In 1922, Vladimir Lenin led the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (the
, which had won the Russian Civil War that followed the destruction of Tsarist autocracy during the Russian Revolutions of 1917) to unify with other Eurasian republics; and found a constitutionally socialist state: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) -
the Soviet Union
. At 22,402,200 square kilometers, the USSR covered a sixth of the world’s inhabited land across 11 time zones.
After Lenin’s death, Josef Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party, established totalitarian rule complete with hard labor prisons and executions for any opposition. In the late 1980’s, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power and started reforms, including tearing down the Berlin Wall that blocked East from West Germany, to give more freedom to the people and republics within the union. While the majority of the population voted to keep the republic intact despite (or because of?) these new freedoms, hardline Communist Party members revolted against Gorbachev. Their August Coups, that sought to re-establish a more totalitarian union, resulted in the ultimate dissolution of the USSR, by vote, in 1991. Still, between 1922 and 1991, the Soviet Union became and remained a world superpower.
Now the Conquer Club player has the chance to re-unify the mighty USSR. Will the
Za zdoróvye! (To your health!)
Size: Large (53 regions) Complexity: Simple, despite having a few interesting features. Features Capitals: A specific form of double dipping that appears as a single region (Moscow). Starting Neutrals: Specific regions (Moscow) always start with neutral troops. Dead Space: Three Arctic Islands do not count for a bonus: Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya, New Siberian. Bonuses: Balanced with 8 bonus regions and 1 Capital (Moscow). Bonus Zones Western Republics (+2): ___4 regions, 2 vulnerable to regions in 1 other bonus zone Central Asia (+2): ________4 regions, 3 vulnerable to regions in 1 other bonus zone Far East (+2): ___________4 regions, 3 vulnerable to regions in 2 other bonus zones Kazakhstan (+3): _________5 regions, 4 vulnerable to regions in 3 other bonus zones Yokutia (+3): ____________5 regions, 4 vulnerable to regions in 4 other bonus zones Moscow (+1): ____________1 region, vulnerable to 5 regions, one in 1 other bonus zone Southern Siberia (+4): ____8 regions, 4 vulnerable to regions in 3 other bonus zones Western Siberia (+7): ____10 regions, 7 vulnerable to regions in 5 other bonus zones European Russia (+7 *): ___10 regions, 5 vulnerable to regions in 4 other bonus zones. *Moscow adds +1 to the +6 shown in the legend for European Russia Recommendation for settings:
Soviet Union is too “balanced” a map to favor one setting over another.
No matter which settings you choose, if you play enough games you will probably agree that Soviet Union offers quite a variety of options for strategic choices so that winning is less dependent on the initial region drop. With sufficient bonus zones of various sizes for bonus-dependent settings, and ample long-reach regions for every player in multiplayer/escalating spoils or team games, Soviet Union makes it fun to re-fight the Russian Revolution.
How to play Soviet Union
show: Two Player
Two Player: 17 regions (34 manual deployment troops) with 19 starting neutral regions. While players can be dropped on most or all of a bonus, the number of neutral starting regions makes that unlikely.
