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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Rules

Subject: Is there special rules for the "optional cards"? rss

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John blog
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are they used in standard games and do we need to remove cards to use them?
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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No special rules. You can add all some or none of them, and no cards are removed if you use them.

Jason Matthews suggests that you don't use the optional cards with the Chinese Civil War variant.

I've used and enjoyed the optional cards quite a bit.
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Charles Robinson
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For whatever it's worth, the optional cards were tested as a set. If you're going to use them, I'd recommend adding all of them to the deck for the first few times you play with them. On balance they help the USA, but cards like Cambridge Five and Che can be quite useful to the USSR.

Adding the optional cards will mean that you will see fewer 'repeat events' in the Early War after the reshuffle on turn 3. The extra cards in the deck can also mean, rarely (one time in ten or twenty), that you do not get a reshuffle on turn 7 (resulting in a solid slew of Late War cards on turns 8 and 9), which obviously significantly changes the dynamic of the game the rare time that it happens.
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Carlos Ferreira
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Since I got them I've use them. I just added to the deck without removing any other card. The game is still balanced and challenging.
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Doug Bey
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I couldn't imagine playing TS without the optional cards. Just shuffle 'em into the core decks, and have at it!
 
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Lawcomic
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I've only played with the optional cards shuffled in.

I've never used the Chinese Civil War variant.
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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There is nothing wrong with playing both CCW & optionals (in case you like them both). In fact the CCW increases the card cycle by reduced China card plays (the problem taulus referred). At BGG people for some reason always tend to say CCW & optionals don't work together, but for example at consimworld (where the design team posts & reads more) one gets the answer that there is nothing wrong done by combining the 2:

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.1dcfda60/14303

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Now Jason Matthews hasn't been too keen to suggest CCW (http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.1dcfda60/14303) with or without optionals. CCW was a magazine article which wasn't too much tested when it came and wasn't officially tested with the optionals. However Jason didn't hate CCW enough to stop it being printed as optional into the deluxe rulebook. As far as I've got out of the discussions optionals were Jasons try to organically balance the TS (that was done after the CCW). Also Jason has been kind of cool for the WBC tourney using CCW (in comparsion there was a couple of years ago a varint that reduced the cycle of scoring, to which Jason said that is too far), so despite he isn't a great fan of CCW he seems to accept it.

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So the story behind the optionals & CCW was that USSR had been perceived with an advantage & people were bidding IPs to play USSR. They wanted to make a variant where bids wouldn't be necessary. So the first try was CCW & second was optionals. I feel both didn't have time & effort & luck enough to accomplish their goal.

Current "standard" bids (IPs for US for the bidder to play USSR):

Without optionals & CCW: 3IPs for US (plenty of testing... though big part of that is before the new Ames & 2IPs to Canada... noticable is though that before that the tourney finals had even bigger IP bids)

With optionals, but no CCW: 1IP for US (current wargameroom standard... I have a feeling it could go to 2 however)

CCW only: 3IPs for US (I did bid that for all my games at the WBC. I took the number out of my arse just before the tournament, but because I won (&also counting WGR league I'm on 21 consecutive tourney wins) some people seem to think that as the right amount.)

CCW & optionals: 0IPs (untested in tourneys however. People who play with both these (its allowed at the WBC or WGR to mutually agree on different optionals) seem to think game balances with both these on)
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