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Subject: Europe Divided (Post-Cold War Influence over Europe) Design Diary rss

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David Thompson
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With the launch of Europe Divided on 10 June on Kickstarter, I felt it was time to share the story of the game’s creation. I am occasionally joined by Chris Marling, my design partner [with bracketed input].



“The threat of world war is no more.” - Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev


The end of the Cold War ushered in a new age of European expansion. Central and Eastern Europe had emerged from dictatorships and wanted to consolidate their democracies. They sought European integration to ensure they would not fall back into the Russian sphere of influence. The EU and NATO offered a guarantee of this, and the EU was also seen as vital to ensuring the economic success of those countries. Russia - a shell of its former power as the Soviet Union - could do nothing to slow the European expansion.

“A strong EU, a strong NATO, and a true strategic partnership between them is profoundly in our interest.” - US Senator John McCain

But then things changed. Oil prices increased, bolstering Russia’s economy. Putin came to power, and despite political discontent in Russia, his popularity remained strong. In 2008, war broke out between Russia and the NATO-aspirant, former Soviet country of Georgia. Russia’s resurgence had begun, exemplified by the 2014 annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine.

“If we do not win the New Cold War on terms of our choosing, we will fight at a time and place chosen by our adversary, and the odds will be tilted against us.” - Edward Lucas former Moscow Bureau Chief for The Economist

Europe Divided is a game of an expansionist Europe. A resurgent Russia. A New Cold War. In the game you will take control of one of the two powers: Europe (controlling both NATO and the European Union) or Russia. You will wage wars of political and military influence, vying for control over Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Caucasus. Europe is powerful and rich, but bureaucratic and slow to react. Russia lacks Europes resources, but can respond rapidly.

In the Beginning…
In late 2012 I discovered the modern board game hobby. I had grown up on D&D, and had some limited experience with miniatures games (Heroclix, Blood Bowl, and the like). The only exposure I had to board games was the occasional copy of Twilight Imperium I’d see in the book store where I went to get my latest RPG material. But once I fell in with a local board game group, I never looked back.

I began toying around with my own designs in late 2013, and that was around the same time I was introduced to A Few Acres of Snow. I didn’t know it at the time, but A Few Acres of Snow would go on to influence me more than any other game in terms of the games I like to play and design. You see, A Few Acres of Snow is a Waro or Weuro — a wargame/Eurogame hybrid. Waros typically combine Eurogame mechanisms and a wargame theme: think Twilight Struggle, Star Wars: Rebellion, or 1775: Rebellion. A Few Acres of Snow richly blends its theme of the French and Indian War with quintessential Eurogame mechanisms such as card drafting, deck-building, and hand management.

In 2014, I moved from the US to the UK, where I joined a Cambridge-based board game design group. Among its members were Chris Marling, the designer of Pioneer Days, Empire Engine, and Witless Wizards. Chris and I immediately struck up a friendship (in fact, he was the one who invited me to the design group in Cambridge), and began work on a game called Armageddon. Once Armageddon was signed at Essen Spiel 2015, Chris and I began brainstorming our next design effort.

During 2015, I had begun sketching out the idea for a game. It would be a post-Cold War game, focusing on the resurgence of Russia. This was a topic that had not been explored in much depth — especially on the political side — in the board game world. The few games that did exist were pure wargames, and were concentrated on specific conflicts such as the Kosovo War, the Russia-Georgia conflict of 2008, or the War in Donbass. But the “New Cold War” is a topic I find intriguing. By the end of 2015, I had enough of a core design to present to Chris and propose as our next joint project.

[Chris: I’d come back to the hobby in 2008, after my similarly D&D/Games Workshop influenced teens had given way to a 20-year music and girls break. I was a year or two ahead of David in terms of design, but that didn’t show in terms of ideas – and especially prototype making! He was a natural. While a great admirer of Twilight Struggle and Wir Sind Das Volk, I had no real enthusiasm for other war games due to the oft high level of output randomness: I’m a euro gamer, with a penchant for a good abstract with a bit of a random factor. But having lived in the UK all my life, and been 20 in 1990, the post-Cold War years were my own history – so as a political animal they interested me. And the fact they were largely untouched in the gaming world made it all the better.] 


The Concept
At its heart, Europe Divided was always envisioned as a game about the expansion of the EU and NATO following the end of the Cold War and the subsequent resurgence of Russia. Clearly this was a game about vying for political influence in eastern and central Europe and the Caucasus. But there was always one other element I wanted to include in the game: the tension of coordination within the EU, within NATO, and between the two. While Russia had a weaker economy than western Europe and lacked the military might of a US-backed NATO, it was much more nimble with its political decisions and ability to act on those decisions.

For this reason, the original concept even included a possible 3-player version, wherein one player would take on the role of Russia, while the other two players would have to manage the bureaucracy of NATO and the EU. However, early testing revealed that the tension and sluggishness to respond for the Europe player was better illustrated in a single player having to navigate this cohesion amongst two different multinational organizations.

The earliest versions of the game included each country in central and eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Chris was quick to point out that so many countries spread the action of the game too thin. I reluctantly agreed, and slowly but surely we collapsed regions together. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania became the Baltics. The Balkan countries were grouped together, and then divided into the east and west. Similarly, it was too unwieldy for the Europe player to manage every single country in the EU and NATO, so Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg became Benelux. We wanted to maintain regional logic for the board design, but gameplay was our primary consideration.

[Chris: I think this highlights an important part of design collaboration. David’s political knowledge of the subject outweighed mine 100 to 1, while his enthusiasm was infectious; but it can be very hard to rein this in for the good of the game. I came at this as a ‘game’, where David was coming at it with an encyclopedic knowledge and the desire to give an accurate portrayal. In many ways, my chief job was to bring David into the middle ground wherever possible, suggesting areas that needed ‘cutting’ but leaving him to do that in the way that would best continue to represent history.] 


