I can imagine many people find that system convoluted, counterintuitive, and obnoxious.
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Robert Ahearne
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Benkyo wrote:
elcoderdude wrote:
5. Any coup attempt granted by an event does not give Military Operation points, unless the card explicitly says it does.

I think this is backwards. You always get MilOps for coups, unless they are "free coups", which a) do not give MilOps, and b) ignore Defcon restrictions.


You know, I was a little fuzzy on this one.

The relevant cards in the 2016 Deluxe Edition (a straight copy of 2015) appear to be:
1. Junta -- grants "free Coup attempt"
2. Tear Down This Wall -- grants "free Coup attempt"
3. Ortega Elected in Nicaragua -- grants "free Coup attempt"
4. (Optional card) Che -- grants 1 or 2 non-battleground "Coup attempts"

The rules from the same edition state:
2016 Deluxe Eition p.9 8.2.2 wrote:
Coup attempts and War Events count as Military Operations. Realignment rolls and free Coup rolls through Events do not.


I had assumed the word "free" had been inadvertently left off the Che card, and conflated this into my "correct" version of the rules. But there is absolutely no reason to include the word "free" in 8.2.2, except to leave open the design space that some Event-granted Coup attempts count as Mil Ops. I'll correct the post.



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Alex
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Other rules you may have gotten wrong:

Events that specifically tells you to place influences (ex: Decolonization) are not subjected to influence placement rules. You can place them where you want within the event specifications without paying the regular 2 for one penality for breaking enemy control.

Conditionnal events (text starts with "if", such as Kitchen Debates) do not occur if the condition specified is not met. Ops are played and the card is put in discard.
Not to be confused with events that have no effect (such as Indepedent Reds when none of the listed countries have USSR influences in it). Those cards are removed ifthe event is triggered.
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Moy Uba
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Crap, I didn't know that Q/BT took up your action round, I just thought you discarded a card then played your turn as normal.

The card is very poorly worded.
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Marcius Fabiani
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Great post. If you guys want to explore the game a little further, I recommend the blog twilightstrategy.com.
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Robert Ahearne
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afafard wrote:
Other rules you may have gotten wrong:

Events that specifically tells you to place influences (ex: Decolonization) are not subjected to influence placement rules. You can place them where you want within the event specifications without paying the regular 2 for one penality for breaking enemy control.


We absolutely could have gotten this wrong, if we hadn't already made an even more severe mistake, which I added as #9 (we noticed it half-way through the second game).

afafard wrote:

Conditional events (text starts with "if", such as Kitchen Debates) do not occur if the condition specified is not met. Ops are played and the card is put in discard.
Not to be confused with events that have no effect (such as Indepedent Reds when none of the listed countries have USSR influences in it). Those cards are removed if the event is triggered.


I'm glad you mention this, because I found it mentioned online after our second game, and I want to look into it further.
 
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Rob Stevenson
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moyuba wrote:
Crap, I didn't know that Q/BT took up your action round, I just thought you discarded a card then played your turn as normal.

The card is very poorly worded.


I respectfully disagree that it is very poorly worded.

The text of Bear Trap reads as follows (Quagmire is the same but for USA),

"On next action round, USSR player must discard an Operations card worth 2 or more and and roll 1-4 to cancel this event. Repeat each USSR player Action round until successful or no appropriate cards remain. If out of appropriate cards, the USSR player may only play scoring cards until the next turn."

There is nothing to indicate that you would then play your turn as normal. Doing so would be contra Rule 4.5 C, which states that "Players alternate playing cards, one per action round...", because you would be playing more than one card in a round.
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Robert Ahearne
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rosie_187 wrote:
moyuba wrote:
Crap, I didn't know that Q/BT took up your action round, I just thought you discarded a card then played your turn as normal.

The card is very poorly worded.


I respectfully disagree that it is very poorly worded.

The text of Bear Trap reads as follows (Quagmire is the same but for USA),

"On next action round, USSR player must discard an Operations card worth 2 or more and and roll 1-4 to cancel this event. Repeat each USSR player Action round until successful or no appropriate cards remain. If out of appropriate cards, the USSR player may only play scoring cards until the next turn."

There is nothing to indicate that you would then play your turn as normal. Doing so would be contra Rule 4.5 C, which states that "Players alternate playing cards, one per action round...", because you would be playing more than one card in a round.


I think it is not clear that discarding an Operations card for Q/BT is playing the card. In fact, until I read your post, it never occurred to me that discarding a card for Q/BT means you are playing the card, although that does give some rationale for the otherwise confusing "may only play scoring cards" (as if the player was playing other cards prior to that).

As I said in the linked thread, I think Q/BT should begin with "For the next action round..." instead of "On your next action round..." The first suggests the card's directives replace your action round. The second makes it sound like it is just something you do in addition to your action round (even though people understand that if you fail to do the discard, your only option is to play scoring cards).

