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.

Onlooker’s Annotated Game

Annotator: Wojciech Pietrzak

The game was played with Optional Cards, no Chinese Civil War variation, and +2 Influence Points for USA.

Optional cards, no Chinese Civil War, +2 Influence to the USA

Turn 1

Soviet hand: Europe Scoring, Fidel, NATO, NORAD, Olympic Games, UN Intervention, Vietnam Revolts, ?

American hand: Arab-Israeli War, Captured Nazi Scientist, Independent Reds, Middle East Scoring, Red Scare/Purge, Special Relationship, Truman Doctrine, ?

The China Card: Soviet

5 USSR influence added to Poland, now at 5
1 USSR influence added to East Germany, now at 4

This opening setup is actually better than the opinion about it. USSR has neither Socialist Governments nor Marshall Plan so the access to Greece/Italy is not crucial and he may as well fortify Poland and increase the chance of playing Independent Reds with impunity.

4 USA influence added to West Germany, now at 4
3 USA influence added to Italy, now at 3
2 USA extra influence added to Iran, now at 3

Standard.

** Turn 1 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #2: Europe Scoring
American Headline Card: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
USA Headline Event: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
     -1 to Ops value of Soviet cards this turn (minimum 1 OP)

USSR Headline Event: #2: Europe Scoring

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #2: Europe Scoring

*** Scoring in Europe ***
 USSR:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
 USA:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5

The Soviet headline was rather obvious. Without Socialist Governments, Blockade, or De Gaulle, he could not hope to get anything more in Europe, and without Five Year Plan he would have to waste an Action Round for this anyway. He also loses nothing if the headline gets Defectored and he really has no better candidates for headline. Fidel makes USSR vulnerable to DEFCON suicide with CIA, without Duck and Cover Vietnam could become an object of some speculative tit-for-tat coups (which are generally in American favor since they effectively lessen the number of Early War Action Rounds spent on spreading the influence), and Olympic Games 2 Ops are certainly superior to 1.25 VPs on average at this stage of the game.

The American headline was rather obvious too. The Middle East Scoring for almost certain 4 VPs was tempting, especially with such a poor hand and 4Ops would be very helpful. On the other hand, purging USSR may be your only chance to not get steamrolled if you have less then 1.5 Ops per other card on average.

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #20  Ops 2: Olympic Games
    Coup attempt in Iran (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 3 (+1) = 4
    The modified roll does not exceed the doubled stability — no effect.
DEFCON Level lowered to 4
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 1

A good choice in a tough situation. With four cards that are effectively worth 1Op each it would be risky to use higher card for a starting coup. On the other hand, couping when you’re purged is a generally good strategy because you add 3.5 on average to the final move value and decreasing it by 1 has now less percentage impact. This works best with 1-stability countries so perhaps placing influence into Lebanon was an option to provoke USA into a coup war. But the USSR player should assume that the USA player will eventually win the coup war. What is more, he could suppose that USA does not have a Middle East Scoring (since most USA players tend to headline it when they play with +2).

Turn 1, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #105  Ops 2: Special Relationship (USA)
     2 USA influence added to Jordan, now at 2

And this suggests that USA has a Middle East Scoring. Anyway, I don’t like this move. If USSR coups Iran once again and succeeds, USA may lose access to Western Asia for good. I think 2 to Afghanistan was the best move here, and Jordan and Lebanon should protect Israel against the war later.

Turn 1, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #8  Ops 2: Fidel * (USSR)
     1 USSR influence added to Syria, now at 2

The Soviets don’t push their luck and simply assure Middle East Presence. Still, I think that Lebanon was a better choice now. If USA coups low, USSR can re-coup and lessen the impact of Purge, if USA coups high, USSR can control Syria to prevent 6:0 Middle East Scoring and since the DEFCON is at 4 Lebanon would still be coupable after the American next move.

Turn 1, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #13  Ops 2: Arab-Israeli War (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Syria (stability 2):
     ** USA die roll = 3 (+2) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
     Soviet influence in Syria reduced by 1, now at 1
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 2
The Soviets use the USSR event played by the USA
     USSR success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USA modifer is -1
 ** Die roll: 2 (-1) = 1 — no effect **
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 3

An adventurous but eventually successful move. USA still hopes to score Domination vs. zero on Middle East. The American hand is poor but the Soviet player does not know this so he may be scared that once the USA starts an Ops-war, he will be unstoppable.

Turn 1, USSR action round 3
The Soviets play the following card for Ops:
 #106  Ops 3: NORAD * (USA)
They also play UN Intervention to cancel the American event

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #106  Ops 3: NORAD * (USA)
     1 USSR influence added to Syria, now at 2
     1 USSR influence added to Afghanistan, now at 1

A good move, securing back 3VPs on Middle East and threatening Pakistani control. UN Intervention is also a good choice: NORAD is very unpleasant if activated that early, and playing UN Intervention uses one more card and guarantees one more card to come once again after the 3rd Turn reshuffle which is generally in USSR’s favour.

Turn 1, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #22  Ops 2: Independent Reds * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Syria (stability 2):
     ** USA die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 4.
     Soviet influence in Syria reduced by 2, now at 0
     American influence in Syria increased by 2, now at 2
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

Another attempt, this time fully successful. The Soviets may no longer secure their presence on Middle East: Lebanon is unavailable and Iraq is vulnerable to realignments. Therefore, the USSR player has practically no choice.

Turn 1, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #21  Ops 4: NATO * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Iran (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 5 (+3) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 4.
     American influence in Iran reduced by 3, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Iran increased by 1, now at 1
DEFCON Level lowered to 3
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

That was rather lucky (at last). 6 would give presence and even -1VP (+1 for USSR) but 3 would allow USA to simply repair the damage. 4 would be ideal since this would not allow USA to re-coup. Not that USA has a reasonable card to coup Iran now. Not that USSR player knows it.

Turn 1, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #3: Middle East Scoring

*** Scoring in Middle East ***
 USSR: No score.
 USA:  3(presence)  = 3
VPs up 3, now at 3

Cheaper than if headlined but good enough. 1VP is a reasonable price for purging the opponent for the whole first turn.

Turn 1, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #9  Ops 2: Vietnam Revolts * (USSR)

** The Vietnam Revolts card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in Vietnam increased by 2, now at 2

This works best as a headline in the sense of Ops. But now access is much more important, especially that DEFCON is already at 3 and Vietnam cannot be couped, and this move creates the immediate threat of playing Asia Scoring for 5VPs rather than 1.

Turn 1, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #19  Ops 1: Truman Doctrine * (USA)
     1 USA influence added to Philippines, now at 2

Stops domination. If DEFCON was at 2, Indonesia would be a better choice (to prevent it from being immediately controlled after Decolonization). But DEFCON is at 3 and USA intends to play his last card for event so DEFCON would probably go up into 4 at the beginning of Turn 2 and Indonesia would be a subject to an easy coup.

Turn 1, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #6  Ops 4: The China Card
     3 USSR influence added to Thailand, now at 3
     2 USSR influence added to Laos/Cambodia, now at 2

Maximizing Vietnam Revolts potential and earning VPs if USA has Asia Scoring (however, the very first American move to Jordan rather than Afghanistan suggests that he does not have it).

Turn 1, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #18  Ops 1: Captured Nazi Scientist *

** The Captured Nazi Scientist card is permanently removed. **

     USA progress on the Space Race Track is now at Earth Satellite
VPs up 2, now at 5

Turn 2

Soviet hand: CIA Created, Comecon, Indo-Pakistani War, Marshall Plan, Nuclear Test Ban, Socialist Governments, Suez Crisis, ?

American hand: Asia Scoring, Blockade, De Gaulle Leads France, Duck and Cover, The Cambridge Five, US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact, ?, ?

The China Card: American

DEFCON Level raised to 4
** Turn 2 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #7  Ops 3: Socialist Governments (USSR)
American Headline Card: #27  Ops 4: US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact * (USA)
The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #27  Ops 4: US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact * (USA)

** The US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact card is permanently removed. **

     USSR may no longer make Coup or Realignment rolls against Japan
     American influence in Japan increased by 3, now at 4

USSR Headline Event: #7  Ops 3: Socialist Governments (USSR)

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #7  Ops 3: Socialist Governments (USSR)
     American influence in Italy reduced by 2, now at 1
     American influence in West Germany reduced by 1, now at 3
** Turn 2 Action Phase **

The Soviet headline card is a standard one and an autoplay under given circumstances.

On the other hand, the American headline card is weird and indicates that there were no better candidates for a headline. This is true in this case: the USA player wastes 1Op and removes his own event from the deck but at least he does not waste time which he will need to contest Asia before playing the scoring.

Turn 2, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #26  Ops 1: CIA Created * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Panama (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 4 (+1) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
     American influence in Panama reduced by 1, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 3
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 1
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The CIA Created card is permanently removed. **

The American gets to look at the Soviet Hand:
     1 USA influence added to Malaysia, now at 1

At first sight I didn’t like this move. DEFCON is at 4, Fidel is on the discard pile, and USA player is not expected to play Decolonization just to make CIA a DEFCON suicide card (and even if he does, Decolonization does not force USSR to have influence in Mid War battlegrounds). The card could as well wait until it reveals less information.

But after deeper considerations this move has big advantages over all other possibilities. Panama was the only 2-stability coupable battleground and USSR had to coup a battleground to protect Thailand (this is why the Soviet player couped before allowing USA implement the event: CIA might not be effective against Thailand but Laos/Cambodia was a perfect targets). On the other hand, couping Panama dropped DEFCON to 3 so using higher card would not be too economical. Besides USSR didn’t really care about the coup result itself. Dropping DEFCON was what really mattered. Incidentally, anything less than 4 would be better for USSR because this would allow couping Panama in the next turn.

The American response to Malaysia is good. The only chance to stop domination is by equalizing the number of countries and each IP is important. Of course, the Iran coup attempt and taking Pakistan (and maybe India) is also an option but it may easily fail (and even if USA tries it, CIA is not the good choice).

