I recently adapted Stuka Joe's Solo CDG Method so that it is specifically tailored for Twilight Struggle, and I thought I'd share the results in case anyone else is interested! Note that while these rules allow you to play a full game by yourself, they do not include a "bot" or AI. You will have to manage both players in good faith. If that's not for you, no problem -- check out the SoloPlay rules on this forum, which include a complete bot based on 10 pages of rules in a small font.
Remove all scoring cards from the Early Game deck, shuffle them, and set them aside face-down.
Give the China Card face-up to the USSR, as normal.
Finally, deal out two face-up sets of 5 cards, one for the US, and one for the USSR. In addition to its 5 cards, the USSR starts with the China Card. Do not include the China Card in the row of 5 cards.
Deal a card at random from the top of the deck. If it is a US event and the US still needs a headline, give it to the US. If it is a USSR event and the USSR still needs a headline, give it to the USSR as their headline. If it is a mixed event, give it to whichever side still needs a headline. If both sides still need a headline, give it to the USSR. If none of the above apply, discard it, draw a new card, and repeat until both players have a headline card.
Then, resolve the headlines as normal, with the higher-value card going first and the US winning ties for priority.
As explained in the video above, when it is your turn, you must choose one of your 5 cards as your 'proposed card' and then roll 2 dice to see how well you are able to manage Congress / the Kremlin. If you succeed on your Congress/Kremlin die roll, you will get to play your proposed card. If you fail on your Congress/Kremlin die roll, you will play a card at random.
Your cards should be lined up from left to right, so that the leftmost card is Card A, followed by Card B, Card C, and Card D, and the rightmost card is Card E.
The easiest card to play is the card in the middle: Card C. Congress or the Kremlin has had a chance to get used to the idea of this card, but they're not bored with the idea yet. The hardest cards to play are the cards on the end: Card A or Card E. Congress/Kremlin doesn't like brand new ideas, and they also don't like ideas that seem boring or outdated.
So, your target number changes depending on which card you're trying to play. If your proposed card is Card A or Card E, your target number is 3: you need to roll a 3 or less on the blue die to persuade the Congress or Kremlin to play your card. If your proposed card is Card B, Card D, or the China Card, your target number is 4: you need to roll a 4 or less on the blue die to persuade the Congress or Kremlin to play your card. If your proposed card is Card C, your target number is 5: you need to roll a 5 or less on the blue die to succeed.
If you succeed at your target roll, resolve your target card as normal.
If you fail at your target roll, look at the value on the red die. If the red die shows a 1, play Card A. If it shows a 2, play Card B. If it shows a 3, play Card C. If it shows a 4, play Card D. If it shows a 5, play Card E. If it shows a 6, draw a new card from the top of the deck, and play that card. You can play the card as an event, for ops, or on the space race -- it's your choice. Note that occasionally you can fail a target roll and still wind up 'landing' on the same card you originally proposed. This is fine.
If you rolled doubles, then regardless of whether you succeed or fail, you must play the card identified by the doubles as an event. For example, if you roll double 2s, you must play Card B as an event. If the event belongs to your opponent, you still get the Ops points afterward. If you rolled double 6s, then draw a new card from the deck and play that as an event. You may not play cards selected by doubles on the Space Race or for Ops (although you still get the ops after the event if the event belongs to your opponent). Rolling doubles can occasionally force you to play an event that will trigger a Nuclear War! Therefore, you must either manage your hand to make sure that these events do not stick around, or you must try to keep the Defcon above 2.
After playing your card, discard it or remove it from the game as normal. In addition, if you played any card besides Card E, then take Card E and discard it without playing it. Slide all of your remaining cards to the right (so that slots C, D, and E are full), and deal face-down cards to replace any empty slots left in your row of five cards. For example, if slots A and B are empty, then deal 2 face-down cards. Play then passes to the other superpower, who will follow the same process.
SCORING & END OF TURN
At the start of the fifth impulse of each turn, flip one scoring card face-up. If it is Mid-War or Late-War, then at the end of the sixth impulse of each turn, flip a second scoring card face-up.
After the sixth impulse of each turn (i.e. when each superpower has played six cards, for a total of twelve cards), no matter what phase of the war you are in, resolve any scoring cards that are face-up and then end the turn, increasing the Defcon by 1, resetting military ops to 0, advancing the turn marker, and giving each side a new headline card.
If it is the start of an even-numbered turn (#2, #4, #6, #8, or #10) then shuffle the deck of scoring cards before the turn begins.
At the end of Turn 10, perform Final Scoring as normal.
