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Author Topic: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...  (Read 6870 times)

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Hertz_Doughnut

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Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« on: June 08, 2013, 12:07:01 pm »
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I just wrote the following email to theory, but maybe other guys here can help...?



Hi theory,

I'm getting hooked on TS and have read just about all your posts on the site. But here's the article that would help a beginner like me the most...

Which cards are the most important for each side to mentally track in the early/mid/late war?

For instance, in the early war, US has to be thinking about Blockade until it shows up in your hand (or is played by the Soviets). Similarly, USSR has to be thinking about Defectors.  Both sides have to be aware of Scare/Purge.

Maybe we can even classify the cards into tiers for early/mid/late. De Gaulle is a good card for US to track, but maybe not as important as Blockade?  Nazi Scientist on the other hand is almost completely ignorable....

Something like that could really help newbs prioritize which cards to learn and memorize.  The article really wouldn't need to be anything more than the card list with links to the cards' existing pages.

Kind regards,
David

PS Love the site and appreciate the time you've put in on it!
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MarlesChartel

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 01:21:46 pm »
+1

Early War:
Scoring Cards
CIA created
Decolonization
Destalinization
Blockade (especially as USA)
Defectors (as USSR)
Indo-Pakistani War (less necessary)

After the Early War, I usually only track scoring cards.

Of course, it's important to be able to consider something like: Is it safe to headline Africa scoring (as USSR)? What could my opponent do to disrupt it? ABM Treaty, Colonial rearguards, Brush War, CIA created, Missile Envy, and Puppet Govs are all of the ones I could think of off the top of my head. Look through the discard pile and removed cards to see which ones he could use, and check which of those could have an effect.
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Hertz_Doughnut

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 07:09:03 pm »
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Thanks. Purge/Scare didn't make the cut?
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Jack Rudd

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2013, 09:52:06 pm »
+1

Thanks. Purge/Scare didn't make the cut?
It's a very strong card, but not necessarily one worth tracking. You probably aren't going to play differently based on whether it could be in your opponent's hand, because it tends to be either (a) played in the Headline phase or (b) played for Ops during the turn.
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Kazzy

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2013, 06:42:03 am »
+1

The only one you really need to learn is Blockade and when the Scoring cards come out

The ones you should be more aware of:

Defectors and then the countries that you can't take over as either side:
Korean War
Japan Pact
Castro
DeGaulle
Vietnam
Sadat Expels Soviets

Glastnost should be played quickly

Everything else is learn as you go along
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SnowFire

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 07:28:32 pm »
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In rough order of importance:

Scoring Cards
Blockade
Scoring Cards
Scoring Cards
Indo-Pak War
Scoring Cards
Scoring Cards
Scoring Cards

And oh yes, don't forget to track scoring cards.  (Stuff like Decol/Destal are *powerful*, but not necessarily worth "tracking."  Not a lot that can generally be done about it, aside from be sure to play Blockade for the event on turn 2 as the Soviets if you haven't seen 'em yet.)

When playing in real life, I like to have a red/blue/green marker similar to online to track Presence / Dom / Control for both sides (stick the red or blue marker next to the appropriate spot) and also which regions have been scored (the green marker - "cashed in").  Failing that, having the scoring cards in their own special splay in the discard works.
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Hertz_Doughnut

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 10:06:28 pm »
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Scoring cards. Got it.

I actually don't have trouble with those because the VP rewards are on the board, and my short-term memory is good enough to remember if the card came up. (And it can usually be easily deduced by the board position...)  It's things like OPEC that aren't printed on the board and I don't know off the top of my head... "Oh yeah... that's 5 VPs for you... Oh? And Venezuela? Make that 6..."

I suppose once I play enough I will have been bitten by each card at one time or another. Last game my brother Purged me in the headline of turn 5... and on AR6 (at defcon 2) I played Summit for the event, because, you know, it was worth 0 ops otherwise. Lost the roll by one pip and assumed he would raise defcon...

Until he didn't.

Was leading by 6vps as U.S., was unopposed in Africa and S America, and had Salt in my hand to retrieve ABM Treaty on the next AR...  Not my favorite way to learn about Summit... (But an effective way to learn it!)
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Jack Rudd

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 10:09:36 pm »
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I played Summit for the event, because, you know, it was worth 0 ops otherwise.
No it wasn't. Red Scare/Purge can't reduce a card's Ops value below 1, and neither Containment nor Brezhnev Doctrine can raise a card's Ops value above 4.
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Hertz_Doughnut

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 10:11:17 pm »
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Wow. That is good to know.

Now I feel even dumber.  :)
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discomute

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2013, 10:15:12 pm »
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I personally tried really hard to learn early war cards & strategy an didnt bother about the rest.

It's easy to learn, and even if you lose you'll put up a competitive game

And there is a lot of carry over
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the_scotsman

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2013, 06:57:42 pm »
+1

Excellent discussion topic.

The above points are well taken. I would also suggest that beginners learn which cards and associated situations will result in an immediate loss. This can be obvious or obscure and it can take a number of games before players learn all the dangerous situations. When I teach friends or relatives to play the game, I highlight most of the cards below. Obviously these are most dangerous at Defcon 2.

1. Early War:

USSR Loss:
CIA
Duck and Cover
Five-Year Plan (Not as obvious but if the US draws the appropriate card...)

Loss for Both:
Olympic Games (in combo with Missile Envy or as an inappropriate headline...please don't headline; I would recommend in most circumstances that you will have better and safer options than headlining this card).

2. Mid War

USSR loss:
Grain Sales to Soviets (easy to forget and deadly; US can just return the card and coup an applicable battleground)

US loss:
We will bury you
Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You (You will be quite remiss if you discard a few annoying USSR or worthless neutral cards and draw a hand FULL of Defcon degrading cards)
Lone Gunman (one of the most dangerous cards in the game; headline at great peril; play as an event if safe to do so as soon as you can).