An example of an event that gives the player the power to do something which is completely outside the normal course of action: Cuban Missile Crisis. The card grants the power to remove your influence from certain countries, immediately. I thought similarly Q/BT granted the power to discard a card to make a roll to dismiss it.

Another problem with what you say: cards can override the rules. An example of a card that contradicts the rule you cite is UN Intervention.
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Michael Cabral
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With Regards to Cuban Missile Crisis, you can remove the influence at any point in an Action Round during that turn - preferably removing the influence before you coup - rather than immediately after playing the card for the event.
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Rob Stevenson
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elcoderdude wrote:

I think it is not clear that discarding an Operations card for Q/BT is playing the card. In fact, until I read your post, it never occurred to me that discarding a card for Q/BT means you are playing the card, although that does give some rationale for the otherwise confusing "may only play scoring cards" (as if the player was playing other cards prior to that).

As I said in the linked thread, I think Q/BT should begin with "For the next action round..." instead of "On your next action round..." The first suggests the card's directives replace your action round. The second makes it sound like it is just something you do in addition to your action round (even though people understand that if you fail to do the discard, your only option is to play scoring cards).

An example of an event that gives the player the power to do something which is completely outside the normal course of action: Cuban Missile Crisis. The card grants the power to remove your influence from certain countries, immediately. I thought similarly Q/BT granted the power to discard a card to make a roll to dismiss it.

Another problem with what you say: cards can override the rules. An example of a card that contradicts the rule you cite is UN Intervention.


The card tells you exactly what to do. No more no less.

Cards do override rules, but they tell you about it when they do so. UN Intervention tells you exactly what to do - play the card at the same time as an opponent event to prevent the event from triggering but allow you to spend the Ops.

I appreciate that you are new to the game, and I am not any more, so my familiarity with the cards is such that I can't necessarily read them like you do. However, the fact that you made so many mistakes in your initial play suggests that you were skimming the rules rather than studying them and, more often than not, its lack of attention to the detail of what is written and making of assumptions that lead to playing incorrectly rather than issues with the drafting of cards or rules. That's usually the case when I make errors.



 
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Robert Ahearne
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The fact that at least one other person (who is involved enough to be subscribed to TS) made the same mistake on Q/BT suggests it's not just my problem.

There are a number of cards with persistent effects; none I can think of, other than Q/BT, replace your Action Round. "On next Action Round" doesn't get the idea across -- at least, not to everyone.

Yeah, I wondered if someone would question my perspicacity, having made so many basic errors. It's like this: my son wanted to play this game as soon as possible, so we rushed into it. We've less of that excuse for game 2; at almost any time in my life, I would have spent more time researching the details of the rules -- but as it happens, I'm swamped at the moment. Life happens. It's just my opinion, but I aver it's not just our inattention that caused us to misplay Q/BT.
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Rob Stevenson
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elcoderdude wrote:
The fact that at least one other person (who is involved enough to be subscribed to TS) made the same mistake on Q/BT suggests it's not just my problem.

There are a number of cards with persistent effects; none I can think of, other than Q/BT, replace your Action Round. "On next Action Round" doesn't get the idea across -- at least, not to everyone.

Yeah, I wondered if someone would question my perspicacity, having made so many basic errors. It's like this: my son wanted to play this game as soon as possible, so we rushed into it. We've less of that excuse for game 2; at almost any time in my life, I would have spent more time researching the details of the rules -- but as it happens, I'm swamped at the moment. Life happens. It's just my opinion, but I aver it's not just our inattention that caused us to misplay Q/BT.


I think we can all be forgiven for rushing into playing games with imperfect rules knowledge because we're that keen to get them to the table. I hope I will be able to play TS (or similar) with my own son in about 17.5 years time.
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Michael Cabral
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Everyone makes mistakes their first few times they play this game. It will get better with more experience and talking about things on this forum as you already are. With each game you will discover some new nuance to the game. Where to place influence, where to avoid placing influence until certain cards have been accounted for and how to mitigate your opponent's events. Which cards are DEFCON suicide cards, etc.

Missile Envy is another card that I can think of that forces the opponent to give up their highest Op card (if more than 1 card is tied they get to choose which one to give up.) The effect only persists for one Action Round.

On their next action round they are forced to use Missile Envy for Ops (i.e., placing influence, coup attempt or realignments.)

