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Subject: Top 10 turn one headline cards for the US rss

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Kevin Brown
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I was pondering what the best US options are for turn one headlines. I don't like to do scoring cards, too much chance that the Soviet headline will screw you up that way. Even so, Asia or Middle East scoring are options if you don't have any of the others listed below.


10 Truman Doctrine

This is dependent on the USSR setup. If they've left some open countries you can throw their plans off here. However, there's a good chance that they're planning something that will top off those freebies, like Warsaw Pact or COMECON, so Truman is dicey. Besides, if the Soviet player does the Europe bullrush, you're going to need Truman later. This one is beautiful when it works, but can make you regretful if it doesn't.

9 Blockade

If your hand is just that godawful, this will let you dump one of the big Soviet events without harm. You can space race another, the rest you just have to live with. Even if your hand isn't so bad, you can get something evil out of it, eliminate the Blockade from later use, and maybe fool your opponent into thinking your hand is worse than it is.

8 De-Stalinization

The one big advantage that the US has initially is more influence on the board. Forcing the USSR to move around the little bit they start with can make them powerful in some areas but will cost them in others. Plus, it tips their hand as to where they want to do the initial fight. This is my headline of choice if I have more than one scoring card on turn one.

7 Five Year Plan

Anything that disrupts the Soviet plan is a good thing. Can't go far wrong snatching a card from them.

6 Duck and Cover

You get a point and you prevent your opponent from couping or realigning in Europe. What's not to like? My favorite headline if I have Europe Scoring in turn one.

5 Captured Nazi Scientist

Two VP is a nice buffer against the expected early Soviet scoring. Also gives you the potential to space race two cards later in the turn if you're successful on the first attempt. That's a nice advantage for the US early on.

4 Red Scare/Purge

Obvious and popular, with good reason. Cuts down the opportunities for the USSR to exploit their early advantage. The only reason it's not higher is that it's a 4 OP card and you might need the OPs if you have a weak hand.

3 Containment

People will tell you that you shouldn't use starred US events in the early war. This one is an exception. You'll never get much use out of it if you leave it for the USSR. He'll space race it or play it at the end of the turn so that you only gain one OP from it. Plus, you're going to need all the OPs you can get in the early war.

2 East European Unrest

Completely nerfs the Socialist Governments/Europe Scoring opening favored by many Soviet players. Really turns the initiative, the USSR now has to mend his position in Europe while you can go elsewhere. It's really the only headline that can put the bear on his heels.

1 Defectors

Not because it's really any better than the others, but because it's not useful at any other time. You could come back with East European Unrest in your first action phase, for example, and it work about as well. Defectors is only useful to stop the headline, and as such it should pretty much always be the US headline card when you have it.



That's what I think, anyway.
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Chris White
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pilight wrote:
People will tell you that you shouldn't use starred US events in the early war.


I'm guessing that's why you left out Marshall Plan? I know it's a 4-op card, and it is poor card management to burn your events early, but I still think it's a good first turn headline, especially since it's another way to insulate you from the Socialist Governments-Europe Scoring combo, and it's the easiest way to lock up all the cheap Mediterranean countries. It also helps stop the Soviets from getting to play NATO as a free 4-op card, which they'd do as soon as possible given the chance.

Personally, I think Truman as a Turn 1 headline is really only of any use if you're the Soviets and you've drawn the hand from hell- it's rarely worth more than one ip in initial setup, and it's another starred event. And I'll usually use Red Scare for the ops during the early war if I'm the US, becuase a 4 ops card is always strong, and with only six action rounds the event is a tiny bit weaker.

The others seem to all be good choices- Duck and Cover in particular is the kind of event play that becomes more and more attractive once someone has played a few games and realizes the necessity of careful DEFCON management. Not getting 3 friendly ops is annoying, but insulating Italy and getting the second and last coup is really worth it.
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Ricky Gray
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My favorite turn 1 US Headline *used* to be Korean War. The 1st edition card still had the DefCon degradation, thus the US could play it - if holding it, of course - and save Italy from the usual T1 AR1 Soviet coup. However, that option is no longer available since they changed the card.

