Flash of Steel header image 2

Twilight Struggle Turn Two

June 1st, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 2 Comments · AARTwiStr

If you missed Turn One, you should read that so you can see where we were. If you already read it and forgot what happened, I can summarize. Bruce is killing me in Europe.

On to the second turn.


Headline: USSR Suez Crisis (-1 Israel, -2 France, -1 UK)

USA: CIA created (event). USSR hand revealed

USSR hand

Korean War
5-Year Plan
Duck and Cover
Vietnam Revolts
Arab-Israeli War

Troy: So now Bruce knows what I have, and what I have are some pretty lame cards. Containment gives the US +1 on all influence points for the turn, so I can only use that in the Space Race if I don’t want to get hurt. I also have the US Event cards Duck and Cover and Defectors, both of which give the US victory points. Nice, huh? The Five Year Plan card isn’t much better since it costs me a card to play.

Bruce: The most important thing I learned here is that Troy has Vietnam Revolts. That means I will be instigating a coup in Vietnam this turn. It’s just a question of when.

Because the US doesn’t have influence adjacent to the interior SE Asian countries right now, the only way for me to get in there (without the painful, phase-by-phase process of closing in, one country at a time) is via coup. Vietnam has a stability of 1. That gives me a good shot at toppling the government without using a high-value card.
Action Phase 1

USSR: Containment (3) into Space Race. Die roll = 6 fails

Troy: First things first. I could, I suppose have saved this card to near the end of my round, but as long as it is in my hand it’s a threat. The Five Year Plan could fire this card off, giving Bruce just the points he needs to win this thing. And I don’t even get into space.

USA: Indo-Pakistani War (2) for Realignment. US gets 2 Realignment rolls.

Iraq: USA rolls 4 (+1) = 5 USSR rolls 1. USSR influence drops to zero.

Austria: USA rolls 4, USSR rolls 6. No effect.

Bruce: This is going to be a weird turn, because we both know that there is no chance of having a scoring round this turn. All three Early War scoring cards came up in Turn 1. So I’m kind of at a loss. I don’t want to go into Africa too early, because putting influence in countries with a stability of “1” is just inviting your opponent to flip them with a coup. I’m not a big fan of realignment rolls, but if I can knock Troy out of Iraq, he will be cut off and have to first go through Israel to be adjacent and place influence there. I have two adjacent controlled countries, so I get a +2 die roll modifier. Troy gets +1 for having more influence in Iraq than I do. So I get a bonus. I can’t gain any influence through realignment – only reduce that of my opponent. Which in this case is fine.

Austria is a wash because while I have two controlled, adjacent countries, Troy has one, plus a bonus for having more influence there. It did not occur to me that East Germany was adjacent to Austria. I know – it is a game and that is how it is. Plus, I already announced the rolls, so what can I do? This was not a very successful turn. I think I’m losing my edge.

Action Phase 2:

USSR: Five-Year Plan (3) for Influence (USSR must discard Arab-Israeli War) +2 Israel, +1 Austria

Troy: The Arab-Israeli War card isn’t a lot of good if Israel is in play, so I don’t mind losing it to spend 3 points. I get influence in Israel in any case, plus a point to support our comrades in Vienna.

USA: Nuclear Test Ban (4) for 3 VP and the Defcon Level goes up.

Bruce: Nuclear Test Ban is a 4-ops card. However, the Defcon is 5, and the associated event (playable for either side) gives you VP equal to the Defcon level minus 2. So that’s the maximum I can get for it. With the US already at +11 VP on turn 2, there is a very real chance I could win this by automatic victory (getting to +20 VP) if I play this right. So the VP instead of the ops seems like a good move.

Action Phase 3:

USSR: Korean War as event, needs roll of 4-6 for win. Die roll 6 – 1 (for Japan under US control) = 5. USSR gains 2VP and replaces 1 US influence in South Korea with USSR influence. USSR now has 5 influence in South Korea.

Troy: Here’s one for the alternate historian junkies out there. I control both Koreas, but still sponsor a Northern invasion of the South. I need the VPs badly, even though I only have a 1/3 chance of making my roll because of the Japanese. The big thing is that I now have a stranglehold on a battleground state. It’s only a 2 ops card, and there’s no chance of a scoring card this turn. If I am going to get victory points, I’m not going to get them by adding one here or two there. I need to take some action if only to slow Bruce down.

USA: Olympic Games (2) as Coup in Afghanistan (stability 2, x2 = 4). +2 US Milops. Die roll = 2 + 2 ops = 4. 4 – 4 = 0 No effect

Troy: Bruce has gone coup happy. Kissinger would be thrilled.

