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Old 10-20-2012, 08:19 AM   #3
SolemnGolem's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Default Re: Twilight Struggle?

It seems like there are several mechanics that work in... odd... ways. Perhaps they were mechanics that the creators had not initially intended, but decided were acceptable evolutions of the game direction.

1. The powers on most of the cards - even friendly or neutral cards - are generally less useful than the OPs. Most hostile card effects can be counteracted or neutralized just by playing the card for OPs.

2. The most dangerous cards in the game are typically the 1 OP hostile cards, because they are usually useless for Space Race.

3. Space Race is very rarely used. Even a bad card which could be burned for the Space Race would have to be really horrible in order to use it for that. The further you get along the Space Race, the more demanding the OP requirements are, and thus the more exclusive it becomes. The minor advantage in dodging a hostile card's power is usually not as great as the advantage of simply eating the power and then spending the OP to rebalance. The Space Race square that allows "two Space Race cards per turn" is actually a poison pill, because it means two turns with no OP activity on the board instead of one.

4. Realignments are not nearly as useful as Coups. On the first turn it behooves both sides to rush the DEFCON meter to 2 as soon as possible, and from then on it behooves the Soviets to keep it there forever, thus preventing the US from battlefield Coups, and encouraging a minor stream of VPs.

5. For Influence, the best cards are the ones that allow a scattering of 1- or 2- influence points in a number of regions regardless of connectivity. These are best played early in the turn so more conventional OP-based influence can build off that.

6. One of the worst possible handicaps is to be left without a chance to spend OP in an action phase. Allowing your enemy even two consecutive unbroken action phases is a huge disadvantage.

I get the impression that the designers of the game had a certain goal in mind and the process of the design resulted in unexpected mechanics surfacing, which reversed or negated some of those goals. I could be wrong though.

They admitted it was their first game design ever, and it shows - not necessarily in a bad way either. Just in a way that the game supports several ways of playing it which seem at odds with the apparent initial focus of the card powers and the various other pieces of the game board.

I have, needless to say, been playing the game obsessively the past week.

Last edited by SolemnGolem; 10-20-2012 at 08:26 AM.
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