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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Specific cards: Latin American Death Squads rss

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Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
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Background: Latin America was rife with gangsters and hit men of all allegiances during the Cold War. Political assassination was routine. Death Squads could serve the interests of either superpower.

Effect: 2 Ops mixed recurring event. For the rest of the turn, add 1 to any coup rolls you make in Central or South America, and subtract 1 from any coup rolls your opponent makes in those regions.

Strategy: Difficult to use for its full effect. Your own coups will likely bring Defcon to 2 in short order and your opponent will just shift to other theatres. Can work well with Nuclear Subs or a card which raises Defcon.
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Pete Chace
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Hilliard
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Yes - it seems like it's hard to use this event well. When I see it headlined (which isn't very often) it's often by the USSR because they are worried Defectors might be played and they don't want to offer up anything more valuable. It can help USSR if they just have to coup their way into Central or South America - you can still coup non-battlegrounds at Defcon 2.

Keep it up Phil! I like your strategy card series.
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Kevin Brown
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Macon
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Known here as the "my hand sucks" headline.

Being relatively inoffensive and having a low OPs value, it can be thrown out in the headline phase when you don't have a good card to use instead.
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Jason Sherlock
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If the Central or South American scoring cards are still out, this card can make a decent bluff for the US. Headline it and then make a first turn Central or South American coup (in a battleground if the DefCon allows).

This can take the initiative from the Soviets and force them to play reactively in fear of the scoring card that you may or may not have (helps to get you your military ops done for the turn too).

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John McCoy
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The Soviets can use this reliably to boost a first turn coup, which can be handy once in awhile if their hand doesn't have many high value cards.

If played as an action when DEFCON is at 2 or 3, you'll probably be limited to couping non-BG countries in the regions. A lot of the time there are better things to be doing. But a strategy worth keeping in the back of one's mind is to play this event early in the turn and then try and take over a whole bunch of non-BG countries in one region or the other. Get a 2 or 3 country lead and you'll make it very hard for your opponent to either get domination there or take domination away from you. If you're very lucky your opponent may even waste some actions on penalized and unsuccessful coup attempts.

Mind you, I've never actually done this. Because the event is pretty lame. But I'm sure it will be a good move sooner or later.
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Riku Riekkinen
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In my list the underrated card #2 (#1 being Iran-Contra Scandal). The effect can be huge, since this affects both enemy plays and your plays. And all OPs cards (Unlike Scare/Purge, witch doesn't lower 1OPs and Containment/Doctrine witch don't affect 4OPs).
 
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darune
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As the soviet headline, this can boost a first coup which can be justifiable enough since the result of those coups often mean winning or loosing the battleground for good.

Often i do not play this card for the obviouse reason that you usually hold one or more other events that has a bigger impact. This is not to say the event is useless.

As the US, it can be combined with nuclear subs if soviets have targets in americas (and you have nothing better to do). Again i think the +1 on the coup is better than 1 operation.

Also as the US it can be coupled with a scoring card for one of the americas, reducing soviet success rate for a coup in the region.

It can also be used to loop through columbia: in a battle for columbia you will have the odds stacked in your favor for that turn if he choosed to coup and you will end up with columbia secured (and military ops if US)

Despite all its good (read: mediocre) uses, it does not get played very often (because of other more important stuff mainly)
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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Certainly a situational card.

OK here is an example: USA has gotten to Brazil via Colombia and Venezuela. So USSRs get back plan:

USSR headlines Latin American Death Squads
1st action: USSR coups Brazil
2nd action: USSR coups Colombia (notably 1OP card is enough here)
3rd action: USSR realigns Venezuela (notably 1OP card is usually enough here to at least reduce USA influence to 1 - so then he has an option to face realign again, or let you have the country with 3OP)
Now USSR dominates South America. If USA interferes with changing regions and trying to overrun your influence, you'll win 1OP in every attempt. If USA decides to coup Colombia back, you'll win 2OPs per unsuccessful try.

In the example above USSR gets his 2OPs from the Latin American Death Squads, not counting the defensive abilities. In reality Latin American Death Squads is usually worth a much more, if you see that there are good coup places in Americas. I trusted this card so much I played it in playoffs series against Chris Withers. It generated 5OPs - Witch is about average Red Scare/Purge value. And I trust Chris enough as a player not to give me easy OPs without a reason. I find that this card gives at least 3OPs (= value of South African Unrest etc...) when I feel its a good place to play it (or am not even completely sure). Again none of my counts included the advantage I got from the defensive threat the card also gives.
 
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