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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Specific cards: John Paul II Elected Pope rss

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Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
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Background: "How many divisions has the Pope?" Stalin once said. In his day and for much of the Cold War he had a point: the Catholic church seemed moribund, hidebound with tradition and irrelevant to modern geopolitics, except for a few radical lower clergy in Latin America (see Liberation Theology).

In 1978, Karol Wojtla, an obscure Polish bishop, was elected by the Roman Catholic cardinals to be Bishop of Rome, or Pope as it is usually called. He chose a new name for his Papacy, as Popes do, becoming John Paul II. John Paul I had reigned for 1 month in 1978 before dying in office, triggering the election of Wojtla.

In his time in Poland the new pope had fought the communist system and its atheistic ways. His anti-communist stance was clear and uncompromising, though he also criticsed the evils of the market. When he visited his home country in the 1980s huge crowds gathered to hear him preach, defying the authorities and beginning the process which lead to Poland breaking away from Moscow.

Effect: 2 Ops Starred US event. Subtract 2 USSR influence from Poland and add 1 US influence. Enables play of Solidarity.

Strategy: This is another good USA event, and indeed John Paul is one of the most frequent Russian astronauts in the game... Although its normally easy to recover Poland after the event is played its real role is to set up Poland for the Late Game onslaught on Eastern Europe.
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Kevin Brown
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Gotta space it as the Soviets. No Pope = No Solidarity, which means Poland is relatively safe in the late war.
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Pete Chace
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But the list of stuff to space race as the USSR is long in Mid and Late war - Voice of America, Colonial Rearguards, Grain Sales to Soviets, Duck and Cover, etc. I would rather be forced to play JPII than VOA as the Soviets, for example. So sometimes you just have to suck it up and play it. You should have at least 4 influence in Poland going into Mid-War because of this.

As the US, a good time to play this card is on your last turn. That way the USSR has to either re-take control of Poland and allow you to peform the opening coup that takes Defcon from 3 to 2, or ignore it and risk US control.
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