06/28/12

Guest Post – A Wise Man Once Said….

… if you can stay in the game long enough, there’s always a chance to win. This wise man (aka Jake, but now known as WM) while very wise, was very tired and made an extreme gamble in a game where he had a good long term outlook. This led to him… well I can’t make a guest blog 3 lines long, so let’s dive into it “Twilight Recap-ish” style.

Note: This game was played on Wargameroom online.

Early War – I picked Mother Russia because I cansimply generieke cialis not beat the WM with USA. However maybe I should try playing him late at night after he has a few ‘pops’.

-The WM wisely played Defectors, however I am on to him and avoid it like the plague so just lost Socialist Governments. Also the WM played NORAD as well, which proved to be VERY annoying. I strongly recommend playing it in turn 1 if you have it as USA.

-Iran coup went well, I was able to score MidEast for +3 at the start of turn two however I didn’t realize progress any further (bad idea) later on. I was only able to score Asia as +2 due to the WM holding it at the start of Turn 3.

-Europe was a +1 score for the Big Red Machine due to battlegrounds, however I was well behind on country count which I was worried about for later in the game.

-We also moved into Mid War regions due to me De-Stal’ing and using Fidel, plus the WM loves to wreak havoc in Mid War regions.

Mid War

-The WM Headlined Grain Sales to Soviets and pulled UN Intervention. **You can not use UN Intervention in the headline phase, but he did steal it away and use the op to control the Defcon (GREAT MOVE nonetheless) . The other problem it created was I still held CIA and would have lost the game myself due to Defcon (don’t ask the WM how many times I have lost due to Defcon, hopefully he has lost track) had he not played Cultural Revolution to bring the China Card back to its’ rightful owner.

-He had Puppet Govts,Colonial Rear Guards (which he played JUST before my Decol), me playing Ask Not (he discarded Blockade, We Will Bury You and Che… ouch!), me having OAS Founded and him having The Voice of America proved to cause a battle royale in Central + South America + Africa. I was dominating in South, WM dominating Central, and Africa was a crazy domination for him as well. My weakness used to be South America but it has now moved to Central + Africa. I think I’m still using De-Stal and De-Col incorrectly. Any comments WM?

-Africa scored for +6 for him ouch, Mid East scored again for a chop (he made a few nice moves to gain the chop), and I still had domination in S.A., he had domination in C.A. and SE Asia would hopefully have been a chop had we scored it…

Turn 6

-As you can tell, I have mentioned a few times that WM is quite the wise man. He constantly is hitting pressure points forcing me to react which makes for a great game but quite often that means me whining about poor rolls, lack of ops or a discrepancy in the cards. BUT…

Headline – I risked it all by headlining Lone Gunman. However how scared can I be with CIA AND Duck And Cover in my hand? I got to see his amazing hand which included ,Ussuri (I had The China Card, and also had Nixon Plays the China Card), Missile Envy and Brezhnev Doctrine (easily played as his last card). He headlined Shuttle Diplomacy

AR 1 – I coup’d Panama with The China Card. Ussuri had me worried but I was more worried about the Defcon Level. Rolled a sweet 2 (see above re: whining) and just lowered it to 2-2. He used Arms Race to take back Panama and regain presence in Columbia (insert whine re: coup rolls for me in Columbia)

AR 2 – What do you know, I coup’d Columbia again. While I don’t have South America Scoring, I would really like to score it as Control or Domination with no presence. Rolled a strong 1 (YES!) and just got him out. He used The Cambridge Five to realign me out of Cuba with just 2 ops… but the key thing is the WM had +2 modifier.

AR 3 – I Bear Trapped myself. WHAT? Why would you do such a thing? Well it was my only 3 op card to take back Cuba. Plus I had one more trick up my sleeve. For his turn, guess what? He used Willy Brandt, yes just another 2 op card and was able to take me fully out yet again. If you’re keeping track, his realignment rolls were 3,6,5,5 against 6,5,5,6. But alas when you have +2 and roll like the BOSS you are, you have no problems kicking me out of Cuba for good. (side note my coup rolls in reverse order from here lately were 1,2,2,1,3…but if you’re anything like the WM you want me to stop whining now).

