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Subject: How to play Twilight Struggle on Vassal rss

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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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Here are some instructions for accessing and using Vassal to play Twilight Struggle. Vassal can be a little daunting at first impressions, since it’s not immediately obvious that a lot of it (almost all, I’d say) is automated, so I thought I’d give some info here to help people who are new to it.

I want to preface this by pointing out the obvious: before you use Vassal to play Twilight Struggle, you should buy the box set and play that. GMT made the game, they should be paid for it. Even if you have nobody to play F2F with, playing over Vassal for nothing without rewarding GMT is bad form IMO. Plus the box is so smooth and shiny and solid mmm.

OK, so here’s what you need to do to get TS on Vassal up and running, on both Mac and WIndows:

Mac Users (Idon’t have a mac, so forgive me if the jargon for double-clicking etc is wrong)

Firstly, here’s the Vassal main page: http://www.vassalengine.org/

1. Make a folder somewhere called ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’
2. Go to the release archive here: http://www.vassalengine.org/releases/
3. Get Vassal-3.1.19-macosx.dmg and save it in your ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’ folder. We’re doing this because Twilight Struggle only works on the 3.1.19 version, not the latest one.
4. Then go to the module page: http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Category:Modules
5. Navigate to Twilight Struggle, on the ‘T’ page.
6. Download ‘Twilight Struggle-Deluxe-3.0.10a.vmod’ to the ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’ folder.
7. Open your ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’ folder. Double click (or whatever it is on mac) the Vassal install file, and install it (I did in the same folder to keep it neat).
8. Start Vassal. Make sure the vassal you’re starting is the right one (ie the 3.1.19 one).
9. From the file menu, open module. Choose Twilight Struggle. Let it do its thing.
10. Go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_war and get in the mood! I particularly enjoyed reading about the Cuban Missile Crisis lol.

Windows Users:

OK, here’s the Vassal main page: http://www.vassalengine.org/

1. Make a folder somewhere called ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’
2. Go to the release archive here: http://www.vassalengine.org/releases/
3. Get Vassal-3.1.19-windows.exe and save it in your ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’ folder. (Remember, we’re doing this because Twilight Struggle only works on the 3.1.19 version, not the latest one).
4. Then go to the module page: http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Category:Modules
5. Navigate to Twilight Struggle, on the ‘T’ page.
6. Download ‘Twilight Struggle-Deluxe-3.0.10a.vmod’ to the ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’ folder.
7. Open your ‘Vassal for Twilight Struggle’ folder. Double click the Vassal install file, and install it (I did in the same folder to keep it neat)
8. Start Vassal.
9. From the file menu, open module. Choose Twilight Struggle. Let it do its thing.
10. Go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_war and get in the mood! I particularly enjoyed reading about the Cuban Missile Crisis lol.


How to use Vassal to set up Twilight Struggle.


1. Start Vassal.
2. Double Click the Twilight Struggle module in your module list.
3. You’ll get the Welcome window. Choose ‘Look for a Game Online’
4. Click ‘Finish’
5. You are now in the Main Room. – Look at the far right of the Vassal window, there’s a section with ‘Active Games’ etc. You’ll be in the Main Room by default. The Current Game window tells you which room you’re in (and above these two windows there are controls for connecting to the server or sending messages etc. I haven’t used these much).
6. Type a name for your room in ‘New Game’ field. Press enter. Your room will be added to the Active Games window, and you’ll be moved automatically into that room.
7. Tell your friend to join you in the room. To do this, they must simply double click the folder icon of your room. Incidentally, you can join anyone’s room by doing this.
8. Now you access the file menu (top right of Vassal Window) and choose your preferred game – Standard with optional cards, standard without optionals, Chinese Civil War variant etc.
9. Next you’ll get the Choose Side window. Your options are US, USSR, or Observer. Choose a side.
10. Click ‘Finish’.
11. The game should load now (Incidentally, every time I play TS over Vassal, I get 2 ‘Bad Data in Module: Our Man in Tehran blah blah’ error messages. It’s never been an issue whilst playing, for me. The Our Man In Tehran card works in game fine, as far as I can see).
12. Your opponent should now right click your name in the current game window, and choose ‘Synchronise. You will see ‘sending info’ or similar in your text window, he or she will see ‘loading game’ or similar. When this is done, you should both see the same thing: Twilight Struggle, ready for Setup.

