Extended Example of Play

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Level Up Your Gaming Experience with This Exciting Play Example

Hey there! Ready for some serious gaming action? Well, you’re in the right place! I’m here to show you an extended example of a thrilling play that will take your gaming experience to a whole new level. So, grab your controller and let’s dive right in!

Imagine this: you’re a fearless warrior in a mystical realm filled with magical creatures and treacherous dungeons. Your mission is to rescue a captured princess and restore peace to the land. Sounds epic, right? But the path to victory won’t be easy.

As you venture into the unknown, you’ll encounter fierce enemies at every turn. Goblins, trolls, and dragons will stop at nothing to defeat you. But fear not! With your trusty sword and quick reflexes, you’re more than a match for any foe.

But it’s not just about battling enemies. Along the way, you’ll discover hidden treasures and powerful artifacts that will aid you on your quest. These magical items will boost your strength, enhance your abilities, and give you the edge you need to succeed.

As the story unfolds, you’ll face challenging puzzles and traps that will test your problem-solving skills. You’ll need to think outside the box, use your wits, and adapt to new situations. But don’t worry, every victory will bring you one step closer to saving the princess.

But the real beauty of this game lies in its immersive world. The stunning graphics and captivating soundtrack will transport you to a fantastical realm like no other. You’ll feel the wind on your face as you ride your trusty steed across sprawling landscapes, and you’ll be dazzled by the colorful magic that surrounds you.

And let’s not forget the multiplayer mode! Grab your friends and embark on this epic adventure together. Work as a team to defeat powerful bosses, share your discoveries, and celebrate your victories. There’s nothing quite like the bond formed through a shared gaming experience.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to level up your gaming experience and embark on this thrilling adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the world of gaming, this play example has something for everyone.

So, grab your controller, and let’s embark on the journey of a lifetime!

Let me share with you an exciting game that Chris Withers and Stefan Mecay played. They decided not to use any optional cards during this round.

Now, here’s an interesting twist. Chris and Stefan bid for sides, and Chris ended up winning the bidding war. He chose to play as the Soviets. As for Stefan, he took the underdogs and chose to play as the US. But because Stefan bid higher, his US side begins the game with an advantage of four additional Influence Points. These points can only be used to influence countries that are eligible for US Influence during the game setup.

Now, let me explain how you can keep track of the game. After each action, the number of Influence Points in a country is displayed in parenthesis. The number before the slash represents the US influence, while the number after the slash represents the USSR influence. If a number is bold and has a “C” next to it, it means that side has control over that country.

Soviet Setup: Chris placed 4 Influence Points in Poland (0/4C), 1 Influence Point in East Germany (0/4C), and 1 Influence Point in Yugoslavia (0/1).

US Setup: I send 2 IP to West Germany (2/0), 4 IP to Italy (4C/0), and 1 IP to France (1/0). As a bonus bid, I add 1 IP to Iran (2C/0), 2 IP to France (3C/0), and 2 IP to West Germany (4C/0).

This is a typical setup. However, please note that you should decide where to place your starting influence after you assess your starting hand. The Soviets have already secured Poland and East Germany. They have also placed 1 Influence in Yugoslavia to threaten Italy and Greece. That 1 IP is always a risk, as it can be flipped by Independent Reds.

My strategy is to prevent the Soviets from having obvious first coup opportunities by reinforcing Iran with the bid IPs. Additionally, I have strengthened the US position in Western Europe, so if the European Scoring Card is played initially, the US will dominate.

Turn 1

Headline Phase

Soviet: I play the “olympic games” card (2 Ops).

Me: I have zero operational points in mideast.

During this phase, both of us will choose a card from our hands. The action described on the card will be carried out. The card with the most operational points will be implemented first. If there is a tie, the US Card takes priority.

Stefan took a gamble by playing the Mideast Scoring card right away. If the Soviets had played a headline card that allowed them to place Influence, they would have likely put it in the Mideast, which would have turned this stealthy move into a potential nightmare.

Unfortunately for Chris, his headline card is not a threat and only brings a few early victory points.