Note that with 17 regions, players begin with 5 troops to deploy, and a need to reduce opponents by three regions before reducing their troop count to 4 – which is still a viable amount for assaults. The result of this is, classic-style tactics should be adjusted in early rounds to compensate for the additional troops. Tactics Look for areas to assault where you can take out an opponent for a bonus; where you will be able to reinforce from rear regions to front regions; or where you can prevent the opponent from reinforcing to front lines or eliminating you from a bonus area. Try to leave at least 2-troop defenses rather than singles behind your assault strength - except where you can eliminate an opponent from an area so that neutral regions must be conquered to reach you. Weaken an opponent but stay strong. Take a region for spoils; then assault surrounding opponent regions to singles. This tactic lessens the chance that the opponent will conquer the area. Think about it: if you reduce surrounding opponent regions to 1 troop from 3 troops and leave all 2- and 3-troop defenses, then your opponent will have, at most, a 6-troop assault point against your regions in that area, instead of 8-troop assaults (numbers based on round 1 troop deployments). Also, reducing the opponent to single troops makes it more difficult for the opponent to defend those regions against an area sweep in the next round. Suggested Round 1: The first player begins with 5 troops to deploy, and with those, it is feasible to take 3 opponent regions to reduce the opponent’s first-round troop deploys to 4 (14 regions=4 troops) but it is not guaranteed to succeed. Taking 1 region gives you 18 regions and, if held, an additional troop to deploy; taking two gives you 19 and forces the opponent to reduce you by 2 regions just to re-balance deployments, and may leave you strong enough to make this successful. Otherwise, that 4- or 5-troop deploy gives the opponent 7 or 8 troop assaults that can destroy your front lines and wreak havoc on a path of single-troop defenses you might have left. Leaving 2's rather than singles can help your defenses weaken the opponent to reduce his (or her) ability to conquer enough regions to obtain a region count advantage bonus. Suggested Round 2: Assuming you were successful at weakening your opponent while staying strong yourself, the opponent will probably be unable to conquer two regions, so on your second round you will get at least 5, possibly 6 troops to deploy. Erring on the side of caution, let's say 5. Remember those areas where you weakened the opponent? Now is the time to gobble up some of those singles to pull farther ahead in region count. If you began this round with 17 regions, taking several singles is easy. Again, do not overreach; if you can clear the opponent from an area so that neutrals must be assaulted to reach you, leaving singles behind you is fine. If you cannot clear an area, stay strong. Alternatively, look for an area where the opponent is very strong, and assault there to lessen the chance that he can take over the entire zone, forcing you to assault neutral regions to reach opponent regions. If you kept your defenses strong as you conquer opponent regions; or if you were able to clear an opponent from an area; you may not need to reinforce to strengthen front lines. Keeping strong should be the priority, but also keep an eye on where you might use reinforcements to gather troops near a neutral region that, if taken, will give you a bonus. Later Rounds: At some point you probably will be able to gather troops near a neutral region to take the bonus. If your bonus would be safe from opponent capture, go for it, the insurance cannot hurt... but always remember to give priority to breaking an opponent bonus and keeping the region count advantage. Even in escalating spoils games, keeping the region count and ensuring the opponent gets no extra troops for bonus zones is worthwhile. Remember, to earn your spoils you must strike somewhere; why not strike where you weaken your opponent? "I didn't get to go first, the opponent did, and the results are just what you said... now what?" So, the opponent took the region count advantage, with 19 regions... but at 15 regions, you still have 5 troops to deploy. Did the opponent leave easily taken single-troop regions to help re-balance the region counts? Did the opponent fail to clear you from an area, or are your defenses are very weak? Can you eliminate the opponent from a small bonus area so that he must assault neutrals to get to you? Those are your general priority. If the opponent has obtained a region count advantage that you will be unable to re-balance, this might be a good time to see if you can capture a "safe" small bonus early. Remember, though, that if you cannot break the opponent's region count advantage, the opponent is getting at least 6 troops next round. If you assault a neutral for a bonus, how likely is it that the opponent swarms through any neutral buffer regions, gobbles up you and that bonus, and effectively decides the game by round 2 or 3? You may be better off "stacking back" - putting a few defensive troops at front lines but building an assault force behind those front lines, in the hopes the opponent's first assault weakens defenses and you can counter-assault to re-balance the region count. The initial region drop will determine whether capturing a bonus before about round 3 is feasible; but usually 2-player games on Soviet Union are decided by region count first, bonuses second.