13. Twilight Struggle on Vassal is split into two parts. At bottom is the game board, and at the top is the user interface and text window. The dividing line between the two can be raised or lowered by your mouse. I usually leave about an inch (2-3cm) of the text window visible, and make sure you’re scrolled down to the bottom of that by using the sliders to the right of the text window. The game board can be zoomed into and out, and the sliders at right and bottom also allow you to move it around. I play on a widescreen monitor, so the TS board fits width wise on my screen – My mouse wheel scrolls up and down. This seems to work fine for me.
14. Above the text window is a row of icons. They are, from left to right, in order:

• Undo – this undoes your last action/mouseclick/whatever. When you click Undo, look for a text notification in the text window; sometimes it may look as though the undo hasn’t taken, but this is probably because you’ve added inf or removed it or something.
• Step Forward Through Logfile – I’ve never used a logfile, my apologies, but perhaps someone else could elaborate on that if they have.
• Allow another Player to Take your Side in this Game – If you want to let someone else take over, click this and they can. I have never used this either.
• A Clock Icon. This is the turn/round marker. Here’s what I do to make it a little more useful: Left click the clock, and the turn window will appear. It will be set at Turn 1; Headline Phase’ Right click the word ‘headline’, and choose ‘dock. It will then jump up into the user interface toolbar. This is used to advance the rounds and turns etc. After each player has completed their action round, they should announce something like ‘I’m flicking you on’ and then they should click the plus sign once. The text in the text window will give you a running notification of where you are, remember.
• The Decks – clicking this will open the Decks window, containing the draw pile, the discard and removed from game pile (empty at start) and the other decks ready to be used. At the top of this window there are some zoom controls and the “Deal’ button. I’ll come back to this in a while.
• Soviet Hand – This will be greyed out for the US player. During the game, you click this to view your hand of cards.
• US Hand – This will be greyed out for the Soviet player. During the game, you click this to view your hand of cards.
• Soviet Die. You can manually click this to get a 1D6 result. During the game, the game will automatically roll for you and you can see the die here change.
• US Die. AS for the Soviet.
• PNG Snapshot button – for screenshots in PNG format.
• Zoom In
• Select Zoom
• Zoom Out
• Hide/Reveal overview - this gives you a sort of minimap in case your screen’s too small to cope with the entire board on it at once.

15. You are now ready for Setup.

How to play Twilight Struggle on Vassal

1. At start, the game has already setup the starting US and USSR Inf in the UK, Panama, E Germany, N Korea, Australia etc. You need to manually place your extra starting inf (6 for USSR, 7 for US). Firstly, though, you need to deal the starting hands out.
2. Open the decks window by clicking the Decks button.
3. Hit the “Deal Cards’ button to deal your starting hands.
4. Now you can look at your hands by hitting the hand button. The hand window also has zoom controls etc.
5. When you’ve got your starting strategy worked out, place your extra starting inf:

• Left click in a country, basically where you would put inf in a box game.
• Either right click for the context menu and choose ‘increase influence’, or simply use the cursor keys Up and Down to increase and/or lower inf.
• It’s important to remember that the game will not call foul on you if you put more inf than you’re allowed to in a country. I play almost exclusively with friends whilst we’re skyping. We always verbally call out what we’re doing as we do it, this adds to our involvement and allows both parties to spot any accidental over (or under) placements. The game will also not stop you placing inf in illegal places, so “I’m playing for 3 ops, putting them all in Canada” – “Er, you’ll probably want to have a go at the UK first, Comrade” happens
• You can alter both sides inf, not just your own, just like the box version lol.
• When the inf placed in a country is sufficient to give control, the colour of the marker will change to the correct colour. The game keeps track of the maths involved and will change for you if both sides have a battle for control or whatever.

