GMT Games is planning to release a DeLuxe Pro Edition in October 2014. The new edition will include some changes which affect game mechanics somehow, like adding Albania in Europe, splitting Laos/Cambodia into two countries, and some other changes on the map which I won’t reveal right now. The changes also include adding four new optional cards.
As an active Twilight Struggle blogger and 2014 ITSL Conference Semi-Finalist I was honoured with the opportunity to beta-test the new edition and I must say I’m excited. I was also allowed to describe one of the new cards before the official premiere. Since the cards’ layouts are not completed yet I won’t show you the card but will present the event text (which is simple enough to hope it won’t change) and, of course, my strategical thoughts after several test games.
#113. „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!”
Degrade DEFCON 2 levels.
Phase: Mid War
As the name suggests, this card is designed mainly for extending the downside risk of playing „Missile Envy”. „Missile Envy” was deliberately planned to include the DEFCON suicide risk which was relevant only in case of exchanging it for „We Will Bury You!!!”, Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007, or Duck and Cover, and even then only if opponent’s headline degraded DEFCON and triggered first (or in case of playing „Missile Envy” event in the middle of the turn which is an extreme rarity). Apparently the game designers considered this risk too low.
„What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” changes this significantly. As a 4 Ops card, it may always be exchanged for „Missile Envy”. As a neutral card, its event text will trigger during triggering „Missile Envy”, no matter who plays the latter. Moreover, by degrading DEFCON 2 levels it usually causes DEFCON suicide even if opponent’s headline does not degrade DEFCON prior to „Missile Envy”. Finally, by being a returning card it dramatically shortens the time when „Missile Envy” may be played under normal risk circumstances.
If you have this card
The event text by itself is just awful. Even if it does not lose the game immediately, it’s hardly ever better than, say, Nuclear Test Ban. The real value of this card lies in the threat described above. However, no sane opponent will play „Missile Envy” if there is a possibility that you hold „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” unless he is in such a desperate position that he has to take any chance.
Therefore, like the Nuclear Test Ban mentioned above this card is usually a generic 4 Ops which is valuable by itself. However, this is usually the last 4 Ops card I use. I prefer holding this card to prevent opponent from playing „Missile Envy” which may cost 4 Ops by itself (if „Missile Envy” is exchanged for 4 Ops card, opponent gets extra 2 Ops and you lose 2 Ops; moreover, the opponent may exploit the fact that you must play a 2 Ops card in your very next move). Of course, if I have „Missile Envy”, or if „Missile Envy” is already on the discard pile, this is usually an auto play for Ops.
There are exceptions, however, when you just prefer degrading DEFCON even if it costs you 4 Ops and an Action Round. A common example is USSR playing Nuclear Subs at high DEFCON, trying to spend the whole turn realigning Europe or Asia. Of course, you’d prefer to respond with Cuban Missile Crisis (cheaper) or „How I Learned To Stop Worrying” (ditto plus gives you Mil Ops) but you don’t always have the luxury of possessing the DEFCON degrader you want. Sometimes you just can’t afford the high DEFCON (especially when Quagmired/Bear-Trapped although in this case your only chance is to headline „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” which is an extremely risky solution by itself). And sometimes you’d like to drop DEFCON quickly and win by Wargames or stop opponent from getting rid of multiple DEFCON suicide cards. For example, if you headline Aldrich Ames Remix and leave USA with Lone Gunman and unspaceable Ortega (assuming US has IPs in Cuba) but DEFCON is at 4, you must immediately drop it to 2 to win if US has China Card as well. You probably prefer couping with either Duck and Cover or Soviets Shoot Down KAL-007 but „What The Hell Did You Need The Missile For?!” is another possible solution.
For USSR it’s also worth noticing that if you possess this card, Grain Sales to Soviets in your hand is a DEFCON suicide even with DEFCON at 3 (not that it weren’t anyway if you possess „How I Learned To Stop Worrying”, or not that you ever wanted to play it on yourself even if it does not lead to DEFCON suicide).
If you don’t have this card
Don’t play „Missile Envy” for the event, period. The risk is never worth the potential profits, and „Missile Envy” is not a safe play even if DEFCON is at 5 as long as your opponent may headline Cuban Missile Crisis (or, if you are USSR, „How I Learned To Stop Worrying”).
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