AR 4 – I discard Our Man in Tehran (GTFO) and end the trap with a roll of 1. NOTE: When you roll 1s and 2s so consistently why not Bear Trap yourself? The WM plays back into Columbia + throws 1 in Cuba.

AR 5 USSR – I give up 2 VPS with Nixon Plays the China Card and roll a 5. Finally

Columbia and South America are mine. Now to deal with Central America’s looming Control…..

AR 5 USA – The WM is tired from working or writing TS blogs or yard work having dinner and a few ‘pops’ and says to me via chat: “This may be a gamble but I’m tired”. If you wish to play TS well, you should be ready for 2-3 hours of time (or 4 hours if you play against me). He’s sitting pretty in quite a few areas and has a nice hand ready to do some extreme damage. He plays Missile Envy and receives my highest op card, aka: my trick up my sleeveDuck And Cover.

Game ends due to Defcon and the end board had me at +5 heading into Turn 7 with Central (probably control for him and presence for me), South America (hopefully Domination vs. no presence) and SE Asia (most likely a chop).

For Twilight rookies -> Avoid Defcon losses as much as possible. Keep track of which Defcon cards have been played, which are eligible (nice to have CIA Created when midwar regions aren’t in play), who has The China Card, can you space the Defcon card? And lastly is the wise person you are playing going to cause you to discard or steal a card from you?

For all Twilight Struggle Players – We both feel a little salty taking a Defcon win. It feels cheap and it’s easy for the other player to blame their loss on a number of items. HOWEVER, take the win! Especially when you’re playing a good player, you made it happen and you may not win again for some time. (see WM’s previous post regarding “the Lost Game“).

This is the second Defcon loss for Jake lately. Is the Wise Man not listening to his own advice? Or is the Wise Man tired due to working on a project of epic proporTionS?

06/25/12

Like Coming Home

After the somewhat unusual bout of me rolling USSR 6 times in a row, we decided on a 2-2 swapping schedule. Every 3rd game we switch sides. This allows us to play each side, and then make an adjustment for the next game, before switching back again.

So this game has me back in the role of the Soviets, ready and willing to spread my communist agenda throughout the world…

Europe:I viagra kopen started out strong in Europe by way of the deadly Red Scare / Blockade combo to remove the US from W. Germany. However, Europe had already been scored, and thanks to a Mid War Ask not… discard, Europe was never scored after the first turn (for a tie). There was a bit of struggle for control, but it was largely a non-factor this game. Net VPs: 0

Asia: After a strong opening Iran coup I was able to progress freely into western Asia. However, US control of Vietnam Revolts allowed them to nab Thailand and get a good country count, preventing my Asia domination. Through Mid War the US managed to bludgeon their way west and eventually make a respectable crack at a comeback in Asia! Quite unusual! The scoring card didn’t come at a favorable time for either player, so Asia wasn’t a huge factor on the scoreboard. Net VPS: USSR +1 and USSR +1 for SE Asia.

Middle East: The aforementioned strong opening Iran coup, coupled with Nasser in my opening hand, led me to an nice turn 1 domination in Middle East. I squandered this lead by wasting Muslim Revolution early, and eventually lost my domination. This is particularly wasteful for USSR to do with Opec in the deck. Fortunately before my disgraceful exit, it was scored again for some battleground count VPs. Net VPS: USSR +8

Early War Summary: The US got some event related points to counter my Middle East domination score, but despite the 0 VP score I’m looking pretty great around the world. Good headway into Mid War regions, battleground control in Europe and Asia, and Middle East domination. Obviously I’d prefer to have some points as well, but overall it is a good start!

Board at start of Mid War here

Africa: I took early control of Africa and held it throughout the game. Decolonization is a great start to such an endeavour! :) A couple of US attempts to get back in were rebuffed with prejudice. The only downside was that it was only scored once (for control!). Net VPS: USSR +10

Central America: Unusually action free this game. Panama flip/flopped a couple of times over the course of the game. I was holed up in Cuba for the most part, but by turn 7 and no Central America Scoring yet, I found the time to take a shot at it. There was a bit of back and forth, but it was eventually scored for a tie. Net VPS: 0.

