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Subject: was i just lucky? rss

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Italian Seismologist
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so, today after nearly a year of waiting to get to play TS i finally get a game.. me and
Green Dan
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pack the wives and kids off to the park while we sit down without the toddlers to play what we think is gonna be a 3hr game.

in reality it lasted about 1.5 and we got to turn 4 before the USSR (me) won on points victory. now, luckily we both really liked it and agreed that we should play it again as soon as.. did seem though that USSR was unbelievably lucky.

the game started of with what seemed like a pretty standard land battle in europe and a little in the middle east and asia, with most things going the way of the USSR because of a seemingly lucky draw of cards in the first round. The usa however pulled wildly ahead on the space race, playing a spacerace card in the headline and then successfully rolling for another one. neither of us really did much military action in the first round. by the end, the us was ~9 vps ahead though a mix of cards and the spacerace etc.

in the second round i (ussr) drew 3 scoring card.. i know that i discarded one in the headline by playing a us based 'discard a card' headline. knowing that several scoring cards were coming up i was able to pose big in europe and the middle east before scoring both of those highly. the us got further ahead on the space race. middle east scoring went in ussr favour as well, albeit with only two areas controlled. the us had played a card reducing all ussr op point uses in the turn but this seemed somewhat mitigated by so much scoring and not much placing of op points this turn.

round three went pretty standard as far as i could tell. some posturing in asia happened with the ussr moving forcibly into eastern europe and turning over a few us places there. asia was scored giving a few more points to ussr and 6 points from victory.

round 4 and according to the spacerace i have to show my headline before the states picks. i cannot remember what i played but the us played the cuba card so defcon goes to critical, stopping coup attempts anywhwere.. it is also at this point that we notice the ussr has limited ways of getting into the americas at all. first card played in the round (other than headlines) was the china card. then rounds followed normally with ussr moving heavily into east asia. the us played a few cards to mitigate damage there until i (ussr) played the europe score again.. enough to push it to a ussr victory.


so back to the original question. was the ussr lucky to get all the scoring cards that came up? or should the us have done more to mitigate the damage. until that point the us had little influence in the middle east or asia. and whilst they did have a pretty poor hand in the first round, subsequent rounds seemed in their favour. by the end of the game noone had made a single move into africa, and the ussr had control of every battleground in europe except france.

either way we both agreed that it was a pretty good game and that we are going to play it again. we can certainly see that we are gonna like it a lot when we get another chance.

and no, i cannot be arsed to capitalise letters on this crappy laptop, so there. IN SOVIET RUSSIA, KEYBOARD CAPS YOU!!!
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Adam Cirone
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femgoth wrote:
the game started of with what seemed like a pretty standard land battle in europe and a little in the middle east and asia, with most things going the way of the USSR because of a seemingly lucky draw of cards in the first round.


This seems reasonable, as the USSR has a slight advantage in the Early War.

femgoth wrote:
The usa however pulled wildly ahead on the space race, playing a spacerace card in the headline and then successfully rolling for another one. neither of us really did much military action in the first round. by the end, the us was ~9 vps ahead though a mix of cards and the spacerace etc.


How exactly did the US get to 9 VPs? From the Space Race, you could get at most 5 VPs in the first round. So where did the US get the other 4 from?

Also, your comment, "neither of us really did much military action in the first round" indicates that you do not yet realize the importance of coups. Especially as the USSR (going first on each turn), you have the initiative and should coup the US out of key areas (like Iran).

femgoth wrote:
in the second round i (ussr) drew 3 scoring card.. i know that i discarded one in the headline by playing a us based 'discard a card' headline.


Are you sure you played this correctly? Most of the cards that require that the USSR make a discard are random selection. Only Five-Year Plan is in the Early War deck (random discard) and while Defectors can also cancel a headline, you would have not had advance knowledge that the US was going to play it.

femgoth wrote:
knowing that several scoring cards were coming up i was able to pose big in europe and the middle east before scoring both of those highly. the us got further ahead on the space race. middle east scoring went in ussr favour as well, albeit with only two areas controlled. the us had played a card reducing all ussr op point uses in the turn but this seemed somewhat mitigated by so much scoring and not much placing of op points this turn.


