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Subject: Some more T/S custom cards (v3.0) rss

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Demetrius Mavrou
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This post is yet another revision of a previous post of mine; In the first version, the cards were too strong and/or imbalanced so since I have been playing T/S many times over the last 2 years, I created a better and more 'modest' set of custom cards. Again, any feedback would be nice

In this post, I have added some suggestions about the cards that could be replaced in the deck, should the following 20 custom cards be part of the game.

Credits to many BGGEEK users and fans that inspired this set (AnimalMother,Prowler,TCGRequiem,JackRudd,SimonAOEC,Jayne Starlancer,Jeibel,fdrpi are some of them).Also, many many thanks to my dear friends Wetton (his ideas and arguments helped a lot) and above all, for designing the whole set; without him, all these ideas would have remained such!


Use the value of this card to conduct operations in Western (US) or Eastern (USSR) Europe. For the remainder of the Turn, opponent cannot add Influence there by the play of Ops. Unplayable as an event in Late War.

comment: this infamous term was coined by Winston Churchill; there has not been a better way to describe the division of Europe - the primary reason the Cold War soon became a stark reality in the post-WWII world.

this is a card that helps players add influence in their own European half. Perhaps it strengthens Marshall Plan and/or Comecon even more, but 4 Ops are too many sometimes to be spent in these sub-Regions.

'An Iron Curtain' could replace: definetely, Nuclear Test Ban; both are 4 Ops-cards, neutral, but this event looks a little more tempting!


US backs the Greek government. Roll the die & subtract 1 for every USSR-controlled country adjacent to Greece. US victory on modified roll 3-6. US adds 2 to his Mil Ops track. Effects of victory: US gains 2 VP & adds sufficient Influence in Greece for Control.

comment: this bitter civil war was essentially the first Cold War conflict; ideology was the motive and the strong left-wing movement was ultimately defeated due to lack of support from the USSR.

reasoning: there are no war cards for the US in the game,so this one could balance the Early War situation a little for them. Yes, Greece is non-BG and of medium importance but this card gives US Mil Ops and VPs. Initially this card was meant to be a neutral one but I changed my mind due to gameplay (no US-war cards as mentioned above) and historical reasons (Yalta Conference and spheres of influence). Plus, since Socialist Governments and Suez Crisis haunt the US this could be a minor help for them in Europe - especially if Marshall Plan and Containment do not show up as expected, and since Brush War is an imminent threat to Italy.

'Greek Civil War' could replace: Formosan Resolution (usually it's not that useful for the US; they rarely trigger the event).


Both players roll the die. Phasing player & player with more Influence in Italy add 1 to their roll. Winner gains 1 VP and adds 1 Influence in Italy. Reroll ties.

comment: the 1948 Italian Elections were very critical since the Communist Party stood a very good chance to take power - not by revolution or coup but in the most democratic way.

reasoning: Italy is the least stable BG in Europe, so this card gives US the chance to consolidate his power; also,it gives USSR the 50-50 chance of hope of getting there early on. Perhaps it' s more helpful for the US but it's not bad for the USSR either.

'Italian Election year' could replace: the incredibly boring (and yet, very dangerous in terms of Headlining) Olympic Games!


Playable as an event only if 'CIA created' has already been played.
Remove 1 USSR Influence from Iran , then add 2 US Influence. US may make 2 free Realignments in the Middle East, ignoring all possible losses. Cannot be played as an event in Late War.

comment: Operation Ajax was one of the most infamous covert CIA operations in history, overthrowing the elected Iran president Mossadegh and securing the interests of the oil companies.

reasoning: Middle East is pretty much 'unrealistic': very few good things happen for the US and this card could slow down the inevitable for a while. In addition, sometimes 'CIA created' is untimely played (by either player) so Operation Ajax is an attempt to put it in an equal foot with Lone Gunman.

'Operation Ajax' could replace: well it's hard to say, but my suggestion is 'Independent Reds' because the US really needs much help in the Middle East, plus 'Truman Doctrine' is much more helpful in the 3 Western BGs.


If played by the USSR as an event: US reveals Held Cards this Turn. If played by the US: US uses the Ops value of this card, then put this card to the discard pile.

comment: KGB, the main security agency of the USSR and counterpart of the CIA, is one of the Cold War legends; to the world, something like an invisible organization that had infiltrated all around the globe.

reasoning: KGB is one of the first names that come in mind when the talk is about Cold War so in my opinion it should be in the game. I know I am not the only one I also know that there are already some spy cards in the game so I added restrictions. I think it adds much to game strategy.

