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Subject: Seven Goofiest Cards & Some Possible Red Cards rss

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John Griffey
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MID WAR

4 OPS Red. #56 MUSLIM REVOLUTION*: Remove all US Influence in two of the following countries: Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan.
Comment: Should be a dual Event. Muslims are just as hostile to busybody Russian Commies as busybody Americans.

4 OPS Red. #59 FLOWER POWER*: USSR gains 2 VP for every subsequently played "war card" (played as an Event or Operations) unless played on the space race. This Event cancelled by "An Evil Empire."
Comment: I can see peaceniks being bugged by an America sponsored "Bush War," but we did not cause the other four War cards' wars. Flower Power should make "Quagmire" worse when Quagmire is later played (make USA sacrifice highest value white or dual cards in hand, then lowest value red cards in hand) and prohibit USA Battleground coups while in effect, or something like that.

1 OPS Red. #62. "LONE GUNMAN"*: US player reveals his hand. The USSR player may use this cards OPS vale to conduct Operations.
Comment: Why not just call it "KGB/GRU," as it is the counterpart to "CIA?" A real assassin card would do things like decrease DEFCON, paralyze USA Operations for a turn.

LATE WAR

3 OPS Red. #82. IRANIAN HOSTAGE CRISIS*: Remove all US Influence from Iran. Add 2 USSR Influence in Iran. Doubles effect of "Terrorism" card against the US.
Comment: The Iranian Revolution did not increase USSR Influence in Iran, as the Ayatollah was just as hostile to the Commies as us. Nor, John Bolton & co. to the contrary, have the Iranians been particularly active as terrorists. Hostage crisis did paralyze the president, so it should force sacrifice of highest USA white or dual card in hand in next USA Action Round. Should not be underlined.

4 OPS Red. #87. THE REFORMER* Add 4 USSR Influence in Europe (no more than two per country). If USSR is ahead of US in VP, then 6 Influence may be added instead.
Comment: "Siberian Oil and Gas" would be a better name for this card. That's what gives Russia influence in Western Europe.

3 OPS Red. #90. GLASNOST* USSR gains 2 VP. Improve DEFCON one Level. If played with "The Reformer" in effect the USSR may make Realignment rolls or place Influence with this card's Operations value.
Comment: The designer had Gorbasms here. Why should the harbinger of Soviet collapse give the USSR Victory Points or other benefits? I know it's tough to think of anything that did or could have gone right for the USSR in the Late War, but it's possible, with some imagination.

3 OPS Red. #99. PERSHING II DEPLOYED* USSR gains 1 VP. Remove 1 US Influence from up to three countries in Western Europe.
Comment: Gee, I wonder why we deployed the thing, as it caused all those protests in Western Europe? Actually, I recall it brought the USSR to agree to dismantle a heap of its own IRBMs, so in the long run the Pershing II benefited European security. Should be a dual OPS card, with variable unpredictable VP outcomes, and should count for USA Military Operations.

CONCLUSION: the designers had a hard time thinking of good things for the USSR, especially in Late War. That's understandable: not much good happened. How about these:


EARLY WAR

4 OPS Red Red China Alliance. If this event is played before USSR plays the China card, USSR gets to keep the China Card after playing it. Cancelled by ""Ussuri River Skirmish*" and "Nixon Plays the China Card." Comment: Mao had this alliance early on, but was too proud, difficult and erratic to follow his Big Soviet Brother.


MID WAR
4 OPS Red. USA Urban Riots.* Remove 1 USA Influence from each of the following: 1 from Norway, Sweden, or Denmark, 1 from elsewhere in Western Europe, 1 from Eastern Europe, 1 from Asia, 1 from Central or South America.

3 OPS Red Arms Sales Place 3 USSR Influence in any non-European countries not USA controlled. You may not use Arms Sales to establish USSR control.

1 OPS Red. Red Navy 2 required Military Operations for USSR.


LATE WAR
3 OPS Red. Carter Malaise* For the remainder of the turn, -1 from all US plays of cards for OPS.

3 OPS Red. "This Scud's For You:" Soviet High-Tech Weapons Sales Place 3 Influence in any Middle Eastern, Asian, or South American countries not USA controlled.

4 OPS Red Siberian Oil and Gas "Add 4 USSR Influence in Europe (no more than two per country). If USSR is ahead of US in VP, then 6 Influence may be added instead. (Copied from "The Reformer," above.)

1 OPS Red. Agricultural Modernization* If USSR Victory Points are 11-19, USSR has 3 OPS. If USSR Victory Points are 1-10, USSR has 2 OPS.
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Dave Rubin
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So ... how many times have you played the game?
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John Griffey
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dirubin wrote:
So ... how many times have you played the game?


About twelve times. Why do you ask? How about you?
 
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nicola caroli
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Cards are first and foremost designed with gameplay in mind, and if they fit the theme as well that's for the better.

If you read the designer 's note then you will see that the game depicts "a cartoon image of the Cold War", one where the bias of ideological thinking are taken as real: there is no middle ground, if you're not for us then you're for them and so on. Many ideas which did not work in real life, like domino theory or brinkmanship, work the way they do in the game beacause the political elite in power in USA and USSR thought that way and applied them to their political decisions.

Seen this way , and with a bit of imagination, the game shows how policies can have unintended consequences
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AnimalMother wrote:
dirubin wrote:
So ... how many times have you played the game?


About twelve times. Why do you ask? How about you?

It's a valid question, because the game has a lot of interlinking subtleties that need some time to be discovered.

Your proposed changes (along with the ones you've posted in the variants section) could be interesting to try; it would make for a very different game though. If you manage to codify these variants into something cohesive and you can get some people to play test it with you, I'd love to see some AARs.

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Железный комиссар
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I'm starting to recognize your posts by the seemingly straight-faced use of terms like "commies" and "peaceniks," and I just can't take them very seriously as a result.

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John Griffey
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Why should a discussion of games be serious? laugh

I use those words because liberals don't like them, and because I am weary of how liberals' narrow prejudices control our language.

No one thinks that a user of the word Nazi is not serious. Yet Liberals wrinkle their noses at the use of the word "commie," regarding it as vulgar and its user as obviously uncouth or ill-educated. Nazi is an abbreviation for "National Socialist," just as "commie" is an abbreviation for Communist. There's no reason, other than liberal-Left prejudice, to regard a user of "commie" as less "serious" a person than the user of "Nazi."

Anyway, I can't help but think of George C. Scott's character, General Buck Turgidson, in "Doctor Strangelove" when thinking of the Cold War. He was a robust user of the word, "commie."
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Alex
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Your post (and the few others you recently did) proves that your are very knowledgeable when it comes to Cold War history.

However, you have to know this game has achieved success not because of its historical accuracy but because of its enjoyability.
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Jay Sachs
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AnimalMother wrote:
Why should a discussion of games be serious? laugh

I use those words because liberals don't like them, and because I am weary of how liberals' narrow prejudices control our language.

No one thinks that a user of the word Nazi is not serious. Yet Liberals wrinkle their noses at the use of the word "commie," regarding it as vulgar and its user as obviously uncouth or ill-educated. Nazi is an abbreviation for "National Socialist," just as "commie" is an abbreviation for Communist. There's no reason, other than liberal-Left prejudice, to regard a user of "commie" as less "serious" a person than the user of "Nazi."

Anyway, I can't help but think of George C. Scott's character, General Buck Turgidson, in "Doctor Strangelove" when thinking of the Cold War. He was a robust user of the word, "commie."


Strengthening JohnRayJr's message: Please take your biases over to the RSP fora.
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AnimalMother wrote:
No one thinks that a user of the word Nazi is not serious.


Right, that's why the term grammar nazi is never used lightly.

RSP is over that way →
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AnimalMother wrote:
If you don't like the word, don't use it.


I like it, and most Americans would probably say I am one. That still doesn't make this the proper outlet for your disdain for liberals (as people define that term in the US).

EDIT: Please stop thumbing your own posts. It's Un-American.
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David Benito Richards
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Hi Animal Mother. Let me discuss your card ideas, which is what I come here for.

