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Subject: Tough for the US? rss

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Chad Marlett
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Two games so far, and the USSR has won both, the second on an automatic victory midway through turn 6.

Two games is not enough to make a solid judgement, but my initial impression is the following:

-Whether or not the US gets the Marshall Plan prior to Europe scoring seems to have a large impact. In the USSR auto-victory, USSR dumped the Marshall plan twice; once on the Space Race, and once with UN Intervention. I don't think the USSR has such an important card to worry about.

-Three USSR events (Suez Crisis, Korean War, and Arab-Israeli War) are very tough on the US. Even if the wars are lost, USSR gets military points (possibly 2VP), if they win, they get 2VP, increased influence, and decreased US influence. Given a good die roll (usually at least a 5/6), the net damage takes about three cards to make good.

-Many of the US events, if drawn by the USSR, are easy to sidestep with the right timing. For example, "Ask not..." allows the US player to draw cards; just play it late in the turn. If the US player has to play Suez or Korean War, the damage is bad whether it is early or late in the turn.

I really like the game so far, I hope balance is not a problem...
 
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howl hollow howl
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Our group has played two games so far, and the USSR has won both, one of them on an automatic victory in the headline phase of turn 6.

I won't judge it until I get a chance to play US. arrrh

- d
 
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Kevin Rohrer
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I have played one game so far w/ a USSR auto victory on Turn-7. The sum of the OP values are the same or nearly so for each "War", but I have looked at how powerful the USSR events are when compared to the US.

Don't forget to up the US Influence value of Australia to
-4-. That will help a bit.
 
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William Nelson
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Greetings:

My friend and I have played about 11 games so far...always the USSR winning (with 1 notable exception...Soviets saved "Duck and Cover" for the last card play at DEFCON 2 and ended up nuking the world).

The US is tough to play...Some observations:

NATO should have more punch...say actions and the event..

Maybe scoring should be not allowed during first round? Scoring cards are "dummy" cards the first round perhaps?

Unlike other CDG's...going last doesn't have much of a bang...maybe an alternating first card play?

We've enjoyed the game immensely...a real nail biter for the US (complimentary beer for the US player during our go-arounds).

Any clarifications would be great.

wnelxx
 
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Eric Johnson
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Played the US the other day as my first game. My opponent had one game prior experience. I ended up winning with an off-the-track score (well above twenty) despite abysmal luck on the space race track. I was able to avoid many of the Russian events that are tough on the US by careful (and lucky) play. I'm guessing that in the long run additional plays will show that the game is fairly well-balanced.
 
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Allen Doum
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wnelxx wrote:
Greetings:

Unlike other CDG's...going last doesn't have much of a bang...maybe an alternating first card play?

wnelxx


I would think that there was a big advantage of forcing the Soviet player to play a scoring card before having to play the last US action.
 
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Ananda Gupta
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Re: game balance -- we decided to take a "triple safety net" approach.

The first safety net is the amount of testing. By the end of the rather lengthy development process, we were getting almost 50-50 results, with maybe a slight U.S. edge. In general we were shooting for a Soviet edge in the early game and a U.S. edge if the game goes long.

The second is the zero-sum VP, as with many card driven games. In the event the first net fails and there's a balance issue, it's straightforward to bid for VPs.

The third is how the setup works. If the first two nets fail and bidding VP doesn't help due to some wacky get-Europe strategy we never encountered, or some other extremely odd strategy that takes the game off the rails despite VP bidding, then players can bid discretionary ("place anywhere at start") influence markers for one side or the other.



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Jon Dieringer
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AllenDoum wrote:
wnelxx wrote:
Greetings:

Unlike other CDG's...going last doesn't have much of a bang...maybe an alternating first card play?

wnelxx


I would think that there was a big advantage of forcing the Soviet player to play a scoring card before having to play the last US action.


Allen,

I have only played twice so I am unsure what the advantage here is. Could you please explain?

Thanks
Jon
 
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Allen Doum
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chemist wrote:

Allen,

I have only played twice so I am unsure what the advantage here is. Could you please explain?

Thanks
Jon


In the game I played tonite there were a couple of instances. I was US. In one case I had so many Soviet events, that I had to play some of them. By saving one of the worst for my last play, it was impossible for him to play and scoring card he had after that card.

Also, the US headline card is likely to be played first. This, in effect, can give the US a double play at a critical moment.

