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team_falcon

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US opening hand problem
« on: January 28, 2015, 04:14:43 pm »
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I just spent a lot of time reading the tips for all the early war cards and started new game to test what I'd learnt. I was dealt the following hand and I have absolutely no idea what to headline. I realise that this is probably the sort of question that people on this forum get bored of but I'd really appreciate some advice.

D&C, Korean War, Warsaw Pact, NATO, Indep. Reds, Ind/Pak War, CIA, Nuclear Test Ban

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Squishpoke

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2015, 11:57:47 pm »
+1

Assuming US player: headline CA created. Use big ops cards on your action rounds to get a big kick in the right direction, based on what cards the soviets have. Don't use NATO for the event, even if you used Warsaw pact prior (you should really hold or space Warsaw pact, but we will understand if you do use it. It's weaker in the early war, so you won't have to deal with it later...)

Alternatively, if you want cia created to come back later you can headline Indo-pakistani war to target the 1 influence in Iraq. Not a very efficient use of this card however, because soviets can easily fix with their ar1 play. Might distract them from Iran though.

If USSR I'd go with Korean War and make a play for Asia. Not a very exciting headline, but you do have the China card. Warsaw pact is tempting but I'd use the ops and have it come back later either as a strong headline or a bad card for the US player to handle
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 12:13:18 am by Squishpoke »
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pietshaq

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015, 03:08:24 am »
+1

Indo-Pakistani War does not target Iraq :)

As USSR:
Headline CIA Created (completely harmless, removing only 1 Op from your hand and revealing a hand in which you really have nothing special to hide). USA will probably add 1 influence somewhere. Think of it as of an additional handicap IP for USA for having CIA removed from the game. The maximum damage it can do is that US headlines Middle East Scoring at the same time and uses CIA Op in Lebanon, or headlines Asia Scoring and successfully attempts to realign at least 1 from North Korea. Neither is too expensive for getting rid of the CIA. All other cards go for ops: D&C first to give 1VP only, NATO goes second before is activated by the Marshall Plan, Independent Reds go third before Romanian Abdication turns them really effective. US player won't probably push into Pakistan and India but if he does, couping (if possible) goes first, playing Indo-Pak for event goes second.

As USA:
Headline Indo-Pak War. You have 50% chance of winning 2VPs with no downside risk, pay only 2 Ops for it, and keep your starred events in the deck for future use. Alternatively, if you are really scared of something that will make the Indo-Pak event very useful for you, you may as well headline Korean War and get rid of this card for good. CIA is of course also a good headline, the only disadvantage of which is that if you play it now USSR won't have to deal with it later. An obvious headline if USSR's opening setup is unusual (e.g. 3POL/3YUG or Comecon Trap).
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trevaur

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 08:23:14 pm »
+1

As the US, I would personally headline CIA created, not Indo-Pak. Sure, CIA created is great to leave in the deck, but IMO it's the right play here for a couple of reasons. Your only other real option for headline is Indo-Pak, which gives you 2 military ops and a 50% chance of 2vp. The 2 military ops should not be understated (alleviates pressure to coup, which often the US doesn't want to do anyways on turn 1), so I estimate headlining Indo-Pak to give you an expected 2-3 VP in value, which is decent. Let's compare that to headlining CIA. You can use the 1 op from CIA to play into Afghanistan, which is really good. If the USSR coups Iran, play 3 into Pakistan. You know they don't have Indo-Pak, so the only way they have to prevent you from taking both Pakistan and India is to coup Pakistan, which is great for you because not only do they need a massive coup roll, but you can counter with Indo-Pak if they succeed. This strategy gives you a very high chance of getting both Pakistan and India, which is worth far more than the 2-3 VP that you would get from headlining Indo-Pak. Plus, this way you can use Indo-Pak for ops if you don't need the event, or you could just play it for the event later in the turn and get the exact same effect you would have gotten from headlining it. Also, by headlining CIA you get the nice side effect of looking at your opponent's hand. Finally, if you are playing with +2 IP to US, since this opening gives you such a strong play for Western Asia even with a strong Soviet coup in Iran, you could consider placing only one of your IP into Iran and one somewhere into Europe to solidify that region as well.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 08:32:14 pm by trevaur »
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pietshaq

