I have never introduced a new player to Twilight Struggle who has not chosen to play the Soviets. This is because young educated urban Canadians are all red-hearted freedom-hating Communist sympathizers (except me, of course.)
The game started peculiarly, with both of us suffering a surfeit of opposing cards in our starting hands. I headlined with 'US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact' of all things; at first I though that this was a terrible start, but I think now it may actually have led to my ultimate victory.
Indeed, I pulled ahead in VPs due to a first-turn Asia scoring after my opponent failed to coup Iran. Europe was a wash in the Early War, and the US managed to score a few additional points in the Middle East due to a couple of successful coups that had Nasser the Hitler of Egypt exposed and indicted for his no-doubt heinous corruption. Meanwhile, Vietnam Revolts led to the thorough Soviet control of Southeast Asia and numerous Socialist Governments eroded NATO's influence in France and adjacent countries.
The Mid War swung back in USSR's favour with fierce fighting over Africa and Latin America. The USA was still ahead in VPs, but I started to grow concerned about turn 10 scoring. Board position was looking good for the evil Soviet empire. At this point it was the long game or nothing for the USSR - we had a couple of close calls that we mutually decided to avoid so as to keep playing. At one point I advised my opponent to perform a coup in South America because I would otherwise have ended the game the next turn with the scoring card in my hand; another turn saw the Defcon at 2 and the last two cards in the Soviet hand 'Grain Sales to Soviets' and 'Duck and Cover' with no opportunity to space or hold. So I gave 'Duck and Cover' back and just played it for the OPS.
It was pretty funny that American grain sales came so close to setting off nuclear war, but I guess the Commmies would do something petty like that, wouldn't they.
The Late Game only went for a turn and a half. France was, at this point, a Soviet puppet, but the CIA-backed Shah of Iran steamrolled into Iraq despite the weak-spined whinging of unwashed 'Flower Power' hippies. Meanwhile on the Asian front Soviet India had only barely failed to take over freedom-loving Pakistan (justice was with us) and, as a result of OPS freed up from the very first US card play of the game (I suspect), a dedicated salvo of reconciliation programs and economic stimulus initiatives led to the reunification of the Korean peninsula and the jubilant peaceful liberation of Pyongyang.
Thanks to Jimmy Carter's tireless efforts the United Democratic Republic of Korea became a beacon of hope that put the Communist South Pacific to shame. The 'Asia Scoring' card was played and the world was saved for freedom even as Soviet France crumbled into poverty and (quite literally) the entire African continent turned its gaze to Moscow.
So a convincing US VP victory, despite strong mid-game play from a first-timer.
Looks like I've hooked another one! This game is awesome.