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Subject: Fifty-five Variant Cards rss

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John Griffey
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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, some would not. They include some of the best Cold War events not memorialized in the original cards. One day I'll print them down on note cards and try them out along with fifty-five selected original cards. Criticism is welcome and expected. Special thanks to Prowler and others who have critiqued my previous posts.

EARLY WAR:
6 USSR CARDS (4* + 4* + 3* + 2 + 1* + 1* = 15 OPS);
7 USA CARDS (4* + 3* + 2* + 2 + 2 + 2* + 1* = 16 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* Treat USSR as having an extra BG when Euro scoring, but this extra BG does not give USSR +1 VP as a real BG country does. 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 2 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.

Comment: as Mr. Mathews (the co-designer) observes, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization had little effect in the historical Cold War, and therefor was not included in the original card decks. But if Communism had been more successful than it historically was in SE Asia, it would have been more important. E.g., if Indonesia had fallen under Communist sway in the attempted December 1965 Coup, or if all Indochina was under unified Communist control by the mid-sixties, then SEATO would have been more important to Philippines and Thailand.


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.

Comment: Immediately after WWII, there was an active Communist party in Iran, Tudeh, and the 1958 Iraq coup against the Hashemites brought a USSR-sympatico general to power there. (The fascistic Ba'athists, led by Saddam Hussein among others, later murdered him.) So while CENTO was not historically important, it would have been important if the USSR was as successful historically as it usually is in the game.


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). King Abdullah I of Jordan and other Arab collaborators supporting a UN Trust Territory of Palestine would be in the crosshairs of their more radical fellows. Jewish nationalists would also threaten Jewish collaborators. 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 Zaire.


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

Comment: this was 1974, if I remember right. It put a great strain on NATO.


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: Named for the Soviet general in charge (who was killed), 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: On the night of September 30, 1965 the Chinese-dominated Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), which surrounded President Sukarno, kidnapped and murdered six Moslem generals who stood in their way. But they did not catch the Chief of the General Staff and they did not catch General Suharto, the local garrison commander. The generals rallied the people and countercouped the PKI, killing tens of thousands of PKI members and ethnic Chinese. (Leftists such as James Agee claim one million killed.) General Suharto then ruled as president for thirty-one years. 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. The card is named after the Mel Gibson movie set in the aftermath of the coup.


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 VP.

Comment: The Refuseniks were Jews whom the Soviets refused permission to leave the USSR, ostensibly for Israel.



USA 1 OPS SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS* USA adds +1 to the Stability Numbers of three Central American or South American countries it controls whenever USSR attempts coup against them. Place US SN +1 markers on those countries.

This was the famous (or infamous) counterinsurgency school of the US Army which trained many Latin American officers in counterinsurgency.


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.

When it's safe to do so, intellectuals can be trusted to support what appears will be the winning side.


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 Influence each for WEST GERMANY, FRANCE and ITALY if they are not US controlled. USSR gets 1 Influence EAST GERMANY and POLAND if they are not US controlled. 5 Influence 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 USSR gains 1 VP and 2 OPS for each of these USSR controls: EAST GERMANY, WEST GERMANY, FRANCE, BENELUX. Maximum of 5 OPS. OPS may not be used to coup Battleground countries.

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* USA gains 2 VP for each country it controls adjacent to the USSR, and gains 1 VP for each country containing US Influence adjacent to the USSR. In addition, if USA is ahead in VP by at least 4 VP, it gains an extra VP. If USA is ahead by at least 8 VP, it gains 2 VP.


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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Pete Hooper
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I don't mean to sound sarcastic or obnoxious (it's very hard to convey tone on the web), but have you considered designing your own games? It's obvious you've put a lot of thought into variants for TS, and I wonder what you might be able to do with a different setting.
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John Griffey
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I am working on a few projects, but in the meantime I'd like to see some new cards for my favorite games, such as this one and the "Napoleonic Wars." I recall "Magic: the Gathering" was able to continue raking in money for its publisher with issues of new cards, so why not do the same for other card-driven games?

My practical difficulties (beyond neurotic perfectionism) as a designer include lack of computer and graphics skills, and lack of a dedicated circle of of play testers.
 
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Steven
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First let me start off by saying your cards are very well thought out and very interesting. My main question is how can you impliment these cards, without losing the "pacing" of scoring cards in the regular game? By adding extra cards would scoring cards be less likely to appear?

In regards to testing your cards, perhaps when GMT puts out their computer version of TS (its on their P500 list) there will be some way to mod your own cards in? It might be an easy way to get a critical mass of playtesters.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Yeah, dude, just design us a game.
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John Griffey
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
First let me start off by saying your cards are very well thought out and very interesting. My main question is how can you impliment these cards, without losing the "pacing" of scoring cards in the regular game? By adding extra cards would scoring cards be less likely to appear?