There are definate advantage for the Soviets playing first. but playing last has some as well.
 
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Drew Simon
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I've played 3 games so far, all solitaire. All went into the 10th turn. The US won 2 on Automatic Victories in the 10th turn, and the USSR nearly got an automatic victory (pushed up to -19 before the US knocked it back to -18) in the 10th turn. The USSR won massively after final scoring. All games had some pretty dramatic swings going through the Mid-war, and 2 of the 3 games could have gone either way. Hard to tell if there's a balance problem with so small a sample of games played and through only solitaire play, but it seems balanced to me so far. Looking forward to playing this against live opponents in the coming weeks.
 
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Paul Franzosa
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I played this last night...I admit I am a bit of a novice to this sub-genre of "card-driven" war gmaes but I have played a lot of resource managment games which this essentially is...I was Soviet and my opponent won pretty handily although it too 10 rounds....again I have to admit he has played and studied the game a lot more than I have...having read these threads and played once it seems that it may be pretty well balanced and due to the possible card combinations (or lack thereof for me last night ) it warrants multiple plays
 
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Jeff DeBoer
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Ok, so we played I took the US seat knowing that it is the harder side to play and guess what....The USSR won an automatic victory on Turn 10, so although, I survived to the last round, somehow, I always was on my heals as the US player who goes second EVERY SINGLE ACTION ROUND....how can that be??...forces you to always be on the defensive. The card draw in our game too was not the greatest at times for the US player 3-4 rounds of a majority of red events so I'm willing to admit that was not good luck, but I'm still fairly certain that the game is much more challenging as the US Player (which may not be a bad thing when playing against new opponents). I think I was in positive US scoring on the scoring track only once in the game to +3....how can it be that much in favor of the USSR player. Great concept for a game, just wish it could be just a bit more balanced. Are other people having this problem in their games?? I think going first should alternate as this is a huge advantage for the USSR. I also favor starting with 4 in Australia for the US. Makes some historical sense too, doesn't it??

I'm going to try it again as the USSR player and see if I can get the expected win. I even tried the advise above from the designer (in a post in the strategy section) and it didn't seem to help for me.....what else can the US player do to have a better game?? I really would appreciate some strategy tips.

Thank you.
 
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William Nelson
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Yeah...the posts so far haven't convinced me of too much. I'm a pretty regular game player in CDG (Nappy, PoG, BtB, TYW), so I'm not too swayed by the idea that this game is balanced. The US may pull a victory every now and then (assuming your opponent is able), but most times, it seems that the USSR has the goods.

A few suggestions:
Cards that should be in the deck:

Economic Might (Early War) (US Card) (4 card...OPS, replayable)

Russian Mob (Late War) (non replaceable) (2 card...Soviets only allowed 6 actions)

Corruption (Mid War) (both Players) (No space attempts this turn)

Brezhnev, Andropov, the other guy... (US Card) (Late War) (soviet Old Guard Dying Off...) (3 card non-replaceable) (USSR prevented from playing influence in Asia)

In any case...great way to learn more about the cold war.
 
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Jason Matthews
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nishikawa-collector wrote:
Ok, so we played I took the US seat knowing that it is the harder side to play and guess what....The USSR won an automatic victory on Turn 10, so although, I survived to the last round, somehow, I always was on my heals as the US player who goes second EVERY SINGLE ACTION ROUND....how can that be??...forces you to always be on the defensive. The card draw in our game too was not the greatest at times for the US player 3-4 rounds of a majority of red events so I'm willing to admit that was not good luck, but I'm still fairly certain that the game is much more challenging as the US Player (which may not be a bad thing when playing against new opponents). I think I was in positive US scoring on the scoring track only once in the game to +3....how can it be that much in favor of the USSR player. Great concept for a game, just wish it could be just a bit more balanced. Are other people having this problem in their games?? I think going first should alternate as this is a huge advantage for the USSR. I also favor starting with 4 in Australia for the US. Makes some historical sense too, doesn't it??

I'm going to try it again as the USSR player and see if I can get the expected win. I even tried the advise above from the designer (in a post in the strategy section) and it didn't seem to help for me.....what else can the US player do to have a better game?? I really would appreciate some strategy tips.

Thank you.


Be sure to check out the errata in the Rules Questions folder. You will find that you SHOULD start with 4 Influence Points in Australia. This was how the game was designed, but it was left out of the rules. Also, check out my US Strategy article in the Strategy folder.
 
