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Author Topic: When the Shah survives in Iran....  (Read 3618 times)

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JGH

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When the Shah survives in Iran....
« on: October 23, 2012, 02:54:09 pm »
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Hi folks, in a recent game I had the worse possible outcome of the AR1 Iran coup by the USSR: a single USSR influence. The US coup'ed me immediately, and was quite successful, bringing him up to 3 US influence. I dealt with it in a manner I had never used before, and I was hoping for some feedback. Keep in mind that the US was red scared at this point. [EDIT: I also had pakistan-india war

So, being that I had a pretty low-ops hand and had used by only 4 ops card on my rather unsuccessful Iran coup, I decided, with Defcon at 3, to place two influence in Afghanistan and two influence in Iraq. My opponent didn't react to this, and, next turn, I realigned him out of Iran.

Now, here are a few questions on the USSR side of things:

1) I felt like a coup with the China card was not a good idea here. The idea being that I would need a four or higher, which seemed like too much of a bet. I had already thrown 4 ops at Iran, and throwing another 4 ops at it with a 50/50 chance of losing the China card for nothing seemed like a pretty sub-optimal move.

2) The idea of placing 2 in Afghanistan and 2 in Iraq seemed like a pretty good idea since whatever else happens, I've got a door into Pakistan, I'm giving myself an opportunity to realign at some point, and I'm making it harder for my opponent to get the +1 VP from controlling Afghanistan when Asia scoring comes round, and I'm preventing him from a quick Mideast score.

3) Finally, with defcon below 4, the race for Thailand was on, and I was hoping my opponent would rush headlong into Malaysia, which he did, thus losing him Iran, but also Pakistan and India.

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Faced with a similar situation as US, I think that the options are as follows:

1) coup Iraq with 1 ops to remove the realign possibility
2) Place two influence in Pakistan, squaring up the realign (+2 vs +2)

-------

It seems to me that the Pakistan move is clearly the best play. Yet my opponent didn't do this. What would you have done as US? As USSR? Do you think the two Afghanistan two Iraq influence is the optimal move when a failed Iran coup leads to a bunch of US influence in Iran? Any other thoughts?

Cheers!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 02:55:55 pm by JGH »
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The Archon

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Re: When the Shah survives in Iran....
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2012, 04:35:13 pm »
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Interesting question. 

Option #1: You've proven by your play that you aren't willing to coup Iran (at least not this turn), so if your opponent drops DEFCON to 2 by performing an inane coup of Iraq, it's unlikely that you will coup him on a subsequent turn (especially if he drops an extra influence on Iran).  So he would have to sacrifice the coup advantage on future turns to subsequently perform the realignment*.  Additionally, the threat of Indo/Pak is quite severe.  Of course, he did not know that you had it, but he knew that he didn't, and you did, in fact, have it.  Losing Pakistan to Indo/Pak is rough, and after that, Iran is completely surrounded, which would bring you back to implementing this option, regardless. 

*: The only caveat here is that the Soviets would actually need to have something on the board that COULD be couped on Turn 2.  If they do not, or if the only thing that could be couped is Cuba, then the Soviets don't care if DEFCON is at 3 after AR1, other than to deny MilOps points.  But this could be interesting if the Soviets wanted to play DeCol/DeStal/Nasser (or played to Algeria). 

Option #2: It's an odds game.  The odds are in the US' favor that IndoPak is not in the Soviets' hand on Turn 1 (even knowing that it's not in the US hand), and even if it is, it's a 33% chance of success for the Soviets.  All said, that's less than a 1 in 6 chance of losing Pakistan (based on the odds of it being in the Soviet hand as less than 50%, which it is) on Turn 1.  And removing 3 influence with a realignment at even odds requires some real luck, as well.  So if the Soviets either go for the Realignment or the IndoPak War, and if they fail, then congratulations on getting Thailand and India.  If they are successful on the Realignment, take it back.  If they are successful on the War, then go back to option 1. 

So yes, Option #2 is better. 

As the Soviets, I'd take Pakistan in response to Option #1, and I'd try for the War in response to Option #2.  The odds aren't great, but the reward is very high (Pakistan AND India), and it forces the US to be reactionary with respect to Iran (essentially wasting an AR to do Option #1). 