(early prototype from 2015)

A Game Driven by Cards (but not a “Card Driven Game”)

Each player’s actions are driven by a unique deck of cards. For Europe, these cards are tied to member nations of the EU and NATO. For Russia, the cards correspond to economic, political, and military entities. Each card is multi-use, meaning it can be used for one of a variety of actions. On their turn, each player can use two of the four cards in their hand. Players can place new influence in a contested country, raise influence, build new armies, move armies, and raise money. I used real world information for the basis of each of these actions — ratings for military influence were derived from a combination of ranking indices, while economic ratings were based primarily on nominal GDP. In addition to the natural asymmetry of each card’s actions, Europe’s deck has 13 cards, while Russia’s has only 7. What this means is that while Europe has access to extremely powerful nations like the UK, Germany, and France, it must also cycle through its deck of weaker nations, such as Greece. In addition, cards for European nations that are only part of NATO (such as Turkey and Norway) or the EU (Sweden and Austria) are limited in how they can be used. In contrast, the Russia’s deck’s small size and flexibility of actions makes it much more dynamic.

Along with these multi-use action cards are the game’s headline cards. These cards are divided into two periods: European Expansion from 1992 - 2008 and the resurgence of Russia from 2009 - 2019. I wanted these headline cards to model key historical events such as dynastic succession of the Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan, NATO’s Baltic air policing, or the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Players manage a hand of three of these headline cards; some of the cards favor Europe, while others favor Russia. And players are oftentimes forced to make difficult decisions about which of their opponent’s cards they must put into play. The resolution of these headline cards — driven by the actions players take on their turns — drives victory point scoring in the game.


(early prototype headline cards from 2015)

Military Presence, but Without Combat (between Russia and NATO)
Since the end of the Cold War, Europe has experienced its share of conflict such as the Kosovo War, the Russia-Georgia Conflict, and the Ukraine crisis. But fortunately, Russia and NATO have not come into direct conflict. In Europe Divided, you’ll vie for military influence in heavily contested areas such as the Balkans and Ukraine, but this is not a game of combat. Armies are built and mobilized, and only one power can have military influence in a contested region.


(early prototype using meeples as armies from 2015)

How to Win Games and Influence Countries
Vying for influence is at the heart of Europe Divided, and has been since the earliest designs. This is handled by placing dice on countries to represent both political and military influence. The values on dice are raised through the use of action cards, and the power that reaches the maximum dice value of 6 on a country has dominant influence in the country. Alongside the successful completion of events, having dominance in a country is the key way to score victory points.

When players increase their influence in countries, they take cards associated with those countries into their own decks of action cards. These cards — representing the countries of central and eastern Europe and the Caucasus — are weaker than the players’ starting cards. This means that absorbing them into the players’ decks weakens those decks, further illustrating the difficulties of managing bureaucracy across international organizations and alliances.


(early prototype; dice represent influence from 2015)

I Need a Partner
All of the elements outlined above were conceived in late 2015, and live on in the game. But that’s not to say the game went through design and development without significant modification. As I mentioned before, once I asked Chris to join me on the design, he was quick to point out some problem areas. We needed to strip down the number of contested areas to create a more tense experience. The turn sequence was also problematic. I envisioned the entire game as an “I-go U-go” affair, with players alternating turns without contest. Chris immediately recognized the opportunity to ratchet up the player interaction and tension by introducing one of the game’s best concepts: the initiative system. When players choose their two cards for the turn, they add together the cards’ initiative values and compare them. The player with the higher initiative goes first. The problem is players often — in fact, usually — want to go second so that they can respond to their opponent’s actions. The more powerful the card, the higher its initiative. This means that if a player wants to use their more powerful cards, they will typically go first, losing the ability to react. As you can probably guess, the Russia player has weaker cards, resulting in lower initiative and a greater ability to respond dynamically.

[Chris: Another important part of design co-operation is that, while you need frank exchanges of views, one person needs to be the lead on each design. While Armageddon had been more of my baby, Europe Divided was definitely David’s brain child. But in both games, there are small but significant areas where our design philosophies clashed, but ended up working out for the best. Something that needs mentioning too, as some people will already be questioning it: David hadn’t played Twilight Struggle! I actually have an email from 2015 where I suggested we make time to play it, as I thought it would be useful for him to see the similarities – but that still hasn’t happened...]  


(Chris (left) and David (second from left) are joined by their fellow designers Rasmus Hervig and Trevor Benjamin at their local playtest pub in Cambridge)

And Now Comes the Playtesting
From early 2016 through 2017, Chris and I set about tweaking the game and playtesting. We brought in some of our fellow designers from the Cambridge design group and players from our local game clubs to try it in person. We tested it online with players from around the world using Tabletop Simulator. And we organized blind playtest groups. For the next year and a half we iterated through countless revisions. But in general, the game largely reflected the original core design from late 2015 and early 2016. We were very confident in the core system, and felt it was time to start looking for a publisher.

[Chris: So many ideas came and went. We created and rejected unique end game scoring conditions for each player, fiddled with when people would gain new nation cards, changed what information was on the board, toyed with having ‘event markers’ on countries currently having events, and of course individual event and country values fluctuated on a regular basis: in fact every aspect of the game was pored over multiple times over those two years. Creating the core of a game is fun if frustrating, but the pain of iterating is what separates the published from the unpublished...] 


(playtesting the game with Chris Blackford in Dayton, OH)

Essen Spiel 2017
In mid-2017, I began a design diary on Board Game Geek for a game called Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms. The design is based on the battle for the Polish Post Office in the Free City of Danzig on the first day of WW2. Michał Ozon of PHALANX saw the design diary and asked me if we could meet in Essen during Spiel 2017. Of course I eagerly agreed. I had long been a fan of PHALANX’s designs, especially 1944: Race to the Rhine. But I also saw an opportunity. PHALANX is a publisher that knows how to do Waros, and Europe Divided is a Waro. So when we set up the meeting for Spiel, I asked if it was ok if I also presented Europe Divided. Michał and the PHALANX crew agreed.

Spiel was a flurry of activity - it always is. Chris and I were both pitching games. Some were collaborations between us, some we designed with others, and some were solo designs. I lugged around the prototypes for both Europe Divided and Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms all day — and these are pretty big games — and PHALANX was the only publisher I planned to pitch the games to. This is a bit unusual. Typically you pitch games to a variety of publishers, but PHALANX had requested Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms and I felt Europe Divided was too good a fit for them to pitch to anyone else. Chris and I met with Michał and Jaro Andruszkiewicz. Jaro and I hit it off immediately, sharing obscure stories of WW2 history, while Chris just looked on and chuckled at the military history nerds. Michał and Jaro gave us a verbal “yes” on the spot, and so the development of Europe Divided officially began.