The US gains 4 points for controlling Iran in the Mideast Scoring, while the Soviets win the first post-war Olympics. Overall, the US gains 2 points.

Action Rounds

Alright, folks, let’s start with the first move: The NATO team allocated 4 Operations Points (Ops) to carry out a Coup in Iran. They roll the dice and get a 6! What luck! This means the United States’ influence in Iran doesn’t change (still 0), but the Soviet Union manages to increase its influence by 4! Talk about a power play!

But wait, there’s more! As a consequence of this Coup, the DEFCON level drops to 4. DEFCON, short for Defense Readiness Condition, is a scale that measures the level of tension in the world. The lower the DEFCON level, the more intense things get. It’s like a rollercoaster ride, full of ups and downs!

So, to summarize, in this first round of the USSR’s actions, NATO attempted a Coup in Iran, with the Soviets coming out on top, gaining 4 Military Operations Points (Mil Ops) in the process. And as a result, the DEFCON level now stands at 4. Exciting stuff, isn’t it?

#1: At the beginning of the game in Europe and the upper Middle East.

This is the classic first move. Iran is crucial for the US in controlling the Middle East and gaining influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Since the starting position gives an advantage, it requires a strong move to ensure success. Chris takes a risk and rolls the dice, while Truman seems to be unaware of the consequences.

US Turn 1: Formosan Resolution (2 Ops) as Influence points. Adds 1 Influence to Malaysia (1/0) and 1 Influence to Colombia (1/0).

Stefan’s move presents a dilemma for the Soviet player. He is putting pressure on both the vital Asian battleground in Thailand and making moves in South America. Without any interesting events to rely on, the Soviet player can only focus on one problem at a time, possibly through a coup.

Here’s the thing about the South American play: it’s all about planning for the future. But if you want to take control of the game in Twilight Struggle, you’ve got to keep your opponent on their toes. That means it’s not enough to just react to what they do – you’ve got to make them react to you. And that’s exactly what Stefan is trying to do.

USSR Action Round 2: de-Stalinization (3 Ops) is the move. It gives me 1 point each in Chile (0/1), Venezuela (0/1), Thailand (0/1), and Malaysia (1/1) in exchange for taking away 1 point each from Finland (0/0), Yugoslavia (0/0), and 2 points from Iran (0/2).

But here’s the problem for Stefan: Chris saw it coming. He’s ready with a perfect counter. Maybe Chris would have liked to have more control on the board before having to deal with Stefan’s challenge, but he’s not worried. Now Chris is the one calling the shots in South America and Asia.

US Action Round 2: I use 3 Ops of containment to Coup Thailand. I roll a 1, but it has no effect. I gain 3 Mil Ops, and DEFCON drops to 3.

Well, that was a big swing and a miss. The Americans really missed a golden opportunity here. Despite the ongoing coup threat and the DEFCON level, the Soviets decided to make a move into Thailand. If the US had succeeded in this operation, it would have significantly strengthened their position in Asia. India and Pakistan would have definitely taken notice. But unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be.

Round 3: USSR Action

For their turn, the USSR decides to use 3 Ops to increase their influence points. They add 1 influence point to Thailand (0/2C), Venezuela (0/2C), and Afghanistan (0/1).

However, this setback in Thailand actually gives Chris, representing the Americans, a chance to consolidate his position there and in South America. It’s a bit of a bumpy start for the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Round 3: US Action

Now it’s time for the US to make their move. They use the UN Intervention card (2 Ops) and play the Fidel event (2 Ops). The US attempts a coup in Venezuela, but unfortunately, they roll a 1, resulting in no effect. On the bright side, the US gains 2 Military Ops points, but the DEFCON level drops to 2.

Wow, do I need to fire someone at the CIA! I mean, seriously, they just can’t get things right. It’s like they’re playing a game of chess and losing every single move. First, they tried to mess with Thailand and ended up getting burned. And now, they’re trying to pull off a coup in Venezuela, but it’s all for nothing. The White House must be having some very uncomfortable meetings right about now.

In the meantime, over in the USSR, things are going great for them. They’re forming alliances left and right, and they’re loving every minute of it. It’s like they’re dancing the mambo while the Americans are stumbling around the dance floor. The Soviets are making big moves in South America and tightening their grip on Southeast Asia. They’re definitely on the winning side of this global game.

