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Subject: Specific cards: Missile Envy rss

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Philip Thomas
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Background: The competition to build more, bigger and better nuclear weapons (see Arms Race) was called "Missile Envy" by some feminist writers, by analogy with another type of Envy attributed by male philosphers to the gentler sex...

Effect: Give Missile Envy to your opponent. He must play it for Operations on his next action round. Your opponent gives you the card in his hand with the highest Operations value. If two or more cards in his hand tie for highest Operations value he chooses which one to give to you. If the card contains his event, you must play it for Ops immediately but the event does not occur. If the card contains your event or a mixed event the event occurs immediately. Either way, that ends your action round.

Strategy: 2 Ops recurring event. While this can be a great card it has a 'hit-and-misss' quality since often you don't want an event to occur, even though it may be being played by you. This is of course particularly true at Defcon 2- indeeed playing this card at Defcon 2 is foolhardy in the extreme. Besides the obvious dangers, in the Late War you could draw Wargames, which would give your opponent 6 Vps and end the game...
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Josh
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Huh. Hadn't thought about the ME/Wargames unintentional combo. Very interesting.
 
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nicola caroli
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Wargames won't trigger because it offers a choice.
Even if it was not, it would require a DEFCON loweing card from your opponent to work.
Rather, Missile Envy is very useful in engineering DEFCON victories if you get the "see opponent's headline" space race advantage.
 
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Philip Thomas
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rubbish, Missile Envy triggers mixed events text without any choice. It does require Defcon to be 2 of course.
 
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Kevin Brown
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Philip Thomas wrote:
rubbish, Missile Envy triggers mixed events text without any choice. It does require Defcon to be 2 of course.


The WarGames event says you "may" give your opponent the points and end the game. It's the only event that uses that terminology.
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Philip Thomas
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so you can just play wargames for no effect?? In that case, yeah you would just draw wargames and nothing would happen, which isn't quite as bad.
 
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nicola caroli
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Exactly. If DEFCOn is not 2, nothing happens. If DEFCON is 2 you can use it if it grants you the win, otherwise , you have denied it to your opponent, which is quite nice as well. However, i think it is removed only if DEFCON is 2 when it triggers.
 
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John McCoy
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The only thing that stops this from being a great card is the risk that it'll pull an event that pushes DEFCON over the edge. If you're in a situation where that isn't likely to happen, it's an excellent event to play.

I think it works particularly well as a USA headline event. Unless the Soviets play We Will Bury You as their headline, the USA should be safe from DEFCON 1. There's a good chance that the Soviets will have to hand over one of their high OPs event cards, effectively allowing the USA player to take the first action that turn and coup a battleground country. Throw in the fact that the Soviets only get to respond with a 2 OPs action as their next play, and this can really shake things up.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, you can always draw an event that does nothing for you (Nuclear Test Ban- or NATO) Even there you have lost 2 Ops and gained the difference in Ops value between that card and Missile Envy).
 
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John McCoy
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Well, you can always draw an event that does nothing for you (Nuclear Test Ban- or NATO) Even there you have lost 2 Ops and gained the difference in Ops value between that card and Missile Envy).


Yes, of course there is some risk that it will pull an event that doesn't give you much, or even hurts you. Degrading DEFCON to 1 is the ultimate example, and you're right there are some other events it could trigger that aren't necessarily beneficial for the person who plays Missle Envy.

So it's not a sure thing. But there are ways to minimize the worst risks. Play it when DEFCON is 3 or better, or when you know where stuff like Duck and Cover and We Will Bury you are. All other things being equal, its better to play it early in the turn when your opponent most likely has some 3 or 4 cards in his hand, not saving it for the end when he may be down to his dregs. Follow those guidelines and I think it will be very rare that the Missle Envy event will actively harm you.
 
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Philip Thomas
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I agree its better played early in the turn. I personally wouldn't play it as a headline unless either Cuban Missile Crisis was definitely not in my opponent's hand or there is no way the card I could pull with Missile Envy could decrease Defcon. I suppose on the bright side if you are USA and play it as a headline you might be lucky enough to trigger Red Scare/Purge if the USSR was worried about Defectors.

By the way, this becomes a mean card when your opponent is under Red Scare Purge...take his highest value card and give him a 1 Ops card in return, mwahahah
 
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Charles Robinson
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I should think that the Wargames event triggers when pulled by Missile Envy, (having its game-ending effect if defcon is at 2). I think arguing that the phrasing of the cards means that this is optional is against the spirit of the card - the "may" indicates that the card is able to short-circuit the regular course of the game and final scoring, *not* that you can trigger the event and then decide whether you want the event to actually occur. I'd be happy to see designer comments/answers proving me wrong though. Although practically the question is somewhat moot - there are already several reasons to avoid playing Missile Envy, at any point, during the Late War turns anyway.
 
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Kevin Brown
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I was thinking that the "may" terminology was probably used intentionally to prevent Missile Envy from ending the game this way.
 
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nicola caroli
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The "may = optional" interpretation has been confirmed many times on consimworld and i think it is in the FAQ, too.
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Charles Robinson
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Well, then perhaps I stand corrected. The consimworld discussions, however, don't seem conclusive (albeit many more people have weighed in on the "may=optional" side of the debate). Jason Matthews has tentatively weighed in that "may" means "may" in the sense of "=optional", but I haven't come across a firm ruling either way, and despite the Preacher's announced intention to include something in the FAQ, I cannot find any clarification of this question there either.