Turn 2, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #6  Ops 4: The China Card
     2 USA influence added to South Korea, now at 3
     1 USA influence added to Malaysia, now at 2
     1 USA influence added to Indonesia, now at 1
     1 USA influence added to Taiwan, now at 1

A brutal but successful attempt. The Asia is now even in battlegrounds and USA is two countries up. USSR could re-take domination with China Card only which they don’t have. All other options (4Ops, Decolonization, successful Korean War) are not enough to prevent USA from playing Asia Scoring for -2VPs in the worst case.

Turn 2, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #14  Ops 3: Comecon * (USSR)
     1 USSR influence added to Austria, now at 1
     2 USSR influence added to Pakistan, now at 2

The USSR player is also smart. One move cannot secure Asian domination but two would be enough. Therefore, the Soviets make one step forward to dominate Asia and create the threat of controlling Italy if USA cashes Asia Scoring immediately.

Turn 2, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #4  Ops 3: Duck and Cover (USA)
     1 USA influence added to Italy, now at 2
     2 USA influence added to Taiwan, now at 3

Italy is secured and Asia is where it was. Well, almost: now after Korean War it would score -3 instead of -2 but the domination is still not an immediate threat.

Turn 2, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #28  Ops 3: Suez Crisis * (USSR)
     1 USSR influence added to Afghanistan, now at 2
     1 USSR influence added to West Germany, now at 1
     1 USSR influence added to India, now at 1

This is not a bad move in a sense that the Soviet situation is still quite good after it. However, I think USSR could get much more by playing into India and breaking Italy (either with Suez Crisis or with Nuclear Test Ban, I’d probably prefer the first). This would provide access to France as well and repeat the threat in Asia but in addition by breaking Italy this would create another crisis which cannot be addressed simultaneously with playing Asia Scoring. Of course, USSR did not know that USA had Asia Scoring like we do. But he could assume it by the aggressiveness with which USA contested Asia, including controlling South Korea before the war is gone, as well as by the fact that USA does not perform a tempting Iran coup though DEFCON is at 3 and this would give the Military Operations.

Turn 2, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #1: Asia Scoring

*** Scoring in Asia ***
 USSR:  3(presence) +3(battlegrounds)  = 6
 USA:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
VPs down 1, now at 4

The breath in Italy eventually allowed this.

Turn 2, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #34  Ops 4: Nuclear Test Ban
     4 USSR influence added to France, now at 4

And this is a move I don’t like very much. Iran was begging for protection (for example, couping South Africa with Indo-Pakistani War), and taking France could wait as De Gaulle and Suez were still in play and Truman was on the discard pile. In the current situation who controls France switched the region by 2VPs (6 if USA takes West Germany and USSR will not be able to take non-battlegrounds) while who controls Iran is a 7VPs switch. Both scorings are gone and equally probable to return. The only argument in France’s favour is that it is harder to flip.

If USSR eventually went to France, overcontrol is a must to prevent an AR6 break and Truman headline.

Turn 2, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #110  Ops 2: The Cambridge Five (USSR)
     2 USA influence added to Spain/Portugal, now at 2
The Soviets use the USSR event played by the USA
No scoring cards in the USA hand: no effect.

If I could just not like the previous move, I hate this one. Why didn’t De Gaulle coup Iran? USA would have saved the Mil Ops VPs, and he had 50% chance of controlling it. Of course, Iran would be vulnerable to the Soviet coup in the next turn. But before this USA had two Action Rounds to go into Iraq and/or Afghanistan and secure his access to the Western Asia and Eastern Middle East. At the very last he could just overcontrol Iran strongly, after which Muslim Revolution hurts more but Middle East Scoring still has a higher chance to come earlier than the Muslims.

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #24  Ops 2: Indo-Pakistani War
    Coup attempt in South Africa (stability 3):
     ** USSR die roll = 5 (+2) = 7
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
     American influence in South Africa reduced by 1, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 3

A good move and a lucky result which takes American access to the South Africa away (which looks like a deserved punishment for the last move).

Turn 2, USA action round 5
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #10  Ops 1: Blockade * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Blockade card is permanently removed. **

     The US player does not choose to discard a card to avoid the penalty
     American influence in West Germany now at 0

The Americans use the Blockade card to place influence:
     1 USA influence added to Austria, now at 1

If USA had played this move, I assume that the two cards he holds unknown by me are Decolonization and De-Stalinization and USA wants to keep them until the reshuffle. If this is the case, the move is rather good. After all, USSR will have to make some investments to dominate Europe and preventing control should be achieved just by overcontrolling Italy (and praying that it won’t fail to Brush War).

Turn 2, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #23  Ops 4: Marshall Plan * (USA)
     3 USSR influence added to West Germany, now at 4
     1 USSR influence added to Iran, now at 2
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The Marshall Plan card is permanently removed. **

     American influence in Austria increased by 1, now at 2
     American influence in Denmark increased by 1, now at 1
     American influence in Canada increased by 1, now at 3
     American influence in United Kingdom increased by 1, now at 6
     American influence in Benelux increased by 1, now at 1
     American influence in Turkey increased by 1, now at 1
     American influence in Greece increased by 1, now at 1

West Germany taken to prevent Marshall point into it. The last point goes to Iran.

Turn 2, USA action round 6
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #17  Ops 3: De Gaulle Leads France * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The De Gaulle Leads France card is permanently removed. **

     American influence in France reduced by 0, now at 0
     Soviet influence in France increased by 1, now at 5
    France is not affected by NATO for the rest of the game.

The Americans use the De Gaulle Leads France card to place influence:
     2 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 2
The Americans are 2 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
VPs down 2, now at 2

This is one of the AR6 possibilities although I prefer playing it when it is me who will have the China Card face up for the next turn. I would probably put 2 into West Germany and hope to draw Truman but this is me and in fact this is rather a matter of style. After all, Asia domination has been stopped for a while and all scorings are equally probable to return.

Turn 3

Soviet hand: Defectors, East European Unrest, Formosan Resolution, Indo-Pakistani War, Nuclear Test Ban, Olympic Games, Warsaw Pact Formed, ?

American hand: Containment, Decolonization, De-Stalinization, Korean War, Nasser, NORAD, Romanian Abdication, UN Intervention

The China Card: Soviet

DEFCON Level raised to 3
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************
** Turn 3 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #24  Ops 2: Indo-Pakistani War
American Headline Card: #25  Ops 3: Containment * (USA)

USA Headline Event: #25  Ops 3: Containment * (USA)

The Americans use the Containment card as an Event:

** The Containment card is permanently removed. **

All further operations cards played by US this turn add one to their value (to a maximum of 4).

USSR Headline Event: #24  Ops 2: Indo-Pakistani War

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #24  Ops 2: Indo-Pakistani War
 India invades Pakistan…
    USSR success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USA modifer is -0
 ** Die roll: 2 — no effect **
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 2

The Soviet headline was a poor man’s one. No card in Soviet hand is particularly interesting as an event at this point. In a situation like this you just seek for the opportunity of spending as few Ops as possible and get as much as possible in reward. Formosan Resolution loses 2 Ops for nothing. Defectors lose 2 Ops for not losing 1VP (incidentally, drawing Defectors on turn 3 is quite lucky for USSR). Indo-Pakistani is also a 1VP swing on average but provides Mil Ops as well (which incidentally matters because there are no reasonable spaces to coup). Olympic Games is 1.25VPs on average but if the opponent had headlined Duck and Cover this would be suicidal.

The American Containment is a standard play and there are no better candidates for headline anyway. Whether USA plays UN Intervention or holds one card, one De-card is going to be spaced and this will be a minimal waste of Containment’s power. But there were no better cards for headline anyway.

** Turn 3 Action Phase **

Turn 3, USSR action round 1
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #102  Ops 2: Defectors (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.
VPs up 1, now at 3

The Soviets use the Defectors card to place influence:
     2 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 5

Turn 3, USA action round 1
The Americans play the following card for Ops:
 #33  Ops 3: De-Stalinization * (USSR)
They also play UN Intervention to cancel the Soviet event

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #33  Ops 3: De-Stalinization * (USSR)
     1 USA influence added to Canada, now at 4
     2 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 4

I don’t understand this move. Canada is now unimportant since USA has NORAD and playing it for the event when the card is worth 4Ops would be a collosal waste. North Korea is more reasonable: India and Burma will be Soviet as soon as the USSR player wants it and who controls the North Korea will decide about who controls 8 countries in Asia. If this is USSR, he dominates with 4 battlegrounds against 2. If this is USA, Formosan Resolution suddenly becomes problematic.

I can understand that with empty Africa and Americas USA has no idea where to invest the ops. However, an Iran coup is the first that comes to my mind, and the next move starts spreading. For example, 1 to Egypt and 1 to France or even Morocco, then Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Mexico, etc., keeping Nasser until Egypt adjacencies access is secured or simply putting 2 into Egypt. After all, if USA is not going to play this turn aggressively, then he is going to waste the potential of Containment totally, even if he will actually have these extra ops.

Turn 3, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #16  Ops 3: Warsaw Pact Formed * (USSR)
     3 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 8

Overprotection is the easiest way to stop the Ops-war if you don’t want it (and if your cards are by definition worth 1 Op less than your opponents’ each you usually don’t want it). Incidentally, this is lucky for USSR that he could play Warsaw Pact Formed for Ops on turn 3, preventing it from being removed from the game prior to turn 7.

Turn 3, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #106  Ops 3: NORAD * (USA)

** The NORAD card is permanently removed. **

So that was it. Before the DEFCON drops to 2. Still, it was a 4 Ops card. Recognizing where to invest the ops required some skills which I believe the American player has. I guess he has lost cold blood for a while.

Turn 3, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #34  Ops 4: Nuclear Test Ban
     2 USSR influence added to India, now at 3
     2 USSR influence added to Burma, now at 2

Now Asia is quite locked. USSR dominates it (and will dominate it even with Formosan Resolution active) and breaking this will be extremely hard: 1-stability countries are overprotected, North Korea is overprotected, Thailand is an overprotected shield that blocks access to the Soviet part of Asia from the South while Iran is a Western shield (and even if successfully couped, Afghanistan and Pakistan may just be worth overprotecting now).

