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Subject: Big win end game win to USSR and I hate Bear Trap rss

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John Clark
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Bill and I played our 5th (?) game of TS last night. I won't go through the gory details. The game went to full distance but after final scoring USSR was about -35 and won or tied every region, including holding controlling every battleground in Europe except Italy, which I only got with a late play of Brush War and a roll of 6.

In retrospect I made a horrible error right at the start. I was dealt a few nasty USSR cards, including De Gaulle. I figured that if I put zero influence in France at the start of the game then I could play this card early with only the 'loss' of one USSR influence in France and then put 3 influence in France myself. Trouble was Bill then kept reinforcing France the whole game which game him access to other neighbouring countries and this was bad.

We had a good struggle over the Middle East and Asia. The India-Pakistan war went very well for me but Muslim Revolution hurt bad (surely this event should be removed when played - it just seems too strong.

The big problem happened in around Turn 7 when Bill played Bear Trap and I rolled 5 or 6 FOUR times. So while I did nothing except discard my decent hand of cards Bill pumped a ton of influence in Europe. At one point he controlled every Europe battleground country with a buffer of one influence in each! I was left with a couple of 1-ops cards and TWO scoring cards, so I fell way behind on points and board position and never recovered.

I had played Quagmire earlier but Bill got out of it first try, so this is where I rant for a bit. There are a lot of powerful cards in TS, but most of them have non-random results: Aldrich Ames sucks but at least its a standard amount of horror. When the Quag/Bear results are heavily different then that is really unfun, in the sense that it seriously decreases the enjoyment of the game far beyond simply "I am losing". Really, those cards don't belong in a game which takes three hours - they are silly 'take that' random cards suitable for a ten minute game of Flux. They are not even particularly thematic - at least the Ames card is capturing an actual event of the Cold War in a intuitive way (albeit far too powerful compared to the actual event). Quag/Bear are simply annoying cards which seem to run on the theory that they are available for both sides so they don't affect game balance. Wrong. TS is not a game like Stone Age or Axis and Allies or even WOTR where you roll dice so many times that it mostly averages out in the end. Anyway, as someone else (Houjix?) has said, cards which actually reduce your decisions (Ames, Quag/Bear) make a game less satisfying. OK, I'll end the rant now.

Regardless of the Quagmire results Bill did play better and would have won anyway so that was ok. As far as strategy goes Bill has a better grasp of things - I think he has won every game we have played. I am not very good at hiding the fact I am holding a scoring card, so Bill can usually negate my stuff. Bill is much quicker than I am at picking up strategies - he won 7 out of our first 8 WOTR games but we have been pretty even since then - but I am not sure if I will ever be very good at TS - the choices each turn are a bit overwhelming.
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Tim Schwarz
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I agree that it is strange that BT/Q doesn't get easier to get out of (such as +1 for each previous attempt).

But not thematic?!? surprise What would a Cold War game be like without the US invasion of Vietnam or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?
 
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John Clark
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Talltim wrote:
But not thematic?!? surprise What would a Cold War game be like without the US invasion of Vietnam or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?


Oh, I should have explained that better ... to me, these cards look like a case of deciding on what the card would do (which might have looked like a good idea at the time but should have been modified to something less random after testing) and then coming up with a 'theme' for it. Obviously I might be wrong on that but that's how it looks to me.

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Dan
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I say go ahead and house rule it!
 
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N P
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Well you rolled a 1 out of 81 shot. We've played quite a few games 20+ and never had more than 2 rolls. You could make a house rule with a 3 round max.
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Gregory Palmer
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johnclark wrote:
The big problem happened in around Turn 7 when Bill played Bear Trap and I rolled 5 or 6 FOUR times.


Just to note, "Bear Trap" affects the USSR player and "Quagmire" affects the US player.

I list several suggested House Rules to fix this and other real or perceived play balance issues in my Ratings Remarks for this game.

Allow (after any current aggregate Ops modifications) a -1 DRM to any roll made using a 3 Ops card and a -2 DRM to a 4+ Ops card (thus assuring extrication). If you choose to employ minimum resources to solve the problem you may still get stuck for 6 or 7 rounds but if, as in the real world, you divert more resources and national attention to the problem you stand a better chance of getting out. Also, add +1 to the Ops value of the discard if the card's Event is exclusive to the phasing player. Thus, a 1 Ops card the Event for which is exclusive to the phasing player can be used to satisfy the miniumum requirement for play (after including any aggregate effects such as Red Scare/Purge).
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James Parks
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Yeah, 4 misses is big. Usually I think Bear Trap/Quagmire is a way to get of one or two big opponent events. I think there are other events that hammer you far worse as the US than Quagmire. The Muslim Revolution/OPEC combo seems to often mark the beginning of the end for the US in a lot of our games. And of course the dreaded Aldrich Ames, and Wargames.
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