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Subject: Purpose of Nuclear Test Ban? rss

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Jamie Pollock
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Quote:
#34: 4 / Nuclear Test Ban (Both)
Player earns VPs equal to current DEFCON level minus 2, then improve DEFCON two levels.


Most 4 Ops cards present players with good events to encourage a decision. It has always bemused me that NTB is a 4 Ops card in which the associated event really really stinks. Does anyone actually play it as an event, ever? I can of rare situations where this could happen... like near the end of the game if the DEFCON ever got to 5 and players are chasing VPs. Even this way though, anyone

However, it does make me think that the card would have been a better design if the parts of it were simply ordered the other way round. For instance:

#34: 4 / Nuclear Test Ban (Both)
Improve DEFCON two levels. Player then earns VPs equal to current DEFCON level minus 2.


Now you would have a card that occasionally might be useful as an event, and as such would sometimes present a decision to the player more often than it currently does. Thematically speaking it also makes sense this way round...

 
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Kevin Brown
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Almost every time I've seen the event it has been because the card was snagged with Missile Envy.

I've used it once when I needed two points for an auto win and my opponent had just played How I Learned To Stop Worrying to move the DEFCON to 5. I've seen it used as an emergency DEFCON reducer when a Soviet had too many game enders in his hand.
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Ben Delp
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I haven't logged as many plays as others on BGG, but I agree wholewheartedly. Only once have I been tempted to play it for the VPs, and I was desperate to prevent prevent an auto-victory at the time; I still ended up taking the Ops points.
 
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Железный комиссар
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It comes up rarely, but is awesome when it does. Sometimes messing with Defcon can really screw up your opponent's plans.
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Steve Bauer
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It can be used by the US to get rid of Lone Gunman if you are otherwise leading but have no way to get Lone Gunman out of your hand. Same for CIA but USSR can always play CIA on round 1, the US may not get this chance.
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B Smith
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JohnRayJr wrote:
It comes up rarely, but is awesome when it does. Sometimes messing with Defcon can really screw up your opponent's plans.

I have an example from a game I played just this weekend.

I was the US player, and I did pretty well through the early war (ended it with a handful of VPs) but saw my board position deteriorate pretty noticeably throughout the mid war. The Soviets had the edge in almost every region, even dominating several of them.

At the beginning of the late war, I got a hand with the Asia scoring card, Chernobyl, and plenty of cards I was happy to use for ops. I also held the China card. I headlined Chernobyl and barred him from placing influence in Asia.

I then proceeded to take the continent by brute force, playing lots of ops to plunk down enough influence in India to break his control and take it for myself. Then I started looking at South Korea. I'd just need to break his control; that would secure my domination for play of the Asia scoring card.

Just before I went to do that, he played Nuclear Test Ban, bringing the DefCon back to 4. Now I was faced with a terrible choice on what to do with my turn. I could chance a coup; the odds of success weren't very good, but if it worked it would almost guarantee my domination of the continent. Or I could stick with my original plan, and place raw influence to break his control; he would almost certainly retaliate with a coup, and his odds were better than mine.

I tried to coup South Korea. No dice; it did nothing. When it came time to play the Asia scoring card, I got one measly point for all my efforts. Not a good return on investment at all -- and I could place the blame squarely on Nuclear Test Ban.
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Steve Bauer
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Couping a 3 stability country is almost always a mistake. You were too focused on Asia. If your opponent has any 1 or 2 stability battlegrounds anywhere on the board you should have couped there. This most likely would have worked forcing a counter-coup just to get back to even and you would then be up a card.

As USSR under Chernobyl I want to minimize the damage the US can due by causing as much trouble as I can in the rest of the world. As the US you have to accept you can't do it all and react to the USSR while trying to take over the Chernobyl area.
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