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Subject: First Game Ends With a Bang rss

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The Compulsive Completist
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My eleven year old son played our first game this weekend. I am still a bit shell shocked by the weight that is Twilight Struggle. Our gaming collection is comprised of light to medium weight games and this was our first dip into the "serious stuff". The rules weren't overly complicated but there is obvious a lot to keep track of. The number of decisions that need to be made is what is overwhelming.

That said, I thought I would let you know how things went. I am sure we have gotten things wrong but I am sure we are are mostly on the right track.

My son is a brilliant boy who I need to read the rules to once and it is locked in his brain. For the most part, he is the one who is clarifying the rules as we play: "No, you can't do that because..." and "We have to do this first because...".

I expected our first game to be just a few rounds because to get a feel of the game but because neither of us knew what true stratagies to use we were all over the place. Had an experienced TS player watched I am sure they would have been horrified.

I was the USSR and at one point I had five high OP point cards in my hand that all favored the US. One of these was Bear Trap (I believe, it was the US equivelent of "Quagmire") and I intentionally played it for its OP points so the event would trigger. With some "lucky" rolls i was able to dispose of two of my other cards that I wanted to trash. Was this palyed right? Not sure.

Well, we made it to the 10th round after about 4 1/2 hours. The whole game we helped eachother along..."Do this because it'll help you here..." and "If you did this it may set you up here...". Once again, A TS player my shudder at the thought but we weren't the coldest of war enemies.

It was the bottom of the third action round in the 10th round. I had conquered all but the last spot in the space race with my son a few spots behind. I was leading in all of the regions except maybe Asia. I was down by 11 VP. I thought when we got down to scoring it would be close. He was sure I was going to win. I decided to coup in some South American country just so I could get some Military Operation points. It was then that my son shouted "YOU LOSE!" The DEFCON was at 2 and I had forgotten to even pay any attention. 4 1/2 hours of trying to decipher TS's instructions and strategies had finally taken its toll. 4 1/2 hours.
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Adam O'Brien
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That is a perfectly legitimate way to play Bear Trap/Quagmire to ditch bad events from your hand.

I do find it funny that you play for 4.5 hours helping each other along, then get beaten by making an easily undone play. No take-backs in your learning game?

It is very cool that your 11yo can play such a great, heavy game with you.
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Dan Cepeda
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I, too, must admit that I was a little surprised that you did not allow for a takeback here. Especially considering this was a learning game, and you were almost finished.

I'd demand a rematch. :-)
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Conor Hickey
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It wasn't that friendly when it came to nuking the world, was it?

The Bear Trap play you made is entirely possible and even useful some times, but generally best avoided unless esssential as by guaranteeing your opponent 2 actions in a row he may use the first to break your control of an important Battleground and then follow it up with a big Ops card to take it himself.

If at all possible play your opponents starred events unless it is something you simply cannot have happen right now, better that you control when the event is played, and get ops to either repair the damage or shore up your position elsewhere, than it be recycled back into the deck and come back in his hand later when you will have no control over it's play.
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The Compulsive Completist
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iidhaegn wrote:
I, too, must admit that I was a little surprised that you did not allow for a takeback here. Especially considering this was a learning game, and you were almost finished.

I'd demand a rematch. :-)

I would like to think I would have allowed him a takeback but like I mentioned, he saw his demise coming and thought he wasn't going to come out on top. Had it been earlier in the game I'm sure he would have given me a bit of leeway.

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Jordan Kehrer
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was the country you couped a battleground country? only battleground country coups degrade defcon so you could still have done your play to get the military ops points without blowing up the world
 
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The Compulsive Completist
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That made my loss that much worse. There were so many more safe options available.
 
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Christopher Hill
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Awesome post! I'm a bit jealous though. My kids are older now, but I could never get them to even look at a game like TS, never mind play it.

In opposition to others in the post, I don't like take backs or mulligans and I think you did the right thing by not doing so. Being as it was your son who won, I am sure he was pretty excited about it. To take that away from him may leave him feeling unsatisfied even if he still ends up winning in the long run. Likewise, losing can be just as important because it teaches a kid how to deal with defeat and/or disappointment. Your reaction when you lost will go a long way in setting the example. If you said, "Wow son, great game! Congrats on your win." You have taught him how to lose gracefully. On the other hand had you said, "Whoops I screwed up. Lets take that back so I can do something else." Then I think a message of its not okay to lose is being sent, even if it is a subtle one. I realize your game was a learning one and some of what I am saying can be tempered because of it, but I still think the lessons are still important.

If I lose a game of TS because I play the Olympics card when Defcon is at 2 and my opponent boycotts (which I have done depsite it being mentioned in the rules), then I lose the game. I'd rather reset and play again, than do a "Whoops, you screwed up. Let's pretend it didn't happen and continue the game."

Anyway, sorry about the lengthy reply, but I love to read posts about fathers and sons playing games together. It brings back lots of memories of playing games with my dad when I was young.
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