Turn 3, USA action round 3
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #11  Ops 2: Korean War * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Korean War card is permanently removed. **

     USSR success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USA modifer is -2
 ** Die roll: 4 (-2) = 2 — no effect **
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

The Americans use the Korean War card to place influence:
     2 USA influence added to West Germany, now at 2

Such a break creates no crisis in the middle of the turn. This is obvious that the USA player has no clear plan where to play. His entire strategy is now based on controlling the moments (and somehow the effects) of removing some Soviet events from play which is not bad by itself but not enough to make good use of Containment.

Turn 3, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #20  Ops 2: Olympic Games
     2 USSR influence added to West Germany, now at 6

A 2 Ops for a 2 Ops. No Containment advantage, unless you repeat after Freddie Mercury: “I want to break free”.

Turn 3, USA action round 4
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #15  Ops 1: Nasser * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Nasser card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in Egypt increased by 2, now at 2

The Americans use the Nasser card to place influence:
     1 USA influence added to Turkey, now at 2
     1 USA influence added to Greece, now at 2

And this is not bad for a non-spreading move. USA secures Europe in advance to gain flexibility when it comes to spend Romanian Abdication Ops. Besides, Nasser is the only Soviet access gainer to Egypt at this stage of the game. Therefore Soviets may not keep DEFCON at 3 any longer.

Turn 3, USSR action round 5
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #100  Ops 2: Formosan Resolution * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The Formosan Resolution card is permanently removed. **

Taiwan shall be treated as a Battleground country for scoring purposes, if the US
controls Taiwan when the Asian Scoring Card is played.  Taiwan is not a battleground
country for any other game purpose.  This card is discarded after US play of The China Card.

The Soviets use the Formosan Resolution card for a coup attempt:
    Coup attempt in Israel (stability 4):
     ** USSR die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
    The modified roll does not exceed the doubled stability — no effect.
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5
*** NORAD — the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
     American influence in West Germany increased by 1, now at 3

Incidentally, this is the first time when I see a coup in Israel that does make sense.

Turn 3, USA action round 5
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #12  Ops 1: Romanian Abdication * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Romanian Abdication card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in Romania now at 3

The Americans use the Romanian Abdication card to place influence:
     2 USA influence added to West Germany, now at 5
Turn 3, USSR action round 6
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #29  Ops 3: East European Unrest (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.
     Soviet influence in East Germany reduced by 1, now at 3
     Soviet influence in Poland reduced by 1, now at 4
     Soviet influence in Romania reduced by 1, now at 2

The Soviets use the East European Unrest card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to East Germany, now at 4
     2 USSR influence added to Libya, now at 2

I’m not really sure why didn’t the USSR player play this card before Romanian Abdication. What I am sure, however, is that I don’t like the way he spent the Ops. Out of the sudden West Germany is vunlerable to Truman Doctrine. It is worth noting that USSR could fix West Germany and not worry about breaking either Germany to threaten Truman because USA was left with only one card – Decolonization – and USSR should remember and realize it (in case you were wondering: every strong USSR player would pay 9 IPs from West Germany for having the Decolonization played in this situation).

Turn 3, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #30  Ops 2: Decolonization (USSR)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 5 **
     No effect.
The Americans are 2 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
VPs down 2, now at 1

This was a very instructive and a crucial turn. USA had played Containment but did not come up with a clear plan of spending Operation Points. He never entered either Africa or Central America. Not only this was a waste of the Containment potential. It was also a waste of having Decolonization and De-Stalinization unplayed and kept from the reshuffle. You will soon see how the USA player will suffer from the lack of access to the Mid War regions for the remainder of the game.

Turn 4

Soviet hand: ABM Treaty, Allende, Duck and Cover, Five Year Plan, Flower Power, How I Learned to Stop Worrying, Liberation Theology, ?, ?

American hand: Asia Scoring, Brush War, Nixon Plays the China Card, Our Man in Tehran, Panama Canal Returned, Red Scare/Purge, Shuttle Diplomacy, U-2 Incident, ?

The China Card: Soviet

** The Mid War cards are added to the deck **
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************
DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 4 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #75  Ops 2: Liberation Theology (USSR)
American Headline Card: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

USA Headline Event: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
     -1 to Ops value of Soviet cards this turn (minimum 1 OP)

USSR Headline Event: #75  Ops 2: Liberation Theology (USSR)

The Soviets use the Liberation Theology card as an Event:
     2 USSR influence added to Mexico, now at 2
     1 USSR influence added to Panama, now at 1
** Turn 4 Action Phase **

The USSR player had several headline candidates. Allende and Liberation Theology are about equal in this case as they are both fine American access-gainers. Playing one now does not imply not playing the other later so the difference is probably moot. As a rule of thumb, in a situation like this you prefer playing your recurring event rather then the starred one. ABM Treaty, the ordinarily superb headline, has no decent targets on this board. It’s certainly not worth playing just to secure West Germany against Truman, and Flower Power presence means that ABM won’t be the forced return card for Missile Envy. How I Learned to Stop Worrying is a decent event if there’s a certain goal of playing it which is not the case.

The American headline is rather obvious and probably highly annoying for the Soviet player: he has to play 3 out of 4 turns under Purge or Containment which is the reversed Purge. Our Man in Tehran’s effectiveness is the same, no matter when in the turn he is played (and in turn 4 he may go for Ops). Nixon is pretty much the same until USSR plays China Card but if he does, Nixon is a nice hold card. Brush War works best after some preparation of the target. Panama Canal Returned is a strong AR7 play or access-gainer rather than a decent headline. All in all, Purge can help fighting for Asia which is now locked under Soviet domination but USA has 6 Action Rounds to reverse the tables.

Turn 4, USSR action round 1
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #4  Ops 3: Duck and Cover (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
VPs up 3, now at 4

The Soviets use the Duck and Cover card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to Panama, now at 2
     1 USSR influence added to Guatemala, now at 1
*** NORAD — the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
     American influence in North Korea increased by 1, now at 5

This is the typical usage of Duck and Cover by Soviets: drop DEFCON to 2 when you have more important things to do than couping for whatever reason (lack of targets is the case here). At this stage of game 3VPs is not much compared to losing at least 4 Ops and 2 Action Rounds (coup Israel + space Duck and Cover). Guatemala secures Central American domination for the moment and provokes couping (which is good for the purged player). Note that even losing the coup battle against Guatemala is not a tragedy: the worst USSR can face is losing Mexico after realignments. The same does not apply to Colombia which would be another place to put a coup provoker.

As for NORAD, USA did not really have better places to put it since he has Asia Scoring to deal with.

Turn 4, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #64  Ops 1: Panama Canal Returned * (USA)

** The Panama Canal Returned card is permanently removed. **

     American influence in Panama increased by 1, now at 1
     American influence in Costa Rica increased by 1, now at 1
     American influence in Venezuela increased by 1, now at 1

Now that DEFCON dropped to 2 and USSR had no access to Venezuela this move was quite strong, yet unluckily timed.

Turn 4, USSR action round 2
DEFCON Level raised to 3

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #57  Ops 4: ABM Treaty
    Coup attempt in Venezuela (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 2 (+3) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
     American influence in Venezuela reduced by 1, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 3
*** NORAD — the US may place 1 influence anywhere they already have influence ***
     American influence in North Korea increased by 1, now at 6

A bad luck for a bad luck. Had USSR rolled any higher, USA would be in serious trouble in both Americas. Now that South America is clear and Colombia easy coupable and accessible by both players, the NORAD breaks North Korea, and together with it it breaks Soviet domination in Asia, just for a while but an important one.

Turn 4, USA action round 2
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #60  Ops 3: U-2 Incident * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The U-2 Incident card is permanently removed. **

VPs down 1, now at 3
If UN intervention played later this turn as an Event, Soviets gain an additional 1 VP.

The Americans use the U-2 Incident card to place influence:
     3 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 9

A risky move. North Korea may now be re-taken by the China Card with no easy response. However, this risk was justified. If you had played Red Scare/Purge, you have to play aggressively. On the other hand, the purged opponent is usually not willing to engage into Ops-war. North Korea is a 11 VPs swing in this situation anyway, and if USA does not score domination in Asia, he may face serious problems in gaining VPs elsewhere in the nearest future.

Turn 4, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #6  Ops 4: The China Card
     4 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 12

Turn 4, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #71  Ops 2: Nixon Plays the China Card * (USA)
     1 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 10

Turn 4, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #46  Ops 2: How I Learned to Stop Worrying *
     1 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 13

I would personally choose Flower Power to overcontrol North Korea and end this discussion once and forever. I don’t like Ops-wars when I’m purged, even if they require breaks from my opponent. But I’m not saying this move was bad, I’m just saying I would have played a different one.

Turn 4, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #36  Ops 3: Brush War
         The target country is Panama
     USA success on a modified die roll of 3-6; USSR is -0
 ** Die roll: 6 — USA victory!
VPs up 1, now at 4
     Soviet influence in Panama reduced by 2, now at 0
     American influence in Panama increased by 2, now at 3
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 3

A nice swing. Asia is actually not lost and since it is not going to get any worse USA may at least count on a little luck (maybe USSR will get engaged into war somewhere else and use Ussuri River Skirmish or “Ask Not…“ during the battle?)

Turn 4, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #5  Ops 3: Five Year Plan (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-3 needed): = 6 **
     No effect.

I guess that means that the unrevealed Soviet cards were DEFCON suicide or really nasty ones (Bear Trap, Voice of America, etc.). In fact, Grain Sales to Soviets was just enough to space Five Year Plan provided the other card was nasty if played without Five Year Plan (like Sadat or OAS Founded). You never know what is going to be picked on Five Year Plan. This may be considered as a price USSR had to pay for securing Asia domination.

Turn 4, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #73  Ops 3: Shuttle Diplomacy (USA)
Play in front of US player.  During the next scoring of the Middle East or Asia
(whichever comes first), subtract one Battleground country from USSR total,
then put this card in the discard pile.  Does not count for Final Scoring at the end of Turn 10

A brilliant move! Under the given circumstances it was an obvious one. However, it was also very easy to overlook. Prior to turn 6 you usually prefer Ops to VPs but 3 Ops for 5 VPs is a decent trade at every stage of the game. It should go without saying that without this resource the fight for North Korea should just be considered a blunder.