[Chris: Pitching games can be a thankless task at the best of times, especially at Essen where everyone is under premium levels of stress – and usually getting little to no sleep! But sometimes you feel a warmth from early on that relaxes you, and this was one of those times. Even if we hadn’t come to an agreement on Europe Divided, I would have added Phalanx to my list of go-to publishers to pitch to in future. There was a great energy and enthusiasm, but also a clear level of professionalism and practicality.] 

Lets Make This Game Better…a Lot Better
As I said, Chris and I went into the meeting with PHALANX confident about the core of Europe Divided, and that core hasn’t changed. But Jaro, who took on the role of developer, pushed us hard to make improvements to the game. He wanted additional options in the game, and he especially wanted to improve the theming. Why didn’t the Baltic and Black Sea have special effects when a power held influence over them? Shouldn’t the action cards be able to do more than just basic actions?

Jaro lives in St Albans, not far from London, which made it possible for us to meet in person. He and I met for the better part of a day in Cambridge in December 2017. We went through all the revisions Chris and I worked on post-Essen. He was happy, but kept pushing. We met again in St Albans in March 2018. More improvements, more work. But it was also at this meeting where Jaro and I were able to spend time together just chatting, becoming friends. The result was a closer designer-developer relationship, which Europe Divided has really benefited from.

In the end, Jaro and the PHALANX crew pushed us to add special cards for the Black and Baltic Sea, to add actions and effects to some of the Russia cards and all of the cards for the contested countries, and to add additional headline cards. This ultimately added a ton of replay value, strategic depth, and improved theming.

[Chris: I think (especially first-time) designers can be a little too precious about their creations. If you want to succeed, the old writers’ adage ‘kill your darlings’ very much holds: you may need to loosen up on sections of your design to make it publishable. This isn’t a problem David and I have and I think it works in our favor – we're keen to take on advice and amend designs accordingly. With Europe Divided, we went in with a very lean game that would probably have sold to a euro publisher – but as war game publisher, Phalanx could still see enough to build on. They wanted the chrome, where another publisher might not. To keep your options open, it pays dividends to be flexible.] 

The Final Changes
The last major changes to the design came about a year ago, as I was moving from the UK to the US. We had finished working on the core design, and wanted to add two more elements: cards that would provide some special abilities to each power, but outside of the core action card and headline card structure, and we wanted to add future, hypothetical headlines.

The first of those elements - the special actions - are enabled through the addition of advantage cards. These cards represent thematic elements tied to western Europe and Russia that couldn’t be modeled by the action and headline cards. Each power has a deck of nine advantage cards, and players have the opportunity to use four over the course of the game. These cards model concepts such as European sanctions on Russia or Russia’s use of Maskirovka for their military operations.

The other late addition was the option of including future headlines. We wanted players to be able to ask questions like: What would happen if Russia took the Baltics, or What happens if NATO deploys nuclear weapons in Poland? Each of the headlines is inspired by events happening across Europe today.

In Closing…
After its long and winding road from a sketch of an idea in 2015 to a final product, we’re very proud of what Europe Divided has become. With Chris’ help and insight, I was able to transform a streamlined core design into a tense game with tons of player interaction. Our play testers worked tirelessly to help us refine the design. And of course, Jaro and the PHALANX team pushed us beyond our comfort zone to make the final improvements. We hope you enjoy the game as much as we do!






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Jim F
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Great read. Will miss you this year at the Expo
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David Thompson
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Ashiefan wrote:

Great read. Will miss you this year at the Expo

You too, my friend.
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Tim Gordon
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Thanks for the insight. I really like the concept/theme. The game-play also looks intriguing and has hooked my interest too.

However - personally I'm not that convinced on the simplification of the regions/countries. I appreciate that at some point this came about for the wish to alter game-play to make it easier and/or quicker. Totally understandable when you want to market this game to new customers. But, it does move away from some of the 'real-world' antics being played out at this very moment.

E.g., you amalgamate the Baltic states into one zone, yet there are very different pressures being applied, directly & indirectly, overtly & covertly, to those three separate nations. Likewise, as well as the issue in the Ukraine over the Donbass, there are also the relatively little known (in the public eye at least) tensions for Moldova and Transnistria, that consequently focus considerable attention from Romania and Bulgaria. Plus, there are varying states of Russian influence in the Balkans too (i.e Serbia) that provide further 'behind-the-frontline' advantages.

My point is that all this 'micro-manipulation' can be seen as a clever Russian 'patchwork' strategy to deliberately disperse EU/NATO influence in safeguarding too many locations for the resources they have available, even to distract their attention at certain points during crucial moments.

To really appreciate that aspect, I think the more detailed map with those nations and zones in it would work. Of course it would mean more of a headache for the EU/NATO side, but then that's the point behind the Russian game-play. And that's without having any potential distraction of US support flipping to Asia/Pacific Rim instead of Europe. And yes, it would create a longer tougher game, but serious followers of today's power politics and international strategies would love that sort of depth.

Overall though, I like what you've come up with so far. And I'm keen to see how it turns out. If there is a final plea from me, I'd say don't write off the prospects of doing a special 'Europe Divided Deluxe' with a bigger, more realistic footprint of Europe without the amalgamated nations. You might be pleasantly surprised on just what that game format would achieve with a certain appreciative audience
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David Thompson
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TAG-UK wrote:
Thanks for the insight. I really like the concept/theme. The game-play also looks intriguing and has hooked my interest too.

However - personally I'm not that convinced on the simplification of the regions/countries. I appreciate that at some point this came about for the wish to alter game-play to make it easier and/or quicker. Totally understandable when you want to market this game to new customers. But, it does move away from some of the 'real-world' antics being played out at this very moment.

E.g., you amalgamate the Baltic states into one zone, yet there are very different pressures being applied, directly & indirectly, overtly & covertly, to those three separate nations. Likewise, as well as the issue in the Ukraine over the Donbass, there are also the relatively little known (in the public eye at least) tensions for Moldova and Transnistria, that consequently focus considerable attention from Romania and Bulgaria. Plus, there are varying states of Russian influence in the Balkans too (i.e Serbia) that provide further 'behind-the-frontline' advantages.