"Red China Alliance" can be way too powerful. If the USSR draws this card on turn 1, they can potentially play the China Card three or more turns in a row. Besides, you propose to delete 3 USSR events from the Mid War, and bring one forward to the Early War. As if the USSR needed help in the Early War...

"USA Urban Riots" is very low powered. Removing influence from Scandinavia is usually without effect, as that region seldom sees any influence placements (at least in my small experience). Compare this card to VOICE OF AMERICA, which is 2 Ops, and it pales in comparison.

"Arms Sales" is also low powered. COMECON allows you to place 1 Influence in 4 European countries, and is very seldom played as an Event by the USSR player. This card would be better as 2 Ops or without the control limitation.

"Red Navy": I would not delete "Lone Gunman" from the game. This card balances out with "CIA Created". I would rather change the name of the original card to GRU / KGB if you prefer for thematic reasons. A card that gives just 2 Mil Ops is much worse than "Lone Gunman".
My own thoughts for making a card around the USSR Navy would be either to make NUCLEAR SUBS a neutral card, or to establish a card that gives the USSR victory points for control of at least 1 country on each major sea or ocean.

"Carter Malaise": I think theme-wise, this event should be considered embedded into "Flower Power". Besides, how would this combine with "Red Scare / Purge"? -2 Ops to the US player for the whole turn?

"Soviet High-Tech Weapons Sales": theme-wise, I think the USSR did not really sell their high-tech arms to everybody; rather, they sold these weapons to countries that were already at least friendly to them. So I would add the requirement that the recipient country(ies) must have at least 1 USSR Influence. The event is a bit weak as it provides 3 influence for a 3 Ops card.

"Siberian Oil & Gas": OK if you want to change the name of the card for
thematic reasons. No real effect on gameplay.


"Agricultural Modernization": Did this really happen in the USSR in the 1980s? I very much doubt it. This sounds like an "alternate history card". In terms of pure mechanics, the idea of giving the USSR extra Ops points if they are ahead makes sense to me. I think this card could also cancel or prevent GRAIN SALES TO SOVIETS.

So, the overall impression... is that you did a much better job on the other variants you suggested. But you put a lot of thought on your ideas, and submitted them to the public criticism, which is good and I thank you for it.

If you are wondering about other good things for the USSR, let me propose a couple, just sketchy ideas:

Sino-Vietnamese War. Late War. The China Card goes from the US to the USSR, or, if the USSR already has it, the USSR can control 1 non-BG country in SE Asia that is not US-controlled.

Cuban Troops. Late War. If the USSR controls Cuba, you may place some influence in Central America and Africa

COMECON expands. Mid War. Some more countries joined COMECON after the initial group of East European satellites, others had some degree of association with it, like Mexico or Finland. So I would allow USSR to place something like 4 Influence with a 2 Ops card, requiring that the original COMECON event has already happened.







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John Griffey
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Dear Benito,

Thank you for your constructive response. Because your response was long, I need to print it and go to the local cantina to study it. I like your criticisms and think they have merit.

Yours, Animalmother
 
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Ted Torgerson
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Quote:
MID WAR

4 OPS Red. #56 MUSLIM REVOLUTION*: Remove all US Influence in two of the following countries: Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan.
Comment: Should be a dual Event. Muslims are just as hostile to busybody Russian Commies as busybody Americans.


Card has no historical basis beyond the fall of the Shah in the islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 which is covered by another event. It's simply an anachronism. Would make sense in a game in a contemporary setting, but does not belong in a game on the Cold War.

Quote:
4 OPS Red. #59 FLOWER POWER*: USSR gains 2 VP for every subsequently played "war card" (played as an Event or Operations) unless played on the space race. This Event cancelled by "An Evil Empire."
Comment: I can see peaceniks being bugged by an America sponsored "Bush War," but we did not cause the other four War cards' wars. Flower Power should make "Quagmire" worse when Quagmire is later played (make USA sacrifice highest value white or dual cards in hand, then lowest value red cards in hand) and prohibit USA Battleground coups while in effect, or something like that.


Your criticism makes a lot of sense. The card represents the Vietnam War protests but also the leeriness of military intervention in the US until the first Gulf War.

Quote:
1 OPS Red. #62. "LONE GUNMAN"*: US player reveals his hand. The USSR player may use this cards OPS vale to conduct Operations.
Comment: Why not just call it "KGB/GRU," as it is the counterpart to "CIA?" A real assassin card would do things like decrease DEFCON, paralyze USA Operations for a turn.


I think it's part of the attitude of the game. The title says Oswald acted alone, as the Warren Commission report, but the effect is as though it were a conspiracy.

Quote:
LATE WAR

3 OPS Red. #82. IRANIAN HOSTAGE CRISIS*: Remove all US Influence from Iran. Add 2 USSR Influence in Iran. Doubles effect of "Terrorism" card against the US.
Comment: The Iranian Revolution did not increase USSR Influence in Iran, as the Ayatollah was just as hostile to the Commies as us. Nor, John Bolton & co. to the contrary, have the Iranians been particularly active as terrorists. Hostage crisis did paralyze the president, so it should force sacrifice of highest USA white or dual card in hand in next USA Action Round. Should not be underlined.


Underline just means it has a continuing effect, which it does because it doubles the effect of terrorism. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. It happens 1 in 20 games or less frequently than that, that the Iran Hostage Crisis increases the effects of Terrorism. To the broader point, the game is a binary system, so sometimes Communist influence in reality reflects negative US influence. You could certainly design a game covering the period with a 3rd player to represent the non-aligned movement and any power centers opposed to both sides, but TS is a two player game and the influence has to be understood in that context.

Quote:
4 OPS Red. #87. THE REFORMER* Add 4 USSR Influence in Europe (no more than two per country). If USSR is ahead of US in VP, then 6 Influence may be added instead.
Comment: "Siberian Oil and Gas" would be a better name for this card. That's what gives Russia influence in Western Europe.


Now you are being anachronistic. The card reflects the very successful foreign policy of Mikhail Gorbachev toward Western Europe called our common European home. The drop in oil prices after Gorbachev took power was part of what killed the USSR. The threat of cutting off sources of natural gas is Putin's power play.

Quote:
3 OPS Red. #90. GLASNOST* USSR gains 2 VP. Improve DEFCON one Level. If played with "The Reformer" in effect the USSR may make Realignment rolls or place Influence with this card's Operations value.
Comment: The designer had Gorbasms here. Why should the harbinger of Soviet collapse give the USSR Victory Points or other benefits? I know it's tough to think of anything that did or could have gone right for the USSR in the Late War, but it's possible, with some imagination.


You answer your own question. Glasnost and Perestroika were noble failures. That does not mean they could not have been successful. That depends on how the cards are played.

Quote:
3 OPS Red. #99. PERSHING II DEPLOYED* USSR gains 1 VP. Remove 1 US Influence from up to three countries in Western Europe.
Comment: Gee, I wonder why we deployed the thing, as it caused all those protests in Western Europe? Actually, I recall it brought the USSR to agree to dismantle a heap of its own IRBMs, so in the long run the Pershing II benefited European security. Should be a dual OPS card, with variable unpredictable VP outcomes, and should count for USA Military Operations.


I agree with you that this event reflects only a 1-sided view of the intermediate range nuclear missiles confrontation. On the USSR side the SS-20s were viewed by Gorbachev as an unnecessary provocation. He was happy to be rid of them. Reagan credited the Pershing IIs with forcing the Soviets to negotiate, but they were terribly unpopular in Western Europe. It could have been a neutral event where the player loses 2 VPs but gets to add influence.

Quote:
CONCLUSION: the designers had a hard time thinking of good things for the USSR, especially in Late War. That's understandable: not much good happened. How about these:

EARLY WAR

4 OPS Red Red China Alliance. If this event is played before USSR plays the China card, USSR gets to keep the China Card after playing it. Cancelled by ""Ussuri River Skirmish*" and "Nixon Plays the China Card." Comment: Mao had this alliance early on, but was too proud, difficult and erratic to follow his Big Soviet Brother.