6. You’ll see from the turn marker that you’re in T1 HL phase. Open up your hand and choose your HL card. Do this by right clicking it to get its context menu, and choosing ‘Play as Headline Event’. The card will vanish from your deck window and appear on the board. The US HL card will appear over the US Superpower location, and vice versa for the USSR’s H:L card. They’ll both be facedown (unless a player has reached \Man in Earth Orbit on the Space Race, then his opponents card will be face up).
7. If you want to change your mind, right click the facedown HL card on the gameboard, and choose ‘Undo Play Headline’ – it’ll jump back to your hand.
8. When you’re both happy with your HL play, right click your cards and choose ‘Flip’. We like to call out ‘….aaand flip!’ so we do it simultaneously, but that’s not necessary lol.
9. The cards are now faceup, and you can see them on the game board. If you mouseover a card on the game board, and let go of the mouse, after a moment, a large version of it will appear, so you can read the text easier.
10. To activate their events, right click them and choose ‘Play for Event’. The game will automate a lot of the events. You’ll have to place inf yourself. If you look at the text window you’ll see that the game informs you what’s happening/happened in Pink Text. If an event adds or removes inf automatically, the game will do it. Saddat Expells Soviets, for example, if played for Event; the game will simply remove the inf from Egypt for you and inform you it has done in the text window. Likewise, Allende will add 2 USSR to Chile automatically without the player needing to do it. If an event allows a player to place or remove inf in countries of his choosing (Suez Crisis, for example), then the text window will tell you ‘USSR player may remove X inf from Y countries’ or whatever, and it’s up to the player to do so.
11. HL events which have lasting effects (Red Scare? Purge etc), the game will tell you what their effects will be, and remember them for you (After Red Scare, the game will know that you’ve got one less Ops point per card each AR for that Turn).
12. Once the HL events have been played, one player must ‘flick us on!’ and click the Turn/AR plus sign. You’re now in T1 AR1 Soviet, and you’re off!


Playing cards/other gameplay comments

1. Cards are always played by right clicking them in your hand window and choosing your desired play from the context menu. You can:

• Play for Ops: Place inf, Coup, Realign.
• To Place inf, use the method I explained earlier
• To Coup, choose a target country, right click your opponents inf in that country, choose ‘Coup’ – The game will roll the die for you (and also automatically apply any modifiers from HLed cards or whatever) You can see the die roll in the toolbar, and the pink text will also give a rundown of the coup.
• To realign, choose a target country, right click your opponents inf in that country, choose ‘realign’ – as for Coup, but you can do repeated coups based on how much Ops your using of course. The game will do all the maths for you.
• Space Race: Choose ‘play on Space Race. The game will roll for you and tell you if successful, and apply any awards from the space race square you land in.
• Play for Event – The game will apply the effects of the event or tell you what you have to do.
PLAYING OPPONENTS CARDS: - with your opponents card, you get to choose ‘Play for Event before Ops’ or ‘Play for Ops before Event’ Whichever you choose, after it’s done, you must right click the card again and play the other too before you can move the Turn/AR marker on.

2. Whenever a hand gets ‘exposed’, the exposed hand will become clickable for the relevant player. As default, the Soviet hand is greyed out for the US player and vice versa. If CIA Created gets played for event, for example, the USSR hand will become clickable to the US player. He can then click and view it like that.

3. You can always physically drag cards from your hand onto the game board and back as well, if you maybe want to show your opponent what you had at the end of a game or whatever.