Turn 4, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #54  Ops 1: Allende * (USSR)

** The Allende card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in Chile increased by 2, now at 2

This had to be played eventually since neither De-Stalinization nor Junta came to Soviet’s hands and the Venezuela coup failed.

Turn 4, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #1: Asia Scoring

*** Scoring in Asia ***
 (-1 to Russian battleground total due to Shuttle Diplomacy)
 (Taiwan counts as a battleground country due to Formosan Resolution)
 USSR:  3(presence) +3(battlegrounds)  = 6
 USA:  3(presence) +3(battlegrounds)  = 6

Phew!

Turn 4, USSR action round 7

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #59  Ops 4: Flower Power * (USSR)
     1 USSR influence added to Chile, now at 3
     2 USSR influence added to Argentina, now at 2

An interesting nuance: 2 to Argentina secures more battlegrounds and makes a step forward in a way to other battlegrounds but 2 to Peru would give domination immediately. I personally feel that the USSR player had made the right choice.

Turn 4, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #108  Ops 2: Our Man in Tehran * (USA)
     1 USA influence added to Colombia, now at 1
     1 USA influence added to West Germany, now at 6

I guess this was a necessity to go into Colombia. Anyway, I’d rather put the other IP into Nicaragua rather than West Germany.

Turn 5

Soviet hand: Cuban Missile Crisis, Europe Scoring, John Paul II Elected Pope, Latin American Death Squads, ‚Lone Gunman’, OPEC, Portuguese Empire Crumbles, The Voice of America, ?

American hand: Independent Reds, Junta, Middle East Scoring, Missile Envy, OAS Founded, Suez Crisis, South African Unrest, Ussuri River Skirmish, ?

The China Card: American

DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 5 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #62  Ops 1: ‚Lone Gunman’ * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #47  Ops 2: Junta

USA Headline Event: #47  Ops 2: Junta

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #47  Ops 2: Junta
     American influence in Argentina increased by 2, now at 2

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #47  Ops 2: Junta
    Coup attempt in Argentina (stability 2):
     ** USA die roll = 3 (+2) = 5
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 1.
     Soviet influence in Argentina reduced by 1, now at 1
DEFCON Level lowered to 2

USSR Headline Event: #62  Ops 1: ‚Lone Gunman’ * (USSR)

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #62  Ops 1: ‚Lone Gunman’ * (USSR)

** The ‚Lone Gunman’ card is permanently removed. **

The Soviet gets to look at the American Hand:

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #62  Ops 1: ‚Lone Gunman’ * (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Colombia (stability 1):
     ** USSR die roll = 6 (+1) = 7
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 5.
     American influence in Colombia reduced by 1, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Colombia increased by 4, now at 4
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 1
** Turn 5 Action Phase **

I feel both players could play this Headline Phase better.

The Soviet choice of the card is somehow dubious. Prior to Turn 7 you prefer keeping ‘Lone Gunman’ in the deck and hoping USA will have tough time drawing it unless you really need information or conducting operations during headline right now. Neither of this is true in this case. All right, the hand is rather poor, the only cards that offer meaningful Ops are OPEC and Cuban Missile Crisis which will perhaps be worth playing for the events now or in the next turn. Knowing opponent’s hand may be helpful to handle the own one in such a situation. Still, I’d rather headline Portugese Empire Crumbles, planning using Cuban Missile Crisis to coup Panama and secure Angola, scoring Europe soon to be able to use the pope’s Ops in the Mid War regions, and keep Lone Gunman in the deck.

The American choice is better, yet not so straightforward either. I’d seriously consider Missile Envy which wasn’t too risky at the moment. The problem is that Junta has only 2 Ops and is therefore not very promising when couping a 2-stability country, and USA had no real reason to steal a battleground coup since Israel is too stable and Panama is strongly fortified. Of course, with Cuban Missile Crisis the USA player would be in a very good situation because it would in fact disallow USSR coup anywhere for the whole turn. OPEC was the best of both worlds and would be worth using to coup Argentina (although the USSR player would certainly not give OPEC). These are not parts of considerations about the headline card, however, as the USA player does not know the opponent’s hand.

The play of the card was also dubious for the reason described above. One tricky way to play Junta was to put influence into Guatemala, and then realign Mexico. The other possible (and probably better) way was to put 2 into Venezuela to cut USSR off it after the successful Colombia coup, then protect Venezuela by couping either Argentina or Mexico.

On the other hand, the Soviet Colombia coup was risky because in case of a total fail (1) the Soviet player would have to coup Colombia again to fight for Venezuela, and he has too weak hand to coup back and forth. Seeing Middle East Scoring in the American hand, the USSR player could have put the Lone Gunman Op into Israel, thus threatening Middle East domination after taking Lebanon, and then coup Colombia with another card. The crucial difference is that even rolling one when couping with a 2-Ops card cuts the USA player off Venezuela (which he can repair with OAS Founded but since he already has it, the sooner is he forced to trigger it the better; besides the USA player cannot play OAS Founded and protect Lebanon in a single move). I don’t say this would be a better play, I just say this would be a safer play. After all, controlling Lebanon earns 3VPs which exactly compensates the possible play of OPEC for Ops. This is a considerable factor when you have such a poor hand. Of course, the lucky Colombia coup is a better outcome than a possible Lebanon control but the USSR player could not count on the die.

Turn 5, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #69  Ops 2: Latin American Death Squads
     2 USSR influence added to Venezuela, now at 2

Colombia was too strongly controlled for the USSR to coup it but OAS could have controlled Venezuela anyway. Still, I think 1 to Venezuela and 1 to Israel was a better choice: Middle East is threatened, Venezuela is 1 Op from being controlled, if USA responds by putting OAS to Venezuela and Brazil, USSR can simply take Venezuela with Cuban Missile Crisis, and if USA puts both OAS IPs in Venezuela then USSR may control Brazil with Cuban Missile Crisis, threatening realignment rolls against Venezuela. In either case, the extra CMC Op goes to Lebanon. Actually, USA would probably be forced to score Middle East right now which allows taking Venezuela and Brazil on USSR’s next move. Even for scoring purposes Venezuela is just one extra OPEC VP while Lebanon gives extra 3VPs to Middle East Scoring.

Turn 5, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
 The Soviet exchanges the following card for the Missile Envy:
    #40  Ops 3: Cuban Missile Crisis *

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #40  Ops 3: Cuban Missile Crisis *

** The Cuban Missile Crisis card is permanently removed. **

DEFCON Level lowered to 2

A nice move which was possible because USSR did not create any sort of crisis that had to be responded to immediately.

Turn 5, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
     2 USSR influence added to Brazil, now at 2

Turn 5, USA action round 2
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #28  Ops 3: Suez Crisis * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Suez Crisis card is permanently removed. **

     American influence in Israel reduced by 1, now at 0
     American influence in United Kingdom reduced by 2, now at 4

The Americans use the Suez Crisis card to place influence:
     1 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 3
     2 USA influence added to Uruguay, now at 2

Incidentally, I don’t really understand why the wargameroom engine requires the Soviet player to click Israel manually when Suez Crisis is played with no American influence in France.

Turn 5, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #2: Europe Scoring

*** Scoring in Europe ***
 USSR:  3(presence) +3(battlegrounds)  = 6
 USA:  3(presence) +1(battlegrounds)  = 4
VPs down 2, now at 2

Turn 5, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #70  Ops 1: OAS Founded * (USA)

** The OAS Founded card is permanently removed. **

     1 USA influence added to Chile, now at 1
     1 USA influence added to Peru, now at 1

This is a controversial move. On the one hand, it does not stop USSR South America domination even for a moment and the Chilean damage may be repaired easily and immediately. This is the reason why OAS Founded works best as the last Action Round play. On the other hand, USA cannot play two last Action Rounds in a turn and Ussuri River Skirmish is a much better candidate for this, even though Asia Scoring is gone and Americas are to be scored. Besides, repairing Chilean damage right now is dangerous: taking Peru will allow good realignments on the next move. I would, however, probably prefer scoring Middle East right now to gain more flexibility, then the plan is: play Independent Reds to perform a Guatemala coup, and if it works, OAS puts 2 into Peru after which Ussuri would probably be worth playing for realignments against Chile and Mexico. The Cuban Missile Crisis would show its power in this case.

Turn 5, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #61  Ops 3: OPEC (USSR)
VPs down 4, now at -2

Whether OPEC is worth playing for event or not, you always have to answer yourself. In this situation I like this move.

Turn 5, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #22  Ops 2: Independent Reds * (USA)
     1 USA influence added to Peru, now at 2
     1 USA influence added to United Kingdom, now at 5

Pretty good, yet not as effective as the play suggested before.

Turn 5, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #74  Ops 2: The Voice of America (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-3 needed): = 3 **
     USSR progress on the Space Race Track is now at Earth Satellite
VPs down 1, now at -3

Turn 5, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #3: Middle East Scoring

*** Scoring in Middle East ***
 USSR:  3(presence) +3(battlegrounds)  = 6
 USA:  3(presence)  = 3
VPs down 3, now at -6

Turn 5, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #52  Ops 2: Portuguese Empire Crumbles * (USSR)

** The Portuguese Empire Crumbles card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in SE African States increased by 2, now at 2
     Soviet influence in Angola increased by 2, now at 2

Turn 5, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #53  Ops 2: South African Unrest (USSR)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 6 **
     No effect.

I hate this move. Right after USSR gained the access into Africa anyway, this card stopped being a purged version of Decolonization and started being a semi-harmful 2-Ops card which could as well be played as an event and then used to coup SE African States. USA would have earned 2 Military Ops right before playing the AR7 play which would be a 2VPs swing by itself, Africa would not get worse (and with a chance of ⅔ it would get better because USA would have presence there), and being under Cuban Missile Crisis the USSR player would not be able to respond. In fact, this move was so weak that I’d like to believe this was a misclick.

