Are you good enough at Twilight Struggle to enter a tournament?


GG Berbatov - there was never a moment when I didn’t feel behind. Good luck in the finals!


I agree. If I’d made the finals I was thinking of taking a lot of screenshots manually, but yeah I sure wish one could export positions, replays, game logs, etc.



A lack of easy text log is definitely my number one gripe with the steam version. Even a way to expand all turns at once would be helpful in writing up some of these games…

GG again Brian. I’m considering writing up a report of the game (if that’s okay with you)…


Go for it :-)


Congratulations to @Berbatov and @jeromeymartin for making it to the finals of the @TwilightStruggleTournament.

You guys may start the game whenever you are ready. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the finals. Good luck!


Congratulations @Berbatov and @jeromeymartin!

Since it’s the finals, I too would love to see some sort of play-by-play if you guys have the bandwidth to do it.


Yeah there are some times when I think a single die roll has too much sway over the game: war rolls, first coup or two of the game, quagmire/beartrap. Getting a ‘1’ compared to a ‘6’ for that first coup is a MASSIVE shift for the entire rest of the game.

I’m thinking the game could stand to adopt the Blood Bowl reroll system, which works fantastically for retaining the element of chance while allowing players to tactically mitigate being ruined by a freak roll. Each TS player could get 2 rerolls for the entire game, which could be used on any kind of roll.

And possibly an opening hand redeal system. Both players secretly commit if they want a redeal then reveal their decision to each other. If neither want one, play proceeds. If both want one, redeal happens for both players. If only one wants one, redeal happens for both players but the one who wanted it has to forfeit 2 VP to his opponent.


Any updates on the game progress for us in the peanut gallery? :)


The game is currently in the middle of Turn 6; I hesitate to comment too much on a game in progress, but I’ll (actually) try and throw a turn-by-turn report together at the end of the game :)


Thanks! Any possibility of a screenshot with the cards cropped out?


Sure thing. This is the current game state:


Looks, um, pretty good for communism right now…


Indeed it does. Berbatov won at the end of turn 7 with Africa Scoring.

I never really got a good turn under my belt and got wrong-footed early in the game. Never quite recovered from it, unfortunately.

GG to Berbatov and congratulations!


Mazel Tov, Berba Tov


Congrats @Berbatov!


Thanks to all, and gg @jeromeymartin! I’m working on compiling a AR by AR breakdown, but the steam app doesn’t exactly make it easy. I’ll post some turn-by-turn thoughts instead, with turn 1 below and the rest to follow:

Turn 1
I drew Europe and MidEast Scoring, Soc Govs, Marshall Plan, UN Intervention, Olympic Games, Nasser, and Decolonization (!).

  • With two scoring cards, my normal move would be to punt Europe at 0VP and use the ops elsewhere, but the combination of Soc Govs and UN Intervention to remove Marshall Plan until turn 3 at the earliest left me confident that I could secure Domination. The opportunity cost was going to be large, though; I was going to use my only 3 and 4 ops cards before AR2, and would need to play the China Card if I wanted to hold Decol for a safer moment…

  • I headlined Socialist Govs and ran headlong into a Containment headline. If I had known this was going to come, I may have opted for a safer plan, but I was committed at this point. Marshall Plan (w/UN Intervention) on AR 1 rolled a 6 (!), putting Italy at 0/5, and allowing me to control Spain/Portugal with Olympic Games in AR2 and score Europe Domination in AR3. I dropped ME scoring in AR6 for +2 vps (before jeromeymartin had secured a non-battleground).

  • When not couping Iran (or failing) as the USSR, I frequently like to keep Defcon at 4 or 3 in order to dissuade the US from rapid expansion in Asia. This led to some irregular coups from the US to lower Defcon to 2, including a coup removing 3 influence from North Korea (forcing the China Card from my hand) and a coup removing 2 influence from Cuba post-Fidel.


Congratulations @Berbatov and thanks for the write up, and the write ups to come!


Turn 2

  • Here my luck really started to kick in. I drew Destalinization, NATO, Warsaw Pact, and De Gaulle to go with my held DeCol to provide an incredibly strong hand. I drew Asia Scoring, but with these cards in hand I felt I could easily fight to a draw there.

  • My luck continued as, at Defcon 3, I led with Decolonization (considering taking Thailand in AR1 and concede the battleground coup) and found Duck and Cover. With a play of NATO in AR1, I secured Thailand, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, and Laos/Cambodia before T2AR1 for the US.

  • Asia eventually scored at 0, as I managed to control South Korea and sit comfortably on 3 battlegrounds. AR6 was Destal into all 4 South American battlegrounds; given my dominant position in Africa (4 battlegrounds to 0), I was feeling very confident about the Midwar - if I could consolidate South America successfully.

Turn 3

  • Here, I made my first mistake and squandered a bit of additional luck. After drawing Red Scare/Purge, I threw it into the headline, despite consciously considering the possibility of Defectors… and thinking actively about how I was going to play CNS for the event anyway. A bad move that wasted one of the better cards in the game.