I always say that getting scoring cards is not a bad thing at all... you can manipulate scoring timing to favor you. You did good here.

femgoth wrote:
round three went pretty standard as far as i could tell. some posturing in asia happened with the ussr moving forcibly into eastern europe and turning over a few us places there. asia was scored giving a few more points to ussr and 6 points from victory.


Getting a second Asia Scoring with the USSR in the lead, before the Mid-War cards come to help the US, certainly helped your victory.

femgoth wrote:
round 4 and according to the spacerace i have to show my headline before the states picks. i cannot remember what i played but the us played the cuba card so defcon goes to critical, stopping coup attempts anywhwere.. it is also at this point that we notice the ussr has limited ways of getting into the americas at all.


A very important observation. A critical aspect of TS strategy is learning how to block the other player from even accessing certain regions on the board. The use of Realignments by the US in Central and South America leave the USSR without a path into these regions. This is when De-Stalinization can be very helpful.

femgoth wrote:
first card played in the round (other than headlines) was the china card. then rounds followed normally with ussr moving heavily into east asia. the us played a few cards to mitigate damage there until i (ussr) played the europe score again.. enough to push it to a ussr victory.

so back to the original question. was the ussr lucky to get all the scoring cards that came up? or should the us have done more to mitigate the damage. until that point the us had little influence in the middle east or asia. and whilst they did have a pretty poor hand in the first round, subsequent rounds seemed in their favour. by the end of the game noone had made a single move into africa, and the ussr had control of every battleground in europe except france.


Considering you are both beginners, I assume unfamiliar with the deck contents, I don't think that this result was unusual. The USSR does have a slight advantage in the Early War, which is why the Chinese Civil War variant was created, along with the optional cards included in the deluxe version of the game.

Getting all the scoring cards was helpful, but obviously you also knew what to do to make the most use of them, so good play was part of your victory. With a little more experience, both players will be able to anticipate potential problems more easily, and most games will last into the Mid-War, when many of the events favor the US and the game gets on a more balanced footing.

femgoth wrote:
either way we both agreed that it was a pretty good game and that we are going to play it again. we can certainly see that we are gonna like it a lot when we get another chance.


Glad to hear that you enjoyed the game. TS is amazing, and I am sure you will have many more enjoyable hours learning its intricacies.
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No, based on your report I'd say luck had little to do with the outcome of the game. In particular, drawing three scoring cards as the USSR was a huge disadvantage, as those are essentially null plays that should have allowed your opponent to do real damage to your board position. I'm not a big believer in luck as a major factor in TS (over 80 games to my credit), and neither are most veteran players, but I can state unequivocally that a draw of three scoring cards is both rare and disastrous for either side.

Anyway, it's not luck, it's inexperience. The first several games between two new-ish players will produce some strange outcomes. If you're enjoying yourselves I wouldn't worry about it, but if the question is "was this a lucky outcome" the answer is "no."
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femgoth wrote:


in the second round i (ussr) drew 3 scoring card.. i know that i discarded one in the headline by playing a us based 'discard a card' headline.


To echo the first reply, this can only have been Five Year Plan, and that requires a random discard.
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Green Dan
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I think I should have done more Coups and realignments, and less sace stuff. I was very anti playing Red cards, as it seemed like giving an event to the opponent. Maybe that's just gonna happen and as long as you use the op points effectivley you can minimise the event damage.

Cool game anyhow, looking forward to playing again.
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yeah it was the 5yr plan card i played as my headline.. hoping that dan took one of the scoring cards as the discard and he did. not sure how he got ahead on points early on.. i think maybe we moved the VP track instead of ops track after a coup or something a few times.

i think as two newcomers to the game neither of us picked up on the coup thing cause noone really started it. a few in round one, but with three scoring in round 2 most points were spent trying to get up to dominance. round four it didnt happen because we got pushed to defcon 2. no excuse for round 3 really..

good game though..
 
