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Author Topic: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?  (Read 7759 times)

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trevaur

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Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« on: April 18, 2013, 09:30:29 pm »
+1

I want to discuss the empty WG setup. Specifically, when and how you do it. I've seen a lot of differing opinions out there, so I would really like to start a discussion about it.

I'll start with my take on it. I do an empty WG setup when I am scared of Blockade. There are a few different reasons on why I would be scared of Blockade:
1. I only have 1 and 2 ops cards, so blockade would make me lose WG. If I have Blockade, I could try to hold it until next turn if I have nothing else to hold.
2. Even if I also have 3 ops cards, Red Scare bumps them down to 2 and I have the same problem. Again, If I have Blockade I could try to hold it.
3. Even if I do have 4 ops cards, I really don't want to discard one to Red Scare+Blockade (all 4 ops cards in Early War are either US or Neutral)
4. I have De-Stal/Decol and therefore don't want to discard to blockade. This is a problem regardless of who has Blockade.
One thing to note about scenarios 2 and 3 is that headlining Containment helps a lot if you have it.

At least one of these conditions is satisfied in the majority of games. I only feel completely safe if I have Red Scare and don't have De-Stal/Decol.

This is only my list for turn 1 concerns. I am also scared of blockade on turn 2 if I have De-Stal/Decol, blockade wasn't played on turn 1 and USSR did not play the China Card on turn 1.
So my first question is: In which of these situations do you open with an empty WG?

One thing I think you have to take into account is that if the USSR is dealt Blockade on turn 1 then he will probably try to hold it until turn 2 unless he also got Red Scare on Turn 1, in which case he will headline Red Scare and play blockade for the event for maximum damage (assuming you used a WG opening setup). If you do not have Blockade or Red Scare on Turn 1, the chances of the USSR having both is 6.4%. Is this small chance worth leaving WG empty?

In scenario 4, if you have Blockade do you always leave WG empty? I'm leaning towards yes, but I'd like to hear what other people have to say. Also, if you don't have Blockade, what do you do? Do you leave it empty just in case? After all, you are going to want to try to hold De-Stal/Decol until turn 3 anyways, and if you don't have Blockade on turn 1 then there is a 50% chance that USSR will get it on turn 1 or 2, and if he plays it in either turn then you'll have to space race one of those cards at the very best, worst case scenario being he also gets Red Scare. Another thing to note about this is that you can no longer even space race Decol; you're left with the choice of playing the event or losing your WG influence, and I would argue that losing your WG influence is not nearly as bad, in which case you might as well have just left it empty in the first place.

Another thing that I've seen kicking around is people saying that if you can't mitigate Blockade and you have influence in WG, play it on AR6 and re-take WG on AR1 next turn. In what situations would you do this? The only one that I can see is you drew Blockade and De-Stal/Decol, so you don't want to discard to Blockade. This is the only situation that I can see where you would want to trigger Blockade on AR6 to remove your inf from WG, but shouldn't you have opened with empty WG anyways? If I have De-Stal/Decol in my hand and Blockade then I always open with empty WG. I guess if you did open with WG, you could just plan on playing Blockade on AR6 from the start and losing your influence there, hoping to re-take it next turn? Is this viable? It just seems like a waste of your starting Europe influence and you might as well have just put it in Italy and the Mediterranean countries.

One other thing I've seen happen is the US headline Blockade on turn 1 so that he doesn't have to worry about playing it during the turn. Any thoughts on this play?

Ok, so that's enough of the "when" now let's get to the "how".

