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Author Topic: Reformer as a Midwar card  (Read 3010 times)

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Conradie

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Reformer as a Midwar card
« on: May 27, 2013, 04:49:32 pm »
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A friend suggested that we try using the Reformer as a Mid War card. The justification for this is that the USSR(in our experience) rarely gets to trigger improved Glasnost due to the size of the deck by the start of the Late War. Unimproved Glasnost is a great card for the US to draw and the odds of the USSR drawing both and being able to play them in the correct order are slim. If it is included in the Mid War then it has a much higher probability of getting triggered and creates another problem card(Glasnost) for the US in the Late War.

What do you guys think?
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pietshaq

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Re: Reformer as a Midwar card
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 05:03:20 pm »
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Totally athematic. Moreover, imbalancing. Knowing it from the beginning, USSR may play much less aggressive, for a safe 4-6VPs ahead after Early War plus slight map advantage against which USA is rather helpless.
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theory

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Re: Reformer as a Midwar card
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 10:25:46 am »
+1

I don't think it is a huge problem.  But maybe reverse the influence/VP clause: add 6 influence if US is ahead in VP, and 4 otherwise.
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the_scotsman

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Re: Reformer as a Midwar card
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 11:54:46 pm »
+1

Hey,

This was actually my suggestion to Conradie and I made it a few weeks ago after a particularly unlucky run of games for the Soviets. I don't support this change any more.

Soviet Union with the right combination of cards is well placed to dominate the map in the mid and early war game with little the US can do in retaliation. For example, five games in a row as the US, I have been subjected to an early war combination of USSR plays of destalinization, decolonization x 2, early Suez crisis (thus eliminating influence in Middle East...), Red-Scare purge (as a headline), and Vietnam revolts. This combined with repeated lousy round 4 hands inevitably leads (in my opinion) to a US defeat.

There was no way that I can think of to mitigate these options and although CIA was in the Russian hand in Round 3, he also had Duck and Cover; (as an editorial note, please don't waste your time or mine explaining to me that I could have space raced these cards -- this was not an option). I don't highlight these challenges to whine that the game is unfair, or broken. Indeed part of the fun of the game is figuring out how to mitigate the damage that USSR unleashes in the early and mid war.

It's now very clear to me that my previous suggestion would be VERY imbalancing at the wrong time. It definitely belongs in the late war. Shifting this card to the mid-war makes it ever so much easier for the Soviet Union to "steam-roll' the US.

A more interesting question to me is novel US counters towards the fore-mentioned "steam-rolling." Although the game shifts around turn 7 or possibly 6 towards the US, I feel this happens too late 6 games out of 10. Especially with the lethal combination defined above. And that's fine by the way. I have no issues with the game balance or mechanics. With equivalent luck and reasonably balanced hands, I expect the USSR should see most of it's wins in the midwar and about a 30 to 40% chance of a win in or after the late war.

There are obvious beginner strategies such as spacing destalinization after turn 3, hanging on to decolonization, and so on but what I want to gauge is other ways of mitigating the steam-rolling. One thought I had is quickly realigning USSR out of Cuba (which relies upon luck admittedly but seems necessary). Also, I think the US needs to expand in a timely fashion into Columbia, Venezuela and Brazil, while also shoring up it's influence in Panama (ie to a 3 or 4). Panama seems to be the key to US success in Central and South America. This needs to be done before destalinization comes into effect but can't be done too quickly (thus giving the USSR a chance to coup Brazil or Venezuela) on Turn 2 or 3. I think the ideal time to shore up Panama and spread into Columbia is in the first turn probably as the  second or even first US move depending upon Defcon status. I think not spreading into Columbia, and allowing the USSR to wipe you easily from panama is a game loser in combination with USSR's power cards.

Do you guys have any thoughts on US expansionism into Central America or even Africa early on? I think it's actually key US early war strategy (in addition to the obvious Malaysia play). I haven't seen any forum posts addressing this topic.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments.



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the_scotsman

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Re: Reformer as a Midwar card
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 01:34:48 am »
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There actually is a thread on expansion into Columbia. I posted my thoughts there.

Cheers.
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sspiker

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Re: Reformer as a Midwar card
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2013, 09:17:12 am »
+1

Well, there's a few things you can do.

For Central America:

I think going for a straight-up realignment of Cuba relies too much on luck. Between putting out fires elsewhere and dealing with problem cards, you don't want to waste an action round. Better IMO to shore up Panama (if you still have it) and put two into Mexico. If things are more problematic for you, try using Puppet Governments or OAS Founded to get into Guatemala, Haiti, or Nicaragua to set up a +1 roll (of course, OAS is more useful in South America).

However, I wouldn't waste too much time or effort on Central America. Dominating it yourself is hardly worth it, so the biggest worry is preventing the USSR from dominating it with a +2 for adjacency. But even then, they would score a +5 if they have both Cuba and Mexico; only a +4 if their domination involves, say, Cuba and Panama. I'd rather shore up Panama and let the Soviets have Central, if it means I could possibly control Africa or South America and score a +8 or +10.

For South America:

A smart USSR player will heavily focus on South America with Destalinization, if he's lucky enough to get it. I've played games on both sides where the USSR player gets early access and locks up all four battlegrounds before or by the middle of Turn 4. In that case, it requires a lot of luck: ABM Treaty and Junta are the two best cards, and Brush War can often give you a 50/50 shot at one of the three battlegrounds. The only other good option is to steal the Soviet's AR1 coup with Grain Sales, Missile Envy, or Bear Trap.

Panama Canal and OAS Founded give you access, but they can easily be realigned out. But you've gotta try it, because there's no natural point of entry into the region. You can put one in Colombia, but that still doesn't get you much if the Soviets control Venezuela already. However, if you have a clear shot at controlling Africa, I'd focus my efforts on there instead of trying to break Soviet control of South America.

Africa:

An early Decolonization play will hurt a lot, because the best thing the USA player can do is take Angola and then Zaire, but you have too many priorities already in the Early War to waste. Second best would be to take Algeria before the USSR player does. Taking Botswana when you get a chance helps, too. Then you gotta rely on Puppet Governments or Colonial Rear Guards to get to the Nigerian island, or steal the USSR's AR1 coup (CIA Created is helpful here since they're all 1-stability). Keep in mind that a common Soviet play is to take Angola before you and to realign you out of South America, particularly if you still only have 1 there. Doing this successfully will about guarantee Soviet domination, so expand out of South Africa as soon as you can.

The last strategy, particularly for a country like Nigeria, is to take both neighbors (Cameroon, Saharan States) at the same time, let the Soviets coup one of them (or they'll pass altogether), and then you can take Nigeria. This could make things messier down the line, but the more chaos, the more chance for luck breaking your way so its not a bad move, though its not ideal either.

Voice of America:

Voice of America can be a game-changer or it can be a minor annoyance. It depends entirely on whether the Soviets have any targets that they don't have access to; for instance, 1 in Angola, 1 in Zaire, and 2 in Brazil without Venezuela. Don't waste VoA on places where they can put IPs in the next turn. Instead, try to create at least two crises for the Soviets to deal with. This is particularly effective on AR7.

Nuclear Subs:

This can be a game-changer, particularly in Africa, but also if you're desperate for South America access. Just note that the Soviet player will throw a lot of things at you to try and limit how many coups you do. These may include: Quagmire (even mid-turn), Cuban Missile Crisis, flooding a bunch of non-battlegrounds, or using SALT or How I Learned to Stop Worrying to increase DEFCON, giving them an ability to respond. In fact, if my USA opponent headlines Nuclear Subs, I won't coup a battleground country until after the USA player hit a target I care about.
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