OK but then take out the Cultural Revolution. Either way you are playing the China Card and getting it back face up. It is only when you play the event that is different, and 4 Ops is better for the US player than a 2 Ops.


Quote:
MID WAR
4 OPS Red. USA Urban Riots.* Remove 1 USA Influence from each of the following: 1 from Norway, Sweden, or Denmark, 1 from elsewhere in Western Europe, 1 from Eastern Europe, 1 from Asia, 1 from Central or South America.


I assume you are talking about the King assassination riots. What is the tie-in with losing influence in Scandinavia, or Asia?

Quote:
3 OPS Red Arms Sales Place 3 USSR Influence in any non-European countries not USA controlled. You may not use Arms Sales to establish USSR control.


This is the same as puppet governments except not usable in a 1 stability country. It would be okay but the more events you make that give open board access the less premium you put on hand management and defcon management to limit access to your opponent to different parts of the board.

Quote:
1 OPS Red. Red Navy 2 required Military Operations for USSR.


Well it is somewhat rare for USSR to be short on MilOps but not a bad event.


Quote:
LATE WAR
3 OPS Red. Carter Malaise* For the remainder of the turn, -1 from all US plays of cards for OPS.


President Carter comes out very well in TS. Camp David and Panama Canal. His record was mixed, though his troubles were more focused on domestic issues such as inflation and recession than the Cold War. The Reagan defense build up began with Carter's last two budgets. If the US faced challenges during the Carter years, the USSR was in much, much worse shape under a drunk and incoherent Leonid Brezhnev. People did not realize it until after the fact. Your event would have an ahistorical design effect.

Quote:
3 OPS Red. "This Scud's For You:" Soviet High-Tech Weapons Sales Place 3 Influence in any Middle Eastern, Asian, or South American countries not USA controlled.


The USSR found that destabilizing western supported regimes in the third world was a lot easier than supporting pro-communist ones. These little "battleground" states should start costing the Russians Ops. A good Late Year event would be that the USSR must remove 3 influence at the end of each turn. If it happened Turn 8 it would be very costly.

Quote:
4 OPS Red Siberian Oil and Gas "Add 4 USSR Influence in Europe (no more than two per country). If USSR is ahead of US in VP, then 6 Influence may be added instead. (Copied from "The Reformer," above.)


This would not make sense in the late year, which covers the 80s. It would make sense in the middle year. The historian Niall Ferguson has said that the OPEC oil embargoes and the spike in oil prices is the only thing that prevented a USSR collapse by 1980. By the time Gorbachev got into power oil was back down to $40/barrel.

Quote:
1 OPS Red. Agricultural Modernization* If USSR Victory Points are 11-19, USSR has 3 OPS. If USSR Victory Points are 1-10, USSR has 2 OPS.


The collective farms remained unproductive until the end. That's why the country with the largest arable landmass in the world and with more than 10% of labor costs in agriculture had to import grain from the US.
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David Benito Richards
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More ideas for USSR events: INDIA - USSR MUTUAL ASSISTANCE PACT.* Ussr 3 Mid War. Place enough soviet influence in India for control. US subtracts 1 from all die rolls on the indo-pakistani war if India is controlled by the USSR. ANDREI GROMYKO. This man was the foreign affairs secretary of the Ussr for much of Brezhnev's period. He negotiated arms limitation treaties with the USA, the India pact,etc. This should be the Soviet counterpart to 'Shuttle Diplomacy'. GRENADA. USA must choose, either USSR places some influence in central - south america, or USSR gets a free UN intervention in his next action round.
Besides Good Things for the USSR, as this is a 2-player game, what was bad for the USA can also make a Soviet event. Some ideas: Watergate, End of the Gold Standard, Trash Bond (or generic Stock Market) Crisis. Cheers, David
 
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John Griffey
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Thanks to T.T., Prowler, and Theory for constructive criticism.

ARMS RACE TOKEN (ART)
Use a toy rocket such as a golf pencil as the game's Arms Race Token (ART). Just don't let your mom find you playing with it.blush A Cold War game without an arms race is like a one-armed ninja. Or something like that.

The ARMS RACE TOKEN (ART) can be at five different locations. Each location affects play in certain ways, including determination of which side takes the first Action in the Round. At Start, ART is at "US Lead," allowing USA the first Action.


1) USA Big Lead;
2) USA Lead;
3) Tied: MAD;
4) USSR Lead;
5) USSR Big Lead.


1. USA BIG LEAD:
--ART is on US's side of the table.
--US moves first in the Action Round.
--Add +1 to all US OPS' Coup rolls and +2 to all US OPS Realignment rolls.
--If DEFCON 1 occurs in a US Action Round, DEFCON remains at 2 and instead of losing, the US rolls a a die and adjusts the VP marker that number in favor of the USSR.
--At "US Big Lead," the US may ignore certain DEFCON restrictions on Realignments:

IN EARLY WAR: ignore DEFCON 2 Restrictions.
IN MID WAR: ignore DEFCON 3 and DEFCON 2 Restrictions.
IN LATE WAR: ignore DEFCON 4, 3 and 2 Restrictions.

--In the Check Military Operations Status phase:
----1) US gains 1 VP, and
----2) USSR must reveal the identity of its held cards (not merely prove the held cards aren't Scoring Cards, which can be done by revealing only the bottom and top centimeters).



2. USA LEAD
--ART is in the USA's 48 States on the map.
--US moves first in the Action Round.
--US adds +1 to all US OPS' Realignment rolls.
--In the Check Military Operations Status phase at the end of the Turn, USSR must reveal the identity of its held cards.



3. TIED: MAD
--ART is on the map in the north Indian Ocean.
--USSR moves first in the Action Round.
--In the Improve DEFCON Status phase at the beginning of new turns, improve DEFCON by 2 rather than the usual 1.


4. USSR LEAD:
--ART is in USSR on the map.
--USSR moves first in the Action Round.
--USSR adds +1 to all USSR OPS Realignment rolls.
--In the Check Military Operations Status phase at the end of the Turn, USA must reveal the identity of its held cards.



5. USSR BIG LEAD:
--ART is in USSR hand.
--USSR moves first in the Action Round.
--USSR Big Lead mirrors USA Big Lead, above.



MOVING THE ART
--Once per turn, either player may declare an Arms Race in his Action Round by placing a card face down in front of himself. The other player may then opt not to play a card, or to play a card of his own. Reveal the cards (a "no play" equals 0 OPS). An OPS difference of 3 or more in your favor moves the ART 2 spaces in your favor. A difference of 1 or 2 moves the ART 1 space in your favor.
--Adjust the VP marker one space in your favor when the ART moves one space in your favor.
--Note that if you declare an Arms Race, the other player by sacrificing a card in your half of the Action Round will hold a card less than usual.
--A player who is already at "Big Lead" may initiate the turn's Arms Race. If he wins or the result is a tie, he keeps his "Big Lead."
--The China card may be played on the Arms Race for 4 OPS. \--You may not play a Scoring card on the Arms Race.
--The USA may not declare an Arms Race until the USSR player first does so. Neither player is obligated ever to play the Arms Race. This reflects the complacency of USA before the shock of the first Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949.
--Note that if USA moves ART from "Tied: MAD" to "US Lead," USA takes the first Action in the next Action Round. Similarly, if USSR player moves ART from "US Lead" to "Tied: MAD" he takes the first Action on the next Action Round. Thus, taking two consecutive Actions is possible, if the first Action is play of an Arms Race card.
--OPS committed to the Arms Race count as required Military Operations.
--Only 4 OPS and 3 OPS cards can be used as your once-per-turn allowed "dump" of an enemy event. In this case, the "dump" occurs in the Arms Race rather than the Space Race. If the enemy event on the card is not dumped, it must be played as usual.
--Subtract 1 from your Space Race die rolls if you have spent a 4 OPS card on the Arms Race this turn.


SPACE RACE TRACK
Expert players already report they rarely play the Space Race Track beyond box 4. This variant is to encourage Space Track use and prevent the Arms Race from sucking all the remaining oxygen out the space race. Also, the Americans historically advanced six boxes on the track in just three turns. This is to make that at least possible, although still unlikely.