I've seen multiple opinions on how you should set up and play if you do opt for empty WG:
1. 4 Italy, 1 Greece, 1 Turkey, 1 Austria. This is the empty WG opening listed in theory's article of opening setups. Gives you access to WG right away so you can trigger Blockade on AR1 and put it's 1 op into WG. This is especially good if you have Truman Doctrine because the USSR can't take WG in one go with a 4 ops card. USSR Socialist Governments headline throws a wrench into this plan, though, so if you have that also it makes this opening better.
2. 4 Italy, 1 Greece, 1 Turkey, 1 Spain/Portugal. I've seen Riku endorsing this opening, and I tend to trust his opinion. I think the strategy for this one is to just go for the Mediterranean countries and give up on WG all together. You will almost always be able to deny Soviet domination on country count this way.
3. 3 France, 3 Italy, 1 Greece. I've seen this kicking around, but I've never tried it. I guess the advantage of this is that you already have France and Socialist Governments does not deny you access to WG. You do have to watch out for De Gaulle and Suez Crisis, though, so I'm still unsure about this. Seems very situational, but it still could work.
4. Marshall Plan really makes you much more flexible in how you set up. You could go 3 Italy, 1 Greece, 1 Turkey, 1 Spain/Portugal, 1 Austria and headline Marshall plan to instantly take control of all the Mediterranean countries. This is just one example of how Marshall plan can be exploited in the Empty WG setup.

These are just a few that I've seen, and I'm sure there are many more, so if you know one that isn't mentioned here, please post and include when you use it, what your general Europe strategy is during the first turn or 2.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 09:33:54 pm by trevaur »
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Chimista

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 06:27:37 am »
0

Well, I think you did a really thorough review of all possible scenarios there.

My point of view is this:

I always go 4 W. Germany 3 Italy unless:

- I have no 4op cards and don't hold RS/P nor Containment: Your scenarios 1&2. In this case the risk of a fatal blockade hit is too high to asume it. I rather go for a West Germany empty setup
- I'm holding Blockade AND De-Stalinization/Colonization. In this situation I rather lose Germany and asume a possible USSR domination in Europe than hand great boardgame position to my enemy. (Just do the maths: 1-5vp lost with Europe Scoring vs the threat of negative results in Asia, Africa, SA. It's cristal clear to me).

If I'm holding a 4op card I put 4 in WG, discarding a 4op it's ok for me.

The WG empty setup I choose is also dependent on my hand. If I'm not holding DeGaulle, Socialist Govs or Suez I normally go 3 Italy, 3 France, 1 Greece. (Taking France and Italy makes almost impossible for the USSR to take all battlegrounds. 4 Italy, 1 Greece, 1 Spain, 1 Turkey looks good too, but maybe I'd shift the ip in Spain to France, Austria or Benelux, to have access to Germany right away. Of course there can be complications with Socialist Govs, De Gaulle and Suez, but any scenario where I keep at least one BG is acceptable, IF that BG is really safe, which means overcontrol in Italy or France AND in Italy control two or three of the bordering countries in case of Brush War (If NATO is not active)

If for any reason whatsoever I'm forced to play Blockade and lose Germany influence I'll try to do it in the last AR and play the 1ip in Germany, to make things harder for the USSR, as you said.

Summarizing: losing Germany is not so hard as long as you keep at least a safe, fortified BG in Europe.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 07:23:32 am by Chimista »
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BamBix

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 06:57:42 am »
+2

What also factors in here is that W. Germany is 4 ops. That's quite a lot of ops that the USSR cannot use elsewhere.
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trevaur

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 09:54:26 pm »
0

I always go 4 W. Germany 3 Italy unless:

- I have no 4op cards and don't hold RS/P nor Containment: Your scenarios 1&2. In this case the risk of a fatal blockade hit is too high to asume it. I rather go for a West Germany empty setup
- I'm holding Blockade AND De-Stalinization/Colonization. In this situation I rather lose Germany and asume a possible USSR domination in Europe than hand great boardgame position to my enemy. (Just do the maths: 1-5vp lost with Europe Scoring vs the threat of negative results in Asia, Africa, SA. It's cristal clear to me).

So, you think that the 6.4% chance of the USSR getting both Blockade and Red Scare is enough to warrant leaving WG empty in the opening setup? Not that I disagree, I'm just wondering if you have anything else to add as to why you think it's worth it.