Turn 5, USSR action round 7
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #68  Ops 2: John Paul II Elected Pope * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The John Paul II Elected Pope card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in Poland reduced by 2, now at 2
     American influence in Poland increased by 1, now at 1

The Soviets use the John Paul II Elected Pope card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to Zaire, now at 1
     1 USSR influence added to South Africa, now at 1

Of course, the access must be protected against Grain Sales to Soviets before the next Turn.

Turn 5, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #76  Ops 3: Ussuri River Skirmish * (USA)

** The Ussuri River Skirmish card is permanently removed. **

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #76  Ops 3: Ussuri River Skirmish * (USA)

** The Ussuri River Skirmish card is permanently removed. **

     2 USA influence added to North Korea, now at 12
     2 USA influence added to Thailand, now at 2
The Americans are 2 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
The Soviets are 1 military operation short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
VPs down 1, now at -7

Breaking all four USSR-controlled Asian battlegrounds was tempting but unnecessary. Now if USA manages to control at least one of the broken countries without the help of The China Card, he will dominate Asia due to Formosan Resolution.

Turn 6

Soviet hand: Africa Scoring, Arab-Israeli War, Fidel, NATO, Nuclear Subs, Quagmire, Special Relationship, Summit, ?

American hand: Alliance for Progress, Central America Scoring, Kitchen Debates, Puppet Governments, SALT Negotiations, Truman Doctrine, ‚We Will Bury You’, ?, ?

The China Card: American

DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 6 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #42  Ops 3: Quagmire * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #19  Ops 1: Truman Doctrine * (USA)

USSR Headline Event: #42  Ops 3: Quagmire * (USSR)

The Soviets use the Quagmire card as an Event:

** The Quagmire card is permanently removed. **

On the next action round, US player must discard an Operations card worth
2 or more and roll less than 5.  Repeat each US player phase until successful
or no appropriate cards remain.  If out of appropriate cards, the US player may
only play scoring cards until the next turn.

USA Headline Event: #19  Ops 1: Truman Doctrine * (USA)

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #19  Ops 1: Truman Doctrine * (USA)

** The Truman Doctrine card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in West Germany now at 0
** Turn 6 Action Phase **

The Defectors-free Quagmire is a superb card in this situation: it cancels NORAD and allows damaging Africa as long as the opponent is stuck in it before scoring it for a maximum VPs. At the very last USSR will have both a battleground coup and a time to fix Asia.

Truman Doctrine was never supposed to get any better than now and is a very good choice too: cheap and effective.

Turn 6, USSR action round 1
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #21  Ops 4: NATO * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The NATO card is permanently removed. **

USSR player may no longer make Coup or Realignment rolls in any US Controlled countries
in Europe.  US Controlled countries in Europe may not be attacked by play of the Brush War event.

May not be played until Marshall Plan or Warsaw Pact Formed (either one) has been played

The Soviets use the NATO card to place influence:
     2 USSR influence added to Thailand, now at 5
     2 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 15

A premature move which changes Special Relationships from a rather harmless card to a problematic one. Having said that, it was not too easy to cover all the crises when you have to calculate that USA will get rid of Quagmire on his first attempt. For example, couping with Special Relationships now solves one crisis (DEFCON) but creates another (access to Algeria). Couping with some other card, like Arab-Israeli War or Fidel, just moves the dillemma one Action Round forward if USA gets rid of Quagmire. Still, Arab-Israeli War coup against Algeria was probably a better choice because it does not make the situation worse and allows solving all problems if USA does not end Quagmire immediately (for example, Special Relationships for 2 to Algeria and NATO to Thailand and North Korea on USSR next two moves in that order).

Turn 6, USA action round 1
The USA discards the following card because of Quagmire:
    #50  Ops 4: ‚We Will Bury You’ * (USSR)
    Quagmire ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 2 — The Quagmire is over!

Turn 6, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #13  Ops 2: Arab-Israeli War (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Argentina (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 5 (+2) = 7
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 3.
     American influence in Argentina reduced by 3, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 2

Very lucky (though the move was what USSR should have played, no matter the result).

Turn 6, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #78  Ops 3: Alliance for Progress * (USA)
     3 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 3

As a rule of thumb if you have a card with your own starred event that you don’t intend to play soon and it’s Turn 6, you should play it for Ops before the Turn ends to get the card back to the reshuffle. This is why Alliance for Progress was a far better choice than SALT Negotiations which is a nice event and not a problem for USSR if he draws it later (of course, if you have your own good recurring event, you should play the card on Turn 6 rather than hold it as well, no matter whether you use the event or Ops; what you want to hold in this case is a nasty starred event of your opponent).

Turn 6, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #79: Africa Scoring

*** Scoring in Africa ***
 USSR:  4(domination) +2(battlegrounds)  = 6
 USA: No score.
VPs down 6, now at -13

One may ask why didn’t USSR push into Africa and try to control it to earn even more VPs. The answer is that this would be too expensive for USSR’s hand which is not very rich again. Besides, USA could see what is going on and gain presence by couping SE African States. But the most important threat is Colonial Read Guards which did not appear yet. Better a small fish than an empty dish.

Turn 6, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #48  Ops 1: Kitchen Debates * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Guatemala (stability 1):
     ** USA die roll = 3 (+1) = 4
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
     Soviet influence in Guatemala reduced by 1, now at 0
     American influence in Guatemala increased by 1, now at 1
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 1

Turn 6, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #45  Ops 1: Summit
    Coup attempt in Guatemala (stability 1):
     ** USSR die roll = 3 (+1) = 4
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
     American influence in Guatemala reduced by 1, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Guatemala increased by 1, now at 1
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 3

Cards played for 1 Operating Point are generally most effective when used to coup a 1-stability country.

Turn 6, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #43  Ops 3: SALT Negotiations *
    Coup attempt in Guatemala (stability 1):
     ** USA die roll = 4 (+3) = 7
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 5.
     Soviet influence in Guatemala reduced by 1, now at 0
     American influence in Guatemala increased by 4, now at 4
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

Too ostentatious. When the opponent uses a 3-Ops card with a very nice event to coup a 1-stability non-battleground which does not change the scoring in the region immediately, know that something is going on. Of course, realignments against Mexico are a threat that is as visible as hard to meet but…

Turn 6, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #105  Ops 2: Special Relationship (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 4 **
     USSR progress on the Space Race Track is now at Animal in Space
       The Soviets may now make two space race attempts per turn

This or putting 1 IP in Great Britain were the options.

Turn 6, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card for realignment rolls:
 #66  Ops 2: Puppet Governments * (USA)

    Realignment roll in Mexico: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +1
     ** USA die roll = 4 (+2) = 6
     ** USSR die roll = 2 (+1) = 3
     Soviet influence in Mexico reduced by 2, now at 0

    Realignment roll in Chile: USA modifier = +2, USSR modifier = +1
     ** USA die roll = 2 (+2) = 4
     ** USSR die roll = 1 (+1) = 2
     Soviet influence in Chile reduced by 2, now at 1

Turn 6, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #8  Ops 2: Fidel * (USSR)

** The Fidel card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in Cuba now at 3

… but the world does not end on Mexico. Note that if USSR had played Fidel in the previous Action Round, USA could play Puppet Governments for event, play into Nicaragua, Haiti, and Nigeria, and have 3 promising realignment targets.

Turn 6, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #6  Ops 4: The China Card
     2 USA influence added to Mexico, now at 2
     2 USA influence added to Honduras, now at 2

Note the necessity of taking Honduras and not only Mexico to score domination. Without that USSR could just put 1 into Nicaragua and 1 into Haiti to force scoring for 0. Even putting 1 into Nicaragua would allow breaking Nicaragua and putting 1 into Haiti with a 4-Ops card. Putting 1 into Nicaragua and 1 into El Salvador would backfire if USSR had had Che, and putting 2 into Nicaragua was also more risky in terms of Che than putting 2 into Honduras (although Costa Rica instead of Honduras was even safer).

Also note that Central American domination or lack of it is a 2VP swing, similarly to The China Card (which, if you have it during the Final Scoring, gives 1VP to you and does not give it to your opponent). I would normally not give The China Card and end the Formosan Resolution which was the only meaningful chance to ever dominate Asia just to get those 2VPs but in this case the Soviets are dangerously ahead on the VP track.

Summarizing, this was a strong and not too obvious move, one of the moves that are the hallmarks of the strong players.

Turn 6, USSR action round 7
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #41  Ops 2: Nuclear Subs * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The Nuclear Subs card is permanently removed. **

US actions do not affect the DEFCON track for the remainder of this turn
(does not affect Cuban Missile Crisis).

The Soviets use the Nuclear Subs card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to Argentina, now at 2

The extra bonus for keeping such a pressure on USA that he had to play the scoring card on his last Action Round.

Turn 6, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #37: Central America Scoring

*** Scoring in Central America ***
 USSR:  1(presence) +1(battlegrounds) +1(adj. to USA)  = 3
 USA:  3(domination) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
VPs up 2, now at -11

Turn 7

Soviet hand: Arms Race, Bear Trap, Brezhnev Doctrine, Camp David Accords, Che, Colonial Rear Guards, ‚One Small Step…’, Sadat Expels Soviets, The Cambridge Five

American hand: ‚Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You…’, Comecon, Cultural Revolution, Grain Sales to Soviets, Muslim Revolution, Socialist Governments, South America Scoring, Southeast Asia Scoring, Willy Brandt

The China Card: Soviet

DEFCON Level raised to 3
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************
** Turn 7 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #51  Ops 3: Brezhnev Doctrine * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #67  Ops 2: Grain Sales to Soviets (USA)

USSR Headline Event: #51  Ops 3: Brezhnev Doctrine * (USSR)

The Soviets use the Brezhnev Doctrine card as an Event:

** The Brezhnev Doctrine card is permanently removed. **

All USSR operations cards increase their value by one (+1) for the remainder
of this turn (Maximum of 4).

USA Headline Event: #67  Ops 2: Grain Sales to Soviets (USA)

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #67  Ops 2: Grain Sales to Soviets (USA)
 Card selected from USSR hand: #65  Ops 2: Camp David Accords * (USA)
    The USA Player elects to keep and play the card.