South America: South America was a ghost town for most of the game. It was the only Mid War region to be scored twice, once when there was literally 0 pieces in it. On turn 8 I drew the scoring card and thanks to a strong coup of Brazil was able to spread to domination and secure the victory. Net VPs: USSR +5

End Game Summary: I’m glad the game ended when it did. Despite scoring each region for a tie or better up until late war, I was not looking great. I was now dominated in Asia and the Middle East, and was on the brink of being dominated in Europe as well. While I was strong in the Mid War regions, South America Scoring was now gone for good, Africa is so volatile who can say what would happen there, and I only had a small edge in Central America. Additionally, the US had been rolling so poorly on their coup attempts that they were bound to start rolling good in late war… That’s how math works right? ;)

Board at end game here

Complete game record

06/22/12

Tech Update

As part of the features that I started this page with, a complete database of the cards of the game was required. Well, I finally finished up the work required to put a bit of lipstick on the pig, and have added a filterable database to the site.

The list is fully searchable by name, text, ops, war and superpower.

You can access thenew levitra prijzen database via the link “TS Card List” at the top of the page, or by this link http://twilightrecap.com/cards/. I’m pretty happy with how it works, but there a few things that still bug me that I’ll be fixing over time. Suggestions welcome!!

Note: This is my first foray into AJAX programming, so if you run into any problems (such as browser compatibility issues) please let me know.

Also I added some pretty good updates to the game record, including some display fixes, coup roll summary, and the ability to break down the #’s by turn (or turns). It’s still not even close to what I envisioned when I started, but that will take time.

You can see a sample here (of the next game I need to do a write-up of).

Enjoy!

06/20/12

The Lost Game

I played a game a couple weeks ago that has yet to be posted. There were a few factors involved in the delay. As a dapper man about town, my social schedule can sometimes conflict with blogging about my adventures in the world of cold war political board gaming. Oh ya and the photos of the game are lost, and my logbook was lost for a few days as well :) So by the time I got sat down to do it, I had largely forgotten how things had gone down.

Fortunately(?) there was one thing that I did not forget! It was that I lost via DEFCON on turn 5!

Now that you’ve cleaned off whatever it was you were drinking from your monitor, I’ll continue…

If you are unfamiliar with DEFCON and “DEFCON suicide” there is an excellent write up here: http://twilightstrategy.com/2011/12/12/general-strategy-defcon/

The Game

I was playing the US again. After having lost the last game as US I insisted that I wanted to give it another go. The game was pretty close, with the USSR having a 4 or 5 point lead when I lost it in turn 5. I had made some good progress from the traditional USSR Early War lead, and while they had Asia, I was looking ok in the Mid War regions. In fact this game was shaping up to be one of the closer and better games that we have played. So much so that we discussed ignoring the DEFCON loss and continuing to play it out. However, I insisted that USSR take the win. It would be a good lesson for me, and there was more to the loss than simple stupidity (although that surely played a part :) ).

How? How could this happen!?! Specifically I ran out of cards to play while I had Lone Gunman in hand, and was forced to play it. The really unfortunate part of this though, was that I also held UN Intervention in my hand that same turn!!! So I was well equipped to get the game losing Lone Gunman card out of my hand during the very turn that I lost the game…. ridiculous!

I had carried Lone Gunman over from turn 4, and when I drew UN Intervention on turn 5 I thought that my prayers had been answered! However, the USSR headlined Quagmire and used his “extra turn” wisely to destabilize me in West Germany and Italy, and then score Europe. On top of being a good play in general, it caused me to momentarily forget my plan. If I didn’t take those countries back right away, he could proceed to put ops in and possibly take Europe for himself. I have Socialist Governments in hand, and I am thinking “Well there’s no way I can afford to play this now.” So I used UN Intervention to nullify the event, and used the ops to fix up my Europe situation. This brief mental hiccup cost me the game, as I had forced myself to discard (meaning I had no extra card to hold until the next turn), and I would be forced to play Lone Gunman with the DEFCON at 2, thereby losing the game.

It was a bit of a shame that a game, shaping up to be a good one, would end in a bout of stupidity, but that does go to show that you have to stay on your toes at all times in Twilight Struggle :) Also, even if you are down by 18 points on turn 9, you never know when your opponent will bungle his play and lose the game for himself.

Here is the complete record of the cards played.