Ricky
 
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Kevin Brown
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Another thing you can do with Truman Doctrine is slide one of your starting influence into Finland or Austria if the Soviet takes them to 4 then use Truman to wipe them out. Mostly, though, it's a useful headline only if the USSR gets too cute with his initial setup and spreads out too thin.

Aside from burning one of your high OP cards, I don't like Marshall Plan as a headline because to use it to take over all those small Euros means you have to tip your hand by setting up to do it. The Soviet will know he's not getting Defectors if you leave West Germany and/or Italy one short of control while placing one spots in Spain, Greece, and Turkey. That leaves him free to try something slick like Vietnam Revolts/Asia Scoring or Suez Crisis/coup in Iran to wipe you completely out of the Middle East.
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Chad Calder
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I have to strongly disagree with a couple of choices below.

9. Blockade
You should never ever play this as a headline as the US player. Even if you have LOTS of soviet 3-4 op cards you want to get rid of. If you wait until the action rounds to play this then you get 3 OPs points to spend in addition to getting rid of a soviet event.


Not sure how you can have a top 10 US list without Marshal Plan. Getting 7 influence at the begining of the game is MUCH better than 7
later. Paticularly because these influence can be placed on countries that are already controled by the reds.

(As a side note you don't have to alter your starting lineup just because you are using marshal.) If you are afraid of the Reds knowing what your headline is just do the standard opening of 4 W Germany and 2 Italy and 1 Greece. Personally I prefer the more agressive Marshal opening but it certainly can have drawbacks if the Reds have the right cards.


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Kevin Brown
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Calder wrote:
9. Blockade
You should never ever play this as a headline as the US player. Even if you have LOTS of soviet 3-4 op cards you want to get rid of. If you wait until the action rounds to play this then you get 3 OPs points to spend in addition to getting rid of a soviet event.


How do you get three OPs points by playing Blockade? It's a 1 OP card.
 
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Josh
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Calder wrote:
Not sure how you can have a top 10 US list without Marshal Plan. Getting 7 influence at the begining of the game is MUCH better than 7
later. Paticularly because these influence can be placed on countries that are already controled by the reds.


Furthermore, the text of the card reads, "Add one US Influence marker in each of seven non-USSR Controlled Western European countries." If ONLY you could use Marshal Plan to break into Soviet countries!

Nice post, Kevin. As you note I have learned that if the USSR setup is "funny" in the sense that they have not taken full control of their battleground countries, it's an indication that their headline is going to top them off. Because Truman is a 1 OPs, he'll be a wasted play. Occasionally someone will put a few control into Finland as use for Destalinization material (without full control), so sometimes Truman will wipe that out. But generally the Truman play does not work as a headline. As the US, I'd much rather Truman was floating around the deck for later in the game.

I like Destalinization as the first US headline a lot. Gets it out of the deck at a time where it can't be used properly.
 
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Philip Thomas
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I guess it depends on the normal playing strategies for your group. Me and my opponents almost never coup Italy on turn 1, preferring Iran, so lowering Defcon is not really worth it. And Truman Doctrine can be so much more effective late game...

Marshall Plan is one of my top choices. Defectors is another. East European Unrest is also good- almost certainly forcing your opponent to use his first action to place influence in Europe, since you might have Europe Scoring.
 
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Charles F.
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MY TOP5:

5 CONTAINMENT - Gives you a good boost in the crucial first turn. Though lots of 4 OPS and scoring cards would make this more of an OPS card than a headliner. By no means a no-brainer. But players shouldn't be too afraid of playing such cards either since should the Soviet draw them later, their effects will have very little impact.

4 DUCK AND COVER - Ensures Italy won't get couped and both players will probably get one coup opportunity. With the US going last, which is particularly valuable. However, should the Soviets headline SOCIALIST GOVS, then they'll be able to grab Italy and thus gain access to France without you being in a position to coup them out of Italy. In other words, this card can badly backfire and cause you a world of pain. Considering how popular SOCIALIST GOVS happens to be as a Soviet headliner, you probably want to have that card yourself whenever playing this as your headliner.