4. Sometimes, a card’s event will produce a popup menu (Blockade, for example, will give you a menu with the available cards to discard in). You choose one and click ok and the game will discard it for you. One thing to note is that when these menus are on the screen, you can’t interact with the board underneath, so if you want to play Indo-Pakistan War, for example, move your screen so that you can see both countries clearly, or make sure you know what country is your target before you play the card.

5. You can open the decks window and look through the discard pile by right clicking it and ‘select specific card’ – you’ll get a menu with all the available cards in it. Choose one and click ok and it’ll move to the top of the discard pile. You can mouseover it and let go to see its text or zoom in with the zoom controls. This is also useful for seeing which scoring cards are not in play etc.

6. If a card offers you the option to change Defcon, it’s best to right click the DEFCON marker and choose ‘Increase Defcon’ or ‘Decrease Defcon’; from that rather than dragging the DC marker. Automatic DC ups and downs will be handled by the game. Be careful when you're couping! The game will know if you've couped a BG country at DC2, and will gleefully inform you that you have destroyed the world in a nuclear firestorm and lost the game!

7. It is possible to save your game at any time. In fact, it is advisable for one or both players to save the game periodically in case of server disconnects. I have never experienced both players DCing at the same time, but even if you do, you can save the game whilst offline anyway, so it’s not a huge disaster. To save the game, use the File menu (top left). If you’re playing a game in multiple sessions, after you’ve both got into the main room and made your own room, one of you load your game instead of starting a new one, and the second player can synch as usual from there.

8. It is also possible from the main room to go into any other room, and join any game in progress as an observer. It’s good etiquette to send someone a message first asking if it’s ok to observe.

9. When in doubt, remember that the right click context menu is there for cards and/or countries, and usually offers you only legal actions. And remember that the UNDO button may need multiple clicks to get you back to where you want to be. Read the pink text and the game will tell you what’s occurring.

I hope this is helpful. TS on Vassal is great IMO, especially coupled with Skype or another VOIP system.

Eco
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Stefanos Pallas
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A great walk-through guide! Thank you!thumbsup
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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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Thanks v much for the geekgold tips, guys That's very kind of you - I can get me a shiny TS badge soon

Eco
 
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Ahmed Hadzi
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Ecosmith wrote:
Thanks v much for the geekgold tips, guys That's very kind of you - I can get me a shiny TS badge soon

Eco


Now you should have enough
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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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ahmedhadzi wrote:
Ecosmith wrote:
Thanks v much for the geekgold tips, guys That's very kind of you - I can get me a shiny TS badge soon

Eco


Now you should have enough


Yes, I got it! Thanks v much!

Eco
 
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John Riston
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Eco,

Thanks for the advice. Does the game have to be played in real-time using this method, or can the game be played asynchronously (I make a move and log out, then he makes a move and logs out, via email, etc)? I'm interested in playing with a friend 6 timezones away and we can't play live. Thanks.
 
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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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ristonj wrote:
Eco,

Thanks for the advice. Does the game have to be played in real-time using this method, or can the game be played asynchronously (I make a move and log out, then he makes a move and logs out, via email, etc)? I'm interested in playing with a friend 6 timezones away and we can't play live. Thanks.


This type of feature isn't immediately obviously workable, I'm afraid. You can save the games at any point, so I'm wondering whether or not it would be possible for you to each save a game after your turn and email the save file to your opponent, who would then load it, take a turn and save it and email it back, etc. The save files are really small, something like 60kb. I think you'd probably have to at least start the game both logged in together for the initial deal though, and I'm not sure how Headline phases would work, either.

I'd tentatively say that it IS possible, since you can definitely load up games without an opponent present. I and my opponent often do this to have a look at the current state of our hands etc to work out a strategy.

If you don't have Vassal already installed etc, I'll try it out for you if you like. It might be a few days before I can get back to you though, I'm a bit busy with work.