Three Player: 17 regions (34 manual deployment troops) and 2 starting neutral regions
Four Player: 13 regions (26 manual deployment troops) and 1 starting neutral region Five Player: 10 regions (20 manual deployment troops) and 3 starting neutral regions Six Player: 8 regions (16 manual deployment troops) and 5 starting neutral regions Seven Player: 7 regions (14 manual deployment troops) and 4 starting neutral regions Eight Player: 6 regions (12 manual deployment troops) and 5 starting neutral regions As you can see from the chart, Soviet Union is nicely balanced for any amount of players. Even on the 8-player setting, everyone receives sufficient regions to make early elimination unlikely. The primary strategy for multiplayer games is to stack to survive until you have enough troops that eliminating an opponent is viable; for this reason many multiplayer games use escalating spoils. Players usually try to stack on more than one region, if possible, to provide play options rather than be isolated away from an opponent; leave one innocent troop on an adjacent region as an invite to other players to “share spoils” by alternating taking that region in a mutual (but often unspoken) agreement to save stacks assaults until winning is viable; and attempt to build their forces on regions with long reach. The question, then, for multiplayer games, is, “which regions are the most viable for this strategy?” Some maps are limited in the number of plump long-reach choices. Soviet Union, however, is surprisingly full of prized long-reach regions in each bonus zone. Key regions in each bonus zone: Yokutia While Srednekolymsk assaults 5 regions including into the Far East and the Arctic Islands; Mirny touches 5 regions including two additional bonus zone; and Yakutsk touches the 4 other regions within this bonus zone. Far East Koryak assaults the 4 other regions within the Far East, so is only two regions away from breaking into additional bonus zones. Southern Siberia Irkutsk can reach 7 regions, four in two other bonus zones; Khazbarovosk protects the dead end at Primorsky and hits three other regions; while Okhotsk and Sakhalin provide two of the three entries into the Far East. Western Siberia Tomsk reaches 6 regions within Western Siberia while Altai, which also reaches 6 regions, can assault into an adjacent bonus zone. Srednekolymsk can assault two regions in the Far East and also accesses the islands. Kazakhstan Tselinograd reaches 6 regions, two in other bonus zones; while Baikonur reaches 5 regions including into Central Asia, one of the smaller bonuses on the map; and Karaganda reaches every region withint Kazakhstan. None of these regions are as vital as Aktyubinsk, which reaches 7 regions, in two other bonus zones (as well as both Baikonur and Tselinograd). Central Asia Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are so close together that label for Uzbekistan overlays the other region; Uzbekistan is the region to the right, which hits every region within Central Asia and 2 regions in Kazakhstan. European Russia Stalingrad is important not just because it shields Caucasus, but because it hits 5 regions including the map’s Capital, Moscow; Aktyubinsk; and into the Western Republic at Kiev. Leningrad is also important, hitting into Western Republic and Moscow, but also hitting 4 more regions in European Russia; and do not forget Arkhangelsk, which reaches 6 regions, is a bottleneck between West and Central areas of the map in the north, and assaults the Arctic Islands to reach the east. Arctic Islands Each of these no-bonus islands can assault into a bonus zone and provide a north passages between the major landmasses (European Russia, Western Siberia, and Yokutia) east and west of the map. The dead end at Primorsky is more than 2 regions away from reaching into another bonus zone. Caucasus in European Russia is the other dead end; break into Stalingrad and Khabarovsk for early spoils so that you can gather your main assault forces in front of those protected regions. In Terminator or Assassin games with fog of war, gathering forces on Stalingrad and Khabarovsk to hide an opponent's last region is viable strategy. Without fog of war, if you choose those regions as your main stacking points, the strategy of ensuring no one else gets that opponent’s last region is still viable, especially if you can choose another region to base assaults from in other areas of the map; as mentioned before, on Soviet Union, you have a lot of choices to do just that.
There is nothing unusual about the strategy for Soviet Union for any spoils choice.
Flat Rate – the balance between neutral and player regions make flat rate a fun option. Escalating – the number of regions with long-reach capability make escalating a good challenge None – with so many bonus regions to choose from, “no spoils” is likely to be strategically balanced Nuclear – a viable option that will play similarly to no spoils but with that “nuked your bonus!” twist; fits nicely on this map that (because so many regions can reach so many other regions) already suggests a strategy of several defensive or assault stacks rather than one major stack with a lot of singles behind.
show: Team Games
Team games are as balanced as other games on Soviet Union, and the number of regions per player makes eliminating an opponent within the first rounds highly unlikely.