One other thing that I forgot to mention is that if you have Containment and Blockade+De-Stal/Decol then you can headline Containment and send Blockade to space and not have to worry about leaving WG empty.
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pietshaq

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2013, 02:02:49 am »
0

I think leaving WG empty is also an option as a reply to Comecon Trap (unless I have any card denying the trap at all).

1. 3ITA/2SPA/2GRE renders Italy virtually immune to realignment rolls (but not to Socialists followed by coup)
2. 4ITA/2GRE/1TUR looks better if USA doesn't have Socialists (Turkey instead of Spain/Portugal because it does not count to Italy realignment modifier anyway so I'll better go where USSR has access).
3. If my only anti-comecon-trap card is Marshall, I'd consider 1AUT/3ITA/1SPA/1GRE/1TUR with Marshall to CAN, ITA, SPA, GRE, TUR, UK, and either FRA or AUT, depending on the headline shown by USSR.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 02:04:13 am by pietshaq »
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Chimista

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2013, 10:18:13 am »
0

I always go 4 W. Germany 3 Italy unless:

- I have no 4op cards and don't hold RS/P nor Containment: Your scenarios 1&2. In this case the risk of a fatal blockade hit is too high to asume it. I rather go for a West Germany empty setup
- I'm holding Blockade AND De-Stalinization/Colonization. In this situation I rather lose Germany and asume a possible USSR domination in Europe than hand great boardgame position to my enemy. (Just do the maths: 1-5vp lost with Europe Scoring vs the threat of negative results in Asia, Africa, SA. It's cristal clear to me).


So, you think that the 6.4% chance of the USSR getting both Blockade and Red Scare is enough to warrant leaving WG empty in the opening setup? Not that I disagree, I'm just wondering if you have anything else to add as to why you think it's worth it.


One other thing that I forgot to mention is that if you have Containment and Blockade+De-Stal/Decol then you can headline Containment and send Blockade to space and not have to worry about leaving WG empty.

Ok, 6.4% are pretty low odds, but I always try to play safe in Europe. It's not the best region to score big vp's , but it can lose you the game if you don't take good care of it. As Bambix said even if USSR takes Germany that's 4 ops he won't play somewhere else. US still can stop dominion taking the Mediterrean countries, and later you can try a nice combo with Truman or wait until the late war to recover Europe dominion with the nice US power cards.

What you NEVER want to do is spacing or UNing Blockade, so it can come back sometime later when you forgot about it so the USSR can stab your back (not to use profane expresions  ;) ).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 10:20:27 am by Chimista »
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sspiker

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2013, 11:30:37 pm »
0

I've had this happen to me a few times on WGR:

USSR opens up: 4 East Germany, 5 Austria. Like the COMECON trap without the COMECON.

Obviously this is a risky opening because Europe can be scored for domination immediately. But what action do you take? France instead of WGER? Play into WGER anyways and hope for the best?

I played one game where I left WGER open; he soon took it and I took France, and it worked out with DeGaulle. I played another game where I played into WGER anyways, and he re-aligned me the first turn; however, he wasn't fully successful and I expanded into Afghanistan and eventually retook WGER as well.

Your guys thoughts?
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trevaur

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2013, 04:00:37 pm »
+1

I think there are a few different responses to that. I do think that empty WG setup is best in this situation, so pick your poison. You probably want 4 in Italy and you can play around with your remaining 3. Obviously if you have Truman Doctrine then you can open with 2 in Austria and wipe him out in the headline, throwing your extra 1 inf into Turkey. This is risky though because if he has Socialist Govs then you just threw away Truman for nothing, so I wouldn't try this unless you have both. Failing Truman Doctrine, I would just open up with your 3 extra inf in mediterranean countries and maybe Benelux if still want access to WG, or you could even put 1 inf into WG itself.