--Roll twice each time you pay OPS to advance on the Space Race Track.
--If the first roll fails, subtract 1 from the second roll.
--If the first roll succeeds, you may advance to the second box if you paid sufficient OPS for it. Add 1 to the second roll to advance into the second box.
--Subtract 1 from Space Race rolls if you have spent a 4 OPS card on the Arms Race this turn.
--Delete the "Animal in Space" special ability. There's no reason a second superpower getting an animal in space would have slowed the first superpower. One of our first two animals to survive a 10g rocket ride, Baker the South American tree squirrel, lived a long and honored life. The Soviets deliberately killed their first animal in space, an intelligent Moscow street dog. Those dirty bastards. yuk

Comments: I wanted fewer OPS spent on Influence placement and Coups, and more for Space, Arms, and Realignments. Realignments seem to me underused, as they're only rarely useful in the game as is. Also, I wanted another way to counter to the usual USSR romps in the Middle East and Asia.

Arms Race "Big Leads" are costly but also have big pay-offs. A skillful player may feel no need for immunity from accidental DEFCON death, but most players will. The reasoning for this rule is that the far weaker superpower won't risk a fatal atomic war with the far stronger, but the stronger will still pay a price in world opinion (reflected in lost VP) for his brinksmanship. Examples: Ike drops a nuke or two to end the fighting in Korea. JFK had orders General Lemay to attack the Soviet missile batteries in Cuba in '62. Then the Soviets would probably have not used their nukes but the world would have been terrified. In '62, not knowing the Soviet response to bombing Cuba, the government would have ordered Americans to stay in bomb shelters for days, which would in turn have made similar preparations necessary in Europe. The post-crisis critique of American use of force in both cases would have been harsh.

Big Leads also expand opportunities for coups and realignments in ME, Asia, and Europe, in that order. In a true bipolar world a superpower will be cautious about adventuring in turf its rival owns. E.g. the uses of force in E. Germany, Hungary, South Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Panama were all on turf one of the two superpowers believed it rightly ruled. But if one superpower is obviously stronger, it need not be so cautious. The reasoning behind the opening up of more regions to the Big Lead superpower as the Cold War progresses is that brutality, war, and atomic war became increasingly unthinkable as the Cold War progressed. When it came to willingness to break heads, the Soviets were in steady decline throughout the Cold War, and similarly, American will to fight was declining. By Late War, a "coup" in Europe amounts mostly to mass peaceful demonstrations (perhaps backed by army officers as in Rumania) rather than lynching the local Cheka (Budapest '56) or sending in the tanks (Berlin '54, Budapest '56, Prague '68). This means more areas for "coups" and realignments become available as the Cold War progresses, available at least to the stronger side.

The "Reveal Hold Cards" provision is about superior surveillance of the enemy. The VP awards reflect the prestige of stronger strategic arms.



FIFTY FIVE EXPANSION CARDS
Just in case you think I'm not playing with a full deck, here are fifty-five variant cards. Some would radically change the game, but most would not. They include some of the best Cold War events not memorialized in the original cards. One day, when I find the time and energy, I'll print them down on note cards and try them out along with fifty-five selected original cards.


Early War: Truman's 1st Term, Truman's 2nd Term, Ike's First Term, Ike's 2nd Term;

Mid War: JFK's Term, LBJ'Term, Nixon' Term, Ford's Term, Carter's Term;

Late War: Reagan's 1st Term, Reagan's 2nd Term, GHW Bush's Term, Clinton's First Term.

Back in the USSR
Early War: Stalin (2 1/2 turns) & Khruschev (1 1/2 turns)
Middle War : Khruschev (1 turn) & Brezhnev (3 turns).
Late War: Brezhnev (1/2 turn), Andropov-Chernenko (1/2 turn), Gorbachev (3 turns).

On odd numbered turns, each player fills his hand with seven of the original cards, and three of the 55 variant cards (in my case, they are neatly scrawled on note cards). On even numbered turns, each player fills his hand with six original deck and and four variant deck cards.

To keep game length as it is, randomly mix in the new cards using the following procedure:


FIFTY FIVE VARIANT CARDS
Just in case you think I'm not playing with a full deck, here are fifty-five variant cards. Some would radically change the game, but most would not. They include some of the best Cold War events not memorialized in the original cards. One day, when I find the time and energy, I'll print them down on note cards and try them out along with fifty-five selected original cards.

EARLY WAR:
6 USSR CARDS (4* + 4* + 3* + 2 + 1* + 1* = 15 OPS);
7 USA CARDS (4 + 4* + 3* + 2* + 2 + 2* + 1* = 18 OPS);
7 DUAL CARDS (2* + 2* + 2* + 2 + 2 + 1* + 1 =12 OPS).


USSR 4 OPS SINO-SOVIET ALLIANCE (SSA)* USSR plays SSA with China Card (CC) to hold the CC after play, for repeat use each turn. With SSA, USSR may spend CC's OPS only in Asia, and USSR may not score SE Asia VP. Cultural Revolution (MID-WAR) becomes a non-Event. To cancel/discard SSA, pass the unused CC to US. Any coup with CC's OPS resulting in no US Influence loss cancels SSA. "Ussuri River Skirmish," "Nixon Plays the China Card," successful US exit from "Quagmire," and "Communist Fratricide" all cancel SSA. (Play of these events doesn't prevent later play of SSA.) When event or failed coup cancels SSA, USSR passes CC (played or not) to US. In US AR, if US triggers SSA and has CC, US must pass CC (played or unplayed) to USSR. Place SSA marker on China when SSA in effect.

Historical Comment: Mao was interested in an alliance benefiting Chicom interests in Asia, not benefiting USSR interests in Asia. Game Play: SSA deprives the US of the CC, and USSR could use SSA to drive US out of Asia, if SSA lasts long enough. But before rejecting the SSA as too strong, consider: 1) There's a less than 1/2 chance USSR can play SSA on Turn 1. 2) USSR may not use SSA's CC OPS outside Asia, and may not score SE ASIA VP while using SSA, making the CC less useful to USSR than usual. 3) USA could play SSA to prevent USSR VP in SE Asia, or to prevent USSR's use of CC outside of Asia, knowing USA has Ussuri River Skirmish or some other SSA-killing card in hand. 4) There's a 1/6 risk of losing the SSA with failed CC coups in India or S. Korea, and a 3/6 risk of losing SSA in coups against Japan and Australia. Three MID WAR events, and one new LATE WAR variant event Communist Fratricide also end the SSA.

Mao thought the Soviets were wimping out with de-Stalinization. The "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" was about recapturing that good old bloodthirsty Marxist-Leninist spirit which he thought the Soviets had lost.

The original CC rules almost rate as goofy. One can rationalize them as the ebb and flow of superpower influence. In USSR hands, it represents Chicom power working with USSR. In USA hands, it represents alarm and opposition to the USSR and Red China, and also, Red Chinese alarm and opposition to USSR. IMHO, the SSA card is a more realistic way of representing the China problem in the game.



USSR 4 OPS RED ARMY OCCUPATION* In Euro scoring, prevents US Domination unless US has a +2 Battleground lead; tied BGs count as USSR Domination if USSR controls one non-BG country. RAO adds +1 OPS to all future USSR Influence placements if used exclusively in Eastern Europe; 1 Influence max per country using this bonus. USSR may remove RAO from play after playing another card on a USSR AR. RAO makes NATO playable, and affects both Eastern European Coup (EARLY WAR) and Sino-Soviet War (MID WAR). Place RAO marker in Eastern Europe.

Comment: USSR garrisoned about 40 divisions in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. If those divisions weren't there, USSR position in E. Europe would have been weaker, but their world political and economic position would have been somewhat stronger. USSR does not want RAO in play if he plays Sino-Soviet War: then he needs those divisions in the east.


USSR 3 OPS. IMPLOSION CONSPIRACY*. Satisfies all required USSR Military Operations. US must discard its highest OPS US Event card. Improve DEFCON by 1 if played in Early War.