Bruce: As we saw last turn, being without required Milops can be really bad. I could have used the Olympic Games as an event and taken the +2 modifier to try and extract another 2 VP, and probably should have. But 2 VP gained there is 2 VP lost due to insufficent Milops, and at least with the coup, I get Milops credit whether the coup succeeds or not.

Action Phase 4:

USSR: Vietnam Revolts (2) as Event. +2 Vietnam (control). Remainder of USSR ops in SE Asia this turn are +1.

Troy: This is a big event for me, as we’ll soon see. Southeast Asia has its own one-time only scoring card in the Mid War part of the game, so anything that gets me in the area is a good thing. But I’m nearing the point where I have to play my bad cards – the ones that give Uncle Sam points. So I need to make the most of them.

USA: Romanian Abdication as coup in Vietnam. Event occurs, +1 Romania (control). Die roll = 1 + 1 ops = 2. Stability = 2. No effect

Bruce: I can play this card because I have Independent Reds, which will allow me to match whatever influence Troy ends up with in Romania. I could have used a better card for a larger die roll modifier. But hey, I can only fail if I roll a 1, right? What are the chances of that?

Action Phase 5:

USSR: Defectors (2) as Influence. US gains 1 VP for event. (+1 ops in SE Asia) +2 Thailand, +1 Laos/Cambodia, USSR now controls both.

Troy: This is all about setting the stage for dominance in Asia. The plus one bonus from the Vietnam card gives me both countries and routes to Malaysia and Burma. Then India and Indonesia. Then the world. Too bad about that VP.

USA: Independent Reds as event. +3 Romania (now US 3, USSR 3).

Bruce: So a turn goes by without my increasing my Space Race lead, although I further infiltrate E. Europe. I don’t feel very good about this turn, despite having increased my VP lead. My position is pretty tenuous, and I just now noticed that I forgot to redress my position in France. I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me.

Action Phase 6:

USSR: Duck and Cover as influence, event fires. Defcon to 3. US gains 2 VP. +2 Burma, +2 Malaysia.

USA: East European Unrest as Influence. +3 India (control).

Troy: This one hurts me. Duck and Cover increases the Defcon level to 3 and then does some math to give Bruce 2 more VPs. Bad. But now I own Southeast Asia. The problem is that all these Yankee VPs are adding up. Whatever inroads I’ve made this turn will need to wait for the next scoring card and even then they will likely show a stalemate. By adding India and Japan to the American column, even my stronghold of Asia has some problems. The SE Asia scoring card is still at least two turns away, but I need to keep Bruce from getting four more victory points.

Bruce: I was going to use this as a one-two punch with Independent Reds and really hammer Troy in Europe, but I can’t afford that luxury right now. I just used Indo-Pakistani War at the beginning of this turn, so I know it won’t be back for a while. Thus, I’m pretty comfortable with my control of those two countries. The problem is the rest of Asia . Right now, Troy is one Battleground country away from dominating it. Troy controls eight countries to my four, but we each have three Battlegrounds. If I hadn’t taken India in this phase, and Troy were to draw the Asia scoring card next turn (we will be reshuffling the discards back into the draw pile for sure, as we will run out of cards) he could hit me for another 5 VP by playing Asia scoring as a headline card.

Milops: Defcon is 3. US 3 – 3 = 0. USSR 2 – 3 = -1. +1 VP to US

CURRENT VP TOTAL: +16 USA (+20 is an automatic win.) Here is where we stand at the moment.

Troy: This looks bleak, but a lot depends on the breaks. The next hand will need a reshuffle of the Early War deck, so some nice cards might pop-up to help me. The funny thing is that the score is more lopsided than the map would indicate. Europe is still pretty much a draw, the Middle East is only marginally American and Asia looks pretty Red once you get past India. The score reflects when the scoring cards are played, not actual or inevitable control. At this point, even if I owned Asia, Bruce could play a MidEast scoring card first and get very close to winning it all. Like a lot of card games, it’s about when as much as about what.

Bruce: That’s a pretty good summing up. I’ll just let you all enjoy it.

On to turn three.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Jason Matthews

    Really great blow-by-blow guys. When you’ve wrapped up the game, please be sure to post a link to the TS page on Board Game Geek. Your back and forth makes for a very nice example of play, and I think would be very instructive to new players.

    Thanks again,


  • Natus

    Own it, and have yet to play. This detailed AAR will be incredibly useful, methinks.