Adjacent countries: South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe
Relations between countries sometimes cause two or more countries to create a distinguishable entity, sort of a subregion. The „iron triangle” of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan is one such example (although I would add also India (or even Burma), making it an Iron Quadrangle). One defining characteristic of such an entity is that domino theory is especially significant there. Therefore I would like to introduce another such entity: The South African Subregion and its often neglected non-battleground member – Botswana.
Control over Botswana gives the player three significant benefits:
1. Defense from being realigned out of South Africa (the country) and (to a lesser extent) Angola.
2. Similarly, a good chance to realign the opposing player out of South Africa or Angola, if the player controlling Botswana controls also the other country.
3. A reasonably stable non-battleground, which helps scoring a domination in Africa. Naturally, as USA it is important to remember the Soviet combo South African Unrest + Africa Scoring, so it is wise to keep at least one other non-battleground as a reserve (although comrade Che is still a risk then).
As USA, controlling Botswana has one drawback, namely it gives a reasonable coup target for Che event, without which it can often be an empty or not very useful (Costa Rica, Morocco) event even as late as in turn 5.
In Early War you have more important things to attend to than taking Botswana. If you really have no good places to spend your ops, then it might make sense to spend these 2 ops at the end of turn 3. As the Soviet player bear in mind though that you could just give the US player a reasonable opportunity to get the required military operations, which matters greatly in turns 2 and 3 and can still be significant in turns 4 and 5.
Mid and Late War
If you already control South Africa and Angola, take Botswana, if you have some extra ops and no battlegrounds to occupy. Important – if your opponent controls Zimbabwe, it might be difficult to realign Botswana, so you might want to hurry.
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If you control only one of these battlegrounds, and your opponent controls the other, take Botswana immediately(!), unless there is some really serious business in another region. Especially if your opponent controls South Africa – in that case having Botswana is the difference between life and death in that country. With Botswana’s support, South Africa will hold. Without it – it will fall.
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