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Author Topic: 1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!  (Read 5757 times)

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blitzgordon

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1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!
« on: February 08, 2014, 02:22:46 pm »
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Hey.
I just bought 1989 and I've played three games with my bestest TS-buddy.
The results so far have been surprising, to say the least.

I read a bunch of stuff before on how the democrat has to do this and that in order to even have a chance of winning. But in our (admittedly not extensive) experience, the communist has almost no way of even keeping up with the democrat. It seems most of the high ops cards clearly favors the democrat, and in every game so far the communist has been forced to play null-action rounds by repairing damage or throwing cards on Tianamen. In our last game, the result was Demo-autovictory by turn 7 after winning, and liberating, Poland, Hungary, Chech, and winning Bulgaria.

We are by no means expert players but we are experienced (+2 years regularly) TS players and experienced board gamers, and none of us can at the moment seem to figure out even a blueprint, much less a proper strategy, for a Communist win!
They say the game is balanced, so it must be we are missing something. Any ideas what? Have we just been dealt an unusual string of card combinations ?
I know this might be impossible without further details, but the Com struggles so far have been so massive, and not obviously the result of cards that I can't explain simply by the cards.
So, see this perhaps as a longwinded humble request for a Communist guide to 1989.
Or just a couple of bullet points with priorities and key events, that'd be good also!

Thanks in advance,
Gorbachev
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Riku Riekkinen

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Re: 1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 03:51:09 pm »
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I wrote a bit during playtest and its still pretty accurate (at BGG called "playtest only.."
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brucewig

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Re: 1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 04:21:01 pm »
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It's only been three games for you, and it's very possible that this is nothing more than fortune smiling a bit more on the the Democrats for those three games, but here are some thoughts and observations that might be helpful for approaching the Communist side of the board:

1989 is more assymetrical than TS.  Yes, the deck favors the Democrats, but the Communists have lots of compensation. 

First, their starting and overall position is better.  Really the only place where the Democrats are better is Poland.

Next, they get 4 VPs in final scoring for each country where they retain Power.  All other things being equal, those points will decide the game.

Finally, note that when the Communists are removed from Power, the scoring card for that country is removed from the game.  This means that, in countries where the Democrats are dominant, the country will only be scored once.  Countries where the Communists are dominant can be scored big repeatedly.

The implications of the last point highlight one of the blueprints of proper Communist play.  The Communists must try to secure a few select countries that are big winners for them so they can score them again and again.  If they try to compete everywhere, they will probably fall short most places thanks to that favorable deck the Democrats enjoy.  Which select countries?  It really could be any of them; none of this happens in a vacuum and the Democrat responses could foil any one plan, but Czechoslavakia and Bulgaria are two places that can easily go strongly Communist, so they are a good start.

I'll also mention two strong Early Year Democrat events that the Communists must try to work around: Helsinki Final Act and St. Nicolas's Church.  They should be treated like Decolonization and De-Stalinization are in TS: if you are dealt one of these cards, you should keep it and hold it until the reshuffle at the start of Turn 3 to keep it unplayed if at all possible!

Statistically, it seems like the Communist compensation for the superior Democratic deck is sufficient.  Since the game has been published, there have been 178 games played in the Wargameroom league.  The Communists have won 90, the Democrats have won 85, and there have been 3 draws.
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blitzgordon

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Re: 1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 03:35:37 am »
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Rikku and Bruce, you guys are both awesome.
Thank you for this!
I'll start by keeping this in mind: "focus on keeping a strong position in a few countries". I belive the Communists most serious mistake has been to try to compete everywhere.
One thing I noticed though: It feels like 1989 has more events where a player can pick up a discarded card, so how to deal with Solidarity, St. Nicolas, Helsinki, Spirit of 1968 etc.?
Is it safe to dump them after the reshuffle?

Again, thanks for the assistance.
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Ioan76_TM

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Re: 1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 10:51:56 am »
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I'm not at Riku or Bruce level of play at 1989 but here are my personal opinions ( which sometime contradict what was said before ) :

Statistically, it seems like the Communist compensation for the superior Democratic deck is sufficient.  Since the game has been published, there have been 178 games played in the Wargameroom league.  The Communists have won 90, the Democrats have won 85, and there have been 3 draws.