Comment: the Rosenberg spy ring advanced the Soviet A-bomb effort by steering it away from less fruitful paths, toward plutonium-implosion bombs. "Nuclear Weapons are weapons of peace"--John Mearsheimer of U. Chicago. Commie sneaks who spied on the Manhattan Project did so because they believed a Red Bomb was necessary to deter a US attack on USSR. A-Bombs discourage conventional war, if both sides have them.


USSR 2 OPS EASTERN EUROPEAN COUP USSR makes one coup in Eastern Europe as if playing a 4 OPS card. If Red Army Occupation is in play, play the coup is as if it were a 5 OPS card. This coup is not restricted by the DEFCON track. If the coup is in East Germany or Poland it degrades DEFCON by 1 as usual.



USSR 1 OPS SUKARNO* Add 2 USSR Influence in Indonesia and 1 USSR Influence anywhere in Africa or Asia.

Comment: the great "Non-Aligned Nations" summit of 1955 greatly enhanced the prestige of its host, Indonesia's Sukarno. His influence harmed the West more than the USSR. The West had more to lose due to the non-aligned movement. Sukarno was a big hero of leftists such as Obama's mama. Sukarno was too cozy for his own good with PKI (Communist Party of Indonesia). He did have a nice art collection.


USSR 1 OPS STASI* If East Germany is USSR controlled. add 1 USSR Influence to East Germany and place STASI USSR SN +1 / R -1 marker in East Germany. Stasi permanent effects: If East Germany is USSR controlled, the Stability Number is adjusted +1 during US coups there, and 1 is subtracted from Realignment rolls against E. Germany. SN of East Germany is still 3 if USSR attempts coup against East Germany. Permanently remove the marker if East Germany is ever USA controlled.

Comment: What can one say about the incomparable East German secret police? See the movie "Die Leben Des Anders" for a dramatic look: it's a first rate movies, available in English subtitles.


USA 4 OPS VENONA DECRYPTS Cancels USSR play of Red Scare/Purge this turn. USSR reveals all these in hand: scoring cards, Lone Gunman, We Will Bury You, Soviets Shoot Down KAL 007. If USSR has none, USSR shows its entire hand. USSR may not play Venona OPS for a coup. Played in US Action Round immediately after USSR coup, Venona also cancels the coup and its effects: USSR gets no Influence, nor Military Operations; DEFCON degrade is cancelled & any lost US Influence is restored.

Comment: Woodrow Wilson said gentlemen don't read other men's mail, but we weren't dealing with gentlemen. Venona was the NSA's top secret decryption of Soviet cables. When declassified, they revealed that Alger Hiss was after all a GRU (Red Army intel) spy, and that Moscow's agents were very busy in the US.


USA 4 OPS TURKISH RUSSOPHOBIA* Turkey's Stability Number is 3 when it is US controlled and USSR attempts a Coup there. Place US Influence in Turkey sufficient for control. Turkey now counts as a country for scoring in both Western Europe and the Middle East. Place Russophobia SN 3 WE/ME marker on Turkey.

Comment: Turkey is a far more important country in reality than it is in the game. Letting it count as both a European and a ME country isn't giving it too much weight. Russia & Turkey are have been foes for centuries. Russia and Turkey's rebranding of their regimes as secular rather than religious, their common misery as World War I losers, and their autocracies (Ataturk, Lenin, Stalin) improved Russo-Turkish relations in the 1920s-1940s. But Russian power post-WWII on Turkey's European and Armenian borders was intimidating. They wanted a strong ally.


USA 3 OPS D-MARK* Add 3 US Influence in W. Germany. Add 1 USSR Influence in each of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Permanent Effects: If W. Germany is US controlled, add extra +1 to US Realignment rolls in/adjacent to US controlled W. Germany; also add +2 if Realigning E. Germany and West Berlin is in play. Add 1 OPS to US Influence placed exclusively in Western Europe countries. No more than 1 Influence may be placed per country if this bonus is enjoyed. Enhances Early War's West Berlin and Mid-War's Wirtschaftswunder.

Comment: The late Gore Vidal opined that our decision economically to unite the western occupation zones of Germany (1948) was the beginning of the Cold War, as it showed our determination to make W. Germany an American satellite, rather than a neutralize it as we did Austria. The Soviet response was the Berlin Blockade and our response to that was the Berlin Airlift. The independent West German state (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) followed in 1949. The Commies frightened Poles and Czechs with the specter of a BRD war of revenge for the postwar ethnic cleansing of Germans from those countries. With a revived, tame, US controlled West German Bundeswehr to shelter behind, Western European countries were readier to find comfort as American satellites.


USA 2 OPS SEATO.* Place 1 US Influence in Australia and 1 US Influence in each of any three Southeast Asian countries which already have more US than USSR Influence.


USA 2 OPS CENTO.* Place 1 US Influence in four of these which do not have more USSR than USA Influence: Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan.


USA 2 OPS JIHAD. Roll one die for each USSR Influence in Middle East (excepting Israel), Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Eliminate the Influence point on a roll of "5" or "6."

Comment: official commie atheism severely handicapped them in the Muslim world. This card punishes them to the extent they have a really big presence in the region. It's a counterbalance to the MID WAR's Muslim Revolution, which only affects US Influence.


USA 1 OPS CHIANG KAI SHEK* Place enough US Influence in Taiwan for control.

DUAL 2 OPS STATE OF ISRAEL RECOGNIZED* Add 1 Influence to any two countries adjacent to Israel. Permanent Effects: For Influence spread or Realignment, Israel is no longer adjacent to its Arab neighbors, but is adjacent to USA, USSR, W. Germany, & France. Use this new Arab-Israeli War card text): If USSR controls Israel (but not Egypt) it can attack Egypt; if it controls Egypt (but not Israel) it can attack Israel. Victory on a 4 or higher. Modify die by +1 each for USSR control of France & West Germany. Win or lose, USSR adds 2 Military Operations. Victory: gain 2 VP and 1 Influence in country (Egypt or Israel) controlled, then subtracts 2 US Influence from the other country. Defeat: USSR loses 2 Influence from the country it controls.

Comment: the original game does a fair job of modelling ME politics if Israel never declared independence. There was a good chance in 1945-50 that Israel would not be recognized, and would become a turbulent UN Trust Territory. The US State Department, Kim Roosevelt & others saw endless trouble for the US in Israel's creation. Israel unrecognized by either superpower, there would have been more jaw jaw, less war war, but still lots of chaos. An Arab-Israeli War card event would be a sort of bush war, with both sides sniping at each other and at unhappy foreign troops (same as during the British Palestine Mandate, but with new peacekeepers). Arab collaborators (e.g., King Abdullah I of Jordan) with an enlarged, reigning over a de facto but not de jure autonomous Jewish colony in Palestine would be in the crosshairs of their more radical fellows, and of Jewish nationalists. Once Israel declared independence and was recognized, there was no more talking and a permanent psychological wall went up between Israel and all the Arabs. Only Egypt could on its own militarily challenge a recognized Israeli state--thus no play of war card without it. The links between Israel and USA, USSR, W. Germany and France are due to politics, not propinquity. Note that "Recognized" Israel is connected to US, USSR, France, West Germany for both Realignment and Influence purposes.


DUAL 2 OPS WEST BERLIN* Place a West Berlin marker in the US Box of East Germany. Add +1 VP if D-Mark is already in play. If at the end of all Action Rounds of any turn, East Germany is USSR controlled and there is more USSR than US Influence in West Germany, then the West Berlin marker is removed from play and the USSR gains 3 VP. The US gains 1 VP if the West Berlin marker is on the map and the US controls West Germany when Euro scoring is played. The marker does not count as a Battleground country for scoring purposes. It is not a country so Influence can't be added to it and it can't be couped or Realigned.

Comment: this event represents either side of the Cold War electing to confront the other over West Berlin. Both sides have incentive to play it if conditions are right.


DUAL 2 OPS COLD WAR INTENSIFIES* All future War Card events which target a Battleground country which either player controls lower the DEFCON by 1.