US Action Round 4: Europe Scoring (0 Ops). I gain 5 VP, bringing my total to 7.

I’ve been focusing on the Midwar, and it looks like it’s paying off. My position in Europe hasn’t been affected much, so I can easily score 5 points with the Europe Scoring card without any trouble from the Soviets.

USSR Action Round 5: Truman Doctrine (1 Op US) as Influence Points. I’ll use it to add 1 Influence Point to Thailand (0/3C).

Now it’s Chris’s turn to play a US event. Normally, Truman Doctrine could have been problematic for me, as Yugoslavia had Soviet Influence. But fortunately, that Influence Point was already removed earlier because of De-Stalinization. So, even though Chris played the event, it didn’t have any effect and was discarded from the deck.

US Action Round 5: Korean War (2 Ops USSR) as Influence Points. I’ll add 2 Influence Points to South Korea (2/0).

Man, things are really going south for the US. We’ve got this Asian scoring card hanging over our heads, and if Stefan doesn’t step up his game, we’re gonna be in trouble. But you know what? He decides to take a gamble and play the Korean War card, risking it all. And guess what? Luck is on his side this time with a roll of “1”. The North Korean invasion doesn’t even faze him. So, now Hyundai and Samsung can breathe a sigh of relief because their future is looking bright. And to make things even better, the US player decides to seize the opportunity and start building his own damn wall.

My Turn: Round 6 in the USSR

So, it’s my turn again, and this time I have DeGaulle leading France with 3 influence points. I’m thinking about where to use those points strategically. Afghanistan and Pakistan seem like good options.

I have this feeling that the US player might have the Asian scoring card. That’s why I’m a bit worried. I need to stay on top of things and not let my guard down.

Stefan played a move in Korea that caught my attention. Now, I’m concerned that he might be planning something in Asia. That’s why I decided to attack Pakistan. It could be vulnerable, and I need to protect my interests.

On top of that, Europe Scoring has already been played, so the appeal of using President De Gaulle as an event play is not as strong anymore.

US Turn: Round 6

CIA Is Created!

Now it’s the US player’s turn. One op is all they have, thanks to the CIA being created. They decide to use it to add 1 influence point to Jordan.

Things are getting interesting. Let’s see what happens next.

I’m heading back to the Middle East, and I’ve decided to start my journey in Jordan. I’ve purposely kept my plans hush-hush because I want to spring a surprise on the Soviet player. The CIA Created card is a real game-changer, especially when played at the start of my turn. It’s all about maximizing the intelligence I gather, you know?

Turn 2

(DEFCON is now 3, and both players have met the Military Operations requirements with no lost points.)

Headline Phase

Soviet: Red Scare (4 Operations).

US: Indo-Pakistani War (2 Operations).

Red Scare/Purge is a real game-changer and is almost always played as a headline card if you have it. Chris has it and wants to make things equally tough for the Americans in turn two. This means the US will lose 1 operation point from every card played this turn.

Stefan is still paying close attention to Asian Scoring. By playing Indo-Pakistani War first, he can make that scoring card something to look forward to rather than fear.

Unfortunately, the American efforts fall a bit short. The modifiers on Indo-Pakistani War decrease the die roll by 1 for each friendly-controlled country adjacent to the target.

I’m taking a big risk here. I decide to go all-in and support Pakistan, even though it means giving up Soviet Influence in exchange for American influence. The problem is, Iran and Afghanistan are already under the USSR’s control. I know I need some lucky dice rolls to pull this off. I roll the dice and hope for a 6. But I only get a 5. Well, at least I get two Military Operations out of it.

What Happens Next?

USSR Action Round 1: I’m making a move in the Arab-Israeli War by trying to Coup Panama. I roll a 5, the US influence is at 0, and Soviet Influence is 2. This means I gain 2 Military Operations, and DEFCON drops to 2.