As to the intention of the designers: that the designers didn't give any firm ruling immediately seems to imply that the card text wasn't designed with this possibility in mind - otherwise they would have said so.

By the way, the text of Wargames is hardly unique in its use of "may" - plenty of other cards use "may" in the description of their effects.

I suppose, on further reflection, that the "may=optional" interpretation is arguably closest to the card text. I'm not sure I like it, because it doesn't strike me as in the spirit of the game, but that's my problem. (On the other hand, this principle hasn't prevented rulings in the FAQ that contradict the text of the relevant cards. Check out what the FAQ says about CIA Created/Lone Gunman in regard to how long the USSR/USA player reveals their hand, and compare that to the card text.)

Edited three times, for clarity, content, and accuracy.
 
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Kevin Brown
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taulus wrote:
By the way, the text of Wargames is hardly unique in its use of "may" - plenty of other cards use "may" in the description of their effects.


Other cards that use "may"...

CIA Created says that the US may use this card's Operations value to conduct operations. That's pretty clearly optional, as the US is not required to use the OPs.

De-Stalinization says that the USSR may relocate up to 4 Influence points to non-US controlled countries. Clearly optional again, the Soviets may choose to not move any Influence.

Olympic Games says if the opponent boycotts, degrade DEFCON one level and the sponsor may use 4 Operation Points to Conduct Operations. Certainly optional, although the conditions under which you might choose not to use the OPs seem rare.

Vietnam Revolts says the Soviet player may add 1 Operations point to any card that uses all points in Southeast Asia. I've seen games where the extra point isn't taken and never considered the possibility that the rules were being broken by it.

ABM Treaty says player may use this card's Operations value to conduct Operations. Like the Olympics, it's hard to imagine why you wouldn't use the OPs but it's certainly not required.

Ask Not... says the US player may discard up to entire hand (including scoring cards) and draw replacements from the deck. I've seen several instances in which the US chooses not to discard any.

Junta says you may make a free Coup attempt or Realignment roll in one of these regions [Central or South America]. It's easy to imagine situations in which you wouldn't want to do either one, and few people would argue that it's mandated.

Lone Gunman says the USSR may use this card's Operations value to conduct Operations. Like CIA created, it's optional to use or not use these OPs.

Salt Negotiations says player may sort through discard pile and reclaim one non-scoring card. I doubt anyone would play it unless they had a card in the pile that they wanted, but if the DEFCON situation was desperate enough you could play it without taking a card.

Chernobyl says the US player may designate one Region. Even leaving aside the times when the Soviet does this as his last play of the turn and the US doesn't bother naming one, I don't see that the US is required to choose a region.

Glasnost says USSR may make Realignment rolls or place Influence with this cards Operations value. Like Olympics and ABM Treaty, it's hard to see a situation in which you wouldn't take the OPs but equally hard to imagine an opponent who would say it's illegal if you don't.

North Sea Oil says US may play 8 cards this turn. I've seen more cases in which the US declines the 8th round than uses it.

Ortega Elected says USSR may make one free Coup attempt (with this card's Operations value) in a country adjacent to Nicaragua. The Soviets are not obligated to end the world if they play this event at DEFCON 2.

Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 says US may attempt Realignment rolls or place Influence with this card's Operations value. See Glasnost, etc.

Tear Down This Wall says US may make a free Coup attempt or Realignment rolls in Europe using this card's Ops Value. Like Junta, it's not out of the question for the player not to want to use this opportunity.



I don't see may as meaning must in any of those cards, nor in WarGames. However, there's no option about the 6 VPs. If you play the event, even as a result of Missile Envy, your opponent gets the points whether you end the game or not.
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Josh
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pilight wrote:
I don't see may as meaning must in any of those cards, nor in WarGames. However, there's no option about the 6 VPs. If you play the event, even as a result of Missile Envy, your opponent gets the points whether you end the game or not.


I'm in complete agreement that "may=optional." However, I don't see how the VP's get glommed into this as a forced play. I disagree that the VPs would be transferred without the game being ended.

Wargames reads: "If DEFCON Status 2, you may immediately end the game (without Final Scoring) after giving opponent 6 VPs. How about a nice game of chess?"

OK, let's say you play Missile Envy and get handed Wargames. Wargames then occurs. If Defcon is not 2, nothing happens. I think that is clear. If Defcon is 2, I'd read the card to indicate that both the VPs transfer and the game's end are optional. This is because the game end is predicated on giving the VPs first. The card does not read: "Give your opponent 6VPs. If Defcon is 2, you may end the game."
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Charles Robinson
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I'm inclined to agree with Josh's interpretation, based on the wording of the card. As worded, it really appears that, if the event is optional, then all its effects are optional. It doesn't read like it works both ways.

By noting that your statement that Wargames is unique in its use of that word was misleading, I wasn't trying to argue that "may" means "must", Kevin, (nor would I argue with your interpretation of any of those other cards) but thanks for your verbose and detailed response anyway.

Edited twice for content.
 
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nicola caroli
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Of course this is the correct interpretation. It says IF (Defcon 2) THEN (XXX). XXX is optional. Either you do all of it or not. It's been debated to death and clarified on consimworld.
 
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