Both:
Missile Envy (I encourage beginners to avoid this card until they understand the game better)
Summit (losing of your own volition from playing this card is embarrassing)
Cuban Missile Crisis (rare but can happen)

Late War:

USSR:
Soviets Down KAL-007
Star Wars (America can flip through the pile and select a game ending card)

US:
Aldrich Ames (another very dangerous card if played correctly)
Ortega Elected in Nicaragua (if America has influence in Cuba)

Both;
Wargames
Terrorism (occasionally)


I would also encourage beginners to be aware that decolonization and destalinization are the best cards in the game for the USSR in the early war.

Cheers.
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pietshaq

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2013, 03:30:17 am »
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I personally think that RS/P is a card worth tracking. Not very high on my priority list but if I am concentrated enough I try to keep track of this card, especially as USSR, because it is relevant for getting rid of annoying US 2Ops events. First, it makes them unspaceable. Second, it makes them undiscardable under self-BearTrapping.

I once forgot about RS/P. I was USSR, in Turn 6 I had China Card but also had Bear Trap, Grain Sales to Soviets and Voice of America. It looked that everything should be fine: one goes to space, China goes to play and two will be held. However, I tried to be smart and discard none of them prior to Turn 7 to avoid coming back. So I played Bear Trap on yourself on T6AR7 hoping to discard both Grain Sales and VoA on Turn 7 -- they had to be 'passed' without taking Ops anyway.

What I forgot about was RS/P headline. Moreover, I was very unlucky drawing cards. I had to pass virtually all the Turn 7 (except headline) and go into Turn 8 with hand full of 1- and 2-Ops cards. It's a miracle that I've won this game but only on 2VPs during the Final Scoring while I managed to control both Europe and Middle East in-between.
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sspiker

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2013, 09:20:16 am »
+1

Headline a scoring card for a region that you have control of, only to see it negated by Defectors, and you'll learn quickly to track where that card is.
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budzo

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2013, 05:46:52 pm »
+1

I think theres a lot of cards worth tracking:

obvious decol and destal - the thing with them is that u dont need to track if they were played. U should keep them as us if u have them on hand at all cost.

blockade - obvious thing, blockade/rsp is deadly (dont play blockade event as ussr on turn 3 if u know he has destal)

De Gaulle - dont put ops in France if u expect De Gaulle headline on turn 2/3 (unless u keep defectors wchich u probably dont) - i personally hate this card. This is the reason why France is in 70% cases ussr controlled. If u wanna be safe in france u have to put 5 ops there wchich i cant imagine how can be worth it.

indo-pakistani war - less obvious but important. If u really want to expand into pakistan-india never put more than 1 op if this card can be in opponents hand or if u have adjacent control wchich u probably dont.

Korean War - dont play op there as us if it isnt gone unless u have taiwan and japan wchich u probably dont.

CIA - play it as USSR if u dont have inf in any mid war regions battleground

Five year plan - play ur decol/destal quick if u fear it and remember u can lose if us player attacks u with it while ur holding cia

Norad - if it was played try to minimize countries with inf of both countries

Warsaw Pact - dont even put ops in eastern Europe if it isnt out

Truman - on the other hand - do u really wanna go for an ops war if us player has it on hand?

Defectors - obvious reasons, dont headline sth important like rs/p or good scoring card if u expect defectors.

Even Nasser - for ussr it is good when nasser is played after sadat.

Scoring Cards - especially europe and asia in early war.

RSP - well as us dont headline blockade if u expect that. Last game i did that.

And it is only early war.

I think it would be easier to point out wchich cards dont need to be tracked.
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MarlesChartel

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2013, 02:36:43 am »
+1

There are lots of cards that you might want to think about situationally.

For instance, whenever you're deciding whether to go into Egypt, think about Nasser and Sadat.

Whenever you're thinking about moving into France, think about De Gaulle and Suez.

For most cards, you'll sometimes want to look through the discard pile to see whether they've been played. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to track them. The ones that you need to track are the cards that you should be thinking about all of the time.

That's why for me, very few cards actually make the cut. They're the ones you always have to be worried about and thinking about:
Scoring Cards
Blockade
Decolonization (in the early war)
Destalinization
Defectors
CIA created
Truman Doctrine

Thanks to budzo for pointing out Truman. There are so many shenanigans the US can pull with it.

Learning which cards are DEFCON-relevant is also important, though. Forgetting about one card that can affect a region won't kill you (usually), but headlining Missile Envy as USSR, and having the US headline Grain Sales and then hand you WWBY is not a fun way to lose
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Eruantalon

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2013, 05:11:45 am »
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The most important Midwar cards are imo Junta, ABM Treaty and Brush war. Even though there's not much to do against ABM Treaty, you may protect against Junta and Brush War. For the first one - try to have your BG supported by at least one adjacent country. For Brush War - don't leave 2-stab valuable countries unsupported. It's also unpleasant to lose this high couped- Zaire to oponent by brush war, turning from 0/5 to 5/0...
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budzo

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2013, 04:54:28 pm »
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I think it is more unplesant to lose thailand or Italy.
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Eruantalon

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Re: Help a beginner prioritize which cards to learn first...
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2013, 02:14:36 am »
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Indeed it is, thus my advice to not leave 2 stab BG unsupported. But I'd also like to stress, that sometimes losing 1 stab African BG can be almost as bad. If it flips domination, it's 8 VP swing, if enables control, 4 VP, and otherwise highly overcontroled countries are risky to even coup or realign (coup with low roll may as well still leave the country in opponents hand, being a loss of BG coup; it might take 4 op to reallign and even this might prove unsuccessful).

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