DISCARDING AND REPLACING CARDS
If an effect says to discard a card without replacing it, then that card's slot stays empty until the *end* of the discarding player's next full impulse. So, if it is the US's first impulse, and the US discards a card from Slot D to Quagmire, do not move Card C forward to Slot D afterward, and do not deal an extra card to replace Card D. Instead, discard Card E as normal, move the card from Slot C directly into Slot E, move Card B to slot C, move Card A to Slot B, and deal 1 new card (not 2 new cards) to replace the card from Slot A. This will leave the US with only 4 cards for its second impulse. If the US was successful in resolving the Quagmire, it will have 5 cards again on its third impulse. Otherwise, the US will continue to play with only 4 cards until it resolves the Quagmire. Same thing for the Soviets and Bear Trap. If you do not have any 2-point action cards that you can discard to Quagmire/Bear Trap, you must pass your impulse. You will still discard Card E and draw one new card for Slot A, which may give you a chance to escape next impulse.
If an effect says to discard a card *with* replacement, then any cards drawn go into the slot vacated by the card that's going away. For example, if the US plays "Ask Not What Your Country..." and chooses to discard Cards A, C, and D, then the new cards drawn as replacements would go into Slots A, C, and D. Draw the cards one at a time and replace them in order from Slot A to Slot E; you cannot choose what order the cards go in. Note that if you play "Ask Not..." on the fifth or sixth impulse, you may choose to discard the visible scoring card and replace it with another scoring card from the scoring deck. You cannot ever transfer cards from the scoring deck to your hand or vice versa.
If an effect says to draw an extra card or to steal a card from your opponent's hand, then the extra cards do not take up any of your slots. Instead, they go below your row of five cards, like the China Card. Their target number is always 4. They cannot be selected at random. If you do not play the cards by the end of the current turn (i.e. the end of the sixth impulse), then the extra cards are simply discarded.
REVEALING AN OPPONENT'S HAND
Normally, cards are dealt out face-down, so that they are not visible until your opponent starts his impulse. For example, after the USSR finishes, if the USSR has burned two cards, two cards will be dealt face-down to slots A and B, so that the US player cannot take advantage of knowing what those cards are on the US impulse.
However, if you play a card that reveals your opponent's hand, like "CIA Created," then until the end of the turn, your opponent's cards are instead dealt face-up. In addition, if it is the US who has played this card, then the first scoring card is revealed slightly earlier: before the US player's fourth impulse, instead of before the USSR player's fifth impulse. If it is Mid-War or Late-War and the USSR has played this card, then the *second* scoring card is revealed slightly earlier: before the USSR player's sixth impulse, instead of after the USSR player's sixth impulse.
You may send cards to the Space Race no matter how many Ops they are worth, unless you have rolled doubles. However, for each Ops point you are "short" of the requirement, you lose 1 VP. For example, if the USA played "Lone Gunman" to the Space Race (only worth 1 Ops) while attempting to reach Lunar Orbit (3 Ops required), then the US would lose 2 VP.
When you roll doubles, the card indicated by the doubles must be played *as an event*, and not for the Space Race. Note that you may still only attempt to send cards to Space once per turn (or twice per turn with the Animal in Space advantage).
For the most part, you will not know what regions are being scored until your last two impulses of the turn, although you may know that a particular region is 'dead' and cannot be scored this turn. If possible, you will want to use your 4th impulse in a way that sets you up to have a high-ops card near the center of your card row for the 5th impulse, so that you can use the card to influence whatever region is revealed for scoring. After turn 3, there will always be one scoring card that will be a total surprise, i.e., no chance to influence the region after seeing the card and before the card is scored -- so it's important not to fall too far behind in any region that's not dead for the turn.
Cards that reveal an opponent's hand or force your opponent to play an event at random are not as powerful in this variant, because the hand "turns over" more quickly than in classic Twilight Struggle, but forcing your opponent to play an event can still be a good idea if their hand is showing several good opposing events, and there is still some value in getting more info about your opponent's hand.
Successfully playing the fifth card from your row will slow down the movement of cards through your card row, which is useful when you have a hand of great cards, and bad when you have a hand full of lousy cards.
If your hand is full of high-risk cards that you really do not want to play, consider targeting the third card in your row even if that card is not optimal, or perhaps the China card, simply to reduce your risk. If you target Card A or Card E, there is a 50% chance that you will instead play a card at random, which could force you to play (or space) an opponent's event.
If one of the cards in Slots A, B, or C could lose you the game if you played it as an event (e.g. Lone Gunman), consider playing it to the Space Race pre-emptively, so that it will not stick around and kill you on a double 4 or double 5.
You are allowed to consider the face-up cards in your opponent's card row when planning your strategy: if you see that your opponent is holding, e.g., the Alliance for Progress, you can use that knowledge to try to coup away their battleground states in Central America. Because most of the time your opponent will only have 3 face-up cards, and because you can't ever predict exactly what your opponent will play next, it shouldn't wreck your brain too badly to make an intelligent play that thinks one turn ahead based on the available information.
After a lot of months, someone has tested (and enjoyed) this new method? Some suggestion, impressions?
I’m really an okay guy.
I’m also interested in play testing feedback.