DUAL 2 OPS NATIONALISM Roll a die for each Influence point in one Region other than Europe and eliminate the Influence point on a roll of 5 or 6.


DUAL 2 OPS COUNTERCOUP If your opponent made a coup in his preceding Action Round of the same turn, you may countercoup in the same country as if with 4 OPS.


DUAL 1 OPS PERONISM* Add 3 USSR and 3 USA Influence in Argentina.

Comment: Juan Peron admired and politically resembled Benito Mussolini. He was a populist, a demagogue, and a nationalist. During his exile in Franco's Spain his movement split into leftist and nationalist elements. His legacy was chaos, a dirty civil war, and Evita. Also Isabella.


DUAL 1 OPS SPY SWAP Give your opponent a card of a certain color (Red, White, Red/White.) If he fails to give you a card of the same color of equal or greater value, you may randomly select a card from his hand.


MID WAR:
8 USSR CARDS (4 + 3* + 2* + 2* + 2 + 1* + 1* + 1*) = 16 OPS;
8 USA CARDS (4* + 3 + 3 + 3* + 2 +2 + 1* + 1*) = 19 OPS;
8 DUAL CARDS (4* + 3 + 2* + 2* + 2* + 2 + 1* + 0 (Scoring Card) = 16 OPS


USSR 4 OPS USA RACIAL UNREST Remove 1 US Influence from each of these: Canada, Britain, France, Asia, Central America, and Africa. Also remove 1 US Influence from either Norway, Denmark, or Sweden.

Comment: the mayhem of the Civil Rights era was a propaganda windfall for the USSR. Even in 1993, I heard ex-Soviet ex-Reds yapping about it to divert conversation from Soviet failure. The Scandinavians were also fascinated & judgmental about it (e.g., Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma.)


USSR 3 OPS CARTER MALAISE* No US Coups or Realignment rolls in Africa, Central America, South America, or Southeast Asia for the remainder of the turn.

Comment: If I remember right, Carter/Brzezinski were most interested in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, but let other regions slide left.


USSR 2 OPS TOTALITARIAN POLICE*. Increase by +2 the Stability Numbers of any three USSR-controlled countries whenever the USA attempts a coup against them. Maximum Stability Number of 4. Place up to three TP +2 USSR SN markers. Remove marker if/when US takes control of its country. Marker has no effect on SN when USSR coups the country.

Comment: the Soviets and East Germans were kind enough to help their friends retain their power.


USSR 2 OPS USS PUEBLO INCIDENT* If North Korea is USSR controlled, add a USSR Influence in North Korea and remove 1 US Influence from both South Korea and Japan. Double the effect if the QUAGMIRE Event is in play.


USSR 2 OPS SOVIET ARMS SALES Place 3 Influence in any countries already containing USSR Influence.


USSR 1 OPS FARC y los MONTONEROS* Place 1 USSR Influence each in Colombia and Argentina.


USSR 1 OPS PATRICE LUMUMBA* Place 2 USSR Influence in Congo.


USSR 1 OPS TURKEY INVADES CYPRUS* Remove 2 USA Influence from either Greece or Turkey, or, remove 1 USA Influence from both.


USA 4 OPS WIRTSCHAFTSWUNDER* If the US controls West Germany and Britain in the Headline Events Phase, add 1 US Influence anywhere in Europe each Turn before the Headline Event cards are played. If "D-MARK" is in play, add 1 Influence W. Germany at the same time.

Comment: East Europeans pined for the luxuries of the more prosperous West. The West German "economic miracle" was just across the border. The W. German economy also improved satisfaction with capitalism in Western Europe.


USA 3 OPS MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS US adds +1 to all realignment rolls for the remainder of the turn. Have a Coke and smile.

Comment: In commie folklore, American motives are purely selfish and mercenary. But as a Chinese woman told me, "Before the American corporations came, we didn't know how to make anything!" Local elites often resent American business for bringing real hope and change, and use leftist rhetoric to mask reactionary motives.


USA 3 OPS IRON CURTAIN USSR chooses either to remove all its Influence from Western European countries it does not control, or, USSR must allow US to place 4 Influence anywhere in Eastern Europe, no more than 2 Influence per country.

Comment: If USSR Influence in W. Europe is removed, it means they built their German border wall running the length of the East/West German border and have increased the isolation of their subjects in Eastern Europe. If they don't build their border wall, they allow US influence to spread to the east. In the 50s & 60s they shot people fleeing West. Later, the East German commie regime constructed a formidable border barrier, and almost none could find a way to cross it to the West. Not a good advertisement for life in the East.


USA 3 OPS NEDELIN CATASTROPHE* Move USSR backward one space on the Space Race Track. USSR loses all VP and capabilities it earned from entering the space. USSR loses two Military Operations.

Comment: this October 1960 launchpad accident wiped out seventy-four Soviet scientists, engineers, and technicians, putting an end to USSR's hope of winning the moon race and setting back its ICBM program.


USA 2 OPS YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY* USA has 5 OPS for a coup in Southeast Asia, not including Vietnam.

Comment: In December 1965 the Chinese-dominated Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), which surrounded President Sukarno, attempted to murder in a single night the Moslem generals who stood in their way. The plot misfired. The generals (including Suharto, who would lead Indonesia for the next thirty-five years) countercouped the PKI, killing tens of thousands of PKI members and ethnic Chinese. From this point forward, the domino theory, that Communism would continue to spread from Vietnam in SE Asia, was obviously wrong, but America plunged forward into the Vietnam War.


USA 2 OPS CUBAN BOAT LIFT Playable only if Cuba is USSR controlled. USSR must immediately discard a 3 or 4 OPS Red or Dual Event card, adding Influence in Cuba equal to the card's OPS, or US removes 3 USSR Influence from Central America (including Cuba) and 1 USSR Influence from South America.

Comment: there were two big Cuban boatlifts in the Mid War, the first in the early 1960s (Fidel seized power early in 1959), the second in May, 1980. Cuba was a constant drain on Soviet resources.



USA 1 OPS REFUSENIKS* USSR must give USA a US Event card for the US immediately freely to play; then place 1 USSR Influence in Israel. OR, (if USSR cannot or will not comply) the US gets 2 OPS.


USA 1 OPS SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS* USA increases the Stability Numbers of three Central American or South American countries it controls.


DUAL 4 OPS SINO-SOVIET WAR (SSW)* SSW is playable only if DEFCON is 5 or 4. SSW reduces DEFCON by 2. SSW is playable only if Ussuri River Skirmish was played this turn, and only if Sino-Soviet Alliance is not in effect. USSR rolls 4 dice, subtracting 1 die if Red Army Occupation is in effect. If USSR plays SSW, China rolls 2 dice. If USA plays SSW China rolls 1 die. In either case, add 1 Chinese die if China has the A-Bomb. Add 1 Chinese die is US has the China Card and flips it to its "used" side. Adjust the VP marker by USSR dice roll minus Chinese (US) dice roll. Maximum VP adjustment is seven. Permanent effects: USA holds China Card for the remainder of the game, but it is reduced by 1 OPS if China wins, and by 3 OPS if the war dice were tied or if the USSR won.

Comment: a rather grim gamble, but if everything lines up for the USSR just right it could pay off big time.


DUAL 3 OPS HOTLINE If you blunder into DEFCON 1 in your Action Round, discard Hotline to reset it to DEFCON 2.


DUAL 2 OPS CHINESE ATOMIC BOMB* Permanent Effect: No Coup against North Korea is permitted at DEFCON 4 or less if USSR holds the China Card. Modifies Sino-Soviet War Event. Place CHI A-Bomb marker in North Korea.


DUAL 2 OPS AGE OF AQUARIUS* Increase DEFCON by 2 rather than 1 at the end of each turn.

People on both sides of the Iron Curtain were getting softer by the 1960s.


DUAL 2 OPS AFRICAN ANARCHY* Permanent Effects: Algeria, Nigeria, Zaire, and Angola now count as only 1/2 Battleground country each for Africa VP scoring (round fractions down). Also, coups in them do not degrade DEFCON.


