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Subject: Europe carries it for the USA rss

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Merric Blackman
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Sarah hasn't played that much Twilight Struggle, but she's getting more familiar with the game and better at playing it as a result. This wasn't a turn two or three victory - we got to the start of the tenth turn - but the writing was on the wall earlier for the Soviets.

A brief run-down of the theatres of the cold war:

Europe
Europe was dominated by the USA for most of the game. Initial control of Italy and England (and an unsuccessful coup in Italy from the Soviets) was solidified by control of France. An early blockade of West Berlin was unsuccessful, and otherwise any big moves into the battleground countries of either player were blocked. Was scored four times, the last ending the game as I headlined it in Turn 10, and reached 20 VPs thereby.

Asia
Sarah gained the early ascendancy here - I'd gained Pakistan, but a successful coup locked me out of the eastern side of Asia. Early scoring here favoured Sarah, but as the game progressed I gained control of most of Asia, and gained a lot of points thereby. South-East Asia scoring gained me 7 points, and a successful coup in Pakistan in about Turn 6 brought it (and shortly, Afghanistan) under my control. Use of the China Card (plus other cards) gave me India, and soon everything but North Korea was under USA control. Sarah regained Pakistan towards the end, but not soon enough to unseat my domination of the region.

Middle-East
Sarah gained domination of this region pretty early, including Israel, and I did my best to stop her gaining full control for any scoring period. Towards the end of the game, the Middle-East began to fall back towards the USA, with Egypt, Libya and Iraq coming under my control. Only one Muslim Revolution took place - when I was at my weakest, and so lost very few influence as a result. Perhaps even stranger, OPEC was never played for the event - I got it both times, the first time it was Space Raced, the second time it was in the same hand as North Sea Oil and was thus nullified.

Africa
Sarah used the Decolonization event to gain control of a lot of Africa early in the Mid-War, but was never able to gain a lot of points from it. The Voice of America, coups and useful event play put me back in the picture, and I gained domination of Africa late in the mid-war era and never let it go.

Central America
Central America was mostly ignored by me, and Sarah's grab of Mexico and Cuba allowed her to gain a few points, but the scoring card didn't come up that much and it didn't influence the action that much; eventually I reclaimed Mexico but it still didn't matter.

South America
Sarah had her most effective plays here, and kept domination of it through the game. Quite a lot of South America was red by the end of the game - possibly a bit too much, as the other parts of the world needed attention. Scoring was rare for South America.

Overall course of the game:
The very early part of the game saw Sarah ahead on points and me struggling to catch up, but at the end of the Mid-War, a second Europe scoring had given me a slight advantage on points. From there, a heavy movement into South-East Asia and its scoring card put me in the +7 to +10 VP area.

Sarah failed to draw the important USSR point-scoring cards (OPEC in particular), but drew ahead on the Space Race and gained some points thereby; the score moved back towards even, but at the end of the Mid War and throughout the Late War the points started to tumble in my direction, and Sarah's gains were much less than mine.

Turn 9 saw Asia Scoring and Africa, which moved me to +19 VPs, and I headlined Europe Scoring for turn 10 to take the game, although I also had Wargames in hand and so would have likely won by that method if the game had progressed further.
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