Playing as the American (Game #8 as the eagle)
Entering Turn 4, the score was -8, DEFCON was 3, and Soviet control of South America, which had stemmed from De-Stal, was likely. While I wasn't out of the game, I was losing badly. I had zero Influence in the Americas and no entry except Mexico. Most of the map that mattered was red.
The Soviet headline was South African Unrest. Mine was Defectors.
The Soviet AR1 play was Latin American Death Squads to coup Algeria (remember this). The outcome, which I forget, is irrelevant. DEFCON dropped to 2.
Play continued. I don't remember the sequence but the following happened:
- Italy Petitions for Statehood: In AR1 I played Brush War on Italy, turning it from 5/8* to 13*/0. This was satisfying after he'd intruded via an earlier Socialist Governments headline, I'd had to discard Marshall Plan (my only eligible card from that whole hand) to Blockade, and had twice failed to bring Truman Doctrine to bear on Italy. Crucially, The China Card was face-up in American hands. The Soviet effort in Italy had put it there.
- I played Grain Sales, pulling I forget what, but not in AR1. I'm aware of the power of the card but perhaps mistakenly on my part (I might have been too exercised about Italy to think correctly), playing Grain Sales wasn't my priority. Was it AR3? AR4?
The Soviet hand was now the same size as the number of action rounds.
- After he took control of South America with Influence deployments, I intruded with Junta into Brazil, tying it 2/2, and emptied Venezuela with the Junta realignment.
- South America scored 4-0 for the Soviet. The score was -12 and I was lucky it wasn't -18, though his just rolling over and scoring seemed a bit odd.
Well, play continued and:
- Sure enough, his AR7 play was CIA Created for an American DEFCON win.
This serves as a general reminder (and not that I'm an expert player):
The Soviet has a clear advantage but usually can't coast to the win on cruise, even with superior early luck. If you're the Soviet and you ever see CIA Created in your hand, you need to stop, drop, and think. Particularly from Mid War, if you can't ascertain with discards or some other means that the American can't burn you, you should assume he can and will. Prioritize and execute a don't-lose-embarrassingly plan, even if it means some form of bearable short-term pain, momentum interruption, or sub-optimal scoring somewhere, none of which is as bad as a DEFCON loss. Don't pussyfoot around.
Had my opponent headlined the card (at DEFCON 3), it would have discarded to Defectors. He likely would have won by -20 VP before it reappeared in either hand. Now, I understand why he didn't - I could have headlined D&C, which was not in the discard (though that would have risked my losing to a Soviet headline of WWBY) - but by all means, after the headline, with his AR1, with DEFCON at 3 and a big lead, he should have bitten the bullet, played CIA Created immediately, triggered the event first, given up the BG coup somewhere in Africa (who cares) for a DEFCON drop to 2, exposed his whole hand (who cares), done whatever with the 1 OPS and just rid the game of the event so he could inevitably win later.
I think there's a thingy here somewhere.
Where have you gone to, Dreamer? Whose dreams are you dreaming?
Hi Brian, just popping in to say that I enjoy your TS session reports! :)
- Last edited Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:25 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:25 am
but by all means, after the headline, with his AR1, with DEFCON at 3 and a big lead, he should have bitten the bullet, played CIA Created immediately, triggered the event first, given up the BG coup somewhere in Africa (who cares) for a DEFCON drop to 2, exposed his whole hand (who cares), done whatever with the 1 OPS and just rid the game of the event so he could inevitably win later.
Yup. Any good USSR player will find a way to dump CIA early in the game, rather than letting it come back later (since they will have more than enough problem US cards later anyway).
Fun fact about the Twilight Struggle app AI: if it has CIA Created in Turn 3 as USSR, in my experience: it won't headline it, and it also seems to ignore it (this info may be a few months out of date). Headline as normal, let it coup, then as long as the USSR has something in a Third World BG (likely) and DEFCON is 2, fire Five Year Plan on it ASAP if you're also holding UN Intervention. You will usually have the China Card because of how aggressively the AI uses it, as long as you hold it through Turn 2, and then you basically have an easy DEFCON win in turn 3, since it can't play The China Card, it can't UN CIA, and DEFCON is at 2. I've beaten the AI easily multiple times this way.
Had my opponent headlined the card (at DEFCON 3), it would have discarded to Defectors.But if you had (properly) headlined Grain Sales, you could had couped a South American battleground and he would lose the game to DEFCON 1, again. Sure, if you are anticipating defectors, then it's great to headline CIA, but it's risky when all cards that may lower DEFCON have not been accounted for, such as: Duck & Cover, Grain Sales, How I Learned, Summit (potentially). Even if you have some of these cards, you may fall victim to Missile Envy/Five-Year-Plan.