3 PURGE - Sure, compared to Mid/Late War the impact of the card is somewhat diminished. Yet it hurts the Soviet nonetheless right at the time when every single influence point spent will pay off handsomely throughout the game. Even if your opponent has lots of 1s and scoring cards, this one won't be too bad. A bad turn for him will become even worse and will probably give you a valuable head-start. Not to mention the China Card - usually played in T1 - will also take a hit.

But sure, this is by no means a no-brainer. Those 4 OPS are also valuable...

2 MARSHALL PLAN - Helps mitigate the impact of SOCIALIST GOVS and ought to ensure the Soviets won't ever obtain dominance in Europe (since you'll have an edge in getting those cheap Mediterranean countries). I think it's well worth sacrificing this 4US card, particularly as it dimishes in value as Europe fills up. Playing this early will pay off during later Europe Scorings.

1 DEFECTORS - Can save you from SOCIALIST GOVS, RED SCARE and other unpalatable Soviet headliners. It also gives you more setup security, thereby allowing you to go for the 2 IT/1 GR setup rather than piling three into Italy (just to mention the two most common setup variations).

OTHERS:

CAPTURED GERMAN SCIENTISTS (as the card should have been called) - Doesn't do anything for your board position. If you've got something better up your sleeve, this can certainly wait. At most you'll lose 2 VPs. Board position is key. The space race is a secondary concern.

FIVE YEAR PLAN - Tends to be too much Hit & Miss thingie for my tastes. Besides, I like those 3 OPS. I don't rule it out for this use, but it's

EUROPEAN UNREST - As the Soviet, I wouldn't waste the invaluable first action round of the game repairing the damage. Sure, it might cost me a lot of VPs, but if the US isn't placing any influence until his second action round (due to playing EU Scoring first), then he'll be at a serious disadvantage elsewhere on the board, especially in the crucial Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan triangle. That will compensate over the long run for a bad initial EU Scoring. Board position simply is way more important at this stage of the game.

Besides, the obvious answer to this US headliner is to coup Italy.

I like this as a headliner, but there are a lot better ones out there.

CIA CREATED - Sure, you're removing a potential future Soviet problem by playing this card, but this card can offset damage done by SOCIALIST GOVS, secure a permanent US presence in the Iran-Aghanistan-Pakistan triangle or allow you to go for the Malaysia gambit (risky though it might be). Not to mention giving you invaluable knowledge about your opponent's cards. Knowing Decolonization or Vietnam is around can make all the difference in winning the race to Thailand - tipping your hand to the Malaysia gambit...

That one ops and card knowledge is unlikely to have greater impact at any other point in the game.

SCORING CARDS - If you're hand's really bad and you've got a host of these in your hand, then this may be a good damage control headliner. If you haven't got SOCIALIST GOVS, however, Europe would be quite risky. The Mid-East is probably the best headliner of the three since a Nasser headline is unlikely (since the Soviets would be giving the US a great coup opportunity for that turn) and since the Mid-East is the toughest region for the US in general and hence most likely to deteriorate. Asia is also not overly risky. After all, De-Stal, Vietnam and Decol are unlikely headliners (again, since they give the US lots of great coup opportunities during the first turn).

UNSUITABLE HEADLINERS:

TRUMAN DOCTRINE - Finland (or whatever) is just not worth removing the Truman threat from the game. It's a great threat in being, IMO, and can be a true life-saver later on. Okay, never say never, but...

BLOCKADE - Almost always better to do this during an action round and get the 1 OPS.

DE-STALINIZATION - Want to have the USSR get a headstart in France, Chile, Malaysia etc? Want to hand your opponent the game? Then this one's for you.


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Charles F.
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JoshBot wrote:

I like Destalinization as the first US headline a lot. Gets it out of the deck at a time where it can't be used properly.


Josh, please do that the next time we'll play and you're the US.
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Kevin Brown
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charlesf wrote:
DE-STALINIZATION - Want to have the USSR get a headstart in France, Chile, Malaysia etc? Want to hand your opponent the game? Then this one's for you.


You can coup Chile or Malaysia or anywhere outside of Europe that they go. And the influence has to come from somewhere, pushing into those places using De-Stalinization weakens the Soviet position elsewhere. De-Stalinization only gets worse later, it's better to get rid of it when the damage is fairly minimal.
 
