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Subject: Boy, Playing As The USA Is Brutal! rss

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Rory
United States
Maine
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Right now I have 8 games of TS under my belt (6 USSR, 2 USA), and I must say, playing as the USA is an absolutely brutal proposition. Every time I played as the USSR I rolled my opponent without issue. Admittedly, I am a bit better of a TS player than my friend who I play against. After playing 2 games as the USA, I am only batting .500.

The first game with me as the USA was an absolute slaughter. In no time my opponent had an iron grip on Europe for Domination and on Asia as well. In no time the score was -15. I did my best to chip away at his lead (eventually bringing it down to -10) but in no time I was again blown off the map and smoked by a score of -20 by the 5th turn.

The second game went a bit better, but I think it's a bit of a fluke that I won. I was able to hold onto Europe better (and even gain Domination over it). However, it was only because I had avoided some scoring cards that I didn't lose when the score was -15! After dodging that bullet and making it to the Mid War I was able chip the score down to -4. I then was able to establish Domination over Central America, South America,Asia, and Africa. My opponent had Domination over the Middle East and we both has an offsetting Presence in Europe.

Once the scoring cards came in it was all over with a +20 USA victory. I've been looking over the strategy pages on playing as the US, and a lot of it seems like a crapshoot. Since I'm the better player than my friend, it seems that I will be stuck as the USA for quite some time, seeing as the enormous difficulty makes it a closer game.

As a side note, I dread the day that I am able to survive until the End War and have to face Aldrich Ames gulp
 
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David Weiss
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I just won my first game as the US (my 6th try!) with a sudden-death (no pun intended) victory during the Headline Phase of Turn 4. I played Cuban Missile Crisis, which set the Defcon to 2, and my opponent played Olympic Games, which I boycotted, thus triggering nuclear war on his play and winning the game (?!) for the USA.

No question the US is much more challenging to play--you really have to know the cards so you don't waste Ops on countries which end up getting wiped out by powerful Soviet Event cards.
 
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Kevin Brown
United States
Macon
Georgia
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The US takes some practice, to be sure. Just gotta minimize the damage from the early scoring cards, try to keep OPEC from killing you, and take the initiative when you can.
 
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Charles F.
Germany
Berlin
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Were it not for Wargames, I'd consider the game entirely balanced.

Wargames helps the Soviets more since an average performance ought to see them enjoying a VP lead well into Late War. That allows a Soviet player, who otherwise is in a less promising position to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

In my face-to-face games I hence add another condition to the card, namely that the playing side needs to have more milops. That gives the side threatened by wargames a true way to handle this threat.

In any case, I don't think the edge the Soviets enjoy is too great. Easily below 60-40 among veteran players, I should say. The learning curve is however steeper. Hence the difficulties (relative) newbies tend to have.

I think the key thing those playing the US need to learn is the importance of creating a serious threat with the last card in a turn. That's a key US advantage and it can offset the Soviet's own advantage of going first and hence often getting that battleground coup. Make him pay dearly for that privilege!
 
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Gary Goh
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
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I just played 4 straight games in a row with my brother, and the only time I won was the sole time that I played as the USSR player (victory in turn 3).

Here are some observations from my limited experiences:

- Apart from the Wargames card, the Aldrich Ames (sp?) card is totally punishing if it lands in the USSR player's hands. I don't believe there is a equivalent card like that for the USA side, and I do not know if this unbalances the game in the sense that it makes it even harder for the USA player to catch up if he or she is behind in points.

- The USSR tends to build a victory point lead in the early stages of my games, due to the high frequency of the scoring cards (more in the next point) and the nature of the events of the Early War cards which tend to favor the USSR. Though the number of US:USSR favourable cards ratio is almost 1:1, I find that the USSR has the edge with regards to the effects of the events.

- As the USA player in most of my games, I often dominate/control various regions (save 1 or 2 at the most) by the late-Mid War and Late War phases but it is hard for me to obtain scoring cards to capitalize on my dominance in those regions during the Mid and Late War parts of the game. This is due to the thicker card deck which now comprises of more cards, thus reducing the probability of either player getting scoring cards (and having to play them) at all. In the end, the USSR player often leads by too wide a margin in points for the USA player to overturn, especially if the USSR player lands the Wargames event.

I admit that I have not followed or even tried any of the strategies that have been suggested in the forum. I do not intend to refer to them at all because that would probably destroy the enjoyment that I can derive from finding them out on my own. Nevertheless, I still feel that this game is a classic; I guess the only thing I can do for now is to keep playing the game as the US player to find out how I can maximize my fighting chance during the earlier stages of the game.
 
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