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2015, 01:08:06 pm »
+1

As the US, I would personally headline CIA created, not Indo-Pak. Sure, CIA created is great to leave in the deck, but IMO it's the right play here for a couple of reasons. Your only other real option for headline is Indo-Pak, which gives you 2 military ops and a 50% chance of 2vp. The 2 military ops should not be understated (alleviates pressure to coup, which often the US doesn't want to do anyways on turn 1), so I estimate headlining Indo-Pak to give you an expected 2-3 VP in value, which is decent. Let's compare that to headlining CIA. You can use the 1 op from CIA to play into Afghanistan, which is really good. If the USSR coups Iran, play 3 into Pakistan. You know they don't have Indo-Pak, so the only way they have to prevent you from taking both Pakistan and India is to coup Pakistan, which is great for you because not only do they need a massive coup roll, but you can counter with Indo-Pak if they succeed. This strategy gives you a very high chance of getting both Pakistan and India, which is worth far more than the 2-3 VP that you would get from headlining Indo-Pak. Plus, this way you can use Indo-Pak for ops if you don't need the event, or you could just play it for the event later in the turn and get the exact same effect you would have gotten from headlining it. Also, by headlining CIA you get the nice side effect of looking at your opponent's hand. Finally, if you are playing with +2 IP to US, since this opening gives you such a strong play for Western Asia even with a strong Soviet coup in Iran, you could consider placing only one of your IP into Iran and one somewhere into Europe to solidify that region as well.

It's a nice strategy but if I had decided to follow it I'd probably put a CIA op right into Pakistan. If USSR coups low, I re-coup with a 4Ops card, if USSR coups high, I play Indo-Pakistani on my next move, hoping to win it (or, if I'm eager to push my luck, I respond with 1 to Pakistan, provoking takeover of India, and play the war then).
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team_falcon

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2015, 07:33:34 am »
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Thanks all. I really should have remembered to say which side I was (it was US) but also useful to get opinions on the alternative.

It seems to me that T1 is absolutely critical for the US to avoid being dominated in too many EW regions, so the CIA HL for Western Asia strategy seems like the best bet.
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trevaur

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2015, 03:19:20 pm »
+1

As the US, I would personally headline CIA created, not Indo-Pak. Sure, CIA created is great to leave in the deck, but IMO it's the right play here for a couple of reasons. Your only other real option for headline is Indo-Pak, which gives you 2 military ops and a 50% chance of 2vp. The 2 military ops should not be understated (alleviates pressure to coup, which often the US doesn't want to do anyways on turn 1), so I estimate headlining Indo-Pak to give you an expected 2-3 VP in value, which is decent. Let's compare that to headlining CIA. You can use the 1 op from CIA to play into Afghanistan, which is really good. If the USSR coups Iran, play 3 into Pakistan. You know they don't have Indo-Pak, so the only way they have to prevent you from taking both Pakistan and India is to coup Pakistan, which is great for you because not only do they need a massive coup roll, but you can counter with Indo-Pak if they succeed. This strategy gives you a very high chance of getting both Pakistan and India, which is worth far more than the 2-3 VP that you would get from headlining Indo-Pak. Plus, this way you can use Indo-Pak for ops if you don't need the event, or you could just play it for the event later in the turn and get the exact same effect you would have gotten from headlining it. Also, by headlining CIA you get the nice side effect of looking at your opponent's hand. Finally, if you are playing with +2 IP to US, since this opening gives you such a strong play for Western Asia even with a strong Soviet coup in Iran, you could consider placing only one of your IP into Iran and one somewhere into Europe to solidify that region as well.

It's a nice strategy but if I had decided to follow it I'd probably put a CIA op right into Pakistan. If USSR coups low, I re-coup with a 4Ops card, if USSR coups high, I play Indo-Pakistani on my next move, hoping to win it (or, if I'm eager to push my luck, I respond with 1 to Pakistan, provoking takeover of India, and play the war then).