And putting the influence where you did was, indeed, a good idea (and you were lucky to be able to do it). 
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JGH

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Re: When the Shah survives in Iran....
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 03:18:56 pm »
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Thanks for your input, Archon. And I agree with your general impressions (especially since you seem to agree with mine! :P)

I'd just like to add a small thing, since I'm such a stickler for stats

Quote
t's a 33% chance of success for the Soviets.  All said, that's less than a 1 in 6 chance of losing Pakistan (based on the odds of it being in the Soviet hand as less than 50%, which it is)

This isn't correct, since the stats refer to different things; they're not an additive, despite coup success being dependent on possessing the card :

When the Soviets have Indo-Pak, it's a 33% chance of success (with Iran under US control), when they don't, there's zero chance of success. So if you're the US you should assume the worst case scenario (unless you're an optimist, which I've never been know to be...) and consider that you have a 33% chance of losing Pak if on turn one and the Indo-Pak war hasn't come out yet.

But that's simply stickling on my part! I agree with your general points; thanks for the reply.

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Cal

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Re: When the Shah survives in Iran....
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 06:52:02 pm »
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Interesting situation.

I think the US' best move would have been to put only 1 influence in Pakistan. Enough to threaten taking control and moving to India, but not enough that the USSR would risk playing the Indo-Pakistani War card (which the USSR did indeed have). If the USSR wants to put 3 inf to control Pakistan, I say making him waste ops and keeping influence in the Asia triangle is worth losing Pakistan when it can possible be picked up later. 1 inf to Pakistan also discourages realigning Iran because the US can always just put influence back in there and see if the USSR does it again. Placing 1 inf to Malaysia to spread to Thailand is also very normal and only countered by an emergency De-Stalinization so nothing wrong there. Alternatively, I do not think a coup of Iraq is very good. It's a waste of an AR when the US needs to get to Thailand before Decolon. Destalin. or Vietnam Revolts allows the USSR to get there.

As for realignment of Iran by USSR, I think this is a good and very sneaky move. It allows the USSR to make good use of a low-op card (since realignments are always powerful even if there is only 1 op being spent), and it also potentially allows the USSR to try to get lucky realigning South Africa or even Panama.
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The Archon

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Re: When the Shah survives in Iran....
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 09:50:01 am »
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I'd just like to add a small thing, since I'm such a stickler for stats

Quote
t's a 33% chance of success for the Soviets.  All said, that's less than a 1 in 6 chance of losing Pakistan (based on the odds of it being in the Soviet hand as less than 50%, which it is)

This isn't correct, since the stats refer to different things; they're not an additive, despite coup success being dependent on possessing the card :

I'm glad we agree on the general point (though I think Cal might be right), but I disagree about this part.  I'm a stats guy, too (even took a class in probability).  Stats can totally be additive when they refer to different things, so long as those things are related and conditional.  In this situation, the question is simply "will an IndoPak War be successfully won by the USSR in the next AR?"  This can then be translated to: "Does the USSR have IndoPak War, and if so, will it be successful?"  If the odds that my opponent has the card is 50% (which it is not in the above example, but let's assume for now that it is), and the odds for success of the War is 33% if he does have it.  1/2*1/3 = 1/6.  If the USSR does not have it, then it is not successfully won in the next AR.  If the USSR does have it and plays it, but rolls a 1-4, then it is not successfully won in the next AR.  Note that this example also does not take into account other factors, like the odds that the USSR has IndoPak but does not play it right away. 

This only works because the second condition depends on the first condition.  The odds that I'm going to get hit by a car during my lunch break tomorrow does not depend on the odds that I'm going to catch a fish today (unless I run down the street proudly displaying my fish for the world to see). 

I only bring this up because I believe that these "conditional odds" are a good way of planning your strategy in TS.  Should I headline Duck and Cover as the US during MidWar?  Well, what are the odds that the USSR has WWBY?  If he does have it, what are the odds that he will HL it?  Such odds are not easily (or sometimes possibly) calculable, but they can make you think. 
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The Archon

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Re: When the Shah survives in Iran....
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 09:54:32 am »
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Interesting situation.

I think the US' best move would have been to put only 1 influence in Pakistan. Enough to threaten taking control and moving to India, but not enough that the USSR would risk playing the Indo-Pakistani War card (which the USSR did indeed have). If the USSR wants to put 3 inf to control Pakistan, I say making him waste ops and keeping influence in the Asia triangle is worth losing Pakistan when it can possible be picked up later. 1 inf to Pakistan also discourages realigning Iran because the US can always just put influence back in there and see if the USSR does it again. Placing 1 inf to Malaysia to spread to Thailand is also very normal and only countered by an emergency De-Stalinization so nothing wrong there. Alternatively, I do not think a coup of Iraq is very good. It's a waste of an AR when the US needs to get to Thailand before Decolon. Destalin. or Vietnam Revolts allows the USSR to get there.