From my experience I'd say that this numbers are misleading considering the fact that - even the aggregate results are balanced - a ( significant ) number of games could be totally unbalanced ... more than in TS, and this could happen starting from Early Year/T1. ;)
And I'd list several reasons for this - underlining the Communists' player difficulties : there are 4 cards with value of 4 OPs which are, usually, better to be played to perform SP than to place influence - because this way the phasing player not only may build up his board position but usually disrupt opponent's one ;) . Only 1 of this is Communist ( "Deutsche Mark*" - which is, if I'm remember right, the ONLY red-4 OPs card ) and 1 is "Solidarity Legalized*", which is a brutal event to be played ... especially early in the game. So there is a quite big chance that in T1 ( or even T2 ) the Communist player to be forced to not perform any good SP-round or to play hoping for the dice ... :(
Considering also that there is a quite big chance ( ~17% - more than 1 out of 6 games !! ) that Communist player will not have any 4 OPs card in T1 it's quite clear that it may be really hard for him/her to build up a decent enough position on the map to resist to Revolutionaries' event-based onslaught on next turns ... if "Prudence" is also played by Democrat player in T1 or T2 ... it may be better just to start another game and to not waste time anymore.  :P
Another factor is the pure luck-based mechanism behind the ( probably ) most powerful card in the game : Gorbachev Charms the West ... but I won't detail this aspect here.

However - if ( by a lucky dealing ) the Communist managed to build a decent position on the map and/or avoided few crucial events to take place early ( mentioned before ) the good part is that it's fully possible to apply a fierce battle for every country on the map - because the bonus for staying in power increase and - usually - equal or even overcome quickly even a Democrat dominance in country ... the only important thing is not allow the opponent to score a Control + no Presence there ( usually this could be done by keeping control on Elite' spaces ).  8) And as long as Democrat need to spread its OPs over many countries it's unlikely that he will be able to score any of them with a really big advantage ... or to be able to have a big margin on PS cards ... ;)

So - based from my experience ( both on lost and victorious games ) I'd say that the commies could have 2 possible approaches for victory. But somehow the success of both of them depends on the card-distribution from Early Year and first scorings in Poland and Hungary ( last one could be incredible hard to be re-gained by Revolutionaries if they failed to dominate it quickly & decisive ... for that reason I'd say that "Hungarian Democratic Forum*" is almost as important to be delayed as "Solidarity legalized*" - otherwise ... it's almost a pointless waste of time ... :(
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brucewig

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Re: 1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 07:11:07 pm »
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>>Is it safe to dump them after the reshuffle?

Not completely; as you point out, there are cards that can reclaim them.  However, there is also a card (Goodbye Lenin!) that will pull the card from your hand, so it's not quite safe hoarding the card either.  You do everything you can to avoid the events, but sometimes there's nothing you can do.
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Ioan76_TM

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Re: 1989 - Dawn of Freedom Communist help!
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 08:03:40 pm »
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One thing I noticed though: It feels like 1989 has more events where a player can pick up a discarded card, so how to deal with Solidarity, St. Nicolas, Helsinki, Spirit of 1968 etc.?

Not really - as a comparation with TS :
1. "Dash for the West*" is sort of nerfed "Star Wars*" but which occurs in Early Year instead of Late War ( can pick only stared democratic events ) so its effect could be sometime easier avoided;
2. Tien-An-Men Square effects combined with "Reformer ..." which is not so easy to obtain ... as usually Communist player it's likely to try to dump a card there every round ( also similar with "Star Wars*" but valid for both players ).

The equivalent of "Salt Negotiation" - retrieve a card without playing it automatically - is available only to red-player : "Honecker*" ... and with a little boost represented by a possible extra round.

So ... things are not so grim for Communists from this perspective - the real pain ( which sometime purely & simply cannot be handled ) are more likely the hand-reduction cards from Middle Year + various +1 booster ...  :o
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