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Gabrio Secco
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Chile is not easy to coup. Anyway, USSR plays before you so her expansion in South America can start.
 
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Charles F.
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pilight wrote:
charlesf wrote:
DE-STALINIZATION - Want to have the USSR get a headstart in France, Chile, Malaysia etc? Want to hand your opponent the game? Then this one's for you.


You can coup Chile or Malaysia or anywhere outside of Europe that they go.


Chile is tough to coup... I'd be happy if my opponent wastes a whole action round on a coup there during Turn 1. He'll then be well behind the crucial contests in the Early War scoring regions.

In turn 2, with defcon safely at 2, you can always dump an extra influence into Argentina and make that region also quite safe vs. realignments (again, stuff the US won't be able to do at this stage if wanting to compete in the Early War regions).

Malaysia: The Soviets have the China Card and are hence in a better position to prevail in Malaysia should the USA coup there.

And lets not forget that if the US fails to get anything done with its coup in Malaysia, then he will have lost France. For the US, it'd be a decision of whether to compete in France or Malaysia... Starting at a disadvantage in both places.

Certainly not a position I'd want to be in. Chances are you've massively increased the chances of a Soviet auto-victory.

Quote:
And the influence has to come from somewhere, pushing into those places using De-Stalinization weakens the Soviet position elsewhere.


Hardly a big deal. You don't need Finland etc. at this juncture.

Quote:
De-Stalinization only gets worse later, it's better to get rid of it when the damage is fairly minimal.


But many battlegrounds will be already US-controlled and you won't be able to place stuff there...

Besides, the influence De-Stal provides you early is all about gaining access to areas you'll have trouble reaching otherwise. You can spread from there. If you play De-Stal late in the game, that won't be nearly as effective.

Sure, as the Soviet I tend to first degrade DEfcon to 2 and then play De-Stal, so you can also place stuff in places otherwise prone to being couped. But if the USA does me the favour of playing the card right at the outset, I won't complain. That's EVEN better. Sure, you won't be putting stuff into Venezuela etc., but Malaysia, Chile and France are truly great in their own right. And the US isn't even taking the three OPS.
And will be struggling to put out the various fires created by De-Stal. From a worse position than that of the USSR.

It's a scandalously bad US headline.
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Kevin Brown
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charlesf wrote:
Quote:
And the influence has to come from somewhere, pushing into those places using De-Stalinization weakens the Soviet position elsewhere.


Hardly a big deal. You don't need Finland etc. at this juncture.


If you say so. You haven't said anything about where you would take influence from in this instance. The USSR doesn't have much in the way of wasted infuence at the start. You'll need Finland or something like it if you want dominance in Europe. The other options for non-battlegrounds in your initial setup leave you vulnerable to Independent Reds. Are you really going to take more than 1/4 of your starting influence and place it in someplace like Chile that won't even score until Turn 4 at the earliest and can be realigned at any time?
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Josh
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Nice back-and-forth about Destalinization. I've played against Charles F., and he's really good, so I'm switching my position to agree with whatever he says.
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Charles F.
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pilight wrote:
You'll need Finland or something like it if you want dominance in Europe.


Once you control France, you can always grad Turkey or Spain.

Lets not forget that the favour the US player did you by playing De-Stal only created the conditions for you to get that third EU battleground.

Also, if the US is playing De-Stal, consider also the impact of the real USSR headline. Say Soc Govs. Utterly deadly.

Not having Finland is controlled (or whatever) is a negligible price to pay for the advantages De-Stal would give you.

Quote:
The other options for non-battlegrounds in your initial setup leave you vulnerable to Independent Reds.


Well, often I do the A, Y, BU one influence each routine. Removing all of those is no big deal. As well as the one left in Finland. After all, the A,Y,BU setup is a large part about access to Italy. And De-Stal gives you just that by allowing you to get into France.

Quote:
Are you really going to take more than 1/4 of your starting influence and place it in someplace like Chile that won't even score until Turn 4 at the earliest and can be realigned at any time?