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i would also say that we didnt have a problem with using the first edition either. as you can take from the first part of the OP we both have young toddlers so money has been tight recently. i have wanted TS for ages but was unsuccessful in trades for it, and none were in the market that i could afford. This copy then came up on ebay for £30 including postage and happened to end at the time i got paid, so i snapped it up.

the counters are a bit fiddly in this version and i assume that they fixed that. i may invest in a load of blue/red dice cheap off ebay to use instead of the counters.

the board itself seemed fine. it looked pretty much unplayed when it arrived and sat up from the table rather badly. some gentle counter-creasing of the folds gave us a pretty flat board though. i have nowhere to store a sheet of perspex that large unfortunately otherwise i would buy some to put over it. however in its absence i have clingfilm so i could clingfilm it to the table i suppose..

i have my copy up for trade all the time. if anyone is looking to downgrade to a first edition set (+ another game) then i may take them up on the offer.. i still feel that i would like the newer version, but think i may just have to save up for it if subsequent games are as enjoyable.
 
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Green Dan
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I thought the quality was fine. I didn't think the counters were too fiddly, and once the map was flat it was fine. Card stock seemed fine. The only difference seemed to be in the rulebook, I'd read the second edition, and it seemed to have more clarifications in it. What the difference between first and second ed? I'm not sure it'll be worth it.
 
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Italian Seismologist
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some extra cards, proper board and thicker counters i think... i am happy with my copy for now anyway...
 
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Russ Hewson
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Quote:
I can state unequivocally that a draw of three scoring cards is both rare and disastrous for either side


A bit overstated John, I've won both games (against decent opponents) where I've drawn 3 scoring cards in the first turn as the US and my best turn ever (18 VP scored) was a turn where I drew 3 scoring cards (also as the US). Never retreat, never surrender!

 
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Evgeny Reznikov
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femgoth wrote:
yeah it was the 5yr plan card i played as my headline.. hoping that dan took one of the scoring cards as the discard and he did. not sure how he got ahead on points early on.. i think maybe we moved the VP track instead of ops track after a coup or something a few times.


It would have been better to wait until you only had scoring cards (and 5 year plan) in hand, and then play it on an action round. This way you would get rid of a scoring card, and get 3 operation points as bonus, instead of gambling on the draw, and losing the card's operation points in the headline.
 
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true, but i also wanted to know early on where i had to move influence. wanted to score europe as soon as possible really. was a bit of a gamble i admit but it was the first time i played it let alone scoring dynamics.
 
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Evgeny Reznikov
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femgoth wrote:
wanted to score europe as soon as possible really.


Well, this suggests an alternate headline card (one with 0 ops, no less)
 
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azuredarkness wrote:
femgoth wrote:
wanted to score europe as soon as possible really.


Well, this suggests an alternate headline card (one with 0 ops, no less)


Be very careful if considering headlining a scoring card, assuming your opponent does not also headline a scoring card his headline will definitely resolve first and if it is something that affects the scored region you may not get the points you are expecting.
 
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Evgeny Reznikov
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TwoShedsJackson wrote:
azuredarkness wrote:
femgoth wrote:
wanted to score europe as soon as possible really.


Well, this suggests an alternate headline card (one with 0 ops, no less)


Be very careful if considering headlining a scoring card, assuming your opponent does not also headline a scoring card his headline will definitely resolve first and if it is something that affects the scored region you may not get the points you are expecting.

This is definitely true in general, but when you're stuck with three of them, you need to dump them with as little damage as possible, before the null rounds really start to hurt you.
The best one to dump on the 1st turn headline is probably ME scoring, as only two events affect it, and Destalinization would probably not be a Turn 1 USSR headline.
 
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i think it worked out ok for me in the end. i scored europe first and ME second i think (a bit hazy to be honest). i was already pretty well positioned in europe after the first round as Dan had a pretty bad hand and had bumped himself up the spacerace instead, and tried to mitigate other damage he may cause to his own position.

i then put the op points i had got into the ME to make sure i had dominance there before scoring. i think i was lucky to get the asia scoring back later on as at that point i was starting to spread east from my position. to get the europe card again finished it.

TBH i now know that we made several rule mistakes and perhaps i was further ahead on points than i should have been at that stage, but given that i was due to jump up the space track (the card that lets you go up by 2) after putting a card in, i think i may have won it anyway.

i want another game now dammit... both me and Dan are busy all the time though and with two toddlers on top of that finding time for a game is quite hard..
 
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Green Dan
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Yeah, we should Play again. WE could try online, but I'm pretty crap at maintaining online games.
 
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