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #65  Ops 2: Camp David Accords * (USA)
    Coup attempt in Zaire (stability 1):
     ** USA die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 6.
     Soviet influence in Zaire reduced by 1, now at 0
     American influence in Zaire increased by 5, now at 5
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 2
** Turn 7 Action Phase **

Both headlines were rather straightforward and best. The Camp David Accords coup was also the best decision and a lucky one.

Turn 7, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #112  Ops 3: Che (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Guatemala (stability 1):
     ** USSR die roll = 6 (+4) = 10
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 8.
     American influence in Guatemala reduced by 4, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Guatemala increased by 4, now at 4
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 4
The coup is successful: the USSR may make another coup

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #112  Ops 3: Che (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Uruguay (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 6 (+4) = 10
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 6.
     American influence in Uruguay reduced by 2, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Uruguay increased by 4, now at 4
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

Uruguay was what really mattered. However, if you play Che for the event, you should coup the less stable country at first place (and this should go without saying). It did not matter in this case since Brezhnev-boosted Che removes influence from 2-stability countries for sure but the impulse is cool and Guatemala was the best other target anyway.

Turn 7, USA action round 1
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #58  Ops 3: Cultural Revolution * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Cultural Revolution card is permanently removed. **

VPs down 1, now at -12

The Americans use the Cultural Revolution card to place influence:
     1 USA influence added to Argentina, now at 4
     2 USA influence added to Chile, now at 3

Even with Kennedy, a 3-Ops card which costs 1VP is usually superior to a random card. Besides, the harm needed to be repaired ASAP and other cards were worse, maybe except Comecon.

Turn 7, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #39  Ops 3: Arms Race
VPs down 3, now at -15

Turn 7, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #77  Ops 3: ‚Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You… * (USA)

** The ‚Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You… card is permanently removed. **

    The American player discards the following cards to be replaced:
       #56  Ops 4: Muslim Revolution (USSR)
       #7  Ops 3: Socialist Governments (USSR)
       #35: South America Scoring
       #38: Southeast Asia Scoring *
       #55  Ops 2: Willy Brandt * (USSR)
       #14  Ops 3: Comecon * (USSR)

New American hand: Middle East Scoring, Missile Envy, Nixon Plays the China Card, SALT Negotiations, The Voice of America, ?

A very lucky discard. Not only two unfavorable scorings are gone (one until the Final Scoring and the other one forever) but also several USSR events will never get played. Only Comecon discard was questionable since this is not clear that its effect harms USA strongly enough to give up 3 Ops in return for a random card. But the new hand is just almost perfect. There’s one problematic card which unfortunately happens to be a scoring but the overall outcome is great.

Turn 7, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #63  Ops 2: Colonial Rear Guards (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-3 needed): = 1 **
     USSR progress on the Space Race Track is now at Lunar Probe
VPs down 2, now at -17

Turn 7, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #71  Ops 2: Nixon Plays the China Card * (USA)

** The Nixon Plays the China Card card is permanently removed. **

    The US receives the China Card, face down, from the Soviet player.

Turn 7, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #110  Ops 2: The Cambridge Five (USSR)
     1 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 16
     2 USSR influence added to Algeria, now at 2

A critical mistake the weakness of which is easy to overlook. Nixon took The China Card away from USSR which, together with Grain Sales to Soviets, means that USSR will have to play all the cards. USSR probably did not want to play Bear Trap on himself and intended to space it instead. But USSR had already spaced one card this turn. A successful space race attempt by the American player would force USSR to play Bear Trap on himself by taking away the possibility of spacing two cards in turn. I remind you that this is Turn 7 and Bear Trap did not appear before. USA should know that USSR has Bear Trap and USSR should be aware of this.

USSR had no urgent things to do right now (and even if he had, The Cambridge Five play does not look like a move that solves any urgent problems). Playing Bear Trap for Space Race was the move.

Turn 7, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
 The Soviet exchanges the following card for the Missile Envy:
    #44  Ops 3: Bear Trap * (USA)

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #44  Ops 3: Bear Trap * (USA)

** The Bear Trap card is permanently removed. **

On the next action round, USSR player must discard an Operations card worth
2 or more and roll less than 5.  Repeat each USSR player phase until successful
or no appropriate cards remain.  If out of appropriate cards, the USSR Player may
only play scoring cards until the next turn.

It turns out that USA did not even have to space a card to play a trick on USSR.

Note that this play of Missile Envy was a bit risky. USSR could as well have Duck and Cover. But in such a situation, when USA is 17VPs behind and leads in only one and rather meaningless region, this was the best practical chance which paid off surprisingly well.

Turn 7, USSR action round 5
The USSR discards the following card because of Bear Trap:
    #49  Ops 2: Missile Envy
    Bear Trap ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 5 — The Bear Trap continues.

Turn 7, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #74  Ops 2: The Voice of America (USA)
     Soviet influence in Libya reduced by 1, now at 1
     Soviet influence in Egypt reduced by 1, now at 1
     Soviet influence in Iran reduced by 1, now at 1
     Soviet influence in Thailand reduced by 1, now at 4

Suddenly Middle East Scoring turns out to have been a lucky draw as well!

Turn 7, USSR action round 6
The USSR discards the following card because of Bear Trap:
    #72  Ops 1: Sadat Expels Soviets * (USA)
    Bear Trap ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 5 — The Bear Trap continues.

One good news for USSR is that Brezhnev allows discarding ostensibly 1-Op cards.

Turn 7, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #3: Middle East Scoring

*** Scoring in Middle East ***
 USSR: No score.
 USA:  3(presence)  = 3
VPs up 3, now at -14

SALT into Saudi Arabia would give additional 3VPs. Reclaiming Voice of America is certainly superior, especially that USA still has to prepare the position to grab VPs elsewhere in the Late War.

Turn 7, USSR action round 7
The USSR discards the following card because of Bear Trap:
    #80  Ops 2: ‚One Small Step…’
    Bear Trap ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 5 — The Bear Trap continues.

Turn 7, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #43  Ops 3: SALT Negotiations *

** The SALT Negotiations card is permanently removed. **

DEFCON Level raised to 4
The USA player reclaims the following card from the discard pile:
 #74  Ops 2: The Voice of America (USA)
The Americans are 2 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 4
VPs down 2, now at -16

Of course, this is also much better than saving 2VPs. -14 does not differ much from -16 now, what USA needs is a gamechanger. Voice of America comes close.

Turn 8

Soviet hand: Alliance for Progress, Flower Power, Latin American Death Squads, Marine Barracks Bombing, Ortega Elected in Nicaragua, Pershing II Deployed, Puppet Governments, The Iron Lady, ?

American hand: Arab-Israeli War, Central America Scoring, Defectors, OPEC, Our Man in Tehran, The Reformer, The Voice of America, Yuri and Samantha, ?

The China Card: American

** The Late War cards are added to the deck **
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************
DEFCON Level raised to 5
** Turn 8 Headline Phase **
Soviet Headline Card: #98  Ops 3: Pershing II Deployed * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #102  Ops 2: Defectors (USA)
    The Defectors card cancels out the Soviet-played Headline Event.
** Turn 8 Action Phase **

The Soviet headline was the best choice. Even if he had denied USA presence on Middle East with Marine Barracks Bombing instead, the Middle East Scoring had just gone and the damage would be easily repaired. Besides, without damaging Europe France is vulnerable to a series of brutal realignments.

The American headline is also fine. It’s much better than the average play of Defectors because it disallows USSR making any progress between the Bear Trap rolls.

Turn 8, USSR action round 1
The USSR discards the following card because of Bear Trap:
    #78  Ops 3: Alliance for Progress * (USA)
    Bear Trap ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 6 — The Bear Trap continues.
Turn 8, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #74  Ops 2: The Voice of America (USA)
     Soviet influence in Cuba reduced by 1, now at 2
     Soviet influence in Thailand reduced by 1, now at 3
     Soviet influence in Angola reduced by 2, now at 0

The Voice of America ordinarily works best in the last Action Round because such a play disables immediate counterplay. With the opponent stuck under Bear Trap, however, this should be played as soon as possible to make use of the broken controls even if the opponent gets off the trap on his next attempt.

Turn 8, USSR action round 2
The USSR discards the following card because of Bear Trap:
    #66  Ops 2: Puppet Governments * (USA)
    Bear Trap ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 6 — The Bear Trap continues.
Turn 8, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #37: Central America Scoring

*** Scoring in Central America ***
 USSR:  1(presence)  = 1
 USA:  3(domination) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
VPs up 4, now at -12

Pushing luck to attempt to deny Soviet presence was unnecessarily risky and controlling Cuba was too expensive and time consuming.

Turn 8, USSR action round 3
The USSR discards the following card because of Bear Trap:
    #69  Ops 2: Latin American Death Squads
    Bear Trap ends on a die roll of 1-4: ** Die Roll = 4 — The Bear Trap is over!

Finally, on sixth attempt.

The chance that you get stuck in Quagmire or Bear Trap for six or more attempts (lack of cards or forced Scoring Cards play is another story) is about 0,4%. But this means that if you play hundreds of games this will eventually happen.

In this case it was not just a huge piece of bad luck. This was a direct sequela of a mistake. If the one case in hundreds of games happens in a game like this, you may consider it a punishment. One may complain that this one was too harsh but in a binary sense some kind of punishment was deserved.

Turn 8, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card for realignment rolls:
 #61  Ops 3: OPEC (USSR)

    Realignment roll in France: USA modifier = +4, USSR modifier = +2
     ** USA die roll = 5 (+4) = 9
     ** USSR die roll = 5 (+2) = 7
     Soviet influence in France reduced by 2, now at 3

    Realignment roll in France: USA modifier = +4, USSR modifier = +2
     ** USA die roll = 1 (+4) = 5
     ** USSR die roll = 1 (+2) = 3
     Soviet influence in France reduced by 2, now at 1

    Realignment roll in France: USA modifier = +4, USSR modifier = +2
     ** USA die roll = 2 (+4) = 6
     ** USSR die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
The Soviets use the USSR event played by the USA
VPs down 1, now at -13

Looking at this single move, USA could count on more. Looking at 7 last moves he should not. Of course, the move was good, despite the luck factor.