In regards to testing your cards, perhaps when GMT puts out their computer version of TS (its on their P500 list) there will be some way to mod your own cards in? It might be an easy way to get a critical mass of playtesters.


Thanks for the thoughtful response. You are right.

I thought of the scoring card problem, so I added the "Naval Scoring Card" to MID WAR. I've been racking my brain to think of two more good themes for scoring cards. As you point out, this is necessary to keep the number of scoring cards proportional to their number in the original decks. The original cards include seven scoring cards so there should be at least three in the variant cards. How about:


MID WAR
DUAL 0 OPS FLAGSHIP STATES Check all six Regions to see whose Flagship State in the Region has the most Influence. Your Flagship State in a Region is the country (if any) which you control which has more of your Influence than any other country in the Region. If your Influence in your Flagship State in a Region exceeds enemy Influence in the enemy's Flagship State, you gain 2 VP.

Comment: good examples are contagious. During the Cold War, both sides promoted their ideology by pointing to regional success stories. The Soviets, for example, poured an immense amount of effort into making Cuba and North Vietnam look successful.


LATE WAR
DUAL 0 OPS EMERGING MARKETS Gain 1 VP each for control of South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico.

South Korea, India, Brazil, and Mexico are already BG, but they are important regional powers, more important than many countries which equally rate as BG countries, such as Libya.


For bleak cynicism, how about this scoring card?

MID WAR
DUAL 0 OPS INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS TRADE You must have a large slushy cash income to operate an effective spy service, da? Score 1 VP for each of these you control: Laos/Cambodia, Burma, Afghanistan, Turkey, Columbia, Bolivia, Mexico. Add extra 1 VP if you control more than your enemy. Add an extra 2 VP if you control all of them.
 
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Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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There are a lot of interesting concepts in here, and I definitely like how you captured the spirit of the historical event with the card implementation -- something I was always keen to attempt. I'm not I've actually expressed any of this anywhere, so why not now? There were some things we eschewed purposefully. First, we didn't really do invents that were largely internal to a non-superpower. So while I think you're Peron card is quite interesting, that's why he, and many, many fascinating characters from the period aren't in the game.

Secondly, we didn't cover intra-alliance conflicts. Okay, Suez crisis is different, but we elected not to punish players because Greece and Turkey don't get along, or Bulgaria and Romania for that matter. Again the focus was laser like on the US vs. USSR, we pretend for design purposes, all that other stuff doesn't matter.

A lot of people have suggested a non-aligned player to make a 3 player game. I like your Sukarno card, but with the benefit of hindsight, its hard to see the non-aligned movement as anything but politicians trying to create some space for themselves so that might play both ends against the middle. Cuba was a member of the non-aligned movement for pity's sake. That said, I think Sukarno is just another iteration of post-colonial politician. Like Nehru, the resentment towards the West just happens to be a bit more fresh. But that shouldn't be confused with a commitment to Marxism. I think of the De-colonization card as capturing the non-aligned movement's impact already.

Nothing will ever convince me that SEATO or CENTO did much of anything to impact the Cold War. They disbanded without so much as a whimper. The fracturing of ANZUS toward the end of the Cold War over New Zealand's anti-nuke stance was probably a bigger splash than either of them.

We didn't do alt history of any sort. Blame me for that, because Ananda like the idea. My general concern was that we had enough trouble including the actually events of the Cold War in a single deck game without the added pressure of including what ifs.

Anyway, as I say, some clever notions in there. Thanks for all the thought you put into them.

Jason
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Jack Francisco
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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These would certainly be worth buying if someone were to design them as actual cards on Artscow. whistle
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Dan Moore
United States
San Francisco
California
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Ok, I stopped reading after 'State of Israel' but not for lack of interest. The notion of changing adjacency status Is appealing; but I feel as if you're on the way to making another game entirely*. Personally I think TS is almost good inasmuch it hit the mark of being quickly playable whilst complex enough to be interesting. Keeping track of new conditions would likely drive up play time, at the very least.

My problem with CDGs overall is the scripting. TS is pretty good at not 'putting the game on rails' but my gold standard is still Hannibal, because the mechanics capture my understanding of the ebb and flow of the actual era. Many cards could be more useful -eg, Traitor in Tarentum being applicable to any city - but overall they Aid the game flow rather than Drive it. TS is less good in that aspect because battlegrounds are Made, not Born.

Hey, Jason, while you're here: what do you think of Hannibal vs TS?

*In the DIY*** vein I am working on a game centered around the Dutch Revolt/Eighty Years War -- covering 1572 to the Truce -- which would weight internal and external politics heavily, as well as combats Here's hoping I can make a game as good as TS And Hannibal are.

**Why does Spellcheck here think YID is a word but not DIY? Pretty funny . . .

***Mufti-players? Really?
 
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David Benito Richards
Spain
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Hi AnimalMother, it's me again...
Your 55 cards make very interesting reading. You really made a big effort, thanks for sharing with all of us. .