Earlier today I put my opponent in a Bear Trap on the last AR. On the headline I used Missile Envy and stole a Soviet 4 Op card that I was able to make a strong coup attempt in a region. He was dominating, Instead of discarding one of my event cards he was forced to discard Missile Envy. I was able to pump in more influence to break Domination in 2 regions with that combo play.
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Moy Uba
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i still disagree that what is written on the card makes it clear that discarding the card takes the place of your normal playing of a card. it would be a very easy thing to fix, just change the wording to something like "In place of your next action round..." and there would be no chance of misunderstanding.
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Rob Stevenson
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moyuba wrote:
i still disagree that what is written on the card makes it clear that discarding the card takes the place of your normal playing of a card. it would be a very easy thing to fix, just change the wording to something like "In place of your next action round..." and there would be no chance of misunderstanding.


But it isn't "in place of" the action round, its just what you do on the action round. And it also isn't "your". Either player can play Bear Trap or Quagmire. If it were worded as "your", the timing of the discard would change depending on who played it, rather than always being on the targeted superpower's action round.
 
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Moy Uba
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fine.... "in place of their next action round, USSR player......"

and again, i disagree, it is in place of your action round. discarding a card is not an option you're allowed to take on your action round, so you're doing this instead of doing your action round.....
 
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moyuba wrote:
fine.... "in place of their next action round, USSR player......"

and again, i disagree, it is in place of your action round. discarding a card is not an option you're allowed to take on your action round, so you're doing this instead of doing your action round.....


You're not alone -- that's why it's in the FAQ! I agree with you that the wording isn't clear. A turn in TS is you either playing a card for ops (to place influence, realign, or coup), playing a card for the event, or playing a card to the space race. Bear Trap and Quagmire introduce a new action (discard a card and roll a die) that you and others have understood to be in addition to the regular action, since the card says nothing about how the discard is meant to replace the regular turn. I think the key part of the text is "on next action round" which some people read as "instead of usual next action round" while others read "in addition to usual action round". It would be clearer, I think, if worded something like this:
How I wish Quagmire/Bear Trap were worded wrote:
This event persists until canceled. On US/USSR (Quagmire/Bear Trap) Action Rounds:
- if they have no 2+ cards in hand they may only play a Scoring Card
- otherwise, instead of playing a card they must discard a 2+ ops card and roll a die; event is canceled on 1-4
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Bob A

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That's alright. The first time I played, someone just explained the rules as we went, with a primer at the start. He didn't know that playing the other player's card for the points meant the event also occurred!

He also thought whoever got the scoring cards was the only one who could score points until I read the actual card!

We're playing correctly now
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Zoe O
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Just to add to the list of embarrassing mistakes: the first time my boyfriend and I played we thought that you always use both ops points and the event. We controlled nearly the entire board shake
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Alex Drazen
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pomeronion wrote:
Just to add to the list of embarrassing mistakes: the first time my boyfriend and I played we thought that you always use both ops points and the event. We controlled nearly the entire board shake


Years ago, the very first time I played, while I understood that events trigger when played by the opponent (example, if US plays De Gaulle Leads France, it will activate) ... I incorrectly thought that "remove from play if used as an Event" on a starred card meant that the card had to literally be specifically played as an Event (but no if using an opponent's card triggered the event).

I was playing the USA and suffered a pair of Suez and de Gaulle attacks before learning the correct rule later about how starred cards work. Talk about a rough game!

I also don't think I caught the "choose before/after Ops" trigger in my first game, and thought it was always after, which was also wrong.
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Anton Tolman
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Zoe, that would make for quite a different game! One of the tensions I really feel in the game is that I never quite get enough influence ANYWHERE. One day I will conquer Europe, I really will......sauron
 
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Ben Kyo
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snoozefest wrote:
How I wish Quagmire/Bear Trap were worded wrote:
This event persists until canceled. On US/USSR (Quagmire/Bear Trap) Action Rounds:
- if they have no 2+ cards in hand they may only play a Scoring Card
- otherwise, instead of playing a card they must discard a 2+ ops card and roll a die; event is canceled on 1-4

If you are going to add something like "they may only play a Scoring card", you probably also need to add "or pass". Also, because Rule 10.1.5 doesn't actually tell you anything about how to deal with an event that would otherwise prevent you playing a scoring card, you should probably also add a further qualifier... so something like:

This event persists until canceled. On US/USSR (Quagmire/Bear Trap) Action Rounds:
- if they have no 2+ ops cards in hand they must play a Scoring Card or pass
- if they have a number of Scoring Cards in hand equal to or greater than their remaining Action Rounds they may play a Scoring Card
- otherwise, instead of playing a card they must discard a 2+ ops card and roll a die; event is canceled on 1-4
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Andy Burgess
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elcoderdude wrote:
2. A country loses a power gained from the Space Race after the other country gains the same power. (We were both dumping 2 cards into Space Race for most of the game.)


I’m not sure if it’s just the way you worded this but I’m not sure you have this one right. When you reach certain spaces on the Space Race ahead of your opponent, you may gain a power. When your opponent reaches the space that gave you the power, you lose that power but your opponent doesn’t gain it. Apologies if you already knew that.
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