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Friday, Oct 20, 2023 - 22:22 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

I Do Suppose So

Then shalt thou count to five, no more, no less. Five shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be five.

Team Blue appears otherwise engaged, but they have still gone through the effort to add some levity to the proceedings, after the sombre - and stifling - presentation by the Reds last turn; I do hope those AK-47s were props! An actor in full crusader knight getup has got to be so much more engaging in contrast, even if chainmail gauntlets aren't exactly made for handling flimsy cardboard cards. We can't quite make out what he's saying as he struggles to flip the card over, but it sounds like "Ni", which seems like a rejection of assistance... ah, there!

Turn 14, Action Round 5 (Team Blue)

Team Blue plays The Bulgarian Five for 2 Ops, resolving the Event after Ops.

Zero marks for originality here
(Original sources: twilightstrategy.com, independent.co.uk)

Uh, we seem to have seen this before... yup, back in April as The Compromised Five, in Turn 13, Action Round 5 - which happens to be the number of this Action Round too.

You've heard the story before, then: a ring of five spies based in the United Kingdom - the Greater London area, to be exact - that passed information to Russia during the Cold War. Our doughty cosplayer fidgets under his heavy armour - I don't think there's even much to add - so we will spare him his discomfort, and get on with the Ops pronto:

1 Ops: +1 Influence in Bulgaria (1/1). Team Red's successful maybe-Coup had been reported in Turn 11, Action Round 2 back last July, but the ingrained Russian Influence in Bulgaria has been wavering in recent times, with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church expelled in September on espionage charges, which has been followed by their charging hefty transit fees on Russian gas bound for the Red-friendly Hungary (1/3) and Serbia [Yugoslavia] (0/2).

1 Ops: +1 Influence in Pakistan (3/2). Team Blue really, really wants Pakistan locked into their camp, it seems, as ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan remains in jail despite the High Court overturning his previous conviction in August, with the latest charge against him now being his allegation that the U.S. State Department had "encouraged" the Pakistani government to remove him back in March 2022, over his visit to Russia and subsequent hints at neutrality over Ukraine.

Towards this accusation, Khan brandished a diplomatic "cipher" as evidence, which has seen him fall foul of the Official Secrets Act - which seems like the go-to denunciation by deep state globalist establishments against populist leaders these days. Then again, we did point out how "one can only try to play both sides to a certain extent, especially when things get real" as the Event unfolded live last March, so no surprises for us here either. The Americans don't seem very concerned at an elected Prime Minister being detained by a military-backed kangaroo court in this case, so maybe this isn't one of the autocracies that they're interested in reforming, as the more Team Blue-aligned Nawaz Sharif returns to the fray.

The Event now resolves, and a helpful assistant riffles through the remaining cards in hand for a grateful crusader, exposing Southeast Asia Scoring as required by the rules text. Given this, Team Red adds 1 Influence to Laos/Cambodia (now 0/4), with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen passing his position on to his son, after 38 years in charge (and without the pretense of a seatwarmer, as in the local case). Hun Manet has indicated that their China policy will remain unchanged, and Xi might well be up for some tips instead, on extending his tenure.

Our official business dispensed with, let's duck into the backstage area, for some juicy behind-the-scenes histrionics! We have the show's producer - garbed in Illuminati dress - berating the director, on the sheer laziness of this Action Round's narrative; five Russian spies in London, indeed! His high school drama club could do better, he says. The director defensively responds that he couldn't do anything, all his writers were on strike. Then just use ChatGPT instead, do I have to teach you how to do everything, the producer screams. Participants from both Teams eventually restrain the duo from coming to blows, thankfully, and the issue is settled with the director ordered to attend remedial creative writing classes.

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