My point is that all this 'micro-manipulation' can be seen as a clever Russian 'patchwork' strategy to deliberately disperse EU/NATO influence in safeguarding too many locations for the resources they have available, even to distract their attention at certain points during crucial moments.

To really appreciate that aspect, I think the more detailed map with those nations and zones in it would work. Of course it would mean more of a headache for the EU/NATO side, but then that's the point behind the Russian game-play. And that's without having any potential distraction of US support flipping to Asia/Pacific Rim instead of Europe. And yes, it would create a longer tougher game, but serious followers of today's power politics and international strategies would love that sort of depth.

Overall though, I like what you've come up with so far. And I'm keen to see how it turns out. If there is a final plea from me, I'd say don't write off the prospects of doing a special 'Europe Divided Deluxe' with a bigger, more realistic footprint of Europe without the amalgamated nations. You might be pleasantly surprised on just what that game format would achieve with a certain appreciative audience

Tim, you make some great points. Ultimately, the amalgamation was done to provide a tighter, more tense gameplay experience. And through abstraction I think we're still able to achieve representation of the types of events and issues you raise through the headline cards. It's just that a certain Lithuanian issue (basing for Baltic air policing) might use the Baltics region for one headline, while a different issue in Estonia (Russian cyberattacks in 2007) might also use the Baltics region. While I appreciate that in that case, each country could have its own influence represented, to present a tight game, it became necessary to reduce the areas of competition. Otherwise there just wouldn't be enough relevance for each individual countries.

Having said all that, if there was enough interest to prompt a follow-on design where players were willing to invest a LOT more time (because it would be a much longer game), I'd be up for it!
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Sounds interesting, Can't wait to receive Freedom which I backed

Certainly will look out this when it arrives on Kickstater.
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David - good to hear, you can certainly put me down for a future concept of 'Europe Divided Deluxe'

While there are a lot of events in or immediately adjacent to Europe worth referring too within the time period, in the last ten years there are now an increasing number of other incidents further afield that can also influence this contest. This is particularly important as our (EU/NATO countries) politicians have been drawn into an increasingly more introvert/populist focus, and it's becoming more difficult to get them (& society in general) to notice other aspects. (I'll also add here I do not want to get drawn into political semantics, but will keep this relative to this game.)

Consider that there is a varied offboard influence zone that surrounds this mapboard, where actions and events here can indirectly influence what goes on between EU/NATO and Russia.

Obvious locations are Syria & that ongoing situation, but you could also add in:
* Libya (divided state/oil-wealth disruption/migrant crisis into Southern Europe);
* Arctic Circle (increased mineral exploitation/militarisation/etc)
* Arabia Sea (Yemen war/Somalia/Piracy/etc)
* Afghanistan (NATO forces in NATO-led OPs taken away from EU zone)
* Central African problems (Rwanda/Malawi/Congo/etc)
* and many more no doubt.

These all provide adequate sources of 'distraction' for an EU/NATO player, and to then balance this, you would need to provide the EU/NATO player with direct actions (e.g., fiscal sanctions against Russia, visa embargoes for key people, exposes of Russian 'mistakes or errors', corruption, clampdowns on freedom & liberty, etc - and some indirect actions, such as exposure of bribery, hacking, etc., or even tenuous allies that become reckless and draw Russia into situations they don't want to be part of. And then there's the potential to peg Russia back with Chinese influence expansionist aims too.

You have a lot to potentially play with to enrich this game further



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TAG-UK wrote:
David - good to hear, you can certainly put me down for a future concept of 'Europe Divided Deluxe'

While there are a lot of events in or immediately adjacent to Europe worth referring too within the time period, in the last ten years there are now an increasing number of other incidents further afield that can also influence this contest. This is particularly important as our (EU/NATO countries) politicians have been drawn into an increasingly more introvert/populist focus, and it's becoming more difficult to get them (& society in general) to notice other aspects. (I'll also add here I do not want to get drawn into political semantics, but will keep this relative to this game.)

Consider that there is a varied offboard influence zone that surrounds this mapboard, where actions and events here can indirectly influence what goes on between EU/NATO and Russia.

Obvious locations are Syria & that ongoing situation, but you could also add in:
* Libya (divided state/oil-wealth disruption/migrant crisis into Southern Europe);
* Arctic Circle (increased mineral exploitation/militarisation/etc)
* Arabia Sea (Yemen war/Somalia/Piracy/etc)
* Afghanistan (NATO forces in NATO-led OPs taken away from EU zone)
* Central African problems (Rwanda/Malawi/Congo/etc)
* and many more no doubt.

These all provide adequate sources of 'distraction' for an EU/NATO player, and to then balance this, you would need to provide the EU/NATO player with direct actions (e.g., fiscal sanctions against Russia, visa embargoes for key people, exposes of Russian 'mistakes or errors', corruption, clampdowns on freedom & liberty, etc - and some indirect actions, such as exposure of bribery, hacking, etc., or even tenuous allies that become reckless and draw Russia into situations they don't want to be part of. And then there's the potential to peg Russia back with Chinese influence expansionist aims too.

You have a lot to potentially play with to enrich this game further




Totally agree, Tim. I think these topics would make excellent candidates for expansions (or maybe even stand-alone expansions/sequels) for the game!
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“We can realize a lasting peace and transform the East-West relationship to one of enduring co-operation. That is the future that Chairman Gorbachev and I began right here in Malta.” - US President George H. W. Bush at the Malta Summit on 3 December 1989

To help better understand the mechanisms in Europe Divided, to delve deeper into the design, and to demonstrate how the game plays, I felt it would make sense to provide a round-by-round play through of the game. The intent is to post the narrative for one round of gameplay each day. While I will make the occasional reference to rules, the intent here is to provide more of a game narrative than a full blown rules explanation.

The Goal: The goal of the game is to have the most victory points at the end of 20 rounds. The 20 rounds of the game roughly represent the period of 1992 - 2019, with the first period of the game representing European Expansion (1992 - 2008) and the second period representing a resurgent Russia (2009 - 2019).

SETUP

Headline Cards: Before the start of the game, we build the headlines deck. This is done by placing one European and one Russian headline card into play, discarding some of the headline cards from the game, mixing the remaining Russian and European cards together, and then dealing a starting hand of three to each player. The Orange Revolution and Nagorno-Karabakh headline cards begin in play.