Eco
 
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Marian Gablovsky
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ristonj wrote:
Eco,

Thanks for the advice. Does the game have to be played in real-time using this method, or can the game be played asynchronously (I make a move and log out, then he makes a move and logs out, via email, etc)? I'm interested in playing with a friend 6 timezones away and we can't play live. Thanks.


Hi.
Yes it is possible. I'm playing it this way right not with my friend. You can just create offline game and play normally.
After your move, you just save the game and send it by email. We usually don't forward to next action round, because then your opponent can see what card have you played. We also send small description of action round - usually log from vassal (because this is not saved) and influence changes.
When you play opponent's event, you play it same way as Eco has written above with one difference - when you want to play opponent's event before your Ops, you need to play the card as evetn, save the game and send it to you oppenent. When you play event after your Ops, you just need to play it as event (right click context menu) and notify your opponent that he should perform his event (if it is not automatically performed).

Only speciality we have found is Missile Envy card. When is this card played as event, you need to perform it manually:
1) Play Missile Envy as event
2) Save the game
3) Send save file to your opponent.
4) Opponent chooses card from his hand and moves it to the board, saves the game and sends sabefile to you.
5) You play play card opponent gave you - I think you must play it manually
6) Save the game, send file to your opponent.
7) Your opponent will move Missile Envy card to his had befor he advances action round and play it on his next action round.

During this kind of play you need to trust your opponent, that he will not change for example result of Coup roll. I play with my friend so it is not a problem.

Edit:
Playing this way isn't the fastest way but you can make your turn when you have time and your opponent doesn't need to be online.
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Lol Just beat me to it.

Basically, one player start an offline game, and then you take it in turns doing your action, saving the game, sending the save in an email, loading, changing side, performing your action, saving, sending, and repeat.

1. USSR player starts an offline game. Deals, sets up his starting inf, chooses and plays his HL card (without flipping). Saves game, sends the save to the US player.
2. US player loads the save, then immediately use the 'choose another player to take your side' button to change sides to US. Look at your hand, place starting inf, play your HL card, flip it. Then save the game, send the save to the USSR player.
3. USSR player loads the game, change sides to USSR, flip his HL card. If his HL is higher Ops than US, perform the event. If not, save and send. US player then performs his event, saves and sends back. USSR player switches sides, performs his event and advances turn to AR 1, plays his card, saves and sends.
4. Repeat.

NB: If you trust each other and you'd rather do this quickly, you can have the US player flip his card, change sides, and flip the USSR card, then perform all obvious or automatic events as they are before moving on to the Action Rounds.

Another thing to note is that some cards (as metnioned above with Missile Envy) will require a response from the opponent. Blockade's another one too.

Also, of course, when you're changing sides, it will be possible for you to looka t your oponent;s hand before you do. This is obviously cheating, lol, but if you trust your opponent then it's not an issue. But be careful you don't forget to switch sides and look at your opponents hand by mistake!

With a bit of practice, it'll become quite fast, I reckon.

Good luck!

Eco
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Dan Grigoras
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If you are playing PBEM with strangers, I recommend using ACTS with Vassal. If you are using ACTS, there's a Vassal module for that. You can find it in the TS section on Vassal module pages.
If you are playing with fiends, then it's ok to use only Vassal.
 
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Blake Neff
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I'm going to bump this with a question: I'm trying to play my friend in this. We're both using the most recent editions of TS Deluxe Edition and VASSAL, and we've successfully set the game up, but when we try to deal cards no cards are dealt. The notification appears in the text box but nothing happens. Anybody know what's going on?
 
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Marian Gablovsky
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Hi. You need older version of VASSAL to play TS module. I'm currently using VASSAL version 3.1.20 and TS module version 3.0.10a and everything works fine.
This may change in future, but currently I'm not aware of TS module working with newest VASSAL.
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Absolutely fantastic! This makes getting to grips with Vassal no problem. Major thanks!meeple
 
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Which version of VASSAL am I supposed to use with the newest version of the TS module (3.0.11c)?
 
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