DUAL 2 OPS THE INTELLECTUALS {Pictures of Sartre and Solzhenitsyn} 2 VP for your side if you have ten or more VPs. 1 VP for your side if you have 9 or fewer VP.


DUAL 0 OPS NAVAL SCORING CARD You get 1 VP for control of each of these: Turkey, Egypt, Panama, Malaysia, South Africa, Spain, Denmark, Gulf States, Argentina.

Comment: There was a big Soviet naval build-up in the 1960s and 1970s. If the USSR had not imploded, and if USSR had passage of the choke points, Soviet power projection and prestige would have been greatly enhanced. Gives USSR reason to go places it might otherwise ignore. Becomes more powerful as Soviet navy learns its job in LATE WAR.


DUAL 1 OPS INDIAN ATOMIC BOMB* India may not be the target of an Indo-Pakistani War card. If Pakistan is the target of the card, add +1 to the die roll.


LATE WAR
5 USSR CARDS: (4* + 3 + 3 + 3+ 2) = 15 OPS.
7 USA CARDS: (4* + 4* + 3* + 2* + 2 + 1 + 1*) = 17 OPS.
1 DUAL CARD: = 4 OPS



USSR 4 OPS PERESTROIKA* USSR either discards its entire hand, including this card and draws replacements for them,OR, if USSR is behind in VP, it may roll two dice and add that many VP, but resulting USSR VP total may not exceed +1. If USSR VP are not at +1 after the roll, USA immediately rolls three dice, subtracting that number of USSR VP.

Comment: Restructuring the USSR economy was a big gamble most likely to be made if the USSR was losing the Cold War. The gamble failed.


USSR 3 OPS THIS SCUD'S FOR YOU: SOVIET HIGH-TECH WEAPONS SALES. Place 5 Influence in any non-African countries already containing USSR Influence, no more than 2 Influence per country.

Comment: hat tips T.T. and Prowler for suggestions. Represents cash-only sales to countries.


USSR 3 OPS SIBERIAN OIL and GAS USSR gets 2 OPS each for WEST GERMANY and FRANCE if they are not US controlled. USSR gets 1 OPS each for ITALY, EAST GERMANY, and POLAND if they are not US controlled. 5 OPS maximum.

Comment: Speculative. The premise is the USSR's natural gas offers are best and USA does not have the political pull in the big Western European consumer economies to block them. The MID WAR's OPEC Card handles the benefit to USSR of the 1974-1984 oil spike. (OPEC card almost qualified as goofy: USSR benefited from OPEC actions without controlling any OPEC countries. Also, Egypt was/is not a major producer.) I conceive the game turns as 5 years each, 1945-1995, making LATE WAR the Reagan/GHW Bush years, so, there's time for another energy spike.


USSR 3 OPS SOVIET AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION 1 VP and 2 OPS for each of these USSR controls: EAST GERMANY, WEST GERMANY, FRANCE, BENELUX. Maximum of 5 OPS.

Comment: Speculative. Who knows? With enough help from Western agronomists, the Soviets might have straightened out their agriculture. The potential, with ideology less important in LATE WAR, is always there.


USSR 2 OPS CAMPAIGN FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT remove three US Influence from Great Britain.


USA 4 OPS SOVIET NATIONALITIES PROBLEM* Divide current US Victory Points (if any) by 4, dropping remainders. USSR must hand USA a card of OPS equal to or greater than the resulting number, and plays one less Action Round this turn. Alternately, USSR may give USA 4 Victory Points.


USA 4 OPS REAGAN ARMS BUILD-UP* Set USA required Military Operations to 5. USSR must discard a 4 OPS event card (red, white, or dual as US chooses) or USA gains 3 VP. USA takes the first action in every Action Round until the end of the game.


USA 3 OPS JAPAN, INC.* Japan, if USA controlled, is now worth two Battleground countries when scoring Asia. It counts as one Battleground for all other purposes.


USA 2 OPS SOVIET ALCOHOLISM* Played in USSR's Action Round, USSR must discard a card or lose 2 VP. Played in USA's Action Round, USSR must discard two cards or lose 2 VP.


USA 2 OPS COMMUNIST FRATRICIDE. Playable if USSR does not hold the China Card. China attacks Vietnam, Laos/Cambodia, Burma, or Formosa (US's choice). Roll one die. Success on 4-6. Subtract 1 for each USSR controlled country adjacent to the target. VICTORY: 2 VP for US and replace all USSR Influence in target with USA Influence. In any case, 2 Military OPS for US.


USA 1 OPS MATHIAS RUST* Reset required USSR Military Operations to zero and give USA two required Military Operations. +1 VP for USA.

Comment: 18 year old German aviator landed his small plane in Red Square after an unauthorized flight from Helsinki. Rust humiliated the Soviet air force, giving Gorbachev the leverage to dismiss Soviet military hardliners opposed to his arms cutbacks.


USA 1 OPS ABLE ARCHER 83* Play 1 OPS and reduce DEFCON by 1. Counts as two required Military Operations.

Comment: this deadly Defcon Death card represents Soviet paranoia that the big NATO wargames of 1983 were a ruse to mask a nuclear first strike.


DUAL 4 OPS DEALIGNMENT Pick a Region. Country by country, each side rolls a die for each Influence point it has in the country and removes it on a roll of 6.

Comment: as Solzhenitsyn told Harvard, the people of the world do not think of themselves in Western (or Soviet) terms. They have their own agendas. Ultimately, the idea of either USA or USSR controlling or even dominating the world is just a fantasy.


 
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Adam Cirone
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AnimalMother wrote:
I'm not really keen on eliminating the "goofy" cards. They are what they are and are already in the decks.

The more interesting question is what cards can be added, making the game both better as a game and more accurate as history.


Some of your card ideas seem interesting, but with so many USSR additions you would need to either take out some of the standard USSR cards or add a corresponding number of US cards. But adding 10 cards to the Early War deck could potentially mess with the reshuffle patterns... and I am uncertain as to whether those should be tampered with.
 
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The American cards are coming. They're easier to conceive than the Soviet cards.

An extra Early War turn and an extra Mid War turn (making four Early War turns, five Mid War turns, and three Late Ware turns, each turn corresponding to a presidential term of four years) would burn up another 34 cards.

Early War: 1945 - 1960. Truman 1, Truman 2, Eisenhower 1, Eisenhower 2.

Mid War: 1961 - 1980. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter.

Late War: 1981- 1992. Reagan 1, Reagan 2, GHW Bush.

So, including the seven extra cards in the Deluxe Edition, that's about what I'll have when I finish the American cards and the dual-use cards.

The arithmetic shouldn't be difficult to get the reshuffles and new deck deals to work right.

Or, one could simply randomly select the 36 Early War cards, the forty-odd Mid War cards, etc., making it a mystery what's in the decks.

 
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Adam Cirone
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AnimalMother wrote:
An extra Early War turn and an extra Late War turn (making four Early War turns, four Mid War turns, and four Late Ware turns, each turn corresponding to a presidential term of four years) would burn up another 34 cards.


One of Matthews & Gupta's goals in creating Twilight Struggle was a shorter playing time than other card-driven games. Adding two more turns... not sure how I feel about that. The game seems to be just about the right length.

Quote:
Or, one could simply randomly select the 36 Early War cards, the forty-odd Mid War cards, etc., making it a mystery what's in the decks.


Now this... this is an idea that had been floating around in my head recently. I have a few ideas of my own for custom-made cards, and I was considering an optional "mystery deck" format. The idea appeals to me because it can bring back some of those initial experiences of surprise when I first played the game... my opponent playing an event on me that caused some unexpected things to happen and really gave the game its "flavor."

The big problem is balance of course, but I think that can be worked around. By including set numbers of USSR, US, and Neutral events in each war deck, you can maintain most of the balance of the game. Some events might need to be tweaked a little (such as NATO being triggered past a certain game turn, since there is no guarantee of Warsaw Pact or Marshall Plan being in the deck). The Ops values will not be balanced... but because neither player knows what is coming, it will be hard to take advantage of an unbalanced deck.
 
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John Griffey
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The players could decide if they wanted to play the long game with two extra turns and all the variant cards, or the standard length game.