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Doug Cooley
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My opponent and I have played three games, two with the correct rules (thanks to an inaccurate definition of "domination" on a player aid card). The "bad" game went the full 10 turns and was good fun. The "good" games were both over by turn 4 with a Soviet victory.

In the first of the "good" games, the Soviets (me) grabbed Italy early, then made sure we didn't get back up to Defcon 5 to avoid removal of those influence. However, I wasn't going for an Invade Europe strategy. I got a little lucky on the Space Race, and I had just enough cards to get me where I needed to go, but nothing unusual. What killed the US was having to play the scoring cards and lose those ops/events. The game was over at the end of turn 3.

In the second game, the US (me) were doing much better as of keeping up on the VP track, and I was down four or five points going into turn 4. Then I drew four, count 'em, four scoring cards, plus two 1's, two 2's, and a 3. For the headline, the USSR played Red Scare. We were at Defcon 2 the whole turn, and I had no chance to do anything with a grand total of 8 ops playable in the four non-scoring cards I had at my disposal (even the China card, although Asia wasn't one of the scoring cards). My opponent easily won before the end of the turn.

To my mind, the problem is not the dearth of US events early on, that's historical and easily fixed through VP bidding. What is not easily fixable is that if you get dealt a handful of scoring cards you are screwed unless you are in *very* good shape. While I will admit that in a close game of Hannibal, who gets what cards on the final turn can play a big role in who wins, I know of no other good CDG where a single hand can kill you through no fault of your own.

There *must* be some sort of remedy for this sort of situation. While I will admit it was freakish, it will happen and a good design will not punish a player for this much bad luck. Even three scoring cards, or two critical ones, can sink a game. I do not think that the advantage of being able to decide when in a single turn the scoring card can be played is enough advantage to counter the ability to coup or even play a 2 OPs card.

We've tried to come up with a good mulligan rule (discard some number of scoring cards randomly, redraw, shuffle cards back into the deck), but I'd prefer that the designers/developer address the issue. Frankly, I went from being very high on this game to thinking it is broken in two plays. I do not believe this can be countered with a VP bid. Maybe a random table to determine when areas are scored, based on when the card was last played, just something to minimize the problem.

Understand that I think that there will be good luck and bad luck in a given game, and there will be statistical anomalies at times, but the simple fact is that you are generally in trouble if you get scoring cards. I'd prefer a handful of my opponent's events, as it means that the odds are good that he'll have a handful of mine.

Doug
 
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Nicholas Barker
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On the basis of four playings, I have found this a highly entertaining game. My current rating of 7/10 would be higher had not all of those games resulted in USSR victory by turn 5 or 6. There might be a US strategy which has so far escaped us, but my initial feeling is that there could be a play balance problem.

A few other niggles to counterbalance my generally positive impression.

1. Few of the events are sufficiently valuable to play as events. So the mechanism means that you will use them for movement and hope that they later end up in your opponent's hand and that he will be forced to use them for movement and thus trigger an event in your favour. This is okay, but there are ways to prevent having to trigger an event for the other player. So events can either fail to happen or turn up at peculiar times. A Marshall Plan or the creation of the Warsaw Pact in the 1980s?

2. Some of the events, such as NATO, are utterly pointless.

3. The DEFCON track is too drastic. It spends the game hovering over the nuclear threshold which means that coups are too difficult to mount and that much of the map is usually invulnerable to coup or realignment attempts. In four games, we only did a single realignment option.

4. The typical GMT production which is generally okay but let down by slipshod minor details like incorrectly printed map, cards, play aids and instant errata on some rather important points.
 
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j javi
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I have played three games and just one of them finish with a URSS victory (at the last turn). Other one was a US victory (at the final turn too).
the other one i played, it was played with vassal module. At turn four US has eight points (still not finished ).
I think this game depends on the cards you have in your hand. Nevermind if you are russian or american if you have a bad hand.

About game components, i think they are good. it includes deluxe board (i hope GMT include it in all future games they made). The errors of cardboard are not important, except saudi arabia (battleground country). But you can solve it easily.
 
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Nicholas Barker
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Having now played a few more games, and been rapidly beaten as the Soviets as well as the USA, I have come to the conclusion that the game is pretty much balanced. Accordingly, I have upgraded my rating to a 10.
 
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Jason Weed
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I still feel this is weighted in favor of the Soviets, but a US win feels so much better.
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