Realigning at +1 is not exactly easy. Look at the odds. A good OPS card would be most likely required. Besides, I believe the US cannot afford to spend action rounds in the first turn to adress that challenge. And the USSR just needs to lump down another one in Argentina. That makes it extremely difficult to oust the Russians from S America.

Even if the US manage to realign it away, they will have most likely spent quite a bit of effort there and that will mean the US isn't doing stuff in EU/ME/AS. But as said, before the US can ever afford that realignment action round, the USSR will have spread from Chile.
 
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Kevin Brown
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JoshBot wrote:
Nice back-and-forth about Destalinization. I've played against Charles F., and he's really good, so I'm switching my position to agree with whatever he says.


I might have played him before. I played someone named Charles on wargameroom yesterday, but I was the Soviet so none of this came into play. I managed to finish pretty well despite falling behind (screwing up) in the early war.

He's right that France is the big risk in the De-Stalinization headline. You should probably go 4 W Germany/3 France as the opening if you're going to try it. That's risky if you don't have DeGaulle Leads France or to a lesser extent Suez Crisis in your hand, but it's a more defensible position than W Germany/Italy if the USSR wants to do the Europe bullrush.
 
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Charles F.
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pilight wrote:

I might have played him before. I played someone named Charles on wargameroom yesterday, but I was the Soviet so none of this came into play. I managed to finish pretty well despite falling behind (screwing up) in the early war.


Aye, 'twas me. Both of us screwed up a couple of times, but you came out on top.

Quote:

He's right that France is the big risk in the De-Stalinization headline. You should probably go 4 W Germany/3 France as the opening if you're going to try it.


In that case, I'll take Italy. Even better. cool
 
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Kevin Worth
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My top 10
Duck and Cover (USA)
-Good defcon management card but as Charles pointed out, this can backfire.

East European Unrest
-A 3 ops card either way in the early/mid war so not a lot of incentive to play as a headline unless you hold Europe scoring. Without Europe scoring, this is better as the last card of the turn.

Asia Scoring
-Likely to only get worse, it is risky because a couple cards could give USSR domination but the USA needs to take some risks. Plus you avoid a 0 op card play.

Olympic Games
Nazi Scientists
-VPs are always good.

Middle East Scoring
-Same as Asia. One extra benefit, at least IMO, might dissuade USSR from couping Iran.

Containment
Depends on the rest of your hand. If you have more than 1 scoring card/must space race card then Containment is not that good.

Red Scare/Purge
The gamelong benefits of the USSR's lost ops is too much to pass up for the most part. May even be ahead of Defectors depending on the hand.

Defectors
Always a good Headline.

Marhsall Plan
Solidifies Europe without much further effort. Setup 1 in Turkey,Spain,Greece, 3 in Italy, 1 anywhere else, Marshall gives you a total of 5 countries, so the USSR is going have to spend some serious effort to gain domination. Some will say they would rather concentrate the 4 ops instead of spreading out the 7 but when you have it in your initial hand then your setup makes the event worth it.
Does it really matter if the USSR knows this is your headline? What benefit does that bring him?

I will say Destalinization is a really bad headline. If you feel that it is worth playing early then you might as well play it at some point in turn 1 to get the three ops for yourself.

Another note, if you hold more than 1 scoring card in turn 1 then I think you are practically forced to play 1 as a headline. Two 0 op card plays in turn 1 is something to be avoided.
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Gabrio Secco
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If you have in hand both Marshall and Defectors, what will you use?
What about Marshall and Purge?
 
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Chris White
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Mugnaio wrote:
If you have in hand both Marshall and Defectors, what will you use?
What about Marshall and Purge?


If I had Marshall and Defectors, I'd headline Defectors, since that card is only useful when played in the headline. The Plan can wait.

If I had Marshall and Purge, I'd headline the Marshall Plan and then play Purge for the ops sometime later in the turn. (If I'm the US, I tend to play Purge for ops in the Early War anyway- the early Soviet events are strong enough that 4 ops is usually more valuable, and it's a no-brainer if you don't get Purge out as the headline.)
 
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Charles F.
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traininthedistance wrote:

If I had Marshall and Defectors, I'd headline Defectors, since that card is only useful when played in the headline. The Plan can wait.