Action Cards: Each player shuffles their actions cards and draws four into their hand. For the European player, these cards map to countries in the EU and NATO. For the Russia player, they map to more abstract concepts such as political, economic, or military entities.

Advantage Cards: Finally, each player shuffles their advantage cards and draws two. They won’t get new advantage cards until the end of round 10. Advantage cards give players special options they can use on their turn in addition to their typical two actions. Alternatively, they can discard advantage cards for 3 money or keep them for a bonus victory point.

Money: Russia starts with 3 money; Europe with 6. Both players place armies on the indicated starting positions on the board.

PART I: EUROPEAN EXPANSION (ROUNDS 1 - 12)

For purposes of this play through, we will name the players Hope and Peyton. Hope will take the role of the Europe player, while Peyton will take the role of the Russia player.


(screen capture from Tabletop Simulator. Using prototype cards, not the final art designs)

Round 1:

Hope begins play with one Europe headline card (Velvet Divorce) and two Russia headline cards (Transnistria War and Caspian Agreement). She won’t put the Russia headlines into play unless she is forced to. She knows that Orange Revolution (which began in play) and Velvet Divorce are her best opportunities to score. She decides to focus on Orange Revolution first, since it is already in play. To accomplish the objective for the Orange Revolution, she needs to have more EU than Russian influence in Ukraine at the end of round 4, when the headline will resolve. One of Hope’s advantage cards is USAID. It allows her to spend up to 3 money. For each money spent, she can place EU influence on a country and raise the influence to 2. This is perfect for the Velvet Divorce and Orange Revolution headlines. Her action cards are Norway, Finland, Benelux, and Austria. All of the cards except Norway can be used to increase EU by 3. Benelux allows Hope to use NATO actions, so it is more flexible than Finland and Austria. For that reason, Hope decides to keep Benelux and use Austria and Finland for this round. She has an initiative of 4.

Peyton begins play with one Russian headline card (Dynastic Succession) and two Europe headline cards (Kosovo War and South-East Cooperation). The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict headline is also in play. Peyton realizes that since the Nagorno-Karabakh War and Dynastic Succession headlines both focus on the Caucasus, she should probably focus her efforts in that region. The Nagorno-Karabakh War requires that Russia have more influence than NATO in Armenia and an army in Armenia. Peyton’s action cards are The President, Secret Services, Energy Sector, and Military-Industrial Complex. Peyton decides to use The President and Secret Services, which combine for an initiative of 14 (the highest possible)!

Hope and Peyton announce their initiatives. Since Peyton’s is higher, she must go first and play both action cards. However, before she plays her action cards, she decided to play one of her advantage cards: European Disarmament. It allows her to force Europe from building armies in one country. Because of her near-term focus on the Caucasus and Turkey’s proximity to Georgia and Armenia, Peyton places a disarmament token on Turkey. For the rest of the game, Turkey can no longer be used to take NATO actions to build an army. Now Peyton uses her The President card to gain 4 money and her Secret Services card to place influence in Armenia. Placing influence costs 2 money, so Peyton ends the round with 5 money.

Now it’s Hope’s turn. She plays her USAID advantage card, spending two money to place EU influence in Ukraine (for the Orange Revolution headline) and the Czech Republic and Slovakia (for the Velvet Divorce headlines). She also increases the influence to 2 in each of those countries. Note that she could have spent one more money and placed EU influence in a third country if she wanted. She then uses her Austria and Finland action cards to increase the EU influence in Ukraine and the Czech Republic and Slovakia to 5 each. Five influence is the threshold for gaining the action card associated with a contested country, so Hope takes the cards for Ukraine and the Czech Republic and Slovakia and places them in her discard pile. Hope also takes the special EU Black Sea and Baltic Sea cards, because she met the influence thresholds required for those cards. Now when she takes EU actions with any country that borders the Black or Baltic Sea, she gains 2 money. Hope ends the round with 4 money.

Peyton and Hope each draw two new action cards to end the round.



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Now this makes Europe Divided to jump up from position 6 to position 9 on my personal hype-o-meter =)

Thanks and hope for couple more turns rolled out soon!
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ventzlav wrote:
Now this makes Europe Divided to jump up from position 6 to position 9 on my personal hype-o-meter =)

Thanks and hope for couple more turns rolled out soon!

My goal is to post one turn per day.
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Round 2:

Hope drew the Sweden and Greece action cards at the end of Round 1. She’s done a good job of preparing for the Orange Revolution and Velvet Divorce headlines. Now she needs to make a decision: does she continue to focus on these events, trying to ensure their success, or does she try to deny Peyton’s attempts at the Nagorno-Karabkh War. Remember, Hope doesn’t know that Peyton also has the Dynastic Success headline card. She decides to choose cards with low initiative so she can respond to Peyton. She chooses Sweden and Greece, for an initiative of 6.

Peyton drew the Western and Southern Military Districts. She still has work to do to accomplish the Nagorno-Karabakh War and Dynastic Succession headlines. She decides not to worry about the Orange Revolution, since its only worth 1 victory point. Peyton chooses the Western and Southern Federal District cards, for an initiative of 10.

Peyton goes first. But before she plays an action card, she uses her last advantage card: Hybrid warfare. This allows her to place an army in a country adjacent to Russia without paying for the army. She places the army in Georgia and then moves it to Armenia with the Western Military District. She uses the Southern Military District to increase Russian influence in Armenia to 3.

Hope plays Greece to move an army from Germany into Ukraine, which costs 1 money (when an army moves, the first space is free - each additional space is 1 money). She then uses Sweden to increase the EU influence in Ukraine to 6. It will now be very difficult for Peyton to stop Hope from accomplishing the Orange Revolution.

Hope and Peyton must now each put a headline into play. The choice is easy for both of them, since they each only have one headline card that will benefit them. Hope puts the Velvet Divorce into play, while Peyton puts the Dynastic Succession into play.

They end the round by drawing new action and headline cards. Note that Peyton must shuffle the Russia action card deck to draw one of her cards. Although it's only the end of round 2, she has already gone through her action card deck.




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Game sounds really interesting and well-conceived.