  • Up until this point, I did not have a single battleground in the Middle East and, somewhat fortunately, had only given up 2VPs as a result. AR1 was a coup into Libya, where I could sit, comfortable with giving up some small VPs in the Middle East while pursuing larger gains in the Mid War regions.

  • I controlled Africa this turn by pouring 4 ops into South Africa, in anticipation of a potential Turn 4 scoring card. Jeromeymartin was in a difficult situation; he had few avenues to stop me, and explored some, including seizing a number of 1 stability battlegrounds in an attempt to deny control. If he had been luckier with the timing of the card, this might have paid off.

Turn 4

  • I headlined Brezhnev Doctrine, and lost WWBY to Missile Envy in the Headline. The US couped Brazil, and was very unlucky (rolling a 2) to not successfully control the country. To add insult to injury here, my headline meant that I could control with Missile Envy. A rather fortunate outcome.

  • Without battleground coups as an option, the US successfully realigned Chile and Argentina, and would take Uruguay and Argentina. His luck ran out, though, in Africa, and I had the time to overcontrol the battlegrounds and control key non-battlegrounds to avoid any issues.

  • For the running tally of power cards that I drew (RS/P, both De-cards), I also drew VoA here and happily punted it into space. Turn 4 ended at VP -2.

Turn 5

  • The headlines once again broke decisively in favor of the USSR; a Soviet headline of Junta ran into CIA, allowing me to steal the battleground coup and see one of the only ways I could quickly lose exit the deck.

  • I drew Central and South America scoring this turn; I was ahead in each, but not decisively, and another turn to consolidate my gains would have been welcome. With Jeromeymartin knowing my hand, I had to press on both fronts, in hopes of scoring domination in at least one.

  • With the heat on in both, the US elected to play Five Year Plan for the event and roll the dice. He pulled neither scoring card, however, and I played CA Scoring for -5 immediately after (VP now -7). I was forced to Bear Trap myself, allowing the US to break domination in South America before I could continue, but I lost only one AR and denied the US the chance to use Nuclear Subs (and likely break Africa domination). SA scored at -1 (-8), and JP2 broke Europe Domination before Europe scored at 0. US AR7 was a Truman Doctrine play that left Poland at 2/0. The turn ended with VPs at -10 after subtraction for Mil Ops.

Turn 6

  • With VPs at -10, and Africa as the only unscored region, I knew that I could take a decisive lead if I held on in Africa for a turn (or maybe 2). The headlines broke this time for the US, as I used Soc Govs to irritate in Europe while he played Colonial Rear Guards to open up problems in Algeria, Nigeria, and Zaire. In what can only be described as very unlucky, though, I held Duck and Cover (VP -7), and played AR1 into all three, controlling all 3 again.

  • At this point, there was no misdirection from either side - Africa Control would mean a win (or just about), and anything else would keep the game going. AR1 from the US was 4 points into Nigeria to control a 4/2, but I had been dealt another lucky hand (and yet another power card), and played ABM treaty immediately to put Nigeria at 0/6.

  • With few other options, the US attempted realignments at less-than-favorable odds for most of the rest of the turn, and Willy Brandt (-1) and SEA Scoring (-2) came out, along with a US space race, to put the VPs at -9.

  • My AR7 was one of the more difficult decisions I made during the game. I had spaced Puppet Governments (to avoid any chance of a wild country-number swing in Africa) and was holding Grain Sales (to space in Turn 7 to avoid ever having to worry about that horror of a card). My final card was Ask Not…, normally an ideal play in T6 AR7, allowing him to discard a mere card or two that would be reshuffled. But Africa Scoring was still missing, and we had both played the entire turn as if it sat in his hand. I rolled the dice, spacing Ask Not (I still had the ability to space twice), and was fairly disappointed to see OAS Founded come next, realigning Algeria to 1/0.

Turn 7

  • My copious luck continued; a US Brush War headline rolled a 3 (-1) in Nigeria, and his last and best chance of breaking Africa Control disappeared. The turn led to some coups back and forth around Algeria, before the US was unfortunate enough to see three even alignments remove 0 influence. The opportunity had passed, and Africa Scoring came in AR7 to end the game.

All in all, I’d say I was rather fortunate throughout the finals. Both my card draws, my inadvertently appropriate headlines, and, to some degree, my dice rolls were rather favorable and contributed significantly to the win. The timing of the scoring cards played in my favor as well, and favored my playing style; I sought to gain decisive board position in the Mid War regions rather than try and fight to more than a draw in the Early War. It may not have made any difference, but I felt that some of the US investment into the Middle East during the Early War was more than was necessary, given the difficulty of truly scoring big in the region. Still, I had to be lucky enough to draw both De- cards, and once I did and seized Thailand, Algeria, the Angola/Zaire axis, and was first into South America, I felt that only an impressive ability to make scoring cards disappear would keep the US in the game. Well played @jeromeymartin; I suspect I may have been lucky to get away with this one. And thanks all for participating and/or following along!


Congrats @Berbatov on the tournament win! You have earned a $50 gift certificate from GMT through their kind donation. I will get in touch with them to make this happen.

And thanks for the excellent writeup!


Congrats @Berbatov! I’d like to run another tournament when time permits, but it won’t be until January at the earliest.