No Coup For You

History may not be on your side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win the Cold War as the USSR. With scoring happening at random intervals and half your hand trying to hurt you, strategy in Twilight Struggle seams to be anything but clear cut.

However, there is one strategy I would like to propose for the USSR to follow, never place influence in non-battle ground countries in Africa, South America, or Central America. The goal is to bleed VP from the US at the end of every turn when military ops are checked or limit US placing of influence.

As the USSR, coup down to DEFCON 2 at the start of every turn. This will get you your required military ops and hopefully another battle ground state. With no open non-battlegrounds for the US to coup, they will be forced to play DEFCON modifying cards for the event, Nuclear Subs, or War cards (which can lead to USSR VP if Flower Power is in effect) to set themselves up to gain military ops. By doing this, it will limit the amount of influence the USA can place throughout the world. Or the US may forgo playing the cards for events and instead allow their military ops fall behind. This is will keep influence tighter but allow of a swing of 2 VP to the USSR at the end of each turn.

The strategy isn’t without its pitfalls. Playing at DEFCON 2 is a dangerous game and open to the DEFCON Conundrum. But, assured VP at the end of each turn or influence off that map is nothing to scoff at.

7 Responses to No Coup For You

  1. Joe says:

    I certainly can see merit to that strategy. 2 vp per turn starting turn 2, will certainly add up. Obviously there are cards the would possibly mitigate this benefit to the point that you are really changing little. (nuclear subs, war cards, how I learned to stop worrying, salt negotiations . . .)

    However, there are other ways for the US to make you pay for it during scoring phases, where the number of countries you have count for something. Makes it very easy for the American to dominate those regions. Also, it limits YOUR options for coups and expansion.

    I feel like a clever American can make things happen with aligning rolls, or by simply making a point of forcing you to move into some of those territories. After all, by forcing them not to coup, your are giving them additional ops to spend elsewhere . . .

    Without question, there is something to be said for handcuffing the US military by keeping the world on the brink of nuclear war, “set the doomsday clock to five to midnight”

    • Russ says:

      Remember in scoring phases to dominate a region, one of the conditions is more battleground countries. By placing influence only in battleground countries the USSR will probably be equal to the US in any given region.

      Also, by couping down to DEFCON 2, the only regions that are open for US coups are Africa, South America, and Central America. The three lowest scoring regions. Fall behind here and it will probably not be lights out for the USSR.

      The USSR will place influence in non-battlegrounds for Southeast Asia scoring and the Middle East in anticipation of OPEC. But elsewhere is really isn’t needed.

      Anyway, my deluxe edition of Twilight Struggle should ship in November, when you’re finally around, we need to give this a play.

      • Joe says:

        I understand, but I’m sure you can see how it might help an American reach more battlegrounds in those regions if they can play a marker in non battlegrounds without fear of a coup.

        I don’t disagree with the strategy, certainly, this should be done when prudent to that particular game. I just think that a sharp player should be able to mitigate this somewhat, with events that allow them to hijack the initiative, such as a headlined bear trap, grain sales, missile envy, or an event that improves defcon, an event that places soviet influence in such places (ie, Portugese Empire Crumbles). Not to mention the defcon conundrum.

        I’m also slated to receive the deluxe edition in November. I can’t wait!

  2. Rick says:

    A friend of mine and I are going to give this game a go. We’re both learning it the first time we play. The rules seem very straight forward so it should be too difficult, but we’ll probably have to check the FAQs at times.

    Anyway… I’m looking forward to learning this game on my own and developing my own strategies and then going against you guys.

    • Russ says:

      The rules aren’t bad. You’ll catch on pretty quickly. The difficult part is remembering the mechanics of the cards that mess with influence already on the board: Blockade, John Paul II Elected Pope, DeGaul, etc.

      You’ll also find there are some key areas that you want to try to lock up. But, I won’t say anymore so that you can learn on your own.

      By the way, who’s the other first time player?

    • John says:

      Rick, I’m excited for you. TwiStrug is one of the most elegant card-driven games out there. The game absolutely rocks.

      • Joe says:

        I agree with John. In my experience, it’s the most fun two people can have with a board game. Every session is different.

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