This game is intended to let me try out how to play the US as Soft. Since it’s my first game doing this, I choose no nerfs and three decks. Starting hand is not terrible – only three Jihadist cards, one of which is currently playable and it won’t be that bad if Syria shifts to Poor before I play it. However, I only have two 3 cards, and one is Oil Price Spike which I may wish to use for grabbing a good discard. The other cards have good events but only if I choose to use them. Biometrics is a tricky card, but since the Jihadists will be mostly recruiting this turn, probably best to try to avoid the Radicalization it will cause with so few adjacent cells. My initial strategy is to mostly react, and to get one country moving toward Good Governance as quickly as possible.
Deck 1, Turn 1
J1: Quartet (US2). Unplayable. Recruit operation becomes Radicalization. Cell placed in Gulf States, cell travels from Afghanistan to Somalia, which tests Poor. Poor/Islamist marker to 5.
J2: Abbas (US2). Playable. Plot(1) in Gulf States, then Radicalization. Plot tests successful, marker placed, cell goes active. Radicalization places cell in Yemen, which tests Fair. Fair/Good marker to 4.
US1: Libyan WMD (US3). OPS to remove plot in Gulf States.
US2: Kazakh Strain (J2). Unplayable. Use for War of Ideas in Gulf States, -1 DRM (-1 to Good, -1 GWOT, +1 Prestige). 5 rolled, Aid marker placed.
Note: The plot forced me to be aggressive about keeping the Gulf States in good shape. I can’t afford Islamist Regimes to start popping up in this game, although I do need to start getting some troops to any country that is an Ally. Having a Good Governance country in the middle of all that will improve my odds dramatically of making more allies. I should probably have played Biometrics and FSB to try to nerf the Jihadists, but they will be doing more recruiting than anything else this turn.
J3: Patriot Act (US3). Playable. Plot(1) in Gulf States, then Radicalization. Plot fails, cell already active. Radicalization places a cell in Gulf States, then travels cell from Yemen to Somalia.
J4: Detainee Release (J2). Unplayable. Recruit in Afghanistan, fail in Somalia.
US3: Shroeder & Chirac (J2). Unplayable. WoI roll in Gulf States with 0 DRM (Aid, Prestige +1 each, To Good, GWOT -1 each). Fail Roll.
US4: FSB (US2). Unlikely I’ll use this for an event, so OPS to disrupt the Jihadists in the Gulf States. Active cell to Funding Track, Sleeper to Active.
Note: Kind of a chaotic turn. I should probably have gotten all the cells out of the Gulf States had I been a little smarter, but getting most of them out will prevent Plots, the thing I’m most concerned about. Then Somalia.
J5: “The door to Itjihad was closed.” (J3). Unplayable. Minor Jihad(1) in Gulf States, then Radicalization(2). Screwed this up in the J4 card play, I’m afraid, which should have been the same thing rather than Recruit, but that’s gonna happen occasionally. Jihad is successful. Radicalization places in US, then travels from Afghanistan to Somalia.
J6: Taliban (J3). Playable. Cells from Funding to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Prestige -3 to 4.
US5: Wiretapping (US2). Event. Cell in US removed, no cadre placed, draw card, place marker. I draw Hambali, which is good as a 3 OPS card.
US6: Musharraf (2). Event. Remove the cell in Pakistan, placing a cadre there. Pakistan becomes Poor Governance but an ally, so I will be able to place troops there, which is good. Fair/Good to 2, Poor/Islamist to 6.
Note: Not a great turn. I was going to have the Gulf States drop regardless, as it turned out, and Somalia is getting scarier. At least I can now make some inroads into Pakistan, which is the scariest part of the board because of the WMD. Also, getting to draw an extra card will help a lot too, but I’m losing ground for now.
J7: Tony Blair (US2). Playable. Plot(1) in Gulf States, the Radicalization(1). Plot is successful, place marker in Gulf States. Radicalization places cell in Israel.
J8: US Elections (3). Playable. US Posture goes Hard. Prestige +1 to 5. Recruit two cells in Afghanistan, attempt in Somalia fails.
US7: Hambali (3). Play as OPS to remove Plot in Gulf States.
US8: Oil Price Spike (3). Event. I draw Patriot Act, which is just too important to pass up. Resource spike does not trigger. Card goes to Lapsing Box 1.
Note: US elections surprised me, but I’m not sure I want to deploy into Afghanistan just yet. It may be better to try to stabilize Pakistan first, which is where I’m going with my next plays.
J9: Indo-Pakistan Talks (3). Unplayable. Recruiting in Somalia, three attempts, two are successful. Somalia now prime for Major Jihad.
US9: Patriot Act (US3). Event. Place marker, card removed.
US10: Hariri Killed (J2). Play as Reserves. Lebanon tests Poor, Syria shifts to Poor. On the plus side, the card is removed because you can’t kill the guy twice! Fair/Good to 1, Poor/Islamist to 8.
US11: Biometrics(US1). Play as OPS, using reserves to make it a 3 card. Two troops from Troops Track to Pakistan.
End of Turn: Funding -1 to 8. Prestige -1 to 4 for IR country on board. Hand size for US now 8, Jihadists remain at 9.
Note: I hope my focus on Pakistan pays out long term, because so far the Jihadists are winning. At least they'll have to get lucky to get WMD with a couple of troops holding Pakistan down. Priorities at this point are to improve Gulf State governance to Good if possible, and drive down Jihadist Funding so that they have fewer cards to play and can't recruit as effectively.