If you put 1 into WG then he can't take it with a 4 ops card, so you can threaten Truman, and he doesn't really want to waste AR1 realignments to get rid of your 1 influence. It also gives you the ability to play 1 into East Germany, threatening Poland. Obviously if you are considering this opening then you should also consider Blockade: if you have Blockade+De-Stal/Decol then you probably don't want to do this unless you plan on playing 1 into East Germany before triggering it and playing it's 1 op back into WG.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 04:01:43 pm by trevaur »
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sspiker

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2013, 05:39:52 pm »
0

Actually I really like the 1op into WGER idea.
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MarlesChartel

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2013, 07:30:49 pm »
0

Personally, I think the best option is 4 Italy, 1 Spain, 1 Greece, 1 Turkey, and count on getting enough non-battlegrounds to stop domination.
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BamBix

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 04:10:27 am »
0

I do wonder, how often do people lose to an early USSR Europe attack? If you follow the 4 It, 3 Med placement, and USSR starts with Soc. Gov. and coups you out of Italy. I would say this forces you to take France to avoid EU control, with one extra op in Iran/Afghanistan if you can manage. USSR takes W.G. You can fight back, of course, but you'll need to keep France strongly overprotected (de Gaulle gives a 3ip shift, Suez, Soc. Gov). I know it's speculative and very dependent on luck, but I don't think it's impossible for the USSR to win this way. Anyone seen something like this?
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Chimista

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2013, 09:32:38 am »
0

I do wonder, how often do people lose to an early USSR Europe attack? If you follow the 4 It, 3 Med placement, and USSR starts with Soc. Gov. and coups you out of Italy. I would say this forces you to take France to avoid EU control, with one extra op in Iran/Afghanistan if you can manage. USSR takes W.G. You can fight back, of course, but you'll need to keep France strongly overprotected (de Gaulle gives a 3ip shift, Suez, Soc. Gov). I know it's speculative and very dependent on luck, but I don't think it's impossible for the USSR to win this way. Anyone seen something like this?

In this situation I would fortify France and take over the Med countries. Even if USSR starts to attack you with Suez, De Gaulle, etc. It's really hard to win an ops war this way, unless you are purged and we are talking about Soc. Gov. as HL. Puting 6 inf in France prevents any HL combos or surprises. Furthermore if Truman is still in the deck a ip war is too risky for the USSR.
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SnowFire

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2013, 06:14:31 pm »
0

I'm pretty happy with 3 FRA / 3 ITA / 1 TUR myself - if I don't have DeGaulle or Suez Crisis in hand, of course.  Yes, this turns on DeGaulle and Suez, but you threaten West Germany without needing to waste a point in Austria or Denmark and have 2 BGs in case there's a headlined Europe Scoring to save a point.  You also have easy Syria access in case of the ME knockout blow of Arab-Israeli War + strong USSR Iran coups and the like.

The Comecon trap is terrible and gets owned by leaving WGermany empty, yes.  But if the USSR player sees that the US correctly left WGermany empty to invest in Italy & the Med, he probably shouldn't even bother headlining Comecon and instead do a more productive HL (and have a bunch of likely wasted influence in AUS & YUG).
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 06:28:29 pm by SnowFire »
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trevaur

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2013, 06:28:44 pm »
+1

With 3 Fra / 3 ITA / 1 TUR don't you find that it makes one of the best soviet headlines, Suez Crisis, even better? I mean, he already wants to headline it, and now if he does you're left with not only nothing in the Middle East but also only 1 Fra / 3 ITA and 1 TUR left over in Europe. I think that I would much rather have 4 in Italy and 1 in each of the 2-stab countries than risk this possibility. Sure you threaten WG with the France setup, but it just doesn't really seem worth it. If the USSR wants to waste 4 ops so early in WG then let them. They probably even have to add a fifth inf to avoid AR7 plays+Truman headline. You have backdoor access to the Middle East with the 4 Italy+Med setup, too
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 06:30:42 pm by trevaur »
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theory

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 07:09:41 pm »
+1

Also, 4 ITA is considerably safer against Socialist Governments.  Maybe this is a long-shot, but putting aside the coup considerations, you also guard against Soc Govs into AR1 Duck and Cover.
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Riku Riekkinen

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2013, 03:17:11 pm »
0

Have to say that trevaur descripes my thoughts so exactly, it feels funny he is the one who asked the question in the first place.
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SnowFire

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 04:22:50 pm »
0

trevaur: It does make Suez Crisis awesome, yes.  But I say whatever, make the Soviet player play it.  If Suez Crisis happens, then I've lost 2 influence I valued in France, but if I place an influence in Austria or Denmark, it's almost surely lost worthlessly whether the Soviets play Suez or not.  And if I don't go to Austria or Denmark, then W. Germany is in severe danger of being taken without a fight.

