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Subject: The final Defcon review rss

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Here it is: My guide to defcon wins and loses.
Most important is the list of bad cards followed by my own experience and strategy.

1) Dangerous cards

These cards reduce Defcon and are unconditional
- Duck & Cover
- We will bury you
- Kal-007

The following cards need a coup target which is generally easy to get

- CIA created
- Lone gunman
- Grain sales
- Tear down this wall

And these cards are conditional

- Missile Envy
If you play missile envy at defcon 2 you risk that your opponent gives you one of the unconditional cards (D&c, WWBY or Kal007). Remember that event who are usually not dangerous because they are neutral events (like olympic games or summit) become death traps with Missile envy. If these cards are out of the deck you can go ahead and play it. I think it is pretty safe to play it as headline, but it is dangerous at defcon 2 and during the turn.

- Ortega elected
Needs us influence in Cuba.

- Star Wars
If the US can claim any dangerous card from the discard pile you are toast if you play this as the russians.

-Five year plan
You might draw D&C or Kal007 as the Us if you play this as an event. It is not that likely but possible.

Conclusion: The Udssr has a lot more cards to worry about. It may often be necessary to play these cards instead of a first turn coup. The big thing for the Us is "Lone gunman". It is absolute priority to get rid of it as soon as possible (and it is way better to trigger the event than to just get rid of it by "Ask not.." or "Containment"+Space Race.

2) Ways to lose

a) Noob mistakes
Everybody loses through CIA at least one time. Dont play cards that give your opponent OPs or free coups. Dont gamble with summit or "missile envy" at Defcon 2 (these events are often crappy even if you dont lose, so it is not a high risk high reward play but a bonehead play)

b) Hand depletion

When your hand gets depleted you might be forced to play a losing card. Here are the most important things to avoid this tragic ending: Hold the china card (it is very hard to lose when you can hold 1 more card in your hand), think at the start of your turn (dont own yourself by playing UN intervention and cutting your own hand).
Most important though is it to keep your hand clean. Sure, you could horde CIA or Lone gunman for some turns but somewhere along the line you have to play it. So you might as well go ahead and play it now. If you decided that 2 cards are too bad to play this turn, space race the Defcon card first (for example, if you have "Grain sales" and "Voice of america" in your hand, space race grain sales first and hold voice. If you get hit by "Purge" next round and cant hold a extra card for whatever reason at least you are not going to die)

On the other side there are many ways to help your opponent selfdestruct. First and most important: You need the "China Card". Play "Red Scare/Purge" to deny him opportunity to space race dangerous cards, then cut his hand size through "Terrorism", "Blockade", "Five-Year plan". Also if you have good alternatives dont help him by playing "Ask not.." as the russian player or by increasing Defcon during the turn through "Salt" or other cards. It might be worth it to play Salt or even "Nuclear Test Ban" but your opponent might seize the opportunity to get rid of defcon cards.

c) Combo Headline
If both players decrease the defcon during the headline phase one player will lose. The russians will very rarely decrease defcon because they want their first turn coup. So it is relative safe to play defcon lowering events as american. Often these combo headline death include Missile Envy. The Us decreases the Defcon with his headline and gives the Ud player "We will bury you".
I think it is worth it to headline "Lone Gunman" in the late war or end of the midwar, just because you will automatically lose when the soviets play "Aldritch". But be aware that the play of "Junta" or "Cuban Missile" by the soviets will lose you the game.
If your opponent can see your headline, dont play a dangerous card ever.
Another thing to remember: It is possible to decrease Defcon by several levels in the headline phase (by playing "Cuban Missile" or "How I learned"), so you are not safe when Defcon is at 4 or 5.

d) Aldrich Ames
If you get hit by Aldritch while you have lone gunman you will lose.
Get rid of "Lone gunman" immediatly. As soon as possible.
Note that if you dont have "Lone Gunman" in your hand you hardly lose. There simply arent enough Udssr card to kill you when you remember to space race the one dangerous card. If you have influence in Cuba (bad idea), draw "Ortega" and "We will bury you" and your oponent plays "Aldritch Ames", well.. it just wasnt your day.
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It's just a ride...
Bury St Edmunds
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Nice summary.

They may help to beat you on WGR one of these days...

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Carlos Machado
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Headline is realy tricky... I'm still getting used to the game, just like my girlfriend. We both played only 3 sessions.

Tonight I (USSR) played a session with my girlfriend (US) and the game ended just because of the headline phase. The Defcon was at 4 at the beggining of the 5th turn. I had the advantage on the space track up to the space that I could see her headline phase card before I choose mine. She used "Missile Envy" (2 ops). I used "Cuban Missile Crisis" as my Headline (3 ops), so my card took effect first, lowering the Defcon to 2. My cards with the highest op value were "Duck and Cover" and "Brush War" (both with 3 ops). I handed "Duck and Cover", so as result of her headline card she decreased the Defcon by 1, loosing the game by bringing the nuclear war...

It was so sad... but well... Next Cold War we both we'll be ready for this... hehehe
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