Turn 8, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #88  Ops 2: Marine Barracks Bombing * (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Zaire (stability 1):
     ** USSR die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 6.
     American influence in Zaire reduced by 5, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Zaire increased by 1, now at 1
DEFCON Level lowered to 4
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 2

An instructive move. If the DEFCON was at 3, as it usually is, the USSR should have used Flower Power to increase his chances. But with the DEFCON at 4 he could assume that he would be able to perform another coup in the same turn, so the cheap card was just used to prepare the situation.

Of course, the roll was extremely lucky and USA now faces a dillemma. Had USSR rolled anything less, USA could have waited with the DEFCON at 4 to get the last battleground coup and probably retake Zaire. But now that Zaire is already Soviet, the USSR player may perform a coup against, say, Argentina, and USA may have to choose between USSR-controlled South America and no presence in Africa.

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #13  Ops 2: Arab-Israeli War (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Zaire (stability 1):
     ** USA die roll = 2 (+2) = 4
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
     Soviet influence in Zaire reduced by 1, now at 0
     American influence in Zaire increased by 1, now at 1
DEFCON Level lowered to 3
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 2
The Soviets use the USSR event played by the USA
     USSR success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USA modifer is -2
 ** Die roll: 1 (-2) = -1 — no effect **
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 4

I think this was the safest move, taking into account that USA had only 2-Ops cards at his disposal (The China Card being the only 4-Ops card is too precious to risk a 2-stability country coup now and The Reformer is unplayable) and that this was the only 1-stability battleground target. Waiting to have the last coup would be a risky strategy.

Realigning Chile was another option.

Turn 8, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #59  Ops 4: Flower Power * (USSR)
     2 USSR influence added to Thailand, now at 5
     2 USSR influence added to France, now at 3

You’d like to coup something, preferably Argentina and Chile at once, fix Thailand to dominate Asia, fix France to stop American domination of Europe, and gain Middle East presence. But you can’t have it all. I guess that the USSR player had ordered the priorities correctly (and even if he had not, his margin for errors is quite promising).

Turn 8, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #111  Ops 2: Yuri and Samantha * (USSR)
     1 USA influence added to Angola, now at 1
     1 USA influence added to Chile, now at 4
The Soviets use the USSR event played by the USA

** The Yuri and Samantha card is permanently removed. **

I am not convinced about this move. If there was a moment to coup Brazil or Venezuela, it was now. Maybe with The China Card, and maybe even with Yuri and Samantha. After all, there was a ⅔ chance of removing at least a single IP which would give time to fix Chile and go to Angola on the next move, with DEFCON at 2. Now a successful Soviet coup in Argentina brings back Soviet domination to South America and USA will have to play The China Card into South Africa to prevent the same in Africa after USSR coups Angola or Zaire on his first Action Round in the next turn…

Turn 8, USSR action round 6
The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #91  Ops 2: Ortega Elected in Nicaragua * (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Zaire (stability 1):
     ** USSR die roll = 4 (+2) = 6
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 4.
     American influence in Zaire reduced by 1, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Zaire increased by 3, now at 3
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

… or he may do so now and hope to draw a 4-Ops card to coup Argentina on the next turn.

Turn 8, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #87  Ops 3: The Reformer * (USSR)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 6 **
     No effect.
Turn 8, USSR action round 7
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #83  Ops 3: The Iron Lady * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The The Iron Lady card is permanently removed. **

     Soviet influence in Argentina increased by 1, now at 3
     Soviet influence in United Kingdom now at 0
VPs up 1, now at -12

The Soviets use the The Iron Lady card to place influence:
     3 USSR influence added to Argentina, now at 6

Of course, this was the most effective way to grab Argentina. But I did not want to spoil you. After all, the USA player did not know that the USSR player had this card.

Turn 8, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #108  Ops 2: Our Man in Tehran * (USA)

** The Our Man in Tehran card is permanently removed. **

Card discarded: #92  Ops 2: Terrorism
Card discarded: #75  Ops 2: Liberation Theology (USSR)
Card discarded: #47  Ops 2: Junta
Card discarded: #32  Ops 1: UN Intervention
************************************************************
**              The  deck is being shuffled.              **
************************************************************

I don’t like discarding Junta and Terrorism. USA has to count on some miracle to survive the game anyway so the double-edged cards in the deck are on his favour. If USSR gets Junta or Terrorism, he will just win a little faster. If USA gets either or both of them, he may turn the tables. The reversed reasoning is why discarding UN Intervention was a correct decision.

Turn 9

Soviet hand: Aldrich Ames Remix,  Chernobyl, Five Year Plan, Indo-Pakistani War, Iran-Contra Scandal, North Sea Oil, South African Unrest,  ‚Tear Down this Wall’, ‚We Will Bury You’

American hand: AWACS Sale to Saudis, Brush War, De-Stalinization, Independent Reds, Iran-Iraq War, Latin American Debt Crisis, Olympic Games, Wargames, Warsaw Pact Formed

The China Card: American

Soviet Headline Card: #109  Ops 3: Aldrich Ames Remix * (USSR)
American Headline Card: #36  Ops 3: Brush War

USA Headline Event: #36  Ops 3: Brush War

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #36  Ops 3: Brush War
         The target country is Argentina
     USA success on a modified die roll of 3-6; USSR is -1
 ** Die roll: 4 (-1) = 3 — USA victory!
VPs up 1, now at -11
     Soviet influence in Argentina reduced by 6, now at 0
     American influence in Argentina increased by 6, now at 10
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 3

USSR Headline Event: #109  Ops 3: Aldrich Ames Remix * (USSR)

The Soviets use the Aldrich Ames Remix card as an Event:

** The Aldrich Ames Remix card is permanently removed. **

Card discarded: #99  Ops 4: Wargames *
The USA must play with his hand exposed for the remainder of the turn
** Turn 9 Action Phase **

Aldrich Ames Remix is a phenomenal headline. I ordinarily prefer playing it when my opponent does not have The China Card but in this case USSR doesn’t plan to win on DEFCON anyway: Lone Gunman is gone, Ortega is gone (and without American influence in Cuba it would not be suicidal anyway), and ‘We Will Bury You’ is in USSR’s hand. Besides, USSR leads in VPs. The information provided with Aldrich Ames Remix together with non-random cutting American hand is more than good.

Brush War is also an automatic headline.

Choosing Wargames is the best option. No events in American hand are particularly nasty for the USSR player so the most expensive non-Soviet card is simply gone.

Argentina is a rather straightforward target to the Brush War.

Turn 9, USSR action round 1
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #86  Ops 3: North Sea Oil * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The North Sea Oil card is permanently removed. **

OPEC event no longer playable.  US may play eight cards this turn.

The Soviets use the North Sea Oil card for a coup attempt:
    Coup attempt in Mexico (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 3 (+3) = 6
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 2.
     American influence in Mexico reduced by 2, now at 0
DEFCON Level lowered to 2
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 3

Since Central America is the only region in which USA dominates Mexico was a rather obvious coup target. The card selection is a little tricky, however, and a very good one.

Nobody has OPEC now and it would score a mere 1VP but increasing it to 5VPs is only 5IPs ahead, some of which will have to be eventually invested by USSR anyway. Technically, USA may make use of the event and play 8 cards this turn. Latin American Death Squads are pracitcally self-reparable even without discarding anything. The real problem for the USA is that both Warsaw Pact Formed and De-Stalinization are painful (which is not surprising on Turn 9 about Warsaw Pact Formed but is a little surprising about De-Stalinization; an unusual thing than Nigeria was never contested in this game so far). One of them can be spaced. Both cannot. Discarding either to Latin American Debt Crisis wastes the extra Action Round bonus from North Sea Oil.

What else could USSR play? It was too early to use Chernobyl or to risk Five Year Plan. ‘We Will Bury You’ is the only 4-Ops card for future use. All other cards are too cheap to coup 2-stability countries.

A very nice move!

Turn 9, USA action round 1
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #95  Ops 2: Latin American Debt Crisis (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.
The US player discards the following card to avoid the penalty:
 #33  Ops 3: De-Stalinization * (USSR)

The Americans use the Latin American Debt Crisis card to place influence:
     2 USA influence added to Mexico, now at 2

This is rather a good decision, both discarding De-Stalinization (to get rid of it rather than to avoid penalty), and repairing Mexico.

Turn 9, USSR action round 2

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #53  Ops 2: South African Unrest (USSR)
     USSR influence in South Africa increased by 1, now at 2
     USSR influence in Angola increased by 2, now at 2

Brutal.

Turn 9, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #20  Ops 2: Olympic Games
     1 USA influence added to Cuba, now at 1
     1 USA influence added to Poland, now at 2
Turn 9, USSR action round 3

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #50  Ops 4: ‚We Will Bury You’ * (USSR)
     1 USSR influence added to Libya, now at 2
     1 USSR influence added to Egypt, now at 2
     1 USSR influence added to Israel, now at 1
     1 USSR influence added to Poland, now at 3

Israel is an access-gainer to Lebanon (see notes at the beginning of Turn 5), and probably the last Middle East battleground between USSR and Middle East Control if it ever happens. One to Poland is enough with the knowledge of American hand.

Technically the USA player may still contest Europe by playing The China Card into Poland but this would be a mistake. Simply dominating Europe is not enough to make up for the damage on VP track and in the rest of the world. Controlling Europe would win during the Final Scoring but even ‘Tear Down This Wall’ would not be enough for it. USA may not know that USSR has this card. But he should know that no matter what he does, USSR will always prevent Europe Control as long as he has access from Algeria to France. Therefore, DEFCON is the only chance of USA, and keeping The China Card is the only chance to win on DEFCON (and to regret discarding Terrorism to Our Man in Tehran).

Turn 9, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #101  Ops 2: Iran-Iraq War *

** The Iran-Iraq War card is permanently removed. **

 Iran invades Iraq…
     USA success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USSR modifer is -0
 ** Die roll: 2 — no effect **
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

No matter the VPs track and the board situation, every VP is precious at this stage of the game. This attempt was just unlucky.

