Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Cuba Libre: you're in the army now

Cuba Libre - situation in the west, turn 6
Let's start with the scores on the doors going into turn 6. There's no imminent prospect at this stage of another propaganda card, but it is useful to see who is now winning. The Directorio, despite a good previous turn, only has one population under its control and no bases, so has 1 point. Not good. They need 10. US Aid stands at 7. Total government support has slipped to 9, I need to get it back up to 19 to win. It has slipped considerably already in the last phase. 26 July has two bases plus 12 opposition, meaning they are only two off their victory target already. The Syndicate needs to have 7 casinos open plus over 30 resources, they have three operating and 15 resources.

Thus, it looks like the communists are already in sniffing distance of a win when the next propaganda card comes up.

In the picture you can see the Syndicate (green) and 26 July are contesting power in Pinar del Rio, although the province is still fiercely pro-government.  The circle with all the pieces in is Havana: the yellow marker with a star is an active Directorio unit in Havana, the other is underground. The blue cube in a little circle is a police unit guarding the tobacco centre. In Habana the green unit with a small green disk under it is a Syndicate gang guarding cash. The other disk in Habana is an open casino, the one that has already suffered a kidnap action.

Turn 6. Escapade. The Government goes first, and as I see no benefit in Escapade, I opt for a sweep operation into the Sierra Madre. The communists look too threatening, and it is time to step on them. I move three brigades of troops out of Santiago de Cuba into the Sierra Madre, as it is an adjacent area. This is enough to activate the guerillas there, meaning I can attack them at my next opportunity, if I get one. This costs me 3 resources however. For my follow up action I use transport which allows me to ship troops wherever I want. I take 3 brigades out of Havana and move them to Pinar del Rio, again because there is a communist base area there, set up by Operation Fisherman. This depletes my troops in both cities, but I feel I have left enough personnel in both to deal with any urban guerrillas. Next up is the Syndicate, and they ignore Escapade as well: instead, they recruit another gang in Havana to replace the one broken up by the Directorio. They then follow up by producing more cash in Havana and Pinar del Rio.

Turn 7. Alberto Bayo. Bayo was a Cuban revolutionary who fought in the Spanish Civil War. He later moved to Mexico where he managed a furniture factory and taught at the military academy. Among his pupils were Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. He ended his career as a general in Cuba. It is the 26 July player who is first up. He takes the event, as it gives him two FREE cells, as he has bases in Pinar and Sierra Madre. Nice work if you can get it. Directorio follows, and he pays a resource to put another terror marker into Havana, where his urban guerillas are causing havoc. He manages to shut down a casino and makes me look bad too. Havana is my power base and this is costing me big time.

Turn 8. Resistencia Civica. The guerrillas fall out. The Syndicate is first mover, and takes the event. The 26 July cell in Santiago de Cuba changes sides, and joins the Directorio. It is the first of a series of defeats for the communists. It is now my turn. With the army now sweeping in the Sierra Madre, they have made contact with the communists and I can eliminate another red cell. I then transport two more brigades from Camaguey city into the Sierra Madre. There are now a LOT of troops hunting the communists in the mountains there, but it is costing me.

Turn 9. Pact of Caracas. The insurgents kiss and make up with the Pact of Caracas. 26 July gets first move and he takes the event. This is another permanent situation, like El Che. It means the two rebel factions can't steal each other's units until the next propaganda card comes up. So the defection in Santiago de Cuba from the previous turn would not now work if it had occurred later. Sadly for 26 July, it happened last turn! The Directorio adds another terror marker to Camaguey province.

Turn 10. Radio Rebelda. This is an interesting event - one of those that can be good or bad for the rebels, depending on whose turn it is. Unfortunately for them, they just had their Pact of Caracas. The Syndicate goes first, and he's out for blood. He uses the Radio Rebelda event to pinpoint and shut down a rebel radio station in Pinar del Rio. This means 26 July loses a BASE in Pinar, which is very bad news for the communistas. Then it is my turn: I spend resources on another - expensive - sweep in the Sierra Madre, down the other end of the island. This activates a red cell, which means I can follow up with an air strike. This is my first air strike of the game, but it takes out that cell. 26 July is looking much more exposed.

So the scores on the doors at the end of that phase: Sierra Madre now falls under government control and looks set for some reprisals in the near future. The reds seem to be on the run there, but they should be with five army brigades on their heels. The Directorio is on 1 and a long way from anywhere, my total support has dropped to 5, leaving me further from victory than ever. The Directorio has really been hitting me hard in Havana and I need to do something about their cell there, and soon. 26 July is now on 9 and has some work to do to get closer to victory but has had some very good events. The Syndicate has not managed to open any new casinos, and indeed the Directorio has closed one of his in Havana, which hurts.

Everyone seems to be hacking into everyone else, and doing lots of damage. Victory has slipped from my grasp, but my focus on taking the fight to Castro's boys has put him on the back foot too. This Directorio situation in Havana needs to be addressed as a priority over the next few turns. One major issue for me is going to be resources; US aid is down, and as my approval ratings in Washington have slipped, my counter-insurgency activities in the Sierra Madre have cost me precious resources. However, I can see Directorio is almost out of cash, which will cramp his style in the next few turns. He's been a busy little bee, but will now need to look at his resources. Robbing the Syndicate in Havana may have helped him, however.

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