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Onur Andic
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I got the game around a week ago, we only had time to play it for three times. All the time I was the US, I lost in all of them.

Having read hundreds of messages here, I felt better after I notice it is very common for US player to lose if both players are inexperienced.

However my opponent is someone who is very talented with board games (actually games overall) So even we got experienced and had better vision of what events will come out and when, I notice he finds a better way each time which worries me and makes me wonder if I never be able to beat his soviets.

Now my questions will be;

- Jason Matthews mentioned in his US tactics that without Fidel soviets will have a very hard time getting into americas. I find it hard to believe or we are playing it wrong. My opponent just say "Coup in Nicaragua" and with a good ops card and a good roll, here they are with 5 influence. Now how hard is it to penetrate, it is not hard at all. Are we playing it wrong?

- Our defcon is nearly always 2! As the soviets begin each round, my opponent begin with a coup attempt in a battleground country, and it goes down to 2 again. So after the first couple of turns, US can't make no coups in battlegrounds, can't make coups or realignments in Europe, Asia or middle east. Soviets however have the privilige of making the only battleground coup attempt PLUS they can do it in middle east. Now that i don't like. And I don't get why some events such as NATO is a valuable card, as I said our defcon is always 2, no coups in europe for both sides, never.. Or are we playing it wrong?

This is all i need to know for now, your help is appreciated.
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Ben
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unorew wrote:
So even we got experienced and had better vision of what events will come out and when, I notice he finds a better way each time which worries me and makes me wonder if I never be able to beat his soviets.

Are you playing with the optional cards included (intended to give more balance to the game by strengthening the US side)?


Quote:
Jason Matthews mentioned in his US tactics that without Fidel soviets will have a very hard time getting into americas. I find it hard to believe or we are playing it wrong. My opponent just say "Coup in Nicaragua" and with a good ops card and a good roll, here they are with 5 influence. Now how hard is it to penetrate, it is not hard at all. Are we playing it wrong?

Your opponent can only coup in a country where you have influence, not any random country. Therefore, his ability to enter the Americas is directly related to how well-fortified your position there is.


Quote:
Our defcon is nearly always 2! As the soviets begin each round, my opponent begin with a coup attempt in a battleground country, and it goes down to 2 again. So after the first couple of turns, US can't make no coups in battlegrounds, can't make coups or realignments in Europe, Asia or middle east. Soviets however have the privilige of making the only battleground coup attempt PLUS they can do it in middle east. Now that i don't like. And I don't get why some events such as NATO is a valuable card, as I said our defcon is always 2, no coups in europe for both sides, never. Or are we playing it wrong?

You are playing it correctly. That is the primary advantage of playing as the Soviets. Good US strategy needs to predict this behavior and work to disrupt it.
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Grant Johnson
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unorew wrote:
And I don't get why some events such as NATO is a valuable card, as I said our defcon is always 2, no coups in europe for both sides, never..


NATO's usefulness is compared with a few other cards. Special Relationship is a much better card when NATO is in effect (2 influence and 2 victory points). And Brush War is a nasty surprise that can't be played in Europe (i.e. Italy) once NATO goes into effect.
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Michael Kiefte
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Quote:
Jason Matthews mentioned in his US tactics that without Fidel soviets will have a very hard time getting into americas. I find it hard to believe or we are playing it wrong. My opponent just say "Coup in Nicaragua" and with a good ops card and a good roll, here they are with 5 influence. Now how hard is it to penetrate, it is not hard at all. Are we playing it wrong?


If the Soviets have no influence in the Americas, you don't have to give him an easy opportunity. Keep your Influence in Battleground Countries (can't coup when DEFCON at 2) or countries with high stability like Costa Rica and keep your Influence high. The disadvantage of this strategy is that you're unlikely to have any Influence in South America yourself as you must go through Columbia which will easily give the USSR a coup target. May not be the best strategy, but you can keep the USSR out of the Americas until Allende or Fidel gets played.

Quote:
Our defcon is nearly always 2! As the soviets begin each round, my opponent begin with a coup attempt in a battleground country, and it goes down to 2 again. So after the first couple of turns, US can't make no coups in battlegrounds, can't make coups or realignments in Europe, Asia or middle east. Soviets however have the privilige of making the only battleground coup attempt PLUS they can do it in middle east. Now that i don't like.


That situation is perfectly normal. Some cards will let the US player play Ops in the Headline Phase or drop DEFCON to 2 before the USSR player has a chance to coup anywhere and those cards are generally good to play. You can get your Mil Ops by playing war cards or couping in Non-Battleground countries in Africa or the Americas.

Quote:
And I don't get why some events such as NATO is a valuable card, as I said our defcon is always 2, no coups in europe for both sides, never.. Or are we playing it wrong?


I don't think anyone claimed that NATO was a valuable event. It usually happens because the USSR player played it. It does protect Italy from Brush War, however, but, no, it's not the most valuable card in the deck for the event. It is worth 4 Ops though!
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Karl Bunyan
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unorew wrote:

- Jason Matthews mentioned in his US tactics that without Fidel soviets will have a very hard time getting into americas. I find it hard to believe or we are playing it wrong. My opponent just say "Coup in Nicaragua" and with a good ops card and a good roll, here they are with 5 influence. Now how hard is it to penetrate, it is not hard at all. Are we playing it wrong?