Conclusion

There is a very good lesson here. While technically I played myself out of the game, it was the pressure applied by my opponent that caused me to lose. There are a lot of things going on in a game of TS. Most of the time you are sitting, looking at your hand, trying to decide which cards to play, what order to play them in, how to deal with your opponents powerful events, which region(s) need the most attention and so on. By applying a little bit of pressure in the right area to an opponent, you can really throw them off, and doing so is important.

If you are prone to tunnel vision and focus solely on your own agenda, you leave your opponent with one less thing to worry about. Give them something else to think about every now and again, and you may induce some calamitous mistakes. Obviously this game’s case is fairly extreme, but other smaller gains are possible, and quite helpful!

Phew! I sure managed to say a lot for a game in which I don’t remember a lot of the details!!

06/19/12

Beginners Folly

I have a friend coming from out of town for a while. He has already been warned that he will be sat down in front of a TS board and forced to play! I’ve been thinking about the various things to teach him aside from the mechanics of the game.

It seemed like a topic worth posting, for future teachings of the game.

The purpose ofthis levitra prijs post is to provide a list of some very obvious missteps that a new player could make, that a veteran player would never make, simply due to knowledge of the deck. It is NOT a strategy guide (although a few minor tips will be made), nor is it a list of the most powerful cards to look out for (although some of the cards are very powerful).

To begin…

Fidel: “Remove all US Influence in Cuba. USSR gains sufficient Influence in Cuba for Control.”
Notes: It doesn’t make a lot of sense for a US player to put points into Cuba until this card has been played, spaced, or whatever.

Vietnam Revolts: “Add 2 USSR Influence in Vietnam…
Notes: It would be fairly unusual for a US player to put points in Vietnam, but it is very good to know that this card is out there, and is a shortcut to Thailand for the USSR

Blockade: “Unless the US immediately discards a ’3′ or more value Operations card, eliminate all US Influence from West Germany.”
Notes: This can be fairly devastating to the US if it goes off. Try to hold a 3 op card until Blockade has been played. Ideally make it one of your opponents cards if possible. De-Stalinization makes a great choice :)

Nasser: “Add 2 USSR Influence in Egypt. Remove half (rounded up) of the US Influence in Egypt.”
Notes: If you put points into Egypt (for the purposes of scoring, or getting to Libya, or whatever) they will very likely get halved. That’s it.

De Gaulle leads France: “Remove 2 US Influence in France, add 1 USSR Influence.”
Notes: Without getting too deep into strategic options for this card, be aware of it before putting influence into France.

Defectors: “Play in Headline Phase to cancel USSR Headline Event, including a Scoring Card. Canceled card returns to discard pile.”
Notes: USSR needs to be wary of headlining big bombs until this card comes out, particularly on Turn 3 if you haven’t drawn it. After that it’s tough to track.

War Cards: There is a class of card in the game called “War Cards”. They are: Arab-Israeli War, Korean War, Brush War, Indo-Pakistani War, Iran-Iraq War. Note that Arab-Israeli War and Korean War are USSR only, where as the other 3 are neutral (allowing either player to benefit).

They all follow the same rules, which are: Roll 4-6 and you get to take all your opponents influence and replace it with your own. However for each neighbouring country that the defender controls, the attacker gets -1 to the die roll.

Arab-Israeli War notes: This one is particularly bad for the US. If it gets played successfully early enough it can SEVERELY hurt your Middle East presence. Taking control of cheap surrounding countries is advised (but don’t forget about Nasser). Additionally this is the only “War Card” in the game where control of the actual country (namely: Israel) also adds a -1 to the roll. So controlling Lebanon, Jordan and Israel makes it literally impossible for the roll to succeed.

Indo-Pakistani War notes: Whoever ends up controlling Iran needs to be wary when spreading out into Western Asia until this card has been played.

That’s it for now. Note that this is by no means a complete list of all cards that should be tracked. But getting past the Early War things get far more murky. For example, Muslim Revolution can cause a huge swing in the Middle East. But depending on when it comes up (and who draws it) there is a great deal of variability in it’s usage and effectiveness. Since this list is for beginners, I wanted to keep it short, and keep it as simple as possible.

06/6/12

Humble Pie?

At long last, a return to the defense of the noble capitalist agenda! I am finally rocking the blue die! Can I make the appropriate adjustments and continue domination? Let’s find out!

