Archiwa kategorii: en

YATSL

YATSL (Yet Another Twilight Struggle League) has just started.

See details.

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Twilight Struggle Stats Applet – added counting power cards.

The Twilight Struggle Statistics applet has received another update.

Changelog:

1. Added counting power cards.
Power cards are divided into „regular” and „super”, with each value being subject to change based on the turn an event was played. For example, RS/P is always a superpower card, whereas De-Stalinization is super in turns 1-4, regular power in turns 5-7, and an ordinary card afterwards. For anyone curious, below is a link to spreadsheet with the list of selected cards and their powers throughout the game (1 – regular power, 2 – superpower).

Power cards

Power card is counted as such only if played for the event and by the relevant player. Therefore, Vietnam Revolts or Aldrich Ames are not counted towards USSR power cards if played by US, since in such case the US player controls the timing of the event, which probably made it weak or irrelevant (or even beneficial for the US player). Naturally, neutral events are always counted as power cards if played for the event.

In the main table, only a summary count of superpower | regular power cards is displayed. In order to see the detailed list, hover the mouse over the relevant table cell.

TS_Applet-Power_Cards

2. Cards are now counted for the player who in fact played it.
And not for the player who has drawn them. This means that if US steals ABM Treaty from the Soviets with Grain Sales or Missile Envy, ABM Treaty is counted towards US ops and power events.

The applet is available under the usual address:

http://stats.zimna-wojna.pl/

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Onlooker’s Annotated Game

I have recently received an interesting friendly game between two quite strong players. I picked up the gauntlet and decided to try to annotate this game.

Please note that all the cards in hands were revealed by me when I was watching the subsequent moves. I did not always reveal the full hands. The unrevealed cards were marked by question marks.

The game was played on wargameroom. You can download the zipped save file from here. Since the game was friendly and the losing player did not explicitely agree to post his name here, I publish the game fully anonymously. Czytaj dalej

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Headlining Scoring Card

General Considerations

In comparison with headlining non-Scoring Card and playing Scoring Card in one of the Action Rounds, headlining Scoring Card has one major advantage: it does not cost you Action Round. It also has one major disadvantage: it is vulnerable to any damage your opponent’s headline may do in the just-to-be-scored region.

Both of them should be judged accordingly to the current situation and your tolerance for risk. Some players never headline Scoring Cards unless they can do it absolutely safely due to peek-at-headline privilege. On the other side, Gabor Foldes is an example of an astonishingly strong player who likes taking a risk of headlining Scoring Card and often plays it even when his opponent peeks at his headline. Czytaj dalej

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[en]Botswana

Region: Africa
Battleground: No
Stability: 2
Adjacent countries: South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe
Relevant events:

  • South African Unrest

 

Relations between countries sometimes cause two or more countries to create a distinguishable entity, sort of a subregion. The „iron triangle” of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan is one such example (although I would add also India (or even Burma), making it an Iron Quadrangle). One defining characteristic of such an entity is that domino theory is especially significant there. Therefore I would like to introduce another such entity: The South African Subregion and its often neglected non-battleground member – Botswana.

Control over Botswana gives the player three significant benefits:

1. Defense from being realigned out of South Africa (the country) and (to a lesser extent) Angola.

2. Similarly, a good chance to realign the opposing player out of South Africa or Angola, if the player controlling Botswana controls also the other country.

3. A reasonably stable non-battleground, which helps scoring a domination in Africa. Naturally, as USA it is important to remember the Soviet combo South African Unrest + Africa Scoring, so it is wise to keep at least one other non-battleground as a reserve (although comrade Che is still a risk then).

As USA, controlling Botswana has one drawback, namely it gives a reasonable coup target for Che event, without which it can often be an empty or not very useful (Costa Rica, Morocco) event even as late as in turn 5.

Early War

In Early War you have more important things to attend to than taking Botswana. If you really have no good places to spend your ops, then it might make sense to spend these 2 ops at the end of turn 3. As the Soviet player bear in mind though that you could just give the US player a reasonable opportunity to get the required military operations, which matters greatly in turns 2 and 3 and can still be significant in turns 4 and 5.

