News Shop
Events Chat

Twilight Struggle

Just started learning it on Steam. Any tips for a beginner / anybody here up for some games?

There are really good strategy discussions and guides about the game on boardgamegeek.

1 Like
  • On the first couple of turns it feels like you have a ton of options. Most of those are false choices. There are only a few regions that influence really matters in, especially early. IIRC, it’s mostly the middle east areas.
  • You want to exploit Defcon as much as possible. Try to never let your opponent be the last one to coup by letting them start a turn at defcon 3.
  • USSR controls the tempo due to turn order.
  • Early game favors the USSR a lot, late game favors the US. Play aggressively early as the USSR and defensively as the US.
  • Read all of the cards and understand them before trying to play, so that you know what the strategies are and what your opponent’s options probably are.
1 Like

Early game strat:

Play opponent’s one-shot events, don’t play your own one-shot events. This includes the headline phase.

Ideally, you want to never discard for space race.

Hold or UN key cards like Destalinization and Decolonialization, but everything else can just be played and dealt with. Note that the US has no early war cards that need to be avoided, but using UN on something recurring is still good since it gives you more draws for the power/4AP cards.

1 Like

Much appreciated everybody

Does anybody have the Steam version, and want to get some games in?

A bit late to the party, but I’m definitely up for some (ideally asynchronous) games if you (or anyone else) still are!

Also, some additional strategy thoughts:

  • In the first turn the most important thing is the Iran-Pakistan connection. Whoever ends up with Pakistan is in a very good position to dominate Asia. And the dynamics here are quite interesting: for example, don’t place Influence in Pakistan at DEFCON 4, because a successful coup can lock you out of western Asia (since you won’t be able to coup back).
  • Beginners tend to overvalue events, and as a result play too many of their own events (rather than using them for ops) and send too many enemy cards to space (rather than eating the event and getting the ops in exchange). Remember that even if an enemy event adds more influence somewhere (say) than the ops value you get out of the card, you get to use the ops in whatever the most important place on the map is, and so can often make doing so a better deal than spacing the card.
  • Learn the intricacies of DEFCON suicide: the cards that can cause it, and also the rules. The important newbie gotcha is that it’s whoever’s action round (or headline) it is when DEFCON goes to 1, that’s the one who loses. So if USSR plays CIA Created as his action, allowing the US to conduct 1 ops, and the US makes a battleground coup lowering DEFCON to 1, it’s the USSR who loses, and not the US, because it was the USSR’s turn.
  • For very strong enemy cards/events, it can be worth waiting until Turn 3 or 7 to space them, because those are the turns when the mid/late war cards get added to the deck, so it’ll be a long time (or never) before you see them again.
  • Twilight Strategy has some great strategy info, and TwiStrug has all the card images