'KGB created' could replace: undoubtedly, 'The Cambridge Five'-or there would have been too many spy cards for the USSR!


The China Card cannot be played this Turn. Its holder can reverse this effect at any time by removing a total of 3 Influence from Asia.

comment: The Great Leap Forward was an economic and social campaign led by the Communist Party Of China; though fueled by the intention to transform China into an industrialized country, in many aspects it was a leap backward.

reasoning: since Asia is the most stable Region in the game, this card could change things a little bit since DEFCON loss is always imminent. I think that players would do anything to keep The China Card active if it was necessary!

'Great Leap Forward' could replace: 'Indo-Pakistani War'; both cards are have a 2 Ops value and tend to de-stabilize Asia in Early War.


Remove half (rounded up) of the US and USSR Influence from: Algeria, Yugoslavia, Sudan, India, Burma, Indonesia.

comment: formed in 1961, the Non-Aligned Movement was composed of members that wanted to owe allegiance to none of the superpowers. Despite their differences in goals and politics, those countries were somewhat brave since it was not easy at all not to be a member of either the communist or the capitalist block.

reasoning: by Mid War, the board is almost full of influence by both superpowers-but what if there were a card that reverses this for a moment? could a player sacrifice some of his influence in order to fulfill his goals? it is worth to be mentioned that these countries are selected by taking into account historical and regional criteria; some countries (such as Egypt or the South American countries) are excluded because there is already a good deal of events concerning them.

'Non-Aligned Movement' could replace: the hard-to-use-as-event and really uninteresting 'Arms Race'.


USSR gains 2 VP if he reaches (or has already reached) 'Man In Earth Orbit'.

comment: Yuri Gagarin, the First Man In Space was the living proof that communism could perform miracles. The prestige of the USSR around the world had never been higher.

reasoning: Space Race does not favor the USSR in the long run. So this card is an attempt to compensate them, in a sense. Also, from a historic point of view the First Man In Space was a great success for the Soviets.

'Yuri Gagarin' could replace: 'U2 incident', of course; same value, almost the same gains for both sides.


Playable as an event only if Cuba is USSR-controlled.
US must randomly discard 1 card from his hand & add Mil Ops equal to the Ops value of that card. USSR gains 1 VP and doubles his influence in Cuba.

comment: the US tried to depose Fidel Castro but this effort ultimately gave nothing but humiliation to the Americans.

reasoning: well, since there is one way for the USSR to get rid of an unpleasant Scoring Card (Five Year Plan), I would like to add a similar one for the US. Plus, USSR needs a steady foothold in the Americas. Historically, no country had been better at that than Cuba.

'Bay Of Pigs Invasion' could replace: well, USSR is not safe at all in the Americas in the long run-so, I suggest that 'Allende' be removed from the deck, together with 'Alliance For Progress' (see below).


Degrade DEFCON by 1. Remove all US Influence from East Germany. US cannot add Influence there. 'Defectors' cannot be played as an event in any Action Round.
This event unplayable and/or canceled by 'Tear Down This Wall'.

clarirication: as long as 'Berlin Wall' is in effect, USSR does not lose 1 VP by playing 'Defectors' in their Action Round.

comment: The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to prevent East German citizens to flee the country. Its construction led to tension between East & West once more. Literally, a wall of shame.

reasoning: the very symbol of the Cold War era could not be out of this set. I am surprised it is not part of the game already. In terms of gameplay, it is a DEFCON suicide card that favors the USSR (Mid War is not very favorable for them) and protects an important BG for a while.

'Berlin Wall' could replace: the obvious choice is 'Willy Brandt'; on the other hand, since it's a DEFCON degrader we're talking about, 'We Will Bury You' could also be a good idea (I mean, if not the whole 20-card set gets in the deck).


Playable only if DEFCON = 2. Set DEFCON to 4 or 5. For the remainder of the Turn, every 'War card' played as an event degrades DEFCON by 1.

War Cards: Arab-Israeli War; Korean War; Greek Civil War; Indo-Pakistani War; Brush War; Iran-Iraq War.

comment: after the Cuban Missile Crisis, both superpowers agreed to establish a direct communication line between their leaders; for a few years, relationships between US & USSR were better than ever before.

reasoning: what if War cards dropped DEFCON? I have read and heard that it was a major discussion between the game designers too (but could I be wrong?) !