Mid and Late War

If you already control South Africa and Angola, take Botswana, if you have some extra ops and no battlegrounds to occupy. Important – if your opponent controls Zimbabwe, it might be difficult to realign Botswana, so you might want to hurry.
If you control only one of these battlegrounds, and your opponent controls the other, take Botswana immediately(!), unless there is some really serious business in another region. Especially if your opponent controls South Africa – in that case having Botswana is the difference between life and death in that country. With Botswana’s support, South Africa will hold. Without it – it will fall.

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How much should you pay for the privilege of becoming a communist?

Power comes with size. Add some quality cards and the power might be so great that the smaller opponent will never get the chance to rise. Soviet Union was the largest country in the world, after World War II fielded the largest army in history, and thus is represented in game as enjoying a big advantage in Early War. That is why it is custom among the online TS community to pay the US player with bonus influence points on the start. Current standard is 2 IP – in my opinion quite often not enough.
The problem lies in luck distribution. The longer the game, the more cards are drawns and rolls are made, the bigger is the chance that skill, not chance, will be the decisive factor in determining the outcome of the game. If I play against a significantly stronger opponent, I know that it’s unlikely for me to beat him on skill alone. I need also a healthy amount of luck. But luck needs opportunities, preparation, in short – a player’s help, if it is to surpass the difference of skill.
If a reasonably competent USSR player gets Decolonization, De-Stalinization, RS/P and some good ops and rolls even only in the Early War, even Riku Riekkinen might be unable to defend the capitalist cause. That is why, when facing a significantly stronger player, I am willing to pay 3 or even 4 bonus IP for the privilege of becoming the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. That way I increase the probability of luck deciding the fate of the world.
Similarly, if I happen to be the stronger player, I prefer for the game to be decided based on skill, with chance deciding only if it is a decision in my favor :-) That is why in this scenario I am also willing to pay 3 or even 4 bonus IP for the right to play USSR against a weaker opponent. If I am a significantly better player, these 1-2 extra influence won’t matter much anyway. Should luck be on my side, the game will end in a steamroll in 3-5 turns. Should it dare to side with my opponent, I will probably still be able to survive at least until Late War – a lot of time for the skill difference to play its part.
I admit that when the opponents are evenly matched, 3 (and especially 4) IP might be a bit much to pay, but choosing USSR should at the very least save you from a crushing defeat – which I guess is worth something.

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A Player’s Must-Have

This is the first time I tried glass-painting. My wife watched, prevented me from making some crucial mistakes (glass DEFCON suicide ;) ), and made all the photos. Czytaj dalej

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„What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!”

polska wersja

Introduction

GMT Games is planning to release a DeLuxe Pro Edition in October 2014. The new edition will include some changes which affect game mechanics somehow, like adding Albania in Europe, splitting Laos/Cambodia into two countries, and some other changes on the map which I won’t reveal right now. The changes also include adding four new optional cards.

As an active Twilight Struggle blogger and 2014 ITSL Conference Semi-Finalist I was honoured with the opportunity to beta-test the new edition and I must say I’m excited. I was also allowed to describe one of the new cards before the official premiere. Since the cards’ layouts are not completed yet I won’t show you the card but will present the event text (which is simple enough to hope it won’t change) and, of course, my strategical thoughts after several test games.

#113. „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!”

Event text:

Degrade DEFCON 2 levels.

Phase: Mid War
Side: neutral
OPs: 4
Recurring: yes

General considerations

As the name suggests, this card is designed mainly for extending the downside risk of playing „Missile Envy”. „Missile Envy” was deliberately planned to include the DEFCON suicide risk which was relevant only in case of exchanging it for „We Will Bury You!!!”, Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007, or Duck and Cover, and even then only if opponent’s headline degraded DEFCON and triggered first (or in case of playing „Missile Envy” event in the middle of the turn which is an extreme rarity). Apparently the game designers considered this risk too low.

