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Subject: To coup or not to coup: USA @ Defcon 4 rss

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The moment during turn 1 when defcon drops to 4, traditionally at Ussr r1, seems to me the most critical moment of the turn, and thus a most critical moment in the entire game. The reason is that defcon 4 = the start of Asia manouvers.

In my experience, between good players once defcon reaches 4 it generally stays there for a while, as nobody wants to lower it and allow the opponent to step safely into Asia. It is generally assumed that defcon 4 is a favourable moment to the Usa. This may be true to some extent, but only under quite specific conditions, which do not always happen - often do not, actually.

Unless the Ussr r1 coup was very poor and Iran is at 0/1, I do not consider it worth for the Us to try and re-coup it, as it would drop defcon to 3 and allow Ussr to play nasty cards into Asia. For the same reason, Ussr does not want to coup again quickly somewhere else because it would allow the Us to step safely into Malaysia.

This would mean a sort of balanced situation, but in fact, most often, the Ussr still has an edge. The Ussr can quickly control Pakistan and Afghanistan, and possibly step into South Korea, thus gaining Domination in Asia @ defcon 4. Now this puts some really heavy pressure on the Us, as its options are all risky:

- step into Malaysia nevertheless, provoking a coup war: the Ussr here has a clear edge thanks to the China card, and possibly to Vietnam revolts if it holds it. This is usually enough to discourage the Usa from doing this.
- play Indo-Paki war, if the Usa holds it. At best, it will roll at -1, but most probably at -2 (Iran+Afghan). When it works it saves Usa, but it is not a viable solution, being too randomic, and I cannot really rely on it all the time.
- take South Korea, BUT this only works if the Usa has Korean war, triggers it, South wins (50%) and uses 2 ops to control it. Otherwise, Usa cannot play all the Ops required to control South K. and Taiwan/Japan, which would reduce the risk to give South K. to the Ussr in case it holds the war and plays it. Both ways are really risky and randomic, depend on a specific card, and cannot be considered very affordable solutions, somewhat as the Paki scenario above.
- Coup Pakistan, hope to be very lucky and gain control: but Paki would then become really vulnerable (50%) to Indo-Paki war (not to mention takeover through China card) and, being defcon now 3, could then play Vietnam revolts/Decolonization and win Thailand for good. Possibly, add to this that the coup in Paki could just be not enough to control it.

All these solutions, which seem to be the only avaiable to the Usa, seem always risky and randomic and not always effective. What to do as Usa then if the Ussr gains Domination in Asia @ defcon4 and you don't hold in your hand specific cards (Decol, Vietnam revolts, etc.) which would encourage you to drop defcon to 3 quite safely and make your play into Asia a bit safer?

I am starting to think that playing Duck&cover or CIA as headline on turn1, dropping defcon @ 4 and thus putting the Ussr in front of a very hard choice (coup Iran and drop defcon to 3 opening a safe Us way to Thailand / not coup Iran and leaving the iron triangle open) could be a not-so-stupid idea. It surely has drawbacks, but I am willing to give it a try next time I draw any of those cards.

What do you think?
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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Very confusing, but I say it again: 2 to Egypt as US. Don't headline Duck & Cover; and if you do headline CIA use it to spread to Afganistan, not dropping DEFCON.
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Sam Carroll
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Obviously, it depends heavily on your hand. Playing into Egypt is worthwhile. I might also take Jordan (the Middle-East bottleneck), or alternately I like grabbing Taiwan to defend against Korean War and make Formosan Resolution a tougher choice for the USSR.

You're almost certainly going to get hammered in either Asia or the Middle East; try to break even in one and limit the damage in the other.

Grammar alert: By the way, "random" is already an adjective. There's no need to add a suffix.
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Dan Moore
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Feral_80 wrote:
Both ways are really risky and randomic


http://boardgamegeek.com/article/9904595#9904595

turbothy wrote:
queequeg wrote:
randomicity (Zat a word, BTW?)


I believe it's normally known as randomness.


It's a plague!



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Ok, Egypt 2/0, but you need to explain it better to me: I still fail to see how that would balance the risk of being Asia-dominated for the whole game. I presume taking Egypt would be meant to pose a difficult choice to the Ussr, but as Ussr I would not consider it a real dilemma as I have little reasons to coup Egypt.

Even if Usa take Egypt and then Libya, it will almost never dominate Middle-East, and Ussr will eventually take both thanks to Nasser and coups, and later more nasty events.

Once you have domination in Asia, instead, it is very difficult to lose it unless hit by horribly powerful combination of Us cards. Would that really help?

By the way, I rarely devote too much effort as Us in the Middle-East as it is not going to accomplish much anyway. Once I have a decent presence, it is usually enough. Asia is of much greater concern.