'Hotline' could replace: 'Summit' (rarely played as an event; also, can affect DEFCON) or 'How I learnt to stop worrying' (also affects DEFCON) or 'Latin American Death Squads' (rather untempting event, too).


USSR gains 1 VP. US forfeits his next Action Round and draws 1 card from the top of the draw pile.

comment: the civil rights movement shook US; and, since communism is a doctrine that considers all human beings equal (at least in theory) the US had to prove that they are a truly democratic society.

reasoning: this was a real challenge for the US; That' s why they draw a card (as a symbol of the effort to improve themselves and cope with the difficulties of incorporating a more democratic mindset). On the other hand, the 'Civil Rights Movement' can be helpful for the US in terms of protection from a DEFCON loss.

'Civil Rights Movement' could replace: 'OPEC' ! I know it's a recurring event that gives USSR VPs...but! (a) having consecutive ARs is a big deal, (b) 'Alliance For Progress' would also be removed (again, see below).

note: this card could well cost US the game if played on the last USSR Action Round and US holds a Scoring Card. Could it be unfair for the game to end like this? anyway, this was something that didn't cross my mind in the first place!


US moves first on every Action Round for the remainder of the Turn. If played on the last USSR Action Round, US gains 1 VP; additionally, USSR reveals his Held Card(s) and US also gains 1 VP per Held Card revealed.

comment: the economic stagnation of the Brezhnev Era (1964-82) was prelude to the downfall of the superpower.Sometimes it is downplayed, but basically the Cold War was a war of economic attrition and domination. The US was far more powerful economically and finally prevailed.

reasoning: what if the US moved first on every Action Round (even for a Turn only) ? I think it's an interesting idea!

'Stagnation' could replace: Knowing that this is the most powerful card of this set in terms of giving the US a great deal of advantage, I suggest that a similar advantage-giver card be removed; 'Shuttle Diplomacy' & 'Our Man In Tehran' are two modest options; two other cards could be 'The Voice Of America' or 'Ask Not What' (but removing one of these two cards would be a VERY bold move!).


Playable as an event only if 'Vietnam Revolts' has already been played.
For the remainder of the game, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia & Thailand have +1 stability when they are US-controlled and USSR Coups them.

comment: Out of fear of the Domino Theory, this was one of the many efforts US took to contain communism in Asia.

reasoning: SE Asia is often Soviet-dominated. This card intents to help US a little (though there are rarely ooups in that sub-region, I know). It is the type of event that US wishes USSR to trigger it.

'ASEAN declaration' could replace: undoubtedly, 'Kitchen debates'! Need I explain why?


Improve DEFCON by 1. You may choose not to move your Space Race Marker after your next successful Space Race Roll. Pass to opponent after play.

comment: this joint mission marked a brief period of detente and, ultimately, the end of the Space Race.

reasoning: this is a China-card-like card that gives players an option only available in variant. But 3 Ops is a big deal in most of times to be ignored.

'Apollo-Soyuz Test Project' could replace: 'How I learnt to stop worrying' (because ASTP can be more useful to both players) or 'One Small Step' (because it has to do with the Space Race). I prefer the former.


Remove 1 USSR Influence from 3 countries in Western Europe.

comment: born in Western Europe, Eurocommunism was a political movement that openly criticized the USSR practices; gradually, several western communist parties turn their back to the Soviets and this was one of the main reasons that the USSR Influence in Western Europe diminished.

reasoning: there are some cards that hurt the US in Western Europe so this one tries to change things a bit. I like the idea that USSR must deal wisely with its effects.

'Eurocommunism' could replace: should the whole 20-card custom set be in the deck, then 'Alliance For Progress' should be removed because it gives US a good deal of VPs.


Playable as an event only if 'Solidarity' has already been played.
Remove 1 US influence from Poland, then add 1 USSR influence. US cannot add Influence in Poland for the remainder of the Turn.

comment: when Solidarnosc threatened the very existence of the communist regime, General Jaruzelski imposed martial law in Poland for almost two years (1981-83) in an attempt to turn the tide.

reasoning: well I am aware of the promo card but I modified it drastically because of historical reasons and because it would be more fun this way.

'Martial Law In Poland' could replace: 'Yuri & Samantha' is not particularly preferrable as an event so (see also 'Perestroika' below) it should be removed.