The result is, which strategy the team chooses (go for bonuses or go for eliminations) may depend on the initial region drop; and larger team games may depend on a team member holding a bonus more than on other maps. Two-Team Doubles: 13 regions per player, 1 starting neutral region In early rounds, a typical strategy of working for region count advantage is only viable for Two-Team Doubles. In this setting, the first player on a team should assault 2 regions owned by the opponent who would play next, reducing those deploys while increasing your deploys. The easiest way to do this is to pick an area where you have several regions that surround two of your target regions, deploying your troops so that you have as many 4-troop stacks that can make these assaults as possible. In other words, four 4-troop assault forces are more likely to take out two 3-troop regions than one 7-troop assault or two 5-troop assaults. If you were successful, the opponent has only 3 troops to deploy (11 regions = 3 troops) while you increased your next-round deploys from 4 troops to 5 (15 regions = 5 troops). If you were able to leave at least 2 troops on vulnerable regions, you can reinforce to your partner in another area; otherwise, you should probably be ‘selfish” this round and reinforce yourself to protect those 1-troop regions. The advantages are: This really is the most effective way to hamstring the other doubles teams from Round One. the opponent is unlikely to both gobble up your singles and reduce your partner by two regions your partner might be able to reduce the other opponent by 2 regions your partner might be able to reinforce you where you were vulnerable After that, just keep targeting key opponent regions, preventing them from getting a bonus and keeping an eye on whether taking a bonus is viable for your team. Spoils settings are unlikely to affect the viability of this strategy; although high-troop cashes (escalating or flat) can upset the lead you took. Triples and Three-Team Doubles: 8 regions per player, 5 starting neutral regions Quads: 6 regions per player, 5 starting neutral regions Unlike two-team doubles, in six and eight-player team games, aiming for region count advantage is not a viable option in early rounds. While it may be viable for later rounds, obviously no player is likely to go from 6 or 8 regions to 12 in a round or two. Therefore, positioning for long-reach regions or to take or protect bonus zones is much more important. If a teammate has almost all of a bonus zone, reinforcing forward to enable him (or her) to take the bonus zone is viable, especially in early rounds where, even in quads, each teammate has sufficient “stay alive” regions. This strategy enables players to use their drop-troops for assaults on opponents to prevent them from doing what you are trying to do: take and keep a bonus. If the game is no spoils, the first players need to deploy on the team mate(s) in the best position to do this, and reinforce forward to help. As mentioned in the two-player and multiplayer sections, the Soviet Union map has very few “non-vulnerable” regions so leaving 2-troop defenses rather than singles is a viable strategy. Even if the game includes spoils, the type of spoils makes a difference as to whether the first player(s) deploy-only or make assaults. In a triples or quads team escalating spoils environment, one player on your team could easily skip a card for a round with no viable change, especially if that player is not positioned properly to assault the most strategic areas. If the spoils are flat rate, skipping a card is more risky; while skipping a card in the nuclear setting could be downright smart. As the game progresses, the most likely target for elimination will be obvious: the opponent you had to reduce the most to protect your most vulnerable areas. Pounce as soon as possible! Even without spoils, the reduced troop deploys and the team double-turn are valuable paths to winning. [/list]
show: Additional Notes
Dead Ends in the east (Caucasus, in European Russia) and west (Primorsky, in Southern Siberia) of the map Long-reach regions (short list): Irkutsk: 7 regions, 4 in other bonus zones Aktyubinks: 7 regions, 4 in other bonus zones Arkhangelsk: 6 regions, Northwest/Central bottleneck Alma Ata: 6 regions, 3 in other bonus zones Leningrad: 6 regions, 1 in other bonus zone and Moscow Tselinograd: 6 regions, 2 in other bonus zones Uzbekistan: 5 regions, including all in its bonus zone Evenkia: 5 regions, 2 in other bonus zones Moscow: 5 regions, 1 in other bonus zone Yamalia: 4 regions, 1 in other bonus zone Yakutsk: All 4 other regions in its bonus zone Bottlenecks: Arkhangelesk/Yamalia Orenburg/Tselinograd/Aktyubinsk Stalingrad/Aktyubinsk Srednekolymsk/Chukotka/Madagan Okhotsk/Madagan Reminder: Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are so close together that label for Uzbekistan overlays the other region; Uzbekistan is the region to the right, which hits every region within Central Asia and 2 regions in Kazakhstan.
show: Similar Maps
Benelux – 42 regions with capitals Montreal – 48 regions with capitals Tamriel – 48 regions with capitals WWII Eastern Front – 44 regions with capitals and starting neutral regions Fractured America – 86 regions with capitals and starting neutral regions