One concern . . . for my part, I'd wish for a lighter tone for the map of Europe than the "near black" of the "May 2019" photo. The black border is OK, but the map looks awfully dark. As my eyes get older (of course, the rest of me is NOT, just the eyes!), it becomes more and more difficult to view very dark playing surfaces for very long.

Thanks for considering my input.

Fascinating game, great design diary.
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Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
ventzlav wrote:
Now this makes Europe Divided to jump up from position 6 to position 9 on my personal hype-o-meter =)

Thanks and hope for couple more turns rolled out soon!

My goal is to post one turn per day.

You should tag the game in the main post, for the DD doesn't show in the game subforum otherwise.
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While I've been updating the design diary here, PHALANX has been updating the Europe Divided facebook page with some card previews and associated historical background. I thought I'd share some of that here with you all.

From: https://www.facebook.com/europedivided/



THE NAGORNO-KARABAKH WAR (1988-94), GAME EVENT.

In 1921 when Stalin arbitrarily decided to give the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Azerbaijan, he knew that the majority of population (94%) was Armenian. In 1988, the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave sought to reunite with Soviet Armenia. The conflict reached its peak in 1989, about 30,000 people were killed, more than 200,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from the territory of the Armenian SSR and Nagorno-Karabakh, while some 300,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan were deported the other way.

The resulting war ended with the Armenian troops’ occupation of about 20% of Azerbaijani territory, all of Nagorno-Karabakh, and 7 surrounding Azerbaijani districts. In 1994, Russia mediated the first cease-fire between the two parties, and was part of the creation of the Minsk Group created by the OSCE. This group, that includes Russia, the U.S. and France, is tasked with mediating and leading the peace talks between the two parts. The conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is considered the main threat to the peace in the South Caucasus region. One of its other effects is Russia’s increasing influence in both the South Caucasus and on the international stage.

-Where else did Russia implement its strategy to «divide and rule»?
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THE BOSNIAN WAR (1992-1995), GAME EVENT:

In April 1992, the government of the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence. In May, Bosnian Serb forces with the backing of Milosevic and the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army launched their offensive with a bombardment of Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo. The Bosnian War was marked by a string of massacres and atrocities, including the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted for 44 months from 1992-95. The Bosnian War was marked by ethnic cleansing, the deaths of around 100,000 civilians and soldiers, and millions displaced. In December of 1995, the Dayton peace accord created two entities of roughly equal size: one for Bosnian Muslims and Croats, the other for Serbs. An international peacekeeping force is deployed.

-Do you remember those dramatic events?
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Round 3:

Hope drew the Spain and Portugal card as well as the Italy card at the end of round 2. She also drew the Visegrád Group headline card. To complete the requirements for the Visegrád Group card, the EU must have more influence than Russia in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary. The card is worth 4 victory points — one of the highest value cards in the game — but meeting its requirements is extremely difficult, as Peyton just has to win one of the countries to deny Hope. However, Hope has the advantage of already needing EU influence in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to meet the requirements for the Velvet Divorce card. She feels confident about her position in Ukraine and the Czech Republic and Slovakia, so she chooses to use the Spain and Portugal card and the Italy card, for an initiative of 11.

Meanwhile, Peyton draw the News Media and Southern Military district cards. Unfortunately for Peyton, she drew a third European headline card. That means that Peyton knows she will have to put a Europe Headline card into play in Round 4. The only consolidation is that the equal distribution of headline cards means that at some point, Hope will have to place a Russia headline card into play. Peyton sets aside the concerns about her new headline cards for the moment, and continues to concentrate on accomplishing the tasks at hand. She still needs to secure her control of Armenia. She chooses to use the News Media and Southern Military district cards, for an initiative of 8.

Hope goes first, using the Spain and Portugal card to place EU influence in Poland (which costs 2 money) and then she uses the Italy card to increase the EU influence in Poland to 5. With an EU influence of 5 in Poland, Hope takes the Poland card and adds it to her discards. One quick note about Hope’s action card deck: she has now added Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic and Slovakia cards. There are two challenges in adding these cards. First, they are almost always weaker than the starting cards in her deck. Second, and this is unique to the Europe player, since Hope only has EU influence in the countries, Hope cannot use the NATO actions on the cards. Hope can only use the NATO actions if she places NATO influence in the countries and raises it to 5. This means that Hope has really started to decrease the efficiency and effectiveness of her deck by expanding EU influence so quickly.

Now Peyton takes her turn. She uses the Southern Military District card to move an army from the Southern Federal District to Armenia via Georgia. The first movement is free, but the second movement costs 1 money. With two armies in Armenia, she is now well protected from any NATO movement of military influence into Armenia. She then uses the News Media card to increase the Russian influence in Armenia to 6. She takes the Armenia card and adds it to her discards. Because the Russia action card deck begins so small — only seven cards! — it is efficient, cycling quickly to get back to the most powerful cards. For this reason, Russia is even most susceptible to the detrimental effects of adding too many weak cards. The Armenia card, like many other contested regions, is weak. In addition, any time Russia uses the Armenia card, the Europe player has the option to add EU or NATO influence to Azerbaijan for free, representing the enmity between the two countries.
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Round 4:

Round 4 is the first round in which headline cards will resolve. They are checked at the end of the round — so players still have one more round to do their best to either accomplish the requirements, or deny their opponent.

At the beginning of the round, both players are well-postured to complete their headline cards. The Orange revolution requires more EU than Russian influence in Ukraine. Currently the EU has 6 influence in Ukraine, as well as one NATO army. There’s no combination of Russian action cards that could result in reducing EU influence to 5, placing Russian influence, and getting the influence to 5 (it might be possible with the help of some advantage cards, but Peyton has used her cards). Hope is confident that she will complete the Orange Revolution headline.

Similarly, Peyton has a good position for completing the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Russia must have more influence than NATO in Armenia, and Russia must have at least one army in Armenia. Peyton has placed two armies in Armenia to protect her position. Hope could try to deny Peyton, by moving two armies into Armenia. If she did, she would discard her NATO armies, and Peyton would discard the Russia armies. But moving the armies would be expensive, and Hope only has 1 money — she has left herself monetarily weak. The only play Hope has is to discard her advantage card for 3 money and use it to move the armies. Even still, she would have to pick two action cards with initiative low enough to move after Peyton in order to accomplish this strategy. Hope decides it’s too high a price to pay, and reluctantly decides not to try to stop Peyton from accomplishing the Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Hope drew the United Kingdom and Ireland card as well as the Demark card at the end of round 3. Having given up on stopping the Nagorno-Karabakh War, and feeling secure with the Orange Revolution, Hope decides to try to secure the Velvet Divorce and gain much needed money. She chooses to use the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as the Denmark cards, for an initiative of 11.

