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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Variants

Subject: Supposing you don't like Aldrich Ames -- how would you change it? rss

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Boris Dvorkin
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Let me say right off the bat that I don't think Aldrich Ames is "broken." That said, I do think it's very lame. The core of its lameness lies in the fact that if the USSR draws it, it's off-the-wall backbreaking; but in the hands of the USA it's basically four free ops.

Ideally, I'd like a variant that not only makes the card less frickin'-retarded powerful for the Bear, but also tougher for the USA hand to deal with. Something like Missile Envy, perhaps, without the replacement effect. Has anyone found a modification they like?
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Chris White
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Hm, how about the Soviets don't get to arrange the USA's hand- they just get to look at it, and tie down the China Card. However, they also get to look at the USA's hand for *next* turn, before a headline is chosen? Maybe keep the China Card restriction, or say the USSR automatically gets the China Card points if Ames is played on Turn 10. That would nerf the Soviet's power a bit, but also make it problematic for the US to play.

That being said, I actually haven't actually given Ames much thought- as the USA, I tend to fear a Soviet Wargames more often.
 
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MacGilleEathain
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The Ames event resolution seems illogical only when one does not take into consideration the fact that the historical Ames' treason was not immediately uncovered. If Ames had been immediately (or even soon) discovered as the mole, that would justify the US, not the USSR, setting the order of cards. As it is, and given the limitations imposed by the game's cardplay mechanics, the as-is event is pretty well balanced. If we allow the US to set the order, that grants the US too much latitude as to the event's timing whenever it happens to fall into the US hand. As-is, when the US draws the Ames card, they will almost invariably want to hold it for their very last action round, when it can be played with no ill effects.
 
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Matt Thrower
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Depends what you don't like about it.

I have no issues with the US saving it and getting low-risk ops late in the round - there's plenty of cards on both sides that you can play that trick with. It's also not entirely without consequence since it reveals your carry-over card. It's hard to see how it could be changed to make it a more painful play for the US without seriously compromising it's unique effect. Perhaps something simple like "Defectors" is in order where it has different effects if played by different sides - in this case giving the USSR a VP bonus if played during a US round (I'd suggest 3VP).

The only I find slightly annoying about AA is the way it can force a USSR win based on pure luck if the US has a USSR event in their hand which results in a soviet defcon win. You could change this by saying that the US gets to keep one card in their hand (the one they want to carry over) when AA gets played and the Soviet player gets to see order the rest. I haven't tried this, but having suggested it I quite like the sound of it and might check it out myself
 
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Jason Sherlock
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Here is one that I came up with for my recent post regarding balancing TS

Quote:
2) Aldrich Ames - I never liked this card. It is also very random in its effects. If the US gets it, it is usually no big deal. If the Soviets get it, it could mean the end of the game for the US. I really hate seeing a player so badly punished just by a bad card.

Even thematically it doesn't make much sense. Ames cause the loss of cover and sometimes death of a number of agents. However, he didn't dictate US policy or let the Soviets do so. My idea is.

"US player must display his/her hand. USSR player then chooses one of the US player's cards. If it has an associated Soviet event or an event applicable to both players, then the event occurs immediately. If the card contains a US only event, then it is discarded."

Ames is still a very useful card with this fix, but not necessarily a game breaker.
 
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Galen
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MattDP wrote:
Depends what you don't like about it.

I have no issues with the US saving it and getting low-risk ops late in the round - there's plenty of cards on both sides that you can play that trick with. It's also not entirely without consequence since it reveals your carry-over card. It's hard to see how it could be changed to make it a more painful play for the US without seriously compromising it's unique effect. Perhaps something simple like "Defectors" is in order where it has different effects if played by different sides - in this case giving the USSR a VP bonus if played during a US round (I'd suggest 3VP).

The only I find slightly annoying about AA is the way it can force a USSR win based on pure luck if the US has a USSR event in their hand which results in a soviet defcon win. You could change this by saying that the US gets to keep one card in their hand (the one they want to carry over) when AA gets played and the Soviet player gets to see order the rest. I haven't tried this, but having suggested it I quite like the sound of it and might check it out myself


I like this idea. If the Us plays him the ussr gets 3VP. When the USSR plays Aldrich the US shows the USSR all but one card.
 
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