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Subject: Indecisive Nuclear Exchange rss

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Derek Green
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I played this game for the first time yesterday with a friend. For him, it was the first time that he had played since the early 80's, so both of us were kind of learning what to do as we went. I imagine that this game is best when both players are either newcomers or rusty, since the real Cold War was waged by two sides which didn't always seem to know what they should do. We played using a streamlined version of the rules that my friend downloaded from BGG, so we didn't develop the economy or any of that jazz. I played as the United States.

I knew that the game would involve a good deal of posturing and deterrence, so I bought a good number of Minutemen and Polaris missiles on the first turn, as well as building up for early political gains in Japan and the Philippines. The political game fell to me at first due to the fact that I concentrated my spending first. Later, as I was trying to catch up in the arms race, I was outspent abroad, but I still managed to win all but a couple of areas. The key political victory for me was when I won Europe, despite being at an 86-71 investment disadvantage. When I got lucky there, my opponent knew that first strike was his only option.

The nuclear war ended up being oddly equal in terms of the results, but it certainly felt like he hit me a lot harder than I hit him. This felt particularly true when my Polaris subs did very little in the Black Sea region and his bombers shot down more of my F-102 Delta Daggers than vice-versa. (I made a big error by investing nothing in ECM- Electronic Countermeasures). His fighters were almost as feckless, but his SAM's and flak acquitted themselves reasonably well. Ultimately, I lost Seattle, Washington D.C., Detroit, Buffalo, Milwaukee, Atlanta, St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Portland, New Orleans, and some suburban districts. In retaliation, I nuked the Baltic States pretty thoroughly and took out most of the targets in the Ural region. I got a couple of things near Moscow, a handful of small things in the Ukraine, but my main accomplishment was taking out Leningrad/St. Petersburg. The nuclear exchange favored the Soviets 57-56, but the overall score was a victory for the Americans of about 190-125 or something like that.

Despite the disparity in the final score, it was a hotly contested game and had Europe gone Soviet as it should have given the odds, it would have been down to the wire with a Russian advantage. I really regret not striking first and not investing in ECM. I had more ICBM's and probably made better use of my ABM's, but my opponent did a much better job putting his subs and bombers to work. Luck, of course, was a factor too. I almost managed to save Detroit and the fact that it took so much effort and that missile damage didn't help the bombers finish it off meant that he didn't have enough juice left to take out Boston and Chicago, both of which I had assumed were going to be wiped off the map.

It is an interesting game and lots of odd and fun things can happen. As a Cold War game, I prefer it to Twilight Struggle. The most amusing incident was when my opponent tried two or three times to destroy his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. I moved to save it once with an ABM, but the other times, it was saved by some of my very infrequent good flak rolls. Fortress Birmingham really impressed me and became the new capital of America following the war.

It is a great game and I would definitely consider playing it again.
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Christopher Lawrence
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Sounds like a good time. I need to dust that one off.

thucydides2004 wrote:
I almost managed to save Detroit


No one will shed any tears over their loss. whistle
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