1 into Pakistan is a decent option, just a couple things to think about: If you fail to get an influence in Pakistan on your counter play (via coup or Indo-Pak), then Soviets can coup Iran on the next AR to knock you out of the region (especially good if you had used a coup because then they would lower Defcon to 2). My proposed play is much less risky for you and forces the Soviets to take risks to prevent you from getting the upper hand. Another thing to keep in mind is that spending ops to coup a 2-stab country has a lower return than placing the ops as influence. The average roll on a 6-sided die is 3.5, which, when used with a card of X ops results in an average coup strength of X+3.5. When you subtract off the stability number (2*2=4), you get X-0.5, which means that on average you will get half an influence less on a coup than you would just placing influence. (Note, this math only works for couping with 3 or 4 ops cards. Coup return efficiency on 2 stability countries actually increases when using 2 or 1 ops cards). What this means is that every time you coup a 2-stability country with a 3-4 ops card, you're losing half an influence (on average), and every time you force your opponent to coup a 2-stability country with a 3-4 ops card they are losing half an influence (on average).

Overall, I feel like playing 1 into Pakistan is just an unnecessary risk. Let's say they coup you with a 4, and look at all the outcomes. 1: You're left with no influence, so the obvious play is 3 back into Pakistan. If they have another 4 to coup you with and they get a big roll, you can still bounce back with a 50/50 Indo-Pak. 2: They have 1 influence in Pakistan, so coup back with a 4 and hope you don't roll a 1, cause if you do then Soviets can coup Iran to knock you out of the region. 3: Now things get a little dicey. If you coup back with a 4, a 1 is cripplingly bad, and a 2 isn't so great. Anything higher is fine though. Probably best to take the risk on the coup, since your other options are worse. 4: same as 3, but now rolling a 2 is also really bad. 5-6: Soviets now have 4-5 Influence in Pakistan. Couping is probably too risky, so Indo-Pak is your best bet. Also, if Indo-Pak succeeds you'll now have enough influence that the Soviets will have a hard time couping you in response. So, if you add up all these probabilities, you have about a 25-30% chance of losing both.

In my scenario of placing 1 into Afghanistan, Soviets coup something (say Iran), you place 3 into Pakistan. The Soviets now need a coup strength of 8 to get 1 into Pakistan, and you can respond by taking Pakistan, they take India, you Indo-Pak war India. If they get a 9 (2 into Pakistan), Your best play is probably just to use a 4 to play 3 into Pakistan, they take either India or Pakistan, You take the other then you Indo-Pak war the one they took. If they get a 10 (3 into Pakistan), You need to just try to Indo-Pak war Pakistan. So, if they coup with a 4 and you add up all these probabilities, you have an 8% chance of losing both and a 17% chance of losing 1. Also, on the Soviet's initial coup in Iran, if they fail to get any influence in you can just play ops to take both Iran and Afghanistan (or coup something to lower Defcon, allowing you to take Pakistan with impunity next AR), which further increases your odds. Even if they get 1 into Iran, you can coup back with a 4 to guarantee that you remove it and simultaneously lower DEFCON.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 03:46:57 pm by trevaur »
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pietshaq

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 03:07:05 am »
+1

It's all fine (almost: I can't see why the maths described in 2-stability countries depends on the card's value; either you place ops with a 2-for-1 penalty and couping is more effective or you don't and placing is more effective). However, we're just discussing the very general scenarios.

In fact, if you decide to headline CIA with such a hand, your best play depends entirely on what you see in your opponent's hand and what was his headline. The combination of an extra move and a knowledge about the opponent's hand without his knowledge about mine allows exploiting high DEFCON in many ways.