For the standard length game, a balanced selection of White/Dual/Red cards from each of the original decks would be replaceable, The remaining cards would be non-replaceable: scoring cards, China Card, Warsaw Pact, Marshall Plan and NATO, certain critical cards (Blockade, Eastern European Unrest), and certain indispensable fun cards such as Missile Envy. E.g.,

Replaceable Early War cards
3 OPS US Five Year Plan
2 OPS US Formosan Resolution
2 OPS US Defectors
3 OPS US Duck and Cover
3 OPS US NORAD (Deluxe Optional Card)
2 OPS US Special Relationship (Deluxe Optional Card)

4 OPS DUAL Red Scare/Purge
4 OPS DUAL Nuclear Test Ban
1 OPS Dual Nazi Scientist
1 OPS Dual Olympic Games

3 OPS USSR Comecon
3 OPS USSR Suez Crisis
3 OPS USSR Socialist Governments
2 OPS USSR The Cambridge Five (Deluxe Optional Card)
1 OPS USSR Romanian Abdication.

Fifteen replaceable original Early War deck cards and fifteen variant early Early War deck cards would be shuffled together, and then a fifteen selected face down for a new Early War deck. The non-selected fifteen cards would be set aside, hermetically sealed in an envelope. On average, seven & one-half of the thirty-six Early War deck cards would be variant cards, but there could be more, or could be less.

From the Mid War deck, these seventeen might be replaceable:

Dual: How I Learned to Stop Worrying, One Small Step, Arms Race,Latin American Death Squads, Cuban Missile Crisis.

Red: Che (Deluxe Optional) Lone Gunman, OPEC, Flower Power, Muslim Revolution, U2 Incident, Che

White: Our Man in Tehran (Deluxe Optional) Shuttle Diplomacy, Grain Sales to Soviets, Camp David Accords, Sadat Expels Soviets, Nuclear Subs.
 
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David Benito Richards
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Wow, I am impressed by the scale of this effort. I have to quote the Soviet WWII saying: "quality has a quantity of its own".

Let me submit my comments on the proposed Early War cards.

For ideas how to use the cards, consider this, in order to retain game balance: when each of the "replaceable" cards is first drawn by either player, he rolls a die. On a 1-3, the card remains the original, put a small slip of paper inside the sleeve as a reminder. If you roll a 4-6, insert the variant card into the sleeve. Each card would need to have a "natural substitute" of similar power.



EARLY WAR: 5 USSR, 5 USA CARDS, 3 DUAL CARDS

USSR 4 OPS RED CHINA ALLIANCE (RCA)*

Instead of the unsuccessful Coup discard, consider “RCA is discarded after play of the Asia Scoring Card by either player”.

USSR 4 OPS. IMPLOSION CONSPIRACY*.
OK with me, no comments.

USSR 1 OPS STASI*
I would add “Place 1 USSR influence in East Germany”. East Germany starts with 3 USSR Influence, and does not usually move a lot. Otherwise, this card may cost the USSR player 1 Influence to regain control … or even worse, may allow the US to creep into a now-uncontrolled East Germany.

USSR 2 OPS GRU SPY RINGS
This card is almost exactly the same as “The Cambridge Five” of the optional cards.

USSR 1 OPS BANDUNG CONFERENCE*

This card can be devastating in the “very early” War, as it may completely oust the US from certain regions. I would add that “it may only be played as an Event on Turn 1 if NASSER has already been played” (Nasser was one of the major actors in the non-aligned movement), or simply “may not be played as an Event on Turn 1”.

USA 4 OPS D-MARK und BRD*
Not terribly useful in most games. Remember coups and realignments in Europe are scarce, as DEFCON is usually 2-3 for most of the game.

USA 3 OPS VENONA DECRYPTS.

Be very careful with this mechanic you propose. How does the USSR play VENONA DECRYPTS, if it is HE who draws the card?

USA 2 OPS SEATO.*
OK if a little too deterministic. Why not just “Place 1 US influence each in Australia and 3 SE Asia countries that already have more US Influence than USSR Influence”.

USA 2 OPS CENTO.*
Again, OK if a little too deterministic. I would say “Place 1 US influence each in 4 of the following countries, provided they do not have more USSR than USA influence: Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan “


USA 1 OPS CHIANG KAI SHEK*.

OK no changes

DUAL 1 OPS MOSADEGH/KIM ROOSEVELT*

OK but is this really necessary? Iran is already a hotbed for coups, given its 2 Stability and strategic location.


DUAL 1 OPS SPY SWAP


I love it!

DUAL 2 OPS COUNTERCOUP

I love it!
 
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John Griffey
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Thanks again, David, for the thoughtful response. I will be sure to incorporate 90% of your ideas.


Bandung Conference
US (if I remember right) starts with 2 Influence in South Africa, 1 Influence in Philippines, 4 in Australia, 3 in Japan. So how would loss of 1 South Africa Influence, 1 Philippines Influence and 1 Influence in Japan or Australia be ruinous to US position?

Red China Alliance
Since all of the 36 Early War Deck cards are played in Turns 1-3, the Asia Scoring Card will appear quickly. If Asia Scoring ended the RCA, the RCA would end almost as soon as it began, especially if the US drew the Scoring Card. Surely the limitations I've attached to RCA are enough to prevent RCA from being too overpowering, and enough to make the RCA end most of the time in Mid War? Viz.:

1) No USSR Scoring of Southeast Asia in Mid War

2) China Card OPS only playable in Asia.

3) Three Mid War Events which end RCA.

4) Failed Coups with China Card OPS ends RCA.

The Cambridge Five
Ah, I was unaware of that card. Thank you. I will purge GRU Spy Rings or change its effect. Perhaps I could borrow one of your spy ideas? With credit to you, of course ! You are better at this spy business than I am.


Thanks again!

Yours, Animalmother.
 
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David Benito Richards
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Hi AnimalMother. It's me again.

Bandung Conference: the initial US setup in Africa and Asia is: 1 in South Africa, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Japan, 1 in S. Korea, 4 in Australia. Just checked with the rules to make sure. I own the Deluxe edition, maybe this is different in other versions, I do not know.

So, BANDUNG CONFERENCE can throw the US out of Africa, out of SE Asia (The Philippines), remove control of Australia, and leave the US with just 1 Influence in either Japan or S. Korea. If the USSR Headlines BANDUNG CONFERENCE, and plays as 1st Action Round "Korean War", the China Card, a 3 or 4 Ops card to place influence is S. Korea... or even "ASIA SCORING" in Action Round 1 for 4 VPs, you let the USSR have a "Red Steamroller" opening in Asia, same as they can already have in Europe and the Middle East.

Red China Alliance: OK let us playtest it your way and see what happens.

Spy cards: of course feel free to borrow and adapt the spy cards. I would be delighted!
 
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David Benito Richards
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Hi, back to the very beginning of this post, I think there are another 2 "goofy" USSR cards in the deck, both from a historical and game-balance perspective. Their "goofiness" comes from the possibility of playing them on turn 1, maybe even turn 1 headline:

SUEZ CRISIS: In 1945, Egypt was a British-controlled protectorate. Small chance then of an independent Egyptian government closing the Suez Canal. In game terms, USSR can Headline SUEZ CRISIS and then Coup Iran in AR1 and (barring DEFECTORS) shut the US out of the Middle East.
In order to reduce the card's ahistorical advantage for the USSR, I would suggest adding "May only be played as an event in the Early War if NASSER event has already occurred".
Note that this proposal is purely theoretical, and has not been playtested.

DE GAULLE LEADS FRANCE: De Gaulle's attitude towards Communism and the USSR was very different in 1945-1946 than in his 1958-1968 Presidency. The WWII and postwar De Gaulle saw Communism as the most serious threat to his authority in France, while in 1958-1968 he was no longer afraid of a Communist takeover and could thus afford good relations with the USSR. I would thus suggest that DE GAULLE should be a Mid War, not Early War card. (Not playtested either)

Both these changes would affect France, and would allow the US to grab this country in the Early War much more easily.



 
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