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1989: Dawn of Freedom» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Brutal and short first game rss

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Jason Sherlock
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I have been looking forward to playing 1989 for some time now. A few weeks ago it arrived, read the rules, but a business trip delayed me getting to try it. Yesterday, I broke out the game, taught my girlfriend and we began our battle over the fate of Eastern Europe (her taking communists and me taking democrats).

I started the game with Poland scoring and what appeared to be an otherwise highly mediocre hand. I focused my setup on Poland, figuring that it was much more salable than Hungary and was the higher priority. Rebecca set up with a stronger presence in Hungary,but did not neglect Poland.

First turn had us mainly scrapping it out in Poland, and I played the scoring card while having the advantage in number of locations. Things looked good in my Power struggle hand, so I raised the stakes. Rebecca managed to win the power struggle and proceeded to roll a 6 on the support table followed by a 5 on the VP table. Not a great start to my revolution.

Second turn was brutal. I had a slew of 2 ops cards, and she pulled off some crazy support rolls that just about threw me out of Hungary (pretty much all that I had was 6 influence in Bucharest to her three. Rebecca played Hungary scoring on the last action round. To add insult to injury, I had a hand full of leaders that I could not use. She beat me down in the power struggle, and ended up with control of Hungary.

Things were looking bad, but I figured that my position in Poland was salvageable, and that it could get me the points that I needed to ride out these initial losses. So, I sent State Run Media to Tienanmen square, and figured that 3rd turn would be better.

I got a great 3rd turn hand, but it was of no consequence. Rebecca lead with Hungarian scoring. She had control going into the struggle, and there was no way to fight this one. The struggle ended with her at -24 points.

It was a good teaching experience. I learned quite a bit about the dynamics of the game. Even though 1989 resembles Twilight Struggle, it is a very different game, and giving up a region is not as viable as it can be in TS. I was looking at Hungary like it was South America in TS and figured that I could let it go in favor of the big prize of Poland (and hopefully E. Germany in the mid game). I will not make that mistake again.
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I had the opposite experience in my first game, which was with the wife too.

It went to final scoring after about 5 hours of back and forth awesomeness. I expect the game time to significantly decrease, once she gets more familiar with the cards.

I, as the democrat ended up winning by 12 points, with Hungary proving to be the pivotal area in our game too, as it's scoring card came up three times.
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Chris Linneman
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Shauneroo wrote:

I, as the democrat ended up winning by 12 points, with Hungary proving to be the pivotal area in our game too, as it's scoring card came up three times.


This game plays out differently every time. I recently had a game where Hungary scored only once and threatened to never score at all. My opponent used Brought in for Questioning to discard it on turn 3 and it didn't come back until the Late Year.
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Jason Sherlock
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Two turn back to back scoring was not something that I was expecting. She had done that to me with Asia scoring in TS one time, but I didn't see it coming.
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Chris Linneman
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jackalope wrote:
Even though 1989 resembles Twilight Struggle, it is a very different game, and giving up a region is not as viable as it can be in TS. I was looking at Hungary like it was South America in TS and figured that I could let it go in favor of the big prize of Poland (and hopefully E. Germany in the mid game). I will not make that mistake again.


Giving up a region can certainly be viable in 1989. In fact, it is often necessary, especially for the Communists. The difference is that scoring is swingier in 1989 due to the VP roll after a power struggle and scoring for Power for the Communists. So if you are at a deficit in VPs, it is much riskier to ignore a region that might score imminently. It's been described as a way to balance the importance of short-term and long-term considerations. You can't ignore the short term in 1989, just as you always have to fear the possibility of nuclear annihilation or Wargames in TS.
 
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