Peyton drew the Western Military District and The President cards at the end of round 3. Although she has done well in securing the Nagorno-Karabkh War, she has a lot of work to do to satisfy the requirements for the Dynastic Succession of the Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan. Alternative, she could try to stop the Velvet Divorce in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. If Peyton knew that Hope had the Visegrád Group headline card and was building for it, Peyton would almost certainly start trying to stop it. But without that knowledge, Peyton chooses to focus on the Dynastic Succession headline. She chooses to use the Western Military District and The President cards, for an initiative of 12. She would liked to have used the Military-Industrial Complex card due to its low initiative so that she could respond to Hope’s actions, but the Military-Industrial Complex card does not allow her to place new Russian influence, and she needs to place influence in Azerbaijan.

Peyton goes first. She uses the Western Military District to place Russian influence in Azerbaijan (which costs 2 money), and then she raised the Russian influence in Azerbaijan to 5 by using The President card. She takes the Azerbaijan card into her discards.

Hope now has a tough choice. She could re-think her strategy. She has the resources she needs to stop the Nagorno-Karabakh War. She could use her advantage card to gain 3 money and then use both of her action cards to move the armies from Turkey an Ukraine to Armenia (which would cost a total of 2 money). If she does that, she would still complete the Orange Revolution, so she would score 1 victory point, while Peyton scores nothing. But it would be costly. She’d be using her remaining advantage card, she’d lose two armies (including the army in Turkey, which can no longer produce armies), and she’d only have 2 money remaining. Reluctantly, Hope decides her long term strategy for the Velvet Divorce and Visegrád Group is more important. She uses the United Kingdom and Ireland to gain four money, and she uses Denmark to increase the EU influence in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to 6.

Now the Orange Revolution and Nagorno-Karabakh War resolve giving Hope and Peyton 1 and 2 victory points, respectively. Hope chooses to put the Visegrád Group into play, while Peyton puts East-South Cooperation into play.




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(note: in the image above, Azerbaijan should have a Russian influence die with a value of 5)

Round 5:

With the Visegrád Group headline card revealed, Peyton now finds herself in real trouble, Hope is already well on the way of accomplishing the requirements for both the Velvet Divorce (EU dominance in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (meaning the EU influence dice must be 6)) and the Visegrád Group (more EU than Russian influence in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary). Peyton decides that she will dedicate all of her resources to stopping Hope accomplish those two headlines.

Hope drew Germany and France — two of Europe’s most powerful action cards — and the South Stream headline card. Peyton drew the Southern Military District and Secret Services action cards and the 102nd Military Base headline card. Hope is now in the position that Peyton was in before — all three of her headline cards are objectives for Russia, meaning Hope will have to play a Russia headline card. Meanwhile, Peyton is fortunate — the 102nd Military Base only requires her to have a military presence in Armenia, which she already has.

Peyton is going to need money to successfully stop Hope and she needs to place Russian influence, so she decides to use the Energy Sector and Southern Military District cards. She has a 9 initiative.

Hope wants to continue to build for the Visegrád Group and secure the Velvet Divorce. She’s not concerned with the Dynastic Succession and doesn’t have the resources to try to accomplish East-West Cooperation. She chooses to use Benelux and France, fo an initiative of 12.

Hope wins initiative. She plays Benelux to place EU influence in Hungary (for 2 money), and then she uses France to increase the EU influence to 5, which means she takes the Hungary card.

Meanwhile, Peyton plays the Energy Sector card to take 3 money, and she plays the Western Military District card to spend 2 money and place Russian influence in Poland.
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102nd RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE IN ARMENIA, GAME EVENT.

In 1997, Armenia signed a 25-year agreement with Russia that provided for significant Russian military presence, including 18 MiG-29 fighters in Yerevan, along with Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters, infantry, armor, artillery, air defense and other supporting regiments near the city of Gyumri (former Leninakan), subordinate to the North Caucasus Military District and a part of the Transcaucasian Group of Forces (with Headquarters at Tbilisi, Georgia). The total number of the servicemen of the 102nd Military Base is around 5000.

Russia’s military presence is a significant factor of its influence in the region and an important component of its security strategy. Both Armenia and Russia are members of the CSTO military alliance, as well as participants in the Joint CIS Air Defense System. The 102nd military base in Gyumri allows Russian border guards to patrol Armenia’s frontiers with Turkey and Iran. Armenia regards Russian military presence as a key element of its national security, a guarantor of its territorial integrity, while its air force relies upon Russian aircraft and the anti-aircraft missiles located in the military base for the defense of the Armenian airspace.

-Why do you think Russia keeps such an important military presence in the Caucasus?
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THE VISEGRAD GROUP, GAME EVENT.

The group, also known as V4, was formed in Visegrád (a medieval town in Hungary) on February 15, 1991 and is comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The main initiator and author of the project of the founding documents was the then president of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel. At Visegrád the countries involved signed a Solemn Declaration on their commitment to achieving peace, security and development for their nations. At the time, it was mostly intended to shield the countries from the east and to advance membership of the EU and NATO. According to José Manuel Barosso, "the Visegrad Group see themselves as completing and reinforcing the work of existing structures in Europe, both at the EU and transatlantic level".

-How does the Visegrád group contributes to the stability of Central Europe?
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(note: in the image above, Azerbaijan should have a Russian influence die with a value of 5)


Round 6:

The Velvet Divorce and Dynastic Succession headlines will resolve this round. For the Velvet Divorce to happen, the EU must have dominance (6 influence) in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. For Dynastic Succession to happen, Russia must have dominance in Azerbaijan.