Let's say I went into Pakistan and the Soviets had couped it with 4 and rolled 4. Whether I re-coup with a 4 or play Indo-Pakistani War, I have only 50% to get an acceptable result. Not too much. But the world doesn't end there. With DEFCON at 4 I could play Warsaw Pact Formed and put 1 into Pakistan and 1 into Malaysia. Wherever you react, I can either go to India, or to Thailand. In the first case I may try to hold Indo-Paki to play it on turn 3, taking a chance to grab Pakistan and securing India for 4 turns at the same time. For example: if you coup Malaysia high, I put 1 into Indonesia and 3 into India (and still have a 4 to coup Thailand if you go there). Even if you coup India with the China Card and roll 6 you still can't cut me off the region (and I can still use my Indo-Paki as the last chance though I would put some ops into India first to (a) have access to Burma no matter what I roll and either (b) take India with ops directly or (c) provoke you to take it and raise the Indo-Paki War stake).

In the second case even the loss of Western Asia should never give you Asian domination because I will be able to take a bunch of Southeast Asian countries to stop it with a number of non-battlegrounds (of course, the first step of spreading, into Laos/Cambodia, goes with Duck and Cover to take Afghanistan too). I also have Korean War to soon get rid off and react in the South Korea immediately.

You will have the ops to invest too.

In any case, if I find myself having an extra op to spend, I'll take Lebanon, no matter the DEFCON, to threaten scoring Middle East domination (assuming +2 USA starting influence into Iran) or just presence against no score and forcing you to either bite this bullet or spend the entire action round couping Lebanon (which I am ready to give up if I can threaten dominating Asia in return which I probably can).

I guess that if you play USA and you don't want to end Early War being crippled in both VPs and the board, you can't just minimize your risk. The Mid War is designed to allow you repairing this damage but American events which are DEFCON suicides for the USSR are an important part of this balance. If you remove the worst of them for good, you must take a little risk to get a nice compensation in return.
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Riku Riekkinen

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2015, 09:36:08 am »
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I would headline CIA, since there is no other good headline (2 OPs is a bit much at the start). Indo-Pakistan is also good for actual use or saved next round (=2VP for MIL OPs + possibly 2VPs for war and maybe a real use)

1 into Pakistan is a decent option, just a couple things to think about: If you fail to get an influence in Pakistan on your counter play (via coup or Indo-Pak), then Soviets can coup Iran on the next AR to knock you out of the region (especially good if you had used a coup because then they would lower Defcon to 2).

My advice is not to over think worst cases in strategies. It leads to too careful play. Just trust the odds and eventually you will win (or I will win at least  :P )
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trevaur

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 04:19:46 pm »
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Hey Riku, so you're saying that you would headline CIA created and place the one influence in Pakistan, instead of Afghanistan? If that's true, can you please elaborate? I just don't see it, Afghanistan just seems so much more reliable to me.


P.S. I just want to say that your posts on BGG inspired me to become a much better player, so thank you for that.
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MarlesChartel

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2015, 06:35:36 pm »
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If you go into Pakistan, then each side has 1 chance to coup. Since you started out with marginally more influence, you'll have the advantage. If you go into Afghanistan, you have no such advantage.

Also, since you have Indo-Pakistani War in hand, it's better to 'force the issue.' If he coups Pakistan and succeeds by a lot, you can play indo-pakistani war before he gets a chance to secure any neighboring countries. In contrast, if you go for Afghanistan and he eventually comes out on top, he'll move into pakistan with control of afghanistan and iran already.
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budzo

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Re: US opening hand problem
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2015, 11:27:07 am »
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Come on.

Its a great hand plenty of ideas :P

U can headline Nuclear Test Ban for quick 3 vps :)

Well... with more consisent plays id consider headlining Korean War like if he coups Iran u take South Korea even with Korean War succeded. I think it is worth considering against CIA headline.

With CIA headline i would go to Afghanistan than Pakistan. Perhaps while having Indo-Pak it seems good idea to move Pakistan and then play event but it gives u only 50% chance while chances for ussr to have good coup are better. If u dont win the war ur in a bit of trouble i think. Even with low coup u can recoup Pakistan and be hit with decol/destal/vietnam (since u dont have any of them its a good chance for it).

Decol to Burma Algieria, Thailand, Indonesia can be extremaly painful.
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