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Twilight Struggle» Forums » General

Subject: Why is Thailand a Battleground State but Vietnam isn't? rss

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Patrick
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I've never heard of the Thailand War. Is this a misprint or was it intentional?
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Over 50 Gamer
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Oliver......one cool cat
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I don't know about you, but I would KILL for a good green curry and coconut rice.
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Andrew MacLeod
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And when, exactly, are we playing Churchill again?
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"Battleground" in Twilight Struggle doesn't necessarily mean....well, a battleground! It refers to those countries that are of key importance to the two superpowers. I believe it's similar to how I've heard some Americans describe certain States of theirs as "battlegrounds" during their presidential election campaigns: if a presidential candidate wants to win the election, then it's critical for him to control that State! Kinda the same sorta deal in Twilight Struggle.
Having said all that, it has (from Day One) struck me as strange that Vietnam is not a battleground country, given how much both superpowers invested into it. Thailand was of super strategic importance as well, and it makes sense that it's a battleground country. But not Vietnam? (Scratches head in puzzlement)
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Stephen
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Huh, I never noticed that. If it was a misprint I'd think it would have been caught by now. On the other hand, in the designer's notes at the back, it says there were three ways to be designated a battleground country, and the third is:

Quote:
Finally, if a nation was an actual battleground between the superpowers, like South Korea, it received battleground status.


So yeah, it really does seem like an oversight.
 
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L Gravel
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The paragraph below is from the design notes. However, the last criteria seems to beg the very question you're asking. I suppose the game designer decided Vietnam did not meet criterion 1 and 2, and decided that the war, even though it happened, did not have to happen.

The game designer certainly gave the Vietnam conflict its due in the cards.

Jim

Quote:
The second decision that warrants a bit more elaboration is what
nations were labeled battleground state. Basically, there were
three ways to attain this status. First, recognized regional powers
got it. The South American battlegrounds reflect this well. Secondly,
if a nation possessed important strategic resources, that also
meant battleground status. Obviously, most battlegrounds in the
Middle East, as well as Angola and Venezuela, would qualify here.
Finally, if a nation was an actual battleground between the superpowers,
like South Korea, it received battleground status. So, for
our English and Australian cousins, please know that we are not
ranking you behind our French allies. Instead, you are anchors of
US influence in Europe and Asia at the start of the game.
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Jeff Thompson
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Don't forget play balance.
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Tim Earl
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Thailand does sit at the entrance (or exit) to the busiest sea lane in the world.
 
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Jason Matthews
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I think we may have covered this ground on the Geek before, but in any event, it is not a mistake. First of all, the Vietnam War is the subject of 3 separate cards (Vietnam Revolts, Quagmire and South East Asian Scoring), which makes it one of the most represented events in the Cold War (The Arab-Israeli Conflict being the only sequence of events with more cards). Giving Vietnam 3 cards AND making it a battleground seems like overkill.

Then, there is the historical reality (and also the reason why SE Asian scoring is a 1 time event) with the war's aftermath. The domino theory implied that when Vietnam fell, the rest of South East Asia would go and then (poof) we'd lose the Cold War. Well, we did lose the war. Much of SE Asia did fall, and guess what, we didn't lose the Cold War. So, its possible to exaggerate the importance of the Vietnam War geopolitically (though it may have been a more seminal event domestically).

Finally, I think there is very credible evidence that the object of US policy was Thailand to begin with, and so viola, Thailand gets the star.

Jason
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Ethan Tan
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JasonMatthews wrote:
Much of SE Asia did fall, and guess what, we didn't lose the Cold War.


Hi Jason

Out of interest (as I'm South-east Asian), which countries are you referring to? The countries in South-east Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) are obvious examples. Okay Indonesia and Burma were also communist to varying degrees for a time. However, it seems that communism, and thus Soviet influence, was successfully suppressed in most major SEA economies, i.e. Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. As such, I doubt that SEA could be described as having fallen.

In fact, the heterogeneity of SEA would suggest that events in Vietnam were never going to have a significant impact beyond Indochina. So yes, I do think that the decision not to classify Vietnam as a "battleground" is justified.
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Patrick
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JasonMatthews wrote:
I think we may have covered this ground on the Geek before, but in any event, it is not a mistake. First of all, the Vietnam War is the subject of 3 separate cards (Vietnam Revolts, Quagmire and South East Asian Scoring), which makes it one of the most represented events in the Cold War (The Arab-Israeli Conflict being the only sequence of events with more cards). Giving Vietnam 3 cards AND making it a battleground seems like overkill.

Then, there is the historical reality (and also the reason why SE Asian scoring is a 1 time event) with the war's aftermath. The domino theory implied that when Vietnam fell, the rest of South East Asia would go and then (poof) we'd lose the Cold War. Well, we did lose the war. Much of SE Asia did fall, and guess what, we didn't lose the Cold War. So, its possible to exaggerate the importance of the Vietnam War geopolitically (though it may have been a more seminal event domestically).

Finally, I think there is very credible evidence that the object of US policy was Thailand to begin with, and so viola, Thailand gets the star.

Jason


Thank you very much good sir. Your explanation clears it up nicely.

And may I just say you make some damn good games. Cheers!
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Jason Matthews
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boing123 wrote:
JasonMatthews wrote:
Much of SE Asia did fall, and guess what, we didn't lose the Cold War.


Hi Jason

Out of interest (as I'm South-east Asian), which countries are you referring to? The countries in South-east Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) are obvious examples. Okay Indonesia and Burma were also communist to varying degrees for a time. However, it seems that communism, and thus Soviet influence, was successfully suppressed in most major SEA economies, i.e. Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. As such, I doubt that SEA could be described as having fallen.

In fact, the heterogeneity of SEA would suggest that events in Vietnam were never going to have a significant impact beyond Indochina. So yes, I do think that the decision not to classify Vietnam as a "battleground" is justified.


Hey Ethan, you are right of course, I was being a little imprecise with my geographic terminology. The former components of Indochina are what fell one after the other. Indonesia and Burma had their own set of problems but it would be hard to characterize them as "dominos" from the Vietnam War. Obviously, after the fall of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (and to some extent during) the US engaged in a rigorous containment strategy with respect to the rest of SE Asia. Of course, the Brits had already pursued their intervention in Malaysia. For a variety of reasons, it worked -- not the least of which is that most of these insurgencies had rationales independent of ideology (frequently they had an ethnic component). That reality sort of belies the domino theory in the first place.

Jason
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Ethan Tan
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Great. Thanks for the clarification.

P.S. Eagerly avaiting the new edition here. Seems like it'll be just 2 more weeks!
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