I’m focused on a big win in the Midwar. After the first turn, I can sense an opportunity in Latin America to strengthen my position. If I can establish a power base there, it would put the Americans in a tough spot. The calls for the Yankees to leave get louder and louder down south. By launching a coup immediately and bringing DEFCON down to two, I also prevent the US from targeting a battleground country for their coup.

US Action Round 1: I’m going to use my Five Year Plan card, which gives me 2 Influence points to play with. I choose to add 2 to Saudi Arabia, making it 2/0.

As I continue my rebuilding efforts in the Middle East, I am aware of the potential consequences if I allow Chris to shut me out of this region.

During the USSR Action Round 2: I focus on Asia Scoring, which doesn’t require any Operations. This leads to a gain of 6 Victory Points, bringing my total to 1.

Looking back, I realize the importance of my move to secure Pakistan. If I had succeeded, it would have greatly impacted the outcome of this turn. Now, the positioning of the gameboard and the accumulation of victory points are starting to align in favor of the Soviets.

Now, it’s time for the US Action Round 2: I use 1 Operation Point to play the Romanian Abdication card. This allows me to place an Influence point in Saudi Arabia, increasing it to 3C/0.

I’m in a bit of a predicament here. You see, I’ve just given Chris Romania (0/3C), and it’s not really a big deal for Europe. But here’s the twist – I gained control of a key country in the Middle East. It’s kind of a fair trade, I guess. At least Red Scare can’t do much damage with just 1 Op.

USSR Action Round 3: Decolonization (2 Ops): I play this card. I add 1 influence to Burma (0/1), Angola (0/1C), Nigeria (0/1C), and Algeria (0/1).

I’ve already put the Americans in a tough spot. Now it’s time for me, the Soviet player, to make their dilemma even worse. The Americans are already struggling in Latin America, so why not add Africa to their troubles? Decolonization is a crucial card for me, and it’s one I hope to see in my hand instead of the Americans’.

Chris has made a good move here by playing this card while DEFCON is at 2. This means he can add influence to African battleground states with weak stability without worrying about immediate counter-coups from the US.

US Action Round 3: Socialist Governments (2 Ops modified – USSR) on the Space Race. I roll a die and get a result of 1. I add 2 VP, bringing my total to 3.

Wow, all the major Early War events have been released, and it seems like they’re all favoring the Soviets. Stefan has really taken a beating already. But he manages to get some satisfaction by sending a few “fellow travelers” from the Italian parliament into space. Since he used the card to advance on the Space Race track, the Soviet event doesn’t come into play.

Round 4 for USSR: The Soviets play Duck and Cover (3 Ops – US), affecting the Space Race. They roll 3 and gain 1 victory point, bringing their total to 2.

Do you know how they say “anything you can do, I can do better” in Russian? “Duck and Cover”! This card can be quite dangerous when DEFCON is low. And on top of that, the US just launched a satellite. Do you really think the Soviets will sit back and do nothing?

Round 4 for US: The US plays Independent Reds (1 Op modified), using it as an Influence point. They add 1 to South Africa, bringing their influence there to 2/0.

In a quiet, subtle manner, Stefan is making a comeback. He took advantage of the Soviets being preoccupied and used his one operation point to make progress in Africa.

USSR Action Round 5: Captured Nazi Scientists (1 Op) as an Influence point. Lebanon now has 1 point (0/1C).

Chris notices that Stefan is gaining ground in the Middle East and decides to respond. However, leaving Captured Nazi Scientists in the deck for Stefan to use later is not a favorable move. Stefan’s strategy clearly had the intended effect.

US Action Round 5: Suez Crisis (2 Ops modified – USSR) as Influence points. France now has 3 points (3C/0).

Let me show you how a skilled player can neutralize a bad move. During the Suez Crisis, the Soviet player (let’s call him Stefan) cleverly goes first and removes 2 influence from France (leaving it with 1/0 influence) and 2 from the UK (reducing it to 3/0).

Although Britain is not immediately at risk, Stefan quickly restores both influences to France. This keeps the balance in Europe stable and eliminates any potential threat to France. However, the danger posed by De Gaulle still remains.

In the USSR’s 6th Action Round: East European Unrest grants 3 Ops (in this case, from the US). These Ops are used to increase influence by 1 in East Germany (making it 0/4C) and by 2 in Iraq (bringing it to 0/3C).

