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Subject: Notes taken after first TS game rss

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Dr Jack
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Hello. Last night we had our first game of TS. I won at turn 5 (reached 20 VPs) playing as USSR. It was great fun and I'm looking forward to be playing it again! Below are some things I learned after the first game. This is not supposed to be a strategy guide, I'm far from considering myself good enough to write one, just some mental notes I made during the game and I think are worth sharing. I hope you will enjoy the read!

1) The first and most important thing to note is that TS in the end is about points. I always had to remind myself that when I had to make a decision. While having a superior position on your opponent is important in the end what matters is how many VPs you get from it. This means that if a certain scoring card has been used can shift you focus to other regions until the deck is reshuffled. Last night I believe this is one of the things that brought me to victory. While me opponent constantly tried to control the whole board, I focused on regions that weren't scored yet and because of that I won most of the scoring rounds.

2) I found that one of the most important things to do in TS is damage control. It is possible to get a nasty hand. For example in our game last night if my hand has been slightly better I could have gained control over Europe and score it (I had the scoring card in my hand) at turn 3. However I was given a nasty hand and the opportunity was lost. If you get a nasty hand or card, don't give up! Make sure the damage is minimal, as I witnessed myself, a clever use of your cards will minimize greatly their effect.

3) As a player you must always keep your opponent under pressure. If your opponent has nothing to worry about he can do whatever he wants. However if you attack him from everywhere he will have no choice but spread his resources to counter your moves. Make sure your enemy always has something to worry about so his focus will shift to where ever you want his focus to be. Make him spend resources to counter your attacks instead of using them for his own needs. For example last game my opponent spent some resources during his turn to gain control over a few south American countries. I had to spend a card at the worst time just so I could fight back. He made me waste much more resources than he did.

4) Coups. It took us a whole turn to understand how critical they are, however once we realized how powerful coups were we used them all the time. Coups are your way to grab control over a distant country, to shift completely the whole situation in the region. It doesn't matter where the target country is, as long as you can roll right (with the aid of some OPs). That means you can affect and even gain control over countries even if they are far from your reach. Committing a coup at the right time and in the right location could shatter your opponent's position.

5) Much of TS has to do with territory. The main way to get points is by controlling countries. Controlling the right countries will help you spread your influence more effectively. Some countries will be able to affect many adjacent countries, while others will have no real importance. You as a player must find and control countries that will be influential but not vulnerable. I for example as USSR found controlling countries such as Yugoslavia, Iran, Israel and more was critical. Controlling them gave me or the opponent huge benefits.

6) I found using defcon as a defensive tool to be very helpful. During our game I suspected my opponent was holding the South-East Asia scoring card. He tried to execute coups again and again in SE Asia and I didn't have the means to defend myself. So, I couped a battleground, reduced defcon to 3, and that was it! Asia was protected from his coups I won the scoring. Also, setting defcon to 2 will put a lot of pressure on your enemy, it will limit his action greatly.

7) All VPs matter, even small amounts. Last night my opponent invested his power in Africa and Central America while I deserted them. He managed to score 5 points altogether, 5 points I could have easily stopped him from getting.

8) In the end TS is a card-driven game. Knowing the cards is important. Last night the two first turns were awkward as we had no ideas what is expecting us. However once cards were reshuffled and we had some idea what may be happening we were able to make smarter moves. Also TS is about playing cards at the right time and in the right way. You always need to consider pros and cons of different moves and consider timing. Ask yourself, will I benefit more if I will hold this move and play it later? Can the OPs benefit me more than the event? etc.

9) Low stability countries are - as you might have guessed - unstable. Italy, Egypt, Iran are only some of the low-stability countries that saw yesterday repeated coups. After a few turns I learned how important it is to re-enforce them with more IPs to prevent complete shift of power.

That's it. This is what I got so far. I hope you enjoyed your read and found some of the notes helpful.
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Железный комиссар
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Yeah, this is definitely going to be your type of game. Great report!
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Dr Jack
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I think you are right Jack, I enjoyed TS a lot and I don't think I'll stop enjoying it anytime soon. TS has many of the things I'm looking for in a game; Rich theme, clever mechanics, replayability, requires deep thinking, tense, with learning-curve, etc.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Adam Cirone
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I agree with all your well-made points, but I want to add a little advice of my own. Recently, I have realized the power that controlling access, mentioned in your section about territory, can give a player and thus hinder his opponent. In my last game, through a few mistakes from my opponent and good plays on my part, I was able to keep the USSR out of Africa and Central America. Even though these are lower scoring regions, since I had Control and my opponent did not have Presence, I came away with a lot of VPs.

I believe there needs to be a tension between gaining VPs and controlling territory. In the same game, my opponent put some influence in Asia, breaking my Control of several important countries and giving him a foothold in a region from which he had nearly been removed (N. Korea being his last stronghold). I countered with Voice Of America to take the influence back out, so that I could maintain my grip on Asia, even though the Asia Scoring card was in the discard pile, and we were not due for a reshuffle for another turn. I think it was a good choice though, because in the long run, preventing USSR access to Asia in the present would mean less headaches for the US down the road.
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Dr Jack
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts Adams! I agree completely, even if a region was scored already you must make sure you can maintain your position there. Don't let your opponent get too much control there, after all it might be scored again!
 
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Matt R
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I too am new to this game and have only had the chance to play it a couple of times. I think most of the posts I've read here on BGG are from folks who have been playing this game for years so I, for one, really learned some pointers from your post.

One additional thing I've learned is that sometimes its more advantageous to not play your own event if you draw a high-Ops card. This allows the card to go back into the reshuffles and, even if you opponent gets the card and can use it for Ops, they still have *your* event on the card! This works especially well with the Early War cards because long-term they'll see the most reshuffling.
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Noonespecial wrote:
I too am new to this game and have only had the chance to play it a couple of times. I think most of the posts I've read here on BGG are from folks who have been playing this game for years so I, for one, really learned some pointers from your post.

One additional thing I've learned is that sometimes its more advantageous to not play your own event if you draw a high-Ops card. This allows the card to go back into the reshuffles and, even if you opponent gets the card and can use it for Ops, they still have *your* event on the card! This works especially well with the Early War cards because long-term they'll see the most reshuffling.


Absolutely. This is a crucial point for the Americans in particular, who have to play the long game.
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Dr Jack
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Noonespecial wrote:
I too am new to this game and have only had the chance to play it a couple of times. I think most of the posts I've read here on BGG are from folks who have been playing this game for years so I, for one, really learned some pointers from your post.

One additional thing I've learned is that sometimes its more advantageous to not play your own event if you draw a high-Ops card. This allows the card to go back into the reshuffles and, even if you opponent gets the card and can use it for Ops, they still have *your* event on the card! This works especially well with the Early War cards because long-term they'll see the most reshuffling.


I completely agree with you! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for the positive feedback.
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D Weimer
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Noonespecial wrote:
I too am new to this game and have only had the chance to play it a couple of times. I think most of the posts I've read here on BGG are from folks who have been playing this game for years so I, for one, really learned some pointers from your post.

One additional thing I've learned is that sometimes its more advantageous to not play your own event if you draw a high-Ops card. This allows the card to go back into the reshuffles and, even if you opponent gets the card and can use it for Ops, they still have *your* event on the card! This works especially well with the Early War cards because long-term they'll see the most reshuffling.


One thing the newb does frequently is play CIA (as U.S.) or Lone Gunman (as U.S.S.R.) as the event. "Why in the world shouldn't I? I get the op point either way, and get to see my opponent's hand, too."

Play it for ops. Shuffle that sucker back in and hang the albatross on your opponent's neck.
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