And thanks for the random-randomic thing.
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Joe Bloggs
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All right, Turn1, Defcon is at 4. Assuming US has no influence in Iran, he must decide where to spread next...

I say go into Malaysia anyway. It's stability 2, so if the USSR really wants to spend a high op card couping it, or even the China Card, why not let him? Next AR, put an inf in Malaysia anyway. This will force the USSR to move into Thailand, and as long as he doesn't play Duck and Cover for the ops when moving into Thailand, you can coup Thailand yourself your AR. And if he does use Duck and Cover to get the defcon to 3, then you have the initiative to re-coup Iran and possibly sneak back into the MidEast, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Couping the Asia non-battlegrounds to get into Thailand looks promising, but really it's not worth it. You won't be able to regain the initiative. The only time a non-bg should be couped in Turn1 is Afghanistan by the USSR, as it accomplishes a double objective of keeping the US out of a country adjacent to the USSR, and gives you a cheap domination of Asia with control of North Korea.

Another possibility is that if Vietnam Revolts is activated at Defcon4, the US can coup Vietnam, kicking the USSR out of SE Asia. But there are certain flaws to this plan:
1. USSR will just coup it back at +1 ops, and it's a stability 1 country already. Unless the coup leaves the US with a very high over-control, or no influence at all, then it's easy for this to become a coup-war which the USSR has an edge in.
2. USA will still need to launch another coup on a bg country somewhere to get the defcon to 3 to keep the USSR from couping SE asia.
3. This is all for naught if the USSR has Decolonization, De-Stalinization, or even Cambridge Five, potentially.

There's several options the US has to keep from being dominated in Asia.
1. Headline Duck and Cover. This means if the USSR coups Iran, he degrades the defcon to 3 and you can move into Malaysia without fear. At that point, even if he follows up with Decolonization, you can take Thailand with a 3-op card. If he wants to spend the China Card flipping Thailand after that, then you have the initiative to grab the other SE asia countries and threaten moving to Laos/Burma/India if that's open.
2. Suck it up and spend the ops to take S. Korea and/or Japan.
3. Indo-Pakistani War. Sometimes the USSR gets careless and spreads from Iran directly to pakistan without taking Afghanistan first. If Iran is not controlled either, this is an obvious play.
4. Taiwan and Formosa Resolution. It takes too much time to trigger the event yourself, but if the USSR triggers it, then it can really help you out.
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Riku Riekkinen
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OK, so USSR has had a good coup in Iran. Now he is gonna score Mideast for big points unless you get one country from there. And if you'll get Malaysia, would that change anything? What is really pressing? Of you go to Thailand he can coup that, if you coup to drop DEFCON to 3 there is a possibility for him to Destal it or just take Pakistan & SKorea, or just forget about it.

And USSR getting all the countries in ME after they have claimed by US easily is just a day dream. Nasser is nullified by Sadat & there is just guessing which goes first, the scoring or the Nasser. Muslim Revolutions is 4OPs event for which price US buys back Egypt & Libya. Also Egypt & Libya drop points in OPEC also.
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Joe Bloggs
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Riku Riekkinen wrote:
OK, so USSR has had a good coup in Iran. Now he is gonna score Mideast for big points unless you get one country from there. And if you'll get Malaysia, would that change anything?


Good points. I think a compromise would be for the US to spend a 4-op card: 1 to Lebanon, 2 to Jordan, 1 to Malaysia. USSR can't reply to all of them.

I have seen games where the USSR got North and South Korea, Pakistan, and India, and still could not get domination due to US lockdown of SE Asia.
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Riku Riekkinen
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Now there are several problems with that.

1. USSR is still going to score from ME (though only 1point)
2. USSR has now easy couping target in Lebanon. If he succeeds, he instantly gains dominion
3. Going into Malaysia is a decent idea. Now however playing the biggest card and placing only one IP to Malaysia leaves it vulnerable to coup and reduces your ability to react

All in all I like Egypt far better than Jordan, since at the early game I want to capture BGs (over non-BGs9 & get routes to BGs (Libya in this case). As the original poster said, couping Egypt isn't such a luractive idea as it:

1. Drops DEFCON to 3 allowing US safe passage to Thailand
2. Coups to 2 stab BGs are not economical
3. His possible big roll will eventually waste him that & Nasser, when the Sadat comes

Now if I did want to use 4OPs I would consider: 2 to Egypt, 2 to Malaysia.
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Riku Riekkinen
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On the side note I want to say that not knowing any other cards that are played or are in you hands ; or the chosen setup & bid, its kind of fuzzy question. But in most cases, if USSR opponents Iran coup goes really well the first place I look for is Egypt.
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