Just like Chris, let’s explore this card and see how it can help me in the Middle East. Unlike Chris, I don’t have to worry about the Red Scare. Instead, I am focused on the valuable oil in the region! I use this card to reduce Stefan’s influence in Romania (0 out of 2), Poland (0 out of 3) and East Germany (0 out of 3). Only the East German point is restored.

In my 6th action round as the US, I choose to utilize the US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact (which has a modified 3 Ops) to add influence points. I add 2 points to France (5 out of 0) and 1 point to South Africa (3C out of 0).

Given the current state of affairs with the Red Scare, it might be tempting to play this card for the event itself. This would secure Japan as a battleground for potential Asian scoring in the next round.

But I never really liked the idea of removing a 4 Op card from the US deck. It just doesn’t feel right, you know? Anyway, I think Stefan made a smart move by focusing on France. With De Gaulle still in the picture and Europe being the only positive thing going for him, it seems like a safe bet. Plus, he’s managed to make some progress in Africa too, which is impressive.

The situation in Europe at the end of Turn 2.

Turn 3

DEFCON increases to 3. Both players meet the Mil Ops requirements without losing any points. The deck is reshuffled.

Headline Phase

US: I play the Marshall Plan card, which allows me to take 4 Ops.

Soviets: Chris plays the Decolonization card and gets 2 Ops.

Ugh, it’s frustrating. Chris managed to get all his big cards, and he even got the Decolonization card twice! But luckily, I have the Marshall Plan which will help me solidify my advantage in Europe. I decide to increase my influence in France (6C/0), West Germany (5C/0), the UK (4/0), Spain (1/0), Greece (1/0), Turkey (1/0), and Benelux (1/0). On the other side, the Soviets bring more comrades to the revolution in Algeria (0/2C), Zaire (0/1C), South Africa (3C/1), and Malaysia (1/2).

Action Rounds

USSR Action Round 1: I play Defectors to Coup Saudi Arabia 32. I roll a 5, which means US influence goes down by 2, and Soviet influence goes up to 0. This gives the Soviets 2 Military Operations, and DEFCON drops to 2. I gain 1 Victory Point, bringing my total to 3.

I’m determined to control the pace of coups, especially since I have some vulnerable states in Africa. Coup attempts on Saudi Arabia using Defectors weren’t all that impactful, as expected. But at least my African holdings remain secure.

US Action Round 1: I initiate the US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact with 4 Ops as Influence points. I add 1 Influence to Saudi Arabia (now at 3C/0), 2 to Egypt (now at 2C/0), and 1 to Greece (now at 2C/0).

Wow, sticking with the US/Japan Mutual Defense Pact has already paid off for me. I just made another move by grabbing Greece, and poor Chris can’t do anything about it right now. My alliance with the Chrysanthemum throne is still waiting in the deck.

But that’s not all! I also took advantage of Chris’ quick move in the first round to sneak some influence into Egypt. Now I’m even stronger in the Middle East.

My turn as the USSR, Round 2: I play the Vietnam Revolts card. It gives me 2 Ops, so I add 2 influence to Vietnam (now 0/2C). I also get +1 Ops in Southeast Asia.

Am I seeing some signs of another scoring card coming up? Should I have played the Defense Pact event earlier? Maybe not. I’ve already surpassed the threshold for dominance in Asia. It seems like a difficult task to secure that last battleground for the US to stay competitive, especially with all the other issues that need immediate attention.

The Situation in Europe during Europe Scoring:

US Action Round 2: I play the Europe Scoring card (0 Ops) and gain 5 VP, bringing my total to 8.

No surprises here. It should have been easy to figure out why I made that move in Greece.

USSR Action Round 3: I play the Socialist Governments card (3 Ops) as Influence points. I add 1 point to Burma (0/2C), Malaysia (1/3C), and 2 points to Laos (0/2C) (including the Vietnam Revolts bonus).

If anyone was wondering, we prioritized Asia Scoring over Europe Scoring this round. Playing the card right after Europe Scoring was not the most strategic move, but Chris knows he won’t have another chance until the Midwar reshuffle, around the start of turn 7.