Europe: USSR played De Gaulle early and Ilet generieke viagra him take France virtually unopposed. This proved to be extremely costly over the course of the game, as I never came close to even tying in Europe. I did make good use of an early played NORAD card, but other than that, Europe was a huge liability for me during the game, not only costing me VPs, but valuable ops in defense to make sure it didn’t end up with USSR control! At one point I actually had to elect to lose West Germany to Blockade rather than discard Alliance for Progress because I was so desperate for VPs!!

Asia: Asia was scored early for a near tie, but went on to USSR domination. I did mount a good Mid-War effort to bring it back to a tie (see previous posts on the difficulty of such an endeavour). Sadly, it was never scored again after those efforts, so they were a non-factor on the scoreboard. However it was encouraging to see that the US can make the occasional comeback attempt in Asia (with appropriate event help obviously).

Middle East: Scored early for a tie, but I quickly lost control here. Initially I was happy with my spread to Saudi Arabia and country count, but I never found an opportunity to make a play at Egypt or Libya to bring it to a tie. Not much action here really as the USSR secured it early and wasn’t threatened often enough.

Map at the end of Early War.

Early War Summary: Rugged. That’s the only polite word I can use to describe my situation at the end of the Early War.

“Entering Mid War at a 14 point deficit is no way to go through life son.” – Jesus (I assume)

Luckily I got 2 VPs from military ops on turn 3 or it would’ve been even worse! Losing in all 3 Early War regions and only barely making headway into the Mid War regions. This situation would shape the course of the game rather dramatically as we would both be scavenging for VPs to stay alive / end the game.

Africa: One of the few bright spots for me in the game (mostly thanks to my 3x spacing of Decolonization!) I held domination almost entirely throughout, with a few USSR attempts that didn’t last. Unfortunately I bungled the scoring of it for a net -1 VP loss for me!!!! I chose to headline Africa Scoring when I drew 2 scoring cards on turn 6 (a tactic I frequently use when drawing more than 1 scoring card). Over recent games I’ve been starting to think that isn’t such a hot idea. It allows your opponent a chance to use whatever card they headlined to possibly swing the region. There aren’t a ton of cards that are commonly headlined that allow this, but there are enough of them, and that is exactly what happened here. USSR headlined CIA Created and made a successful coup of Nigeria to swing it to a +1 VP USSR win instead of a -4 VP loss!! Ouch!!

Central America: This was a tie mostly throughout, with not a ton of action. I held Panama and took Mexico, but not much else. USSR took Cuba as usual, despite me using a new tactic I devised to nullify Fidel. I may have to rethink that tactic :) Central America wasn’t a very big factor in VPs, or in Ops spent trying to take it during this game.

South America: I managed to spread to South America and take 3 of 4 battlegrounds. USSR countered by taking a number of non-battlegrounds and Chile. Again I was stymied in one of the regions that I was looking good in. USSR took advantage of me being under the effect of Quagmire to spread out, and I didn’t have the ops to re-take country count and had to settle for a +2 VP score based on battleground control. Ouch again!!!

Map at the start of Late War / End of game.

Mid War Summary: After leaving Early War in such sorry shape (and a turn 4 headline score) I was very much on the defense. I was scrambling for VP’s throughout, including such drastic measures of letting Blockade go off and using Brush War for ops due to previously playing Flower Power. That last play was particularly painful. I had played Flower Power earlier in the game knowing that it may come back to bite me, but I was truly desperate at the time (-16 VP). Then I drew Brush War which can be a HUGE swing card, but I just couldn’t give the USSR 2 VP, particularly with OPEC looming…

End Game: USSR drew Wargames at 11 VPs and ended it on turn 8.

Game Summary: This game did not go at all as I would like. :) It did, however, provide some interesting lessons. The scoring got as rugged as -18 for me, but I was able to hang on. Only 1 of 10 scoring cards were scored for positive VPs for me (ouch!!!!) That is NOT good and I certainly can’t let that happen again!! It was an interesting look at the value of cards offering non-scoring VPs, and that those cards really shouldn’t be overlooked. I wouldn’t say that I overlooked them previously, but they really did show their value here. That being said, all that scrambling for VPs didn’t leave me in a particularly strong spot to win the game had it continued, but you never know what you will draw next, so sometimes you just have to hang in there!!