If I had Marshall and Purge, I'd headline the Marshall Plan and then play Purge for the ops sometime later in the turn.


I concur. Though I can see myself at times giving the Purge the nod instead of the Marshall Plan.
 
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John McCoy
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Here's my top choices for headlines as the US:

Defectors -- Obviously a great headline. Particularly so on the first turn because the Soviets are more likely to take a gamble and play a juicy headline on Turn 1 when they don't know where the event is, than on Turn 2 or 3 when if they haven't seen it yet they know it's highly likely you're playing it.

Duck and Cover -- If you play this then you should only be subject to one Soviet coup, and it can't be in Europe. It even gives you a VP. Extremely helpful for the USA.

Purge -- Very painful for your opponent at any time. The only reason not to play it is if you have a better headline or have a hand full of low OPs cards.

Marshall Plan -- It's unpleasant to remove a USA 4 OPs card from the deck this early, but if played early in the game the event gives the Americans a good shot at European domination or, failing that, should put domination all but out of reach for the Soviets. So it's especially worthwhile if you have Europe Scoring. If you're worried about Socialist Governments as a Soviet headline then place your starting influence for control of countries like normal instead of spreading it out with the intention of Marshall Planning to fill them in.

Containment -- Bonus OPs points will always come in handy. If you don't have Purge then this gives you insurance against being Red Scared, which is especially brutal for the Americans when you might be Blockaded.

Middle East Scoring -- Odds are good that if this is headlined no one gets any points. And during the Early War the Americans should be happy to break even in the scoring. If you have Nasser then it is completely safe. If you don't and the Soviets headline Nasser then they will still benefit form this event. But at least you're free to play OPs cards later.

Asia Scoring -- Same as above, but somewhat riskier because Vietnam Revolts or Decolonization can give the Soviets domination, not just presence. But those aren't very popular 1st turn Soviet headlines. Another factor is that the USA has a (slightly) better shot at Domination for themselves in Asia than they do in the Middle East. I wouldn't say this is a good headline for the USA. But if you don't have any of the above then it may be the best of your not-so-good options.

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Brendan Majev
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As the United States or the Soviet Union, I do not give a damn about getting smacked with an early Vietnam Revolts/Asia Scoring domination if it means I get Marshall Plan out as a headline, because it means he isn't reacting to my play in Europe. So I would go ahead and telegraph the Plan- 3 WGER, 2 ITA, 1 GRE, 1 TUR, with all 4 of those to be topped off plus Norway, Denmark, Austria (if it's not USSR controlled)/Sweden (if Austria is USSR controlled). If you are feeling lucky, then MAYBE 1 ITA in favor of an additional one in Spain... I myself would never consider this because as a USSR player I automatically coup Italy with a mere 2 influence in it with my first play, regardless of what I'd been intending to do elsewhere- it's too good an opportunity to pass up. I would also avoid Spain as the US player, as it allows access to Italy and France if couped successfully, though it does not lower DEFCON (unless USSR uses Duck & Cover to coup...).

It is also worth considering putting one into Canada on the Plan for what is the term... s**ts and giggles. Especially if you are drunk, lol.

I will say DE-STALINIZATION as a US headline is terrible, as the US player allows the Soviet player into whatever battleground country he does not take. If you're determined to do it, though, 4 WGER 3 FRA is not too bad... if the Soviets take Italy with one of their DE-STALINIZATION markers, the US can simply coup them out with a suitably high ops card. Getting the USSR out of Chile, though... that might be more difficult. At the very least, though, I'd say play it for ops.

The same with BLOCKADE (use the 1 op), although if you have a high ops mostly Soviet hand, I can see the logic here (personally, I'd get rid of DE-STALINIZATION...), but be careful if the Soviets headline PURGE. Remember that PURGE has higher ops, so the Soviet one will take place first, and right away you're caught in the PURGE/BLOCKADE combo before an action round... unless you're holding US/JAPAN MPP or NATO, that really really hurts... Even if you use MARSHALL PLAN as your discard, you just gave up maybe the best US early war card for later in the game...
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