As for realignment of Iran by USSR, I think this is a good and very sneaky move. It allows the USSR to make good use of a low-op card (since realignments are always powerful even if there is only 1 op being spent), and it also potentially allows the USSR to try to get lucky realigning South Africa or even Panama.

Wow; you bring up a lot of good points here.  You might be right that this is a better course of action.  I will say, though, that extra Realignment opportunities would be great, and would be effective if used on South Africa, but why Panama?  I'd rather coup it next turn to drop DEFCON to 2 and get my foot in the door to both Central and South America. 

Otherwise, this is good stuff. 
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Cal

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Re: When the Shah survives in Iran....
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 04:48:49 am »
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...why Panama?  I'd rather coup it next turn to drop DEFCON to 2 and get my foot in the door to both Central and South America.
Couping Panama has advantages of getting the USSR a foot into the Americas and lowering the defcon to 2, also in the early-war it might be the only stability-2 or lower target for a coup in the opening AR and therefore the most likely to actually change influence.

However, you could argue that it is more to the USSR's favor to have Panama be completely clean (with zero influence from either side) than to have USSR influence placed there, at least until the mid-war. Why?

Panama is one of the most difficult to protect countries on the map. One reason is because it's mid-war region stability-2 and therefore a coup of is likely to be successful and it is possible for the US to coup when the defcon is at 3, or when Nuclear Submarines is active.
Second, it is only adjacent to two different countries, one is a stability-1 non-bg (Colombia), and the other is a stability-3 non-bg (Costa Rica). The USSR has incentive to not put influence in either of these countries for several reasons:
1. Putting influence in either of them gives the US a coup target when the defcon is 2. Even if the coup doesn't change influence, it allows the US a method to gain military ops and will prevent the USSR from bleeding them for VP penalties, which you want to milk for all its worth in the early game.
2. The US will get influence in Costa Rica eventually from Panama Canal Returned. Since it's only a 1-op card, you'll probably be using that op to maintain control of Venezuela.
3. Colombia will likely be couped by the US after you put influence in it. Since it is stability-1, a coup with only 2-ops is guaranteed to change influence, and if the US rolls high they will vastly over-control the country. Possibly to an extent you cannot recuperate with another coup. This means they will have access to Venezuela next AR, so you will be at a very disadvantageous position in S. America. Putting influence in Colombia results in a coup-ing battle at best, and losing the initiative in S. America at worst.
This means Panama's difficult to protect from realignments and (more importantly) Brush War, which depend on control of adjacent countries to defend against.
Third, Panama can be affected by Junta, OAS, and Panama Canal Returned. Three different cards, only one of them a neutral event also open to use by the USSR.
Fourth, Panama is a vital choke-point connection from C. America to S. America and therefore both sides have incentive to fight over it. Compare it to say, Libya, which is also a 2-stability bg country with only two adjacent countries but is only a candidate for Brush War if the opponent has nothing better to use it against.

Therefore it could be said, if the USSR can get access to S. America through De-Stalinization, that it's better to have Panama empty than have a target.

Of course that's just one way of thinking. Arguments that the USSR should coup and control Panama are also valid. I just mention it as a possible option if the USSR finds itself with extra ops that must be used for realignments.
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Billw147

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Re: When the Shah survives in Iran....
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 08:03:56 am »
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In the circumstances, the realignment is a really neat move. Strategy posts like this are what make these sites so great.

I am curious though as to why the US did not place influence in Pakistan at Defcon 3.  Cannot think what would be a better move (in addition to Malaysia), although interestingly the amount of influence to place is one to debate:

1 IP has advantage of discouraging India-Pakistan war and realignment and cheap investment to gain presence but disadvantage of encouraging USSR to place 3ip there.
2 IP discourages realignment and USSR from placing IP unless willing to give up China Card, but makes the War a more attractive bet
3 IP completely dissuades realignment and USSR IP placement but makes the War a no brainer to play (and 3 IP is a heavy investment by US)

No right or wrong answer, depends on cards in hand, IP to spare, appetite to risk opponent holding War card and win %.
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