„What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” changes this significantly. As a 4 Ops card, it may always be exchanged for „Missile Envy”. As a neutral card, its event text will trigger during triggering „Missile Envy”, no matter who plays the latter. Moreover, by degrading DEFCON 2 levels it usually causes DEFCON suicide even if opponent’s headline does not degrade DEFCON prior to „Missile Envy”. Finally, by being a returning card it dramatically shortens the time when „Missile Envy” may be played under normal risk circumstances.

If you have this card

The event text by itself is just awful. Even if it does not lose the game immediately, it’s hardly ever better than, say, Nuclear Test Ban. The real value of this card lies in the threat described above. However, no sane opponent will play „Missile Envy” if there is a possibility that you hold „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” unless he is in such a desperate position that he has to take any chance.

Therefore, like the Nuclear Test Ban mentioned above this card is usually a generic 4 Ops which is valuable by itself. However, this is usually the last 4 Ops card I use. I prefer holding this card to prevent opponent from playing „Missile Envy” which may cost 4 Ops by itself (if „Missile Envy” is exchanged for 4 Ops card, opponent gets extra 2 Ops and you lose 2 Ops; moreover, the opponent may exploit the fact that you must play a 2 Ops card in your very next move). Of course, if I have „Missile Envy”, or if „Missile Envy” is already on the discard pile, this is usually an auto play for Ops.

There are exceptions, however, when you just prefer degrading DEFCON even if it costs you 4 Ops and an Action Round. A common example is USSR playing Nuclear Subs at high DEFCON, trying to spend the whole turn realigning Europe or Asia. Of course, you’d prefer to respond with Cuban Missile Crisis (cheaper) or „How I Learned To Stop Worrying” (ditto plus gives you Mil Ops) but you don’t always have the luxury of possessing the DEFCON degrader you want. Sometimes you just can’t afford the high DEFCON (especially when Quagmired/Bear-Trapped although in this case your only chance is to headline „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” which is an extremely risky solution by itself). And sometimes you’d like to drop DEFCON quickly and win by Wargames or stop opponent from getting rid of multiple DEFCON suicide cards. For example, if you headline Aldrich Ames Remix and leave USA with Lone Gunman and unspaceable Ortega (assuming US has IPs in Cuba) but DEFCON is at 4, you must immediately drop it to 2 to win if US has China Card as well. You probably prefer couping with either Duck and Cover or Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 but „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” is another possible solution.

For USSR it’s also worth noticing that if you possess this card, Grain Sales to Soviets in your hand is a DEFCON suicide even with DEFCON at 3 (not that it weren’t anyway if you possess „How I Learned To Stop Worrying”, or not that you ever wanted to play it on yourself even if it does not lead to DEFCON suicide).

If you don’t have this card

Don’t play „Missile Envy” for the event, period. The risk is never worth the potential profits, and „Missile Envy” is not a safe play even if DEFCON is at 5 as long as your opponent may headline Cuban Missile Crisis (or, if you are USSR, „How I Learned To Stop Worrying”).

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Twilight Struggle Statistics applet – update

The Twilight Struggle Statistics applet has received another update.

Changelog:

Ananda and Jason have not made all operations points equal – a 4 ops card in Turn 1 is a treasure, whereas in turn 10, although still nice – not so hot anymore.
Therefore I have added charts to the applet, to better visualize the difference in luck for several statistics – turn by turn.
Since adding the charts caused the applet to initialize even slower, a JavaScript based notification mechanism has been implemented – the buttons now become enabled only after the program is ready.

The applet is available under the usual address:

http://stats.zimna-wojna.pl/

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Twilight Struggle Statistics applet – version 2.0

I have published the next version of my Twilight Struggle Statistics applet.

Changelog:
Log chunks are now automatically merged
– New detailed statistics on:

  • Victory Points sources
  • Realignments
  • Coups
  • Space Race

– Fixed some minor bugs

It’s available under the usual address:

http://stats.zimna-wojna.pl/

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