Re the 4 Italy possibility: If I'm leaving West Germany empty, I don't think I really care about Soc Govt -> D&C or Italy coup very much anymore.  If the USSR really wants a Europe dom, they just drop 2 influence in WGR, especially against the 4 ITA / Med setup that doesn't threaten an ops war (w/ threat of Truman) in West Germany at all.  Water under the bridge.  I'd at least do 3 ITA / 1 [AUS or DEN or BEN] / 3 (Med countries) if I was avoiding France.
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MarlesChartel

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 04:37:43 pm »
0

The problem with leaving Italy at 3 and no influence in West Germany or France is:
USSR Headlines Socialist Govs, killing W Germany access and knocking Italy down to 1.
USSR uses Duck and Cover to take Italy.
US is forced to respond by taking France.
If the USSR has De Gaulle and a big ops advantage, they take France, and then West Germany, and win. If not, then they just take West Germany, forcing US to bring France to 6/0, else risk USSR takeover of France. The US has now spent 6 ops taking 1 battleground. Not exactly a great first turn for the US.

Suez Crisis headline that actually hits 2 French influence is just too good. The 1 influence in Israel is worth a ton for the US, the 1 influence in the UK blocks Special Relationship, and 2 French influence is always valuable. The US can't afford to let Soviet events in the Early War go off at full force. That's much of the basis for US early war strategy.
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SnowFire

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2013, 05:31:14 pm »
+1

Yeah, if the USSR has Soc Govs, D&C or a strong coup of Italy, AND De Gaulle, the 3 ITA / empty France & WG opening can be punished pretty hardcore (although I'd personally be willing to stop at 5/0 France for turn 1.)  Still, that's not real common.  (And vs. the 3 FRA / 3 ITA opening, it's not so bad, the US is already IN France even if the US just lost Italy on AR1.)

Here's a more common case for the 3 FRA / 3 ITA opening: US headlines Blockade discarding nothing, USSR headlines something that isn't Suez.  USSR gets a strong coup of Iran, let's say.  USA AR1: Use a 3 ops, 2 to Egypt, 1 to WGermany.  Europe is looking pretty good for the US, unless the USSR wants to get in a risky ops war in W Germany.  (Even if the USSR headlined DeGaulle - pretty strong - the US should be able to salvage SOMETHING in Europe.)
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 05:34:14 pm by SnowFire »
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Riku Riekkinen

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Re: Empty WG Setup for the US: When and How?
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 07:25:45 pm »
0

Here's a more common case for the 3 FRA / 3 ITA opening: US headlines Blockade discarding nothing, USSR headlines something that isn't Suez.  USSR gets a strong coup of Iran, let's say.  USA AR1: Use a 3 ops, 2 to Egypt, 1 to WGermany.  Europe is looking pretty good for the US, unless the USSR wants to get in a risky ops war in W Germany.  (Even if the USSR headlined DeGaulle - pretty strong - the US should be able to salvage SOMETHING in Europe.)

Now there is a problem that US has to discard blockade with no OPs (usually a bad headline). Suez & DeGaulle become problems / empty rounds at the best. As US has many problem cards in early war initially this might become a problem. Now I've seen France setup quite many times as in the old times the bids got up to 5 and no overcontrol meaned US coudn't place it in so many places. I found that it was far more profitable to put those extra IPs to South Africa & Panama (& of course to Iran, but that was also in France setup). Sooner or later the FR setup is going to cost you 3-4IPs.
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