Peyton has a powerful trick up her sleeve. She’s kept her Secret Services action card for its special action: she can use it to lower the EU or NATO influence in a country from 6 to 5, but must spend 4 money to do so. That means that if she has 4 money and can orchestrate the initiative so that she goes second, she can deny Hope’s effort to complete the Velvet Divorce. However, doing so would potentially leave her in a poor position for denying Visegrád Group in round 8.

Hope drew the Turkey and Denmark action cards, while Peyton drew the President and Armenia action cards. Hope decides to concentrate on the Visegrád Group. She chooses Turkey and Denmark, for an initiative of 9.

Peyton wants to use Secret Services to stop the Velvet Divorce. Because the Secret Services card is so powerful, it has an initiative of 7. Peyton needs to go second for her plan to work, so she chooses Armenia, with its initiative of 2.

Hope wins initiative (when initiative is tied, Europe plays first). She uses Denmark to increase the EU influence in Poland to 6 and Turkey to move an army from Benelux to Poland. Hope is concerned Peyton may try to lower her EU influence in Poland through military presence. By staging an army there, she can defend against Russian military influence.

Now Peyton puts her plan into effect. She uses Armenia to gain 1 money, bringing her total to 4. Armenia has the Enmity effect, which gives Hope the option of adding EU or NATO influence to Azerbaijan. However, Hope would still have to spend 2 money to add influence. She chooses not to. Now Peyton has enough money to use the Secret Services card’s special Infiltrate action. She spends 4 money and lowers the EU influence in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to 5.

Peyton has successfully stopped the Velvet Divorce, but did not accomplish Dynastic Succession. Both headlines resolve ahistorically. Hope puts the South Stream headline card into play, while Peyton puts the 102 Military Base headline into play.





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Round 7:

Hope drew the Italy and United Kingdom cards, while Peyton drew the Western Military District and Azerbaijan cards. Both players are focused on the Visegrád Group — one of the most valuable cards in the game.

Hope’s best approach is to get the EU influence in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Hungary as high as possible and also place armies in the countries. She chooses the Norway and Italy action cards, for an initiative of 10.

In order to deny Hope the Visegrád Group headline, Peyton only needs more Russian influence than the EU in one of the three countries. She already has influence in Poland, but there is also a NATO army in Poland, and the EU has dominance (influence of 6) in Poland. Peyton overextended herself in denying Hope the Velvet Divorce and will now need money if she is going to move her armies. She chooses the President and Military-Industrial Complex, for an initiative of 9.

Hope acts first. She uses Norway to move an army from France to the Czech Republic and Slovakia (which costs 1 money), and she uses Italy to increase the EU influence in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to 6.

Peyton has a difficult decision. She can either try to remove an army and lower the EU influence in Poland or the Czech Republic and Slovakia, or she can try to start building Russian influence in Hungary. She uses the President card for 4 money, and then spends 2 money to place Russian influence in Hungary.
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Round 8:

Hope drew the Ukraine and France cards at the end of the last round, while Peyton drew News Media and Armenia. The Visegrád Group and South-East Cooperation headlines will resolve this round. For the Visegrád Group to happen, the EU has to have more influence than Russia in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Hungary. For the South East Cooperation headline to occur, the EU must have more influence than Russia in the Eastern and Western Balkans.

Hope has prepared well for this. She chooses the United Kingdom and France, for an initiative of 14.

With the cards that she drew, Peyton knows that she almost certainly has lost the chance to stop Hope in accomplishing the Visegrád Group — to have stopped Hope, she would have needed strong cards, and to have gone first. Instead, she resigns herself to starting to work towards the Russo-Georgian War headline she is holding. She chooses News Media and Azerbaijan, for an initiative of 4.

Hope wins initiative. Uncertain what Peyton may have in mind, Hope chooses to bolster her bid for the Visegrád Group. She uses France to increase Hungary’s EU influence to 6, and she spends 1 money to move an army from Italy into Hungary.

Peyton uses the News Media to gain 3 money, and she spends 1 money and uses Azerbaijan to move one army from the Volga Federal District to Georgia.

The Visegrád Group and South-East Cooperation headlines resolve. Hope has met the requirements for the The Visegrád Group and earns 4 victory points. The requirements for South-East Cooperation were not met. Hope puts the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan Pipeline into play, while Peyton puts the Russo-Georgian War into play.
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Round 9:

Hope has pulled away in victory points by completing the requirements for the Visegrád Group and the pressure is on Peyton to respond. Fortunately for Peyton, she is well postured to accomplish the 102nd Military Base and the Russo-Georgian War by maintaining Russia’s firm military presence in the Caucasus. She likely doesn’t have time to complete the requirements for South Stream, so she decides to ignore it. She can also deny Hope from accomplishing the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan Pipeline by building up Russian influence in Azerbaijan or Georgia — which would further her investment in the Caucasus.

Hope drew the Spain and Portugal card as well as the Hungary card at the end of the last round. Meanwhile, Peyton drew the President and Southern Military District. Also, at the end of Round 8 both players discard the two remaining headline cards in their hands and draw three new cards. This allows players to hold off on playing headlines they don’t want in play (almost always headlines that favors their opponents). In addition, the three new headlines will be from the second deck, which are based on headlines beginning in 2009. Thus, beginning as early as turn 10, events related to Russian resurgence can enter the game. Hope drew the Grape Revolution, Reinforcing the Baltics, and Nord Stream, while Peyton drew Montenegrin Coup Attempt, Annexation of Crimea, and Regional Forces of Belarus and Russia.

Hope needs money, and wants to play the long game. She is secretly planning to build for Reinforce the Baltics, which requires more NATO than Russian influence in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the Baltics. She chooses the Germany and Spain and Portugal cards, for an initiative of 12.

Peyton doesn’t want to take any chances with the Tbilisi Ceyhan Pipeline, so she’s planning to gain dominance in Azerbaijan. She also eventually wants to put another army in Armenia, just to ensure she’s successful with the 102nd Military Base. She chooses Armenia and Western Military District, for an initiative of 7.

Hope goes first. She uses Germany to gain 4 money, and she uses Spain and Portugal to add NATO influence to the Baltics. Peyton uses Armenia to move and army from Georgia to Armenia, and then she uses Western Military District to increase Russia’s influence in Azerbaijan to 6, giving her dominance. Note that because Armenia has the Enmity effect, Hope could choose to place influence in Azerbaijan, but would still have to pay to do so.
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