Let me submit some comments on a few selected cards:


USSR 4 OPS RED ARMY OCCUPATION*
I think you could streamline the Euro scoring effect to “USSR is considered to control 1 additional BG country during European scoring”.


USSR 2 OPS EASTERN EUROPEAN COUP
No historical commentary is provided. I suppose this covers the 1948 Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia. Review the “Free Coup” rule, as it might be useful for this card and make the description shorter and easier to remember.

USA 4 OPS VENONA DECRYPTS
This card is extremely situational. It might be a big coup for the US, or almost negligible. It should be a starred event, as the US was not reading Soviet "mail" for the whole of the Cold War. 4 Ops is too much for this card.

DUAL 2 OPS COLD WAR INTENSIFIES*
This card benefits the US much more than the USSR, because of i-) there are USSR War cards, but not US War cards, and ii-) Flower Power already dissuades the US from playing War cards. Consider making it a US event.


USSR 3 OPS CARTER MALAISE*
I think this card breaks the game’s “etiquette”, in the sense that all cards featuring the Head of State of the US or the USSR, are always positive for that side. Even Brezhnev gives a bonus to the USSR.
I would change the name of this card to VIETNAM SYNDROME. Maybe it is aggravated by QUAGMIRE or FLOWER POWER. .

USSR 1 OPS FARC y los MONTONEROS*
A bit too scripted for my liking. Why not 1 Influence in each of two South American countries, max. 1 in a BG country?

USSR 1 OPS PATRICE LUMUMBA*
Should replace “Congo” with “Zaire”. That is the way this country is written on the map.


USA 3 OPS MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS
I work for a US multinational company in Spain, and I do think our effort is worth more than this! More seriously, this event seems very weak for a 3-pt. card. Compare it to IRON CURTAIN just below it. At least, the card should give the US 3 Realignment rolls with a +1.


DUAL 2 OPS AGE OF AQUARIUS*
This event favours the US much more than the USSR. The reason is that most of the time, DEFCON is at 2, rising to 3 at the beginning of the turn. Then USSR makes a Coup in a BG country, lowering it to 2, so the US can only Coup non-BG Third World countries. With AGE OF AQUARIUS, DEFCON would rise to 4, thus allowing the US a BG Coup every turn.

DUAL 0 OPS NAVAL SCORING CARD
Why do you say USSR navy learns its job in the Late War? There is no Late War USSR naval event, neither in the original nor in the variant cards.


USSR 2 OPS CAMPAIGN FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
This card is rather weak for 2 Ops, as the UK is not a BG, and it does not give USSR any Influence in the UK (so US player can replace the damage any time without fear of losing control to the USSR). Consider making it 1 Ops.
Thematically speaking, there was historically many a “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament” in the UK, which did not reduce US influence in the UK in any meaningful way. Consider the following options for the card’s name:
ANARCHY IN THE UK (Sex Pistols song)
UK UNILATERAL NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
Alternatively, if you want to keep it as 2 Ops, consider this:
A LABOUR GENTLEMAN: Remove 2 US influence from the UK, place 1 USSR in the UK. Cancels “THE IRON LADY”
The Labour Gentleman is Michael Foot, who was the Labour candidate to the Premiership in 1983. In her memoirs, Ms. Thatcher said she would call Mr. Foot a gentleman, if he would not feel offended by it. Foot’ Labour party lost to Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives by a landslide. Foot’s Labour manifesto has been called the longest suicide note in British political history; as it relates to this game, it included unilateral nuclear disarmament and strict neutrality.
There are, however, “Alternate History” possibilities that would let Mr. Foot win the election: either there is no Falklands War, or it occurs later, or the British are defeated.


USA 4 OPS SOVIET NATIONALITIES PROBLEM*
Great idea for a card. This event should be enhanced for the US by control of countries adjacent to USSR home territory. This would increase Soviet efforts at controlling Poland, Afghanistan, etc., in the Late War, as historically happened.

Cheers,

Prowler
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John Griffey
United States
Houston
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Thank you, Porwler, for a most excellent critique. I will certainly edit the original post to incorporate your criticisms.
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Andrei Ivushkin
Ukraine
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Hi, I'm impressed with your work, thank you! Should I just shuffle these 55 together with standard deck and play with about 150 cards, or take random 50 standard cards and add yours? How does the game feel in each case?
 
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Emmanuel KERN
France
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Hi ! It's been a long time since I saw your proposals; here are some of my own, with a few adjustments, inspired from my favourites :

Here


Best,

virlouvet
 
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Matthew McGeehin
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Pennsylvania
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These are really good. Some of the ones where "You discard influence on a 5 or 6" might get a little troublesome, especially when a deeply contested place goes Brush War and you get a lot of Influence there.

But other than that, seems really good, especially Asia.
 
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