My play in South East Asia is really helping my standing in both Asia Scoring and the Mid War deck’s South East Asia Scoring card. It’s a win-win situation for me.

As for my actions in Round 3: I decided to play the Olympic Games card (2 Ops) to gain Influence points. I added 2 points to Israel, boosting it to 3/0.

I’m determined to hold on to the Middle East. I might have lost Asia, but I still have a strong foothold in Europe. Latin America and Africa are looking precarious, and if I allow my position in the Middle East to crumble, Chris will definitely come out on top. So, I’m making sure that Israel is well-protected against any potential Arab-Israeli War, and I’m giving it some extra attention and support from the US.

What’s Happening in Asia during Asia Scoring

Round 4: USSR Turn – Asia Scoring (0 Operations). The USSR earns 6 Victory Points, bringing their total to 2.

Once again, it’s no surprise. Chris had already hinted at this move by playing the Vietnam Revolts card. What is surprising, though, is that despite Chris’s skillful gameplay and strong cards, the USSR hasn’t gained any control over Asia on the Victory Point chart – at least not yet.

Round 4: US Turn – Arab-Israeli War (2 Operations) using Influence points. Adds 1 Influence to Israel (4 Control/0 Stability) and 1 Influence to Jordan (2 Control/0 Stability).

I cleverly take advantage of the event’s modifiers using the two ops from the card. With control over Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, it’s impossible for the Soviets to succeed in their die roll. However, they do get 2 Mil Ops out of the deal. It’s a tactical play that not only renders the Soviet event useless but also strengthens my presence in the Middle East.

USSR Action Round 5: I play NATO (4 Ops – US) as Influence points. I add 1 to Syria (0/2C), Brazil (0/2C), and 2 to Chile (0/3C).

The Soviets trigger NATO, but these days, Europe is hardly their target or concern. Instead, they focus on the Middle East and intensify their efforts in South America.

US Action Round 5: I play UN Intervention (2 Ops) and use Blockade (1 Op) as the event. I add 1 influence in Libya (1/0).

Ugh, I really hate keeping blockade in my deck no matter what, but it’s definitely better than playing it. Since blockade has a 1 Ops value, it doesn’t meet the criteria for a Space Race roll. Stefan’s move to Libya shows his intention to dominate the Middle East, rather than just playing defensively. However, Nasser could quickly mess up his position in Egypt.

USSR Action Round 6: Nuclear Test Ban (4 Ops) as Influence points. Adds 1 to Argentina (0/2C) and 3 to Costa Rica (0/3C).

Chris has cleverly prepared himself for an immediate domination scoring of Central America. Gaining control is a real possibility here. If those scoring cards show up early, Stefan will have several challenging turns ahead.

US Action Round 6: Nasser (1 Op – USSR) to Coup Costa Rica. Rolls 5. No Effect. US gains 1 Mil Op.

“I managed to reduce the penalty by half and only lost 1 point. Unfortunately, the price I paid was losing control of Egypt. The Soviets now have 2 Influence in Egypt (out of a maximum of 2), while my influence is reduced to 1.”


So here we are, at the end of Turn 3. But is it really the end? Not quite. I’m not about to spill all the secrets of two of the game’s top players. It’s worth noting, though, that Stefan managed to come out on top in this match when all was said and done. Things took an interesting turn around Turn 5, as luck seemed to shift.

Suddenly, Stefan found his groove and Chris started getting hit with some challenging American events. Now, if you play your cards right, you save those tough events for your opponent when they’re least prepared to handle them. It’s no surprise that Stefan snagged yet another Twilight Struggle Tournament title. He’s got a knack for this game.

I want to give a big shout-out to Chris and Stefan for showing us how to play the game and play it well. I also want to thank the Board Game Player’s Association for organizing this tournament and other similar ones. They really do a fantastic job for all us gamers out there.

Lastly, I want to extend a special thank you to Randy Pippus. He’s a master at Twilight Struggle, and he went above and beyond by giving us a transcript of this final match. It was a huge help to both Ananda and me.

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