Playable as an event only if 'NATO' is in effect.
Set DEFCON to 2. US adds 5 to his Mil Ops track. If US Controls at least 6 Western European countries, he scores 2 VP.

comment: one of the occasions the World came so close to nuclear war. A NATO military exercise simulating DEFCON 1 conditions was mistaken by the Warsaw Pact members as a genuine nuclear attack, resulting in 10 days full of fear that the worst case scenario would happen.

reasoning: I like the European Late War mess, so Able Archer adds up a little.

'Able Archer 83' could replace: the incredibly stupid 'An Evil Empire' - plus, if 'Indo-Pakistani War' is removed (see 'Great Leap Forward' above) then 'Flower Power' is not that much of an advantage for the USSR.


Set DEFCON to 5. USSR may add 4 influence in any countries already containing USSR influence, no more than 2 per country. USSR gains 1 VP every time US drops DEFCON this turn.

comment: the policy of Perestroika (restructuring) was perhaps the last effort made by Gorbachev and his Politburo friends to turn the tide for the USSR.

reasoning: Perestroika was an important concept of the Gorbachev era. I initially thought of it as a US-event but then I realized that following the designers' way of thinking is what' s best ( much in the way that De-Stalinization is considered positive for the USSR, despite the fact that to me it's not ). What I really wanted to do here, is putting both players into dilemma; trigger the event - or go for the Ops? - or send to Space? I think that, much like real-life Perestroika, this card should have 'side effects' for the USSR (an enhanced 'Iron Lady', short of speak).

'Perestroika' could replace: 'Glasnost'. No second thoughts. Plus, 'Perestroika' compensates pretty well for the absence of 'Yuri & Samantha' (see above).


If played in Headline phase: on Action Round 1, USSR either plays a Scoring Card or forfeits it. If played on any Action Round: if US has no Mil Ops, he gains 2 VP.

comment/reasoning: this card is added for one reason only: it is considered as the most representative Cold War (and Twilight Struggle) song for many T/S fans! the function of this card also reflects its meaning, in some ways. It could affect Wargames, or balance the effects of 'Terrorism'.

'We didn't start the fire' could replace: 'Reagan bombs Libya' (rarely playable as an event) or 'North Sea Oil' (as long as 'OPEC' is out of the deck too) or 'The Iron Lady' (since 'Eurocommunism' is also going to threaten USSR in Western Europe). Personally I prefer 'The Iron Lady'.
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Steve Parsons
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Hi . Not going to comment on the need or benefits of changing an already highly regarded game, as I guess the simple fact of dreaming up new cards can be fun in itself.

However, in practical terms, the number of these cards with 'continuing effects' ("for the remainder of the turn...") Might risk cluttering the board with more and more reminder chits.
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Ted Torgerson
United States
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Terrific job. I think you have have hit upon some of the most critical events that are overlooked in the game. I especially like the focus on Europe where the Cold War was fought, but which is often not the focus of the game.
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Håkan Lundgren
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Have you made these cards available anywhere so I could print them out?
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Demetrius Mavrou
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Hopefully this works; just let me know!!Ahsp8aDs0WrqojxW2ohtVY01YjEz

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Austin Savatt
United States
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Good job, especially on the artwork. Had a few card ideas myself, feel free to draw inspiration from them.

Soviet Space Disaster (Midwar US - 2)
Soviet player may not make a space race attempt for the remainder of the turn and is treated as if they are at space race level zero untill after the headline phase of the next turn. (Remove from play after used as an event)

Peacenicks (Midwar USSR - 2)
USSR scores VPs equal to half current US military Ops (rounding up). The USSR may not exceed 19 VPs by the play of this card (Remove from play after used as an event)

Keeping up with the Jones (Midwar US - 2)
Soviet player must place one influence in a country where they already have influence, US Player then places 3 influence, in any adjacent countries, no more than 2 per country.

Madman Policy (Midwar USSR - 2)
US player must discard their highest Ops card, draw from the deck to replace the card. If a Soviet event is drawn, the event happens immediately, if so, draw again to replace the card.

Reunification (Late War Neutral - 3)
If phasing player controls both South Korea and North Korea OR both East Germany and West Germany they score 3 VPs, remove half of all opponent's influence in the affected countries. (Rounding up) (Remove from play after used as an event)

Failed State (Late War Neutral - 1)
Target a non-european non-battleground with a stability of 3 or below. Remove all influence from the territory. Neither player may add influence to that territory for the remainder of the game. (Remove from play after used as an event)
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