Avoid going into Nicaragua as the US, then. Costa Rica is virtually uncoupable. Getting into the americas as the USSR can be hard if all of the following comes together for the US:

- Fidel is buried/space-raced/discarded
- A coup in Panama is out of the question
- Allende is buried or delayed long enough
- Destalinization is used early for influence elsewhere, or doesn't come up at all
- The US leaves no easy coup targets (e.g. Nicaragua or Columbia, or any 2-stability battleground)

I've also found that if the US loses Panama without having a fallback in Costa Rica it can be even harder to prevent USSR domination of South America. Maybe I'm just a bad player, though .

unorew wrote:
- Our defcon is nearly always 2! As the soviets begin each round, my opponent begin with a coup attempt in a battleground country, and it goes down to 2 again. So after the first couple of turns, US can't make no coups in battlegrounds, can't make coups or realignments in Europe, Asia or middle east. Soviets however have the privilige of making the only battleground coup attempt PLUS they can do it in middle east. Now that i don't like. And I don't get why some events such as NATO is a valuable card, as I said our defcon is always 2, no coups in europe for both sides, never.. Or are we playing it wrong?


Not wrong - that's the way it happens. But some cards are your friends: Cuban Missile Crisis, Duck and Cover, Missile Envy, sometimes CIA created... These and others can help at headline (with some risk) to get the defcon down to 2 or even get the first coup in as the US.

A US tip that's all over the strategy forums: use your final action round to give the USSR something to deal with. e.g. challenge them in a battleground country, so if they coup you can take it on your first round.
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Onur Andic
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No one actually said Nato is valuable however seeing it has a prequisite card and a high op value i figured Nato is very valuable as an event. I get that TS is not a game for such rulings.

As for the optional cards, we put them apart and played the chinese civil war. Maybe I should add them back before i lose my mental state.

Thanks for the tactics though, i will try to do all these things. Though I don't know why but i feel like soviets usually have such a good hand in the early war that my opponent first counters my last action and then went on to cause another problem for me somewhere on the board. In one action round of course..
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Michael Kiefte
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unorew wrote:
No one actually said Nato is valuable however seeing it has a prequisite card and a high op value i figured Nato is very valuable as an event. I get that TS is not a game for such rulings.


I think the prerequisites are purely historical. NATO is slightly more valuable with Special Relationship, but, as the US player, I wouldn't often go out of my way to play that event.

Quote:
As for the optional cards, we put them apart and played the chinese civil war. Maybe I should add them back before i lose my mental state.


Chinese Civil War may not be the best way to start playing the game.

Quote:
Thanks for the tactics though, i will try to do all these things. Though I don't know why but i feel like soviets usually have such a good hand in the early war that my opponent first counters my last action and then went on to cause another problem for me somewhere on the board. In one action round of course..


That's also normal. The Soviets start strong and the deck favours them in the early war. The Soviet player has to be careful which events he plays because many of those cards are removed from the deck once their event is played. The deck slowly becomes more favourable to the US player as new decks are shuffled in.

The USSR player has to win early in the game. The US player has to last long and win in the end. There are many exceptions, but that's the trend.
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Grant Johnson
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Also, make sure you use the Defcon 2 situation to your advantage. It makes a card like Duck and Cover a pain for the USSR to play. And things like CIA created can win you the game if you can use it to throw a coup when Defcon is at 2.

And watch out for Lone Gunman! That trick works both ways!
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Железный комиссар
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A Quick Comment:

NATO is one of the most ineffectual events in the whole deck, unless you add the optional card "Special Relationship." So you are correct about that. The value of the card is in the 4OPs.

High OPs are not always paired with strong events. Decolonization is arguably the strongest Soviet event in the early war, and it is only a 2OP card. Nuclear Test Ban is a 4OP card with a fairly weak event, and so on.

You mentioned that Defcon is at 2 for most of your gametime. That is common, and indicates that you and your opponent understand that part of the game.

As other people have noted, coups can only be declared in countries that have your opponent's influence. So couping Nicaragua should not be an option for your opponent unless you placed influence there first.

Lastly, the optional cards represent one way to strengthen the US side. There are concerns that this may be more "balanced" but also "swingy," given the ripple effects of the opening coup in Iran. If you want to balance the game a bit without using the optional cards, try adding +1 US IP to Iran and +1 in Western Europe during the setup. That will help nudge things in the right direction.

+1 in Iran ought to be standard by now.
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I see 2 non-connecting issues here.

1 - Play Balance:
Topics have been raised on the issue, but general consensus is hard to find. CCW-variant is a way, but I wouldn't recommend it for the first plays. Optional cards are a second way, but in my book (strictly MY opinion), they do add flavour, but don't balance that well (think about CHE).
A 3rd way is extra IP for the US player at the start (3IP seems to do a good deal of balancing).
Having said that, my regular opponent and me use both the optional cards and 2 or 3 extra IP for the US.

2 - US strategy
Yes, The US player will be in a fire-fighting modus for the early war. It's supposed to be that way.
Jason's tactics are good, but need to be taken with some consideration about how your USSR opponent is acting.
Burning starred USSR event is very important (don't try to space everything), as is keeping soviet infiltration to the americas and africa to a minimum (or none at all).

In short I would mostly only consider repeating events on the space race (socialist gov's, Decol) and would try to play the starred events (if you have them as the US, he doesn't, this is very important in minimalizing the events' effects).

Classic example is playing Suez Crisis when you don't have any influence in France and only your 1IP in Israel (make sure you take Lebanon).
After that you could play De Gaulle on AR6.
The USSR has to make a choice between taking france in his first action round, and therefor forfaiting his coup, which makes his position in the ME weaker (think Iran).

Hope it helps.
Cheers, Haring
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Michael Kiefte
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JohnRayJr wrote:
If you want to balance the game a bit without using the optional cards, try adding +1 US IP to Iran and +1 in Western Europe during the setup. That will help nudge things in the right direction.

+1 in Iran ought to be standard by now.


Adding Influence to Iran at setup is typical in tournament play or between experienced players. I'd suggest not fiddling with the setup until you get the hang of the game and find out why you should put Influence in Iran.
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