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Subject: Determined on the 1st Turn? rss

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Monkey Luffy
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I have played Twilight Struggle 20+ games so far. I have a feel that initial cards in hand and coup luck basically determine the whole game at a very large extent.

One time I had 2 scoring cards and Fidel, Destalinization, Decolonization, Suez Crisis, Romanian Abdication, NATO in my initial hands. I struggled for the whole game to make up what I lost from the 1st turn and almost came back from USSR VP+18 but lost by Wargames card when USSR was VP+7.
 
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The first turn is important, yes. But does it determine the whole game? I don't agree.

The hand you described isn't that bad. 2 scoring cards means that are low on ops, but having Suez is good, having De-stal and De-col is even better.

If you play the scoring cards early (action round 1 or 2), you will most probably end up with a very low vp score, which benefits the US.
without De-stal and de-col the USSR will have a hard time expanding accross the planet.

Prepare yourself for the americas and Africa (expand from SA) and try do bury as much of his events as possible on the way. By the time you reach Turn 5 or so, you could be in a far more dominant position then he is.

Cheers, Haring
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Jack Smith
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I find positioning and timing more important than bad luck. To a large extent luck can be mitigated or managed and it is roughly balanced out over the game. Assuming a loss is caused by the opening hand is ignoring all the other things your opponent did to win. It also ignores any mistakes you made in dealing with the bad luck.

You didn't say if you used one of the optional rules which are there to reduce the early USSR swings which can occur.
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Kevin Brown
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Bad hands can always be overcome with good play.
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Check out this thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/435651/chris-withers-com...
 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Also check out the results from the World Boardgaming Championships tournament:

http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook11/twspge.htm

Stefan Mecay has won 5 years out of 6, in fields of more than 50 contestants every year (in a single elimination tournament.) It seems clear that he has learned to win the game no matter what his starting hand looks like, and even with some bad luck on the dice.

Either that or he's really really lucky.
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Basar Cenik
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In my experience, this is a game in which a less experienced player has almost no chance of winning against a better player. I've been on both sides of this. I've had opponents that I've never beaten, opponents that I've never lost to. In my mind, there is no question skill and experience play a huge part.
Between players of equal skill, what you roll for the first round coup in Iran is indeed very important. However, over 10 turns luck usually balances out.
Having your opponents cards in your hand is usually a good thing. You can rid the deck off of starred events, hold/space the worst repeating events, and play the rest when it hurts you the least.
For the hand you describe, I would headline one of the scoring cards, space destalinization (or discard to lift "blockade") and hold decolonization (hopefully to space on turn 3). With Fidel, I would normally realign immediately, but if you absolutely need the 3 OPs elsewhere because of the second scoring card, you can live with a Soviet Cuba. Suez is no problem, add 1 influence in Lebanon on in the previous round (perhaps with Romanian Abdication), you can immediately go back into Israel after the event.
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Conor Hickey
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llenroccc wrote:
I have played Twilight Struggle 20+ games so far. I have a feel that initial cards in hand and coup luck basically determine the whole game at a very large extent.

One time I had 2 scoring cards and Fidel, Destalinization, Decolonization, Suez Crisis, Romanian Abdication, NATO in my initial hands. I struggled for the whole game to make up what I lost from the 1st turn and almost came back from USSR VP+18 but lost by Wargames card when USSR was VP+7.


The cards in hand every turn are going to determine who wins a game of TS, it's a card-driven game.

Coup luck can sometimes be useful but if you have played in a way that you absolutely must make some critical coup roll, there may be something else better you could do, or could have done previously so as not to lead to that situation.

A large part of strategy/skill in TS is minimising the luck you need in a game, it's why a player like Stefan Mecay wins constantly, he knows how to get the absolute most out of every op and event in his hand, every turn.
 
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Kevin Brown
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Eric Brosius wrote:
Stefan Mecay has won 5 years out of 6, in fields of more than 50 contestants every year (in a single elimination tournament.) It seems clear that he has learned to win the game no matter what his starting hand looks like, and even with some bad luck on the dice.

Either that or he's really really lucky.


I've played against him. He's not that lucky.
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