“Stay in the game. Eventually your opponent will DEFCON suicide themselves.” – Me

Hands: I’ve finally managed to bring a number of the backend upgrades to bear in a noticeable upgrade. I’m still working on presentation at the time of this posting, but you can view all the hands of the game, with far more extensive detail here: Humble Pie Game. Enjoy!

06/2/12

NYC man returns. To victory?

Simpy’s return from NYC sees him taking on the role of the stinking yanks once more (6 games in a row now I’ve rolled red). Did he brush up on his game while away? Learn any new tricks? Read on!

Europe: I headlined Europe scoring on turn 1. As USSR, when I draw Europe without De Gaulle it can be very costly (and obvious) to try and take domination, so I just dumped it for a tie and moved on. US proceeded to take it and hold it for the entire game. It worked out quite well for them, as Special Relationship was played at least twice with NATO in effect!! Easily the biggest pain NATO has ever been to me in a game!

Asia: US drew Asia on turn 2 and scored it for a tie once I got an edge in the race. I proceeded to take control and it was scored for my domination on turns 4, 10 and final scoring. Once again Asia proves to be a point piñata! I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the plus side of that arrangement for the last few games, and I really find it goes well with my desire for Cold War supremacy!

Middle East: Also scored on turn 2 for a tie. We proceeded to fill out all the countries and it pretty much sat without change for the duration. Easily the least active region in the game. However, much like it seems that every game, whoever controls Asia wins, due to Middle East’s domination vs. presence point differential (5 v. 3 the smallest margin of all regions), having control of the Middle East isn’t as critical.

Map at the end of Early War.

Early War Summary: I leave Early War with a narrow 1 point edge. Not nearly where I like to be, but the scoring cards came before I could settle in. Fortunately I’m (very) well positioned in the Americas (thanks! De-Stalinization!!! Again!!!) I’m not ahead in Africa (yet) but I have big plans!

Africa: I used my coup advantage to start getting work done in Africa. I spread without much opposition and held it for the rest of the game. I made a couple late war re-alignment attempts in South Africa to try and really swing it, no success on that front, so I had to be content with domination.

Central America: My early war coup attempt at Panama resulting in no influence there at all. So after De-Stalinization got me in, I sat tight for a while as we both waited for events to shape our battle plan (Fidel didn’t come until turn 7 again). Despite some jockeying for position it wasn’t a big point factor in the game as it was scored for no domination twice.

South America: Once again I’m setup well down here. US made some good adjustments and kept presence, as well as threatening and scoring it once for a tie. I made coup’s and re-alignments as necessary to counter attempts at trying to take MY region from me, with good success. While I wasn’t able to keep the US out completely for total control, I’m content with how this region played out.

Map at the end of Mid War.

Mid War Summary: The game was quite close for most of Mid War. Turn 7 saw both of my power region’s (Africa and South America) scored so I left Mid War with a good cushion (+15 VP). Other than Central America (the lowest scoring region on the board) I’m happy with my situation.

End Game: Ultimately I won at final scoring at +20 VP.

Map at the end of the game.

Summary: Early war regions are scored the most often in the game (obviously). Middle east doesn’t provide a big scoring advantage and Europe can be tough (and expensive) to hang on to for the whole game (particularly for the USSR). That leaves Asia. Given that domination is often a 4:2 (or better) battleground count, Asia is frequently scored for +6 or +7 VP, making it quite lucrative. Additional bonus points from Southeast Asia Scoring can make Early War control of Asia worth 25-30 VP’s over the course of a game (3 scores x 6 + final scoring 6 + Southeast Asia for +3-6 usually) That’s a ton, and the lack of big bombing events in the region make it fairly stable (Puppet Governments & Decolonization are good, but fairly easily countered if your opponent is already in for control in those countries.) In short: Get Asia!!!

Hands: I’ve made quite a few under-the-hood improvements leading up to a few new tech advances for the site. I’m still going to have to post the hands as boring old links, but it is a good (if partial) improvement over previous posts. It now shows the turns side by side to compare, discards, spaces attempts and coup’s.

Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4
Turn 5
Turn 6
Turn 7
Turn 8
Turn 9
Turn 10