Turn 9, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #96  Ops 3: ‚Tear Down this Wall’ * (USA)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 2 **
     USSR progress on the Space Race Track is now at Man in Space
       The Soviets may now see the enemy Headline Card before choosing their own.

Turn 9, USA action round 4

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #107  Ops 3: AWACS Sale to Saudis * (USA)
     3 USA influence added to Poland, now at 5

Although Poland matters for domination only, controlling it means extra 6VPs for USA, compared to Cuba, which would give only 3VPs despite giving control. Both cost 4Ops.

Turn 9, USSR action round 5

The Soviets play the following card as an Event:
 #24  Ops 2: Indo-Pakistani War
 Pakistan invades India…
    USSR success on a modified die roll of 4-6;  USA modifer is -0
 ** Die roll: 5 — USSR victory!
VPs down 2, now at -13
     Soviet Military Operations for this turn increased to 5

Despite appearances USSR needs VPs more than USA now. USA won’t win anyway other way than by DEFCON while USSR may be put in a situation in which he either achieves 20VPs and wins or commits DEFCON suicide and loses.

Turn 9, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #22  Ops 2: Independent Reds * (USA)
     1 USA influence added to Poland, now at 6
     1 USA influence added to Botswana, now at 1
Turn 9, USSR action round 6

The Soviets play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #93  Ops 2: Iran-Contra Scandal * (USSR)
    Coup attempt in Botswana (stability 2):
     ** USSR die roll = 6 (+2) = 8
    The modified roll exceeds the doubled stability by 4.
     American influence in Botswana reduced by 1, now at 0
     Soviet influence in Botswana increased by 3, now at 3

A huge luck at the end of the game.

Turn 9, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card for an attempt on the Space Race track:
 #16  Ops 3: Warsaw Pact Formed * (USSR)
    ** Space Race Die Roll (1-4 needed): = 3 **
     USA progress on the Space Race Track is now at Animal in Space
       The Soviets may no longer make two space race attempts per turn

Turn 9, USSR action round 7
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #5  Ops 3: Five Year Plan (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.
    The Soviet player discards the following card:
     #94  Ops 3: Chernobyl * (USA)

** The Chernobyl card is permanently removed. **

    USSR may not add Influence to Central America with Ops points for the remainder of the turn.

The Soviets use the Five Year Plan card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to Lebanon, now at 1
     1 USSR influence added to South Africa, now at 3
     1 USSR influence added to North Korea, now at 17

Taking into account that DEFCON remains the only real threat for USSR, this move is vastly superior to just playing Chernobyl and leaving Five Year Plan, an ordinarily fine card for USSR which becomes as deadly as a DEFCON suicide card if USSR has any.

The IPs placement is almost irrelevant at the moment.

Turn 9, USA action round 7
    No cards left for the USA player–no action taken

It was a good decision to save The China Card but even if the USA player had intended to play it, saving it for the last Action Round was also a correct decision. It gives more flexibility (you may choose to pass rather than playing The China Card but you are not allowed to do this with any other card) and makes the opponent’s planning harder, especially if your hand is known to the opponent.

Turn 10

Soviet hand: East European Unrest, Glasnost, How I Learned to Stop Worrying, Kitchen Debates, Reagan Bombs Libya, Shoot Down KAL-007,  Shuttle Diplomacy, Solidarity, ?

American hand: Africa Scoring, Asia Scoring, Europe Scoring, Iranian Hostage Crisis, Nuclear Test Ban, Red Scare/Purge, Star Wars, Summit, ?

The China Card: American

DEFCON Level raised to 3
** Turn 10 Headline Phase **
The USA Headline Event for Turn 10 is the following card:
 #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
Soviet Headline Card: #48  Ops 1: Kitchen Debates * (USA)
American Headline Card: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

USA Headline Event: #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #31  Ops 4: Red Scare/Purge
     -1 to Ops value of Soviet cards this turn (minimum 1 OP)

USSR Headline Event: #48  Ops 1: Kitchen Debates * (USA)
    The event cannot be played right now–the card is placed in the discard pile.
** Turn 10 Action Phase **

Three scorings when your opponent sees your headline before picking his own are just deadly. Red Scare/Purge was the only reasonable choice. The USSR player has no attractive events so he just picks up an empty one, giving up the cheapest card. Note that the Soviet purged hand is still worth more Ops than the American non-red-scared one.

Turn 10, USSR action round 1

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #89  Ops 4: Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 * (USA)
     1 USSR influence added to South Korea, now at 1
     1 USSR influence added to Brazil, now at 3
The Americans use the USA event played by the USSR

** The Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 card is permanently removed. **

DEFCON Level lowered to 2
VPs up 2, now at -11

A Duck-and-Cover-like play with the exception that you get 2Ops for 2VPs (since you have to break South Korea) rather than 3 for 3. In turn 10 this change is a rather profitable one.

Turn 10, USA action round 1

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #85  Ops 2: Star Wars * (USA)
     1 USA influence added to South Korea, now at 4
     1 USA influence added to Iraq, now at 1

Despair.

Turn 10, USSR action round 2
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #81  Ops 2: Solidarity * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The Solidarity card is permanently removed. **

     American influence in Poland increased by 3, now at 9

The Soviets use the Solidarity card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to Thailand, now at 6

One downside of controlling Poland earlier is that now Solidarity may be played without impunity.

Turn 10, USA action round 2

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #2: Europe Scoring

*** Scoring in Europe ***
 USSR:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
 USA:  7(domination) +3(battlegrounds) +1(adj. to USSR)  = 11
VPs up 6, now at -5
Turn 10, USSR action round 3
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #29  Ops 3: East European Unrest (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.
     Soviet influence in East Germany reduced by 2, now at 2
     Soviet influence in Poland reduced by 2, now at 1
     Soviet influence in Romania reduced by 2, now at 0

The Soviets use the East European Unrest card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to East Germany, now at 3
     1 USSR influence added to Pakistan, now at 3

And now even this is practically painless for the USSR.

Turn 10, USA action round 3

The Americans play the following card to place influence:
 #34  Ops 4: Nuclear Test Ban
     4 USA influence added to Cuba, now at 5
Turn 10, USSR action round 4

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #46  Ops 2: How I Learned to Stop Worrying *
     1 USSR influence added to France, now at 4

Just to make things perfectly clear. With this card and peek-at-headline, all DEFCON suicides in the world wouldn’t probably force USSR to lose the game. The moment in which USSR safely plays it for Ops is the moment when USA may as well resign.

Turn 10, USA action round 4
The Americans play the following card for Ops
 #82  Ops 3: Iranian Hostage Crisis * (USSR)
    They elect to have the Soviet event occur first.

** The Iranian Hostage Crisis card is permanently removed. **

     American influence in Iran now at 0
     Soviet influence in Iran increased by 2, now at 3

The Americans use the Iranian Hostage Crisis card to place influence:
     2 USA influence added to Angola, now at 3
Turn 10, USSR action round 5
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #84  Ops 2: Reagan Bombs Libya * (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.

** The Reagan Bombs Libya card is permanently removed. **

VPs up 1, now at -4

The Soviets use the Reagan Bombs Libya card for realignment rolls:

    Realignment roll in Angola: USSR modifier = +3, USA modifier = +1
     ** USSR die roll = 5 (+3) = 8
     ** USA die roll = 2 (+1) = 3
     American influence in Angola reduced by 3, now at 0
Turn 10, USA action round 5

The Americans play the following card for a coup attempt:
 #45  Ops 1: Summit
    Coup attempt in SE African States (stability 1):
     ** USA die roll = 1 (+1) = 2
    The modified roll does not exceed the doubled stability — no effect.
     American Military Operations for this turn increased to 1

If you have to have bad luck, it’s much better to have it in rather meaningless moments.

Turn 10, USSR action round 6
The Soviets play the following card for Ops
 #73  Ops 3: Shuttle Diplomacy (USA)
    They elect to have the American event occur first.
Play in front of US player.  During the next scoring of the Middle East or Asia
(whichever comes first), subtract one Battleground country from USSR total,
then put this card in the discard pile.  Does not count for Final Scoring at the end of Turn 10

The Soviets use the Shuttle Diplomacy card to place influence:
     1 USSR influence added to South Korea, now at 2
Turn 10, USA action round 6

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #79: Africa Scoring

*** Scoring in Africa ***
 USSR:  4(domination) +4(battlegrounds)  = 8
 USA: No score.
VPs down 8, now at -12

Turn 10, USSR action round 7

The Soviets play the following card to place influence:
 #90  Ops 4: Glasnost * (USSR)
     2 USSR influence added to Italy, now at 2

Turn 10, USA action round 7

The Americans play the following card as an Event:
 #1: Asia Scoring

*** Scoring in Asia ***
 (-1 to Russian battleground total due to Shuttle Diplomacy)
 USSR:  7(domination) +3(battlegrounds)  = 10
 USA:  3(presence) +1(battlegrounds)  = 4
VPs down 6, now at -18
The Americans are 1 military operation short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
The Soviets are 2 military operations short of the DEFCON requirement of 2
VPs up 1, now at -17

*** Scoring in Europe ***
 USSR:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 5
 USA:  3(presence) +2(battlegrounds) +1(adj. to USSR)  = 6

*** Scoring in Asia ***
 USSR:  7(domination) +4(battlegrounds)  = 11
 USA:  3(presence) +1(battlegrounds)  = 4

*** Scoring in Central America ***
 USSR:  1(presence)  = 1
 USA:  5(control) +3(battlegrounds)  = 8

*** Scoring in South America ***
 USSR:  2(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 4
 USA:  2(presence) +2(battlegrounds)  = 4

*** Scoring in Africa ***
 USSR:  4(domination) +4(battlegrounds)  = 8
 USA: No score.

*** Scoring in Middle East ***
 USSR:  5(domination) +3(battlegrounds)  = 8
 USA:  3(presence)  = 3
The Americans have the China Card: +1 to the VP total
VPs down 11, now at -28
********************************************************
 The USSR player wins the game!!!
********************************************************

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