Flash of Steel header image 2

Twilight Struggle: A Primer

May 31st, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 3 Comments · AARTwiStr

Twilight Struggle is relatively new to me, and probably very new to many readers, so I’ll add explanation wherever I can.

First, the basics. The game has ten turns, each turn marked by “phases” – i.e., each player takes turn playing cards. Every card has a point value (from 1 to 4) and an event description. Events can be American, Soviet or Neutral. When you play a card, you have a choice of whether to play it as the point value (which you spend on influence in nations bordering lands you already have influence in) or as an event. If you play an enemy event as influence points (or a coup), the event will fire in any case. So you need to be careful when you spend those hostile points. Plus, the best events for your side often have higher influence value. But you can’t have your cake and liberate it, too. You need to choose.

Scoring is mostly derived from regional control. Some nations are special “battleground” states, worth more in the tally of who is “winning” the Cold War. You can gain points in the space race, through events and by meeting minimum required military operations (events and coups.) Scoring can happen at any time in a turn, most importantly when someone plays a regional scoring card. If you have a scoring card in your hand, you MUST play it some time in that turn. So you need to play the card when it most helps you, if you can. Sometimes the fates conspire against you.

There is an element of luck here, of course. All games with cards and dice have luck. But sound planning is really necessary. You can’t simply respond to your opponent’s aggression in one region, but you also can’t just let walk over Southeast Asia unmolested.

We’ll explain more as we go.

Now on to turn one.


3 Comments so far ↓